Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

New Chapter

My time at Impact 195 has come to an end and a new chapter is starting. 

God has taken me on the biggest adventure of my life this year and I am confident that this is just the beginning. As a step out in faith and trust him with everything I have, I know he is going to continue to take me on a life long journey with him. I am so blessed to have been able to devote this last year of my life fully to getting to know my father in heaven more.  He has grown my heart for his children and filled my spirit with his peace and joy, I could not ask for me. Every day as I ask for his desires and his heart he is faithful to give them to me. Now as a start this new chapter in my life I am excited and eager to see what God has planned. The unknown is always a little scary to start, but I know that as I keep my eyes fixed on the Lord he will direct my steps. I will be going home to Va to start an internship with a church there and to enjoy being with my family for a season. My heart is to go out in long term missions so I will also be there preparing for that. Gods timing is perfect and I am confident that he will lead me in that. Thank you all for the part (big or small) that you have played in my life over this last year. I could not have done it without all of your love, encouragement, prayers, and support.  

Love always, 

Turkey 2012

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14.13

Just eight months ago, I had joined a team of i195 classmates heading to Nigeria to make the love of God tangible and real. Many people came to faith in Jesus on that trip and some 300 physical healing took place before their very eyes as God revealed Himself to me and the Nigerian people.

I found myself on a very different kind of trip this April with sixteen others in Istanbul Turkey, where Christians sharing their faith was not well received from strangers. Winning souls to Jesus in this country required the steady building up of relationships over time. I wasn’t experiencing the types of experiences on this trip, that I had in Nigeria. I began to question God and how He was working. Finally I concluded that something in me needed to change.

I prayed that night that God would change my heart and give me more of His heart. I prayed to be able to see the Turkish people though His eyes and not my own. When I woke up the next morning, I could already sense that something was different.

Eager to start the day, the team headed out on their daily walk to the trams and ferries to get to their English clubs and various outreaches. Suddenly, I started seeing things that I had not seen before. I know the street was the same and it was just crowds of people but my eyes started to lock eyes with the people that we were passing by. As I stared into each face tears started to fill my eyes and in that moment God spoke to me. First He said, “I love these people.’ And then He said, ‘I came to seek and to save the lost and these people are lost…’”

I knew that His desire was for each and every one of the multitudes to know Him and spend eternity with Him. My heart broke for every face that she saw. God answers prayer when we pray what lines up with His heart. Because of this particular answered prayer God has given me even more of a longing in my spirit for His children to come know Him as their Lord and Savior.

Pictures in Turkey 2012

      The view of the Haggai Sophia out my bedroom window- once a church during the Byzantine Empire,  became a mosque during the time of the Ottoman Empire - now a museum.

 Teaching English to Iraqi refugees <3
 Face painting and ministering to people on the Island.

 We took a ferry over to an Island with 300 other believers (The largest ever gathering of such a   group in Turkey on over 700 years, getting ready to minister to over 60,000 people)

People tie a piece of string to trees at the bottom of the mile long mountain and unravel it on the hike up as they made a wish and     hoped to get their prayers answered.

 Tangled in a web of lies

Praying for a crippled man. 
 Prayer is the greater work

January 2012

My last Term at Impact 195 began on January 10th. I enjoyed spending 6 weeks at home and having opportunities to visit with friends. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by nor can I believe how much the Lord has changed me and worked in and through me in the last 9 months! The Lord has truly been taking me on an incredible journey of knowing him more and making him known to those who are lost and broken in the world. He has shown me love like I have never experienced before, he has provided for my every need, he has been transforming my heart to become more like his own, and he has given me a peace and boldness that I never knew was possible for me to have. I still have more learning to do and experiences to have but each and every day I am growing and walking and being transformed by Christ Jesus.

For those of you have been walking along side me on this journey, thank you. Thank you for your prayers and your support, and for all of your encouraging words. I am truly blessed to have each one of you in my life. My prayer for you has been for all of you to experience him in a new way as well. I pray that through my testimony of how God has been showing up so mightily in my life you would come to know him and trust him more. As it says in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." May 2012 be the year that you clear space in your life and take hold of the plans God has for you.

My goal this term is to take 100 people/groups/families/couples with me on the mission trip in April to Turkey. You may not be able to be there with me physically but you will be with me in my heart as I go and share God’s love with orphan children, feed and clothe lost and hungry people, work on a building projects, and pray with people – I will take you with me. Your love for others you may never meet on earth, and God’s love will together reach farther and overflow with leftovers because of your participation. Therefore, I have sent this email to 100 contacts – most represent more than one person, so the multiplying already begins because instead of taking 100 people with me, it could be 2 or 3 times that many! I get excited thinking about it!

Thank you for supporting me in this and for all of your prayers! I can't wait to share stories from the trip with you! <3



Who God is...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I want to share with you a story of the Lords faithfulness
Last week this time I was sitting here at school long after school had ended (This has become a regular thing for me the past couple months without a car) and I was praying and asking God to do a miracle in my finances. I did not know how I was going to make my tuition payment on Friday the fallowing morning. So as I sat in the prayer chapel with my friend Angela we began to pray together and cry out to God. It was such a sweet time together and with the Lord. Angela also had a payment to make and was just as desperate as I was to see the Lord work in a mighty way through this circumstance that we were both in. At the beginning of our prayer time we were feeling a little down but as we began to press into the Lord more and more we could feel his peace and joy all around us. I was praising the Lord for the opportunity to even be asking him for a miracle. I mean how cool is that to be able to see God in such and awesome way and to be able to feel his peace through all of it?! It’s such an amazing thing to experience. Friday morning comes and I was able to make a small payment toured my tuition. It was not as much as I was hoping to be able to do but it was still a good step. Saturday night the lord blessed me with the opportunity to get a babysitting job. I was praising the Lord for providing that for me. Then later that night I realized that my wallet was missing. I retraced my steps and figured out that I had left it when I had picked up some dinner Friday night. I was so upset at myself and just the whole situation. I was like “really God? Now?” …like it was his fault or something. So I made it through the night and Sunday morning I was pretty frustrated. At around 10 o’clock in the morning after hours of trying to figure things out and get things done on my own I sat on my bed and began to cry. I had been trying to do things on my own and I was not engaging God in it. In that moment the Lord spoke to me and reminded me just how much I need him. He showed me how I had been trying to do things without him. The Lord brought me to a place once again that I needed him fully, oh how thankful I am for that. God is so faithful to bring me back to my knees. The rest of my day was spent talking to the Lord and just reflecting on all that he has brought me through and done for me. That night I ended up going back to the place I had lost my wallet and I found it! Everything was taken out of it except my driver’s license and a few others things but just that was such a huge blessing to still have. The Lord showed me so much through this. He showed me how to let go of things more and how to trust him fully to provide for everything I need.
Tuesday morning came and as I walked in to school someone comes with excitement and open arms to embrace me and tell me that someone gave me $400 for my tuition. Wednesday I was able to get another Job to put more money for tuition. Friday morning I woke up to an envelope on the counter for me with $325 dollars in it. J God is so amazing! This week alone with the job the Lord provided for me and the checks that came in I was able to drop my tuition payment for this term down to just $135. The Lord has blown my mind this week.  
What has the Lord brought you through? Where have you seen his faithfulness in your life?
That is what I will be spending the rest of my day meditating on… his goodness and faithfulness in my life.
I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support! God is answering prayers! <3

He is worth it

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My God is an awesome God. I have no doubt he is going to provide in a mighty way right now, just like he always has. The way he provides is sometimes not what we want or what we think is best, but he knows best and he knows what we need. Right now he is allowing me to go through a hard time and tough circumstances. He is once again giving me an opportunity to trust him with everything and to see him provide for my every need.
I am currently praying for a place to live. I do not have the funds to make my rent payment anymore. I am also praying for the remaining funds for my tuition. I have applied and tried to get several jobs but due to my transportation (or the lack thereof haha) I have not been able to get a job. I am taking babysitting opportunities as much as I can, but it is just not enough. Please keep me in your prayers and all the things above as I continue to trust in the Lords faithfulness to provide all that I need these next few months of my time here in San Diego.
I know God is doing a work right not that I can’t see and that even if I could see I probably still would not understand it. But that’s okay because I know him and I trust him in whatever it is that he is doing right now. He is in control. One thing I know is God is so much bigger than all of this. I have no reason to worry or be anxious. I know he will provide and I know his plans for me are bigger than anything I could ever hope or imagine for myself.
Thank you for all your prayers!
Love & Blessings!
Risa <3
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. -Jeremiah 17:7-8