For those of you who have been keeping in touch with me, my Grandma has been declining the last month. She had an accident and ran her electric wheelchair into her bed and had to be admitted to the hospital for an infection. Ever since then she has become weaker and sleeps most of the day. She has been put on skilled nursing care. Three weeks ago things were getting really bad for her. I was unable to go home for midterm break but my Mom told me I really needed to visit her on that Sunday. My brother Aaron was super thoughtful and drove all the way day to take me home. That day was emotional yet very meaningful for me. I was able to spend the whole afternoon with her and tell her what she has meant to our family and her spiritual influence. She has been the matriarch of the Dittes/McNulty/Gates/Hankins families.
This has been very hard for me when I returned back to my apartment that night I cried myself to sleep. It's hard to imagine my dear Grandma not being here. She's always been here. Everyone has gone to her for counsel. Her home was place for us of all grandchildren to hang out. We could pop in any time. My best childhood memories were spent there. She's been such a godly influence. I know I would not be the person I am today because of the spiritual influence she had on my Mom, who influenced of all of us children. Grandma is 95 years old. I love her so much. I don't want to say goodbye. It's very difficult thinking of it. I ended up going home again last weekend. She showed signs of improvement and was so sweet. Last night the report is she is not doing well.
Please pray for her. My heart longs for the day when everything is perfect and we will all be together.
So I really want to update my blog more often. Especially since it's my Senior year. So much is happening so fast. I'm feeling a little bit of Senioritis. At the same time I don't want to leave a place where the best years of my life has been spent. I have grown so much in every area of my life spiritually, socially, and academically.
This year has been unusually busy first because:
I'm finishing my BSW year (13 credits this semester)
200 hour practicum
(I'm in the midst of my internship working on completing all the competencies)
GYCSE Secretary: my roles include taking notes at our weekly. Also I am the Great Controversy groups Coordinator. This last month my friend Michelle and I recruited 5 people to be leaders. Cards are being passed around campus now. The five groups will be meeting weekly to discuss and study different chapters of the Great Controversy. This book is so important for the time we are living in. It is a apart of the GC initiative for revival and reformation. We want to have revival here at Southern.
Phi Alpha President: President of the Honor Society in the Social work department. Our mission is to be of service to others. We conduct two community service events a semester. We also encourage Social work majors to have academic achievement.
It has been super crazy busy for me this semester. Any free moment I have when not studying or doing internship is spent making sure things are getting done in Great Controversy groups or Phi Alpha. It's been a humbling experience. I know couldn't do it without the Lord's help. It's been an honor to work for Him in these ways. I love being a part of these activities.
This past weekend the Phi Alpha club went to an assisted living center in Chattanooga. We interacted and visited with the residents. It was so enriching to visit with them and hear share funny stories. Everyone laughed the whole time. I love working with the elderly.
Jane and I. She had quite the sense of humor and shouting out, "Hey you,... listen to me."
After I went to the assisted living center. I visited a Jewish synagogue with a friend for a World Religions assignment. It gained such a blessing hearing their music and participating in their worship service.
On Sabbath, I drove home to see my immediate family. My main concern has been my Grandma who has not been doing well. I want to thank everyone who has been praying for her. It has made a difference in her life and she is doing better! Please continue to pray for her.
Enjoyed seeing my brother Aaron and his girlfriend Cassandra
Net 2011 was held this past month only 40 min from my house in Madison, TN
It was exhilarating to hear the final sermon and to see the fruits from the meetings. Over 50 people are going to be baptized from their site. It has been broadcasted all over the world on the Hope Channel. I love evangelism and seeing souls won for Christ. My Mom and I were moved when the ones who made decisions for baptism stood in the front at the end of the service. I could see so much happiness written across their faces. Heaven was rejoicing!
As I am writing it is the Sabbath afternoon. I have the time to contemplate and reflect on God's goodness to me, and listen to uplifiting music. I realize that I need to continue finishing writing about my favorite Colombian experiences.
The first weekend, on Sunday I preached "Move your Hand" sermon. This sermon was talked about how we can find the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and we can receive salvation through four steps.
1. Accept 2. Believe 3. Confess our sins 4. Decide publicly for Jesus
This night I was going to be making an appeal for people to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour for the first time. Two minutes before I made the appeal a car driving in street stopped right in front of the Paraiso church. The music was blaring over the audience. I immediately thought and prayed, "Jesus be with us." I knew God was stronger than this big distraction. My voice got louder and stronger. I felt like I was shouting at the audience. When the appeal finished 8 people walked to the front to accept Jesus as their Savior for the first time. I know Heaven was rejoicing and the angels.
It was this night that a man, Raphael (pseudo name) started coming. He greeted me in English- and continued to come to the rest of the meetings. Every night I could see his heart hungry for the truth and he was excited to learn the truth. It was exicting for me to see how he was accepting the messages including the Sabbath message. He told me three nights before the campaign that he was going to be there till the end. It was really hard to say goodbye. It was hard to get to know and connect with all of my visitors because of the language barrier. This man touched my heart because his hunger for the Word was filled during the meetings. I continue to pray for him.
Next post is about an unlikely visitor who came to my campaign.
I can't tell you how happy and how changed my life has been since doing this trip to Colombia! We left as missionaries to share the Word of God with the residents, but we came back changed finding that Christ's Word still has so much power!
This will be my first blog of series sharing my favorite experiences or stories from the trip.
The first weekend that I started my series. I started not knowing what to expect. I had a meeting with the Paraiso church and talking about the organization of the meetings. My impression was this was going to be a great church to work with, small, yet potential. They shared with me how they had been working hard to invite people from the community to come to the meetings. I shared with them that I would be praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We looked through the list to make sure that I was prepped appropriately for the meeting. We looked through my presentation equipment. Not being a pro at it myself, we tried to communicate with each other how to use the Share Him presentation Synchronizer. After 10 minutes it finally appeared on the medium sized wall to the right of the stage. Relief was felt. I really enjoy meeting people for the first time. This experience was a little different. I couldn't communicate what I wanted to say in their language. It was very brief short sentences. I learned that night that anything that I really want to express to my friends would have to be interpreted through my translator. After we were all done setting up the equipment, and safely putting it away in my black case. The pastor took me in his car. I talked with my interpreter the whole way home. She walked with me inside and all the way to the sixth floor of San Jose Hotel. Oh, "we should really practice tomorrow around noon. I want us to be really prepared for the first meeting," I said to her. She agreed to come back to the hotel the next day. She never showed up. I got worried and wondered how our first meeting would go. I couldn't worry too much, because I had to practice and know my sermon well. The first night came. One of the girls, Andreas who would later become a good friend to me in the church said, "Are you the evangelist, you are so young!?" Yes, I could not believe it myself. I had imagined this day coming. But now here it really was.
The first sermon was frustrating. I got on stage, and realized that after explaining to the church the night before how to set up the equipment they had incorrectly set it up. The slides were three behind what I actually said. I thought, here are new visitors, church members, "What do they think of me." The only part of the presentation I could make a connection with the audience was when it should a 30 sec video of the image of Daniel, and I rehearsed it again. God still spoke through me that night even through technical difficulties. I talked with our group leader, and campaign manager they helped a lot with the situation. By Saturday night, we had the program running and synchronized perfectly with my notes! I was happy!
At the beginning of the series. God was teaching me patience and learning to depend on Him. I found that He still blessed even though my Powerpoint wasn't working correctly for the first two sermons. Our visitors still continued to come back because they were receiving spiritual meat from our sermons.
I'm here in Colombia preaching my first full evangelistic series. I can tell you that so far my first two sermons have been rewarding. The people have shown excitement to hear the sermons on Jesus soon return. It has been trying to get the technology coordinated, and the powerpoint presentation. I don't speak their language. I need the Lord's help, and a miracle to happen this evening.
Last night, it was powerful to share how we are in the feet of Daniel's image and show how prophecy verifies history. The Bible is accurate and reliable! We had a good attendance. The church was packed when I spoke for the church service today I feel unworthy to be doing this, but am blessed to be used by God to spread the three angels messages. Please continue to pray for me.
I absolutely love it here in Colombia. The food is delicious, and the people are the most loving I have met. I love the culture! It is beautiful here and I will treasure each day.
I'm here to spread the gospel. I love Jesus, and I want my friends here in Colombia to have Him in their lives too.
This weekend was reviving for me. I decided at the beginning of the school year to go on a mission trip with the Evangelistic Resource Center. After attending orientation meetings I am pumped up to Share Him to others! I can't wait to share Bible doctrines and the beauty of understanding God's word in these times to my audience. I pray that many will come and desire to accept Jesus for themselves. My roommates went to ARME Bible camp this weekend and were incredibly blessed. Ivor Myers, Taj Pacleb, Calvin Kim, Dr. Paul Ratsara were the presenters. Truly revival and reformation is occuring in our church. I can see the spirit working on hearts here on campus and have seen transformations in their lives. There is a movement that exists in our church. My roommate, Becca was sharing with me that after this weekend she really has a desire to be an evangelist for the Lord. I want to be an evangelist too! We both agreed that there is nothing, I mean NOTHING more fulfilling than sharing the gospel with others and seeing what happens in their lives. It would be a dream for me to be a international singer and share the gospel with others. Right now, I have a callling to make a difference in people's lives on a individual basis but helping them with their emotional and spiritual needs. I want to use what I learn this summer to help me to continue to witness to others personally. Nothing is more fulfilling than serving Jesus!
A couple of weekends ago I was inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor society. It's hard to believe that I've been studying here at Southern for three years. The program was really nice and it was even more special to have my Mom and best friends there. I was able to reflect on what my school, classmates, profressors, school, friends, and family have meant to me through this journey. I remember my freshmen year choosing Social work as major and being excited about it. I remember walking into Mrs. Baker's office many timest the first semester of the Social work program my Junior year and feeling supported and helped through the whole process. I remember Mrs. Heck's Valentine card to each of us Juniors that said "You are loved", with Bible promises written with our own names in them. I am so thankful to have had the privilege to receive my education at Southern and the relationships I have built there I will always treasure. One more year till I receive my degree!
Debbie and I walking to Daniells Hall afterwards for refreshments
At the end of this week, I felt exhaustion from the semester. 14 hours of classes, work, practicum during Spring break. I love it all but I need rest. It just so happened that I had to go to an town near Nashville for a tag renewal on Friday which is only 20 minutes from home. How could I pass going home for the weekend? Thursday during my hour break between work and choir/ classes I filled out a weekend leave request and made a final decision, but one thing I wasn't going to was tell my Mom. I would surprise her. So yesterday after I finished my car errands I headed up the ridge to my sweet hometown, and drove into my driveway. Ranger my dog, wagged her tail at my arrival. My Mom, was so surprised, happy, and smiling. She had no idea that I would come It was nice to surprise her and find refreshment at home after an intense week.
The end of Spring break has already come upon me. This week I have been doing a 40 hour practicum at Memorial Hospital. I'm getting to close to the end of my education. Exciting and yet a little nervous at the same time. Pray for me as I look for the right internship for my Senior year. Last weekend I went home to spend time with my whole immediate family. It was refreshing to be together as a family and share many laughs and talks. Doing observation at Memorial this week has helped me a lot to see what I really enjoy and what I do not.
After my first day at practicum I spent time with my girls. What a fun evening and delicious food!
The second week of school came upon us soon! I heard that Collegedale was going to get six inches of snow but had a hard time believing that much snow would come. Sunday night I looked out my window next to my bed and there was not a drop of snow on the ground. Then at 6:30 in the morning I woke up and our backyard was transformed into a winter wonderland. 8 inches of snow! My roommates and I were so excited! Debbie ran out to show everyone that there really was a lot of snow. Kristi made pumpkin cookies and and then in the afternoon we went sledding with Suzanne. The first time I went down with Becca we fell off. It was so funny! More friends joined us and we made games and ate cookies at our apartment after it was over. It was a blast to go sledding! I hadn't gone since elementary school. It was wonderful to have Monday and Tuesday off from school.
It was still an adjustment second week to get used to my classes, and know what I was doing. I'm really enjoying all of my classes and am taking my core Social work classes. On Thursday, our department had a convocation. The Seniors talked about their internships and practicums they are doing. It was inspiring, motivating, and left me excited about my career! It's a good thing to learn and be educated about social welfare policies, social theories, interviewing skills, and assessments in our classes. It's another thing to put it into practice and see how it is impacting others. The seniors in their agencies and hospitals are making a huge difference in the lives of people they are caring for. Connecting people to resources, empowering them, and helping them to have better lives. It's hard to believe that I'm aleady in my second semester of my Junior year of college. It really doesn't seem that long ago I was a Senior anxious and excited to graduate from academy and next year it I'll be a Senior again!
Here a couple of pictures from our snow days:
Suzanne and Becca getting ready to sled down the hill.