this little Light of mine

a colaberation of thoughts and Jesus sightings

Jesus Freaks

IM GOING TO MACAU, CHINA FOR MY OUTREACH!!!

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Im so excited to be co-leading a team to Macau with Nari Ho. She is super amazing and feel so blessed! Our team is made up of 9 people, including Nari and I. Each student is so brilliant and awesome. I wish you all could meet them!

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Missing two people from my team, but here are the names of each member from left to right: Bobbie Rae, Nari Ho, Me, Mikayla, Bruce, Michael, Josh. Not pictured is Rosemary and Trent.

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Again, I am so blessed to be running with each of these Jesus Freaks. Please keep us in your prayers! Bless you all.

Promises are Promises

DTS is in full bloom.

Just to catch anyone up who may not know: Right now I have just shifted gears and have moved out of the Leadership Track that I was doing and have begun staffing a Discipleship Training School aka DTS.

I stayed on campus during the holidays and got to experience some pretty quiet times. A lot of people went back to their homes for Christmas and most of the campus was shut down, so anyone who dared to stay behind got to experience a little taste of what the Rapture might look like. And for this extravert, I daily went looking for some form of life so I could talk to it.

But as miserable as it seemed at first, I really enjoyed having some time just to soak up the slowness and quiet life that was being offered to me. I knew that all too soon that there would be more people living on this campus than ever before. And boy, was I right.

January 3 was arrival day and we have checked in over 600 students. So as you can imagine, lunch lines are long and rooms are full to the brim. We just finished up our first week of DTS and had Donna Jordan speaking to us about hearing the voice of God. Even though I have been through her teaching before, it was so refreshing to get a second dose. So its been so surreal and amazing seeing people getting released and freed from the lies of the enemy. It was crazy to hear the testimonies of so many students who realized that God was more than just a word. That He is our Father in Heaven that is constantly singing and speaking to us! He desires relationship with not only the pastors, but all His other children as well!

Its so crazy how we complicate hearing the voice of Jesus. Always doubting if it was Him or if it was us. This week has made me realize how faithful God is and when He speaks to us and tells us stuff, He ain’t lying. He ALWAYS comes through with what He says. Imagine when Noah was told to build a massive boat because of a flood that was going to wipe out all life on the earth. What about Abraham and Sarah and how they were told they where promised many descendants. Or what about the dreams that were given to Joseph about being a ruler and having his brothers bow down to him. Then there’s Moses and how he was told he was going to lead Gods people to Gods chosen land. Every single one of these normal people, God told them something and that something happened. They heard (one saw) God and received a blessing. Thats all God is trying to do for us! We are His children. He’s a good good Daddy and a big big God.

So this week for me has been remembering all the promises and things Jesus has told me and believing in faith they will come to pass.

I am so stoked to be back here. I cant wait to see all that God does in the students lives and in mine! 

Next week I will update you on where I will be leading an outreach team to, so get excited.

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a quiet campus

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Just organizing my room before everyone gets back on campus

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Spencer Malinski visited me. She added some noise to my life.

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Christmas set up

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New Years Eve.

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All 600+ students on the first day

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Donna Jordan bringing some Jesus juice.

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If you ever want to wait in the longest line in your life, come eat meals with me.

 

magical thankfulness

*~*I would just like everyone to know everywhere that I got 5 corn dogs in the span of twenty four hours. Jesus is real and miracles are happening.*~*

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But seriously. This past week has been full of amazingness and thankfulness. I can say without a doubt that this season has been one of the driest and hardest seasons I have walked in in a while. It has made me second guess my actions and motives about being here, miss everyone back in the good ole confederate state of South Carolina, and wonder what joy really is. Through all of that though, I have come to these realizations:

  • I am here for such a time as this. I am being trained and pruned in the ordinary. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
  • This new feeling of “missing” people, stinks. But the relationships back in that confederate state have shaped me into who I am today. I wouldn’t know or crave community and family they way I do now if it wasn’t for those relationships. And I can honestly say, Your faces are missed. Please come see me..
  • And well, joy, you can’t create it. You can’t make it. You can’t fake it. At least not true joy. And true joy only come from thankfulness.

Which is why I now have this new appreciation of Thanksgiving. Not just the 4th Thursday in November, but just thanksgiving in general. Since I have been in this dry seasons, I have been at a loss for joy. And when you try and create joy, it just leaves you frustrated and unhappy. Which then leads you to unthankfulness… Crazy how fast that happens.

“Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora of problems. Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. I am your refuge and strength, an ever present and well proved help in trouble. You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings) and I will give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience-at times blind obedience.” -Jesus Calling

So lets all just have thanksgiving everyday. We can eat turkey and tell each other how thankful we are for one another 🙂

I didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with my family back home, but I did get to spend it with my amazing family here in Kona. It was so amazing and warm. This girl aint getting sweater rashes over here 😉 

ALSO I GOT TO HOLD A BIRD!!

long time, no excuse

Its been awhile.

So much has happened the past four weeks. I would just like to apologize to anyone who is reading this, whether this is your first time or your eighth time. I said that I would be updating this weekly, and I have failed miserably. I understand there is grace and mercy evermore, but I dislike it very much when someone breaks their word. So, please forgive me.

So let me give you a rundown of what has occurred the past 4 weeks:

>I got housing!! Crazy story. So because there are so many students on campus, all staff were told to find housing off campus. But Jesus told me not to worry about housing, that He was going to provide me a room on campus. So I waited. October 16 was the day when my temporary housing would be up and I would need to have found another place. But on October 11, I found out that there was an open room in my favorite building!! This building has a significant spot in my heart and Jesus totally knew this. SO I now have housing in one of my favorite buildings on campus. Hooray King Jesus!

>Community Outreach. Every Wednesday I go to the Regency Elderly Home. I get to talk and hang out with awesome seasoned people. They are so sweet and amazing. One of my favorite things to do it paint with them. One lady named Florine always says she doesn’t know how to paint, however, you give her a brush and that woman goes to town. She’s amazing. I love hearing from them and all the knowledge they carry.

>I got to help cut my leaders grass. It was the first time I had ever done that. Back home we only have a patch of grass in my yard, and its like a shrine. Just kidding about the shrine, but not about the patch. My family has never been able to grow grass so I have never had to cut grass. But that changed the other day.

loving this grass shrine

>Got to go surfing last weekend! It was the first time I surfed in a year! God totally did a work in my heart while I was over here in January and I surrendered surfing to Him. I didn’t know when I would be able to go again, but I got to go last weekend! It was amazing. I can’t describe to you how I felt, but all I can tell you is that I am still running off the “stoke”.

>Tuesday mornings I get to read and do story time with a group of 5th graders. To be honest, I wasn’t very excited about this when I first found out. I tried to get every other person to read for me. But I know this is something God is using to stretch me, so I went. And heres my verdict: I love it. The kids are funny and I get to play and read to them. I don’t know why I was so scared to do it to begin with. I mean, I am just a big kid myself..

>Swam in an underground lava tube… H I G H L I G H T O F M Y W E E K. ‘nough said.

lava tube

>Moravian Hour. This is 24 hour praying. Each person in the Leadership Track (which I am involved in) are assigned 4 hours a week. During these hours, we pray and intercede for whatever God places on our heart. My hours are at 4am.. ITS AWESOME. Its so hard to get myself up, but once Im in the prayer room its crazy rewarding. The spiritual realm seems so alive during that hour!

Those are just some highlights from the past weeks 🙂 Next post will be a little more in depth, just didn’t want to bore y’all too bad!

Hope y’all are doing wonderful.

-Anna Grace

 

 

Inside Glimpse.

 

 

 

 

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a little buggy.Image

 

sunrise in Makapala.Image

 

community outreach team. we sneeze a lot…Image

 

iron man runnersImage

 

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they cuddle with us at nightImage

 

UofNImage

 

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mi amigosImage

 

ministry night.Image

 

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ranch dressing.

I think one of the worst things in the world is having to wash ranch dressing off your plate. 

It smells SO bad when the water hits it. I have really bad gag reflexes to begin with, so when I am confronted with my plate and its leftover ranch dressing, my natural tendency is to just put it in the sink and walk away quickly. I will just leave it for someone with stronger gag reflexes to handle that mess.

You see, I cop out.

This weekend was a major weekend for Kona, Hawaii. Around 1,900 athletes and their families flocked to this side of the Big Island to compete in the Ironman World Championship. For this triathlon, you are to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and THEN run 26.2 miles. It was insane. It seemed like everyone and their grandmas were here. And they all had many muscles. 

Needless to say, It was a very humbling weekend for me.

As I watched the lead athletes come to the final stretch, I couldn’t help but notice all the other athletes that they were passing. Some of them were just starting off! As the first place runners started to pass them, the other runners kept moving. They kept their stride and continued on with the race. I was shocked with their persistence..

And then thats when it happened. I was hit in the face. Then hit in my heart. Then humbled.

Jesus gave me a revelation.

I like to quit. I have mastered this art of running away when things get hard. For me, I would have dipped out of that race once I saw that I wasn’t going to win it. I quit while I am ahead, which is ironic because the reason I quit is because I am behind… I leave the plate of leftover ranch dressing for someone else because of my “gag reflexes”. Its too hard. I’m not good enough. I’m not qualified. My mind can’t think that way. I just can’t do it… I find excuses so I don’t have to finish things

HUM.BA.LING.

(would just like to say, that I know that the ranch dressing analogy was far out. I also know thats not how you spell humbling.)

Right now, I am having to do a bunch of things “I’m not good at”. I am being stretched further than I would have ever imagined, but I can’t quit. Partially because of my commitment 😉 but mostly because I don’t want to. Im tired of running the other direction because I’m scared or feel unequipped.

What would this world be like if everyone had this mentality, to quit while they are ahead? What if my mom thought this way while she was pregnant with me? What if Bill Gates thought this way when he was trying to make the first computer? What if the iron men and women thought this way during the race? What if Jesus thought this way upon the cross?

He didn’t quit though. He went through the furnace and delivered us. 

“Be still and know that I am God..”Pslam46:10

My new goals:

Cease Striving.

Cease Running.

Cease Excuses.

Strengthen Gag Reflexes.

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Ordinary.

This week has been intense for me.

I have been memorizing scripture, reading books, praying constantly, working in a office, evangelizing to Hawaii, worshiping radically, and eating broccoli.

Now for a staff YWAMer that is doing the Leadership Track, these are normal things. Kandi Pfeiffer might even say that they ordinary things.

But for me, Anna Grace Simerson, they are not.

Its not that those things are new to me, but I would normally pick a day to do each one separately.

For example: Monday would be for reading books. Tuesday is the best day for broccoli. Wednesday is for office duty. And so you catch my picture.

BUT my schedule consists of doing these things everyday, and I am honestly SO very grateful. I really mean that! I will admit that its not very fun or exciting (I love fun and exciting), but its challenging and stretching.

I’m doing the ordinary vs the extraordinary. When I was in Pawleys for the summer, I found out that I’m naturally good at seeking the extraordinary things. Example: Right now, I have no place to live. God is totally providing places for me and my roommates, but come Oct. 16, we will have to find somewhere else to rest our heads at night. I’m naturally good at believing and trusting that God will provide a house for us. But I’m not very good at sitting down and looking for one…

Its the ordinary vs the extraordinary.

Again, its challenging. However, I like it. Confused? Me too. I’m doing stuff that I would have never signed up for freely, and enjoying it! Sometimes its scary! But that’s what I love the most. I’m learning how to bring excitement to the things that aren’t very exciting.

Guess I’m just an extraordinary person…

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Living in the Moment

Let me start off with saying Aloha Everyone!

I’m back!

After 3 plane rides that seemed to take forever and no sleep for 36 hours, I finally arrived to this mediocre place called Hawaii. It may be even more beautiful this second time around. I wish everyone could experience the beauty this place holds.

However, I have to say, I miss Pawleys Island. I miss the smell. I miss my people. I miss my truck.

This is a very new feeling for me… Usually I don’t really miss things. Let me just go ahead and say that i don’t think not missing something is bad. I think its a gift. I know somebody reading this is confused and may possibly think I’m and alien or robot. But let me assure you, i have a heart and a belly button. I have feelings, but living in the moment is more incredible to me than brooding over what has been.

But like I said, this is a new feeling for me so if you can imagine, I have been crying like a pig. Maybe Im like the Grinch and my heart has grown three sizes bigger this day. This month. This year. And to be honest, this feeling sucks. But its showing me a greater depth to love. A deeper depth to Gods love. I miss the island that I once thought was a small prison cell. Sometimes I wish I could just be there for a second to just get a glimpse and say hello!

I know I’m blessed with a gift of wanting something new all the time.(my Mom would call this gift impulsiveness) God can totally use that for His glory. But I feel like He is showing me that missing someone isn’t a weakness. Its okay to run to a different part of the world and miss what you left behind.

Matthew 8:18-22 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Now I’m not going to decipher all that could be meant in this passage, but I believe what Jesus is showing me right now is that I can totally leave everyone behind. It doesn’t stop me from moving forward. But the unhealthy part for me is not living out the first and greatest command of Jesus Christ: to love..

Now let me summarize this so it might make some sense. I love people. I love new things. But sometimes my love for new things causes me to forget about the people that are closest to me.

So let me apologize to you if I have hurt you. Please know it was unconsciously done.

Living in the moment is bliss. But loving someone is true joy. And that’s what I’m learning right now.

But on a lighter note, I’m so stoked to be back. There are around 1000 people on campus during the day so I am meeting so many new faces. I’m also hearing some pretty cool God stories on how each of them got here which helps keep my heart in place knowing our Father will provide. Since there are so many people on campus, most of the staff have been asked to find housing off campus. In other words, there is NO ROOM for us on campus…

That really stinks.

But check this out. The reason there is no room is because there are so many students. That means that the bed they had for me ON campus is now given to a student who will be able to encounter God in more ways than she can imagine!

So as stinky as the situation is, God is still being glorified.

So please be praying for housing for me and many others. We are all excited to see how our Papa provides.

Love you all. Miss you all.

I honestly mean that.

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Nice pick up line, Solomon

This morning while I was reading, I couldn’t help but giggle.

“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.” Song of Songs 4:1

I love this book and all the metaphors it carries. I love the language in it and the way the book flows. It’s sort of like a drama or play!

But think about if someone came up to you and used that as a pick up line. Or just paid that to you as a compliment. “Yo girl. I like your dove eyes. And that hair of yours is like a flock of goats!”

What would your response be?

I was processing this today. Clearly Solomon meant something by his words. Ultimately, whether he was talking to the Bride of Christ, a lover, or Isreal, he was saying something flattering. Something nice. A compliment. Yet I don’t understand what he is getting at. I have no idea how dove eyes and goat hair is attractive…

Its crazy how with time, style changes. Language changes. Jobs change. Hair color changes. Money changes. People just change. What was once new and cool is now old and boring. The attractive becomes the ugly. We change our minds ALL the time!

And change can be good! Believe me, if anyone loves change it’s this girl. I love new experiences. But sometimes, depending on change, can lead to never being satisfied. Always waiting and wanting the new best thing.

But Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

You can only be fully satisfied in Him.

He is the best thing today. And He will be the best thing tomorrow.

Its really nice to know that with the world around us that is changing each day, our Father is gonna be faithful just like a Bridegroom is to His Bride. Which brings me back to Song of Songs. While time has changed the definition of what marriage is, Jesus hasn’t. He is still pursing us radically and wanting us to come away with Him.

So I look forward to the day that someone tells me my hair reminds them of goats and my eyes look like doves. Clearly they are just trying to flatter me. But the good news is I don’t have to wait for some man to swoon me with those delicious words.

I already have all that I need and He speaks to me in a language I understand.

Times got nothing on Jesus and I

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finding pocket treasure

So if your reading this, then prepare yourself. This is my first blog ever. EVER. This is intended to keep my mom and others, who are interested in my journey, updated and “in touch” with my life while I’m away from home. Somethings you might see and hear about in my blog: Jesus, food, surfing, sunburns, cool pictures, movie quotes, frozen feet, etc.

I’ve never been particularly good at staying with stuff. On my first days of school, I had all my notebooks organized, pencils sharpened, lunch boxed packed, and always thought something along the line of: “this year will be different! I’m going to really try and I will finish my homework”. However, by the second week of school, my thoughts were more along the lines of “we had homework?” and “whens the next school break?” with all my pencils lost, papers in wrong folders, and no lunch somedays. 

Why do I tell you this? Not for you to prepare yourself for the worse. I tell you this because, well its my first blog. So bear with me. DONT GET DISCOURAGED. I am sold out to this blog and WANT to keep it updated. I want y’all to know whats happening and all God is doing! Cause He is definitely up to stuff and moving.

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Speaking of God and moving, I will be moving back to Kona at the end of this month. September 27 to be more precise. IM SO STOKED! I cant wait to get back and see some of my Ohana. Im am going back to help staff the very DTS I just finished with, which starts in January. This may confuse some of you though, cause I did say I was going back in September but staffing doesn’t start till January…. WELL do not confuse your brain. I am heading back in September to take a Leadership Track that will help better equip me for staffing in January. 

Im so excited. 

so excited.

God is doing so much in my life right now! He keeps surprising me time after time. He has recently been showing me a deeper meaning of provision. For a solid week, He provided every little thing I needed down to my meals! I have been trying desperately to save for this coming year, but every time I got a pinch of cash, I heard God say,”Give it to me.”

….

I needed money for gas, food, car insurance, and not to mention a plane ticket and living in Hawaii.

But Papa showed me how He provides. I gave all I had and started to find money in my bookbag or in my pockets! Let me tell you something. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. I inherited this gene from my dad, that when we have money that is not stored in an account locked away, we will spend it. whether its on ice cream, yoo-hoos, sonic slushies, magazines, pop-tarts, goodwill finds… We spend it.

But I kept finding money and receiving surf lesson after surf lesson. He kept providing whenever I asked and I found myself giving more and more to Him because I started finding more and more to give.

And now, even though I’m at square one and have no idea how I’m going to purchase my plane ticket to Hawaii, I know He will provide. He’s an extraordinary Father and I know He’s going to take care of me. I just need to continue to give Him my all. I’ve even dared to pray for provision for my surfboard to make it to Hawaii with me…

That would be fun 🙂