Wednesday, July 30, 2008

T-minus 82 minutes

Until I am free from my day job and off to Darien Lake! WOOO HOOOOO!!!

If you can't already tell I am uber excited about this. And since I haven't been coming up with the most fascinating blogging material lately, I have decided to consult a professional.

Her name is Alicia, and if you are up for a good laugh, please go visit her latest post. I do not have a response that is worthy of even being said, for that is how funny I find her. And what's more, I get to spend the rest of the day with her!

Yep, that's right... Two 20-something girls in an old pontiac grand-am cruisin along with the ac OFF. Seriously, does it get any better than that?!!??!

Ok, off you go... click on the link, you know you want to! Do it now!

Another fabulously hilarious post by Alicia

And when you're done, comment and tell her how funny she is and that she should seriously BLOG MORE OFTEN!!! (um, ok it sounds like i may or may not have had a few too many peppermint patties this morning... sugar high wearing off...)


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Book Swap!

At the beginning of the summer I had played with the idea of doing like a "summer reading fest" or something like that... but time got away from me and I never did it. Well, at least someone out there has some follow-through as Chelle is hosting a book swap.

This is the first one and the rules are basically:

1) You recommend a good book that you have read
2) are willing to give it away
3) if you see a book on the list and want it, you have to be the first commenter and then voila! it's yours!

So if you want in, you can check out her site and enter yourself on mister linky. I am excited about doing this, it's a great way to find new and good books!

My book is "The Nanny Diaries" and I happened upon it quite by accident.

I was bored and waiting for a new book to come in from the library, and I found this in my boss's office (needless to say, I will not be giving the copy i read away, but I'm gonna go find a copy to buy and give away!)

This book is so great, if you saw the movie, then you know the main outline of the book. The movie followed the book pretty well, but there's a lot more detail...

The writing style is hilarious, I just ate this book up! So the first to leave me a comment gets it! who wants it???


I'm a happy girl!

I am sooooo happy that my new blog layout is finally up! and when I say finally i really mean like only a week. it really wasn't that long, i just get so excited about stuff and then it feels like forever!

I found Lex through Jaci and since she was doing very inexpensive makeovers at the time to get herself started I jumped at it! She has now raised the cost to $45 for an entire makeover and it is very worth it. She is fun to talk to and she literally did everything I wanted! You can find Lex at her BLOG Indellible Creations.

I was so happy to do this finally, i've been wanting to do a total renovation of my blog for a long time now... but since i'm only enrolled in the school of google... and it takes time to learn new things, such as html etc... I haven't been able to figure out enough to make it look anywhere near as cool as she did!

So thank you so much Lex! I totally love my new blog. You ROCK!


Friday, July 25, 2008

it's friday?!

Although this week has seemed to drag on forever, it has still gone by waaay too quickly. I haven't gotten anything done...

well that's not entirely true, I just haven't gotten a few very important things done. For example, a thank you letter to people who helped me go to Mexico. That's pretty much numero uno on my list of things to do for next week. Seriously.

I also haven't blogged in like 3 days! It's a cryin' shame i tell ya! I've wanted to sit down with my lovely google reader and catch up on that... comment like crazy and let people know how much i love them, but alas, I have had so little time to do that as well.

But I have a good reason for it all. My new friend Lex has been helping me do a blog makeover! I am sooo stoked to have found her! It will be up in the next couple of days so stay tuned, and then you can oooo and ahhhhh over how awesome she is. And then you can email her to do yours! Usually blog makeovers cost around $85-$150 and she is doing them for $45 currently! I will not be shocked to see her raise that soon as she is definitely getting business. When you're as good as her, it's bound to take off.

Anyways, I've also been working on getting appointments for pictures for the summer. I just finished one about an hour ago... here's a sneak preview :)

I was going to go catch up on my reader, but today is POW! at mcmommy's blog, so that's where I'm headed now!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

my life with photography - part 2

Alright! we're on to part 2! I wasn't sure exactly when and how I was going to have time to finish this post... and that's why i deferred to tuesday... but it turns out i have some time i wasn't expecting! it is currently 8:49am and ALL 3 kids are still in bed! It must have been a late night *ha!*

Anyways, enough with the intro. Here are the questions I made up and two that i didn't... and I saved the best one for last *wink*

Q: What kind of camera do I use?

I bought my first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) 4 years ago. It's a Canon Rebel (probably the first edition) and I knew practically nothing about it when I got it. Except that I could take cooleo pictures with blurry backgrounds (which is called Bokeh btw and SOO cool... I am still not sick of it, and probably never will be)

I didn't use the camera very much when I first got it, and in fact probably a year or so later decided to buy a very small Canon digital Elph to take with me everywhere. Now it's surprising if I even know where the Elph is as the Rebel travels with me almost everywhere.

My trusty rusty Rebel had some pretty major meltdowns in Mexico and I discovered that I am definitely using that thing to its maximum potential and it will soon need a replacement as I explained more in the previous post.

Q: How do I make ordinary pictures extraordinary?

(ahem *clears throat* I made this question up myself since noone actually asked. I know, you were probably intimidated by just HOW extraordinary they can be... it's ok to gawk, and I will answer the question you've been dying to ask, but just couldn't bring yourself to... ;)

I am in love with Photoshop.

It's very simple. Photoshop and I have a history together and we began as friends back in 2002... our relationship has evolved into a very close and personal love affair. I am always learning new things about Photoshop, and I don't think i will ever learn it all. One of the photography schools that I once looked into had a different PS class for each semester for 4 years... and that wouldn't cover everything.

It's a very in depth program, however, like with anything becomes easier and easier to use as you practice. I stumble upon new things by accident all the time. I had a book a few years ago that would help me figure things out, and I would suggest that... there are a lot of books, so maybe one that's like a photoshop "dictionary" of sorts.

Anyways, with all that said, there are actually a few things in PS that I do to almost every one of my pictures. I've used actions that you can download various places, but have yet to find any that i can't live without. I use the gaussian blur (which is found under >filter>blur>gaussian blur) often... and when I say often i mean like on 40% of my pictures. The other thing that I use on probably 90% is the contrast. I am a HUGE fan of contrast... i love the way it pulls out the darks and lights in your photos and makes them go from meh to BAM!

There are a few others, but i am thinking that I might break down more specific photoshop tips into different, shorter posts.

Q: What is an "aperature", and what does it do?

I love this question. Aperature is my favorite! The aperature works hand-in-hand with the shutter, and on an SLR camera these are the two main components that make it SLR.

The shutter speed determines how quickly the lens will open and shut to take the picture. The speeds are broken down into numbers which read (30, 60, 120 etc) but are actually fractions. So instead of 30, it's actually 1/30 of a second... make sense?

The next component is the aperature, which determines how WIDE the shutter will OPEN. Aperature is also measured in fractions even though it too is read like this (2.8, 3.5, 8.0 etc) It's actually 1/2.8 and 1/8.0. Ok this is the confusing part. The smaller the number, the bigger the aperature. If you look at the fractions it makes more sense in that 1/2 is bigger than 1/4 right?

So the number for aperature gets smaller, and the ap gets bigger... and when you get up to an ap that's say 16, you're talking about a really small one. Because it's really 1/16...

Now, the actual significance of this is where it gets interesting. If you can get past the numbers and grab hold of the concept, then you're doing yourself a favor :) The aperature adjusts the "field of focus" when you're taking a picture. This is how you get the blurry background or a picture that is crystal clear from front to back.

To get a blurry background, you want to use a LARGE aperature, such as a 1.4-3.5. My best lens only goes to 2.8 and it serves me well... however I'd like to down into the 1.4 world... then the blur would rock my socks!

If you want the picture to be focused completely, then you use a SMALL aperature, such as 11.0-16.0.

So here's what to remember... i'm trying to make this as simple as possible, but it's HARD!
- smaller number means bigger aperature (and vice versa)
- small ap means clear background
- large ap means blurry background

Q: *cough cough* i have kind of an embarrassing question for your photo tips.... how can you minimize the appearance of neck fat and other excess jiggle in a photo? (this question was posted for real and has not been altered in any way ;)

HAHAHA! I've tried this so many times... and have failed miserably. However, there IS actually a way to do it. It's called the liquify tool in photoshop. It's a very precise tool, but you can push and pull with it and move things around. Sooo... (alicia) if you're looking for a modelesque chin/neck, I would suggest that you consult a real professional... I'm still working on it :)

That's all I have for now... if you would like to learn more about photography, Rachel is doing a great series on photography for beginners, by beginners! You should check it out, and if you come up with any questions along the way, feel free to ask!


Monday, July 21, 2008

A letter to American Airlines

Dear American,

Recently, I've had the chance to fly with you from Chicago to Buffalo on the last leg of my trip back from Mexico. I would like to share with you my observances, and suggest a possible change in your travel accomodations for the future.

I am aware that flight *** was an intercontinental flight, and there was no real foresight that there would be international travellers boarding. However, when 18+ people are coming from a connecting international flight, I vote that majority wins and the flight is automatically considered "international."

While in Mexico, I aquired a bug of sorts (some refer to it as a parasite, but as the days have worn on, I am more and more convinced that my friend Kyle is no more than a waning bacterial nuisance on his last legs anyways.)

Here in lies the problem. BEFORE I actually discovered that Kyle was only a passing phase, I had to experience some serious one-on-one time with him. Meaning that I spent about half of my flight from Chicago to Buffalo in your airplane bathroom.

This letter is in no way a complaint about the bathroom or the services I received aboard your craft. It is simply a way of bringing something I feel is important to your attention.

During my time in that airplane bathroom, it happened that the "fasten seatbelt" light went on. Not once, but twice. However, I was unable to do so. Therefore, I kindly suggest that you install seatbelts into your airplane bathrooms. This would alleviate the problem that occurs when someone is using your one and only cabin bathroom the majority of the trip and the flight attendant is getting annoyed that "people aren't staying in their seats."

Please consider my idea, if not for practical reasons, then as a safety precaution. After all, it wouldn't be good for someone to have a case of the "igottagonows" and feel unsafe doing so, resulting in "staying in their seat." That could be a problem.

Thank you for your time and I hope to be flying with you soon, with my toilet belt securely fastened.



Sunday, July 20, 2008

my life with photography - part 1

A couple months ago I mentioned that I would like to start doing posts with photoshop tips in them. I only had one person respond that they would like that, but since then I have had a couple more people express interest. So at the risk of feeling like a copy-cat, since Rachel just posted on this very topic, I am writing this post about my photo experiences sort of as a (hopeful) intro to many more photo-taking and photoshop tips.

This is going to be a two-part post. This post is just going to be some background to my life with photography... i didn't want to write too much all at once and bore you to tears. Although, if you're bored, then I guess you shouldn't be reading this? just a thought, HA!

So without further adu, let's go!

Q: How and when did you get interested in photography?

I have had a serious love for photography since I was about 15. My dad had an old Minolta SLR that I messed around with. I did a few art projects with it, and for my senior art show most of my pieces were photos that I had taken. *I won first place in that art show* :) seriously one of my proudest moments in life... so far

When I was 17, I decided that I wanted to get more serious about photography and possibly make it into a career. Since I was a senior I was looking at different options. A really great opportunity to work for a professional photographer opened up and I was able to work under this guy for a year and a half. I attribute much of my learning how to compose and my technical knowledge to him and his guidance.

My life with photoshop also began that year. He switched from film to digital my second summer... and I was in charge of the output and production. The learning curve was ridiculous, but I seriously loved it and had SO MUCH fun learning and doing everything.

After my time there ended I moved along and decided that I didn't necessarily want to take photography on as a profession at that point and started school. I bought my camera shortly before I began community college and used it all throughout to do my design and photography classes.

Somehow, my photography has continuously taken a backburner in my life... up until I started this blog.

I didn't intend for this to be a place to show off my work or anything like that. But it turned into a place where I knew I could share what I did and other people could appreciate it. Plus seeing other blogs like Andrea, Rachel, Kim and Britney i was totally inspired to keep taking pictures, and trying to make them better!

While I was in Mexico, I had numerous problems with my camera. It actually stopped taking pictures at two different points and would turn on and off randomly (on a full charge). It will take anywhere from 5-15 seconds to process one shot... I've discovered that I'm definitely at the point where I am using my camera to its maximum potential and it's TIME FOR AN UPGRADE!

I decided about 2 years ago that I wouldn't even allow myself to think about new camera equipment until I knew EXACTLY what i wanted and needed AND I was using what I had to the point where it was no longer giving me what I wanted. My goal in taking pictures has been to get so good at using the camera that it feels like an extension of my arm. I didn't think that would ever happen... but it has.

So in doing some research, I have decided that my next conquest (in the camera dept :) is going to probably be the Canon 5D. I may change my mind between now and the time I actually get it, but so far, this is what I want.

Come back Tuesday for my actual photo advice. I only had one specific question on my last post aobut this, so I'm making up questions to answer. But if you have any, leave them here now and I will include them.


Friday, July 18, 2008

photo 101

Over the last couple of weeks I have had a few people express to me (both on and off the blog) that they would like to see any photo tips i have up on here.


I wanted to ask before I do that, for some questions to answer :) I can think of a few good ones to go on, but i wanted to give you the option in case there is anything more specific you would like to know! I will answer any and all questions... or if you don't ask any (which would btw make me very sad) *sniff* I will just come up with a good photo tips post on my own :)


the story of otis aka kyle

You've probably heard the saying, "what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico."

But you've most likely not heard the saying, "what gets eaten in Mexico, stays in your stomach."

fairly lame attempt at coming up with a new little ditty, but there is a point (and what's more, an actual tale)

The hotel i stayed at in the mex was right next door to McDonald's. I'm sure you remember my previous encounters with meat at McD's rendering my appetite for the stuff completely nill. I refuse to eat meat there... especially in another country.

However, the vow only extended as far as meat. I still stop by for the occasional fry or shake or whathaveyou. The last day of the trip, I found myself at your local mexican mcdonald's sharing a McFlurry with noneotherthan Alicia. We actually shared the mcflurry...

That night we flew to chicago whereupon arriving found ourselves in desparate ifidon'tfindabathroomRIGHTnowit'sgonnabeaseriousproblem mode. This lasted for the remainder of the trip, and so kindly toned down just as i was arriving back at my house... when I finally had anything i could possibly need accessible. that's how it works right?

Anyways, Day 2 of being home rolls around and while the frequent trips to the b-room aren't occurring quite so frequently, I had pain that would suggest there is more going on than just a little indigestion.

Enter the idea of a parasite.

I decided along with Alicia that if either of us did indeed have a parasite, that it would HAVE to be named. Thus the quest for a name began. The first one that popped up was Otis. However, my ornery neighbor's last name is Otis and I didn't feel right about having an "otis" living in my stomach.

So the search continued... and along came "Kyle." A nice, normal sounding name... the kind of name that says,

"I really want to get to know that Kyle." or "Man, Kyle is so cool, i can't wait to hang out with him!"

Let's say someone asked me to go out on a friday night, perhaps to the drive-in with a bunch of people...

unknowing person: Hey Amanda, would you like to go to the drive-in tonight and see the brand new batman movie?

me: Oh yah!!! that sounds like so much fun... but is it ok if Kyle comes along?

unknowing person: Heck yah! Who's Kyle anyways?

me: (i pat my stomach) He's my new buddy

unknowing person: Ooooohhh I see... you're... pregnant???

me: No silly! I'm not pregnant! But I AM eating for two... Kyle is my parasite!

Thus ends my status as a normal human being.

HAHAHAHAHA!!! I can't stop laughing about this!!!

So much of Mexico seemed so normal to living here in the US, but let me just say... it IS IN FACT possible to eat at the "wrong" places down there. I'm sure I could have been more careful about not eating ice, brushing my teeth with bottled instead of tap water, going with my gut and not eating certain types of goat cheese... YAH.

Anyways, I'm confident that whatever the case might be, I'll be just fine. I may end up going to the dr just to make sure i'm alright if this persists, but it seems to be working out ok... But it sure does make for great blogging material *ha!*

(***please note, in every attempt to remain PC, I am sure that this post crosses certain people's limits of propriety. I apologize profusely if you or someone you know is named "Kyle." This post is in no way a reflection of how i feel towards anyone with that name***)


Thursday, July 17, 2008

i wish i wish

upon a star...

*insert record scratching noise here*

yah no.

Actually I wish that everyday could produce the mad ammounts of comments that I got yesterday! I know, I know, it's really all thanks to Rachel and her WWWAT. But hey, what can I say?

The days that I get lots of comments are good days for me :) I LOVE reading them and I love checking out the blogs of everyone who left them!

So seriously guys, could I please have more days like yesterday? I know your answer is YES, based on one condition though... that i actually write posts worth commenting on!!! Ok ok, I'll work on that.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WWWAT: Summertime

***Since this was indeed a very tasty smoothie, I thought I would share what I put in it to make is so deliciously yummy. Melissa and I made a ton of smoothies this past spring and stumbled across adding some sort of natural juice mix into making it so much tastier and still keeping it totally healthy! The Bolthouse juice is my favorite, and although it is expensive, I broke up the cost figuring that a $4 container will make about 10 smoothies (with enough leftover for me to sip whenever i want :)***

-half a banana
-about 5 strawberries
-about a half cup of blueberries
-a whole nectarine (minus the pit!)
-and about 3/4 cup of bolthouse berry juice (you can use any kind, that's just the kind i had)
-as much ice as you like... to make it thicker or more runny

This time around for WWWAT I completely didn't have time to go out and find some specific shots... however, comma, I had these and realized that they are indeed one of my favorite parts of summer. So here ya go... the joy of fresh fruit to make smoothies :)

If you enjoyed these and would like to see more summertime photos, head on over to Rachel at American Mum and check it out!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How was Mexico?

***Note: this is a request from me to you :) If you lack the time/energy to read all of these posts about my trip to Mexico, I am asking that you please choose to read the Ministry post. This particular post encapsulates the most important aspects of the trip and it is my hope that through reading it, you will be encouraged and your faith will be built!***

Well thanks for asking! I'll go right ahead and tell you! And while I'm at it, I will inundate you with pictures :)

Is it actually possible to put up too many pics? If you don't know the answer to that question, then you are about to find the answer for youself. I'm going to do my best however, to put them in some semblance of order so that they make sense... and they don't just look like a huge blob.

The way I decided to do that after some *careful* assessment is just to post multiple times on different topics. Wow, I'm a genius huh? Trust me, you'll thank me for it!

I've posted this as a sticky post so that it serves as an "intro" of sorts... so if you keep coming back to see the rest and they're not there... it's because you just have to scroll down a little :) Have fun looking! And if you have any questions about the trip, please leave them in the comment section and I will answer in a later post.


Fun times!

Our primary focus in Mexico was on missions work. However, a team that is not bonded cannot be as effective as a team that is! And boy were we bonded :)

There were so many nights that we were up way past a decent and ordinary time literally laughing so hard I thought I would pee my pants! It's so cool because most of the people on this trip are people that I see on a weekly (or more often) basis. I am SO happy to have gotten to know them so well and am already missing seeing their faces every day!

Right after we arrived in Morelia on our way to the church to meet the rest of the team who arrived a day earlier than we did.

A lot of times before we held an evening service there would be down time... have you ever heard the saying, "Hurry up so you can wait?" That's what we're doing here HA!

These pictures of the kids are getting thrown in here because they were taken during downtime also. We met so many kids down there, and even though there was a language barrier, we were still able to communicate in other ways. We would make up hand games and often there would be kids that remembered us asking us to come play with them when they would spot us in the crowd :)

This was supposed to be simply a picture of my orange shoes... alas it is not. It actually turned out to be one of my favorites though, because yet again it's such a classic representation of how crazy we all were and the fun we had together!

Time for team pictures! We took a good hour taking team pictures this day and I was SOOO glad that we did. There were multiple different set ups that we did and it seriously satisfied my cravings... my inner photo cravings that is :)

This was my very favorite of everyone! It's not the best shot where you can see everyone's faces but it was just so cool

This one however, is my favorite from the WHOLE TRIP. I had the idea in my head to do with the whole team, but they weren't up for it... so I got the girls together and we had one of the guys take it. He kept telling me it wouldn't work and I was just like "JUST TAKE THE DANG PICTURE!" and it was so worth it!!!


my artistic side of the trip :)

I've been challenging myself to see the art in everything recently. More often than not, I set out with my camera with a specific mission in mind. And I usually stick to it really well. Unfortunately, often times my mindset is not on deviating outside the box. This may sound surprising, but honestly I'm the kind of person who likes to have a plan and then stick very closely to it. So if my plan is to BE creative, then I most certainly will be... however, I want to change that, and let my plans carry me to whatever beauty is around me AT ALL TIMES.

So these are some practice in that area. Most of these were taken during times when you wouldn't expect to find something beautiful... just me walking along taking it all in. I wonder to myself, "how can i capture what I see right now in a 4x6 size rectangle and still make it interesting?" Well here you have my attempts to do that from Mexico...

This is one of the first pictures I snapped after arriving. Our hotel was so beautiful in every way. I mean seriously, it was a Holiday Inn Express... I wasn't expecting too much... especially since it WAS Mexico after all... well i was pleasantly surprised. The feel of the sign our room number was on was the feel of the whole hotel. Very tropical and bright... LOVED IT!

This was a supporting beam in a traditional Mexican restaurant we ate at... The architecture was very cool and I just loved the gourds hanging from it.

Truly, it would be a crime for me not to have a few pictures of flowers... and unfortunately, that's all i have... a few! I was surprised to find that there was more fauna than flora. In fact, the most beautiful flowers I saw were at the prison we visited... where I was not allowed to have my camera. We weren't allowed ANYTHING when we went in there. I literally only had my clothes on, nothing in the hair, no jewelry whatsoever... it was crazy. but yah, that's where the flowers were the most beautiful, DRAT!

I took this one through a fence and wasn't sure how it was going to work out, but I was quite pleased :)

This is my very favorite angle for tree pictures... i kind of wish though that I had used a smaller aperature though so that I could have gotten some more detail in the leaves. They were really cool.

On Monday we went to Patzcuaro to go shopping. There were all kinds of markets in the streets. Fruit and vegetable markets, handmade stuff, pirated dvds... and fish.

My nose has not failed me. No it has not. We rounded the corner and my nostrils were invaded with the smell of dead fish... for some reason I like this smell.

Opposite the dead fish market was this bundled wood... i thought it was cool :)

Then for the best part... the fruit! Oh the fruit down there... what a shame that we didn't eat any of it. Actually not really a shame. The true shame would have been when I brought home a pet parasite living inside of me that I ingested at the same time as one of these lovely fruits.

However, if i had indeed brought a parasite home with me... I would have given it a name. I don't believe that I have a parasite... but that's an unconfirmed report. I have yet to recover fully from the onset of some severe intestinal problems that reared its head on the morning of our arrival back in the states... but it's getting better. I'm sure you wanted to know that *wink*



We were able to hold 7 services in the 10 days that we were in Morelia. I honestly had no idea what that would look like before we went down, and it kind of made me a little nervous not knowing. However, I can say without any hesitation that if I were only able to do this kind of ministry for the rest of my life, that would be ok. It was effective, powerful and completely life-changing.

We went to three different towns surrounding Morelia. Charo, Huandacareo and Santiago. In each of the towns we held 2 services over the course of 2 days, and we held one other service at the prison in Morelia. Since it was dark out at the time of most of the services, I only have good pictures of the ministry time from Charo. So all of these pictures are from that town and the second night of minstry.

I received an email today from Tim, one of the team members that included a detailed account of MANY of the healings and miracles we experienced and saw while there. So as not to overwhelm you with the account, I have decided to include only the testimonies from Charo.

Here they are... please take the time to read through them. Even for me, reading them through again has built my faith in the power of God... it's truly amazing what He can do if we only ask...

"A man came up for prayer and coughed up a fishbone he had stuck in his throat for 2 weeks. He was planning on getting it removed at the hospital."

"A woman came up for prayer for diabetes/high blood pressure. God touched her, and she felt like a movement in her stomach. Her husband came up and received prayer. They were planning on a divorce after 20 years of marriage, and God reconciled their marriage in that moment."

"A woman came up for prayer, and it was discovered she had a spirit of infirmity. She was prayed for on Friday with limited results. Sunday she came back and was delivered."

"A man received prayer for middle back pain. He was wasting his money on drugs and alcohol, and was led in a prayer of repentance for wasting God’s resources. After that, the Holy Spirit healed his back immediately!"

"A man brought some team members to his house, where his mother was on her deathbed. When they arrived, she was in the fetal position on a bed, could not talk, and could not move her arms. She was paralyzed on her right side from a stroke. When they prayed, the atmosphere in the house immediately changed, and she was awake and alert. She was able to have limited movement in her arm. Two days later, some of us returned to her house, and she was awake and alert, and had no more paralysis. We prayed and spoke life to their home, and she started smiling, laughing, and even talking! She asked for several team members to sit on the bed, and she was holding their hands and full of the joy of the Lord. She started to hold herself up in a sitting position, and did not want us to leave. Her son was a very angry man, and he was baptized in the love of God. When we left, the son was laughing, smiling, and hugging all of us (he was intimidated by us before), and the woman was full of joy and sitting up in bed!"

"On Friday in Charo, about 10 people gave their lives to the Lord after the outdoor service. On Sunday, an additional 10 or more people received the Lord!"

"A man received prayer who had a wounded and badly infected foot on Friday. He was in much pain every time he walked on it. On Sunday, he came back and with joy told us he had walked a mile to get to the service that day, and had no pain at all in his foot."

A few days after we had visited Charo, the pastor came to see us at the church. His name was Pastor Reuben and he gave us the testimony of what was happening in that town as a result of the team coming and God moving. His church (which only had about 20 members) had more than doubled in a few days time. Over 100 people had come to a saving knowledge of Jesus! He had more people to visit and disciple than he could handle, and he told us that in those 2 days of minstry, there was more work done than in the 15 years he had been working in that town! The Lord is faithful to those who sew their lives into His work!

This lady was one of the people that I made a special connection with. God touched her emotionally and spiritually and healed her on the inside. She recommitted her life to the Lord and I was just so moved by the change that was happening inside of her.

I am so thankful to have witnessed all these miracles... in lives and in people's bodies. Truly unbelievable. My very favorite testimony of healing happened our last night there in Santiago. There was a lady with brain cancer and she had horrible pain as a result. Also her hair was falling out in large patches. The hair wasn't falling out because of chemo but as a side effect of the cancer. A few of the girls were praying for her, and that God would heal her, and she felt the pain go away and when she was feeling her head, she noticed that there was hair where there hadn't been. I SAW IT! It was completely BALD in like huge 3 inch patches and HAIR WAS GROWING THERE! By the time we left, the hair had grown to almost 2 inches long in those spots!

I know that it is unusual to hear about this kind of thing... especially here in the States. I hope that reading this (no matter where you come from) encourages and builds your faith in the miraculous. God is in the business of changing people's lives, and He can change yours too... All you have to do is ASK...


The Drama

To the best of my ability, I avoided drama as much as possible on this trip. For the most part I was successful, however, there is a slight exception...


That's right, we had been practicing our dramas for literally months before this trip and were finally able to perform them multiple times while there. This picture is of the entire Storyteller crew...

Storyteller is a powerful drama that outlines the characteristics of 5 major problems in many people's lives.

This one shows Fear and Anger.

The other 3 are Malady, Greed and Anxiety.

(Greed and Storyteller during the parable of the man who is forgiven much and then will not forgive those endebted to him)

Then we have our Storyteller, who is representative of Jesus. He tries all throughout the drama to show them how to give their pain and troubles away, but they continually push him away.

(Anger and Malady)

Finally, Storyteller takes on all of their troubles and they take on his countenance... Consequently, Storyteller dies...

Buuuuuut! Since this is a story about Jesus, we all know that he comes back to life! And when he does, he sends out all the characters who have taken on new names into the crowd where they call everyone to join in on the chorus... come follow me! come follow follow! Follow me! Come follow me!

If you don't know the actual music that goes with that, then I'm sure it doesn't sound exciting, but let me just tell you that almost every time I saw this drama performed down there I got chills... and i'm not a chills kinda person. It was especially moving at the prison that we visited...

Now, onto the second drama.

The Exchange

(3 of the demons and Satan to the far right. I was also one of the demons, but since I was taking the picture, i unfortunately am not in it!)

I think that the title is pretty explanatory, but I will detail it out a little more than that ;)

It starts out with Jesus coming onto the scene and creating Man and Woman. He shows them all the good things He has created, and then tells them that He loves them.

Enter Satan.

He comes in and tempts Man and Woman with the forbidden fruit. They eat it and then the whole drama takes on a techno disco evil turn. The demons are activated and move to creat a wall between Jesus and Man and Woman. They block every attempt for them to come back to Jesus.

After a short time of that, Jesus breaks through the "demon wall" and goes over to Man and Woman where he takes their chains off and puts them on himself. The demons then see Him in his weakness and proceed to beat him up completely... to the point of putting him on the Cross.

(as a side note, I am NOT i repeat NOT this evil in real life. it's all acting... *grin*)

Well you can all guess what happens after Jesus is on the Cross... ope ope you got it! He comes back to life! And when he does he pretty much demolishes the demons and then has an all out hand-to-hand fight with Satan. You wanna take a stab at who wins?

After the defeat of Satan, Jesus goes over and then makes the triumphant end with Man and Woman.

These dramas were one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. They were able to open up the hearts of the people and were able to communicate the gospel message in a way that nothing else can.

I hope that every time I get to go on a missions trip from here on out, i will be able to be with a team that can perform dramas... and a team that can do them as well as this one did!


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