Live Aloha.

It has been about four days since we have arrived back from our mission trip to the Big Island, Hawaii. I believe that our entire team can agree on the fact that we are in awe of the amazing memories made, stories heard, and love of Jesus that has been shared throughout our entire time in Hawaii.

We had a bit of a rocky start from our departure from Chicago. We had a handful of delays to our connecting flight in Seattle- which wasn’t as bad as we thought. The many delays made our long layover diminish and we were able to board our next flight to Kona the moment our current flight landed.

The moment we reached the island we were showered with Aloha and were placed with leis around our necks by our wonderful ohana. Our entire team consisted of about 20 people- including leaders and students. After we were greeted by our Kona ohana we all spent the next couple days helping with a Samoan wedding. We were able to embrace God’s beauty through not only the scenery of Kona, but also through His people and the gift that blesses us with, called marriage.

After the wedding our entire team split into our two groups- the Kona side and the Hilo side. The Kona side stayed in the area after the wedding and the Hilo side (the side that I was on) traveled to the other side of the island to meet our other fellow friends and churches to reunite. A lot of the members on the Hilo side were returners- like me! As soon as we reached Hilo we were able to get settled in and reunite with lots of familiar faces and friends within the next few days.

One of our favorite things to do in Hilo was to open up our home have pot lucks with our church families and fellow community members. We would cook food and serve anyone who wanted to come by and enjoy a meal, company, and share testimony. Something that is also very important in Hawaii is talk story. Talk story is basically just sharing with others around us our stories- our lives, what makes us who we are, and our testimonies. We frequently had nights like this where we would have over lots of friends, eat, and talk story.

We worked with two churches. The first church that we worked with was the Nazarene church in Hilo. We previously made a lot of relationships and connections with this church last year because of the amount of time that we spent with them. It was such a great opportunity to be able to reconnect and continue to build stronger relationships with these friends of ours here, and also introducing them to new faces that we also brought to the team. At Hilo we worked with a preschool that they also have at their church, did quite a bit of construction work to the church and school’s campus, and other work projects. We also helped at a couple of church services, the preschool graduation, and sat in on a Bible study.

The second church that we worked with was called Connection Point. We didn’t really work at this church last year, but we were able to stay in that area a couple of times. At this church we helped with their church rummage sale, put on a community movie night showing for Moana, and yard work around the church. At this church we also helped paint their youth room, reorganize and structure rooms on the church campus, and help with the process of two of their ministries- God’s closet and their food pantry. Connection Point has such a good mind set of reaching out into their communities on a relational basis- especially meeting the needs of their community through clothing and food.

The last few days of our time in Hawaii were consisted of bringing back our two groups together and traveling down to a fishing village called Miloli’i.  During our time in Miloli’i we had the opportunity to have the camping experience- right by the ocean. The area of the fishing village is ran mostly by generators and solar power. They have to really monitor the amount of water that they use and they are not able to drink the regular water from the water systems. Most people have a big tank that they keep water in to use for drinking. Some people here do not have the amenities that others do like electricity, or clean running drinking water. However, the residents in this area are just as filled with Aloha, light, and story just like anyone else. In Miloli’i we had a prayer- rubbish walk and we cleaned up the town. We also had a couple of work days were we would paint the picnic tables in the center of the park and paint the church.

Throughout our entire time in Hawaii we experienced several moments of understanding the importance of loving, serving, and seeking the Lord. I personally did not expect hearing the call to serve again in Hawaii. However, God called me to go back and so I did. For myself personally, it was the last day we were in Miloli’i when I felt that I could finally see what the Lord was trying to teach me this entire year. I had a great conversation with the pastor’s wife, Mel. Mel and I shared stories and during that time it was as if God whispered in my ear, Who am I? At that moment I was kind  of confused because I didn’t understand. Thinking to myself (Who are you, God? You are… God.) I didn’t fully grasp the question that He was asking me. And then it hit me.

He was asking me who He was- to me.

I had to question myself. Who is God to you, Brooke? And at that moment through the power of sharing testimony, prayer, and divine connection with Jesus I felt that a wall was finally broke down in my life that I had felt trapped under for so long. I forgot who God truly was in my life, the things that He had done for me, and where He wants to take me. I had been going through the motions for so long that I had forgotten that He wanted a relationship with me.

God wants a relationship with me and not just a few good memories.

God wants me to trust Him and let Him take me by the hand into the areas of joy and the unknown. He wants to know my emotions, my dreams, and my heart. He wants to be surrounded in my life and not just a chapter of it.

That day God truly spoke through the pastor’s wife, Mel, and she not only prayed for me but God spoke through her. The answers that I had been searching for so long were finally revealed and spoken. It was through Mel that God was able to encourage me, bring light back to me, and gain renewal. I was brought to tears by the truth that she spoke to me and forever grateful for that little tug that God put on my heart to go over and say hello to her under their tent.

This mission trip not only made an impact on my faith, but it made an impact on my life. Thank you to everyone who prayed, supported, and encouraged my team and I along this journey.

Mahalo and live Aloha ♥

hawaii pic

You Have Less Than 24 Hours

A lot of people have asked me what I had planned after graduation. My first response was well.. working. I have worked full time jobs since I was about 19 years old. This is the second year that I have worked two full time jobs at the same time.

Within the past three days I have already worked over 50 hours between the two jobs that I am currently working. Some people ask me if I’m crazy. I may be.

However, in less than 24 hours I will be preparing to board a plane to serve the people of Hawaii by being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. These past three days have not been easy. I’m tired, hungry, and a little irritated sometimes. Sometimes I even forget that I shouldn’t be this stressed anymore because I just graduated college. However, some advice from my favorite professor at Olivet continuously played through my head during this time.

“It’s a daily thing. We daily have to pick up our crosses and remember that we aren’t just doing this for ourselves anymore. We are living for Him”.

So during this time I continuously reminded myself of that truth. And although it was hard at the moment. It’s all going to be worth it. I’m going to be serving, loving, and pursuing a community of people through the heart of Jesus and nothing excites me more than the fact that I get to do it with some pretty great people with me.

The one prayer that I am also continuing to lean on is God’s purpose for me through serving others. As a college graduate, I still have a lot of questions- although school is over.

I want to know why God has put the passions on my heart and how He is planning to use them through me.

I want to know how I can be used by God and how He wants me to lead others to Him.

I want to understand more of why He gave me this life specifically to live.

I hope that God gives me more clarity on this trip by serving Him and others. Although there is a good chance that I’ll just have to trust Him and understand that I don’t need to know everything. And I struggle with that. I like to have my planner and put everything to pen and paper, and know what exactly is going to happen next so I can prepare. But sometimes that isn’t always in my favor.

Thankfully, God has taught me how to trust in Him when I’m anxious, scared, or confused in impromptu situations- especially speeches (shout out to my COMM family for also helping with that).

My biggest prayer for this trip is for me to learn how to lean on God through all things, and not just for these next 3 weeks. I want to stop depending on myself and letting fear become a component in my life because of my choice of being more self sustaining than leaning on the Lord.

I have less than 24 hours until I depart with my team for this trip and I can’t be anymore excited for the Lord to do what He has already had planned long ago. If you would pray for me and my requests I talked about earlier, my team, and the people on the Big Island to grow hungry for the love of Jesus I would be forever grateful.

I also have the opportunity to go back and love the people and place that God brought me to last year that helped me grow and understand Him and myself after a very difficult year of hardship. I know that during this trip God is going to move mountains, build bridges, and restore lives.

Join in prayer with us, Ohana. Hilo-Ha Ohana

Let’s watch God amaze us.

Aloha Ke Akua.

-Brooke Allison

 

It’s Never Too Late.

It’s 10:11 p.m. (central time).

I’m sitting here and I have realized a couple of things.

  1. I am no longer blogging for a PR class
  2. It has been a really long time since I have written a blog.

In less than 48 hours I will officially be a college graduate. For the majority of today I have just sat and reflected on these past four years of my college experience. One thing that has really made the impact in my life throughout these past four years has been my choice of college. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for such a strong founded university that continuously seeks to live in community and love for Jesus Christ.

During my time in college I had been given numerous opportunities to grow and figure out who this person is that God created me to be through athletics, leadership, and ministry opportunities. I have been able to indulge in Christ’s plan for my life through an education solely focused through the eyes of Jesus. Although I felt like my bank account suffered during the majority of this time, it was worth every penny.

One of the most powerful and vital aspects of my undergraduate college career was the community and healthy relationships that I needed to nourish my hungry mind and spirit. I needed strong, relating, and encouraging leaders and friends that could pour into my life to help me grow into the person that God has created me to become. Thankfully, God had everything all planned out when He directed me to my school. He placed teammates, coaches, professors, church family, and friends in my life that He new that I needed- even when I didn’t think that I needed them at most.

Continuing into my upperclassman years- I grew very independent and self sustaining. In a way I felt entitled to my achievements and work and forgot about where God’s purpose fit into my life. During this time I also went through a few hardships and struggled with the obstacle of identity and where God’s path really was that He had for me. I begin finding value again in my titles, accomplishments, and achievements and I grew unhappy because deep down I knew that these temporary things could never bring me eternal joy or contentment. I began to grow confused and misunderstood where God’s role was within my life. During this time some of the leaders in my life had also been called to do other big things in life and I misunderstood God’s calling for them as Him taking them away from me and leaving me.

It was at that point when I tried to do everything on my own and exclude God’s plan for my life and started to build walls around potential people that I knew that God wanted involved in my life. However, I didn’t want to give them a chance because I thought that the moment we developed something great it would be taken away. In reality I was only hindering myself and whatever amazing plan that God actually had for me. I then made it a habit to not open myself up to many people because of the possibility of being left again. This was also a very stressful time for me academically and around the time when I decided to end my athletic career a little earlier than I had planned during my senior seasons and a couple of extra curriculars that I had fallen in love with.

I had lost sight of the goodness that Jesus had planned for me and I let the enemy’s distractions and attacks gain my attention. I grew anxious and fearful because of the fact that I couldn’t control these areas of my life anymore. Then it hit me. I can’t control any of this. God has placed me right where He has for a purpose. He has given me this life to live for a purpose. He has given me these people in my life for a purpose. I shouldn’t have to feel lost, or anxious because I don’t have power or control over these things because God already has everything under control. He has already worked all of this out. I just needed to trust Him, spend time with Him, and continuously seek Him.

Last night I had what I thought was a random invitation to prayer. That invitation turned out to be my restoration, turnaround, and fulfillment that I had been searching for this entire year. I needed to let go of every plan, every dream, and every moment of my wondering of what I thought that I could do and realize that God has to be in full control. And on top of that- I needed to trust Him and believe it. Later that night I felt a huge tug on my heart to call out to a friend that I had not been the most intentional with.

Over the past two years God has put this friend on my heart as someone who could help me grow in my faith but I didn’t ever give this person a chance. I would always give God- and him- excuse after excuse about how it would never work. In reality, I was giving in to the enemy’s lies and believing them that there was no hope or purpose for this person in my life. At the end of every day I knew that God had a plan for this person and that the Lord’s light completely shined right through them. And I think that’s exactly what the enemy didn’t want. The enemy didn’t want me to grow closer to another believer and believe that I didn’t need God or the body of Christ. Boy, was I wrong.

I need Jesus daily and I need my fellow brothers and sisters to not only remind me but to hold me accountable and to encourage me through His love daily. During that night I prayed to God that if this really something that He wanted for  me to do then to have this person respond within a couple hours- he did. And that’s not even the best part. During this time I felt so convicted of being a poor friend and not upholding my responsibilities of being a Christ follower. When I confronted this friend they had nothing neglectful to say about me. This friend actually encouraged me and showed me comfort through the eyes of Jesus. It was at that moment when I knew that Jesus had a plan all along, and although stubborn people like me need to fall a few times to listen, Jesus will always be there for us with open arms.

I think that’s the biggest lesson that I have taken away during these past four years. No matter what happens, no matter what stupid decision that I make, and no matter how stubborn I may be God will always be waiting there for me with open arms for me to come home. And that’s what we should be doing as His followers as well. We need to set the example and model the actions and love of Christ just like Jesus and what He did. He loved us SO much that He made the ultimate sacrifice so we never have to feel neglected, ignored, or lost ever again.

I am beyond thankful for my experience at the university that I chose and for a good Father who loves me SO much, unconditionally. AND He’s willing to put the right people in my life to remind me that as well. I am so blessed and I can’t wait to see what adventure that God has planned for me next.

worship

– xoxo, Brooke Allison

Family of NFL Player Konrad Reuland Meets Organ Donation Recipient

About five months ago NFL player Konrad Reuland had experienced an aneurysm that had ruptured behind his left eye. About one month later he was pronounced brain dead. During this time Reuland was in a coma for about two weeks. This tragedy made a huge impact on Reuland’s family and team. Not too long after the death of Reuland, an organ donation recipient was about to have a changed life receiving Reuland’s heart and kidney.

Three months after this operation the family of Reuland finally had the opportunity to meet the man who received their son’s heart and kidney. The receiver happened to be another former athlete and a baseball American League player, Rod Carew.

Carew fought a huge battle with heart attacks in the previous years. Reuland was a miracle and an answer to Carew’s prayers. During this time Reuland’s family was also given the opportunity to listen to their son’s heart for the first time since his passing. This time was a very special moment for both, the Carew and Reuland families. They were able to cherish and celebrate the life of Konrad and understand first hand experience about the importance of organ donation.

This recent event was a huge promotion for Share Life and the importance of organ donation world wide. This story is a huge PR moment for many- the NFL, Share Life, and even National Organ Donation Month. The lives of Reuland and Carew have made an enormous impact and have opened the eyes of many because of their story. The world of public relations need to find stories like these to not only gain the attention of their audiences but also motivate their hearts.

Don’t Lose Who You Are.

I have about three weeks until I graduate from college.

This is nuts.

If your curious and want to peek into the crazy whirlwind mind of mine you may need to hold on tight with all of the exams, assignments, and group projects trying to knock you over left and right. However, I did get my senior speech capstone out of the way first semester so kudos for Brooke! As of now the only things that have been circling my mind are trying to get as many assignments done ahead time and searching for jobs anywhere and everything excluding back home.

I’m not too sure why but I have always been the type of person who is always on the go. I always want to try something new and exciting- even if it does stress me out a little while. Someone did tell me not that long ago though, if your dreams don’t scare you a little then they’re not big enough. I sometimes have trouble of saying “no” and because I love the people around me so much, maybe I do get a little over committed. At least I’m not under committed- right?

Anyways, after taking some time this year to really explore who I am as a person I have finally come to the conclusion about who I want to be and where I want to be in life. Although it didn’t happen over night. I took a huge break this year from quite a few extra curriculars, work, and other involvements. I started becoming more intentional with the supportive friend groups that do surround me and invest in me. I recognized the importance of embracing the life that God has called me to live and why I am the way that he created me to be.

When I first entered college I was actually really intimated because I saw so many people just like me. I think that sometimes this makes most people feel more comfortable, but for me I felt threatened in a way. I worked so hard in high school to become “popular”, a good athlete, a strong student leader, and just to become known with a sense of identity.

And then I had to start all over again.

I was excited at first but then I realized I wasn’t the only one who had the bubbly personality, who had a lot of friends, who was good at tennis, and who could lead a praise band. I guess I had finally experienced the “small fish in a big pond” example that everyone gets when they go to a new school, job, etc. I remember at my first day of  college tennis practice I was asked to play one of my teammates from Ecuador and after our set I felt like I didn’t even know how to hold my racket anymore. I eventually came to the point where I felt that I shouldn’t even try anymore because other people were either just as strong or better than me- not just at athletics.

I eventually came to a point and had to reevaluate who I was. I had let this thought control my mind so much that I was starting to become a person who I wasn’t- worried, intimated, and depressed.

That’s not who I am.

 He wanted me to grow. Like any situation there were a few bad seeds that were sown into my life that had quite a large impact on this.

I had to learn how to cut off those who were not benefitting my life and how to stay close to the ones that help me to where I want to be.

As sad as it is to say, there are some people out there who want to watch you fail- I can testify to that. Some of them may even be closer than you think. This may be because those people have been hurt in the past and they don’t want to see anyone else happy, or they want to see other people also feel their hurt. We’re all given situations similar to this.  It’s up to you to decide how you are going to react to the situations that you are given in life and how to make an impact through it.

How are you going to stay true to yourself?

I had to dive back into the Word and bring back the truth that Jesus has over my life. I had to realize that my grades, my involvements, and my job titles do not reign over my life. I had to remember that satisfying these desires will not ever fulfill me the way that Jesus will. He gives us opportunities like these to grow and seek His will through Him. It’s difficult to not get distracted and then lost in the branches and weeds in the forest of life, but once we get back on the right track and see that glimpse of the light its not so bad after all.

The CPPR and the Code of Ethics

Public relations continues to be a fast and large growing industry. More students and universities are getting more involved within PRSSA and PRSA programs and conferences. There continues to be a larger desire for public relations professionals within the corporate, agency, and non profit settings. Although the PR industry continues to grow, so does the competition. Many public relations students and recently graduated professionals question what they can do to make themselves stand out. One way to truly stand out from the others is to become CPPR certified and to get very familiar with and practice the PRSA code of ethics.

What is the CPPR? The CPPR stands for the certificate in principles of public relations. The CPPR was designed to certify the level of knowledge for college graduates entering the field of public relations or related jobs. What is the PRSA code of ethics? The PRSA code of ethics is a guide to help PR professionals carry out their responsibilities ethically. The values that the PRSA code of ethics entail are advocacy, honestly, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness. It is crucial for all public relations professionals, especially post college graduates preparing to become CPPR certified, to understand the already start practicing the PRSA code of ethics. There are many businesses and organizations that do not follow guides or ethics as strong as PR professionals should. It is important for PR professionals to grasp the meaning behind the PRSA code of ethics for the sake of their companies that they are representing, key publics and communities that they are in, and themselves as professionals.

The PRSA code of ethics was created to mold and shape a PR professional’s understanding upon community, media, and government environments for whatever situations that they are put in. The code of ethics will prepare a PR professional for any type of potential crisis situation and can help with potential recovery and restoration suggestions. A few attributes that could possible lead into a crisis or conflict for PR professionals if not handled correctly through the code of ethics are

  • Competition
  • Disclosure of Information
  • Safeguarding Confidences
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Enhancing Profession

The code of ethics are vital to understand from a public relations professional point of view. Becoming CPPR certified would be a great help to further one’s knowledge and understanding with the code of ethics and practicing of it.

 

 

 

Information Graphics

Exercise One: “Bankers Call for Wider Measures to Stem Crisis”

This article has a lot of statistics and facts about the need for prevention of the European Debt Crisis. First I would create different widgets on graphic that would help the audience understand the different attributes to this current event. I would create a map that highlights all of the main sites that is being effected through the debt crisis in Europe. I would prefer for the map to be an animated graph. My vision is for the audience to click on the map and see the different potential regions that the crisis is moving to or has already hit. This current event can have a large focus especially within politics and other areas. Therefore, I think that it would be extremely beneficial to have some type of audio recording and embedded image of a head administrative leader in charge of restoring the crisis. I think that this would give the audience more sense of a relief that the problem is being acknowledged and on its way to restoration. A couple other widgets that I think would also be beneficial for this content would be a line graph and an animated list that shows a plan of action. I want to implement a line graph or a fever chart because I want the audience to see the process of the recent event and see how the potential plans can bring growth and development. I also think that having an animated version of the list for the plan of action will show the audience more of the action that will be taking place. I think that physically seeing some type of action put towards the graphic itself will be a connected point for the audience to understand what is to come. For print media having the charts and maps would be very beneficial for the audience to also see.

“Heart Device Might be Useless for Women”

This article has a lot of facts. The first widget that I would want to create is of a beating heart, but not just any beating heart. I would want to have the heart to have one irregular beat that is distinctive from the others. Then the reader will know that there isn’t something quite right with this heart. I would place it on the sidebar of story package where it would be continuously seen. I would want my audience to not overlook this graphic image but to question what’s “wrong with it” I would also to put in an embedded video that is introducing the audience to a physician familiar with the ICDs. However, I would want to make this video animated and made through animations of physicians, patients, and of the ICD but have embedded an audio track of the physician explaining facts and possibilities of the ICD. I would also create a couple different charts of the health risks and benefits for both male and female that have ICDs. I also think having a face to match with the voice over for the video would also be beneficial. Towards the bottom of the page I would also include an image of the physician that spoke on behalf of the content created. For print, I would also want to use an image from the physician that spoke on behalf of the ICDs. I would also continue to have charts and data used to help state the facts for the audience as well for this subject.

Image of Storyboard Wireframe

wireframe1.jpg

Exercise 2:

Graphic 1- Data Visualization. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjKpbGzq5PTAhVI5IMKHe81A1IQFggaMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.martyduren.com%2F2011%2F09%2F08%2Fthe-growth-of-social-media-graphic%2F&usg=AFQjCNE1v0d1b_ZzXKbQigeBL_N54exPEg&sig2=3a3GqTHIiHs1l4bRNJJ-mQ&bvm=bv.152174688,d.amc

I really like the creation of this graphic because of the many creative ways that the author chose to make the graphic. The author did use a lot of graphs, charts, and different ways to display information and percentages. The strengths of this graphic include the flow and creativity put within the graphic. However, I do wish that the graphics were more spread apart rather than being one skinny graphic ran together. I would have preferred for it to be split up among the page.

Graphic 2-Narrative http://www.sbs.com.au/theboat/

This graphic I really admire because of the effects that the narrative has overall upon the entire site. The background of site first looks like a video of rain but then transitions to a boat at sea. This narrative tells a story about a boat and the journey that it goes about. The strengths of this graphic are very high. The audio, images, and design were heavily thought out and extremely creative to give the viewer an overall experience upon The Boat.

Graphic 3- Instructive http://www.cashfamilyorthodontics.com/fun-stuff/games-band-color-chooser.aspx

Here I have chosen a graphic created by an orthodontist company. This graphic was originally created for those who are soon to be wearing braces. This graphic allows for user to test out different colors along the different brackets of the braces to see which colors that they like best together. I like this graphic because it gets the user active within the site and encourage activity.

“I Can’t Think in Fear”

According to USA Today,

Universities in Georgia and Arkansas are in the process of a potential major change to their education systems. Georgia lawmakers have passed controversial legislation again to allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons on public college and university campuses over 21 years of age. The bill also includes allowing licensed gun owners the ability to carry their weapons in residential housing, fraternity and sorority housing, sporting events, and offices. Last year this bill was vetoed.

This is a very intense and serious topic that college students specifically are not afraid to voice their opinions to. Georgia governor, Nathan Deal, explained that colleges have been treated as a sanctuary place for learning and firearms should not be allowed. However, the regional director for students of campus carry, Robert Eagar, supports the new bill to come to Georgia campuses. Eagar believes that campus carry is needed in the future and can help college campuses become safer.

Although Eagar believed to have the right intentions, faculty and staff members, students, and family proclaimed their opinions as loud as they could. Social media reached the high end of the spectrum when the student body and surrounding supporters voiced their opinions online. Many of the main themes that the public was able to see online from students were “Students Don’t Want Guns”, “Governor Deal, Save the Veto”, and “HB280”.

A university professor posted an image of herself onto social media holding a sign that said, “I’m a professor and I adore my students, suicide risks go up 500% when firearms are present. Gov. Deal please SAVE THE VETO! Keep guns out of your classrooms and keep our students safe.” The professor also attached a number that one can text VETO to in order to join this movement.

Many people are concerned for the education system not only in Georgia, but also the possibility of anywhere else. A fellow Georgia student explained, “I’m worried about students walking around with guns that are sleep deprived and stressed. People don’t think well like that”. From a public relations perspective, it is obvious that this current event is extremely important and can be life altering. The students, faculty and staff, and surrounding community members did a great job

  • using the advantage of the power of social media
  • using the advantage of power in numbers.

Professors and students were voicing their opinions, protesting, and engaging their audience with an emotional appeal and personal testimony. They took on a huge public relations opportunity and are succeeding raising awareness and reaching a bigger audience. This is still an ongoing battle that the people of Georgia and Arkansas are battling, but this community will continue fight until the universities can be at peace.

ga

 

He’s Calling Me Back

Last year I had accomplished a lot of firsts.

  • I went on my first airplane ride
  • I traveled to the west coast for the first time
  • I went hiking for the first time
  • I went on my first mission with M.I.A.

M.I.A. stands for Missions In Action. It’s a ministry at my university that inspires and equips students of Olivet Nazarene University to become global minded disciples for a lifetime of support and service in cross-cultural ministry locally and internationally.

During that year specifically I learned a lot about myself, my faith, and the role that God played in my life- and where I wanted Him to be. I struggled a lot that year before the trip with several different details of my life- I was in a rough patch academically because of my load of course work and I was beyond stressed because of my commitment to extra curricular activities that pushed me over the edge. It was during this time when I knew that I needed Jesus more than ever.

I like to think that I handle stress well, but my idea of handling it is just ignoring it and trying to take care of it on my own. I’m not one to really ask for help when I know I need it. I like to try and fix things by myself- unfortunately that didn’t do much for me in the long run. This was the year when my anxiety attacks started to come back and I hadn’t had one since my senior year in high school. I was constantly on the go- classes to tennis practice to work to homework to studying and then maybe… just maybe I would be lucky enough to get more than 5 hours of sleep.

That year I wasn’t able to go out and have fun with my friends as much, I barely had any time to sleep, a lot of times I forgot to eat, and I lost my joy.

I didn’t understand why my world was falling a part when I tried so carefully to piece it together. I loved my major, my tennis team, my job, and everything else that I was involved in. However it just seemed like one thing and after another and everything started to backfire. Thankfully, with the Lord’s deliverance and grace I was able to finish out my junior year and be at peace before I left before my mission trip.

During that time I truly didn’t understand why God chose me to go to Hawaii.  I never thought that I was one to be cut out for missions, or that I would ever be called. At the time I thought my life was messed up. I was very unhappy, stressed, and extremely sleep deprived. I never thought that the school year could possibly end. However, God had a plan and a reason for everything.

As my team and I departed for this beautiful island of Hawaii, God revealed to me so much about this past year and my future.

  • I was reminded of the person that He created me to be.
  • I was reminded about what pure joy in the Lord was.
  • I was reminded that I was not created to live this life on my own.
  • I was reminded that I don’t have to take care of everything on my own (even though I still try to).

Throughout our time intentionally investing in this island, growing our relationships with new friends, and spending time with Lord through this ministry I was able to reach my next stepping stone in my faith. I also realized that I had been replacing a lot of vital areas of my life with things that only brought me temporary satisfaction. And in the long run, those things only made me even more stressed. After my mission trip I knew that God needed me to make some sacrifices and focus on Him and the things that were most important in my life more for my senior year. This was when I had came down to the decision to walk away from tennis, a job that I had fell in love with, and volunteering with a nonprofit for the sake of growth and being intentional for my senior year.

These were not easy decisions to make but I knew from the time I got off the airplane back to Chicago that these were the areas of my life that I needed to give back to God in order to get on a deeper level with Him. I tried to fight possibility staying within each one too, but within two or so months of the school year I knew it was time to walk away from it all. And strangely, it wasn’t hard or painful at all. I knew that this was what I needed to do to get back on the saddle and get close with God again and He helped me through it.

I would not have been able to comprehend the half of this if it wasn’t for my opportunity to serve and lead others to Christ through M.I.A. and our mission trip to the Big Island. God really shows us some cool things when we listen and obey.

This upcoming May I have the opportunity to go back! I am very excited to see what God is going to do again and see what He builds off of from last year through this mission. This mission trip last year changed my life and I would not have been able to do it without the power of Jesus, the support of my friends and family, and my home churches (home and home away from home) constantly praying for my team and I.

I am about eight weeks away until I leave with my team and I for this mission trip and we have a lot to pray for! Would you join my team and myself in prayer for this mission as we prepare to go? I personally am still in need financially to go on this trip as well and would appreciate any kind of support or prayers. I will frequently keep all of my team and I’s supporters updating throughout my last few weeks of college as we prepare to go through these blog posts/newsletters.

If you feel called to give to my mission trip please go to the website below and search the following:

https://securepay.olivet.edu/donate/smdonate.asp

  • Fraley, Brooke – Hawaii, June
  • Fill out the rest of your information.

shacka

A Hui Hou,

– Brooke