"May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy & Peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with
HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Living Extravagantly

Happy 91st Birthday and 1st Birthday in Heaven Grandmother!  It isn’t the same without you here and I can’t imagine the joy that this birthday brings as you are celebrating with Jesus.

 For all those who knew my Grandmother, they know that she did everything with purpose and with extravagance. Looking at her you wouldn’t know this from a glance.  She didn’t have an extravagant house, car, or clothes.  She didn’t eat extravagant food or go to extravagant places.  Her extravagance came into play when it made a difference in people’s lives.  She didn’t have a lot of money but what she did have she used beautifully and with much purpose.  She gave extravagantly to those in need and to further the kingdom.  She gave to people she never met, people that lived locally and to people in other countries around the world.  My grandmother loved deeply and poured her time and energy into friends and family.  She would give the shirt off of her back to anyone who needed it.  My grandmother also served extravagantly at church, as a nurse, and in any other capacity that she felt like she could make a difference. 
One of my favorite memories with my grandmother.....Colorado.
To celebrate my grandmother and honor her memory, I have been trying to think of ways that I can carry on her legacy of serving, loving, and giving in extravagant ways.  I would love for you to join me in this over the next couple of weeks.  Make a difference in someone’s life because you loved, gave, or served extravagantly.   

Happy Birthday Grandmother!!  Thank you for loving me extravagantly and I cannot wait till the day that we are reunited again in heaven.

As my grandmother always said, "Do good and share what you have!" 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Proud Teacher Moment

I just finished my 17th year of teaching and over that time, I have taught approximately 400 kids over that time.  I have loved each kid and there are certain kids that grab a piece of your heart in a certain way that I will forever hold on to.  I have had children that have learning disabilities, extremely bright and gifted children, children who have behavior issues, and then those that are just very average.  I absolutely love teaching kindergarten because each year my students come in as babies and the growth they make socially, emotionally, and academically is AMAZING!  I have definitely been blessed by all of the students I have had.  

Over the years, I have kept up with several students but this summer I had the privilege of seeing a former student in a whole other realm.  While I was in Zambia, I had the opportunity to go to the last session of camp on a Friday afternoon.  In the front of the room stood one of those students that grabbed one of those extra special places in my heart!  I watched as she stood in front of a group of 10 little girls and together they were singing from the depths of their hearts about the Lord! This was an opportunity that I had never had before and in seconds tears of joy began rolling down my face (it actually almost turned into one of those ugly cries).  I am so proud of the young lady that Meredith has grown up to be and that she gave up a week of her summer to come and love on a group of orphans and vulnerable children.  She relentlessly poured into a group of girls whose outlook looks hopeless, but she poured the Lords love, joy, and hope into each them.  If you had told me 12 years ago that I would be in Zambia at the same time as one of my current students I would have thought you were crazy.  I didn’t even know at that time that I would be in Zambia and would have fallen in love with this country.   

I knew that Meredith would do great things as she grew up, but to witness this brought such great joy over me.  I love how the Lord put her in my class all of those years ago and that He gave me the privilege to stand beside her mom that Friday and to watch what God is doing in and through her.  I know my other students that I have had and will do amazing things too but I don’t always get to see that!  That day was a blessing to my heart.  Meredith, I am so very proud of you and can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to use you! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lord, Bring Your Joy!

During my second week of teaching in Zambia, I was at the Chawama Legacy Academy teaching grade 2.  This week was a breath of fresh air compared to my previous week.  The classroom was full of precious kids who were so excited to learn.  There was one child, however that would daily come late and who never smiled, named Gertrude.  She seemed disinterested in learning, often was a distraction to others, and a name that I had to say multiple times to redirect onto what we were doing.  Many of the kids would hang on me during the breaks but she didn’t seem to want much to do with me while I was there. 

On Thursday, I was walking the morning class out to get their lunch and I walked around to the opposite side of the building from where they receive their food.  Gertrude followed me and in passing in a soft voice said, “my dad died.”  “Excuse me, what did you say?” Again Gertrude repeated it with her head turned away from me, “my dad died.”  I stopped her and was trying to get her to talk to me, but quickly the language barrier was preventing our conversation.  We were standing right by the field workers office (the field workers, check on these children and follow up on any home issue that might arise), and so I pulled her out to help me with translating and knew that she would know more of Gertrude’s story.  Gertrude’s father had been sick for a while and had passed away a couple of months prior to my time there.  She is the youngest of 5 children and desperately misses her father.  Her mom is not working but her oldest brother does small jobs and tries to help the family when he can although he doesn’t live with them.  

Complete Sadness 
As I was looking this little girl in the face, I was asking the Lord what to even say to that other than I am so sorry!  I felt that He was impressing on my heart to share with her that when I was there in January, I lost my grandmother.  She kept her head down, but I lifted her chin and was trying to get her to look at me in the eyes.  Through the tears pouring down my face, I told her that right after I got to Zambia in January, that my mom called me to tell me that my grandmother had passed away.  I shared with her how I know it isn’t the same as losing a parent, but how hard it was to not be with my family when it all happened, but that the Lord took care of me.  We talked about how even though things are so very hard right now, God sees her right where she is at, He loves her more than anyone can imagine, and that He will take care of her and her family.  I prayed over her that the Lord would fill her with joy amidst the pain and that she would see and feel His hand daily in her life as we cried together.   As I left her that day, my heart was so heavy for Gertrude, but I had to trust that God was going to continue moving in her life.

Friday, was the day to say good-bye to that room full of kids. We had fun playing word games, reading stories, and giving lots of hugs.  The best part of the whole day was the continual smile on Gertrude’s face that I hadn’t seen all week!  She was a completely different child and I know that it wasn’t anything that I did but what God was doing in her.  As much as I would have done anything for my grandmother to pass away when I was at home, the Lord knew what He was doing.  If it was all for that moment for me to share my story with Gertrude it was all worth it.  Life is hard for these children in Zambia, but it becomes even harder when you lose a parent or both of them.  This is something that I will never understand, and it isn’t my place to understand it.  What I do understand on a whole new level since January is that when we feel like we can’t do what is set before us, God carries us through each moment and we are able to continue on.  Not that we aren’t still sad and shed tears, but we have a God that can bring a peace and joy over us that this world cannot understand.  Lord, fill your peace and love in the hearts of all of your children, young and old, no matter where they are!   
Filled with JOY!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

God Doesn't Call Us to Easy

Zambia holds such a special place in my heart, but this week has been hard....really hard! Monday morning I walked into a room that was about 8 x 8 and excitedly looked at the faces of 23 grade 1 students. Little did I know in that moment how difficult the next 3 hours would be, and by the end of that time I would want to get on a plane to come home. Each morning as I woke up, I dreaded the fact that I was going to have to walk into that room. Don't get me wrong, there were precious children in that room, but the sheer chaos made me want to turn the other way. It was constant fighting: hitting, kicking, yelling, etc. I've worked with kids who are aggressive before here and at home and have been able to to see progress, but this week as each day came around, it seemed as if the chaos became increasingly more along with my frustration and discouragement. Thursday was the climax of my total disbelief of the situation. At one point there were 3 American teachers in the room and it was as if I had dropped 1 piece of meat among a pack of wolves and they were all fighting for it. As I was reflecting and praying that night, I felt like the Lord impressed on my heart that He doesn't always call us to easy and fun ( not that teaching anywhere here is easy) but sometimes He calls us to hard and difficult. I have to remember that it's not me doing it but that it is totally and fully the Lord. Those of you who know me well know that I don't like to feel out of control at all and am such a planner. This week all of that went out the window as I was completely out of control and couldn't plan from one minute to the next as to what was going to happen in that classroom. Thankfully the Lord has it all under control and He knows what each second holds, not just in that room, but in each and everyone of our lives. As much as I want to see what's coming so I can prepare, I'm thankful for a God who sees me at every moment and already has my steps planned out. Not only did God show me once again that I have to give complete control over to Him, He showed me brokenness in the eyes of these children. This area of Zambia is one of the roughest areas Family Legacy works in, and it's such a dark place. These sweet kids are trying to survive and they are starving for attention. They don't care if it's positive or negative, they just want to be seen! Sweet little John was the smallest kid in the class and all he knew was to fight. As I looked into his eyes, you could see the deep hurt and longing for love. He and I spent lots of one on one time together as he was throwing trash on me, "trying to choke me", kicking me, and hitting me. At the end of it all as hard as it was, he would melt into my arms and hold on tight. John longs to be loved, to be wanted, to be seen. Aren't we all like that?  We want someone to love us and see us. Why some of us are so blessed with families that love well and others , like John, are not I don't know. What I do know is, we have a God that loves deep and wide. A God that sees us to our very core. A God that doesn't make mistakes and places us right where He wants us to draw us closer to Him. I can't "fix" Johns classroom as much as I tried this week. It's not mine to fix, but God put me there to love those kids and their teacher through the chaos and hurt. I don't know how well I did that this week, but it doesn't matter what I did, but what God has done and is continuing to do. As I'm moving into this last week here in Zambia I would love all of your prayers that I would love well this week. Also, that no matter what happens or presents itself that God would be glorified and seen through it all. I'm so grateful for each and everyone of you who prays me through this journey.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Heading Back to Zambia & Staring Fear in the Face

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world give.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 
John 14:27

I am getting on a plane in 10 days to head back to Zambia!  This is a place that has my heart and has been a place that has brought great excitement and joy in my life despite the harsh conditions there.  Since coming back from Zambia in January, I have had a hard time getting excited about this upcoming trip because of the fear that has crept in.  Each day, the phone call of my mom’s voice plays in my head that my grandmother is gone, which causes me to re-live standing in my room in Zambia in complete and utter shock and heartbreak!  I can vividly see every detail still; what I was wearing, what I was doing, and the friends that came into my room to comfort me. 

Fear has never been something associated with me going to Zambia until now.  I have been battling fear of something major happening again while I am gone as this upcoming trip approaches.  I know that fear is not from the Lord and I ask that you all pray for me as I get on that plane 10 days from now.  Through it all though, I will say that my relationship with the Lord is on a deeper level and for that I am so grateful.  I have always “known” that the Lord will carry you through anything, but to truly live that is a whole other feeling.  I now know firsthand what it feels like to only be able to function because He carried me through each day!  I still can say “It is Well” and I know that no matter what happens while I am gone, the Lord is good and He will never leave my side.  I am thankful that the Lord takes heartbreak and makes something good from it…every single time! 
I appreciate all of the prayers you lift up each and every time that I go to Zambia.  Here are some specific things that I would appreciate prayers for as I am preparing to leave as well as while I am there. 
       1.       That they Lord would be glorified in all that I and our team do in the schools
       2.       That I would lean on the Lord and hear His voice in each step and step out in faith
       3.       That our team would be cohesive and bond quickly
       4.       That the teachers we are working with would be receptive and excited about working together
       5.       That if there are children in immediate need the Lord would put a spotlight on them as we are in          the schools
       6.       That no matter what the Devil throws our way (which he always tries something) we would                 quickly recognize it and press into the Lord
       7.       That we would remember that no matter what obstacles we come against, God called each of us           there for a reason
       8.       That we would be safe in our travels and that our entire team would stay healthy
       9.       That I would have an open heart, eyes, and ears for what God wants me to do while I am there
      10.     That fear wouldn’t prevent anything that the Lord has already set in motion.

 Thank you again for your continuous support!  I could not return each year without every one of you and although most of you will never go to Zambia, you are such a big part of what is going on there through your support.  I wish I could capture the sounds, smells, and joy in the pictures I take to bring back to you.  It is such a blessing that the Lord has called me back again and I am expectantly waiting to see what He will do once again in the teachers, kids, and me.  I love each one of you so much!  Allison

Sunday, April 24, 2016

He is Good!

God is Good

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

We have good God and I have always know that, but sometimes things happen and it makes it all so much more real.  He becomes a good God that you cling to more and go deeper with.  I know that I have shared bits of what God has done in me through my grandmother passing away and again He has been stirring my heart with reminders of His goodness in something that has caused so much pain.  I apologize now for the length of this, but stay with me, because He shows himself faithful time and time again of how good He is to His children.
The 9 months before my grandmother went to heaven had been really tough on her.  It started by her falling and breaking her pelvis for a second time and after rehab she was moved into an assisted living facility much to her dislike.  While there, she fell again and this time broke her neck.  Each time she fell and hit her head, her memory became a little worse.  Fast forward to her birthday week and she was doing fairly well and then all of sudden after one night’s sleep she was substantially different! (I think she may have had a mini stroke at that time). 
I went to Abilene to celebrate my grandmother turning 90 in October and that day was so good!  She was happy and we talked and just spent precious time together just the two of us.  The next day is when she took the turn of wanting to sleep and not being able to remember anything at all in her short term memory.  I can remember trying to hold myself together when I was with her so that she couldn’t see how sad it made me.  The next couple of months were still tough for her, but slowly she started getting back to herself. 
Christmas day came and it was just going to be my parents, grandmother and myself celebrating that day. (We would celebrate with the whole family the following day)  She was feeling so good on Christmas day and she looked absolutely beautiful!!  We all had lunch together and we laughed and laughed.  One of the funniest memories from that day (which she would kill me if she knew I was sharing this with everyone) was when she needed to go to the bathroom.  We were eating at the independent living cafeteria (which was very nice and attached to the nursing home) and so I was taking her to the bathroom so she didn’t fall.  We get into the stall and she is starting to sit down and starts using the bathroom as she is hovering over the potty.  I immediately said, “grandmother what are you doing? Why aren’t you sitting down?”  She immediately said, “I am not sitting on that seat, you have no idea who has been sitting there.” She and I both started laughing so hard that neither one of us could talk or stop laughing.  As soon as one of us would almost stop the other one would begin laughing so hard again that it just continued.  Christmas day together was so special and GOOD.  The Lord had it all planned so perfectly knowing what would be coming in just a few short weeks.  He was good in all of us celebrating Him together, good in allowing us to laugh and laugh hard, good in allowing her to feel well, and good in us being able to make beautiful memories from that day.  I am so very thankful to the Lord for that day!!  It will be a precious memory forever etched in my mind. 

This is a picture that I treasure from that day that God was so good to allow us to capture. 

 God was in good in the following weeks that she was feeling good!  She was upbeat, happy, and talkative.  God was in good in that when I got on that plane to Zambia I talked to my grandmother and told her that I loved her and that I would talk to her when I got back.  (I never in a million years dreamed that would be my last time to hear her voice).    He was good in that He gave me a grandmother who believed in me, prayed for me, and loved me with all her heart!  God is good that I didn’t struggle with the decision to leave that day or not because she was doing better than she had in months!
Even after the news of my grandmother passing away, God was good.  He was good in carrying me through each day and helping me to finish what I was called to Zambia to do.  He was good in that the day my grandmother had her stroke, she was able to let my mom know that she wanted me to stay there in Zambia (which is a decision I struggled with and only stayed because that was her wish).  God was good the whole time I was there in showing me glimpses of her each day even up till the minute I was driving off to the airport.  The other ladies that were leaving the following day as me stood on the curb and waved good bye until I was out of sight.  They didn’t know this, but that is what my grandmother would do anytime we left her house.  God is so good in reminding us that He is always there in every little detail and for that I am so thankful!

The day before I left, I was starting to get anxious, because going home and not seeing my grandmother was going to make it real.  This is a picture of His beautiful promise of His faithfulness.

God is good in that He LOVES us unconditionally, He is good in His perfect plan, He is good in the details, He is good in the memories, He is good in the peace and comfort that can only come from Him, and He is good in all that He does.  I am thankful that His goodness shines through even in the pain.  Thank you Lord for being such a good, good, Father!

I pray that you will see God's goodness in your life each and every day!  

He is a good Father even in the pain!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It is Well

It is Well

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

It is well….those are not the words that I thought would come out of my mouth when I thought of my Grandmother’s passing.  The shock of the phone call from my mom telling me was unreal and at times felt like a really bad dream until I reminded myself that it was very real.  Those next few days in Zambia were a real struggle because I couldn’t understand God’s timing, but also knowing at the same time, His timing is perfect even if I don’t understand it.  Four days after my grandmother went to be with Jesus I was begging the Lord for His strength because all I wanted to do was get on a plane and come home from Zambia.  God is so good and He is always faithful.  That Sunday morning I went up to the top of the villa put in my earphones and went to scroll back to my playlists.  A song started playing that I hadn’t selected and it was Phil Wickham’s “It is Well.”  Immediately tears started rolling down my face.  I think I may have listened to that song 5 times before I could catch my breath and utter those very words out of my mouth.  The Lord knew that I needed to be able to truly know in my heart that it is well before I could keep going with what He had called me to do in Zambia.

Lord, thank you for your presence and that you never leave us!  God it is well with my soul!  There are days that it is hard to say because I want my grandmother here to talk to and hug, but because of you Lord, the tomb is empty.  My grandmother’s spirit is alive and well praising the Lord.  It is well that she is whole, healthy, and praising you in heaven.  It is well that she is no longer suffering, no longer needing help to do everything, and no longer in that nursing home.  It is well that you promise those who love and believe in you that we will one day rise to heaven and all be rejoicing as we worship you.  Lord, it is well that I depend on you for my next breath and steps to direct me here on this earth.  Lord it is well that apart from you we can do nothing, but through you we can do all things you have called us to.  Lord it is well that my heart aches to see and talk to my grandmother again, but that it is you that will carry me.  Lord it is well that death does not have the final say but that You do!  It is well that one day there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more suffering.  You will wipe away our tears Lord and for that we must say it is well and we rejoice in you!  Lord never once will you leave me alone and my heart must continue to say, It is Well!

If you would like to hear the Phil Wickham’s “It is Well,” click the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51vThumuArE