- Dewey’s Birthday
- Yard Sale
- Signed up for COMPASS Culture Training
- Hillsong Concert
- 23.5% increase in 5 weeks
Hola Hola, amigos!
Our Ohio summer was too short for my liking! I suppose it’s a good thing I am moving to the land of eternal summer – San Salvador! September was a little less busy than August, but that’s not to say that the month wasn’t filled with fun and God continuing to do amazing things in my support raising adventure!
At the beginning of the month, my sweet little Dewdlebug turned FIVE! For the past five years, this little dog has been my comforter in sadness, my keeper of secrets and the joy of my days. Adopted after my mother passed away from cancer, Dewey’s initial role in my life was to lure me out of bed each morning to make sure my little puppy had a happy life. As the years have passed, he has added more happiness to my life than I could ever add to his! Where will Dewey live when you leave?? Alas, I cannot take the Dewster with me to San Salvador. Believe me, it’s almost enough reason not to move. Almost. Dewey will move into Tom’s Steakhouse, aka, Dad’s House. He will be loved on, walked daily, and fed the finest meat Weiland’s Market can provide. I know that Dewey will be in good hands with my dad.
Just like I can’t take Dewey with me down south, I certainly can’t take all of my belongings either! Amanda and her husband Josh graciously allowed me to team up with them for their annual neighborhood yard sale and sell most of the Barbie Dream House’s glamorous merchandise and fabulous crap! I was able to sell (after some exhausting haggling) my dining room table, kitchen table, futon, a handful of books and movies, some of my Ashley BC (Before Christ) wardrobe, a mini fridge and even my 8 ft tall pink Christmas tree! After everything was either sold, thrown on the free table or packed back up for better luck elsewhere, I made an impressive $731.25!
Slowly but surely my home is emptying of all my material goods, and slowly but surely my heart is beginning to ache for this place that I have called home for eight crazy, beautiful years.
As part of my preparation for mission work in a foreign country, Reliant requires me to attend Mission Training International’s COMPASS training in Colorado for 4 weeks. It is there that I will prepare to leave my culture and enter into one possibly much different from my own. I will learn how to deal with culture shock and missing home, how to say a good goodbye to my friends and family, and receive Spanish lessons! Honestly, beyond that, I don’t really know what to expect from the COMPASS training. But Colorado is a gorgeous place, so I could be told to go there for just about any reason for a month, and I’m there!
But the most exciting part of this upcoming trip is that I will get to spend 24 hours with my high school best friend, Heather! After high school and college in Columbus, Heather confidently stated the “mountains called” to her. So she moved to Boulder, Colorado, fell in love and married a mountain man, had a couple mountain babies and lives the Colorado mountain life! I was blessed to be in her wedding in 2008 (on the side of a Colorado mountain, of course!) and visited again in the spring of 2010. I haven’t been back since and the last time I say my girl was in 2012! Needless to say, I am more than a little bit excited!
Before a missionary can register to go to COMPASS training, they must have acquired 80% of their monthly support commitments. A few weeks ago, with just about 65% committed, I took a step of faith that by the time training starts on October 26th, I would be at 80% and registered. Being me, not ONLY did I register, but I booked a flight as well. Alright God, the ball’s in your court now!
This past Saturday night, I packed up my Honda CRV with a few friends and drove north to Canton, Ohio to see the Hillsong Worship team! If you have ever been to Rock City Church (my home church), chances are pretty good that we sang a Hillsong song. The group is based out of Australia and is now touring the country sharing their gift of worship. It was an amazing experience to sing my heart out to God as Hillsong played my favorite songs.
The highlight of the night was standing up front by the stage, arms up and soul surrendered to God asOceans resounded through the auditorium. There was something so powerful in pleading for God to “lead me where my trust is without borders…wherever He would call me” as Taya Smith belted her heart out. But…truth be told, I’d prefer to worship at home at Rock City Church, surrounded by people who have been encouraging me in this Salvadoran journey for over a year now, as Brooke, one of our Rock City singers, cries out to God on my behalf with her passionate, heart-piercing voice.
But yeah…Hillsong was pretty good ;)
ps…if you’ve never heard Oceans, do yourself a favor and set aside 8 minutes today to listen to this song and give your heart to God – again and again and again.
These past four months of building up my team of people who are going to be encouraging, praying and supporting me as I continue to prepare and eventually live in San Salvador have been a true opportunity for God to stretch out His arms and show me just what He can do when I surrender my life to him.
Before I can leave for San Salvador and begin doing God’s work with His people, I must reach 100% of my monthly support goal. Once I am in San Salvador working, I will be blessed to receive a salary through Reliant, made up of money from people who are eager and excited to financially support me. Most missionaries reach their goal in about 6 months to a year. I am boldly and brazenly praying for God to get me to 100% of my goal within 5 months. It is my goal to move down south in mid-December. The San Salvador youth group heads to Honduras for Infinito, a youth conference on December 26th and I would love to join them. I see this as a wonderful way for me to kick off my ministry, create new friendships and solidify existing relationships.
God is good and God is able. As of clicking publish on this post, I am at 87.5% of my monthly goal! That is a 23.5% increase since my last update, a short five weeks ago! I am asking that God would bring in the remaining 12.5% by the time I leave for Colorado on October 25th. By reaching 100% before the Colorado culture training, I can focus my attention on learning and when I return to Columbus on November 21st, I can spend my last few weeks tying up loose ends, figuring out last minute logistics, packing and saying goodbye.
When I initially began this journey, I begged for God to not only shut doors if a move to San Salvador was not in His plans for me, but to shut them, lock them, Holy Spirit super glue them and put His shoulder into it because I will knock a door down if I want through. I was asking Him to make it blatantly obvious and near impossible for me to get to San Salvador if I was barreling down the wrong path.
But God hasn’t done that.
God has opened door after door and put amazing, generous people in my life. I am asking to raise another 12.5% in 5 weeks. I know God can do it and I am asking you to help. Monthly gifts can be in any amount – whatever gives your heart joy to give. You will be helping me share with Salvadoran youth that they won’t find their joy or their identity in neighborhood gangs and no boyfriend or girlfriend will ever love them the way Jesus loves them. This is important. It is our job to make Heaven full.
“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly,
for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”
Please consider giving. You can get set up in five minutes by clicking the “Give to the Cause” button under my photo or by going to reliant.org/ashley.arend
- That the Salvadoran youth are able to raise the funds needed to send each and every student to Infinito in December
- That our own Rock City Youth kids would continue to build lifelong bonds with each other that strengthen them to go out in their worlds and be a light of God’s love
- That I would have no trouble emptying the Barbie Dream House of the last few items taking up residency here
- That God will continue to open the hearts and minds of each person I am blessed to share my story with
be cheerful no matter what // what pray all the time // thank God no matter what happens.
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