Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Less than 2 Weeks

It is officially less than two weeks until I board my plane for Haiti! Saying I'm excited would be an understatement.

I am running around like crazy trying to get all my items, shots, papers and of course, more support! And with Christmas, new babies, our anniversary and leaving soon.. my mind is in need of some down time.

So instead of writing.. I am just going to ask for your prayers. I am in need of strength and wisdom, patience and discernment, courage to leave Eric and faith that the Lord can sustain me. I also am in need of more financial support.
I pray for these things almost constantly throughout the day, and I know that the Lord will provide.

Thank you friends for loving me in spite of my flaws and radical emotions. Thank you for praying and thinking of me during the holidays and beginning of the new year!

Be blessed!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Please Excuse the Exclamation Points!

Sorry it has been so long since I have written. Life, as of late, seems to be a mixture of the incredible and the devastating. There has been tragedy and miracles, death and new life! 
But out of it all one thing is for sure: Jesus' blood never fails me!

This is a line that a good friend of mine Matt Miller sings as a chorus sometimes and it has been my battle cry lately. Why? Because I choose to believe that our God is bigger than the confusing times in our lives. He is greater than my unbelief, my failures, my mess-ups and sins. He is the LIVING God! Do you understand what that means? He is alive and looking over us! Our Lord, the creator of everything! More infinite in love, knowledge, power, mercy, grace and wisdom! I choose to remember that He is God and I am not. Like Francis Chan speaks on Isaiah 55, "My (His) thoughts are not your (my) thoughts..." I trust in the fact that He has not turned His back on me, He knows what is going on in my life and yet He is there with me. His Blood will NEVER fail me! It is certain, sure and concrete.

When I am down on myself for my mistakes, I remember His love for me.
When I don't understand things that have happened, I believe in Him.
When my heart aches with pain, I believe in Him.

I look to the past year and I see evidences of His hand holding mine. I see His protection over me, I see His how He led me back to Him when I veered off the path.

I pray that in 2013 I will look back and say the same. I hope to look back and be confident and content in my obedience to His will.

I am listening Lord! Send me!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just Ramblings

I have quite a bit on my heart (and coming from my fingertips) today. It isn't cohesive, to the point or life-changing... but it is what I feel and what I feel I should write... So I will write. Don't say I didn't warn you! ;)

I never knew just how much spiritual and emotional strength it takes to step out on faith as a full-time/long term missionary. I've done quite a bit of short-term mission work (1-4 weeks) in country and internationally.. but as I continue gearing up for my trip I'm learning that you have to give every. single. thing. to Christ, to lean on Him with everything. To trust Him with everything.

I think about all of the missionaries that I have known and know now. What truly remarkable individuals! I have felt more spiritual warfare in the past 3 months than possibly ever in my entire life, which means.. I've never felt closer and more alive in my spiritual walk with Christ!  I think of those who dedicate their lives to church-planting, foreign aide etc. Who don't just give 4 months of their life but give it ALL.. what an incredible sacrifice! THAT is my heart! THIS is my heart! I'm so excited that I've finally found (after 3 years..) what is God's will, what is right for me, for my life.

As a woman, it is so easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. With the whole of life swirling around us.. when our multi-tasking, plan-everything-out (and stick to it!) OCD, perfectionist brains go into over-drive.. it seems almost impossible to even locate the shut-down button! Whether it be small or big.. I find myself stressing, worrying etc. over everything (and I don't even have kids!). So I got to work talking with God.. figuring out a plan of attack. (Yes, I even made a plan to help me stop all my planning! Haha!) It was one quiet morning last week that I began thinking about my prayer walks.. Sometimes I would lose my focus as I looked at the path that stretched out in front of me.. and it wasn't until I focused only on the next few steps, not allowing my eyes to wander to the finish, could I focus on Christ and our time together. I now pray habitually each morning for the Lord to put a "fog" over the "path" I must walk everyday, so that I may only see a few steps in front of me and can focus on Him our our relationship rather than all that needs to be done.

I've also been fasting more frequently, for longer periods of time.. and doing the same with my prayer walks. It is incredible to me how much of a difference these few things have been making. It it easier to focus on God and lean on Him when you have less things (food, cell phones, etc) battling for your thoughts, time and attention. I often find myself closing my eyes at different parts of the day, praying for peace in my soul and it is like He is there, holding me. My personal mantra has become, "In You I find my peace, abide in me, fill me with Your love."

The past 3 months have revealed to me so many things about myself and my walk with Christ (good and bad) I feel like I could write a book! And I guess it is that thought that has me reading quite a lot lately. I just finished Mary Beth Chapman's Choosing to See and Steven Sojern's Conspiracy of Kindness. Both of which I highly recommend. They make me ask: Are you truly SEEing what this life is all about? Can you SEE God's hand, His influence in your life? Can you SEE the big picture? Can you SEE what He desires for you?  Oh, the simple things in life that can spread the love of Christ! Get out in the community and do something good! Carry out groceries for someone, pass out popsicles at the park, give a free carwash.. anything! Get out there, get active in your life for Christ! Spreading the Gospel and the good news of Christ's love doesn't have to be difficult. Show the sacrifice of Christ: free, un-repayable love.

I will close with a quote and stop my rambling:

"People will often forget what they hear about God's love, but few forget what they experience of God's love." - Steven, Conspiracy of Kindness.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Traveling and well, not.

As of late Eric and I have been running ourselves ragged.. from family stuff (baby showers, weddings, etc) to Haiti stuff (fundraising, speaking at churches etc) and just random things coming up. Thus, I've been lagging on posts! So this weekend we planted our tires firmly to the driveway and said "No." to traveling for the first time in a long time. (Since September 10th!) We actually had an entire weekend without traveling! We didn't know what to do with ourselves to say the least.. lol!

But this weekend we are back at it and boy are we glad. We will be heading down to Longview, TX to see our best friends and spiritual leaders Nathan and Ericka Rogers. Nathan is the pastor of Longview Missionary Baptist Church where I will be speaking to a Sunday school class and to the congregation about my upcoming time in Haiti. We are sooo excited!

And speaking of speaking.. Two weekends ago, I was given the privileged to share my story with Center Baptist Church where my brother Joe Snyder is the youth pastor. I was so encouraged by the support from the people there.
An older couple, who I spent some time with during our 4 weeks at church camp this summer, came up to me after the service. The neat thing is I met them 4 days after Eric and I returned from our PPM trips to Belize, at Bogg Springs camp. I had over a month of dirty laundry to do and they were staying in the Nurse's cabin.(where the laundry is located) So everyday I would go in to begin more laundry and without fail, they would finish it for me while I was gone throughout the day. They took such good care of me! We spent many hours in that little cabin talking and getting to know one another. They listened as I told them all my stories from City Reach and Belize. And they even listened as I expressed (for the first time to anyone) my opportunity to go to Haiti, my heart for children and missions, my worries, fears and excitement. They even were the ones to help me with my bacterial infection that I got while I was in Belize!  They were such an encouragement to me those weeks and it was awesome get to see them now and tell them my plans now that the ball is rolling!
I also got to meet a young girl named Laura who had recently done a medical mission in Haiti. She gave me some excellent tips and tricks about the culture, people and country. It was such a blessing!

So in short, be praying about our travels, my speaking to churches, fundraising and staying strong! I'll leave with an excerpt from "Jesus Calling" which is written from the perspective of God. I have been dealing with emotional waves, unsettling, discontentment, stress, anxiety and many things which have left me feeling extremely weak and incapable of accomplishing my goals and keeping my focus where it should be. This was my devotional for today.

"Grow strong in the Light of my Presence. Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary, it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart. Do not condem yourself for your constant need of help. Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Productive weekend!

Wow! What an incredible weekend I have had!

Although last week was my birthday (for which I was sick) it was also my Rummage Sale for Haiti!
It was such a success! I raised over $1,000 for my trip which will really help with start-up costs of fundraising. (Believe it or not, it costs quite a bit to fundraise! Haha.)

So with all of the junk sold and bought, we ended the night on a high note in the Richardson household. I had so much help from my friends and SO much encouragement from the community. It was awesome to get to watch how Christ used a simple situation as a Rummage Sale to further His name. I had quite a few chances to explain PPM, HCO and my passion in life for showing the love of Christ to a needy world. Although not everyone agreed with me, most were quick to take a prayer card and commit to pray for me while I'm gone.

I also finished my board and such for my table at church! My mom helped me and it looks so cute! Complete with prayer cards, HCO information cards, fundraising return envelopes and my "Envelope Fundraiser" (thanks Nathan Rogers) where people can pick up any dollar amount 1-100 and leave it anonomously. Just from Sunday morning I had six envelopes taken! What an encouragement. I'll post a picture of it soon.

I also just mailed out my Minister Packets complete with prayer cards, HCO information, fundraising return envelopes, return presentation cards and my informational DVD. *See below. So if you are a minister and you know me (or don't know me, haha!).. Be looking for those! ;)

My informational video. Please excuse the random face..

Thanks to Eric for working late into the night on Friday to get this put together so nicely.

Also, thanks to all of you who donated above and beyond this weekend at the Rummage Sale. It was awesome to watch the support roll in. Thank you!

I have begun fasting on a more regular basis due to how easily I am becoming stressed over the lack of understanding here in Cave City for international missions. Please keep the people of Cave City in your prayers, that they may open their eyes to a world in need of love of our Savior.

The Lord is growing me through this time in a way that was unexpected. I feel as if I am learning to trust Him in a more physical sense.. to provide time, money etc. than I always have for spiritual or emotional things. Thank You Lord for Your unending faithfulness to me, even when I don't trust You as I should.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Mom Rocks.

There is something about my mother that has always inspired me and taken root in my very core since I was a young girl: The intensity and sincerity with which she loves her children. You may think.. "every mother loves their children.." and yes, this is true.. I am not putting my mother on a pedestal or saying she is the only mother who loves her children. However, this weekend it was just unreal to me the lengths to which my mother went to help me. 

As you all know, my trip to Haiti is quickly approaching and I am in a crazy mad dash to get prayer and financial support before January comes around. With this fundraising, it seems like I am always just a step or two behind.. missing a personal deadline, forgetting to stamp something or missing out on an opportunity.. the list goes on. And honestly, it can become quite stressful. Like every good mom, she of course calls me frequently, asking the normal questions and checking up on Eric and I. So on our call last week we decided she would come up and help me with the Rummage Sale I have coming up.
Little did I know just what that would require of her. After she came and went this weekend, I was reflecting on how helpful the amount of time she spent with me on Saturday helped me. She drove from Bryant to Cave City early Saturday morning (over 2 hours), picking up odds and ends that I had asked for. After some chit-chat, we went and spent around 2 hours moving boxes and such at our storage buildings (even-though she was having an allergy attack). Now, understand that this isn't an easy task even if you are feeling well... you are often lifting 30 lb boxes with your body contorted in all sorts of shapes. And even with my interjecting to "..Let me lift that!" She would always have some reason as to not let me: "you'll get dirty" "I'm already back here." "it's not that heavy.." When in reality, she was just looking out for me.. knowing that an injury I had in 10th grade sometimes causes me pain in my back. (something I can guarantee not many people give a second thought to).
After this, we went back home and I spent the next hour emptying my emotinal dump-truck on her.
It was then that she began taking on the never-ending task of brainstorming for fundraising ideas. After honestly over an hour of racking our brains, making lists and phone-calls.. she took a minute to fill me in on her week.
She had worked almost double that of a full-time job in the last week, had car trouble, been helping organize a baby shower for my sister-in-law, helping organize a wedding for my soon to be sister-in-law, and was not feeling well.. all the while working non-stop on helping me fund-raise for Haiti. (not to mention the countless other tasks that I am not even aware of). Talk about a reality check! I soon began realizing that this was no extra-ordinary week for her.. this is her normal. She is continually investing this much of herself into my life (and my brothers), putting herself on the back-burner. She is a beautiful example of a what I want to be as a mother.
Not only did the Lord use her this weekend to help me emotionally and physically, He used her to show me some things spiritually as well. After spending some time in prayer thanking the Lord for my mother and her heart of compassion, asking forgiveness for not reciprocating the time she invests in me, asking for the Lord to give me her intensity of love for my children one day and asking for blessings upon her life for the example she is to me...  I glimpsed just a fraction of how much Christ loves us. I mean, I know that He loves me.. but I think a lot of the time I look over the small things He does in my life.. and how much He sacrificed and the lengths He went to take care of me and to show how much He loves me... just like how I looked over how much my mother sacrificed to take care of me this weekend. The way He always "picks up the phone" when I need Him most, how He quietly listens to me everyday as I unload on Him my "problems," not thanking Him enough for all He does for me and how He teaches me the most in ways I'm not expecting.

So even though this post isn't directly related to Haiti.. I just wanted to share this with all of you.

Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you sent your Son to die in my place, for everything You do for me and for my mother and the example of sacrifice she is to me.

Thank you mom, for everything you are. I love you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I am a fundraising machine! Haha.. or so I feel like...

My support letters are being mailed this weekend and I'm so excited as people begin to learn about my trip and how to sponsor HCO, the kids and myself.

I am feeling so incredibly blessed as I learn of all my Prayer Warriors that are out there praying for me on a daily basis! Thank you all so much for your feedback and continued support. It is forever encouraging that I have people that bring my trip and life to the throne of God.

And it looks like I have a few financial supporters as well! Thanks to you all as well, I am humbled by your generosity.

As for myself, I'm finally ready to begin fundraising from church to church, I think.. (fingers-crossed!)
Big thanks to Robby Myers for creating my prayer cards! They look so great and professional and I know you all are loving them!

On a random note, if you have time, come on out to my Shop and Support Rummage Sale next weekend Oct. 7th and 8th! Everything is $1 and donations are accepted of course, all proceeds will be going to my trip and time at HCO.

So moving forward, I have quite a bit to accomplish and get done, but I know the Lord is there with me, watching over me and directing me into the path He has planned. Please keep me in your prayers.

Prayer, Prayer, Prayer!

Hello friends!

I am so excited to be writing this post! I have quite a bit of more information on the orphanage that I would like to share with you and some prayer requests as well.

First off a prayer request: Cassie Nash who is our go-to girl (head staffer) at HCO is in Haiti as of Tuesday. She will be spending some time with Pastor Sampson (a Haitian contact for PPM and one of the kindest souls you will ever meet) as she learns the language and does operations there at HCO. Please be in prayer for her as she is doing a lot of behind the scenes work and spending quite a bit of time there with Pastor Sampson learning Haitian Creole.

I am excited to continue learning the language myself from It seems tough to speak and I will be looking in our area for a Haitian Creole speaking individual to possibly tutor me. I've heard through the rumour mill there might be a Haitian family right here in Batesville! How wonderful it would be to actually imerse myself in the culture a little before getting to Haiti!

The orphanage consists of around 40 boys ages 7-16. The boys are mostly street kids, orphaned by death of parents or just simply left at the orphanage. Be in prayer for these beautiful souls to be open to us in as many ways as possible as we begin making changes at the orphanage. Also, the older boys are beginning school this week and are in need of your prayers!

I am leaning on the Lord to bring in the financial and prayerful support that I will be needing. I know this is His will for me, so I don't doubt His faithfulness in these areas.

If you are willing to commit to being a prayer warrior for me during these next 7 months, please email me and let me know. I intend to keep this list of names with me on my trip as encouragement. Thank you so much!

Please continue keeping Eric and the other HCO staffers in your prayers, as well as the boys and other Haitians at the orphanage. Thank you all for your support!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Balancing Act

Since no ducks were harmed in this video, I thought I would share a little bit on life lately. (How funny is it btw?)

I feel it is an accurate representation of how I've been feeling! As of late it seems as though just as I feel like maybe I have all my ducks in somewhat of a row, a wind comes along and ruins everything.

As I sit here and stare at the three very long, time consuming and vastly different to-do lists, I'm feeling overwhelmed. In life, I am typically the do-er. I am a free-spirit at times, but when I have things to do I like to conquer them quick and efficiently. This, as you can imagine, often gets me into trouble.... especially in times like right now when I have so many things to do.

The point of this post however, isn't to ramble and complain (although it very easily could be! haha) You see, it is in the midst of this chaos that I can hear God's voice calling out to me to "be still..." After taking a few deep breaths and listening to His voice, peace has flooded me and my mind is finally calm.

Its then I realize that the wind was indeed a blessing, messing up my perfectionist ways... allowing me to be knocked off balance, and leaving me reaching out for Him to help me find solid ground again.. I know that He is looking out for me, waiting for me to bring everything to His feet, not just the times that I feel overwhelmed. Why is it that I still cling to doing things on my own? He clearly knows what is best for us...

If only I would remember, God controls the wind as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Step Number 3 Complete!

As I sat down to begin thinking about a to-do list for my upcoming adventure to Haiti (yes, I'm one of those crazy list-makers), step #3 was get a blog going. Now, if you know me you will understand my nervousness in creating such a public representation of me! As my perfectionist side of me kept rearing its ugly head... I finally just had to stop putting so much thought into this and just let it be. So here we are... blog number 3,424,367 is up and running. At least maybe this time I'll have a better reason to stick with it. Ha!

This blog will be all things Haiti Christian Orphanage... the Bethany edition. From preparation for the trip, my updating while I'm there and everything in between. Keep up with me if you would like and if not.. that's cool too. :)

May God bless and keep you.
Psalms 95:2-3