Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I haven't had much sleep in the last two nights so I'm not even going to attempt writing anything exciting.

We went to the beach. It was fun.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Treasuring Christ

This morning we had our first service as a church plant. I haven’t said anything about the Curlings starting a church yet because it wasn’t official. Now it is. So, anyway, today was our first day.

In the message, Chago was talking about treasuring Christ [the message was based on 1 Peter 2:1-12 which talks about being a living stone and Christ building us into His church, but I’m going to tell you about the parts that really convicted me]. Throughout the service, different things happened that struck a chord in me. Naomi read The Suffering Servant passage from Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and it brought her to tears. Chago spoke about how the Lord looks on us and is pleased because He sees Christ in our place, and it brought him to tears. I began to ask myself, how have I hardened my heart so much that I am no longer moved by God’s goodness and grace? My heart so rarely melts at His words. I am not treasuring Christ as I should. All day I have been questioning how I can see Christ for who He is and have my heart melt in awe of Him, so I prayed about it.

I sat down to read from Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. Immediately God began speaking to my heart through what Piper had to say. He talked about how people ask themselves “Why shouldn’t I do this or that?” instead of “How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will this help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will this help me know Christ or display Christ?” Those are the real questions I need to be asking myself in every moment.

Next Piper began talking about TV and how it diminishes our ability to know Christ and to handle great truths reverently. Funnily enough, I had just been complaining how my internet was too slow to let me load a TV show that I had wanted to watch. [I really do love how God speaks so directly to me.]

I pray that God would help me to realize the triviality in everything that is not Him. I pray that He would become my only treasure. I pray that for you as well, reader.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This post was written yesterday. Tomorrow I will write about the beach and stuff.

I always want to write these blogs like I’m some super-spiritual person. Truth is, I’m still flawed. I still sin. I still don’t trust God as I should. I still put my hope in things other than Christ and His coming Kingdom.

Reggie was telling me on facebook or on here about how God spends our lifetime teaching us that everything is temporary except for Him. I wish that I longed for the Kingdom like I long for home. I wish that I longed to see Christ’s face like I wish to hold my brothers [Yep, all three of them] in my arms. But I don’t. And that is a problem. God is definitely teaching me what it feels like to long for something and it makes my heart hurt.

But what a great reunion that will be when I finally get to see my family, my Breehan, my Ivan, all of my friends. But even better than that will be the day when we, as the bride of Christ, will be wed to Him forever, and will get to enjoy Him in eternity.

The place I want to be most that is on earth? Right here:

Monday, August 23, 2010


Today I don't have any stories, just a prayer request. Please pray for the drug violence in Mexico to stop! I really want to be able to go into Mexico to the orphanage but it's scary over there. Pray that whatever God's will is would be worked out in this situation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What a difference a week makes

Last Sunday, I was ready to pack it in and go home. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed my church. And I'm not going to lie, I still miss them all day every day, but it doesn't weigh on me like it did last week. Last week I was like a balloon [all of my MCA friends will enjoy any balloon reference so I thought this might be a good metaphor], one little poke and I would have exploded [in tears, not literally exploded].

But this week has been so renewing for me. God has really been working on my heart, many times without me realizing it. I continually tell Him that I need Him so desperately and He takes care of the rest! How amazing that God looks on wicked me and sees Jesus in my place and makes me His child. He has given me peace and joy about being here. It's wonderful. He is wonderful.

On Thursday, school started. I was asked to substitute teach a 9th grade English class while their normal teacher, Naomi, is out of town. It was is terrifying [I still have one more day on Monday] and I teach wayyyy to fast, but it's good to know that I'm freeing up whoever would have been teaching it.

I couldn't sign in to the Missionary Evangelism website on Thursday or most of Friday, so I didn't really have a lot on my list that I was able to accomplish, but I still had fun. Plus, I wore this awesome hat. But I think the kids thought I was being serious so that really was just awkward and not super funny.

Thursday night we had a family dinner. I. Love. Family. Dinner. It's so fun to sit around and hang out with everyone. At first we thought it was a somewhat daunting task to get everyone together but, in my opinion, it is totally worth it.

Here's a pic. Aren't we cuuuute? [The correct answer is "yes"]

[Left to right: Me, Erika, Brent, Ilonka, Melinda, Emily. Missing: Naomi]

Yesterday we worked and then had leftovers family dinner and watched "Rat Race." Let me just tell you, any movie with cow comedy, I LOVE. [See also "O Brother Where Art Thou."]

Today we went to Barnes & Noble for awhile and then went over to Chago and Trinette's to watch the kiddos. We watched some movies, played Twister, and cuddled some puppies. I also got to say the infamous words "say 'Yes Ma'am'". It was awesome.

My new friends are beginning to feel like old friends and I'm loving it.

Prayer: Pray that I would get to know the students and be able to show Christ to them!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So much to tell

Left to Right: Ilonka, Melinda, Naomi, Me, Erika

This has been a spectacular couple of days. Yesterday, we had a pool party and it was so fun. We played some really ridiculous and unsuccessful pool games, had some good food, and played Signs [which is pretty much Brent's favorite game ever].

Today Juan called me and asked me to make an intern application sometime before the afternoon. That was fine until I realized we were getting out of our in-service meeting at noon which was 1pm where Juan was and I hadn't even started. I ended up finishing it on time [Praise the Lord!!!] and then started on editing something for the Curling's website. It was awesome to finally get to do some of the stuff I was hired for!

Later Brent came into the office and asked if I would be a substitute teacher for Naomi's 9th grade english class for Thursday, Friday, and Monday. I wasn't thrilled but I said I would go talk to her. When I went in there she explained everything that I would be doing so I didn't want her to have  to explain it again to someone else. Needless to say, I'm going to be teaching for three days. I'm super-scared but I know that this will be a good experience. God has placed me in this position so I pray that I will glorify Him and say only that which He would have me say. [God wills it! Right Seth/Brett?]

Tonight we had our first family dinner with all of the interns...Aww. Right? Right. Ilonka cooked an awesome meal and it was fun just hanging out with everyone.

I love that I'm becoming more an more myself with these people. Quiet, Awkward Tori is so blah. Awkward, Fun Tori is so yay!

Prayer: Please pray that I would be able to keep a handle on my classroom tomorrow and not have a panic attack!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Blackberry Saga...or something

Let me tell you a little story about how everything God does is for a purpose, even the small and seemingly insignificant stuff. This is going to seem random to begin with but it will make sense by the end [I hope].

So a few months ago, my parents went to NYC and I watched my younger brothers. Due to a series of unfortunate events, my phone got wet and the track ball didn’t work. I talked to the Verizon guy and he told me to take my battery out and leave it for a while. Random right? [You would think so, but you would also be wrong.]

Today I set my phone on the sink while I showered. During my shower I decided I needed to text something to someone [so specific, right?] but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to send this text for the right reasons. I got out of the shower and thought about how I could “put my fleece out” [like Gideon] but then decided that I would just go ahead and text the person. When I got to my phone, low and behold my track ball didn’t work. So I rebooted the phone and it still wouldn’t work. There was my answer.

So, even though I felt like there was no purpose for my phone not to work while my parents were out of town, it taught me how to fix it in that situation AND decided my texting dilemma.

The end. There you go.

Today was great, by the way. The development office gals skyped with Juan and got our assignments for the semester, so now I actually know what I’m doing here! Tonight we had orientation so I got to meet some of the students. They are presh.

I want to hear about YOU! Please leave me a comment telling me a little about what you’re up to and let me know if you have anything you want me to pray for [Sorry, Emily. “for which to pray”]. I really do want to know, I’m not just being nice!

Monday, August 16, 2010

My first Sunday away

Hello all. Today was my first Sunday away from Heritage. Little did I know how hard it would be. Looking back now, I think I have taken Heritage for granted, at least to some extent. Needless to say, this morning was emotional for me.

Anyway, I had a mental breakdown and called my mom [because that’s what people do when they have mental breakdowns, right?] and then took a much needed nap. When I awoke [classy] I was greeted by 10 sweet texts and face book messages from friends and family telling me that they were praying for me today. This so uplifted me! If you know a missionary personally [not just me, though I would appreciate it too], you should text/facebook them and let them know you’re praying for them and give them some encouragement. It goes a loooooong way!

Tonight we had a group worship time with all the interns and Chago and Trinette. It was great. We got to talk a little about the church as well and I’m feeling much better about it.

Prayer Requests: Pray that if I am supposed to stay at Faith Baptist I would be plugged in where God wants me and where He will receive glory!

Thanks again, sweet friends and family, for all your encouragement!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A post with a picture, what?

Hello beautiful readers! I hope you all are having an amazing day!

Yesterday the newbies gave our testimonies at in-service…and I don’t really remember what work we did. Oops. After work Emily, Erika, and I went running at a park nearby. It was a good run but we were swimming through our sweat on the way home [you’re welcome for that visual].

Today was a hard day. I thought that a day after running I would be super-energized like I normally am. Nope, not today. While we did get A LOT done, I was just so worn out. But I love that God does that. On days when I feel I should be self-sufficient, He reminds me just how much I need Him. And it’s a lot. I cannot even function without His grace and I’m so thankful that He gives it to me.

After work we went to Wal-Mart. I felt like I spent a lot of money but I realized that I bought a bunch of stuff that will last for a while [contact solution, laundry basket, pillow, etc] and that made me feel a lot better about my purchases.

Tonight we went to Chago and Trinette’s house. We ate dinner and watched Matilda [which, surprisingly, I have never seen]. That Ms. Trunchbull is the worst!

Prayer request: I will be going to Faith Baptist Church in the morning. I haven’t been to a new church on a Sunday morning [other than at Carson Newman] in….a long time, so I’m a little nervous.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My second ever missio... just kidding

Today was the BOMB. And I don't use that lightly [Actually I do, but not this time].

This morning was our first day of in-service. We had morning devos, went over our book that we're reading [which I am supposed to be reading right now], and talked about the vision of the school. Sweet.

Later we worked on setting up rooms and decorating bulliten boards.

After work we went to Chuck-e-Cheese! So flipping fun. We took some amazing pictures in the photobooth but they were cleaned up along with our trash so we no longer have those sweet memories. Ha.

When we got back, we got to work painting Melinda's [my roomie who I met about 30 minutes ago] classroom. We listened to some jams and painted for a Very. Long. Time. Then we ran into Melinda and helped her bring her stuff into the house.

Sorry, this was a very event oriented post and is not very meaningful but don't you worry your pretty little head, big things are happening. God is working and it is excellent.

Update on the prayer requests: I feel like we definitely bonded some today. I mean, how can you play ski ball with someone and not be friends?!

Prayer for today: Pray for Melinda as she settles in to our house and the school. Pray that she meshes well with everyone and feels welcome.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My first ever missionary blog post

I’m here! As I write I’m sitting on my new bed in my big wonderful room in Texas with the book I’m supposed to be reading for in-service tomorrow.

Yesterday was very hard. I kept on a brave face for most of it, mostly because I don’t like to be vulnerable. I realize that vulnerability is beautiful and important for building honest relationships but it’s so hard to show new people everything.

My flights were wonderful. The weather was super gorg. When I got to the Harlingen airport, I met Ilonka, one of the other interns who was here last year, at baggage claim. She went back to the car to get Brent and they helped me take my bags to the car. Trinette, Chago’s wife, was waiting in the car. Let me tell you, I LOVE her! After a quick tour and a little settling, I went to dinner with the rest of the interns and Chago and Trinette. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it. Was. Overwhelming. People, smoke, smells, and noise. But the food was good.

We came home and I moved some of my stuff around and went to bed. I had a really hard time sleeping and had my first “Why am I here?” moment. But I made it and I’m still glad I’m here.

Today we went to the grocery store [Secret: My first time grocery shopping extensively by myself]. Later I had a meeting with Chago to discuss what I’ll be doing and, well, I’m still not sure exactly what I’m doing. He did mention the possibility of me teaching a literature class. That. Is. Terrifying. But I know it would be a really great experience. Whatever God wants for me is good. I know that I can do it with Him [But not alone! No no no!]

Prayer: At the end of these blog posts I think I’ll write prayer requests. Sound good?

- Pray that God would place me doing exactly what He wants me to do and that He would give me the grace to be willing and able.

- Pray that I would bond with the other girls and be able to be vulnerable with them.

Love you guys! Thank you for your prayers and kind words.