Cliff Jumping, The 3rd Bravest Man & Rooftop Sunset

Hi hi!

Both yesterday and today were laid back and lovely. Yesterday morning we went for a walk and discovered the most amazing field of wildflowers my little eyes have ever seen!!! Yellow, red, and white sprinkled in a field of green. It was glorious.

We are building relationships with the camps that we are serving in, so Hannah, Jordan, and Nathan went in with Eve today to meet with one of the women. They had a great meeting and it made us very excited for the days we will be serving them (Monday-Friday for the next two weeks!).

While they were at their meeting, we decided to explore the city on foot. We walked through the winding streets of this beautiful town and eventually found our way back.

We had some time in the afternoon to read and journal before leaving for our evening activity: CLIFF JUMPING.

That’s right, sweet folks! We went to the most amazing water hole and jumped off a cliff into the crystal clear, frigid water. We watched the sunset (my all-time favorite activity) from the top of the cliff. I’ve never seen a prettier golden hour!!!

Then we ordered pizza (a fiasco to say the least, but they finally arrived!). We enjoyed dinner by the water with the perfect breeze, we played on a teeter totter and on the swings.

At the urging of Elijah, Ben & Eve’s 5-year-old son, Jordan caught a jelly fish in a cup. After accomplishing this great feat, Elijah declared that Jordan was the 3rd bravest man he knew (next to God and Jesus, of course!). It was too cute :)

Today we got to go into the refugee camps where we will be serving next week to sign papers and see a tour of the campus. It stirred our hearts for what God is going to allow us to do. The people are more than broken, and already skeptical of a short term team, so PLEASE pray that Yahweh would soften hearts and allow us to build meaningful relationships. We are confident that He will do so, and we are anxious to begin serving them!

After visiting the camps, we took a bus into Valletta, the capital city. Y’all, it was stunning. We’re on a very small island and so we see the Sea everywhereee we go. It was just amazing to overlook the city, surrounded by water. We ordered chocolate filled donuts and latte macchiatos and enjoyed one another’s company for the perfect amount of time. We love seeing different parts of the city before our true ministry begins on Monday, and there is absolutely nothing sweeter to me than growing in love for one another as we talk about the passions that Jesus has given us.

After coffee we wandered the historic streets when we found an easily accessible roof top. Naturally, we climbed up and we found the most amazing view of Valletta. We also found the Valletta F.C. “football” (hint: we’re in Europe) team practicing for the championship game tomorrow (that we might be able to go see!!). We found a shop for dinner and, after eating, we took dessert back to the rooftop where we watched the sunset below the beautiful lights of a city coming alive.

We have been absolutely spoiled this far, but we know the real challenge will soon begin as we seek desperately to show the love of Jesus to the displaced Africans leaving in this land.

I love you and I thank you endlessly for covering me and my precious team with your prayers.

in Christ alone,
Jenn

p.s. Don’t forget you can follow our team blog at: PBA Malta Team

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Showing Us to Show Them

Greetings from the Mediterranean!

Our travel time was lovely. We slept on and off, laughed a lot, and took silly pictures as we traveled from PBA to Miami to Madrid to Rome (where we almost went into the city for part of our 5 hour layover, but opted out for the sake of saving money) and finally: to Malta. It’s a little bit chilly and absolutely beautiful here. The sunset from the plane was arguably one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The entire sky was lit up in an electric combination of pink, orange, and purple. Glorious.

When we arrived in Rome we had to collect our luggage and go through the whole process again on Air Malta. The problem was that some of our bags were over weight with supplies and were hoping that wouldn’t need to pay an extra fee again when we checked them for our final flight. Hannah’s bag wasn’t charged extra, which was such a blessing. But when Nathan (PBA professor traveling with us) tried to recheck the soccer goals that we brought, they said it would cost almost $300.

Yikes. Not expecting that.

While Nathan was trying to reason with the attendant that weight is dispersed between our other bags, he asked us to pray. Pray for favor. For grace. For anything. And so we did.

As someone else was praying aloud, I was quietly battling with God. “Lord, we are going to serve YOU! We are going to show Your glory to the refugees in Malta. I know that You can do anything- including waiving these fees. Won’t You please do it so they can see You??”

The moment two of our team members finished praying, Nathan walked up and announced that she waived the fee. Absolutely no cost. Beautiful, huh?

I was processing as we proceeded on through security and to our gate. I was reminded that very often WE need to see His glory afresh before we go and tell about it. I know with every fiber of my being that He is good and glorious, but I don’t see glorious things every day. Maybe it’s because I don’t look for it enough, but it was certainly sweet to see Him display His might as He sends us forth to proclaim that might to the nations.

There are already more stories to tell, but we’re exhausted from 24 hours of travel…

I love y’all, and I covet your prayers ever still.

in Christ alone,
Jenn

p.s. Here is a picture of the lovely sunset…

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The Island Was Called Malta

Well, friends, I’m a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University! I can hardly believe how quickly the last four years have gone by. I am blessed beyond measure as I reflect on my time at PBA and the way that Jesus allowed me to serve Him as I studied and learned.

My heart has always had a pull to go overseas and serve Jesus in a culture different from my own. I’m thankful for the ministry I have in this country, and I am certain that it is in this place that God has called me to work tirelessly for the proclamation of His glory and His goodness. Yet still, I am burdened to go as often as I can for as long as I can.

I am thankful, humbled, and grateful that this is one of those times. Tomorrow morning I embark on a journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Lately, my favorite verse has been Acts 28:1-2, which reads, “Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”

Paul visited this island on his third missionary journey and I am simply tickled, and honestly a little bit giddy, that it was recorded in Scripture!

My team of ten is traveling to serve in a camp of African refugees. Thousands of people are trying to escape the turmoil in Africa, and Malta often becomes the (unwanted) pit stop for many on their trek to Europe.

We will be staying in a 24 hour prayer house and traveling into the refugee camp each day to teach English and love on people who are displaced and without hope. There is much work to be done and I earnestly ask for you to come along side this mission with your prayers and petitions.

Here are some specific requests:

1. This morning we received word that the Maltese Police Department is requiring a background check for each person on my team. This is a minor set back, and shouldn’t prove to be a problem, but please pray that these checks will go through without any issue so that we can smoothly enter the country tomorrow evening.

2. Language barrier – We will have some translators going with us into the camps, but we desperately need the Lord to intervene in this way. We want so badly so share the love of Jesus with these people, but unless we are able to communicate with them it can’t happen. I believe with every ounce of my being that Jesus can [and will] break down those walls. Would you ask Him with me?

3. The vast majority of the people we will serve are Muslim. It is necessary for us to embody
1 Peter 3:15
and declare the hope that we have with “gentleness and respect.” I feel like there is often a great pressure for short-term missionaries to return home with numbers of converts: “So, how many people got saved?” If we go with this mentality we will certainly do more harm than good. Please pray that God will give us the grace to speak winsomely as we share His goodness.

4. Team unity – Please, please pray that our team will continue in the blessed friendships that we have been able to form. God has been so gracious to allow us that closeness, but I know the attacks will start the moment we leave for the airport.

5. Boldness – Pray that we will share at every opportunity we are given. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. ((Colossians 4:5-6)) Please pray this over my team.

6. Leadership & missionary contacts – Jordan and Hannah are our student team leaders. Please pray that God would give them a humble confidence in the fact that He has called them to lead our team. Pray that He would give them wisdom and guidance at every moment. Pray also for Ben and Eve, the missionaries that we are traveling to serve alongside.

7. Safety – Knowing without a doubt that Jesus has called me to this trip, I am certain that I will be safer in Malta for the next three weeks than I would be roaming around on “summer vacation” anywhere in America. Where He has called me is where I want to be. With that being said, my desire for “safety” is more so a desire that we would remain in His will the entire time, for I am confident that there is no safer place.

8. Last, but certainly not least, I beg you to petition the Lord for the hearts of the Maltese people. Our trip is pointless if the gospel of Jesus Christ is not proclaimed. I rest in the confidence of Isaiah 55:8-11 –

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, 
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

His purposes will prevail; I have no doubt. Please join me in asking Jesus to move in them and to draw them to His name. I care nothing if we see the fruit of this trip on this earth as long as I know that His word has gone forth.

I am hoping that I will have the opportunity to update you from Malta. If that is so, I will be asking you to petition consistently.

I love you deeply, and I treasure you for praying me through this journey. May His name be glorified above ALL else.

In Christ alone,
Jennifer

Celebrity Status

Good morning!

It is 9pm here in China but I know that most of you are just waking! I surely am not looking forward to readjusting to a new time zone when we come home :/

To say the very least, me and my American friends are regarded as celebrities in China. For the first couple days it was cute and exciting. Then it reached a point of utter frustration all the time. It can be a little draining when everyone that walks passed you gawks with their mouths open. They whisper and take pictures. We often have people (of all ages) ask us to take pictures with them as if we are truly people to brag about meeting. It was a little out of control! But now we have reached what we like to call the “Golden Years.” In marriage terms, this is the time when we just love everything again. The honeymoon is over, the routine middle years are just behind us and we are pleased to enjoy and relish in every moment.

Yesterday we went to a musuem. “Oh, how interesting” you might be inclinded to say, but I object. Musuems can be fun, yes, but when it is the 5th musuem you’ve visited in a weeks time and EVERYTHING is in Chinese (including the tour guides) it gets a little tiring. We decided to make it fun and we made ourselves an exhibit inside one of the main exhibit rooms. I think that Dad was smiling on our desire to have a little fun and we found 6 wooden benches just sitting in a little nook. Our team of Americans sat down and posed as statues while Chinese patrons wandered past and gawked at us. I mean, they gawked anyways, so we decided to give them something to stare at :) We had our Chinese friends play along and they would pretend to be visitors as well, even to the point of convincing other random visitors that we were not real. When a large enough crowd gathered our Chinese friend, Quinten, would yell “1, 2, 3!” And we would all awake from our statue state, terrifying the Chinese gawkers. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip thus far. So much fun!

Tomorrow the University is having a going away party for us. They have invited their entire school and are expecting around 500 Chinese students to come. Last week they asked us to prepare acts to perform at the party, along with Chinese performances. Since few of us are wildly talented we’re just having fun with it. Jeff, Nicole, DavRog, and Melissa are singing worship songs. Yes, I said that and it is okay! :) When we arrive I will expand on how this is possible but it is truly a mighty work!! The American girls are singing a special song for one of our American boys, Derek and I are lipsyncing “A Whole New World” and the Americans are doing a step dance. We just had dress rehearsal (they take it far more seriously than we do!) and everytime we took the stage the errupted in applause. The real performances should be great :)

We have only two short days left with the students and I beg for you to lift my team up and lay us at His feet. There is still work to be done and we don’t want to leave anything that is ready for harvest. Keep us in your thoughts! Can’t wait to share more details!!

I’m thankful for you all! See you soon!

Jennifer

HELLO!

Wow!
Friends, I am terribly sorry that this is only post two!! The internet here is China is very touchy and this is the first time that it has allowed me to post other than the night we arrived. I have certainly tried, but it just did not work.
I could not possibly tell you everything that has happened in the last two weeks. It is without a doubt radically different than it was when we first got here. What a reason to celebrate!
Last Sunday (about 10 days ago) we took a 10 hour train ride to Inner Mongolia, a province north of Beijing. Since arriving, we have been living with Chinese students at a university. We are dorming with them, having special classes, and seeing important sights in Inner Mongolia. It is called a “cultural exchange” program. The workt that we are out to do has surely been accomplished with great care. We have shared so much with our new friends and our family has grown!! :) So amazing. Every night we are reading our books with them and truly pouring out everything we have.
That to say, this is the most exhausting thing I have ever done. I am empty in every way and ask that you would continue to lift up my team in thought as we finish out this final week.
It has truly been the ride of a lifetime and I cannot wait until I am home and able to share greater details with you. It has been nothing short of a mighty work and we are so thankful. The stories I have to share will blow you away!
We will leave the University and return to Beijing by way of train on Sunday night. Tuesday afternoon we fly out of Beijing. We’ll then have 9 hour layover through the night and then a flight home.
Don’t stop thinking of us now!! We really truly rely on it.
Thanks, precious friends!!
See you soon!

Jennifer

Arrival!

Hello!!

We are in the Big City!!! The plane ride was veryyy long, but we made it! We left PBA at 3:15am on Wednesday, May 12. You, my friends, are just beginning May 13, but we are about to go to sleep and close the day.  We traveled for around 26 hours today。 Instead of flying around the world we flew over the North Pole,which was unusual and very neat! It is insanely difficult to type on Chinese computers because it constantly changes the words Itype to Mandarin。 Haha。 So I appologize if this turns out looking totally wacky.

We arrived in the city today around 3pm China time (3am body time!) and drove to our hotel. It is a nice little place! We walked to dinner tonight and had a fabulous meal!! Our friends here are great And I know it is going to be a wonderful trip。

The next 3 days we have the privilege of sightseeing in this beautiful city!Icannot wait to share all the fun things we experience!! After that we are traveling North to spend time with college students! We will be taking a 14 hour train ride to get there! Ah! It will be like the plane all over again. We were told that we will have beds on the train though, which makes it infinitely better!

Well, I have been awake for longer than my body would prefer, so I must head to sleep. I miss you all dearly。 Hope you have a wonderful day! Please keep lifting us up! Talk to you soon!

from China,

Jennifer

TWO days!

Good Evening!

We just finished our first night of training. This helps us prepare for the travel and adventures we will have as we teach English in Beijing. My team leaves PBA at 3:30am on Tuesday night (aka: Wednesday morning) which means I have TWO days left. Yikes.

It is absolutely surreal that I am going to travel half way around the world in about 55 hours. I went to Target today and got a few things, but other than that I have SOO much do. I still haven’t completely cleaned my room. And packing is about the LAST thing on my mind. I should probably change those two things… But there are far more fun things to do before take off.

Keep lifting us up && I’ll keep you updated :)

Much love,

Jennifer

p.s. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOMMA! I love you SO SO much and I can’t wait to be home and spending time with you in just a few weeks :) Love you more than the world.

15 Days.

Two weeks from right now I will probably start packing for my trip to China (procrastination has always been a weakness). It’s pretty crazy to think that I will walk on the Great Wall before I walk through the front door of my house again.

I’m starting to get a little nervous. I have traveled out of the country before, but it has always been just one short week. Three weeks is a little daunting. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about this, but I’m certain I’d rather it be longer than shorter.

I continue to petition you for your time, please keep thinking about me and my team. We will need it. I anxiously look forward to sharing stories, but until then…

15 days and counting,

Jennifer