Why was Haiti so Beautiful

Hello reader.

This post is all about why my mission trip is something that I will never forget. Why I will always love it, and why a piece of my heart is still there. Here goes.

God is really good at breaking hearts.

He certainly  broke mine. In half. This is because I had to leave Haiti, my new home. Whenever I get back from a mission trip, I struggle with what to say to people when they ask me the question: “How was your trip?? Tell me all about it.” Here is the issue that I come across:I cannot express to you the feelings I had in Haiti. They are those feelings that take your breath away and fill your heart and paralyze your body from noticing anything else. ANYTHING ELSE. Someone told me the other day that we are uncomfortable here on this earth because we are not meant to be here; our real home is in heaven.

I agree. I second that fact.

Those feelings that I stink at describing made me feel like I was in heaven. IT WAS SO GREAT. My biggest fear is to be ignorant and unaware…so you can imagine how much I let Haiti wash over me and expose me to real love, real poverty, real pain, and real people. There, I felt no worry about the first world problems that circle me at home. Those problems seemed very dumb and small, actually.

Here is the answer to my title, “Why was Haiti so Beautiful”:

Because of them: boy squad of the week and our leader, Frantzou. (It’s like Fronzu.)

And them: waiting to meet their new American friends.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/G-r8E5sEaqSyDxnNlm3D2r51IIJHWk18VXNKp9Tz17DABJ5U-dWg3DiVOvlj2x0ggjZrjiARgpSDvRLo0Y9eA00G8N1eRJegaGZ_NVKjjiFpqZF_Ws5uj6Ch7CH6Q9gCKPBC68Uc3vvFhtct9iJvbyVvHY7KE342V3fQQllgW_d2_evMc7OUszcWq0-_SVKUY9fRYJeVFMvvK3B5iOMGwW5Na42Y2yDGSfk-ORlY7VjeOlK4xdrqSIe0oi2xImfiEXT350kC1OSA93xIiIqDQVichWJqiNVIFuG6R3-CMVTwm-WpS7oMmaWQFsrjIilo6lH3jZFf9ASyso2j4H96DJdn-i4v71mmGKylZ6YAIFHhTqE8neFr24KO7maf_pwbt6YX3loqjgChCMwcRMegSVxkOsnhfXrYrfOk533YWFlaD3HKFL6HBMBYuKP6-wLWZd6mPA1nM-LDJ-qDSOa78DHCIkL9T9E7HVDbXywbt7qcqxziIc7D5Zd727ogPH3leSRODABT0z7q9ErTXqIWAZMU6pQJyTE53J_W_RPcJrSB8fC9KNsq-KGZs62ZQDN-S_VhDaHJtlHQIAi3X4E0AEVbb9ueETA=w1063-h797-no

And him.

And them.

And them: Village kids that are totally copying the way I’m standing.

And HIM: Working through our totally unqualified, but totally willing selves. (Which is all he needs.)

And this: Our new relationships full of curiosity, companionship, and love. (And the occasional mockery.)

 

And those: the smiles.

And this: true friendship that’s all about trying new things ❤

The dance parties were also a plus.

 

And us: Tired with full hearts and open mouths.

NOT PICTURED BUT TOTALLY WORTH MENTIONING: Our dance circle with our Haitian friends and trip leaders. I saw some things that will never be erased from my memory, which I’m not sure is good or bad.

In Haiti I saw God very differently. He wrapped me up in His arms through each little Haitian kiddie hug. He washed away every drop of worry and doubt about Him as soon as I saw that little girl that we sang to. He brought me really good friends that I got to go back home with. And He spoke to me through Dee on those early mornings of devotion.

I will never, ever be the same.

And that is why Haiti was so beautiful.

(I like to space out sentences that I want to emphasize, in case you didn’t notice.)

So, there is my answer for you. If you donated to my mission trip you really should feel amazing right now, because that ^^ is what you brought me. An experience that changed my life. Also, all these pictures are from a bunch of people on the team, so thanks to them for letting me use these. My last sentence is this: Go on a mission trip. Then you will understand all of the Instagram posts, blog posts, and incredibly long paragraphs from people who came back home.

LOVE, KATIE.

Crooked Creek Ranch

Welcome.

I really, really love traveling with my friends to new places that are full of good times (as we all do). Recently, I had this opportunity at a camp in Colorado. I want to tell you all about my experience up there. So, here we go.

First of all, this trip starts with a 33-35 hour bus ride full of people. I didn’t know anyone that well that went on this trip in the beginning, so I was a little nervous. You don’t always come out best friends when you’re being placed in closed corners with new people. But, everything was good.
We actually ended being REALLY good friends with people from Columbus, GA. We had a quick stop in Denver, which was a little shocking. It reminded me a little bit of Vegas because there were all types of people and all types of places.

Exploring city streets.

That man seems to be the focal point of this photo.

There was one spot though that was full of Christian music, and we all danced away.

The actual camp was packed full of stuff to do. No phones and no knowledge of what we were doing also made everything a lot of fun. Here’s a look at what we did:

CABIN ACTIVITIES:

Volleyball tournament huddles.

Tacky leader contests.

Go-karting.

When bae is always there to catch you if you fall.

I had no idea that a cute little ropes course overlooking such a good view would make me want to pee myself in fear.

The camp itself was so beautiful. Every day there was some sort of new activity to do. Our view of the Colorado Rockies was really calming, and was a good back drop for all the things we did. Even if they were scarring, like the swing. Here are some of my favorite pictures from that:

If we weren’t doing stuff like that, we were either in club, eating, or having free time. Free time was where I’d say I got really close to a lot of people.

RANDOM FREE TIME:

This picture is sort of irrelevant. I just like our faces.

Rap battles: “My name is Kenzz (yeah!) I drive a Benzz (yeah!!) I have lots of frenzz (yeah!!!) and I steal your menzz (YEAHHHHHHHHH)

The hot tub was a good spot to meet people (and possible camp crushes), but I’d also have to say that our cabins were fun places to go, too.

GROUP STUFF:

Getting volunteered to ride on a blow up whale while being pulled by fellow teammates was life changing .

We were the Green Team: a rag tag group of misfits that somehow won the rodeo games.

JC group pic from the volley tourney. Our team uniforms say it all 😉

Got some good bread on bread tomato based soup action here.

WESTERN WEDNESDAY’s got it goin on.

Good ole 6 mile hike. Why not?

I’ll never forget this victory.

I think my favorite part about the trip was the big group activities. I had SOO much fun. We all got along really well, and moments when we were volunteered for random competitions were good opportunities to laugh at people and cheer them on.

Towards the end of camp, we all dressed up and took a bunch of pictures with each other.

Here are pictures from the fancy night that I like a lot.

Love memory making with my BFFLs.

Camp crush for the first 2 days lol

Candiddddds ❤

I lost and gained friends because of this move.

Suspicious.

MONT(GOMER)Y.

“Hotty Toddy!” “Ehe…”

Mah girl LG.

Hey Boobrey. Rooting for you in life.

WE GOT A GOOD PICTURE, AFTER ALL.

Glad that I met ya.

Classic relationship pic that captures my impatience and Mackenzie’s confusion (and terror).

Someone had to post it…

These aren’t even my eyes.

JESUS:

Of course, Jesus was a big part of this week. Here is why:

I get mad at God a lot, and instead of trying to get my questions answered and clinging to Him, I like to think I can do everything on my own and pretend that I know exactly what God is doing.

At CCR I realized that I have no idea what I am doing with my life. But accepting God means that I have something blooming inside of me from my relationship with Jesus, and this new me is connected to a good plan that I can trust. I don’t have to be afraid of God when I sin, because the punishment I deserve has already been taken, when He died on he cross for me.

I love this truth and I think it’s a big step for me and my faith. So thanks a lot, CCR,  for showing me a glimpse of how I might live in Heaven. I made a lot of new friends and got to share a lot of fun times with them. Sounds simple, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A week in Colorado was amazing, and I miss it a lot. I’ll leave you with my favorite journal entry (the pages don’t all go together so ignore cut off sentences):

HONEST.

I’ve always wanted to write about something like this, but whenever I start I can’t think of what I want to say, and when that happens I start thinking about food or how much I want a boyfriend or all the homework I should be doing. But TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY PEOPLE. Today, I want to share with you (and share with myself) whats going on with me. My problems, my insecurities, my worries, and my fears. Read if you want, but this one is a little different than my other posts. Here we go…

Pressure sucks. It really does. I’ve got a lot of that in my life- doing well in sports, getting good grades academically, being involved in a bunch of clubs, getting people to like me, all of that stuff. My mom told me one time that I’m really good at getting really good. Like, if I want to be good at something, I work really hard until I am. I like this about me because I know I can do anything, but it also makes receiving help and being rejected that much harder to accept (because I feel like I should be able to do everything on my own successfully).

And that really has come to light in these past few weeks of school. I’ve tried out a few new things and been put under pressure, and most of the time I’ve failed. I had a terrible volleyball game last week that really shook my confidence. I tried out to be a host for my school’s morning news show and I didn’t make it. I don’t feel successful right now in a few of my classes.

I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me when I share this kind of stuff. It’s life. Everyone deals with stuff like this.

I just know that my confidence has decreased a lot because of all those issues. I don’t feel athletic, I don’t love my body, I don’t feel smart in some of my classes, and I feel like everyone looks at me like I am weak and untalented. Don’t worry, I am totally okay and happy, I’m just going through some stuff.

At first, I didn’t make the connection that maybe God is using this to make me stronger. Instead, I felt really bad about myself and questioned God all-together. But I realized something.

GOD LET RUTHLESS SINNERS PIERCE THROUGH HIS PERFECT SIN, BREAK HIS BONES, WHIP HIS BACK, TEAR HIS HEAD, AND SUFFOCATE HIM SLOWLY. ALL BECAUSE HE LOVES ME.

GOD WATCHES ME DO THINGS THAT PROBABLY MAKE HIM CRY BECAUSE IT SEPARATES ME FROM HIS LOVE. BUT HE STILL LOVES ME.

GOD CARRIES ME THROUGH EVERYTHING AND COMFORTS ME CONSTANTLY WITH AN INDESCRIBABLE PEACE. ALL BECAUSE HE LOVES ME.

And hear I am bitter about petty problems in my life and pouting at God. Seems really crazy. I’m just happy that it hit me now so that I can go through all this stuff with God not against Him. God tells me that everything is going to be okay. Nothing can touch Him or me when I continue to trust Him. El Salvador taught me that I can trust God. Actually, more like I WOULD BE FOOLISH NOT TO TRUST GOD. Coming back home I didn’t have a problem doing this. Now is when things get a little tougher, but I know that I am not making a mistake.

A real struggle though is what people think of me. This has really come up in my life recently, now that I’ve got new friends and people that I want to impress. And failing makes me feel so, so worthless. The people I try to impress aren’t, and it is just so embarrassing. Or, I disappoint myself, which is even worse, because I am my own worst enemy. To try and get these thoughts and feelings out of me, I try and get words out of people that make me feel better. But sometimes you can’t mask tough things. You accept them and you shake it off. I am too FUNNY to feel boring. I am too AWESOME to think I am lame. I am too much of a HARDWORKER to feel useless. I am too SMART to feel dumb. Other people are too focused on their own insecurities too pick at mine, or if they do, it’s their own problem. What matters is what you think of you.

All I can do is work hard, do my best, and let God do the rest. I also really wanna try and have fun instead of being hard on myself and putting pressure on myself. Ya feel????

So I hope to remember this whenever I get insecure or feel like God is nowhere. And I hope you do, too.

Love, KK

EL SALVADOR

Wow…if you didn’t know, I went to El Salvador for a mission trip! We left on July 11th and got back the 18th. The trip was so amazing. Our purpose was to help with the construction of the new and improved La Casa de Mi Padre. La Casa is a home for kids who have been abused or abandoned by their families and who need a place to heal. They receive schooling, food, home, clothes, and people who love them. Right now, La Casa is in the city of San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador). The homes they use are being rented, and although they are good homes, they don’t suite every need for the kids. So, the founder of this whole thing, Gary Powell, found a 30 acre lot out of the suburbs of San Salvador to build these homes on. Gary is seriously incredible. The money he uses for doing things like this are only based on donations from others. God has provided for him every moment to make sure His will is sought through. It’s awesome. One of his kids, Whitey, hung out with us a lot throughout the trip. She is so kind and you can see God using her through everything she does. Gary also is a pastor of the Union Church in San Salvador. This is the only English speaking church in the entire country. I went with a team of high schoolers who are now some of my best friends. I love our team so much because we got to experience some incredible things together. Parting from them was so sad.

I think this week taught me to learn to trust in God. Trusting in God isn’t a risk, either. It is the best decision you can make in life. Look what it did for Gary! God is an incredible god. The ways he uses people like Gary are so cool. I loved getting to see Him hands on this week, whether it was during construction, when we handed out food to the poor, in the eyes of the kids, or in my heart.

Also: thank you so much for donating. This is what you sent me on, a trip I will never forget!

THE WALK 2015

Ahhh, yes. It’s that time of the summer when my small group and I have the opportunity to go on a church camp for 4 days at Panama City Beach. This trip is always enlightening, and I’ve learned so many amazing things from the two times I’ve gone so far. I just want to thank North Point for such a good time. I love being a Christian and experiencing stuff like this. Ya feel?? Here is my recap of this week:

WALK 15 THOUGHTS

1. Without knowing the beginning it’s difficult to understand the rest of the story.

2. God is a part of my story.

3. When you have a distorted view of God, you have a distorted view of you.

4. God is good, He loves me, and He has a plan for me.

5. Social media is all about showing the best and hiding the rest.

6. We measure our value based on the approval of others.

7. Is anybody ready to just be you and have that be okay??

8. We get caught looking around (at society) instead of looking back (at Who created us).

9. God designed sex for you in the context of marriage.

10. A lie we believe is thinking we will be happy once we reach the Great Social Status.

11. You don’t have to have it all together to talk to God.

12. We can come out of hiding from whatever we did and come to God.

13. The purpose of being #blessed is so that you can be a #blessing.

14. Be a tear-the-roof-off kind of friend.

15. God always has His arms open, no matter what you’ve done.

This is pretty much all we learned summed up in a few points. My takeaway from them is that I have the choice to serve and love a God who forever serves and loves me, NO MATTER all my screw-ups and sins, or if I tear myself away from Him. I also learned how truly worthless all the temptations of my world are compared to the KING. I loved seeing God in a new light, and I am so thankful to be surrounded with a church and small group like I do. Here are a bunch of pics from the Walk, hope you enjoy!

P.S.- thanks for reading this and getting to see a piece of me!!!!! CLICK ON THE PIC so you can see the bigger version of it.

In the way way back, you can see a really cute guy who's name is Brett Stanfill. My small group got a selfie with him because he's one of our favorite worship leaders :)

In the way way back, you can see a really cute guy who’s name is Brett Stanfill. My small group got a selfie with him because he’s one of our favorite worship leaders 🙂

Here's my small group, my fam, my sisters in Christ, and my friends. They're all very near and dear to my heart.

Here’s my small group, my fam, my sisters in Christ, and my friends. They’re all very near and dear to my heart.

One of the nights, I think it was the second, we all dressed up to look like we were in the 80's, 90's, or 00's decade. We all pretty much chose 80's and 90's, and here is our cute group rockin our outfits from the past. P.S.- my dress was from my mom's Homecoming in the 80's...lol

One of the nights, I think it was the second, we all dressed up to look like we were in the 80’s, 90’s, or 00’s decade. We all pretty much chose 80’s and 90’s, and here is our cute group rockin our outfits from the past. P.S.- my dress was from my mom’s Homecoming in the 80’s…lol

Another pic from the decades night with my friends Ellie, Mary, and Tori :-)

Another pic from the decades night with my friends Ellie, Mary, and Tori 🙂

My really good friends Gabby and Natalie were so excited to be sitting in the front towards the stage...until they had to sit down and get squashed by the 50 other teenagers who were in the front. Good times.

My really good friends Gabby and Natalie were so excited to be sitting in the front towards the stage…until they had to sit down and get squashed by the 50 other teenagers who were in the front. Good times.

Here are my friends Ellie and Mary, and this is our (required) one piece swag that we wore in the pool and ocean during free time.

Here are my friends Ellie and Mary, and this is our (required) one piece swag that we wore in the pool and ocean during free time.

My beautiful, funny friends Katherine and Katie.

My beautiful, funny friends Katherine and Katie.

These are my small group leaders Miss Tiffany and Miss Deirdre :-) they are SO great and I loved getting to know them this week and looking up to them as my leaders!

These are my small group leaders Miss Tiffany and Miss Deirdre 🙂 they are SO great and I loved getting to know them this week and looking up to them as my leaders!

Some of my small group. This was taken right before we headed into the water. (ALECCCC!!!!!!)

Some of my small group. This was taken right before we headed into the water. (ALECCCC!!!!!!)

Perk to Edgewater Resort: they sell snow cones. Here are my friends Gabby, Natalie, Katie, and Sabrina enjoying them!

Perk to Edgewater Resort: they sell snow cones. Here are my friends Gabby, Natalie, Katie, and Sabrina enjoying them!

One of my best friends Natalie. Here are our faces.

One of my best friends Natalie. Here are our faces.

Feed Your Soul

Hello. I’m sitting here thinking and looking at Pinterest. If I’m honest, this is how most of my posts begin- a good dose of creativity. Anyway, I found this really striking quote on Pinterest:

 This really appalled me and I just like to talk about it. So if you don’t mind getting a little deep, keep on readin. OH, also! I feel like you would fully enjoy this post by getting some popcorn or tea or something and sitting somewhere quiet. Then you can really get what I’m saying. Anyway, let’s delve into my mind for a lil. Get ready…it’s pretty messy in here.

Recently, I’ve been all about being kind to yourself and loving yourself. Seeing so many people become successful because of their confidence and security has proven my hunch. For example, North Point Community Church had a night called Delight. All high school girls were invited, and it was a very inspiring, detoxing, fun night of songs and friends. Three women spoke to us about labels, who you are, and that you deserve love. These women all came from a past that had its ups and downs, but they used these experiences (planned by God) to turn into women of grace, kindness, and love. I really enjoyed what they had to say, and I think anyone could benefit from their wise words. I know it’s hard to just decide to love yourself. For me, it made a huge difference when I stopped looking and listening to what the world has to say about what you should look like, and started listening to what God says you should look like- your complete, true self.

This ties into the quote I showed you earlier: “She sprouted love like flowers, grew a garden in her mind, and even on the darkest days, from her smile the sun still shined.” Without recognizing your worth and beauty as an individual, you can never accomplish what the girl in this poem accomplished. I think it’s so important to love yourself, because YOU ARE WHO GOD SAYS YOU ARE. He says we are…

“You are altogether beautiful my darling, there is no flaw in you.” ~ Song of Songs 4:7

“She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” ~ Proverbs 3:15-18

“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” ~ Psalm 34:5

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:10

Another thing I think is important in order to “grow a garden” in our minds is TRUSTING and COMMUNICATING with God. Ya know, part of being a Christian is having faith and believing in God. But we can’t do those things if we don’t trust Him. Your life is not in your hands. Weird, isn’t it. Your life is actually just a big, metaphorical pond of murky water. You don’t know what’s in there. But God’s got us! God is teaching us and planning everything out precisely to where it needs to be. I think this is really important to hear when we’ve got pain and struggles in our lives that seem to consume us. Just remember that God has got you. Now, as much as God is in control, you have to do YOUR PART in order for Him to do His. Think about it like this: How can you get an A on a math test if you don’t study? In the same way, how can your relationship with God grow if you don’t invest time to talk with Him? These two things are what makes our mind at rest.

The last thing that gives us a smile to have even on the worst days is investing time to ourselves to find peace in the Lord. I always keep a ridiculous amount of books and journals by my bed to just clear my mind of anything that either needs to come out or needs to be remembered. I sit for a good 20 minutes before bed, just reading my Bible and writing. It really eases your mind from anything stressful or busy and gives yourself a chance to unwind and rest. Your mind sort of plants seeds of inspiration and peace when you start to do that. And, as long as you keep watering them, you’ve got your very own “garden”!

See, our minds really aren’t that scary. We don’t have to be afraid to be alone. If you’re like me, you used to be scared of yourself. You were full of doubt and insecurity and wariness. But by treating yourself to doing these few things, you begin to see the You that God made. Beautiful, Brave, and Radiant.

DON’T FORGET: This does not happen in one day. As a young girl, I am so grateful that my church has taught me these things. But I fail constantly. Everyone does. You don’t have to have your life together every moment of everyday. You are human. It’s part of what makes you beautiful.

Love, Katie

Pics from Delight: