a 27project UPdate!

Hello 27 supporters : )

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Happy 2013! Stacey and I are stoked about what this year is going to bring for The27project. Her vision is finally gaining momentum!! Movement forward is exciting- scary but OH SO good!!! If this is new to you read about what we are here.

We wanted to update you all on what has been going on since being home from G42. Last week, we had a meeting in Austin with the events company that is helping us with the road closers, getting the city permits, hiring the police to direct traffic, finding entertainment for after the race and all those other fun things… like porta potties ha.

We got a semi-official date set too! The very first 27project race will be on May 4th in Waco, TX. Wahoo!!!! I say semi-official because it is still tentative. We will be confirming this within the next 2 weeks. We are just waiting on last minute paper work that is being approved by the city and once it is we will be able to open up registration. So be on the look out for another blog about this. Stace has been working hard on these logistics!

Stace, her sister and I have lots of work ahead of us. We have been contacting churches in Waco, Baylor and the other local colleges to see if we can arrange speaking engagements to help get the word out, we have designed posters, flyers, business cards and postcards to pass out at other marathon races and to mail to our supporters. There are anti-trafficking events coming up that we are trying to set booths up at annnd also our biggest hurdle will be finding sponsors to be donators for this cause. We are going to begin tackling this next week by going door to door basically and asking for sponsorships. We also have been contacting organizations we know of overseas so we can decide where the money raised will be going to.

This is just some of the things to name a few : ) whew.

We have also begun training ourselves. I can’t speak for Stace on this, but man it is hard! Running is not my thing. whatsoever. I get bored and on top of the fact I have allergies and the lungs of an 80 year old ha. The other day I was able to do 3 miles straight for the first time. yay! so yeah I have a long ways to go to get to a half marathon BUT we also have 15 weeks left. I share this to encourage you all!! There is something freeing about trying to accomplish something that seems pretty much impossible. So join us : ) Here is the training schedule we are following!

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Thank you all for the many Waco connections you have already given us- any little bit helps us get our foot in the door. We couldn’t be doing this without the support of our family and friends and you guys believing in the27project. THANK YOU.

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Here are more ways you can continue to help…

1. Prayer! This isn’t cliche, it is much needed. Not only for the race in Waco, but as we begin to plan two more races come the fall in TN and NC!! Prayer also for getting our registration up and running- it has been kind of confusing finding the right website to help us do this without them taking too much of the profit.

2. Use your voice! Help us get the word out- anyway you can. This is the easiest way to help and one of the most effective ways it benefits us.

3. Volunteer! If you have any free time and would like to help us out there is definitely something we can find for you all to do. Email Stace at info@the27project.org or you can email me directly at sswoody@me.com.

4. Donate! We aren’t going to sugarcoat this… we need money. The start of any non-profit does and especially for this first race- every small thing adds up. Are you willing to host a garage sale or a bake sale orrrr did you get a bonus at work you don’t know what to do with!?

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I recently read on a blog that…indifference can not last in the presence of the needy. so true. While we may feel overwhelmed and while this dream may seem too big. We know it is not. Stacey and I believe in this and we are fighting for it! This year might be overwhelming, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. I said it in my last blog from a friend and I am going to quote it again: “When things are overwhelming it only means that there is an abundance.

God is overwhelming. He brings order. He brings life. He brings an abundance of HOPE.

:: the other day, Stace heard someone say that a human traffickers greatest weapon is hope. So here’s to dedicating each day to bringing hope as a solution, rather than giving credit to those that use hope as an entrapment! ::

Speak to the hope. I am the voice. You are the voice. WE are the voice.

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Let’s face it- receiving love is hard.

Right now I am sitting here with my belly full of my gma’s yummy cooking, sore legs from running 3 miles yesterday and my chitten curled up next to me. life is good.

Instead of chickens in the background like in Espana there is the neighbors husky who howls like a wolf constantly. And every time he does Abbey growls… due to the fact that he chased her up a tree for a very rough two days. So I don’t blame her.

I’m getting sidetracked.

So lately I have realized I stink at receiving love.

I love giving it. I could give love all day every day. especially to animals. Not to be weird and pull my cats into the equation, but yeah I’m going there…

so Abbey and Izzie are two very different cats. Abbey (the white and black one below) is my southern belle. She literally follows me everywhere- she is my shadow. Sometimes I have to push her away, like when she follows me into the shower… haha but she has absolutely no trouble receiving my love. That’s all she does is eat. sleep. play outside and follow me so I will pet her 24/7. Izzie on the other hand could care less. She is what I like to call my gansta cat. She wants my love, but she is so hard headed. She doesn’t ever come to me- she acts like she’s too good. BUT then when I do finally force her to let me pet her she loooves it. she purposely will sit just a tad too far out of my reach so I have to move towards her to pet her. It’s like she forgets how much she loves the attention- silly gato! but I equally love ’em both.

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okay okay, what does this have to do with people? bear with me.

When I had a good friend call me the other day because she was struggling receiving a gift from someone close to her at first I thought “Uh OH, I have nothing to say…” Then it was funny because I realized in processing her through what she was going through I was doing the same. I had literally JUST had a conversation with one of my old roomies in Spain about how I don’t know how to receive love.

I feel guilty, get overwhelmed and I just don’t like it so I try and do everything to hide from it. But you see the Lord has distinctively placed people in my life who have chased me, hunted me down and fought for me. So I couldn’t escape His love from them even if I tried. I especially realized this about myself when I came home from Spain for my Father’s funeral. Man did the love overflow!

The way I have conditioned myself is being broken down. I have been learning to just say thank you. To trust that the Lord would never sell us short. He has even more sweeter things for us than we could ever imagine. That everything He gives us we don’t deserve, but yet He does it out of love. That how are we to know how to give love if we don’t know how to receive it???

Do we have to be perfect at it? heck no. you think I like asking supporters for money again and again- nope. But I also know what the Lord has called me to. To be a lover.

So lets all be love DO ers. We start each day with a whole new energy tank of His love, brand spanking new. Andrew always says to us we can have the whole pie if we want… well God’s goodness is not some pie with only so many slices… A piece of inheritance today does not leave us hungry tomorrow. God doesn’t work like that. and either does Abbey hehe.

It is our choice. Are we going to receive His love or are we going to fight against His love? Yes, it will be overwhelming at times. But being overwhelmed isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As my dear friend recently reminded me, being overwhelmed by the Lord only means that there is an abundance : )

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HAPPY 2013 YALL

I wrote this my last day in Spain, but I’m just now getting around to posting it…

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Current location: It’s 8:00AM and I am sitting in the Malaga airport waiting to board my flight to Madrid back home.
Current mood: at peace : ) 
Song I’m listening to:Love Song” by The Helser’s
Current conquered fear: That missing my family in Spain will be harder than I think.
1 thing God has reminded me today: That life is about giving. It is about people. and it is sweet.

I have been in this airport many times, so I don’t feel as if I am leaving and not coming back this time around. Spain has become another home to me- I know where to catch the bus, I know where to find the best sales and the stores we don’t have in America and the secret yummy restaurants tourist don’t know about.

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It is 2 days till Christmas and yesterday I spent my last day taking a nap on the beach in my converse! ^^ I couldn’t have asked for a better last day. Only in Southern Spain. There is something different about life here. Something peaceful. Something that makes the small little cobblestone roads of Mijas home.

It’s the people. The community. The language. The cafe con leche.

I am going to miss Spain a lot. My soul is at peace here. When it came time to make a plan of what my next steps were to be honest I wanted to stay here. There was a need for English teachers and more hands on help with G42. A need that I knew I would love to help serve. However, I also knew I had responsibilities back home – like paying off student debt and my family – that I needed to do first. So home is where I decided to head back to.

At first when I made the decision I envisioned myself the day it came to leave- sitting on my suitcase with my hands crossed, pouting like a 2 year old, not wanting to budge. But this morning as I was finishing packing I had peace about leaving. I realized what if my heart isn’t at peace because of my environment, but because of the change that has happened in me over the past 6 months?

I know this is it.

I know I am not going back the same person I came as. My family at G42 choose to invest in me and because of their sacrifices and love I have grown tremendously. Every New Year year I look and I think how could the next year get harder? or better? How can I possible be stretched more… but it does! because God is just that good.

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So what’s next?

First: I am going to celebrate the holidays with my family and just relax and get over jet lag.

Second: The plan is to find a job asap so I can start paying off more of my students loans.

Third: I’m going to also be getting a professional design website up and out there to do more freelance work.

Most importantly: I will be helping my good friend Stacey (who I have mentioned before here) continue to help jump start the non-profit she has started called the27project. I basically am going to be her second hand man doing whatever is needed. For those of you who don’t know what the27project is click here.

^^The website officially became live about two weeks ago^^ We’ve been working on the design and coding for a good 3 months now so this was a HUGE step!!!!! There has been a lot of progress, but there is still a lot more to be done. More momentum. More movement forward. The hard part is going to be balancing this with a job that pays ha, but I know the Lord will provide if I put in the effort.

After the first race our 2nd and 3rd races will be in the East. Sooooo the plan is to move to Charlotte, North Carolina sometime in June or July at the latest!!!! Yepp, you heard me. Crazy to think that I won’t be living in Texas, but still in the states. There are four girls who were at G42 with me the whole 6 months and so we’re going to start community there! This will allow Stacey and I too to be close to the next 2 races for the planning stages.

I’m beyond excited for the adventures that lay ahead. They are not the plans I thought I would be leaving with when I first came to Spain, but I love that they are small, but yet oh so big.

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***HAPPY 2013 Y’ALL***

At the table.

Yesterday in class Andrew shared a list the Lord had put on his heart the week before while he was in Uganda at G42Africa teaching. I wanted to share this because I think it sums up a lot of what and who G42 is and what I have been learning about over the past 6 months.

Basically, these are guidelines to life in general and through out serving others. Most of these are not in line with the thinking of our culture now and how we were raised, but I truly believe this is how Jesus did life. This is how we can continue to grow in becoming more like Him. I can’t imagine how the world would be impacted if we all began to think in these directions.

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Think…

SMALL NOT BIG.
– God is big yes, but He also wins peoples hearts ONE at a time. Think about your own personal story… each one of ours is unique to us. He does BIG things through us by starting out small. Then our small thoughts grow and increase into even bigger and bigger dreams. so don’t feel overwhelmed. No dream is too Big for the Lord, just start out simple.

DEEP NOT SHALLOW.
– In life, just looking good doesn’t count. It is the BEING good that makes a difference. Don’t just preach, actually live out what you believe.

LONG NOT SHORT.    
– We need 100 year plans! What can sustain you for the next 50 years? What kind of community? What gives you endurance? Look for those things and grab it. Keep it. If we think short term, we will only get ourselves somewhere short term. Faith is more than what we can see in our future.

PEOPLE NOT PROGRAMS. 
– Yes, small groups, recovery groups and Bible studies work of course, but the essence of them is in the relationships formed from them. Make people your priority. Love God and love people. The programs will follow behind.

HEALTH NOT GROWTH.
– It’s not about the numbers. One thing I was exposed to in Africa was how so many Christians think it is about how many people they can convert and get into Heaven. We shouldn’t tell people about Christ only so they can “get into” Heaven. Heaven isn’t only a destination- it is something that can be gained here on Earth now. Jesus longs for an intimate relationship with all of us right now.

When you have a new born you aren’t concerned with helping it to grow, you are first concerned with keeping it healthy and then as a result it grows. If something or someone is healthy then it can grow- but a lack of health keeps it from growing. If someone is not healthy due to their environment what do they do? They change it. So if your heart’s not healthy change something about it. Continue to feed your soul by feeding on Him.

GIVING NOT KEEPING.
– We’ve all got life to spare. I want to be a giver, not a taker. Jesus was a giver. Do you have joy? love? or the gift of encouragement? knowledge? then don’t keep it for yourself- pass it on! give it as a gift! You’ll get more when you give what you’ve got to begin with. He’ll trust you with more once you learn how to make do with the resources He has given us to begin with.

MULTIPLY NOT ADD.
– Following Jesus is about spreading His love. Telling others about Him so they too can be and live in His love. Jesus multiplied Himself in 12 other men. Do the same. Find someone to disciple. Someone to teach. Someone to activate. Someone to push. We should all be living a life where people are dependent on us being alive. Where we are giving value to those we come in contact with, not taking away. Jesus has given us the authority to do this when He was among us as The One who served us.

COVENANT NOT CONTRACT.
– God IS covenant. He expresses His will through His promises and He never has nor will He ever break His promises to us. No one desires a “contract marriage”- a relationship where “if you do this, then I’ll do that“. That isn’t how Jesus works. We should be learning how to take initiative and not just do what we’re told to do. Be yourself. Be creative. Build relationships and be responsible to stick to them and keep your word. Let your words be stronger than your signature…

STAYING NOT LEAVING.
– Our generation is awful at committing. We are very indecisive and when we do finally make plans, if something better comes up we do that instead. We’re not the best at keeping our word. We need to learn and teach others that when we make commitments and promises with people we should follow through with them. Jesus joined the table and He has never left our table, even when He lost His life. If we go into something with the mindset that we have an option to leave or back out, then most likely we will.

GRACE NOT LAW.
– This one is pretty self explanatory. We can’t earn God’s love- it is a free gift. It is not about what we do that defines us. Don’t try and be something your not, be at peace with who you are and who He has made you to be.

HIS KINGDOM NOT MY KINGDOM.
– “I live for you and you alone Lord.The greatest leaders are those who know how to follow Jesus and others first.

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When I first moved to Spain, I really had no idea what I wanted to do in life or where I was going next other than I just wanted to live my life loving others. I came wanting to figure this out more specifically and in detail. I came desiring to hear God tell me exactly what to do. HA I have learned that is not how God works with me…

God’s will for me is about making decisions. The choice is in my hands. It is up to me to commit. Joining Jesus at the table is an all or nothing hand of poker. My word is my life. It is up to us to change the world, it is in our hands. I have to earnestly desire Jesus. I have to stake my ground and then take possession of it. If we don’t do this we will continue to wander.

In Matthew 4, Jesus asks the fishermen to drop everything and follow Him. Men who only knew about fishing- He made them the pillars of the church. He chose them. He asked normal people like you and me. All we have to do is make the decision to follow. Of course there will be fear and risk, but Jesus is OH so worth it.

I don’t want to be a wanderer. I want to grab my inheritance. I want to stake my life in Jesus. I have learned I am the will of God. YOU are the will of God. It is not something we have to do. God blesses our decisions. He blesses our faith. He blesses this through giving us peace. So lets stop waiting for God to make us whole before we follow Him. All we have to do is first follow Him then He will make something BIG out of us. All we have to do is stay at the table.

There are broken people to help and cities to save so let’s go! He needs me. He needs you. He needs every single one of us.

 

 

Join a Movement.

^^ My G42 family at our Spanish Thanksgiving dinner ^^

It’s 2AM in Mijas right now and I woke myself up coughing- you see my allergies do not like Spain very much. at all. no bueno. But since I am up the good news is I have time to write the thoughts that have been stirring up inside of me lately.

I only have 3 weeks left here. Man did 6 months go by SO fast. crazy.

When I went home for my Dad’s funeral last month I wasn’t looking forward to it- for obvious reason yes, but also because I didn’t want to leave my G42 family here in Spain. I didn’t want to walk through my dad’s death “alone”. Before I even left Spain however, I saw my home church do more than step-up for me. A group of girls from Watermark reached out to me and asked me if they could throw me a fundraiser to help out with the funeral and travel expenses and for my remaining time here at G42.

I was overwhelmed. beyond blessed. they had no idea- words can’t even explain it now.

I saw the church BE the church for me. Not only did I raise enough funds for the rest of my time here, but even extra for travel costs. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it, all from the hearts of friends. God knew all along. While in Dallas I had a couple of people ask me if I was going to have a night once I got home explaining what all I have learned here.

Ha, I wish I could put it all into words, but it has been so much and so much of it has been outside of the classroom. There is freedom and fire here. There is love here. There is laughter. There is confidence in our identities. I’m going to miss listening to Freddie teach while wearing his shirt that says “If found please return to the pub”… haha. yup, that is one of my awesome teachers.

LIFE is spoken here… from teachers who say things like “when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future” and “either all of this good news about Jesus is true or I’m smoking dope” ahhh it makes me smile. it makes my bones fill with a fire. it makes me what to go out and conquer the world and continue a movement.

A movement about covenant and using your voice. A movement of purpose. A movement of acceptance. God never makes someone without a purpose. What is yours? I urge you to find it. Sure, God can find someone else to help Him, but what if He wants YOU… stop fighting Him. Take a risk. Crazy things can happen when people risk… big beautiful things, as well as difficult, terrifying things and that’s why it’s a risk.

A common question we get asked here is when was the last time you did something for the first time?

It could be big or simple. For me, today I cooked enchiladas for the house- I’ve never done that before. simple. However, last week I got to spend the whole week with my mama. She for the first time was in my environment. She got to experience the presence of God in new ways, she was surrounded by His love. that was big. it was a blessing!

^^ My mama and I on Thanksgiving here in Spain ^^

I’ve learned even more that one key to becoming a leader is to BE a servant first. Think of it this way, every house has a builder right? and the condition of the house tells us about that builder- yeah? So since we are the church and Jesus is our builder then there is absolutely no way we can fail… think about it :] that leaves me pretty dang hopeful.


From glory to glory, strength to strength, favor to favor- it’s not only an honor
that the Lord lets us make choices, He trusts us too. [ Psalm 84 ]

The 27 Day Drop.

I’ve posted before about one of my good friends Stacey and the non-profit she has started called the27project– you can read my first post about it here.

We’ve been working hard at getting this up and running. You see, Stacey has a dream. A dream to help fight sex trafficking. It may be a BIG ole dream, but she is actually doing something about it. She has been working on the27project for over a year now. We’ve designed a logo and the official website, which should be up and running within the next week so be on the lookout for that!!

Basically, the goal of the27project is to awaken nations to the global injustice of human trafficking. We hope to bring awareness and provide funding for the prevention and restoration of these lost voices through annual 27K running events held within all 50 States. The funds raised through the27project will be distributed to local orphanages in Cambodia, Thailand, and Honduras- to name a few of the places.

 

—-> The first race is going to be in Texas in April 2013 <—-

 

In order to make this happen- just like any business or non-profit- basically we are in need of some serious dinero to cover the start up costs. So through our awesome family here at G42 we put together this promo video.  As Chrissy said… “We’re believing that our star qualities, creativity and food-grabbing abilities will inspire people (YOU) to participate in The 27 Day Drop!

 

We’re asking you guys to to partner with the27project by giving up your “wants” (coffee, soda, fast-food, ice cream, etc.) for the next 27 days and donating the money you would spend on these items to the27project instead. We can’t do it without you guys.

 

So DROP THAT WHOP(per) and donate here to fight human trafficking.

 

To my dad.

Two Saturdays ago I called my mom on Skype for what I thought was going to be one of our normal Skype dates. Instantly just like that she said words I never thought I would hear anytime soon. My dad had suddenly had a heat attack and passed away the night before.

I sat there numb and in shock. All I could say was what? WHAT? I felt like I wasn’t even in my own body. This wasn’t possible. I knew friends who have lost their dads and moms but not me…

and then reality hit. I was thousands of miles away- how the heck was I going to get home??

My family here in Mijas immediately began to help me find a way home and were there for me, even if it meant just sitting with me. My friends back home did everything they could to help too. Looking back, God had already began to move before I had gotten the news. He had already prepared my heart before I even knew the situation. That’s how He works. That’s who He is.

By that night I had booked a flight out on Monday to JFK due to a very generous friend blessing me with a ticket home- I was only going to have to wait two days to be with my family. Then the hurricane hit. My flight was canceled. I sat on Skype with the airlines for what seemed like forever. At first I was told because the cancellation was due to weather I wouldn’t be able to fly out until Friday- well that’s not going to work I thought. So I prayed. I knew the Lord could get me home sooner and He did. There were over 7,000 flights canceled and I was able to reschedule and get on one leaving the next morning. God knew. Come on Jesus!

Even at the Paris airport (which is huge) on the way home I ran into other World Racers- God knew. He was looking out for me.

Fast forward to being home… my dad’s death didn’t fully hit me until the night of the visitation when we had the chance to see him. He looked nothing like himself. The next morning was the service and later that night after all of that I sat in bed laughing. Don’t get me wrong- it was a super hard week, but I was laughing because I couldn’t figure out why I was doing as well as I was. I was physically beyond exhausted from jet lag and not sleeping much, I was having to make legal decisions that no twenty-six year should have to make for their dad and I trying to stay strong for my brother and it was working- the Lord had blessed me with peace beyond His understanding!! I can’t even explain it now. I know it was because of everyone’s prayers and because God knew. That’s who He is.

[ Philippians 4:7 ]

“… And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


I am sharing this story because I want you all to understand and grasp the little we can of how BIG our Father really is. How He already is taking care of our future for us and how much He loves us in times of need and comfort. My dad and I didn’t have the best of relationships. Not that is was bad, but it wasn’t the “typical” father-daughter relationship that girls dream of when they think of their fathers walking them down the isle on their wedding day.

but you know what- that doesn’t even matter.

Yes, I am sad I have no more time to spend with me dad. Yes, do I regret his absence in my life. Yes, do I wish I knew more about him and who he truly was- but it doesn’t matter. The Lord immediately told me to let it all go. The hurt. The regret. The seconds on the clock I could never get back with my dad. It’s difficult to know what “daughter” should feel like, when you’ve held the title all your life, but never truly the position.

Again the Lord whispered in my heart… “None of the past matters.” For my whole life the enemy had be building walls between my dad and I and Nick. I don’t know why this was the path I was given. I don’t know why my dad was taken from me and my brother before we could of established a better relationship, because we were getting so close too. I don’t understand any of it. BUT I do know what my Heavenly Father kept reminding me all week. My dad did love me, I just wasn’t fully able to see it and I loved him too, and he didn’t fully know it either. My dad was a good man because he was one of the Lord’s children. How am I so sure of this? Because my dad and I share another Daddy who loves us both immensely. A Daddy who IS love, a Daddy who can’t deny love.

I hadn’t spoken to my dad since I left home back at the beginning of July. This is not the way I would of preferred to have been my last moments with him, but the Lord gives me His strength when these thoughts fill my head. He is there for us always. and He is always many steps ahead of us too. Don’t let wounds from your past hold you back. Don’t let hurts from an absent parent, or sibling or friend fester because that is just leaving a door wide open for the enemy to walk right in and deceive us. Just love. be. and do. It’s not worth being sad or angry or blaming others because you never know when our last day will be. cliche I know, but it is true. Just remember the Lord is never absent. It is that simple.

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Dad,
Where to even begin this- I don’t know. This whole week as we’ve been looking through pictures I have loved all of the memories I do have with you. You always use to drop me off at school in your Snap-On truck where Nick and I loved playing shop in the back. I remember on hot Texas summer days you would fill the red bowl up with ice cold water and let me and Nick stick our heads in it. Random I know. I remember when Nick was young and he flushed a dollar bill down the toilet- he was so proud he did it all by himself and you just laughed. Or the time when Nick’s teeth went into my head at the park and I was so concerned with leaving my new bike behind as you tried to take care of my bleeding head and Nick’s black tooth. Every time I hear the song “Cheeseburger and Paradise” by Jimmy Buffett, I think of our silly hand motions we always did in the car with Doug. I will also never forget the time when you were driving me and the song “Butterfly Kisses” came on the radio and I looked over and you were crying. I felt so loved. All these memories and so many more make me smile and laugh, even when we don’t have as many from recent days. But what gives me the most peace and the biggest smile is knowing that over the past two years you came to know the Lord. That right now you are dancing with our Papa!!! Nick and I love you dad. Thank you for just being you!