Blindsighted.
This blog will more than likely come as a shock to you all, because it definitely came as a shock to me. But God is good, and I want to share with you my recent findings.
For most of my life, but more specifically the past 8 years, I have been struggling with inexplicable health problems. I’ve tackled anything from migraines, overwhelming nausea, stomach problems and pains, increasing lack of energy, and even a deep depression which I can only assume was brought on by my laundry list of illnesses. I’ve seen family doctors, neurologists, surgeons, and chiropractors. I have been a patient at migraine and headache institutes. A few years ago, I had my gall bladder removed due to chronic inflammation with the hopes that it would correct some of my problems. Instead, it replaced some issues with a new set of symptoms.
I’ve taken so many medications that I’ve stopped wanting to use medicine altogether. I’ve researched holistic doctors and their approach to health. My entire diet has changed several times to the point that I don’t really know what is good or bad to eat. I gave up hope of ever being a person that feels “normal” or even healthy on a daily basis. Finally, I resolved to give my problems over to the Lord, living with pain and problems, striving to know Him better through my incomparable sufferings. But I have never stopped praying that I would someday find an answer to these issues. That answer came last night.
This week, I have been visiting with friends in Charlotte, NC, spending time with them before leaving the country again. In a conversation with one the first night, she told me about this doctor she had been seeing who was helping her correct a thyroid problem without medication. Her mother, who has struggled with migraines for most of her life, was also being treated by this same doctor, also without medication. Both shared that after undergoing treatment with this doctor, they have seen amazing results. Her mother, who has been treated for several months now, hasn’t had a migraine in a considerable time period. My friend has seen major improvements after only one month of treatment.
This doctor that I am talking about is a chiropractor, but not your typical run-of-the-mill chiro. First and foremost, he is a strong Christian, basing His entire treatment on how the Lord created each of us. Our bodies have everything inside of them that is needed for healing. He targets the spine, and how it relates to the nervous system, protecting and controlling every organ in our body. If our spine for some reason is out of place, putting pressure on the nerves, it affects every organ attached to that nerve. I won’t go into detail because I am not a doctor, but I do know that He was speaking absolute truth: God designed our bodies to heal themselves. 
He took me in a room and showed me the x-rays we had taken on Wednesday, pinpointing every place on my spine that was out of line and the organs being affected as a result. You name it, it was there; immune system, thyroid, liver, gall bladder (supposing I still had one), intestines, etc. Everything I have struggled with for years suddenly had a source and a solution.
Needless to say, I broke down in tears right there. Eight years of hoping, praying, and wishing there was something to do suddenly landed in my lap. He continued to share about patients they are currently treating; kids with autism and ADHD, women with cancer, adults with high blood pressure; hundreds of people giving up medicines everyday because their bodies no longer need them. Through help from the adjustments and a healthy diet, their bodies have learned to repair themselves.
So I had a decision. Receiving treatment from this office would mean moving back to Charlotte, getting a job to pay for the expenses, and putting everything else on hold until further notice. Although not ideal, how do you say no when the Lord answers years of praying? So instead of packing and leaving for Ecuador in two weeks, I am packing and moving to Charlotte for an estimated 4 to 6 months. How can I go to other countries and “heal” broken and wounded people if I am not willing to take care of and receive healing in my own body?
I will continue to blog about my journey, because even though I am stateside, my calling is still the same. One of my favorite quotes is, “It doesn’t matter where you are, it only matters who you are.” And the Lord is redefining that every day! But I know that I am His, and I am called to live a life of love to those around me. And for now, that is right here in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 
 
Here We Go Again!
Back to the blog! I have to tell you, blogging becomes 20 times harder when I am here in the States. And if you know me, you know it’s already hard enough! But I have tied myself to this chair, refusing to give up until I’ve filled you all in on the next steps in my pursuit of the Lord!
Most of you know, the Lord has been calling me to long term missions for several years, and I have recently begun taking steps towards a year-long commitment in a foreign country, specifically the South American region. I returned from a visionary trip to Peru a few weeks ago, spending time with an awesome girl named Crystal. The purpose of this trip was to explore a potential future commitment working with her in the jungles of Peru. 
Although our time was amazing and the Lord used it to teach me so much, I do not feel that He is leading me there for an extended commitment.  I know the timing and experience was absolutely planned by Him, because there are lifelong lessons I took from it. But I have returned to the States, continuing to seek where the Lord would have me in the future. 
If you have heard me talk about the race, you know that Ecuador was my favorite month. My heart broke for the kids in the nearby town and the families living at the garbage dump. I also made lifelong friends in the area with neighboring youth and college groups. Since I left almost a year and a half ago, I have not been able to forget about these ministries and have felt in my heart a burden to return.  So, after much prayer, I have decided to return and work with this same area, as well as another ministry in Quito. 
In Portoviejo during the month of June, I will be working with the garbage dump, an orphanage, and a local youth group. I am so excited to be returning to this same area, seeing old friends and exploring work for the future. I will be spreading my time with these three different ministries over the course of one month. In July, I plan to work alongside a mission team with an organization called Global Children’s Movement. They have several different ministries, most of which center around orphans and children at risk in the southern Quito area.

I am excited for the opportunity to work in both of these areas of the country. I am traveling with an open heart, seeking the Lord’s will for my future as well as following Him in the present. I don’t know whether the Lord is taking me specifically for these two months or will have me return in the future, but I plan to follow Him regardless!
Please be praying about this trip, because it is coming up quickly! There are several details that need to come together in a short time, and I know with the Lord’s help, they will surely come together! I am learning to trust the Lord to provide and sustain, but I appreciate your prayers during this journey of total dependence!

 
 
Appreciating the Tough Times. 
First of all, I have to apologize. The more I travel, the more coming home feels like a vacation. I can hide out, eat a bunch of junk food, and never get out of my pajamas for a few days without anyone ever knowing I’m home. My phone doesn’t ring, my schedule isn’t bombarded with coffee dates and lunch plans (but please don’t get me wrong, I do love those!); there are no hindrances.  I simply get a few days to decompress, veg out, and process the latest lessons the Lord has placed in my path. However, because of this, I seem to fall off the map from my updates to all of you. So don’t misread my lack of blogging as a sign that I don’t care to include you in my latest learning; sometimes I need to sleep a few days and learn to speak English again before attempting to write a new blog!

SO, here is my official update: I’M HOME! 

 It is great to be back, visiting with friends and family and catching up on all the life I missed while being away. It has also been a great time of rest and relaxation, kickin’ it with my Mama who just got back from her visit to Haiti. I’ve gotten to spend time processing and praying about my trip to Peru, and what the Lord might have in store for my future. 
My time in Peru was amazing. It was, quite possibly, the hardest mission trip I’ve ever been on. Life in the jungle is very basic; a few blogs ago I posted about how the everyday task becomes a two or three hour laboring chore. When you don’t grow up in that type of atmosphere, jumping into it is a hard adjustment. I also spent around 50% of my time there battling stomach infections, parasites, and other jungle issues that I will spare you the details! All in all, it was just hard. But the Lord really spoke to me in those times.
 A devotional book that I have, Jesus Calling, put to words what I had experienced during those six weeks in the jungle. This book is written by a woman named Sarah Young, and she writes as if Jesus were speaking to you as the reader. It says, “You are learning to appreciate tough times, because they amplify your awareness of My Presence. Tasks that you used to dread are becoming rich opportunities to enjoy My closeness. When you feel tired, you remember that I am your Strength; you take pleasure in leaning on Me.”

The verse where Paul talks about our weaknesses acknowledging the Lord’s power in our lives makes so much more sense to me now.  I was physically and spiritually unable to continue without the Lord sustaining me.  The Lord placed me with an amazing example to follow, and watching Crystal depend on the Lord for everything really challenged me to do the same.  In sickness, health, weakness, strength, exhaustion, energy, and anything else we may face, the Lord must always be our firm foundation. 
Any situation that arose, she quickly examined her life against the life of Christ, striving to be a follower of Him and Him alone. If He has time for the sick and hungry, so should she; if He stops to speak to people while on the way to something important, she should also make time to stop for people no matter where she is headed. Many times I would offer my suggestions on how to handle a situation, but her only rebuttal was to look at how Christ acted in similar circumstances.  I quickly realized that my Western mindset is exactly that; mine, not His. 
As Christians, we should strive to live as Christ; not some well known evangelist or great speaker and leader of Christianity in today’s culture.  The Word is as true today as it was when it was written, and it will be true until the day when He returns.  There is no better example for us to follow than Jesus himself, but how easy I forget that when living my day to day life.  I somehow get the idea that my thoughts and ways are better than His. I couldn't be more wrong…
“’For my thoughts and not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 55:8

So, in conclusion, I learned so much about myself, my weakness, and HIS overwhelming love and support. I learned that letting go of my ways gives room for Him to use me more and more.  I learned that it is possible to follow Him and Him alone, designing our lives around the example He left. And I learned that sickness and hardship are opportunities to know Him better.
Above all else, I learned that He truly is all I need.
 *Within the next week, I will update you all on where the Lord is leading me in the future. Since this was a visionary trip, I was seeking future long term possibilities with this ministry. The Lord is still speaking about my plans in the future, and I can’t wait to share them with you soon!* 
 
 
Delight in the Weakness.
**Due to internet complications, I could not post pictures with this blog. Sorry!**

My sister-in-law wrote a really good blog (that you can check out here if you'd like) a few days ago which made me think; she said that many times we have a tendency to write about the great things the Lord is doing, but simply struggle through the tough times on our own. Who wants to read a blog about how much it stinks to be a missionary, right? But at the same time, we paint an incorrect picture of our experiences when we neglect to share the times of weakness; the times we simply don't want to be here and the times when it's not so glorious to live this adventurous life in the jungles of Peru or the small fisherman villages of Haiti.

This trip has been very difficult so far; a parasite, two bacterial infections, a high fever with severe headaches, and a possible case of lice... and that's in only four weeks! Besides the illnesses, there are the general differences in living; strenuous daily tasks, no air conditioning (simply meaning, you sweat all day every day), rats in the house every night, tarantulas in the corners, mosquitoes and biting gnats everywhere, constant visitors to entertain, learning a new language, the list goes on and on. And although this sounds like a bunch of complaining, this is real life here. And sometimes my complaining gets in the way of what the Lord is doing here.

But other times, I realize that I have a choice; I can complain about what I don't like and the things that are hard, or I can delight in them. Paul says, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." For me, it is easy to read those words and think about how great it would be to let the Lord work through my struggles; to delight in the Lord and His goodness, and let the troubles of the world simply fade to the back. But when living through those struggles, the weaknesses and hardships that bring about anger and frustration, I realize that to delight in the Lord really is a hard and intentional choice.  After all, how do you delight in the Lord amidst 24/7 sweat, spiders, and blood sucking insects?

I'll admit, there are several times where I want to give up and run home to my mom; several times I break down in tears because I can't deal with how hard things are. But then, there are those beautiful times where I choose to delight in the Lord, and experience His small but significant blessings here in my life and the lives of those around me. When we are weak, He is strong; when we lay down our lives, His life is what the people see. When we choose to delight in Him amidst all else, He becomes the center of our hearts desire.  And that, no matter how hard, is always a story worth sharing.

"But he said to me, 
'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

 
 
Life happens when you least expect it.
Many days here, it seems that the daily chores and tasks take so much time that there is little time to be a missionary. But what is a missionary, really? Looking at the life of Jesus, he wasn't there to build orphanages or open a feeding ministry. He didn't necessarily have a special assignment he set out to accomplish. He walked with the people, lived as they lived, and in doing that he brought them the true "food" that they needed.

Living here, the daily chores are enough to wear you down, if you are not used to them. Going to the bathroom becomes a hike down the hill to a hole in the backyard, instead of stepping into the next room. Washing clothes becomes a few hours of laboring over a bucket with some soap and water, instead of simply loading the clothes and pressing a button. Eating a meal becomes a trip to the market, shopping for specific items, and returning to cook them instead of pulling out a frozen dinner. Living with "the least of these" becomes an all day ordeal instead of noble pastime.

So when do I get to be a missionary and spread the Good News to everyone? When do I get to take part in those wonderful miracles we hear about, leading villages and even nations to the Lord?  The answer: in the daily chores. The miracle is in the conversation held with the neighbor as they sit with me and talk during my clothes washing routine. The miracle is in the brief encounter that happens in the market every day, as I make habits of visiting those same patrons over and over again. The miracle is in the kids that I play with, if only for five minutes, on my way down the street to purchase more toilet paper or soap for the house.

Living life here is what I do. I'm not a glorified American guest that has come to save the world. I'm not above anyone because of my raising or stature. I'm a neighbor, a friend, a housekeeper, a customer... simply a person.  And sharing my life is what I do. Nothing more, and nothing less.
 

**Pictures will be added when I get to a place of faster internet!
Check out this blog (with pictures) at bekahbyxbe.theworldrace.org**
 
 
Up The River.
_ This past week has been all kinds of crazy; incredible, terrible, awesome, painful, exciting, frustrating… Whoa. I would love to tell you all about it, but so much has happened that we would both be here all day. Instead, I decided to post several pictures. We took a trip up the river, and these are a few of the things we got to take part in along the way. The purpose of the trip was to pass out letters to village pastors about an upcoming conference. So much different than the American mailing system, that’s for sure!

_  This was a relaxing afternoon rest stop during the first part of our trip. We met a man on our first boat ride (one hour) that let us stay at his house for the day. This village was completely flooded, and they all use canoes to get around! Crazy!

_ Around midnight, we canoed out and caught the barge that was passing through. This was a nine hour ride up the river, so we set our hammocks up on the first level. This picture shows one of the rows of hammocks packed into this place! Unfortunately, one of my bags got stolen during this ride. Luckily, it only had my clothes and bedding in it. Held onto my wallet and camera, thank goodness!

_ We went thrift store shopping in the next town to replace some of my clothes. I found these awesome digs to rock out in the jungle. Who needs style, anyway?

_  A typical kitchen in the jungle homes; open fire, dirt floor, small table for sharing meals. This family cooked up a delicious feast of fish and rice! The hospitality of these people continues to amaze me.

_  Crystal scaling some fish for one of the seven fish and rice meals we took part in over the past four days. This is also where you wash dishes, wash clothes, and shower!

_  Crystal and I on one of the few trips in the little open boats, usually lasting around 2 or 3 hours. Nothing like getting a good tan out on the open water! (Or extremely fried, in my case)

_  Had an afternoon to spend with some kids in one of the villages. We sang, played games, and even painted a few fingernails!

_  This was the church and home that we stayed in one night. This is was a typical home looks like, made of different types of wood with a straw roof. Our time here was amazing; I played guitar with some of the youth and took part in a youth service that night. Time here also had it’s down sides: we got viciously attacked by several different types of jungle insects and I stood in an ant bed (while peeing, hehe) long enough to have my fill of bites.
_  This is the edge of one of the port cities. You can see the high level of water, due to the rainy season. Many of the villages look like this right now.

Overall, it was a crazy but amazing trip. Hopefully, I will be able to post again soon and share more stories of the jungle life! Love you all!!
 
 
**UPDATE! I have made it safely to Peru and am currently getting settled into jungle life. Today is a day of rest, tomorrow preparation, and Sunday we head out on the boat to go to a Pastor's conference in the village. I will try to update when I return back to the city! But to all, I am safe, and excited about what the Lord has for me here!**
*Also, as of two days ago, I am FULLY FUNDED! So thank you for your outrageous generosity!*


Passionate Pursuit.

As I sit here in the Miami airport, waiting to board my overnight flight to Lima, thoughts are swirling in my head. How did I get here? Time seems to fly by these days, and I wake up to reality I never could have dreamed of, but love to be in. Four months ago, if you had told me I would be heading down the South America for a month or two, and potentially a year, I would have laughed at you. I had my plans. But now, after laying down those plans and being launched into this new level of surrender, South America is the only thing I can think about. I know the Lord has big plans, reckless abandonment, and extravagant love to pour out; on me, in Peru, around this world. And I’m excited to be on this unknown adventure with the Lord.
 
 
Just a quick update.
I promise to write a more detailed and informative blog later this week, but I wanted to post something quick to let you all know where I am.  Today marks exactly ONE WEEK until departure for Peru!! I am beyond excited, and know that the Lord has so much in store for me during the next six weeks. However, my support account is only halfway there! Therefore, I need your help!! 

If you have already donated, thank you thank you thank you!! People continue to surprise and humble me with their continued support and prayers. I don’t think you will ever know how much I appreciate it. Truly, it’s life changing! 

If you haven’t donated, please do! I have a week to raise $1,175 more! I know this is possible, and I have placed it in the Lord’s hands entirely. So pray, and if you feel led to give, there are several ways to do that. Visit my support tab at the top, and you will see the available options on the right hand column. (Be sure that you are on my new website, www.bekahbyxbe.com)

 If you are unable to financially donate at this time, don’t feel like I’m not including you too! Spread the word, pass out my blog site, and get your friends and family on board with what the Lord is doing at this time! 
Thank you again for your continued support. It is such a blessing to know that I am surrounded by an amazing community of people. To know that you are praying for me and following my journey, I am able to continue running with the passion the Lord has placed in my heart.
 

3 Weeks.

02/22/2012

1 Comment

 
3 Weeks. 
Today marks exactly 3 weeks until I leave for Peru. On March 14th, I will board a plane once again and head to the jungles of Peru to spend a month and a half seeking, searching, and sharing with the people of Nauta, Peru. I am excited, terrified, amazed, anxious…all kinds of emotions balled up into this one big heap of faith.  

The amount of money I need in order to make this trip a reality is $2500.  So far, I have raised… $157; a bit of a gap that I’m lacking if I did my math correctly.  However, the Lord has drastically changed my perspective when it comes to the dollar amount.  I used to place my security in the amount of money that had already come in, making the percentage of me actually leaving based on the percentage raised.  For example, if I had raised $10 out of $100, there was a 10% chance that I would actually go!   

 
 
He didn't change His mind. He just changed my plans...
 Now that I have broken my lack-o-blogging trend, I decided to write a little bit of my story; how I got from where all of you knew I was to where I am now. Fill in the gaps a bit :)  I hope you enjoy!
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For almost 6 years now, my dream and vision has been to work with the orphans in Ahero, Kenya, helping to instill hope, a future, and a sense of worth in each of their lives. I felt like I was made to live overseas and do work for the Kingdom. I also knew God was calling me to leave the comforts of America behind to pursue a life of ministry. It has been a long road, through many ups and downs that several of you were present for. I left on the World Race in January of 2011, asking the Lord to confirm my plans for the future; whether I would be serving in Kenya or in some other country in the world. (If only it were that easy... I am learning more and more each day).