Monday, February 27, 2012

a birthday weekend

This past weekend was my birthday. I officially hit two decades old.

It was quite a strange day for me, my parents were gone for an overnighter, and my brother slept over at his friend's house. So I was home alone, which is rare on a weekend. I made myself a special breakfast of french toast, made my five dresses, and finished up some more small baby blankets to take to pass out at Bethesda.

My lowest point was easily modeling my dresses for my dog, which meant I had to wake him up from sleeping under a blanket. Which meant that he gave me a dirty look before reburying his head. Stinker.

Unfortunately my day wasn't much better than this. I have confessions to make.

Saturday was a low point for me. I was tormented with a panic attack. The realization that in two short weeks I would be leaving all that is familiar around me and going miles away from my bed, my family, my small group, my best friends, high speed wifi internet, WalMart... I mean seriously. Basically I had told myself months back that my birthday was the day that I would get all of my prescriptions filled and officially start packing. The devil attacked me in a wicked way Saturday. I allowed myself to have doubts and fears as to whether or not I really want to go. I was scared. I was anxious. I was sinning.

I went to bed after a tearful conversation with my best friend. Where she assured me that this is what I am meant to do and that I am strong enough to do this. I spilled my fears into God and read Psalms.

I woke up renewed and refreshed. They showed a video in service of Haiti, and the pastors at Zion Church, our partner church, and it was God's answer to my fears.

I sit here in my bed staring at suitcases on my floor. One half filled with school supplies, with my hope that I will be able to fit 2 weeks worth of clothing and six weeks of toiletries in the other half. Saturday I would have been unable to handle this sight, but through God's strength I am able to process this thought and be confident in God's desire for me to go to Haiti. I am thankful for friends like Scott and Meg who will already be down in Haiti when I am arriving. I am thankful for friends in Erie who have knowledge of what to take with me. I am forever thankful for God's provision to allow me to bring school supplies, extra clothing, and excess money.

Many people have asked how to contact me while I am down in Haiti. The best way would be to email me at my personal email address: I also have a Skype account which I am hoping will work as long as I only use the voice calling. My Skype user name is katielynn.j. I can also be contacted through my Facebook page. I will be keeping this blog updated regularly. I am looking into a "Magic Jack" to assist in making phone calls. If I do get one I will provide those who inquire with the number.

Please continue to pray for me as my State aid still has not gone through properly. Also pray for strength for me as I begin to say goodbye to friends, babies, and family these next two weeks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flights, Insurance, and the End of Term

Today marks the last day of finals for Mercyhurst University (catch that? we're a University now). I had my last final Monday so this week has been pretty low key for me, other than working in McAuley as often as possible. I finished all of my last projects with confidence that I worked to the best of my ability despite ending it all with a nasty cold.

As far as travel plans go, everything is looking fantastic! I have my flights there and back booked, and my travel insurance squared away. I will be flying out of Erie on Tuesday, March 13th at night, arriving in Philadelphia to catch a flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I will then spend the night in the airport, which will save me about $100, then fly into Cap Haitian on the morning of March 14th. For coming home all of my flights are on the same day, April 30th, which just so happens to be my mom's birthday. It was so nerve wracking to plan all of this travel, but I had the help of Julie Thompson, the grad assistant in the Education Department. She had planned all of my flights and found the Travel Insurance for me as well. We picked a plan that included natural disasters, and was also manageable cost wise.

Packing wise, I have lots of school supplies to take for my 19 students. I still have to finish my dresses, but I DID bring my serger up from the basement so I can learn how to use it before I make the dresses. I have made a few small baby blankets to take down and pass out at the clinic or orphanage.

My excitement is building. But so are my nerves. Praying for God's strength and courage to get me through these last few weeks.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

an overdue update

things have been incredibly crazy for me lately. tonight is no exception. i write with a heavy heart as my little bird is dying. i'm praying that he makes it until monday so i can take him to the vet's office and get some answers as to why he is so sick.

anyways, last i had updated i received my passport and had gotten most of my shots. now i can write and say that i have ALL my shots, and have turned in my study abroad application. this is really great because it is one less thing i have to worry about right now.

school is extremely busy for me right now, i have finally finished having to go for one practicum and still have two visits left at another. i have a few write ups to complete for both sites as well as a history research paper that is due monday. please pray that i can continue to stay focused and driven to complete my assignments because i am getting to the point where i am just ready to be done.

a bit of a praise report, a family friend donated a very large amount of money to me for my trip, even though i have INSISTED against it. so, i have started to purchase some (ha) school supplies to take with me. as per Kate's requests, i have 600 sheets of construction paper, 60 pencils, 10 black pens, 10 red pens,  12 glue sticks, and over a thousand stickers. and that's just the tip of the ice burg. i also found 20 "fun" pencils. there are 10 girly printed ones (flowers, polka dots, hearts) and 10 boyish patterns (stars, "super"), 6 butterfly erasers, a deck of crazy eights, a deck of go fish, a deck of old maid, number silly bands, a winnie the pooh coloring book, a scooby too coloring book, letter recognition matching cards, word building match cards, and number cards. these students have no clue that every time i step foot into a store i am thinking of them and what i can purchase to take down for them! this makes my heart swell with grace.

i think that this feeling is something like what Jesus feels for us ALL THE TIME. we feel as though we are great and that we have all that we need, but Jesus is sitting there going "you have NO idea what is coming for you!" i feel like this for my future students. they little idea as to how crazy, excited this college student from a place that gets snow is to meet them, and love them, and teach them, and positively reinforce them through awesome school supplies and be crazy and make them laugh and pray that something that i am doing is absorbed into their minds.

but anyways! so far i have only spent 1/10 of the gift that i was given on these treasures. so, i will fill one duffel bag with the school supplies, then i will use the rest of the money to help pay for sending it down because it costs extra for each extra bag that you put in cargo.

as of last monday, a team from my church has been working in Cap Haitian. i am so excited to be kept updated on what they are doing while they are down there. please pray for their safety while they travel back this week.

i still think about this all and how crazy this still is and how blessed i am to have such a wonderful opportunity through a school i never initially saw myself going to. God led me through a winding path to get me where i am today. all i can do is thank and praise Him for all that he has done, is doing, and will do for me.