Jennifer: A Rose by Any Other Name…

I have been Blessed to share the name Jennifer with so many of my friends, but this week, they all have shown me why Jennifer is such a GREAT name!  Jenny D., Jen S. (not me), Jen E. and Jen G. you are the BEST and I love you all so dearly!! I found this definition of the name Jennifer and it described you/us very well…actually, scary well! 

You Are Level-Headed and Trustworthy

You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you.
You never give up, and you will succeed… even if it takes you a hundred tries.
You are rational enough to see every part of a problem. You are great at giving other people advice.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat (well, ok if you say so). Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together. (HAHA!!)

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.
You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. (True!)
You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals. (Really? YES!)

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It’s easy to get you excited… which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don’t stick with any one thing for very long. (ADD)
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start. (Dealing with this now!!)

You are loving, compassionate, and ruled by your feelings. (So true…sniff, sniff)
You are able to be a foundation for other people… but you still know how to have fun.
Sometimes your emotions weigh you down, but you generally feel free from them.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You’re always up to something. (You better believe it!!)
You have a ton of energy, and most people can’t handle you. You’re very intense.
You definitely are a handful, and you’re likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

Thank you (Jennifers and non-Jennifers alike) for your words of encouragement and help during such a crazy time!!

3 weeks to go

What’s that saying? Ah, yes! So much to do, so little motivation to do it! Well, maybe that’s not it exactly, but here I am 3 weeks away from leaving the country and I am paralyzed by the list of what needs to be done. Why is it that when we look at all that needs to be done, we get so overwhelmed, we do nothing?

In the last post, Jenny mentioned how she wasn’t aware of all that is involved. I realized not many do know  and although my pride is much larger than I am, I realize I may not get everything done if I don’t ask for help. To make myself feel better, I will start with the things that have been completed:

  1. Airline Tickets (June 12-August 8): COMPLETE
  2. Mission Travel Insurance: COMPLETE
  3. Tag Renewal: COMPLETE
  4. Electricity: Shut off SCHEDULED
  5. Transitional Home: From June 9-June 12 COMPLETE
  6. Storage Unit:
    • Find a storage
    • Pack up my apartment
      • Get boxes
      • Sort through what needs to go to storage, to Guatemala, or Goodwill
    • Move items from apartment to storage
      • Truck
      • Muscles
  7. Pack  and buy supplies for Guatemala
    • Toiletries
    • Teaching supplies
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Clothes for an ever- growing boy
  8. Mail: Hold/Forward Delivery
  9. Car Insurance: Pay for 3 months
  10. Cell Phone: Pay for 3 months
  11. Create a Living Will and  a Last Will
  12. New Apartment: Scope out apartments and apply for rental upon return
  13. New Job: Apply or plant seeds for full-time CNA upon return
  14. Transitional Home upon return: August 8 – until new apartment established

…I’m sure I’ve forgotten something…

As I mentioned earlier, asking for help is really a hard thing for me, but I am so grateful to have a community I can reach out to help us in this leg of the journey.

Whether you can help in any large or small way, I ask you all to PLEASE pray!! The enemy has been attacking hard! The stress of discerning what things I need to do, allow others to help with or things I just need to let God handle, has been quite overwhelming. I am consumed with trying to get it all done when sometimes my timing isn’t always the Lord’s.

With all that being said, I trust in the Lord for He has called us to this mission, so He will equip us to be successful and all will be done in HIS timing…I just need to get out of His way and let Him WOW us!!

Thanks again for your support, encouragement and most importantly your prayers! If you are able to help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jenny.

The Supply Chain – That’s Us!

“My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Hi!  My name is Jenny, and I’m really grateful to Jen for allowing me to take over her blog momentarily! (Not like I gave her much of a choice…just keeping it honest, here).

I have known Jennifer for a few years now, and I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to spend a little more time with her recently as she prepares for this summer in Guatemala!   Every time I am with Jennifer, I am inspired to love God more passionately, to pursue my relationship with Him more intimately, and to serve Him with greater abandon.  The people of Guatemala are in for a real treat, don’t you think?

With only a few short weeks before Jenn and her son Jake depart for their summer in Guatemala, I asked her if I could share a little bit from a friend/prayer supporter perspective.  Seeing as that’s what we all are here (Friends, family, supporters, encouragers of this amazing family!), I feel like I’m writing to my own close friends right now!

I had the opportunity to sit down with Jennifer about a week ago, and I asked her to give me a glimpse into what she still needed to do to prepare to spend the summer serving the Lord in Guatemala.  It was an eye-opening experience for me.  I mean, I’ve been on some missions trips before.  Short term ones, though.  A week or so.  And someone else was always “in charge”.  I was mostly responsible to pay my deposits occasionally as the anticipated trip drew near.

So, to see a glimpse of this “behind-the-scenes” work has really knocked my socks off.  And made me realize that it’s pretty vital for her community of supporters to know about the ways that we can help them meet the outstanding needs they have these last few weeks.

Let me start by saying that I was surprised (and am sure you might be, too) to know that it’s really not just all about financial support.  Granted, it takes money to pack up all your belongings, fly to another country, live, eat (and feed and clothe a teenager!!!), give generously while there, and then transition back home…

But it takes SO much more than dollars.  I don’t write that to make the task seem daunting.  In fact, during my little meeting with Jennifer, I couldn’t help but get excited when I saw the varied needs she was facing.  It made me feel as if all of us, with our own unique experiences, talents, resources and connections really could do something to meet their needs!

Let me explain:

For instance, Jennifer & Jake will be moving out of their current home before they leave on their trip.  Therefore, boxes, packing tape, and people with time and muscles will be greatly needed in a few weeks for Moving Day!

They’ll be storing their possessions in a storage unit for the summer months, and finding the right place at the right price is also a very big need and prayer request right now.

To cut down on their living costs while in Guatemala (and because some things are just so much cheaper to buy here), they’ll be bringing a majority of their toiletries and consumables with them.  That means that deoderants, toothpastes, toilet paper, hair products, some clothing, etc. will need to be purchased and packed to travel.

Familiar snack foods will provide comfort and a “taste” of home, and they plan to bring some non-perishable foods along for that reason.

When they return from their two month trip serving the Lord in Guatemala, they will need to move back out of storage and find a place to live.  And Jennifer will be looking for a new job in her career field as a CNA.

Whew!  It’s a pretty substantial list, right?
But this is why I get so excited!

I know first, that God has already gone before Jennifer & her son and prepared the way for their trip.  I know that HE knows their every need (even the ones she hasn’t thought of yet!).  And I know that, as the Scripture at the beginning of this post says, God will richly fill their every need according to His glorious riches!!

And I believe he’s going to use each of us in our own way to be a part of that supply chain!

Who knows, perhaps one of us just happens to know the manager of a storage facility or could stock up on peanut butter during their next Sam’s Club run.   Or maybe you have a Saturday morning to offer your packing skills, or the desire to make a financial contribution for those last-minute needs that may arise.

So, my request is that each of us takes a little bit of time to peruse the ideas mentioned above and see if one of those areas might be a place God could use you to serve them!

Jennifer’s going to be adding a detailed list of her needs to the blog in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that.  And if you attend Calvary Baptist Church, you can stop by the missions desk beginning Saturday, May 19 to pick up a hard copy of the list.

If you have any questions, I would love to help answer those or point you in the right direction.  I can be reached most effectively at

God’s amazing character ensures that any little thing we do in His name and for His glory will yield BIG results!  I’m excited that we all have the opportunity to be a part of it!

Jenny Dunlap

Me Without You

And where would I be without You?
I’d be packing my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasing every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
-Toby Mac

Father God, I look back in my life and I see all the places I have been, the breezes I have chased, the “kingdoms” I have built and have watched crumble. Every turn taken without ever even asking for Your guidance;  my prayer was often for forgiveness after the fact rather than approval beforehand. I see how I am still reaping the consequences of some of those choices, but without You, I would be nothing!

You have lifted me from the ashes and have placed me on solid ground. You continue to amaze me everyday with Your many and abundant Blessings. Blessings that this sinner could never have imagined. Everyday is a new beginning with another glimpse of the romance novel You, My True Love, has written for me.

How You continue to woo and consume me with Your overwhelming passion. What would I be without You? I certainly would not be the woman I am today. Flawed, Scarred, Restored! How I Praise You, My Savior, My God, for always being with me. Never leave my side! I am awestruck and enamored by Your love for me! I know I don’t deserve it, but You see me worthy of it, therefore I receive it!

My hope, my faith, my value is in You, only You! Oh, Father, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:24) because without You, there is no me!

The Great Exchange

Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets. And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. – 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

This week’s theme in my Surrendering the Secret study had us exchange the belief of defining ourselves only as the ultimate decision maker in terminating our pregnancy for the Truth that we are Daughters of  a Mighty, Sovereign and Forgiving King. However, I believe this exercise can be done for anyone who has been living with a false belief that does not align with the Truth God has; anything that keeps you from living in the divine power you have living inside of you as a believer and follower of Christ.

“If we’ll allow our pain and sorrow to drive us toward God rather than away from Him, we’ll experience transformation, healing and new life.”* God could have ended our experience with transformation and healing, but just to show how much He loves us, He added new life. When we are in Christ, we have been completely cleansed of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) and have been made new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Unfortunately all of this change can be quite intimidating and scary. We feel that we are either 1. not worthy, 2. not equipped, or 3. not called to this “new life”. “Fear is often the greatest enemy to meaningful life change. So we long to return to what’s familiar rather than take risks and face the unknown”* which keeps us from the full transformation experience He has for us. The amazing part in this, is that as we recognize our inability to do anything ourselves, we lean on Him more and the Glory goes to Him…where it should be. Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5b-6).

We are all called to something much greater than ourselves, so we need Someone Greater than ourselves to accomplish it, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

*Quotes from Surrendering the Secret study

My Champion

As I started surrounding myself with other missionaries to get a better idea of how to make a trip to Guatemala possible, the first thing they suggested I get was a Champion…Someone who would walk alongside me the whole way, doing whatever was necessary to keep me on task and on the path God lays out. I was not familiar with this term, but when they explained it, only one person came to mind.

When I asked my dear friend, Jenny, to be my Champion her response was that she wanted to pray about it because she wanted to make sure it was something she could commit to wholeheartedly…now what better answer could I have gotten than that? After about a week or so, she let me know that she would do it. It was a great relief to me because I, honestly, didn’t have a back up plan!

I can’t explain to you what an amazing Champion she has been to me. The bond we have developed over the last few months has been incredible. I am truly Blessed to have such a Godly woman walking this journey with me! She has gone above and beyond what I envisioned. She has become one of the key people I turn to when anything crosses my path, whether with work, as a mom, relationships, and of course, the trip to Guatemala. She is such an encouragement to me on my journey with the Lord. She is a true friend who laughs with me and offers me a shoulder to cry on. She is my prayer warrior: I know she will pray for me when I ask her to (and even when I don’t).

What amazes me the most about Jenny is that she has an extremely busy life, but yet is always there for me and makes me feel like the things I have to say have meaning. She, in more ways than one, has been Christ to me! I love you dearly, Jenny Dunlap! Thank you for being my Champion!

Get Me Outta My Mind

As the plans to go to Guatemala started, I was all consumed with Guatemala and was neglecting things here. Now, a month before we head out (yes, a month!!), I am completely consumed with things here and not really our trip. Either way my focus was not where it should have been.

This weekend it suddenly hit me that in about 36 days, Jake and I will be heading to Guatemala for 8 weeks. I have that many days to prepare and I have been out of my mind. Work, bills, relationships, a teenager are all legitimate concerns and things I should deal with. And I am not saying they don’t mean anything, but the stress of it all has been driving me crazy! I have forgotten the AMAZING journey that is right around the corner.

Yes, there is so much to do before leaving and it will all get done. Packing up our apartment, putting it all in storage, shutting off all utilities, paying for the ones I can’t. Try to line up an apartment and a job for when we return in August… That’s alot to do in 36 days!  However, my main focus should be getting myself (and my son) emotionally, spiritually and physically ready for the adventure we are about to embark on.

Jake and I are spending 8 amazing weeks on a journey with our Lord and Savior! How many people can say that?? We live our daily lives in a routine. We wake up, go to work or school, then do some recreational activity, then go to sleep when we decide to. We are pretty confident of what our days will bring. As I have experienced on all of my trips to Guatemala, there is no routine when you are on mission!! Waking up in a different country, knowing your actions for the day will be determined as He leads…the emotion and exhilaration is beyond words! Just the thought trumps everything I am and will be going through this next month.

I am going to miss routine, comfort and even privacy. I might even miss the daily stresses that we often take for granted, but all that means nothing now.  We are going on a REAL LIFE JOURNEY and God has chosen us to serve Him in a HUGE way!

Get me outta my mind and into Your heart. It’s not about me. It’s not about me. I’m gonna start playing my part in Your design. Now is the time. There’s a bigger picture on display and it’s starting to come in focus causing me to see to see the ones in need outside my little world. Doesn’t matter what it takes, I wanna lead them all to You!  Get me outta my mind and into Your heart! – Anthem Lights