Thursday, October 30, 2008

The old is gone and the new has come...



"Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to become somthing youve never been."
- This is humanity. Some people are better at moving on than others, some are stronger minded and do not grow intimidated. But most of us at one time or another have tried to become what we WERE instead of allowing ourselves to grow to a new place of "what we ARE." This is the past two months for me especially. It is so difficult to be a different person than I ever have been in the place im most farmiliar with. I find I try to revert back to my old ways of thinking and my old mannerisms. Lets be honest, most days I fail to really bring Jesus glory but im just so glad that I have a savior that loves me no matter how bad I screw up or fail. Based on my last blog you probably have figured out by now that the fear of FAILURE is my ultimate fear. But failing at what, I don't know. I fear failing Jesus and not living up to His potential for my life. I fear that I will fail at my own expectations. I fear at failing others expectations of me (but i find that most people have much lower standards of me than I have of myself). HERES THE PROBLEM: I can not fail Jesus anymore, yes I can sin but I am saved. I am not saved by obedience or acheiving the "best missionary of the year" award. I was saved the very moment I chose to believe in JC death and resurrection. And Jesus has no expectation of me for He already knows what Im gonna do but gets on my level to help me know what to do. Over and over He promises that HE WILL LEAD. Im coming to the conclusion that Im just a sheep. Im fragile, desperate, and weak. I cant defend myself well, I cant speak right, I follow people and wonder out on my own...all the traits I see as weak...are what we are. Ha ha. There is some definte irony in that. Eventhough I am a sheep, I WANT to know my masters voice better than anyone elses. Have you ever had those times when you feel the Lord speak softly to you and you start crying because it was exactly what you needed to hear??? you may not have cried but that seems to be my reaction to everything these days, happy or sad...tears tears tears. His voice is beautiful and its trusting. I get the impression that so many times a day the Lord just wants us to know that He loves us. I hear Him say it alot. But then there are those times, He has to be a little more stern and say "do you believe I am able to do this???" I have been so challenged the last couple days with that. Do I really believe that the Lord can do what He says he CAN and WILL do??? Right now, I'd have to say no because my hands are still being pryed away from the options of my future, but its really starting to get there. Hurray. One of my good friends Jeff gave me a verse today that reads-
"But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is takenaway. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is THERE IS FREEDOM. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord- who is the Spirit- makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this nenw way, we never give up." 2 COR 3:16-17....
The veil has been taking away from my eyes and I have been ruined for the ordinary but its cool to see that even the ordinary with Jesus becomes the extraordinary (sorry for the clique) but its so true. It takes alot of effort right now to include him in my life but I don't know if my relationship with Him has ever been this real before.
In closing, life is scary, im not a victim, freedom comes with turning my face toward Jesus and washing his feet every chance I get. I want to worship, I want to serve. I dont have a real perception of reality and what life is all about but at least there are a few priorities that are in the right place. Thank you to all who pray for me and read this. I hope you can connect someway. Never feel sorry for me but be glad that these things have to happen. Id rather they did. Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you. Love you. Ash

Monday, September 29, 2008

WHAT TO DO???? Sep 29, 2008




I have been back a little less than a month and honestly I am sad to report that this month home has been the ultimate test thus far. I am realizing I am much weaker than I thought and definitly a girl because I've been more moody and have been on the edge of tears more times than I can count. Coming back to reality is something I thought I had somehow already acheived while I was away because that was the reality that I loved. But now I am back in the place I left,having to deal with the troubles and trails I left behind. The wounds I had when I left just faded away from the surface but have pushed their way back up now that Im in my room again. I definitly don't regret coming home because I know it where I need to be. I am often torn between who I am and who I want to be but also IF i can be whom i want to be. I have seen signs of depression returning but thats just rediculous and a trick from Satan because I know I was freed from that. Daily I have to remind myself that the world is bigger than me and my problems and this period of my life is still tender and most definetly vulnerable. I am bitter at many things but I can pin point most of them. I am bitter that things didnt work out the way I expected when I got back. I am bitter sometimes that I have to live at home, eventhough I am greatful its just hard. My mom and dad know that so its cool to write that out honestly. Im bitter...ah...thats enough im bitter. I just want to be "better.." ha silly clique. I am constantly dealing with struggles I didnt know existed with money and power and having to choose a direction based upon minimal facts of my future and having to risk making the wrong choice. Its so crazy that we ahve to somehow choose our future in these couple of years after high school. And what really pisses me off sometimes is that some seem to glide right through this time with no hiccups while others like me take athousand different steps in some random directions hoping to end up where the Lord wants. This is really confusing and the answer of "trust in Jesus" sometimes Just doesnt cut it. I could be rash in saying that but at the same time I know the state of my heart is definitly in no place of trusting him right now. I am bitter at Jesus too for putting me back in a place that I have to battle through all these wierd snares and deceptions of the world to get to the truth of him! He would make me do that! Again, I still love Jesus but I know Im not trustin him right now and thats part of the reason I am so frustrated. I find it terribly hard to read my Bible or pray when just one month ago thats all I wanted to do. This is crazy. I feel like I am being bombard from several directions. My past, my present and my future and have to decide what Im gonna do in my life. It does not help that I have such high expectations for myself and feel like i only acheive success if its seen. But even if a goal is acheived and seen...it still doesnt seem to be enough. I will never measure up to my expectations, nor the worlds. What a seeky little trap satan sets up for kids in my generation. He isolates us, makes us think no one cares, and makes us defeat ourself in our mind even before we take on the real task of living. HMMMM. My theology is getting stronger but my understanding of GRACE is still wrong. and I give myself tooo much credit for being divine. ha ha. Somehow I think that if I make an adult decision Jesus will love me more or something and I dont need his help. Or if I pretend like I can do things on my own, He'll get tired of it and turn away leaving me the freedom to make a "scam decision" for my future anyway, eventhough thats not at all what I want....LOL. (if your reading this your probably going crazy)! well welcome to my world right now.
A few good things that have happened since being back: one of my friends that I really hurt before I left has taken me back and were cool now. Thank you for your forgiveness! Also, one of my co-workers that I prayed for all through the months told me that hes ready to follow Jesus! Thank you Jesus. Also, I am reconnecting with people and making all sorts of friends. Lastly, I have already grown up much more, im still scared to engage this world but thats because i feel like I have nothing to offer it directly or indirectly. The coined phrase I have for my life right now is "immature ameature" (i dont even know how to spell it. sad) But I know it will work out for His glory. And thats what life is about anyway. If I keep that in mind, HIS GLORY, than I know I wont end up shaming him and wasting my life. Dear Jesus please dont let me waste my life! Amen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Itchy Butt crack and Robbed! Nice!


August 10th m(the title will be explained later) :)

Hello Hello Hello from Herrnhut Forest!
A little over four months ago, I flew away from Colorado and arrived in Kona Hawaii only to be pushed and prodded and challenged to change. The culprit of this challenge…the HOLY SPIRIT! There have been, and still are, definite times of resistance on my part but I am learning that it’s easier to give into the Good than try to validate my cause of ignorance (if you know what I mean). I have come to be very comfortable with this tension and agree that if a day goes by without me feeling the splice between “who I am, now” and “who I want to be in the future,” than something has been overlooked in my spirit.
I believe the last time I wrote was while in Paris and that seems like a lifetime ago. Since then, we have traveled to Berlin (stayed there a week), than onto a small town called Herrnhut (where the 100 year prayer movement started and missionaries have been being sent out from for ages), headed to Czech Republic for a week, only to double back into Germany to a little town called Germa, and than once again to Herrnhut. As of now, we are waiting for our next move. There is a possibility to go to Prague this week but money is very slim and time of the essence. We are suppose to be on a bus to London on Sunday night and Progue would overlap the times. If we don’t go to Prague than we will stay in Herrnhut, Germany at the YWAM base until Sunday! I’m set with anything we decided to do.
Several interesting stories have taken place over the past couple of weeks. Just to name a few… *In Berlin, we were truly on outreach. We stayed at this beautiful school but on the wood gym floor and no hot water for a week. I got use to the cold, community showers and didn’t really have a problem with it, but I do admit that when we arrived in Herrnhut, (a small small town) the relief I had prayed for arrived. This place is covered with foliage and has a trickling brook flowing past. There are hiking trails right outside the building and I found myself wondering all over the place just enjoying. However beautiful this place was, it had a major downfall!!!! MOSQUITOES!!!! I left that place with over 60 bites and (lets be honest) it was the first time I had mosquitoes in my BUTT CRACK!!!! If you’ve ever had one of those you understand the weight behind that reality! They itched like crazy. Yep, I had an itchy butt crack for about a week and it was very uncomfortable let me tell you! 
* We went to perform at a music festival called “Freak Stock” and it was all Jesus lovers. It was held at this old race track with several tents set up for the main bands! There was great food, laughter and music! The people that came just camped out for a couple days and chill. There were mostly hippies and “extreme” Christians, if that stereotype is really valid, and that place will be one of the fondest memories of outreach.
* In Czech Republic my wallet was stolen!!! (yeah that’s a fond memory!) All my access to cash and money was in that wallet so as of right now I am moneyless and having to fully be dependent on God to provide. My credit card and debit card were taken but those have been canceled so now its just the sore pride and putting pieces back together. However, God has already come through with $32 of cash from random donors within my group and I am so grateful! So Czech was not my favorite place.  .
*To back track a little, on our way to “Freak Stock” we travelled in a Russian bus for what was suppose to have been four hours. Well, well, well….four turned to 5 and 56…….the tripped ended up being 10 hours long. The problem, however, was not the amount of time we spent in the bus, it was the condition of the bus. This bus was rank! It had no air conditioning and was crammed beyond all words. The 5’4’’ peoples knees even touched the feet in front of them. Also, it was stand still traffic with scotching heat permeating through the windows. What do you get when you add 51 people that consist of mostly girls, on a bus where bodies are touching, with no air to breathe and no food to eat and little hope of escape????? A HOLOCAUST! HAHAHA! But what an adventure! I was annoyed at times but I knew it would eventually end so it was cool. (All those trips to Mexico paid off for sure)!!
There are indeed other great moments but those are a few that I thought fun or interesting enough. In my spirit, Jesus has really been working on giving me a ever-changing perspective on life. I am studying 1 JOHN 4:7-17 in my personal quite times and it has really started to change the way I think and appoarch life. I would encourage everyone to meditate on that passage for it quite literally sums up the entire Christian life and the heart of Christ. Also I’ve been reading Psalms 104- pretty sure God rocks! Read that one in the message and NLT because its so encouraging and awe- inspiring!
I will be home in less than three weeks and am so excited to see you all. I am trying to remain fully here at DTS until August 29th and than I will be able to think about home. Sometimes its so hard though because its close. In Hebrews it talks about having a “patient endurance” and “special longing” for those he loves. I am there friends and family. Although my work and learning here are not done, I patiently long to see you soon!!!! I’m gonna close with a challenge: Do your actions show those around you that you love them? Do you really love them or is it to keep up pretense of being a good “Christian?” If you don’t really love the people around you, it’s ok, just ask Jesus to give you that revelation and be ready to receive it. ITS INCREDIBLE and well worth the process.
See you soon- love you all- ASHLEY

Thursday, July 17, 2008

City of Love....???

Hello, Hello, Hello from France!!!
We arrived in France last Wednesday exhausted but greatful to have finally get off the bus. The trip from Morocco to France was a long and draining one. It encompassed 3 days and involved ,much sitting. We started out with a 5 hour bus ride, only to arrive at the train station and wait a few hours for the 12 hour train ride. From there we took the Ferry across the Med. Sea and were blessed with a cruise type boat. It was not disgusting and crawling with bugs like the last ferry had been. It was really clean and served great Coffee! I slept the entire way. We arrived in Spain and hauled all the teams luggage out to a bus. Thankfully we had a trailer for all the suitcases and crawled onto the bus for an exceedingly unending bus ride. The bus ride was suppose to be around 20 hours. 20 hours of sitting up and pretending to sleep. However, the 20 became 30. We were on a bus for over a day. That was insane. Thankfully cars put me to sleep so I slept most of the time. . We ate at a few grocery stores along the way and realized we were definitely not in Morocco anymore! The country side was beautiful and we got to drive through mountains so I felt right at home. The higher on the map we got, the cooler and more beautiful it became. We eventually arrived in Paris – awesome beautiful spectacular city- and drove to a university on the outskirts of downtown. The university is full of trees and the weather is exactly like home! Thank you Lord. I have been able to layer my sweatshirts and go for walks without needing to saturate myself in deodorant! One totally awesome detail I forgot to mention is that we were expecting to have to stay in tents, but that was so wrong! We actually were blessed with INDIVIDUAL rooms in the dorm- um…let me tell you I was singing and almost cried at the news. My room has become my haven and my prayer room. I can sleep when I want to sleep, I can do my makeup without having to share a mirror, I can even do my devotion sitting at a desk looking out at beautiful trees without a whole mess of Koreans yelling in the back (hilarious when that would happen). It was been a true blessing. However, we are apart of a camp, we didn’t know that and have to go to lectures again and follow the camp rules. The leaders on our team are really starting to butt heads with their team for many reasons but mainly, the camp only wants us to perform one or two pieces of the show so they can draw a crowd to evangelize too. Maria- our leader- is so frustrated because our performance is our evangelism because we cannot speak French. Also we haven’t had a day off since arriving in France. No sleep. No money for food. Having to deal with a whole new group. Etc…. Oh yeah and we found out all our shows for next week have been cancelled! So please pray for that. We feel limited by that and it gets frustrating. I do not really feel bothered by the whole situation though. I am glad that we have leaders that take care of the troubles because I am focused on drawing my relationship with God to a deeper and more intimate level and really just go with the flow of the group. I laugh usually when people are stark angry (oops ) and try to keep the mood light because there are things that will throw the curve ball in and we have to deal. Sometimes I get annoyed because we are lacking in food money and have to go 10 hours without eating…not fun. But I know I’ll have an attitude if I open my mouth so most times I read a book or keep distance and not make decisions in that time. LOL.!!!
There have been some real encouragements along the way thus far. We performed for a few of the students and come to find out a few were American teenagers!!! Holy cow -dear Jesus- thank you. I talked with them, with no interpreter, and prayed for them! It was such a blessing and a confirmation. Also, France feels so much like America that I feel totally at home here, well upon not being able to communicate or walk by myself, but really there is a peace that was definitely lacking in Morocco. I still get starred at a lot but because it’s a tourist town, I can blend in well. Thirdly, I have been able to escape to my room and read and pray and think and dream…ah I cant tell you how awesome and encouraging it is to be alone with the Holy Spirit in the morning times. If you haven’t developed the discipline of time alone with God, I will show you some methods when I get back if you want, but I definitely encourage you to find that time. Find that place where you can be regenerated with the Savior.
Oh I have one crazy story to tell. I have been reading a lot about intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare and the strategies that lull us into ignorance of the spiritual world, and let me tell you I had an encounter with something the other night. I had had a great day with Jesus that day, prayed for many people and just practiced what I had been studying. I went to sleep that night very peaceful. But woke up 3 hours later to a suffocating fear. It seemed like the darkness could be touched and then that feeling of “I’m being watched” started creeping over my body. Now, let me step back and tell you that that night was the only night I had slept with my window and one of my blinds open, but I am on the 3rd floor and facing a park so I didn’t think much of it. Anyway, so there was honestly no way anyone could be watching me. So when I woke up and had that eerie feeling, and hairs on my neck stood up, I was pretty scared. I had to walk to the bathroom down the hall, because we all still share bathrooms, and I thought whatever the feeling was would go away- it didn’t. As I walked along the halls, exhausted and scared, there was a distinct feeling that it was following me. I did my thing and headed back to my room while praying the Lord would tell me what I was up against and how to get rid of it. I walked back into my room, laid down, and kept praying. By this time, the fear had made me made because I HATE being afraid so I was praying very pissed off at this “thing”. When I felt the Lord say, “shut your window and your blinds,” – no problem there, I jumped up, whipped those things shut and laid back down. Than from the different spiritual warfare strategies that I had been reading about, I started trying to identify what kind of demonic spirit I was dealing with- FEAR! Whatever this thing was or looked like, I know it was trying to make me afraid. I was pretty sure though that I didn’t have the power to “bind” a demon being a little human I am… but than the verses that I had read that night in ACTS reminded me that Peter, Paul, John, Jesus…countless others have all been able to cast out demons because of the Holy Spirit…. “Huh,” I thought, “Well, I have the Holy Spirit, im just gonna try this.” So I said outloud (of course still angry) “In Jesus name, and by His victory on the cross, you have no right to be taunting me and hanging around, so I bind you fear and command you to leave this room and go to the foot of the cross!!!” – sounded pretty powerful, lol. And let me tell you…- it was! The Holy Spirit is real and proclaiming Jesus name is real power. After I proclaimed that- I was asleep in ten minutes and was again sleeping so peacefully. ------------------------------------------------However, later on, when I woke up I thought I had dreamed the whole thing or I was making it more dramatic than it really was and that no demon was really in my room watching me last night….but I was talking to a few friends, 3 to be exact, and all of them had had a very similar experience at the same time I did that night. Two of the girls had been in the same room and had felt the exact thing together , the other girl explained what she felt to me without having heard about my story, and they lined up exact. It was insane! Now let me go on because this gets better. Back in Kona, Hawaii, one of my friends told me that God spoke to her telling her that we are going to be attacked by Satan and his army when we go on outreach. She said she was given a vision of a chess game and Satan was starting to move his pieces…he was sending his troops to be in position. Than another person that same week had a vision. She said in her vision she saw demons, very black and scary, RUNNING and RUSHING to engage in full attack towards us. They were being sent out to destroy anyway they could! (Now talk about your encouraging visions- lol!) So having been pre-warned that Satan was preparing, we were on guard. But he had to attack in the night when we were most tired and most unprepared… Literally, he sent his army to attack certain people and terrify them….Insane. I will not underestimate the spiritual world anymore, but I also will not give satan the benefit of being afraid of him because that’s exactly what he wants. Besides, Jesus is Lord and has already won the victory. We are covered by His blood and have power to demolish satans plans. Why do you think satan tries desperately to destroy us and make us ignorant? – because he hates that he’s already lost the fight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH.( Battle cry necessary there! )Anyway, that was the experience and it was rad! Praise Jesus, Thanks Lord for being smart enough to outwit your enemy and wanting me to know that Your that powerful and LOVE me that much.
To all of you, I hope you enjoyed the dramatic story that gives God glory and I want you to know that prayer is real, Jesus’ name is powerful and that He wants you to experience a deeper and more powerful reality of HIMSELF. – my opinion- go for it. No fear!
- ASHLEY-

Saturday, July 5, 2008

bon jour from Morocco

I only have a few minutes to write but am so excited to be able to get a chance. we of course dont have internet on the road so whenever i get a chance i snag a minute. Yesterday was the first time i could write ont he internet and it was on an arabic computer- very interesting... Anyway. The adventure is good thus far. Taking up my cross daily is for sure hard but awesome. We headed to spain first and got to slept on the mountain side of Malaga in tents with the Meditterain sea a couple stone throws away. - sound like missionary work -??? yes, we had several performances and the first one we had a man come forward to accept Jesus- !!!! can we say Praise the Lord we have another citizen of Christ. My spirit soars everytime I get to have a conversation about Christ, its what i love. From Spain, we took a bus--> ferry--> train--> bus ride to Northern Africa in Morocco and this is been the hardest of my journey of DTS so far. My identity of being a women, a christian, an american is being stripped but the good part is that my identity in Chirst is something I can understand and firmly hold too now. There are great stories but one I want to tell is this. Yesterday after the performance a girl came up to me, which really they are not allowed to do here in this musilim country, and told me her name means "Virgin Mary"!!! The perfect leeway into a conversation about Christ. We talked about unconditional love and Jesus,!!!! She is again coming to the performance tonight. I can not wait to talk with her some more. Please pray for the Holy spirit to intercede in Mariums life tonight.
We leave for France on monday and have a 4 hr bus--> 2 hr ferry--> to a 12 hr train --> to a 20 HOUR BUS RIDE!!!! yup 20... please pray for our safety and our health. A couple are sick. I greatfully have not been sick. Please continue to pray that my spirit is stretched and i grow deeper with Christ. Also a contentment with just "being" with Christ but a definite uncontentment of the condition of the world. I have been meditating on Psalms 23 and Joshua 1 while in Morocco and if youd like to join me that would be great. Keep praying and praising. Jesus rocks and I love Him so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to all, talk to you soon. - Ashley

Friday, May 30, 2008

Christmas in May?

I am so excited to write this blog because two amazing things happened to me this week!!! Get ready...
Numero uno - #1-:
I have been praying for a specific kind of instrument for about three months. I felt back in February that I needed to start praying for it and the passion to want to learn to play. So I did every time I remembered or was reminded. I specifically prayed that the instrument would fit my hands perfectly. There were times when I would lose hope but than something would trigger the desire and Id get all excited to start prayin again. Here comes the kicker...!!! On tuesday of this week...my prayer was answered! My class was in the middle of an intercessory prayer time and one of the girls in my group raised her voice and shouted "has anyone been praying for a guitar?" ...i slowly raised my hand because I wasnt sure if what was happening was real. There was another hand that shot into the air behind me and I just assumed that because he was a little more anxious to answer the question that what ever was about to happen next was meant for him. The girl asking the quesiton however, zoomed in on me and asked how long I had been praying - "3 months" I answered. She gave a smile from ear to ear- "I have a guitar for you."
.............................................................................I, I, I, stuttered for sure and couldnt breath or speak or smile. All I could do was cry out in joy. I honestly don't know if I have ever been that speechless or overwhelmed with excitment or humility. Rachel, the girl giving the guitar, ran over to me in front of my class, handed me the guitar and started crying with me. At this point, I still couldn't talk. It felt like Jesus was just delighted in how He had blessed me that day! Rachel told me the story behind the guitar also known as "Claudia" - the guitars name. Rachel went on to tell me how she, herself had been praying for a guitar and that her best friend felt she should send hers from home. So her best friend packed up the guitar and sent it to Rachel without her knowing. Rachel received it and was blessed but apparently she knew right away that it wasn't meant for her. Rachel said she received a word from God that it was meant for someone else. Rachel called her best friend to ask if it was okay to give away but before Rachel could open her mouth, her best friend told her that God had instructed her to tell Rachel that the guitar was meant for someone else on her DTS. God spoke to both girls seperatly the exact same word. Truly amazing. So Rachel prayed about who to give it too all weekend but there was no answer. On tuesday morning however during that prayer time, she had the "go ahead" to ask the question. I answered. God gave me a guitar on tuesday. Not only that, but the guitar fits into my hands perfectly. Claudia (the guitar) is beautiful. She has scars but that makes her have so much more character- and from the moment the guitar was placed in my hands- I havent let go. I have already cried with this guitar, worshipped and sang with every once inside of me total praise to Jesus. I honestly dont know of another time when the Lord has so specifically answered my prayers. I saw a different part of God that day, the part where He wants to see us breathlessly happy! He loves us that much. :) :) :) = That was a good day!
Now that was only one blessing this week. The second is almost as crazy.

Numero dos- #2- The first couple days of being in Kona were awesome but when I heard the worhsip team for the first time...my heart leap for Joy and pounded like a rock in my chest. I have always had the desire to worhsip but have surpressed it so long that it took me awhile to admit that I love it! I had the desire form the first day of being in Kona, that I wanted to help lead worship with this worship team in front of the corporate body of believes at least once before I left. Only catch was, I was intimidated to talk with any of them. It was a long time before I met any of them and it just so happens that I ran into the main worhsip leader at Dennys late one nite. We talked a bit and I asked if they let people do that...He seemed only slightly interested. I went home and was a bit dissappointed. But than just one week after that little meeting, guess who comes walking up to me? (You can only imagine Im sure) Yes, that same worship leader. He looks real excited and tell me about a story of somehow, someway he heard me sing somewhere and sometime...(yeah sorry no details, I was just too excited that he appoarched me too even listen to what he was saying)! anyway, bottomline- he asked me and one of my good girlfriends, andy, - also an amazing vocalist- to lead worhsip with him this thursday night!!!! Ummmmmm, can we say, a MIRACLE!!!!(im singing that by the way)!
So last night, I got to participate in the MOST amazing worship service ever. Ever EVER!!! Not only was the service great and worship freeing, we raised over $55,000.00 in fundraising that night. We sang the song, "open the floodgates of Heaven, let it RAIN!!!" - He opened, it rained...pretty cool huh? :) Well, anyway, my dream and love for music has skyrocket this last week and I know it was all in His amazing time that He brought me back to my natural love of Music! Amen, thank you Lord!

Awesome, alright, love you all! Thanks for sharing in this with me. Thank you Lord!

Monday, May 12, 2008

ODE TO MA!

So theres this woman i know.
She's pretty cool and I love her alot.
Unfortunatly, i was MIA on mothers day!
My heart hurts a bit
but reat assure, our love goes beyond borders.
So ill pop in to the A-town in four months and we'll be reunited.
But for mothers day I send a flower with a note...



MOM, I love you so much.
I love that I have received so many amazing qualities and
characteristics from you. You are somehow directly or indirectly
involved in every favorite memory.
Some of my favorite memories of you are when you laugh so hard that your smile
is contagious and you can't really breathe for a while,or start crying...:)
Or when you do silly things and you give me this look of "Oops" and than smile...Haha.
I love the way you can take charge of a situation and I always know Im safe with you.
You claim your my biggest fan, and truely your actions and unconditional love prove it
everyday. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you or want to talk.
I know im selfish and take advantage of you alot and I am so sorry for the times I have
forgotten to show you how much I love you. You mean the world to me and have truely made all the difference between Heaven and Hell here on earth. Thank you and Dad for following Christ and introducing me to Him. You were used in the saving of many souls. And that love and obedience has inspired me.

I love you mom. Your my best friend. I love being like you and I also want you too know how proud I am of you. I can only wish that my kids will feel the same love and value that I have felt and been instilled with from you. I want to raise my kids like you and daddio raised us.

Man, mom, I just love you.
Thank you.
I raise my coffee cup to your honor:)
Your the best.
With Love- Ashley.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wheres my heart?

Some random fun....

Snokeling with some friends

Hiking in Weipio Valley

Tragic Results of hike that cant really be seen...my legs are swollen and bruised...my toe is busted up and every shearing throb of pain was worth the hike...:)

FUN FUN FUN:
The fun finally arrived after a terribly difficult week last week. It was a week full of emotion and digging deep into the past. The speaker, an energetic Asian- American named Kristy Kim, had a degree in Psychology and an MA in Counceling... Normally this would be helpful to know but I found myself compelty turned off to anything she had to say because of my background in Psych. I didnt really think I had a problem with psychology but I found out that my lack of a bias actually turned out to be vicious and it made the week much more difficult. Not only was I suppose to dig into my past when I didn't want too but the speaker that lead us there was one I had a harsh mistrust for from the get-go. Sounds like a fun week huh? Haha. Well, the week didn't get any better, at least regarding my attitude. I really started to withdraw and didn't want to take away from the groups accomplishments so Itried to be as isolated as I could... it probably seemed that I didn't like anyone last week but the cool thing was that instead of getting offended they were supportive; and everyone knows that we all have different struggles to deal with. So its the most encouraging environment I've been in when being faced with vulnerablity. All in all, the week was a stretching week. I did learn alot about myself and the Holy Spirit and how to deal with past issues all the while trying to ignore the fact that pscyhology is actually a helpful tool in some cases. Ha.
The most enjoyable part of the week was when fridays bells rang and freedom was awaiting. My performing arts group had a beach day on Saturday with some of the best BBQ i've every had. I went snokeling and had a gay ol' time. Than on Sunday, a prayer was answered. My friends Potter and Ian were going hiking in on of the most beautiful valleys ever. Some of Jurassic Park was filmed in this particular spot where two water falls met at the bottom of a tear-shaped cliff. At the bottom was a crystal clear pool that is clean enough to drink from. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! It was the hardest hike I have ever done though. The rainforest has some tough terrain. We had to hike through the river over slippery ground and jagged rocks- hense the bruises on my legs. I fell many times but loved every minute. The people in my group, however, made this kind of hike look like a walk in the part...maybe I'm not as graceful as I thought- hmmm. Haha.
There were spots to jump of rocks into the water- tested and approved spots so it was safe- and when we reached the top there were some little caves we had to rock climb to and than jump into the water. Now if you know me- that is totally my kinda thing. I havent felt so alive and challenged phyically in a long time. :) :) :)

Its tuesday now and today my body is broken. My legs are still swollen and the exhaustion is still heavy but this weeks teaching is a spin off of last week that will rock me to my core. The purpose of last week was to shake up issues I've delt with- which it did- and this week is about understanding satan's strategy in trying to kill us and use those issues to hinder us, and how we can throw off those issues and strongholds through the power of Jesus Christ. Seriously, the last two days have been the most encouraging and "meaty" days since I've been here. One major, MAJOR point that I am learning is that- I can have alot of head knowledge about God, I can memorize scripture and all but if thats it than its a shallow relationship at best. If I don't believe what I'm memorizing or actually take it into my heart and better understand who Christ is and let the Holy Spirit transform my mind...than my act of memorizing is pointless. To get a better understanding...I use the example of two singers that I've seen. One singer had an incredible voice with talent beyond anything I could ever hope for, BUT when the alter call came, no one came...The second singer had a voice that was not as advanced as the first singer but it was good. When the alter call came, the room was flooded with tears and surrender. What was the difference? - The first singer only used her voice to glorify herself...she lacked communication and persuasion with her audience and her reward was only the thought of "I'm good and maybe a pat on the back." However, the second singer had a gift far greater than the first singer...HEART! She believed what she sang, she communicated her message and through her voice God was able to be glorified, hence His movement in the audience. (Don't know if I communicated that example well but I think you get it all). - My "religious" exterior may look impressive to some, but I would rather have a humble and grace- filled trial of faith with Christ than a faith that is "fixed and self-glorifying that could merely be considered a faith." I want more and more for my heart to be one with Christ. I want to take on His heart and understand His power in transforming lives and truely experience that transformation. And really my second prayer would be for each of you reading this that you will understand His power and love as well. And ever more that I can help lead you to that place when I get back...Man how Awesome He is I'm discovering.
- Man I could go forever, but I need to go to bed. thanks for your prayers all of you and I love you all. - ash

Thursday, April 24, 2008

She wiped His feet with her hair....


1. Awesome Sunset 2. Me and Andy 3. Drumming...:)




4. The gang 5. STAR WARS TEAM!!! 6. Roommate Bec and Me
For those of you that arnt farmilar with the Bible, there is a story about a woman named Mary. Mary loved Jesus. One day while Jesus was teaching to a crowd, Mary came with a perfume jar that was worth a years wages. She knelt at Jesus' feet, broke the jar over him and wiped his feet with her hair- John 12:1-9
I was reminded of this passage two weeks ago while in a worship session. It has continiously been brought up in my mind and my prayer has been to have such deep devotion and intensity in following Christ, just as Mary did.
Today was my day.
I had planned to fast today but little did I know that God would ask for more than one days worth of food... Today in session we were listening to this heart throbbing story about the prositution in the Red Light District in Amsterdam when the words "your hair" popped into my mind. Weird, I know...even curious. The session was great and passion filled. It was talking about how my generation is great yet our tragedy is passivity. We get lost in video games and false realities...which i completely agree with. And the challenge was to not merely "think" about action but actually take action. My heart throbbed with the desire yet my fear of action and responsibility overwhelmed me just the same....
HERES THE KICKER... to end, the preacher asked us to go back to our rooms grab something of value that is important to us and give it up to Jesus. So there I go daddiling back to my room trying to think of something I can give up whether material or emotional, whatever...than... it hits me- hard and fast...before I knew what I had to do and before I had time to think...I ran to my room...made a direct beeline for my knife and headed back to the gym. I started weeping as my fingers gripped the knife. I stood infront of the cross, behind everyone else with puddles forming under my feet. I prayed for help. A girl came over that I had only met once. I handed her the knife. I told her to cut my hair. With tear filled eyes and a shaky hands...she started cutting. With every cut, a tear. With every tear, a smile. I knew at that moment what Mary must have felt when she wiped Jesus' feet with her hair. I knew what it meant to worship Jesus...

So now, My hair is short, about chin length and still really choppy and uneven. But I love it. After having the day to process what went on this morning there are a few remaining things I want to say. - I do not at all regret what I did. This truely was the highest and most perfect sacrifice I could have known. It is difficult to explain but I will try. See, I have been known as the tall, beautiful long-blonde girl. I have taken so much pride in that fact. I have always been able to use my beauty to be seen or stand out. Beauty has always been a security for me because if I don't feel comfortable I could always hide behind a pretty face and long flowing locks...:) I do not want to hide anymore. I do not want to use the beauty God has given me to glorify my own looks anymore. I want people to see Christs beauty in me now. I want my eyes, my smile, my laugh, but most of all my actions to show Christs love and bring people in. Amen! I want to be the woman that is willing to give up everything for the sake of knowing Christ and it has to begin with herself. I was broken before Jesus' today, BUT, as I stood there weeping...all I heard was..."you are worth more than your hair. You are BEAUTIFUL despite how long or short your hair is. I can USE you now...!!!" -.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Can anyone say AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today has been an emotional day and there were times when I said- "your crazy!" But at those moments of discouragement, one or two people would walk by and tell me what an encouragment that act was today. Ironically enough, I felt uncomfortable anyone saying that because I cut my hair to try and rid the attention factor but I guess God had other plans.
I was able to share this infront of the whole DTS tonight in one of our meetings and it was incredible. The story, however, doesnt end there...when I got up in front of that crowd, in front of that pulpit with a microphone...I knew my calling was just beginning...:)
THE NEW DUE...

video

One of the most amazing nights of worship I've ever seen... sorry its sideways...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Beginnings

Beginning of HIP-HOP try-out
The End of HIP HOP try-outs -ha ha ha
My friend Catlin and I in the backseat of the car that broke down...Sweet!

New way to take a pic...shake your head madly and see what happens...ha ha ha
headed to the beach with a sweet headband! ; )
Beach Volleyball- Sunburn!
Winning team
starting from the left: Gir, Leif, Micah, Me, Rachel
The car we drove to the top of the mountain...it didnt start and than overheated...its cool though we were safe. SO FUN!
Left: Potter --> Dave...finally got the car started!

I dont even know where to start.
So many prayers were answered this week.
So many memories and past regrets had to be dealt with and are still daily being thought and prayed through.
So many people I met.
And more than enough Godly wisdom to last me a lifetime.
Lets start with prayers:
- Before I came, I prayed that I would find some great friendships here or at least good ones that helped me understand community and the importance of relationships in our world. When I arrived I found out that my particular DTS is 90% female....honestly a very difficult fact for me to accept considering my good friends are guys. So I started praying that while I am in Hawaii at least, a couple good guy FRIENDS would come along= and so they have. I have guy friends that help me keep my sanity sometimes but also some good down-to-earth girls that i can chill with in my DTS. Praise the Lord.
- I had been praying for a guitar since I got here...guess what? God provided. This guy walked up to me with a guitar and said "here use it for a while." I was floored. Thank you Lord! It feels good to have a guitar in my hands-even though I'm not very good at it thus far. But that will change.
- Some huge personal prayers are activally being answered...I wont go into too much detail here just because I don't feel the need to share them. But if you know me well and know what I struggle with please keep praying that the Lord will continuiously shine His light in the dark places of my soul, so those places can become light.

The topic of the week this week was: "Hearing Gods Voice." It has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. Obviously, we learned about God's voice but it was an in depth study and so much detail was shed on the subject. It was AWESOME!!! There were several times God spoke to me clearly this last week and it was good to hear His voice:) We also learned about Intercessory Prayer and how powerful it is! Again, I'm floored at how little I know about all of this.

There are so many great stories to choose from that happened this past week that are worth mentioning but seriously every moment becomes my favorite...Its hard for me to store it all.

A couple stories I guess will do...1)A couple friends and I were able to have a 45 min conversations about Christ in a McDonalds with a former morman girl named Ally. She was taken intrigued but mostly because we were passionate. No commit was made or anything but it was obvious to see the Lord has a call on her life. Please pray for Ally. 2) I was able to test my sand volleyball skills this past weekend but unfortuantly forgot my sunscreen- i am fried!!! The tan line will be awesome but holy cow I'm in pain right now. 3) We talked about different ways God speaks to us and one of the ways God speaks is: dreams. (Look at many major characters in the Bible and you have your proof of that way). I have had several dreams recently but one last night was totally crazy that woke me up and had me thinking critically at six in the morning. I wrote it down and thought about the theological ramifications of the dream...and in the lecture today, the pastor used my dream as an example...without me having told anyone about this crazy dream. It was almost eerie but I'm starting to not be so freaked out by how real God is and how He chooses to speak. I'm not at all saying, I can dream or have visions or anything- although that would be cool- but to have my dream seconded like that...was insane! The dream was about Satans strategy to kill us all. I wont go much deeper, maybe the dream was from past books I read all crammed into one...I don't know but it was rad!

I had my first hint of homesickness today but I know I must continue on. Please pray for me on that...

A few main lessons I've learned this week:
- My best is good enough for God
- God is truely the lover of my soul and all I want is to seek His heart. I do love what He has created but oh how much more I love His characeter and faithfulness...
- the development of a relationship involves talking and listening- same as in developing a relationshi with the Lord.
-There is no truth UNLESS there is a God!

OUTREACH UPDATE:
We have decided to only go to Europe and Africa (thus far) instead of China because the cost is too expensive. I need to raise $3000 more dollars for my outreach in the next four weeks. I found out that it can be tax-deductable...praise the Lord...if sent directly to YWAM. I will again be sending out support letters here shortly to update you even more. Please pray if you would like to be apart of this opportunity too.

Thank you so much, each one of you for the various roles you have played in my life and growth. I do apologize for mispelled words or confusing sentences...im extremely tired right now. I pray for each of you and I love you. Drop me a note for that always encourages me.

Peace from Hawaii!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Death By Coconut



Kona Coffee

First Sunset



Well, I've been in Kona for a day now, and it is BEAUTIFUL!!! very different from the rockies though. Very... um...humid....and waterlocked (is that the term?) I face west and get to watch the sunset every night...not to bad for a missionary training school i guess:)



So far I have been a definite phase of transition. Emotions come in waves but they quickly settle when I remember my job is to only follow Jesus and not worry too much about what I left behind but what I am gaining from this entire experience.






Today we had a couple meetings. This quarter apparently we are bilingual so at everything there are translators for the korean language...its awesome. I am in a specific focused DTS of Performing Arts and really those of you that know me...know I am more sporty instead of Artistic...so this will be a challenge. We have about 42 people in our focus and more than 1/2 are girls. I am freaking out a little just because I'm not use to being around that many girls...hmmm...yikes...well see how all this turns out. I have already made many friends and my room mates are great. We have four Americans- Cherol from D.C., Abisa from N.Y., Lexi from Oregon, me of course. We have 1 Austrailia, her name is Bec. and than theres 2 Korean girls. I have no clue how to spell or say there names. Only one of them speaks broken english and the other sits shyly behind and I haven't said a word...Kinda a weird situation but good thus far. However, having one bathroom for all the girls- a little nightmare waiting to happen.






Today we had auditions for the parts in the musical we will be performing. We auditioned infront of the entire group and I loved it. I sang...and had a great time. Most the fun was due to the song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." :) i know wierd selection but it fits my voice and it has some attitude. However, I was the only one to not sing a christian song...instead I sang an American Christmas song about seduction...:) hahaha...classic memory. The teacher, Maria, loved it though and said I was an excellent singer and definitly had a place. I also tried breakdancing...which will be so so fun, even if all i get to do is practice with them. (Disclaimer...don't expect me to have any clue of dancing when I get back) I asked the teacher if I could dance and sing and she said "we really need you to sing...we have enough dancers." Gotta admit- I was bummed becuase i wanted to learn to dance but really I have great room mates that are willing to teach me. So well see, but also I will get to focus even more on singing. And hopefully improve in technique and perfomance.






I had my first cup of KONA coffee....I have to brag...its the best in the world! I think i've screwed my openness for crappy coffee. Sorry Folgers youve lost me forever.






Random fact of Kona: More people die from Coconuts falling on their heads than shark attacks. (And in my opinion...death by coconut- what a crappy way to go.)






Well, Im gonna go to bed now, I'm exhausted...peace.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Counting the Days to YWAM


I can't believe the time has come. YWAM is here.
My stuff is all packed up and in less than three days I will be flying to Kona, Hawaii in hopes that someone will pick me up when i get there:) I head out on Thursday at 3:30AM and fly from Denver --> Arizona (lay over for four hours) --> than board my plane to Hawaii!!! Crazy. I usually can keep myself company pretty well so I'm not too worried about the flight over but the anticipation of whats to come these next couple months is a bit mind blowing already. All I've ever heard about YWAM is that it changes your life- and thats the precise reason I am doing it. Can you believe- five months of being fully devoted to learning about Christ and reaching a newer and deeper relationship with Him. Everything I've ever dreamed. I do beleive however that these next couple months will be more challenging than anything I've ever faced but really what does that matter? I want to be there for it all, no matter how hard.
Please be praying for me this next week as I prepare to go because there is still much to think about.