Neoblogs: A New Home

We are currently in the midst of recreating our blogosphere in hopes to bring back the many neobloggers in the fellowship.

  • New additions include now a base site that displays all the most recent posts from current authors.
  • Linked sites for better navigation
  • Updated user functionality for both readers and authors

If you would like to start your own blog or migrate your existing blog back to our new home feel free to contact me at interns@neoxenos.org

Current users may also contact me for support with updating themes and looks for their blog site.

To access you blog site just click you name listed on the site to take you to your blog page, then just click the login link on the side!

UPDATE!!!!

As those of you who have blog sites may have noticed, you should have received an email to set up a new password. This was cause by a transition in our database to make future endeavors much simpler. If you have ANY issues logging in please contact me.

As far as linking social media with your blogs, we will be using Jetpack, you can find this on your dashboard. To do this follow these steps:

1) Log into WordPress and go to your dashboard
2) Towards the top left-hand side click on the “Jetpack” tab
3) It should go to a screen with a giant banner saying to log in with your wordpress.com credentials, along with 6 bubbles of options below it. Click on the giant banner to login and create a new user for yourself (its really easy)
4) After this go back to the previous page and click on the “Sharing” bubble.
5) Once there drag in the social media forms you would like, i.e. twitter or facebook. Make sure you are logged into those accounts. Then simply click the connect button.
6) Before you save at the bottom make sure to change the “Button Style” to “Official Buttons” and then on the “Show Buttons On” section, click the “Posts” tab.
7) Then save and it may take a few minutes to show on your blog, as always if you have any issues, shoot me an email (interns@neoxenos.org)

Honored

Zak suggested I write thoughts down about what it’s like to live in a pandemic. I don’t have many, though, because I have something really competing for my attention: a baby. And let me tell you how much the baby wins over a pandemic. 

I found out I was pregnant at the very, tippy end of 2019. I took a test because I felt a little bit off and it was positive. I guess you don’t get false positives, but I was shocked because it wasn’t supposed to happen that quickly! Seriously, it wasn’t. If you haven’t heard, I’ve had some health trials in my adult years and with those trials was supposed to be the risk of infertility or at least harder to become and remain pregnant due to hormonal problems associated with autoimmune diseases. Yet – only one month after my doctor cleared me to start trying to have a baby and only 7 months after getting my thyroid removed – BOOM, there’s a positive.

Another reason why it wasn’t supposed to happen: I’m not ready. At 27 years old, I feel fresh out of high school. I’m still tired all the time. I can barely get dinners on the table for me & my husband of four years. I forget to feed my cat more than I’d like to admit and – most of all – I never wanted a kid.  (The whole starting to try thing was Zak’s idea. He was so excited. Granted, I did get more warm to the idea of my own child when I met and fell completely in love/obsessed/borderline stalker with my nephew Lukas.) 

So, how did this happen to me?! It wasn’t supposed to happen. And why me? Out of all people… It just didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t. Why would God let a selfish person like me in on this part of life – the whole creating life part? I don’t know. I still don’t, but over the last 9 months of growing a human what I have learned is that I’m involved in a miracle, a spiritual experience, that is so special and extraordinary, yet normal, that I would never take back, replace, change even for all the selfish wants in the world. 

I still get doubts if I’m “ready” or not, but here he comes. And I feel blessed to be his mom. 

I guess I started writing this as an encouragement for women who may be afraid to have a kid. I’m still afraid. If anything I am more afraid than I’ve ever been before. But that fear is so different since it’s triggered by all the good that is at stake. I fear for my baby’s health, and then I feel him kick and my fear melts. I fear for my health, but take a nap and end up okay, have doctors I see weekly making sure it’s really okay. I fear for the future, but think about how the worries of today are enough on their own and to enjoy the short (yes, short) 9 months given with a completely silent kid before the screams & tears come. I fear for my marriage, but fall into a warm hug, smile and laughter thinking about all the dumb shit we are going to do together and to this kid. I fear for energy, but wake up another day to friends asking how they can help (a truly beautiful body of Christ.) 

I fear for the word “mom” because it sounds so boring, yet consuming. Somehow, when you become a mom, that seems to be all that you are. Why is that? As I’ve thought about it I get mad because I think the negative connotation subscribed to motherhood comes from our culture. “When you become a mom, your life ends… You get so boring… You lose yourself… Your career dies… You don’t get anymore ‘me time’…” All these terrible sounding futures; my individualistic American girl soul cringes at the thought. But doesn’t Jesus say to “pick up our cross daily”? Doesn’t Paul say “to live is Christ, to die is gain”? Doesn’t David sing “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!” The theme – “die to self” couldn’t be more clear throughout God’s plan for our lives, so the visceral reaction I have to motherhood is really me letting the culture decide to take the honor and privilege and importance away from giving myself for another human. Isn’t that what Christ did for us? Should not this be a dreaded task, but a position of undeniable honor?

And let me tell you what – coming from someone who didn’t ever desire a child – thinking of the sleepless nights, the sticky hands, the smells, the frustrations, the failure to come – all those things cannot outweigh the fact that I cannot smother the truth, the feeling, the reality that the honor is ALL mine. 

Lastly, I just want to go back to the “spiritual experience” point: that might sound weird because literally unfathomable amounts of women get to become mothers, so is it really that special? That’s one thing that keeps tripping me up – how is this so normal yet so profound? How is this such an extraordinary experience, yet happens many, many times a day all over the world? I don’t know. As my doctor tells me to relieve my anxiety: “You’re not special. Women give birth every minute.” Yet, I am special! Because I have another person depending on me and connected to me… Isn’t that a mind-blowing, wonder of life? It’s really taught me the beauty of life and, at the same time, the smallness. So many are born and die without ever feeling like they matter. As a soon to be mom, that breaks my heart. Is this how God feels for every soul born apart from him? If I could describe to a lonely, empty spirit the intense love felt for them before they were even born, wouldn’t that make a difference? I wish, I hope. Life is weighty. Although we’re here one day and gone tomorrow, life is a gift. Even though there are millions of us (billions), each one matters. And that’s the beautiful seeming contradiction I’ve added to the list that God loves to use: you’re not special, but you are. Why? Because I made you matter. Motherhood? It’s monotonous and boring, but sanctifying and spiritual. Why? Because God our Father gave us this experience to share creation with him. Life is full of down time and stupid, selfish thoughts, yet my thoughts have value and weight and my time can change the world. Why? Because God so loved the world that he sent his son to die for us, so that because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand – confidently & joyfully looking forward to sharing in God’s glory. 

I don’t know, man, it just blows my mind. And I hope my babe can one day understand more than I ever could about his heavenly Father. 

So, those are some thoughts circling through my head as I’ve been pregnant through a pandemic. Not so much the pandemic, but the pregnant part. And I’m still scared & tired so I’d appreciate prayers for safety these last 2 weeks and a safe baby. 

P.S. I guess it’s worth mentioning what it’s been like to be pregnant during a pandemic. Zak can’t come to any of the appointments, but we used Facetime when we found out the gender. My mom can’t be with me in the delivery room, which is sad because (remember how I’m a 27 yo high school graduate) I want my mom now more than ever. No visitors allowed after he’s born. And, a pregnant lady probably should take more precautions than I have been (but PTL, I have been safe!) So, there’s that! Overall, with things being shut down, I feel like I’ve gotten to rest more than I would have without a pandemic on the loose. And I am fortunate enough to live in an area not overrun with Coronavirus. I live in a quiet neighborhood where walking and biking have been a godsend. And the weather for Northeast Ohio this summer has been nothing to complain about – it’s been great! Which has been a wonderful experience to remain active without fearing for my life, as some have had to do in bigger cities. We also purchased a camper this year and have been able to get away into nature, which is really fun! Who needs international travel when you can plop down next to a lake for a week?! I haven’t given up grocery shopping just yet because it’s truly a freedom I’d risk my life for. Wearing a mask on a 90 degree day with a big ol’ pregnant belly smushing your lungs isn’t the most fun, either, but does make me feel safer. Also, an excuse not to hug every person I see is kind of selfishly great for a non-touchy person like me – lolz.

It will be interesting coming home from the hospital and how to navigate visitors for our little guy’s safety. But, as with all things, God has been so very gracious. And the body of Christ, even at a distance, has been a lifesaver! I wouldn’t know where to begin without the help & prayers of others!!

Why You Should Budget

Starting a full time job after college is a radical change of life. When I started working full time in June 2013 the realization hit me; for the last seventeen years of my life I have been a student. All of a sudden I am supposed to shift gears entirely, and spend the next forty years or so being a working man!

This change, while daunting, brings many positive things. Foremost is money! Instead of scraping by on minimum wage jobs and spending money on tuition now you are raking in the dough! But along with this newfound income comes new expenses; student loans, car payments, perhaps insurance and phone bills for people moving off their parents’ plans, and maybe even a mortgage someday.

How can we balance this new influx of money with our new expenses? How can we make sure we don’t blow all our new funds right away and set ourselves up for financial success down the line?

The answer, as you might guess from the title, is simple: budgeting!

If you were hoping for some shiny new trick, sorry to disappoint you. Budgeting is the tried and true method for taking control of your finances. There is already a ton of info about budgeting out there on the web (click here) so I won’t get into the minutiae. Rather, I’m going to spend a little more time convincing you why you should budget and then give some overall tips in another post.

You would be surprised how many people don’t have a budget. So if you don’t have one don’t feel bad – you are not alone. The reasons people don’t budget vary; some people don’t know how, some find it too boring, some think it’s too much work, some don’t think they need to budget, and some people frankly are just plain scared to sit down and look at their finances.

If you don’t know how to budget, you are in the right place! Good on you for taking the time to learn how. You can read through the rest of this article for some tips and check out the link above for more resources.

If you think budgeting is boring… well you’re probably right. It would take a sick individual to get pleasure out of numbers and spreadsheets. Yet life is full of boring things that you have to do. How many people find some aspect of their job boring but still do it? And why do they do it? Because they get paid to do so! So why not spend a little time doing something boring that will pay you (in money saved)?

Fortunately, budgeting doesn’t have to take a lot of work. It can take a bit of time and research at first, but once you get things rolling there is minimal time required. I spend maybe ten minutes per week on my budget. That’s not a lot of time.

If you don’t think you need to budget… well, maybe you are right. There are some people out there that naturally have their expenses figured out, don’t spend much, and save a lot. But those people are few and far between. Let your bank account do the talking. If you are living paycheck to paycheck or struggling to pay bills then you’re the person that needs to budget.

Finally, there are some people who are scared to budget since that means taking an honest look at their finances. And than can bring some scary results (“I spent that much on coffee!” or “I owe how much on my credit cards?!”). While it can be scary, and even shameful to admit where you are at financially, budgeting is the first step to taking hold of your finances and making them not scary.

I hope that this post has convinced you of the importance of making a budget. As mentioned, you can check out the google search resources above or my budgeting tips here.

Budgeting Tips

Hello! If you are reading this hopefully it means you decided to make a budget. So let’s jump right in and go over some tips to making a budget.

A budget is simply a list of your income and expenses. It is easiest to make the budget on a monthly basis. The goal is to spend less than you make, with the excess going to savings.

To start your budget you will need to do some research. First you will need your net income (your pay after taxes and deductions aka the money that hits your bank account).

Next you will need an estimate on your expenses for the month. Some expenses, like rent, are a fixed amount each month, so finding that number is easy. For others the amount fluctuates. I suggest pulling your last three months of expenses and using that data to calculate a monthly average. Fortunately banks and credit card companies keep track of that spending activity and it can be easily accessed online.

While this might take a little while, this step is extremely helpful because it gives you an accurate amount of how much you spend. If you budget only $50 to eating out each month but are actually spending $150 your budget is going to get blown up in the first month. The better your data, the better your results.

List out all your monthly expenses and compare it to your income. You might find that you are spending more than you are making. In this case you need to examine your expenses and determine where you can make cuts.

If your income and expenses are equal, you still need to make cuts. That is because you want to have some money that is being saved each month.

Eventually you should come to a point where you have the finalized list of your income and estimated expenses and savings. Now you get to see how well you stick to your budget. By tracking your expenses you can see how accurate your estimated expenses are. A budget should be fluid. If there is a category you are constantly spending more you can make cuts in other categories to even things out.

Tracking your expenses might sound like a lot of work, but as mentioned in another post this only takes me about ten minutes a work. Also, there are free tools out there like Mint that will track things for you.

I would suggest using either Excel or Google Sheets for your budget. I personally use Google Sheets.

As mentioned earlier, a budget should be fluid. I would suggest revisiting your budget and making revisions when needed. You could make changes annually or when major changes to your income (new job/promotion) or expenses (house/new car) occur.

Here are some more resources that give more in-depth information on budgeting:

https://www.daveramsey.com/get-started/budget

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-make-a-budget-1289587

Hoopla will save you money

Many people who see me regularly may laugh at me for writing this little blog post. I already tell people about the library, and Hoopla especially, way too much. When I taught a Bible study last weekend, people in my home church’s group chat were posting about how I was probably going to make a Hoopla reference while teaching (I didn’t…). Still, with so much talk about how amazing the library and apps like Hoopla are, it amazes me how many people don’t take advantage of these awesome resources. I’ve recommended Hoopla to people over and over again and they still come back with excuses like “I have fines at the library” (get a different library card… (or pay the fines)), “I like physical books” (libraries have those too!), or “I don’t like to read” (you’re an adult now! Try again!). Anyway, I really like the library and think more people should give it a shot. Check out this blog post about it as well. 

If you want to read more and prefer to not waste money, grab your library card and download the apps Hoopla and Libby. Don’t have a library card? You can get one for free. Most cities let you sign up even if you don’t live there (I have five different library cards). If you live anywhere in the state of Ohio, you can sign up for a Columbus Metropolitan Library card online and they’ll mail it to you (again- this is all free!). I always recommend this step to people since 1) you don’t have to leave your house, 2) the Columbus library has a great selection and 3) it’s, like all things library, free! 

Like I said above, once you have your library card, download the apps Hoopla and Libby. It’s a bit annoying there are multiple library apps for reading and audio books, but it’s not too big of a deal. Hoopla is my favorite since there are no holds, meaning there is no limit to how many people can download a specific ebook or audiobook at once. Libby is the opposite, so you have to be first in line to get the book. 

If anyone would like help with any of these steps, feel free to reach out. I love helping people get into reading in new ways. That being said, I think you can figure it out. The steps are pretty easy once you give it a few minutes. Now I’d like to give a few book recommendations for both of the apps. This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but I’d like to show you an example of some of the great titles you can read or listen to for free. 

Hoopla

  • The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  • The Lost Art of Disciple Making – Leroy Eims 
  • Insights on James, 1 & 2 Peter – Charles Swindoll (most of the New Testament is on here, too)
  • How Dare the Sun Rise – Sandra Uwiringiyimana 
  • The God Who is There – Francis A. Schaeffer
  • Tactics – Gregory Koukl
  • Speaking to Teenagers – Doug Fields
  • Heaven – Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Peter Scazzero 
  • Generation Me -Jean M. Twenge 
  • The Truth About Us – Brant Hansen 
  • Unoffendable – Brant Hansen
  • Blessed are the Misfits– Brant Hansen
  • Wild at Heart – John Eldredge

Libby:

  • Martin Luther – Eric Metaxas
  • How to Really Love Your Child – D. Ross Campbell (starting this one now)
  • Escape from Camp 14 – Blaine Harden
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  • Audacity – Melanie Crowder
  • Hillbilly Elegy- J.D. Vance 
  • Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus– Nabeel Qureshi 

There are many, many more great books out there for free on Hoopla and Libby (and, of course, at the physical library). Happy reading everyone. What other good books on these apps did I miss? I’d love to hear any recommendations. Also, check out my wife Elli’s post from last month on books she recommends!

The College Graduate or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Pay Back My Student Loans

numbers-money-calculating-calculation

Congratulations. You’ve finally done it. You celebrate with your family and friends, showing off your degree. With college now behind you, you are excited to take your first step into the working world. Things get off to a slow start, as it take you a couple of months to find a job. It’s not a job doing exactly what you wanted, and it pays a little less than what you had hoped for, but it’s a job so you take it.

A few months later, the first bill for your student loans pops up in your inbox. Your minimum payment is $300 a month. Between loan payments, car payments, rent, utilities, food and gas you’re stuck living paycheck to paycheck, each month falling a little bit further behind. You start racking up credit card debt, as you can’t afford to pay off the full amount each month. Eventually you miss a loan payment, then a car payment, then rent. Your loans go into default, your car is repossessed, and you are evicted from your apartment.

Homeless, you wander the streets with nothing more than the clothes on your back and a deflated football that in your hallucinations you believe to be a dog named Snappy, scrounging for loose change so that you can buy some alcohol to forget the pain if for only a few moments. On a cold windy day, you sit on a bench with your dirt encrusted coat wrapped tightly around you. A gust of wind picks up Snappy, and blows him into the road. There, before your eyes, Snappy is crushed instantaneously by the tires of a passing car. You howl in pain as your only friend is now gone, leaving you alone. “Oh,” you weep, “oh, if only I had better managed my student loans!”

Now, that was a bit of an extreme example, but I wanted to test out my creative writing skills. So yeah, nothing like that is going to happen to you, but perhaps you might find yourself in a situation like the following:

A recent college graduate living paycheck to paycheck lies awake at night stressing over whether or not he will be able to pay his bills for the month.

A young married couple can’t go on a vacation with many of their close friends as they can’t afford the trip due to their loan payments.

An employee has to work at a soul-sucking company with an abusive boss, and is too afraid to leave because even being out of work for a couple of weeks might mean they will run out of money.

These are all much more realistic situations a person could face in their lives. Many people out there are really enslaved by their student loan debt. At the very least, student loan repayment is a major source of stress for people. This report put out by the Boston Fed showed that 57% of people with student loans are concerned about being unable to repay them. Why be enslaved to your debt? Why stress out about it?

That’s why I’m writing this blog. Hopefully, to help you learn about student loans, learn how to manage them, and ultimately how to be free from them. In the last 2 posts, I have covered the topic of student loans for someone just starting college, and for someone who is in the middle of college. In this post, I will be writing about the college graduate. A person who is working full-time, and making payments on their student loans. In other words, a person who has hit reality. It can be easy to forget about our loans when we don’t have to pay them back, but when we start getting those bills in the mail it is a whole different picture.

So, you need to start paying back your loans. How should you do this, and how can you do this the most effectively? And how can you pay back your loans so you’ll be debt-free the fastest? Well, it’s pretty simple

Step 1: Make the minimum payment on your loans each month. This one should be a no-brainer. In order to avoid having your loans go into default, you need to pay the minimum amount specified by your loan servicer each month. In this post, I discussed all of the bad stuff that happens if you default on your loans. So, in order to avoid default and everything that comes with it, the first step is to pay the minimum balance on each loan every month.

Step 2: Pay off your loans early. Paying off your loans early will save you money in the long-term, since there will be less time for interest to compound, and less principle for that interest to compound on. Not only will you save money by paying off your loans early, but it will also help you to be debt free faster.

The best way to pay off your loans as quickly as possible is take any money left over after your minimum pat on one loan, instead of spreading that extra across all of your loans.

There are two common methods used to determine which loan to prioritize payments on, which I will call the Snowball Method and the Highest Rate Method.

In the Snowball Method, any extra money above your minimum payments is put towards the loan with the lowest balance. For example, say you have three loans:

  • Loan 1 has a balance of $2,000 and an interest rate of 4.66% with a minimum monthly payment of $50.
  • Loan 2 has a balance of $8,000 and an interest rate of 7.53% with a minimum monthly payment of $100.
  • Loan 3 has a balance of $5,000 and an interest rate of 4.29% with a minimum monthly payment of $75.
  • After making a combined minimum monthly payment of $225, you have an extra $100 to put towards your loan payments. Since this is the Snowball Method, you would put that $100 towards Loan 1, which has the smallest balance. Once Loan 1 is paid off, any extra money would then go to Loan 3 (which would then have the smallest balance). Once Loan 3 is paid off, you can then put all extra money into the last remaining loan, Loan 2.

    This method is often preferred because it gives you a psychological advantage. In this method, you knock out the smallest loan quickly, then move up to the next largest loan, and so on. By focusing on the smaller loans first, you get the satisfaction of paying off a loan completely. It doesn’t matter that it may have only been a small loan, that feeling of accomplishment from wiping one whole loan off the list can keep you going in what seems like a neverending stream of loan repayments.

    I think you can better understand the appeal of the Snowball Method when you look at the other suggested method, which is the Highest Rate Method. As the name suggests, in this method you put any extra money towards the loan with the highest interest rate first. When that loan is completely paid back, you put the extra payments towards the loan with the next highest interest rate and so on.

    The advantage to this method is that you will end up saving the most money in the long run. Because you are focusing on the loans with the higher interest rates, you are giving that interest rate less principal to compound on, and less time to compound as well.

    So, if the Highest Rate Method will save you the most money, why would anyone choose the Snowball Method instead? Well, as I mentioned before, the Snowball Method will give you tangible results sooner, as it quickly knocks off your smaller loans. Applying the Highest Rate Method to our example, the first loan to be focused on would be Loan 2, which has a balance of $8,000. While putting your extra money towards that loan first will save you more money in the long run, it’s going to take a lot longer to pay off that loan.

    This is where we see the advantage to the Snowball Method. Instead of slugging through a huge loan first, you quickly knock off some smaller loans to get the ball rolling. Like making a snowman, you start small and keep on rolling until you’re debt free.

    Personally, I prefer the Highest Rate Method to the Snowball Method. But each person is different, so what is important is finding the method that will help you the most in paying off your loans. Are you the type who wants to start with the small milestones and work your way up to the big ones? Maybe the Snowball Method is better for you. Are you someone who doesn’t need any milestones along the way, and instead will be content knowing that they are saving a little extra money? Then perhaps you would fit into the Highest Rate Method.

    Whichever method you pick, the important thing is to stick with it. And this brings us to our final step.

    Step 3: Stick with it! So much of paying back your loans has to do with discipline, the discipline to keep your head down and send out those checks each month, no matter how hard it can seem. Your student loans aren’t going to go away magically on their own, and while it may seem daunting, you just need to keep on plugging away at your loans. Maybe you can make a chart of your loans, and watch the balance decrease very month to keep you going. Or maybe, you’re the type who just needs to set up the automatic payments and not think about your loans until they’re paid off. But you need to stick with your repayment plan; many people fall off the wagon and find themselves right back where they were at the start. Don’t let this be you!

    So, in conclusion, it’s pretty simple. There are 3 steps to paying back your loans and being free from that debt. In case you forgot already, those steps are:

    Step 1: Make all the minimum payments on your loans.
    Step 2: Choose either the Snowball or Highest Rate Method for your extra payments.
    Step 3: Stick with it!

    Follow these steps, and you will find yourself on the way to debt freedom!

    P.S. I wrote out the whole blog and realized I forgot to add one part in. I didn’t really want to go back and edit it in, so I threw it down here. When making extra payments to a loan, be sure to specify that you want that extra money to go towards the principal of the loan. Some loan companies will try to screw you by applying it to the interest, so make sure you instruct them to put that towards the principle. It’ll save you money that way.

    The start of a journey.

    If you would have asked me at the beginning of 2015 what my New Years resolution was, I would not have said “Missions trip” or “India Trip”. I was actually very apathetic to the idea of going to India. I specifically remember conversations I had with people where I justified my hesitancy to consider a trip to India. I would say:

    “wellll I’ve been on the Buffalo Missions Trip 5 times and I feel like I got my missions experience”.

    Yes I know, this is silly. I think there was a lot to be learned at the Buffalo Missions Trip. I now realize that I will learn much different lessons through this India trip. Lessons that include being vulnerable with other men on a daily basis, experiencing a new culture with open ears and my mouth shut at times, and learning how to trust the Lord on a very deep level with my deepest anxieties.  I struggle with anxiety and stress so my prayer for this trip is that it will give Matthew 6:25-34 a whole new meaning to my life.

    It was in February that Pastor Benny came from India to visit our Church in Kent, Ohio. He spoke on the topic of the different stages of the Church out of Acts. It is hard for me remember the exact points Benny was making but I do know, after that teaching, I was almost convinced that I wanted to go to India. I thought about how this man is willing to travel by himself to America and teach a room full of people that he hardly knows. This moved me. I prayed at the end of that teaching and I felt the Lord put it on my heart that I needed to stop worrying and justifying, He made it clear to me that this India trip could be something that is fruitful as I went through lots of physical pain before this because of an accident, But with the best quality cbd oil as treatment and physical therapy and God it was all possible.

    In the next week I contacted Greg and told him that I would like to go to India and before I knew it, things were on the move. As the months went by it was made clear the the Lord was at work. One thing I will mention is my team that the Lord put together. I am going to India with Mike Hudok, Greg Morscher, Ian McCullough, & Tom Smith. I have heard and read that unity within your team is key to having a successful trip. I found it humorous how the Lord put together a team that i felt so comfortable with. I have led in high school ministry with 3 of these men, do crafts/make cool things with one, and one of them happens to be my gracious boss/mentor for about four years now. I feel so privileged to be able to go on a trip with these brothers and have this experience with them.

    This is just the background to the “Start of a journey”.  I cannot wait to share more of my experiences and convictions with you as I travel.

    To close, here are some random facts and things I am excited/curious about:

    1. I’ve never flown
    2. I’ve never been in a different country (Other than Canada)
    3. I love Indian food (I hope this remains true)
    4. I want to buy a knife or some kind of handmade item in India.
    5. I can’t wait to say I’ve been to Germany.
    6. I do not want to see a single effing spider on my whole trip.
    7. I can’t wait to buy Sam Stevens Coffee and drink chai tea.
    8. I can wait to sweat for 18 hours a day.
    9. Lastly, I can’t wait to meet this young lady:

    gayathri

    -Gayathri, my parents sponsor child.

    Peace out.