alum

Stepping Out

One of our alum left on Monday for 8 months on the mission field, serving God for His Own Glory. We would love to just celebrate and honor Jesus in her as she is beginning to serve God in this way.
Brittany Autrey joined our Journey 2010 team at the beginning of April, when most of the team had been accepted around February. Brittany was a friend of a colleague of ours, and came with tenacious recommendations. We found this to be true of her too, so we quickly onboarded her into our team for Journey and for Kenya. Brittany is a spunky and incredible young woman. Her enthusiasm for life is incredible, and her deep faith in God (that HE REALLY IS who He says He is - she knows that she knows that she knows) is inspiring.
Brittany hadn't spent much time out of the country or away from her family, and this was a very large part of God's ministry to her in 2010. That she might see Him as Provider and Covering, as Family and Friend. I wish that Brittany was able to share with you more and deeper insight into this, but I affirm that this was part of her journey with God. And I have to tell you, God be glorified. As much fervor as Brittany had in getting set to go to Kenya, I definitely had a moment where I wasn't sure she wouldn't even get on the plane to go. I have, since, shared this memory with her and I praise God that He was so honoring of protecting Her as he carried her to Kenya.
As a fellow-journeyer and leader observing Brittany's transformation, I think some of the most profound things showed up for Brittany when she least expected it: a little girl named Anne, being one of the most meaningful. Anne was a little girl that represented playfulness and laughter to me, as I think about the two of them together. I think Anne drew out of Brittany a sheer glee....which was a gorgeous distraction for Brittany from the intense intimacy of the journey she was having with God about her identity and His heart for her. I see that Anne reminded Brittany of the simplicity of her faith in God.
And now Brittany is out serving God, away from home and the components of typical life, to serve Him among the nations here at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.  God had providentially orchestrated it to call Brittany to begin her service among the nations, as a witness to His Greatness. As an Invest team, we cherish our time with Brittany and spur her on into God's Great Story.
Will you join us in praying for Brittany? You can follow her blog Brittanyautrey.myadventures.org and read along about the radical things GOd is doing through her, among the nations, and for His Glory. If I can speak on her behalf, Brittany is so passionate to Brag about her Almighty God and love others that they might see Him. That is what sends her, and when she goes so go our prayers for her.
Kristine Wendt

Voombi!

Hello hello HELLO!!!!! To all of you who have been involved with Invest, to those of you who are currently working with Invest, and to those of you are going to start working with Invest I want send my love and appreciation. It’s been a little over two years since I went on a journey to invest my life in people halfway around the world, having spent part of my summer in 2009 in Kenya as a Journey Intern. While that story would take all evening to share, I just wanted to let you know how God has been working in my life since that summer in 2009. It wasn’t long after we returned from Kenya, that I found myself preparing for my first year away at school. I had just spent a year a community college, due to a multitude of events that God was no doubt the orchestrator of, and I was ready to head off to Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia. I had originally planned on majoring in music and worship, but decided instead to major in Engineering. Needless to say, that lasted all of three weeks. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in an office and go through schematics and soon found myself entering into the Department of Intercultural Studies. I loved the material and opportunities to serve. Not to mention, God had already laid a huge burden on my heart for full-time missions so I started in that direction. A year and half later, I now have my Pilot’s license with the full intention of entering the mission field as a Missionary Pilot. I am scheduled to graduate in May and I am engaged to a beautiful young woman whom I plan on marrying this coming June. Pretty awesome huh? I look back on everything that has happened in the past two years and I am blown away at what God has done with my life. I never once thought I would be where I’m at now (flying airplanes instead of playing music), but when you live for Christ He’ll take your life and make it so much more than you could ever have imagined. If I can give you any encouragement, any direction, any golden gem that you can take with you, than I advise you to truly study and dig into Philippians. And, just from my personal experience, if you tell the Lord to use you in every way He can, you better be ready for one heck of a ride, because I guarantee you won’t end up where you thought you would.

In His service, Dusty (Voombi) Foster “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

Erika & Sara

Erika Laucirica - Senior Internship 2010/2011

My senior internship experience was hands down the best senior year I could have asked for. Coming from a huge public school, a tiny senior class was intimidating to me, but before long God made it clear He brought me there for a purpose. The faculty and students welcomed me, making me feel included and at home from the very beginning. Not only did the Senior Internship enhance my academic performance, but it also taught me about the character of God and how wonderful it is to have a personal relationship with Him, His people, and how to view yourself as God views you.

Sara Wilson - Journey 2010

Hello Invest Family and Supporter! It's hard to believe it has been over a year since my amazing Invest 2010 Journey. I can say that although I was not camping at the foot of any mountains or snuggling up with orphan babies my summer was full of challenges... mainly summer school, BUT I survived and now I am on track to graduate in May 2012. My heart longed to be in Kenya again with my friends and I struggled with it almost every day but I am trusting that God is sovereign and my journey in serving him abroad is far from over. I am beginning my senior year here at Appalachian State University and I am taking a lot of classes that are going to prepare and equip me to be able to promote health in all aspects of life. FINALLY some real life application classes… 3years later haha. I am in the process of praying through and seeking out internship opportunity’s with many different organizations and I am trusting that God will continue to guide me to the place I need to be for this time in my life. I am excited about what is next for me as I finish up my time here and begin a transition into the real world. I don’t know exactly what it is that is next but I am doing my best to make sure whatever it is that I am investing in things that are eternal and cannot be stolen away. I am so thankful for my Invest Family! Know that I am praying for you often and am so thankful for your obedience. Live Love, Sara Wilson

Brooke - Journey 2010 Alum

 

In the summer of 2010, God blessed me with the unique opportunity to be a part of the Journey Internship.  Early on in our time together, Kristin prophesied to me that I would be beginning a new season of my life once I arrived home.  Looking back at how much the Lord has done in my life since I embarked on that journey, I can certainly testify to the accuracy of that word.  Beginning in my time in Africa, I have experienced His presence in new and exciting ways.  In this time, I have heard His whispers of sweet new promises, and experienced His unmistakable yearning for me to draw nearer in order to experience Him more intimately.  It has been a remarkable voyage that I have held dear to my heart and it has given me a strong foundation for which I will be able to build on for the rest of my life.

 

In short, my trip to Kenya and the events surrounding it have been life changing.  Starting with the preparation and fundraising that began in January, to the processing that went on for months after I returned home from the trip, it made 2010 one of the most special years of my life.  The year began with a 21-day fast, culminated in Kenya, continued on with new experiences and relationships in my local church, and finally ended with amazing promises from God about my own ministry. Echoing Kristin’s prophecy, one specific word that the Lord spoke to me countless times last year was “new beginnings.”  I saw and heard it everywhere after I got home from Kenya.  In the Bible, new beginnings is associated with the number 8, and the Lord continued to show it to me time and again in incredible ways as a testament to His faithfulness to His promises.  In this time, the Lord even introduced me to the man that He has chosen to be my husband (just a week after I returned home).  I might add that he was born on October 8th and weighed 8 lbs 8 oz at birth, but then I could sound a little overboard!  At the center of all of this, I experienced God’s faithfulness and grace in my life in the most tangible ways I have ever known.  It has certainly been true that God’s word to me through Kristin really vaulted me in to the next season in my life.

In somewhat stark contrast, 2011 has been rather different.  One of the new beginnings the Lord was speaking to me in 2010 was that my family and I would be embarking on our own ministry in the form of a Christian dance studio and children’s after-school program.  This vision and promise came to us while I was in Kenya, and soon thereafter we were able to witness God miraculously moving each individual piece.  I am beginning to experience firsthand what it is like to step out in faith - but it is not easy.  Often as Christians, we romanticize and idealize adventurous callings of our destiny.  I know that I did.   Although I have seen God answer our prayers for the studio continually and while the journey has been exciting (particularly at the onset), it has also been extremely challenging and full of highs and lows.  I have wanted to give up at so many points.  “Obedience for the day” has been the mantra I cling to, and it is literally all I feel like I have sometimes.

At the beginning of this new ministry, the Lord spoke to me Deuteronomy 1:3 in a dream.  I did not really know what it meant at that point, but I could relate so much to the Israelites experiencing the wilderness.  The Lord began showing it to me everywhere for several months, and I continued to receive confirmation that this was a word for me.  I knew I needed to really study the surrounding scripture and heed it for its encouragement and also for its warning.  Through this passage, the Lord warned me that there would be giants long before we ever experienced them.  I was warned against my own grumbling, fear of man, and unbelief.  I was also encouraged that if we did not faint or give up, we would reap in due time (Galatians 6:9).  However, I did not understand the full scope of what this word would mean to me until recently.

I had been praying that God would soon move me out of my cubicle job of two and half years and place me closer towards His calling and promise for my life.  Miraculously, on May 29th of this year my family and I signed the lease to an 8,000 sq. foot space for our dance studio. Then on June 1st I was laid off, along with the majority of my department.   Fear immediately swept over me.  While I despised my job, I knew I needed stable income to get the studio off the ground.  Was this the answer to my prayers?   Was I being punished?  My head was spinning with questions and doubt.  Without delay, the Lord reminded me of Deut. 1:3 which says, “…on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them…”   The subsequent verses go on to describe the way the Lord told the Israelites that they had stayed too long at their current mountain in the wilderness and it was time to go and possess the Promised Land.  As it happened, June 1st was the first day of the 11th month of waiting on the realization of our vision for the dance studio.  To me, this was confirmation in the confusion that God was still for me and for the studio.

Since that day, the dance studio has been a daily process of waiting, waiting, and WAITING on the Lord.  It has often been quite tedious and mundane.   We have experienced lack of funding, difficult landlords, miscellaneous electrical problems pushing back our opening date, family discord, fear of failure, anxiety, discouragement, doubt, and the list goes on and on.  The enemy has been throwing arrows, setting off bombs, and causing confusion at every corner.  I would like to say that I have handled the obstacles with grace, but the truth is that I have often sobbed and cried out in anger.  I frequently feel like I have no clue what I am doing, and that I am completely unqualified and unequipped to take on something so enormous.  BUT, MY GOD IS GREATER.  He will provide and He is faithful.  When I think that I cannot go on, He gives me just enough manna to whet my appetite for more.  And then something miraculous happens. Things may not go the way that we plan, but His way of doing things is always better and higher than anything we can imagine (Isaiah 55:9). I have been learning to exchange my own ideas, plans, and timing for His.  Sometimes that makes me feel complacent or lazy because I feel like I should be DOING something or even WORRYING about something because, in an entirely fleshly way, it makes me feel as if I am more deserving.  But then I call truth to mind.  It is not about me it is about Him.  And I remember: just obedience for today.  That is all I need.  I often get weighed down by where I’m not instead of seizing the opportunities right in front of me.  The Lord wants to make me into His likeness, so what is obedience for today?  Then I can breathe.  I am being refined through the fire; I asked for this.  And there will certainly be a harvest in this season or the next.  So be it!

Ashley & Tommy

  Ashley Varner Journey 2009

 God is so faithful! God is in control! God knows best! All of these are things that I knew deep down but I didn't fully realize and take advantage of until 2009. You see, Kristin is an amazing woman. She is also a very determined woman. When the Lord told Kristin that I needed to go to Kenya with Journey, I didn't want to listen. However, God is in control. So, I decided to go and the Lord provided. God is faithful. And 2 years later, I am headed back to Kenya for a third time. God knows best.

Journey was a gateway to the possibilities that the Lord had for me. I had just finished my first semester of college and I really had no idea what to do with my life. I thought I did. But, God revealed himself to me in ways that I could never have imagined. He proved thousands of dollars to send me around the world. He broke my heart for the very people that break his heart. He introduced me to a lifestyle that I would forever admire.

The Kenyan culture is unlike any other. Kenyans know what the word community means. Journey embodies that word so well. Kenyans know what the meaning of love is. Journey continues to love even after the journey ends. Kenyans know who God is. Journey helped me to discover that truth.

I leave in just a few days for my third trip to Kenya.. I literally, wouldn't be there if it weren't for my choose to invest family, Journey 2009. I am forever grateful for the love and encouragement that I received from them and continue to receive. They have no idea how much they have impacted my life. I will never be the same. I can never be the same.

 

Tommy Nika from Journey 2010

Since the Journey internship I have had a pretty incredible year. I finished my first year at college and I now feel like I have my big boy pants on! I have grown so much within the community I have here at school. I just recently started my second year here at Lincoln Christian University. I am studying Intercultural Studies and don’t really know what God has in mind for me yet. But, I do know that I want to pursue Him with all that I have, in whatever avenue of ministry He has for me. 

 

 This summer has been a pretty crazy journey for me. It was a summer of complete wrestling. I was a part of an internship with The Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa. Things didn’t necessarily go according to “our” plan, but God is an author of a perfect story. The beginning of His story for us was spending time in Kenya with the children in the choir and their families. It was so incredible revisiting old friends and being able to receive their love again. God blessed me with the opportunity to spend time with the 252 team again and see how much progress God has made in their communities. The time I got to spend with the children in the choir was so divine. Watching them worship the Lord everyday was an incredible experience. The Daraja children shine. For the past five years Daraja has been on my heart, this summer I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of it.

            After our time in Kenya my group headed back and began preparing for summer tour. Little did we know God had something else in His plan. We ran into a few bumps in the road with the government and had a hard time being able to get the children visas. As a result of this turn in the road, we had no choice but to cancel the remainder of Daraja’s summer tour with the hope that we can focus our efforts on getting the children here for fall tours in September. Throughout these struggles the Daraja family had no doubt that God was and is doing something BIGGER and GREATER than anything He has done before. I have learned throughout this season of life that God is the author to a perfect story. He works us into His story in the most meaningful way possible. When I thought he was leading me one way, he opened the door to a different path. Now I sit here writing this today with complete confidence knowing that our Lord is sovereign. He has stretched me completely out of my comfort zone this year and I am so thankful. He is shaping me into a man and warrior for His kingdom. My heart longs to burn for the Gospel. Just as I praise Him for my season with J2010, I praise Him today for the season He is taking me in to and preparing me for right now.