Developing Great Commission Leaders

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Sarah’s January Prayer Letter

January 2008

Good News: Life Changes

2007—The Year of Hope, that’s what my roommate and I dubbed 2007 on New Years Eve last year. Unbeknownst to us, the Lord had some big changes and major trials on the horizon for both us, and new experiences of His mercy, love, forgiveness and grace.

As you know from my letters in the last year, I’ve walked through some soul-searching trials, looking for my next steps. That process led me to a new role with Campus Crusade for Christ, helping to create an ongoing ministry to our new graduates as they transition from the campus to the marketplace. One of the implications of that decision included changes like this month’s move to Orlando, FL.

What you may not know is that I started dating Mike Evers, a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member, this summer, and we got engaged in December.

We met back in 2001, when Mike brought a team of students on a vision trip to my city in Turkey. I don’t remember Mike, but he remembers me! Since then we’ve run into each other at conferences and we have common friends, so I’ve known of him for years.

In May 2007, Mike emailed asking about my summer assignment. That one email turned into emailing every few days, then every day, to several times a day, next were phone calls, and finally we had our first date in Denver, while in Colorado for Campus Crusade’s biennial staff conference.

My new job in Emergent Strategies had me commuting to Orlando up to four times a month from September to December until I moved there two weeks ago. While it was difficult to travel so frequently, and I missed my family and my roommate, it was great to see Mike on each visit. He lives in Orlando and works at Campus Crusade’s World Headquarters.

Mike is the Human Resources Director for the National Campus Office. He oversees the placement and development of the staff who serve the field from our World Headquarters. In addition to meeting with staff for personality profiling and job fit assessment, he’s also a counselor, and sometimes meets with staff for individual counseling. Another aspect of his job utilizes his counseling degree to travel to conferences to counsel staff, assist with debriefing international staff after living overseas for years, and transition back to life in the States. Mike is well positioned for that role since only a year ago he transitioned back to the States after several years of ministry in Brazil.

One of his major projects right now is pioneering a partnership with the national campus office in New Zealand to upgrade their operations and HR processes to better serve the New Zealand national staff.

Tender and kind, yet strong and confident, Mike is a great listener. He’s gentle with me, and doesn’t shut down or run away from conflict. He surprises me with his vision for my life: how he sees God working in me, and through me. When we’re together, I feel at ease, relaxed, safe, and fully accepted.

We plan to get married on Monday 31 March 2008. Until then, I’m living with a friend’s mom, but my furniture and boxes are sitting in Mike’s garage. I’ll introduce you to Mike through my prayer letters in the coming months and you’ll see for yourself some of the reasons I love him.

First Meeting, and Engagement Story

The two met in 2001 when Mike took a group of college students overseas where Sarah was leading a ministry team in the Middle East.

In May 2007 Mike facebooked Sarah and that led to a fast and furious email correspondence-turned-dating relationship.

On Saturday 8 December 2007, after a marathon day of watching the sun rise over the east coast of Florida at Cocoa Beach, ice skating on a hot day under a tent near Orlando, and watching the sun set over the west coast of Florida, Mike proposed to Sarah on the soft, sandy shores of Sarasota.

The proposal spoke of seasons of warmth and sand, and seasons of ice and cold… spent together in partnership.

…And included a beautiful, sparkly ring!

Fat Days

I’m having a fat day. You know what I mean, don’t you? Or at least, most of you do. I don’t think my experience is foreign to many women. I know, there are some out there who are beautifully fit, healthy and slender. You probably either 1) eat really well and avoid all bad sugars and carbs, 2) spend all your hobby time in the gym and have the arms I only dream of achieving or 3) don’t have to work on your body or watch your weight ever. Obviously, my regular experiences are completely foreign to you. As are your experiences foreign to me.

But to all women everywhere who know what I’m talking about… this is for you. If you’ve ever had to jump up and down to pull up your pants, then read on!

So, today, I’m having a fat day.

My favorite jeans feel too tight. You know that pair, the one you put on and usually feel so comfortable in. The leg is just the right length for your high heeled boots, and the denim feels so soft from washing and wearing. Usually you feel good, beautiful, confident in your appearance when you wear them.

Well, not only do my favorite jeans feel too tight, but I just sorted through some pictures from the last two weeks, and I’m amazed at how pudgy my face looks. And my body. I lost some weight earlier this fall, but I think I put it back on and my jeans feel too snug. I’ve tried blaming it on all the plane flights I’ve had lately, chalking it up to bloating from ascending and descending all those thousands of feet in altitude. But let’s face it, I’m not fooling anyone. And I’m not that gassy.

Because my favorite jeans are too tight, I’m very self-conscious today, and that makes me too self-obsessed to focus on, reach out to and celebrate others. Yuck! It really prevents me from moving towards people. I feel self conscious, uncomfortable, full of shame and self condemnation, and I want to ignore God who gave me this body. I really just want to withdraw and hide. And wear sweats.

Two weeks ago at a women’s conference, I led a seminar examining lies in our belief system, and then replacing those lies with truth. We looked Satan’s tactics for sidelining us and distracting us from the truth of God’s love, and how Satan tries to leave us in isolation and bondage. We also searched through the Bible to look at what truth is, how much God loves us, and how truth sets us free.

My jeans being too too tight – I don’t think that’s a “lie,” (my jeans really are too tight. I can feel it), but allowing my pants (or my muffin top OVER my pants!) to isolate me and prevent me from moving towards others, that’s certainly bondage… I’m sure there are some lies in there, too, like: I’m not valuable if my pants feel too tight. God is disgusted with my body and therefore can’t use me in others people’s lives. I’m really so important in the world and in other people’s lives that if I gain weight, or my pants are too tight, others are too repulsed to interact with me. When my pants are too tight, I can’t contribute to society and only take up more space in it.

Seems like I give my pants and my body too much power to influence how I move through my day. Though it may be more comfortable to unbutton my jeans, I still can walk with Jesus, believing that He loves me, has good things in store for me, and can empower me to resist temptation. Who knows, God just may use me on a fat day.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, neither fat days nor muffin tops, nor any bloating, nor anything else in all creation, including me, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Sarah’s Version of Romans 8.38-39 for Fat Days).

13 November 2007

An Eye-Catching Moment

So, I’m sitting in my rear-numbing position on the sofa, on the left side, without pillows, so as to not breakdown the cushion in the middle (trying to even it out by sitting next to the arm of the sofa, you know). And something ON the cushion, right next to me, catches my eye. It’s moving away from me towards my papers. Can you guess?

Yes, a big, yellow spider. Gross.

I watched him move towards the pillows towards the the other end of the sofa and wondered where he came from. Frozen in place, I decided to email you about it. But in the second sentence I was distracted once again, although this time with an intensely growing sense of dread and fear… the spider was coming back towards me at break-neck speed! Grabbing my laptop and making retching sounds, I popped off the sofa faster than a Gale girl runs to chocolate. Thinking quickly, but unclearly, I eventually went to the bathroom to grab toilet paper (don’t kleenexes clog the plumbing?), just in case I needed to defend myself a third time from that nasty thing and attempt to flush him.

Well, so I’m sitting on the love seat now, perpendicular to the big sofa with the yellow spider, determined to finish this engaging story when I see, out of the corner of my eye, that same darned spider (at least, I hope it’s the same one!) crawling on the arm of the big sofa. Prepared, I jump into action, picking him up with my wad of toilet paper and running into the bathroom. I flushed, and held the handle for good measure. The paper went down, but the spider stayed on top of the water.

So now he’s in the hopper, with a fresh piece of TP on top of him (to make sure he’s stays there), and in a moment I’m going to flush him again.

If I wasn’t awake earlier, I am now! Spiders are gross. I am brave.

6 November 2007

A Cautionary Tale – Hair Care Products

Well, this morning I had a moment… Perhaps there’s a lesson for someone else in my life experience…

So, with all of the heat and humidity lately, my hair has been on the dry and frizzy side. I use a ‘deep’ conditioner, designed to make my hair smooth and sleek, but it is not living up to it’s advertised expectations. This morning a few thoughts ran through my mind…

I remembered using a de-frizzing oil in Thailand – a Thai staff gal offered it to me.
I remembered a hairdresser using some kind of oil on my hair, too.
I remembered not wanting to buy yet another hair-care product that I would only use half of.
I remembered a friend telling me how she uses hand/body lotion on her dry hair.

Then, I remembered the vegetable oil in the kitchen cabinet….

So I ventured to the kitchen, poured a little on my hands, rubbed them together and then began running my hands through my dry and brittle hair. Initially I thought I had used a little too much, so I pulled my hair back and put it up with a clip. Then I ran around the house gathering my things for the day. As I walked out the door I remembered what I forgot… My Crest White strips. I ran to the upstairs bathroom and froze when I saw my reflection.

My clean hair was an oily, greasy, mess!

I took the clip out, and let my stringy hair fall down to my shoulders. I gasped. I stared with disbelief. Cautiously I touched my hair. Oily. You know how, if you put a little vegetable oil on a paper towel and leave it for a few minutes, the oil will work it’s way through most of the paper towel? Well, it does that with your hair, too. What originally was clean hair with a little too much oil, was now hair that could deep-fry chicken. Nasty! I tried to fix it. I really did. But in the end, I had to bend over the edge of the tub and re-wash my hair. Now I was really late. Really late. I partially dried my hair, twisted it up into a clip, grabbed a rubber band and hat. As I walked out the door I remember the Crest White Strips. So I ran BACK upstairs for those strips, and finally got in the car. Laughing.

Sometimes I surprise myself with my great ideas. But some of my great ideas really are great ideas! Really. But this one wasn’t. So I sit here, typing to you with my ball cap on, smiling and shaking my head. Perhaps my cautionary tale can save you from the same mistake I made. If you want smooth, sleek, non-frizzy hair, don’t use vegetable cooking oil.

May you have a great hair-day today!

8 June 2005