Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Harvest Bible Chapel Bloomington

Harvest Bible Chapel Bloomington made this impact on me in the 2 weeks I've been a part of it.. :)

Teaching from the Word of God
Hands on service for the Body
Always encouraging company
Never dropping our eyes from the cross
Kingdom focused
Saved by grace and living like it

Together as the bride of Christ
Open hearts in worship

God centered
Obedient to the calling of our Lord
Disciples making disciples

Why - 9/11

Why is it permissible to sing songs about the Lord Almighty holding the whole world in his hands, and his amazing grace that saved us all, and invoke his blessing upon this country on a day such as this; but on all other days said things are, best case scenario, merely left unspoken? Why is it that God comes into play in such a major way on a day of tragedy, and the days of remembrance following, but is blotted out of society and politics and even the american life on any other day? In days of major decision making, new faces of America inaugurated, public celebration of a holiday, even just in literature posted on or around governmental buildings, God has been taken out. He is ignored, thrown into a pile with all other religious figure heads, hushed, and even replaced. Yet when tragedy strikes, when our nation is brought to its knees, upon whom do Americans nation-wide call? God. We cry out for help from God. The same God we push to the side and cover up when we "don't need him." How would a father feel if his children ignored him, told him he didn't matter, wasn't needed, and in fact just a name among many equal; and then later when they were hurting come calling on his name for help, blessing, and rescue? Would not that father feel unappreciated, used, and even as far as insulted by this behavior? This is how we are treating our Father God. Our nation places his great name in our pledge and on our currency, and we use a Bible for inauguration ceremonies, but these simple gestures are being placed into jeopardy because of the insistence that it is not proper to support one religion more than another. However when the rubber meets the road and a tragic situation arises, the name of the Lord God Almighty is invoked. Why? Why can we not remember his name always? Why can we not cry out to him even in the daily labors of life? Why is he in such a tiny box pulled out only when the last direction left to look is up? Our God should be bigger than that. He should reign from our hearts and lives and nation, not from a tiny box we keep locked in storage for days like today. May the hearts of America be broken open to the truth, and may the Lord God once again take his rightful place, front and center. God bless America.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Interview with Hannah Starrett

Intro: I haven't posted in a VERY long time due to not having a computer to work with for the last few months in Costa Rica. So in order to catch up all my followers in a manner other than just writing paragraph after paragraph of "out-dated" information, I decided to try to make it a little more interesting and less time-consuming. Hopefully you feel the same as this way you can skip to the questions/answers that interest you :)

1) What were the highlights of the second semester in GAP Costa Rica?
        First of all, I'd say just having probably triple the Spanish use as first semester was a huge plus. I did a whole lot more translating second semester for both missions groups that came from the states, as well as students in GAP giving devotionals or testimonies in various churches around our area. I also spent every Wednesday night with my friend Andrea, a member of the SCORE staff at the Villa. I would leave work (the Villa) with her and head to her church, enjoy a dinner with her family, and spend the night at her house (sleepover!!), all the while speaking only Spanish. She doesn't speak English at all so it was the perfect push and practice that I needed to work on perfecting the language I love. It was incredible.
       Second highlight I'd say was our trip to the Dominican Republic in the beginning of April. It was absolutely amazing. We (GAP students) were the translators for 320 freshmen-junior students from a church in Atalnta, GA. They divided up into 40 groups of 8 people, and one of us went with each group. There were 20 buses with 2 groups each that headed out once in the morning and again in the afternoon. The groups would rotate through and we translators would stay with the bus. We did things from VBS, construction, and giving food, to visiting orphanages, shopping at the market, and street evangelism. God used us in a powerful way and we saw so much growth not only in the DR, but also inward change from the impact of being leading missionaries ourselves and influencing these high school students with the love of God and love for missions. It was one of my favorite experiences for sure!! 
        And of course the third highlight would be meeting my now boyfriend, Esteban Mora. If you want to hear that story message me on facebook or shoot me an email :) The whole second semester was filled with activities, growth, and lots of fun!! We went more places, used our Spanish outside the classroom, and were way busier. But it was great. I loved the time and learned more than I could ever explain in words. God is amazing and he surely did a work on my heart. 

2) What did you do over the summer?
       Over the summer my schedule was pretty much just work. I worked full time at the Klien Brot Hous Bakery in Brookston where I've been employed since '08. I love it there - the people, the work, everything - so it was great to be able to spend my summer there and try to fill the hole Costa Rica made in my bank account ;) I did spend some time with my friends of course, one of which is now ENGAGED!!! :) I also took some time to go skiing. But most days were just hanging with the fam. I'm so blessed to have awesome parents and the best of siblings to hang out with. I love em. 
       I continued to go to Primera Iglesia Bautista de Lafayette, the church in Spanish I attended over winter break, every Wednesday night. It helps me keep up my speaking/listening skills, as well as stay involved in Hispanic ministry, which I love. The people there are great and of course I love the language. It was awesome. Hopefully I'll be able to find a Hispanic church here in Bloomington... 
       I also became an official member of my church, Battle Ground Bible Church, this summer. You might be thinking why become a member right before leaving to go to school, which is a great question. I'll try to explain my thinking. I believe that church membership is incredibly important in every Christian's life. To have that support and accountability behind you from a church family as well as the authority of a group of elders is not only biblical, but I believe essential to spiritual health. So even though I am now living at IU, 2 hours from my church, I need that in my life even from a distance. I have accountability set up with some people from home, and I have a church family to speak of while I begin to get connected with a local body here in Bloomington. 

3) What next? What are you up to now? 
       Right now I'm moved into my dorm at Indiana University, Bloomington awaiting classes to start tomorrow. I'm majoring in Linguistics hoping to be able to do translation work in the future on the mission field. My dream is to be a missionary, and my method is to use translation to reach people with the Gospel. I'm a total language nerd so I'm pumped for all my classes to start and hit the books again. 

4) What can people be praying for in your life?
       The biggest thing I need prayer for is faithfulness and consistency in my spiritual growth. I currently am seeking a community of believers that I can get connected with, make some friends, and have that group to hang out with during the week. I'm looking into Harvest Bible Chapel with Josh Knipp as the pastor. It's only a plant getting started right now which is both exciting and a lot of work. So I'll get involved there, but just on campus I have to stay faithful in my own time with God in order to stay strong in the midst of the world's influence. 
       I would also appreciate prayers for my roommate. Her name is Ashley and to me she seems very open and even seeking, but in all the wrong places. Pray for her to be open to my influence and also that I would be the testimony of Christ I should be.
       Pray also for my relationship with Esteban. Long distance is hard. It's been a great time for us learning how to work together to keep our relationship healthy and growing, but that doesn't mean it's been easy. God is so faithful and good to us, and we thank him with all our heart, but please be praying that things continue to head in the right direction and work out first for the glory of God as well as our good in our relationship. 
       And of course just college. Pray that I study hard and get things done. I need to practice/learn discipline and prioritizing. I'll have to find the balance of time between everything I do... including resting right (something I learned from the Lovells, thanks Bekah!!).

That's all for now, thanks for reading!! I'll try to update this thing regularly again as I have my computer and am settling into a new stage in life. God is good, vive la vida!! :)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

El Fin de Semana con Familia

I had an INCREDIBLE time with my family :) It was a blast to be able to show them around here and let them meet people and just see where I live and what I do. They got in Thursday night and I was at a Saprissa game so I didn't get them from the airport.. I know I'm a terrible daughter ;) But Saprissa won so it was all worth it!! Anyway so I showed them around the villa and then took them to the CAM house where they were going to stay and let them sleep. Then Friday I took them on the hike up the mountain to the crosses. We did it last semester and it was awesome. It's a crazy hard hike but it's totally worth it and GORGEOUS at the top!! So we did that and were dead tired by the end ;) So I took them to Pops on the way home (which is the super popular ice cream store around here) haha. We went out for pizza that night after showering and letting them take a nap. It was really good. Then Saturday I took them to my ministries. So Coronado in the morning (where I actually got to teach the message, so they saw me teach in Spanish.. pretty cool), then youth group in the evening. In the afternoon I took them around Guadalupe a little bit. I showed them the University where we run, Mas por Menos, and other places where we hang out just around the villa area. Then for youth group we got a guard who is stationed on our street to come and preached the gospel really really clearly to him. It was so awesome. He was absorbed the whole time and said he would come back. So pray for him cuz it rocked!!! Then we went to Pops again that night with my church group. And then Sunday they got to experience church at El Alto :) It was great. I played a special in Spanish and they sang with me because it was one that they knew, so we did a Starrett family special at church. The congregation all loved it. Then after a long message we got to go to lunch in San Jose. We went to the Chinese place right across from the open air market. It was really really good. Then of course went to the open air market to let them haggle some prices and get some souvenirs for people back home. My sister, mom, and I got hair wraps together so that was really fun. Then we went to Pops again (haha my family loved it) and headed back for evening church with the other GAPpers. It went really well and my family liked listening to a rockin message in English!! Then we hung out with some people Sunday night just chilling out. And then Monday we went to Jaco beach for the day. My little brother was amazing at surfing!!! He's a skateboarder so I knew he'd pick it up quick.. and he did. He was pretty much on the board all day ;) He loved it. And the rest of us chilled and enjoyed being on the beach. They all got SUPER toasted.. I felt so bad for them. Cuz they haven't been out in the sun in so long they just got fried. I'm way tanner than all of them right now which was a treat for me because I'm usually the whitest of the family. I didn't get any of the Persian blood thanks to my dad :P So yeah I got to gloat about that one all weekend ;) Then Tuesday morning they sat in on the first hour of my Spanish class before heading to the airport. It was an awesome weekend and I had so much fun just being with my family in my country :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

La Obra de Dios en Rio Grande

Wow. The trip I just took was more than amazing!! We left the villa at 4:30am on Friday morning (ugh that's early) and headed up to El Alto to meet the couple going with us. Then we headed to Rio Grande in Paquera (I mentioned earlier the trip we took the first time, just 2 of us, to check it out.. anyway it's a ferry ride across the ocean to a small town). When we got there we settled into the building where we were going to be staying and had lunch. Then we walked down to the beach to check out where we were going to have the bonfire that we planned for Saturday night. Then we went to the field in the middle of the town to play soccer with the kids. After playing for about 2 hours or so the guy from my church basically handed me the opportunity to give the gospel. So I grabbed the wordless book colored soccer ball we had just been playing with and spouted out the gospel in Spanish! It was awesome. Then we face painted for a little bit, had dinner, and chilaxed together until bed time... which ended up being late since there was only one tiny bathroom for all 11 of us. And after 4 people showered we had to wait at least half an hour for the thing to drain enough to stand in it without flooding the floor... yeah it was quite the experience :P Then we got up at 5am sharp to get breakfast and everything ready to meet the kids in the field at 6:30 to take them down to the beach. We bought a ton of trash bags and cleaned up the beach while setting up the wood for the fire. So we spent a few hours cleaning up trash, but we also saw some pretty sweet things. We saw a devil ray swimming close to the shore and it was soo awesome!!! Then because it was getting to that really really hot part of the day we took the kids back to the town and had lunch. A few of the boys followed us to the place we were staying so we just kicked a ball around with them. Then the rest of my church showed up in the bus and joined us. Now numbering 36 we piled into the building forming a giant slumber party like setup on the concrete floor of this building.. still sharing only one tiny bathroom. While the new arrivals rested a little a few of us went down to the river to cool off in the afternoon. It was really cool. We brought the volleyball so we hit that around and played “monito” which is kinda like monkey in the middle. Then we grabbed some mangos on the way back and ate them while getting ready to go to the field for a second afternoon. At 3:30 we grabbed all our sports stuff, face paint, and snacks and headed to the field. I taught a bunch of boys how to throw an american football correctly and they LOVED it. Then we played soccer for a good 2 hours. This time we brought a bunch of little snacks and some juice to give to them. And we face painted again. By this time it was about time to head down to the beach for the bonfire. So we gathered everything and got ready. When we got there the fire was started and we sat around on logs. Four of the people in our group gave a testimony, three were short and the last one was more of a message about the love of God intertwined with a testimony. It was soo good!! He did an incredible job. And he had a gospel invitation at the end which rocked. And in between all of these I played some Spanish songs :) That was fun. Then after all that we lined the kids up and gave them a final gift: box of crayons, tract, snack, and a toothbrush. And we got all the adults together and gave them a ton of clothes that a bunch of us from the villa had gathered to give away. Then most of the people went back, but about ten of us chilled on the beach for about another hour enjoying the AMAZING night. There was a full moon, bonfire, beach, perfectly clear sky... yeah. It was amazing. I just sat on the beach for a while wondering why God chose me for this amazing opportunity to be in Costa Rica serving like I get to. Then we headed back and began the long shower process :P After another wonderful night on the concrete, we woke up to a Spanish song playing from the phone of my pastor's son.. at 5am. We all got up, packed, cleaned the whole building, picked up the trash, ate some breakfast, and headed to the other beach (a privately owned beach that we had access to for our last day just to enjoy). The bus ride was pretty crazy but we made it. This was Sunday so we just got to hang out all day on the beach. We played some volleyball in the waves, soccer on the sand (I scored a goal against ticos by the way!!), and some people got to go fishing. They went shrimping for bait, then out to catch fish. They got about 40 I think so it was a pretty successful day. The rest of us got to go on just a boat ride. The driver took us out around a few islands and stopped a couple times for us to jump out and cool off. It was sooo nice!! I stood on the front like Titanic :) Then we cleaned up and got everything on the bus to head back home. The bus almost died going up the hill to get back on the road and then hung the whole back off a cliff trying to turn around.. yeah I thought we were gone... but we survived again and made it to the ferry. We had lunch at the ferry station, enjoyed the ride back, and then had about a 3 hour ride back to the villa from the ferry. I got to sleep on the bus which was really nice and that was the end of our missions trip. OH! And I totally forgot to mention the fact that one of our guys had to go to the hospital in the middle of the trip! He had an ear infection that got really bad Friday morning. But by afternoon he had gotten two injections and antibiotics. So by mid-day Saturday he was ok. Thanks to our Healer!! :) It was soo amazing and God did some super cool things!! I loved it :) Then I spent yesterday sleeping in, relaxing, reading a LOT, and playing ultimate frisbee to unwind from such a busy week followed by a crazy weekend.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Living in the Country

Although I have class for six hours a day four days a week, there are some times where I have some incredible opportunities that come as perks to living in Costa Rica. Two weekends ago I went with a small group of people from my church to a place called Rio Grande Paquera, a TINY town located on the peninsula of the south-western part of Costa Rica. It was an all day trip (we left at 4:30am and got back at 10:30pm), and we just went to check it out because we're going back with the whole church on the 18th-20th. So our job was to see who was there, where we would stay, talk to the pastor, make a plan, and get ready to go back. It was so cool. We even had to take a ferry to get there! I'm really excited now because this Sunday is our planning day. We'll take the Sunday School hour and just lay down some plans as a church how we're going to evangelize in small ways. This town is full of Catholics, and there are even some Jehovah's Witnesses there. My pastor's son, the guy heading up the trip, told me that because there is such division on beliefs there, the people are so insincere. Our job is to love them. That's it. He even said that he would rather us go show the sincere love of God for three days than try to preach to every person we talked to!! We're planning on having games for the kids, clothes for everyone, snacks during the day, and a few other small projects over the weekend we're there. Also we'll have a bonfire with the youth group on the beach Saturday night followed by a Sunday service with everyone in the morning. So we will at least share the Gospel twice!! I'm stoked. If you would be praying for these people as well as those of us going.

THEN recently on a free Monday I went to the beach about 2 hours away (the Pacific), and just spent the day there. We played Volleyball, lay in the sun, jumped waves, and... SURFED!!!!!! My childhood dream came true... I finally learned how to surf!!! :) I absolutely LOVED it!!!! I got up on my knees first try, then stood up a ton after that. I even sat on my board way out with all the other surfers waiting for a big one.. and then rode a prime wave all the way into shore.. YEAH!!! We had the boards all day so we went a lot ;) AND we saw a small shark, a bunch of stingrays, and a few jellyfish. It was an incredible day in Costa Rica. Oh yeah. And it was like 98 degrees... while y'all had a blizzard!! Haha weird.... ;) It's been really cool to experience the country some.

Looking forward we're going to Los Lagos (hot springs by a volcano) this coming Monday and Tuesday, then the church trip next Friday!! I'm pumped. Keep the prayers rolling upward!! Love to all from Costa Rica :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vamos a Palabra de Vida

Last week a bunch of us students had the opportunity to go to different summer camps around our area in San Jose (the kids here have summer break until the end of February). I was a part of the group that went to a Word of Life camp in Guanacaste, about 4 hours away from where we live. It's about 5 times hotter there than it is here, and it's not cold here!! We got to experience constant Spanish, heat, no sleep, tons of middle schoolers, crazy games (and I mean CrAzY!), and of course sun by the pool. I was part of the group of teen staff called Programa. Our job was the kids. We served their meals, planned/organized/ran the games, lifeguarded the pool, sat with them in session time, and just interacted with them. It was super cool. But we had NO free time. Although we barely got sleep, were exhausted by the heat and concentrating in Spanish all the time, as well as entertaining kids constantly, it was an INCREDIBLE experience!! I loved it. Plus I got tan... YES LUCAS for real.. :) 

Another super cool thing that has happened lately is last night we started some workshops that we'll have from now on every Wednesday night. I'm leading one on worship. Because I'm the worship leader here I get the privilege of not only working with a great team, but I get to teach them how to prepare and actually lead worship. In the workshop (which doubles as a practice for Sunday so that Sunday afternoons aren't as chaotic) we talked about what worship is and why we do it. Then I walked through some thoughts on how to prepare a corporate worship service that encourages spontaneity and sincerity while maintaining a sense of structure. I loved it. Because a perk of having a practice/preparation session of worship is.. you have to worship.. haha HAVE to.. bummer right? ;) Then another one that we have is a doctrinal workshop. Justin, one of my fellow students, is actually heading this one up. The leaders will be there occasionally, but really only to help him out if he gets stuck. He's the discussion instigator and those of us attending are the ones who carry it. Yesterday we talked about "who is God?" Pretty impossible to answer I know. So we just looked at passage after passage in the Bible and discussed different aspects of God. It was sooo cool!! My mind was blown. I'm so excited to be able to get together and just ask questions, dig deep, and learn a lot. 

Oh and Costa Rican weather is beautiful as always. Sun and warm almost constantly. I fell asleep by the pool between lunch and class the other day (for less than an hour), and got burnt. BUT after camp even though I got burnt, it turned into a tan overnight believe it or not family.. :) Thanks so much for your prayers. God is really working!