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Category Archives: Inspires Me

Proof of God’s Pure Awesomeness

Friends, I’m so excited to share some awesome news with you today! Let’s just say I’ve had a hard time keeping it to myself. I can barely contain the joy, so let’s get right to it!

When I went on the sponsor trip to Haiti with Compassion International last February, I met a 2-year-old boy named Charles. I wrote a blog post about my time with Charles and his mama. If you never read it the first time around, or need your memory jogged, now would be a great time to check it out (click here and the post will open in a separate window.)

I know some of you don’t have time to read the original post, so let me refresh your memory! I met two-year-old Charles and his mama at one of the Compassion projects we visited in Haiti. Charles’ mama shared her painful story with our group, and revealed that Charles had one leg. She was beyond grateful for Compassion’s Child Survival Program, as they have been a tremendous source of hope and support. Needless to say, I was deeply moved by Charles’ story. Later that morning, I had the opportunity to interact at length with Charles, his mama, a translator, and Compassion staff. By God’s pure grace, I was offered the opportunity to be Charles’ sponsor once he’s old enough to officially enroll in Compassion’s Child Development Sponsorship Program. I was, of course, delighted to say yes, and gathered all the necessary information to make the connection back home.

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When I returned from Haiti, I spent nearly nine months trying to track down Charles. I wanted to do my part to keep the promise. So between February and October 2014, I called Compassion International’s hotline three times to see if there was a way to link Charles’ name with mine in the system. While Charles and his mama have been participating in Compassion’s Child Survival Program, Charles is not quite old enough to enroll in the Child Development Sponsorship Program, therefore, there has been no easy way to officially link our names.

Let me just say, after the first two phone calls to Compassion, I was beginning to realize it was going to take an act of God for this to happen. But I was determined to do my part and follow it through to an end.

During my third call to Compassion in October, I was advised to send an email detailing all the information I had so they could investigate the matter further.

I sent that email to Compassion on October 30.

Within a week, I received a personal phone call from a staff member at Compassion. She notified me that she was going to contact Compassion’s country office in Haiti, and would get someone on the ground to investigate the matter. The goal, to ensure Charles’ continued participation in the program and officially link his name to mine for sponsorship.

I was excited and hopeful, y’all. This was actually going to happen!

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(So here’s where the story starts to get really cool.)

On November 18, 2014, a man named Antonio (aka Tony) posted a note on my blog’s Facebook page“I would love to share my experience with your sponsored child Charles with you. Please contact me when you can.” That same night, I also found comments on my blog from Tony, one comment on the post I’d written about Charles, and another on a post I’d written about my love for Haiti.

Within four hours of the post to my wall, I was Facebook messaging Tony, this “random stranger” from Texas. Tony had just returned from a sponsor trip to Haiti with Compassion International on November 10-15. While he was there, he met and engaged extensively with Charles!

Within four days of the post to my wall, Tony and I agreed it would be awesome and much easier to chat on the phone about our sweet Charles. So we exchanged numbers and talked at length about our experiences. It was amazing. Simply amazing.

But friends, this isn’t the end of the good news! I saved the best news for last. Because it’s the biggest, most awesome and amazing of all!

Did you ever wonder how Tony tracked me down? How in the world did he know I had anything to do with Charles? I won’t bore you with the lengthy sequence of events Tony and I unpacked that ultimately connected us, but let me just say THIS WAS A PURE ACT OF GOD! There’s no way I would’ve ever connected with Tony and discovered these updates about Charles had it not been for God’s miraculous orchestration of events. Many hands were involved, friends. Many hands were involved. People followed the Spirit’s promptings, one after another, which ultimately led to me discovering and sharing the most AWESOME NEWS OF ALL with y’all today…

Our sweet Charles has a prosthetic leg! He’s well and joyful, and is moving about with relative ease! And his mama has a smile on her face that’s filled and overflowing with joy. I’m as tickled pink as I could be! For THIS is a miracle. This. is a miracle. Believe it, friends. Believe it when you see it.

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This is an act of God, all the way around. He has worked. He has shown His glory. He has shown His great power and delight in bringing joy and healing to His children.

Today, a boy walks and dances.

Today, a mama beams joy.

Today, this mama sponsor beams joy, too, for she understands God’s sovereignty and goodness, even in our pain, even out of our darkest moments.

Today, a man in Texas understands the power of the Holy Spirit. Because he listened to the promptings in his heart and stopped to engage with a little boy in Haiti, we can begin to fathom the lengths to which God pursues us. Even when we aren’t aware, even when we don’t believe, He’s working. He’s sovereign. He’s in control. He’s got this.

It’s a miracle. Pure awesomeness.

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Yesterday was #GivingTuesday. Perhaps you gave to the nonprofit of your choice. Perhaps you didn’t, but are moved by Charles’ story. Compassion International is funding a Child Survival Program for mamas and babies in India! Yesterday, Brianne McKoy wrote a lovely post about the opportunity to help fund this project. Check out her blog post and maybe, just maybe you’ll feel led to give. Because who wouldn’t want to be a part of this joy?! Or maybe you’ve always wanted to sponsor a child. Head right on over to Compassion’s website where hundreds of children are waiting for a sponsor.

Amy - So glad you found and read the post, Stephanie, and that you met little Charles, too! What a blessing that you had in that trip to Haiti. As for me, I’d go back any day.December 6, 2014 – 6:10 am

Stephanie Green - Being a fellow traveler on last months Haiti trip with Tony, I remember meeting Charles, as well. What a happy little boy! What a blessing that you two will be to each other.As for Tony finding you- I am not surprised :-) God works mightily through him – he was a blessing to us all!December 5, 2014 – 7:37 pm

Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell - Way cool!December 5, 2014 – 3:15 am

Hannah Hinojosa - Wow!! God is amazing!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this story with us!!!December 4, 2014 – 7:55 pm

Terri Siebert - This story gives me goodbumps and brings brings tears to my eyes, only God could make this happen :)December 4, 2014 – 5:19 pm

Antonio Macias - I’m brought to tears and humbled by this experience. I desire to be used even more by him. I am filled with so much joy. :)December 3, 2014 – 9:46 pm

Sandi Bishop - Only God! amen!December 3, 2014 – 8:47 pm

Donna McMorrow - What a wonderful way that God has revealed Himself. Thank you for sharing. May God continue to bless you and Charles.December 3, 2014 – 8:35 pm

Amy - I hear ya, Sandra! This is good stuff. :)December 3, 2014 – 7:19 pm

Sandra Heska King - Oh my word. I’ve got chill bumps!December 3, 2014 – 2:51 pm

Serenading His Way to Big Dreams

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It was a work day for me. I’d made a quick stop at the mall to grab some mittens for my daughter and pay a bill at Sears, and was on my way out. Just seconds after I’d rejected the hair straightener dude who tried to sell me a hot iron as I passed, I walked briskly towards another kiosk where Pete was singing and playing guitar. I’m not sure what came over me, but I knew I needed to talk to this guy. Within a matter of 5-10 seconds, I got the gist of his brilliant business, grabbed his card, and told him I’d be back to chat another day. It was all a bit surreal, really. I’m pretty sure we were supposed to cross paths.

I didn’t have much time before I had to get to my appointment, but couldn’t wait to know more. I looked at the clock in my car and realized I had about five minutes before I really had to go. So I quickly typed Pete’s URL, www.projectpeteford.com, into my phone, pulled up his site, and confirmed, this dude is awesome! He has a music video (at the end of this post), a serenade store where he writes and records songs for people, and a happiness store where he’s working towards funding small, but fun random acts of kindness towards others.

My mind raced about the ways Pete and I could collaborate with his songwriting, my writing, and our joint love for philanthropy and sharing peoples’ stories. Later that night, I shared the story with my husband and showed him Pete’s website. Our whole family watched his music video and listened to sample serenades on his site.

One week later, I plugged Pete into my schedule and made a trip back to the mall!

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I approached and engaged Pete in a straight forward manner. I figured there was nothing to lose, and at this point, I knew I wanted to share Pete’s story on the blog, assuming he was open to the idea.

So before I tell you more about Pete and his journey to singing and songwriting, let me share what he’s doing at the mall this holiday season! Pete’s rented a kiosk on the second floor of Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It’s called the Serenade Store. (Yes, I’m telling you this because you need to go meet him and hear him play for yourself!) For a reasonable fee, Pete will write and record a personalized song for your loved one! All you need to do is complete a short form with a few questions about the recipient of your song, and Pete will have a song ready for you in 15 minutes. You receive a CD and digital copy of the song, and there’s even an option to create an accompanying DVD slideshow and have Pete perform the song live on location if you wish! How awesome is that?! The dude is super creative. And there’s one thing you have to know – these aren’t cheesy songs, these are awesome, professional songs! Pete has three serenade samples on his website if you want to check them out. Based on everything I’ve heard and seen, I think this would be a GREAT Christmas gift for someone, how about you?!

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Now that we’ve covered Pete’s Serenade Store, let’s move on to his story.

Pete says he was born with style and charisma, but growing up, he never considered himself a musician. He started playing guitar when he was 13 or 14 years old, and started singing in college. He began business school, but part way through, had an epiphany about life. Pete dropped out of business school and moved to Argentina. (Sound like a life-altering decision? Yep, it was.) While Pete was in Argentina, he sang, played guitar, and taught music and English.

When Pete returned to the United States, he re-enrolled in college and got his music degree. After obtaining his degree, he moved to California where he played and performed. It was then that Pete wrote a song for his girlfriend. The idea “exploded” more than he ever imagined.

Pete felt called to return home to Minnesota, but continued writing songs. He originally thought his songs would primarily be a gift given between husbands and wives, but it’s been much “bigger than that.” Pete’s even performed his original, customized songs at funerals, and his serenades have been given to recognize top-performing employees at corporations.

Pete shared that there are a few other people around the country who are doing what he’s doing (i.e., writing and performing personalized songs for people to give as gifts), but not many. “It’s very novel to write a song in 15 minutes,” Pete shared, so people think that’s cool. Typically, songs like these can run as high as $250. Pete’s most affordable option is $50 for a super cool customized song!

Pete’s “not where he wants to be yet” when it comes to music. Yet he’s slowly, but surely working towards BIG dreams. “When your priority is to do what you love,” said Pete, “you gotta figure out how to keep the dream going and give back.”

Pete gets asked a lot if he was born playing music. He actually thinks it’s more about work ethic than talent. Pete’s a firm believer in the 10,000 hour theory, that no one really becomes a master of their craft until they’ve put in at least 10,000 hours practicing. So he’s putting in the hours wherever he can, he’s doing what he loves, and he’s dreaming big with the hopes that one day, his music dreams will come true.

As we wrapped up our time together, Pete shared, “It’s the little things that make a huge difference.” So let’s take time to support Pete. Let’s love on a dude who’s following his dreams and doing awesome things with his gift of music. Check out his website, definitely visit him at the Ridgedale Mall if you’re local, and stay to chat a while. Maybe, just maybe, you have someone in your life who would LOVE one of Pete’s customized songs this Christmas!

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Michelle Suaralina - He is amazing! He wrote me a song-I made it my ringtone! LolNovember 24, 2014 – 2:53 am

Karen Ford Newcomer - This is what we all want to aspire to do (live our dream) and to support another person who is living out his dream. How can you not love an idea that is all about affirming those you love? We can’t do it enough – in song, verse or just in person…..make sure you tell your special person just how much you appreciate them!November 23, 2014 – 3:58 am

Vicki Thunstrom - Wow! Thanks for sharing his story! What an awesome and crazy talented guy!November 21, 2014 – 11:51 pm

Daughter of Mine

The evening was beautiful, lovely and inspiring. Singer, songwriter and new Christian recording artist, Jessica Joy, performed her CD release concert. Perhaps the lyrics to one of Jessica’s original songs, Daughter of Mine, along with photographs from the concert, will tell the story best.

“As I wait in the quiet, Lord I long for your presence.

I know you’re here, singing over me with the sweetest melody.”

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“Singing daughter of mine, I’ll never let you go.

 Hold on tight, it won’t be an easy road.

But do you know how beautiful you are and the way you move my heart.

Daughter of mine, you are mine.”

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“I’m amazed at your ways God, how you bought me with your precious blood.

I can call you Abba Father. You’re so unlike any other.”

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“Singing daughter of mine, I’ll never let you go.

 Hold on tight, it won’t be an easy road.

But do you know how beautiful you are and the way you move my heart.

Daughter of mine, you are mine.”

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“You are a pearl of great price and your hands do the work of Christ.

Your laugh makes me smile, cause you are my beautiful child.”

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“Singing daughter of mine, I’ll never let you go.

 Hold on tight, it won’t be an easy road.

But do you know how beautiful you are and the way you move my heart.

Daughter of mine, you are mine.”

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This is the last of a three-post series featuring singer, songwriter, and new Christian recording artist, Jessica Joy. Two weeks ago, we looked back and dug deep into the call on Jessica’s life to become a singer and songwriter. One week ago, I shared my experience with Jessica Joy in the recording studio. And today, it’s an honor and delight to share photographs from Jessica’s CD release concert. Learn more about Jessica Joy and purchase her new CD, Nothing Wasted, at www.jessicajoymusic.com.  She’d love to connect with you on FacebookInstagram and Twitter! 

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Linda Johnson - Lovely! September 29, 2014 – 5:39 pm

Nothing Wasted

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Today, I’m excited to introduce you to a 17-year-old young woman named Jessica Joy. She’s an incredibly gifted singer, songwriter and Christian recording artist. Jessica just recorded and released her first CD, Nothing Wasted. She’ll be performing her CD release concert on Sunday, September 28, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Plymouth Covenant Church in Plymouth, Minnesota. The concert is FREE, so come one, come all! If my intuition is right, Jessica is going to have a long career in the Christian music industry. Come witness this treasure of a young woman live out her life’s calling right in front of your eyes. Because years from now? You might have to pay big bucks to see her in concert.

I’ve had the incredible privilege of connecting with Jessica on several occasions. I met with Jessica and her mom in January 2014 to chat about Jessica’s call to music and ministry. Then, I had the great honor of joining Jessica in the recording studio in March. We met again last month for extended conversation about the events that led her to record and release an album.

This is the first of three blog posts I’ll be writing about Jessica. Today, we’re going to look back and dig deep into the call on Jessica’s life to become a singer and songwriter. On September 22nd, I’m going to share my experience with Jessica Joy in the recording studio. And on September 29th, I’m going to share insights and photographs from Jessica’s CD release concert. I hope you’ll catch all three posts. I guarantee it’ll be a joy to meet Jessica Joy.

Without further ado, let’s move right along!

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When I sat down to talk with Jessica in January 2014, I’d prepared a whole series of questions for her…

“Do you ever doubt your gift?”

“What obstacles have gotten in the way of you recording this CD? How have those obstacles helped you grow?”

“This feels big, unknown, all about faith. How does it feel to know it’s in God’s hands? Do you ever just want to plan it out or change course to something more predictable?”

This is just a sampling of the questions I had for Jessica. But even this sampling makes me realize that perhaps my questions were more about my fears than Jessica’s. Hmmm…maybe this 38 year old has something to learn from a 17 year old?

I should’ve just started with these and left it at that…

“Tell me more about how God’s prompted you in the quiet to follow your dreams.”

“Do you believe this is God’s call on your life?”

It was then, when I put away all the fears and what ifs, that Jessica was able to lay out for me, very clearly, God’s call on her life to become a Christian singer and songwriter.

A CHILDHOOD DREAM

Jessica grew up in a household that was filled with music. Both of her parents are licensed ministers of music, so she heard her parents tell lots of stories about their music ministry. Jessica had a whole host of opportunities to perform and lead worship from a young age. In fact, she knew early on that her future was going to be in music and ministry. When Jessica was eight years old, she wrote an entry in her journal titled “Goals for my Music.” The third goal? “Record my original album by the time I am 17.” It was around this time that Jessica also began writing songs in her journal.

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From then on, there was a “continual calling” on Jessica’s life to become a singer and songwriter. Jessica explained all the “little signs along the way” that were an affirmation of the calling. As each event unfolded, Jessica knew. God was calling. This is what she was meant to do with her life.

LEARNING TO PLAY GUITAR

When Jessica was approximately 12 years old, she wanted to learn how to play the guitar. She kept telling her parents she wanted to play guitar, but her parents had been insisting for years that she learn piano first. So she learned some basic piano and chords, and then found an old guitar in the basement and taught herself enough so she could start putting chords to the songs she was writing. It was then that Jessica’s parents realized how serious she was about guitar. They got her a guitar for Christmas and signed her up for guitar lessons, which very quickly morphed into songwriting lessons as well.

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LYME DISEASE

In May of 2012, Jessica suddenly got very sick. That summer, she often used a wheelchair to get around because of all the pain and fatigue. After a year of many doctor visits and extensive tests, she was finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease.

Jessica continues to battle this illness, so she’s had to learn how to manage her chronic Lyme. It has impacted her physical strength and support for singing and performing. She has pain in her hands, which makes it harder to play guitar. And pain in her feet, which makes it hard to stand for lengths of time or walk long distances. But as Jessica reminds us, God wastes nothing. Many of the songs she’s written have come from her battle with chronic Lyme disease. If you listen closely to some of her songs, you can, in fact, hear her pain and all the ways God’s helped her overcome it.

A PROPHETIC WORD

The week Jessica began treatment for chronic Lyme disease, she received a prophetic word from a friend’s mom. She prophesied many things God was speaking over Jessica Joy’s life, including this: “Worship is your weapon…I am giving you the ability and authority to prophetically sing over people – the enemy will release his grip on those I call you to sing over…I have given you an open door to usher in My Kingdom to the Nations.” She also wrote “You are chosen, anointed for such a time as this. I will waste nothing in your life.” This was before Jessica wrote the song “You Waste Nothing,” before she knew she’d record her first CD and it would be titled “Nothing Wasted.” God was speaking blessing into Jessica Joy’s life long before she knew what was to come.

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BEAUTY FOR ASHES

Jessica wrote her song, Beauty for Ashes, and recorded it as her first single in the summer of 2012. She was 15 years old. Remember, when Jessica was eight years old and wrote the journal entry titled “Goals for My Music,” her second goal was “Professionally record a single by the time I am 15.” On a whim, she decided to enter Beauty for Ashes in the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival Music and Songwriting Competition, an annual national conference for professionals in the film, writing and music industry. She submitted the song in the last five days entries were accepted.

PAIN AND DREAMS COMING TRUE IN TENNESSEE

Jessica traveled to Tennessee to attend a youth convention with her church youth group in July 2012. She was experiencing a lot of pain due to her chronic Lyme disease, which at that time was still undiagnosed. Jessica had spent a lot of time in the wheelchair that summer, and the convention was no exception. In fact, Jessica says her “worst time managing [the chronic Lyme disease] emotionally” was during that Tennessee trip. Every night during the convention, she’d sing herself to sleep with one of her original songs, “Do You Hear Me?” Her singing was a way to cry out to God. “Do you hear me? Do you see my aching heart? Can you feel the pain that’s tearing me apart? This trial feels so long. Oh where have you gone? Do you hear me?” Then, by the grace of God, while Jessica was still in Tennessee, she got word from her mom that her song, Beauty For Ashes, had gotten her in to the Gideon Festival’s Top 10 for songwriting and performing! This was yet another confirmation of the call on Jessica’s life to use her gifts of singing and songwriting.

THE GIDEON FESTIVAL

When Jessica got home from Tennessee, the clock was ticking. The Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival was in just two weeks! Jessica didn’t have the funds to make the big trip to North Carolina, so her friends started a secret Facebook page to help raise support for her to make the trip. Funds were raised for Jessica’s travels. Someone even donated their frequent flyer miles so Jessica could book a flight at no cost.

At Gideon, she was still suffering and in her wheelchair the whole time. But she decided and felt assured that whether she won or not, she was going because God clearly had someone there who needed to hear her song. It turns out, there were several people who were greatly ministered to by “Beauty for Ashes.” Fears and pain aside, Jessica played her heart out. She won 1st place in the songwriting category and 3rd place in the artist performance category.

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AN ALBUM COMING TO LIFE

In the summer of 2013, Jessica’s guitar and songwriting teacher, Andre Rodriguez, suggested she should consider recording an EP. An Extended Play (EP) is a professional recording that includes more than a single, but doesn’t contain enough songs to be considered a full studio album. It’s usually comprised of five or six songs. So Jessica began putting together a portfolio of songs she could record for an EP. Keep in mind, Jessica was still 16 years old at this point. What were you doing when you were 16? Is this girl special or what?

GARNERING SUPPORT FOR A DREAM COME TRUE

Jessica knew that if she was ever going to record an EP, she’d need to raise funds. Because she was an unknown in the music industry and didn’t have a label or agent, it’d be up to her to fund the project. So in September 2013, she drafted a letter to family, close friends, and people who knew her well at church. In the letter, Jessica stated her goal to record the EP album, which made her feel particularly vulnerable since her dreams were now public. The first week, there was no response. Then, she received her first check in the mail. It was $600! Within a week or two, support was, according to Jessica, “insane.” It was then that she knew. She wanted to press forward and try to fund a full album. But God would need even more supporters to step forward for that dream to be accomplished.

KICKSTARTING THIS CALLING

With the EP funded, and a full album now a possibility, Jessica launched a Kickstarter Campaign in November 2013. Her goal? To raise an extra $5,000.00 to completely cover the costs of recording a full album. This was an all or nothing proposition. She’d meet her Kickstarter goal within the 30-day timeframe and receive the funds, or she wouldn’t meet the goal and wouldn’t receive any funds at all. So Jessica shared her Kickstarter page with hundreds, and asked family, friends and church members to spread the word. The Lord spoke. He continued to open doors for Jessica Joy. By the end of the 30-day time frame, her Kickstarter account was fully funded, thanks to the generous financial donations of her supporters. She exceeded her goal by over $1,000.00!

Jessica was well on her way to making another dream become reality. Her calling had been confirmed, yet again. And this time, in a big, big way. A full album, her first professionally recorded album, was now fully funded.

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MOVING IN TO THE STUDIO

While Jessica was raising funds, God was putting together an incredible team of studio musicians. Her producer is from Nashville, and is guitarist for Christian artist, Natalie Grant. The rest of her band all tour professionally with renowned artists such as Owl City, Jeff Deyo, Jeremy Messersmith and Natalie Grant.

Everything was in place. Jessica was ready to record.

In February 2014, Jessica and her mother stepped foot into the recording studio for the first time.

She was just days from her 17th birthday.

She’d written this nine years prior…“Record my original album by the time I am 17.”

A friend’s mom had prophesied this a year and a half prior…“I will waste nothing in your life. You will bring down strongholds by your heart for worshipping me.”

Jessica’s album would be called Nothing Wasted.

Among the 11 original songs on the album? One of my favorites, You Waste Nothing.

God wasted nothing. Nothing. Jessica Joy’s journey was ordained from the beginning. And the journey’s just begun.

Will you join me next Monday, September 22, as I write about my day with Jessica in studio? It was one of the most amazing, incredible and inspiring days I’ve ever experienced. I’m so excited to share a bit of it with all of you. You’re invited, right here, to witness dreams come to life. God’s call on one young woman’s life has become reality, is becoming reality. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Learn more about Jessica Joy and purchase her new CD, Nothing Wasted, at www.jessicajoymusic.com.  She’d also love to connect with you on FacebookInstagram and Twitter! 

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With and Without Translation

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He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; 

yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Kids_239God makes no mistakes.

He orchestrates every detail of our lives.

He knows exactly who to bring into our lives and when, so we become more of who He created us to be.

It’s been 12 days since I met Kednaud. Out of all the translators I could’ve been assigned, God chose Kednaud. It was truly a divine appointment.

Kednaud spent an entire day with me. It was arguably the most important day of my trip to Haiti, the day I met our sponsored children. He translated every word I uttered, every word our two sponsored children uttered, and every word uttered by a mama, auntie, nurse, and project director. Add up all of those words across an entire day, and you’ll begin to grasp the thousands of words Kednaud translated.

I was grateful for Kednaud’s presence and assistance, truly grateful.

The only words he didn’t know how to translate from English to French Creole were “pink” and “swimsuit.” That accounts for an entire day of translating words. I’d say that’s beyond impressive.

I’ve worked with translators before for my work as a speech-language pathologist, so this translation was nothing foreign to me. But this experience of working with a translator all day, non-stop? It was beyond amazing. The Compassion staff reminded us that these were not just translators, they were “relationship builders,” and that’s exactly what Kednaud was.

But there’s something more I want you to know about Kednaud. You see, he wasn’t JUST my translator that day.

I believe God sent Kednaud to be my translator because there was something He desperately wanted to show me, show us, in the moments in-bewteen translation.

God arranged moments in-between translation for me to connect with Kednaud. When everyone else was using the restroom, when everyone else was helping the kids change into their bathing suits, when everyone else was helping the kids change into their clothes, when everyone else was getting a second helping of food, and after everyone else had been given gifts, Kednaud and I were blessed with small moments to connect about things that matter most.

What are the things that matter most? They’re things that connect us as human beings, regardless of our gender, regardless of where we were born, regardless of our possessions, regardless of any circumstance.

Kednaud’s friends tease him, joke that He’s not fully Haitian. He “gets” American culture. He has friends that are from America, and they’ve invited him to come and live in the United States. They’ll even buy him a house if he’ll move to America. It’s tempting, but he knows. He’s Haitian. He loves his country and he doesn’t want to leave. He’s meant to stay here, in Haiti.

So he translates for American visitors, he values the opportunity to engage and develop relationship with Americans who visit and build homes in Haiti.

And God’s placed on Kednaud’s heart a big God-sized dream. Kednaud dreams of learning 21 languages. He’s already learned four, and knows what his fifth will be, Italian. Because education is expensive and finances are limited, Kednaud works on one language at a time, as he’s able to afford. He takes courses online, through a website called Babbel, where he learns each language and earns a certificate that proves his proficiency.

Kednaud understands. His dream to learn 21 languages is big. It’s a dream most might think is unattainable, especially considering his circumstances. But he believes, I believe, that ALL things are possible with God, through Christ.

I shared about this “God-sized dream” talk in America, how God places dreams on our hearts that seem big, unattainable through the lens of human eyes, but that we trust, knowing anything is possible with God.

We both looked up towards the sky, stating out loud, agreeing as brother and sister in Christ, that yes – anything. is possible. with God. There was peace and joy in this agreement. And that was the first moment I knew, God had me meeting Kednaud, and Kednaud meeting me for a very special purpose. To propel both of us further, with confidence, towards His dreams for us.

Kednaud plays drums. He’s in a band, and he writes songs. And as you might guess, he loves American music. The most perfect medley of songs played throughout the day with our sponsored children. Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do,” Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and The Jackson 5’s “I’ll be There” played as we frolicked in the pool for the first time ever, played games that united young and old, and shared a great feast together.

Then, it was time to present the families with gifts I’d brought from home. First was Bethchaida. The joy on her face was indescribable. And sweet Djino. I’ll never forget the way he smiled bashfully when I showed him the motorycycle shirt I’d brought for him, the way he bent over, kissed me on the cheek and said “merci.” Kednaud was there, and captured it all in words and photographs.

But there was something missing. I’d promised Kednaud a special gift, too. There was a song, it came to me in the moment we were talking about American music. And I knew I needed to share it with Kednaud. I’d just downloaded it from iTunes a few weeks prior to coming to Haiti; it’s the song that’s resonated most with my spirit these days.

So I ran. I literally ran back to the place where I had my iPhone and headphones. Because the clock was ticking. I’d used up all but 15 minutes of time with my sponsored children and their accompanying adults, and I didn’t want to miss a minute. But I wanted to keep my promise to Kednaud. I wanted to give him this gift, I wanted him to hear this song. So yes, I ran, and then I ran back, iPhone and headphones in tow.

I turned it to this song, Just Say Jesus, and gave Kednaud the headphones.

I sat with the children, the mama and the auntie gathered the gifts, and as we all sat together, speechless, in these last moments, Kednaud pressed play.

The music started. My heart raced. This was the song I’d promised. I had no idea why it was the only song that’d come to me when I learned Kednaud’s dreams and love for music, but this was the song I needed to share.

And that’s when he began. As the words and tune met his ears for the first time, he smiled, his face lit up. He air drummed, and he air drummed some more, non-stop, until the song was done.

Kednaud

He loved it. My gift had been received. God’s gift, to both of us, had been received.

The day had been worthy of a million pictures, and this moment was as worthy as any other. So we snapped a photo of another moment I’ll never forget, a moment that needed no translation.

DSCN6399

God unites his children in the most unusual and unexpected ways. He tailors our experiences uniquely. Because He’s the one that created us. He knows our innermost being. He knows our heart and He owns the dreams He’s placed there. He’s the only one who can translate, when words just don’t suffice.

I saw so much of myself in Kednaud. We share a love for words, for music. Kednaud’s only part Haitian, and I’m only part American; we rest in peace knowing our eternal citizenship is in heaven. We share God-sized dreams that seem impossible, but we know in our hearts, without translation, that anything is possible with God.

Amy

*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

Kednaud Thermitus - Amy I want to thanks the song. I ‘m sorry if iam late to listen to it. I was sick. I can tell you iam listening the song right now.
thanks so much.
so what happen I never hear from you?
April 1, 2014 – 12:22 am