Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Icelandic Folk Galore

If you're not familiar with Sigur Rós, they're an incredible group of musicians from Iceland that have a completely unique style and sound. I've been loving their music since 2004 when they released the album "Takk."  I'm also super in love with the solo project produced by lead singer Jónsi.  One thing's for sure, these guys know how to make beautiful music videos. This one, for their song "Hoppipolla," is my favorite video of 2010. Enjoy! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

2-year-old Laken, back in the day!

This Christmas, I'm so blessed to be able to be with my friends and family at home in Texas. I hope that wherever you are, you're surrounded by people who love you and that you're filled with the love that's so freely given by our Father in the person of Jesus Christ! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Make A Difference With One Click

Want to make a big difference with a tiny amount of effort? Just watch this video one of our graphic design students, Renee Hong, made about Human Trafficking. YouTube has featured her video on a channel called "Project Awesome." If her video gets the highest view-count, they'll give her outreach team----who are going to Peru to teach art therapy at a safe house for rescued victims of Trafficking----a whole lot of $$$. Share this with everyone you know!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Walk With Me

This is what my walk through town and forrest to the castle looks like every morning (in winter anyway). It takes about half an hour right now because of the massive amount of snow on the path. Watch the fast-speed, 4-minute version of my walk below. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Needle & Thread

Hmmm....on this Sunday evening I find myself inspired by the song "Needle & Thread" by Sleeping At Last. It's such a beautiful expression of the fall of man and the way God reconciles everything back to himself.

When the world welcomes us in,  We’re closer to Heaven than we’ll ever know.  They say this place has changed,  But strip away all of the technology   And you will see That we all are hunters,  Hunting for something that will make us okay.   Here we lay alone in hospital beds,  Tracing life in our heads;  But all that is left  Is that this was our entrance and now it’s our exit,  As we find our way home.   All the blood and all the sweat  That we invested to be loved  Follows us into our end,  Where we begin to understand   That we are made of love,  And all the beauty stemming from it.  We are made of love,  And every fracture caused by the lack of it.  “You were a million years of work,”  Said God and His angels, with needle and thread.  They kissed your head and said,   “You’re a good kid and you make us proud.  So just give your best and the rest will come,  And we’ll see you soon.”   All the blood and all the sweat  That we invested to be loved  Follows us into our end,  Where we begin to understand   That maybe Hollywood was right:  When the credits have rolled and the tears have dried,  The answers that we have been dying to find  Are all pieced together and, somehow,   Made perfectly mine.   We are made of love,  And all the beauty stemming from it.  We are made of love,  And every fracture caused by the lack of love.

Awaken To Reality, Arise To Action.

Photo by Chad Strobach
So about a month ago now, YWAM Herrnhut partnered with Not For Sale Campaign in hosting a conference in Hamburg, Germany about the global issue of Human Trafficking. It was incredible! My roommate, Amy, and I  were in charge of "speaker hospitality" for the conference, which meant hanging out behind the scenes with some pretty inspiring people.

We were so blessed by our interactions with people like David Batstone and Mark Wexler, co-founders of Not For Sale Campaign, and Steve Goode, David and Christine Hamilton, Dan Baumann (all from various branches of YWAM), and so many others. I found who they were off stage even more inspiring than the words they were speaking to the audience...which is saying something, because basically everything they said made me want to rush down to the Reeperbahn redlight district and hug a prostitute. Each of them was so gracious and humble toward us and each other. What's more, they were all so full of JOY, in spite of the  heart-wrenching topics they were speaking about. Their attitudes truly said, "Take heart, Jesus has already overcome the world."

Click here to read the article my extremely talented roommate, Amy, wrote about the conference (which was featured on the ywam.org main page this week!).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Camping In The Sky

This one's for all you climbers out there. 

I think portaledges are pretty much the coolest thing to happen to camping. I've seen a lot of beautiful photos lately of them dangling precariously half-way up a big wall climb, some grand valley or riverscape in the background...but yesterday my friend, Baylor, introduced me to the concept of the "treehouse" portaledge, and I'm in love. One day, I will have a backyard...and a tree....and someone to sit in my portaledge treehouse and talk about the day with. 

For now, I'll be in Jesus Haus Rm 101 trying not to freeze. Enjoy these happy summer thoughts on this epicly cold winter's day! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Erased, Deleted, Lost.

Click image to see full-size.
This is a photo series I've been working on that I put out for critique at our open art exhibition on Wednesday night. Here's the story:

Ciudad Jaurez, Mexico is a city very close to my heart, and physically close to my home in Texas. I grew up spending my summers there building homes and churches with Casas por Cristo. The presence of the drug cartels was evident in a very real way. One summer there was even a group of gang members, guns out, in a low-flying helicopter threatening us from the sky to move on---we were trying to build a home on cartel land (which is essentially all the land).

According to the UN, over 1,200 children and teens have been killed by the drug cartels of Juarez since 2008. There’s an especially high rate of female homicide within the city. Several mass graves have been discovered in recent years, the bodies showing evidence of brutal rape and mutilation. Thousands more are still missing.

These photos of children in Mexico from the early 1990s were taken from the US Library of Congress archives (they are not copyrighted). I chose the words erased, deleted, and lost because, like David Badstone said at the Not For Sale Conference, “We are all writing our own story, and when trafficking happens, it’s like the pen has been taken from your hand.” In the same way, when a life is lost to this kind of violence, not only does the pen get taken from them, it's like their story gets erased. There’s no opportunity to take the pen back, to regain the childhood they lost. The story that could have been---should have been---is lost indefinitely. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was great! I had the privilege of sharing a very untraditional Thanksgiving meal with seven of my  friends here in Herrnhut. Being so far from home during the holidays is hard for a lot of us, but it's so beautiful to be able to look around and see family everywhere. I have dozens of brothers and sisters here.  Not just in the cheesy "brothers and sisters in Christ" kind of way, but in a real deep loving kind of way. I'm continually amazed by the way this community looks out for one another and lifts each other up. Sometimes that looks like sending each other out into the nations, and sometimes it means dressing up like pilgrims and indians and eating an insane amount of food together. I think it's clear what I'm thankful for today. Hope your day was full of people to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Trees Are Naked

The changing seasons of Herrnhut along my walk to work.
The trees are naked now.
The first snow has fallen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

All The Poor & Powerless

This might be my favorite song right now. Download "All The Poor & Powerless" by Sons&Daughters here for FREE. In the meantime, watch it below!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brought To Light

So there's plenty of bad news: there are a lot of people living in slavery all over the world today (at least 27 million people). They're laboring on coffee farms in Hawaii, filling the brothels of New York City, and some aren't even "lucky" enough to make it to their trafficking destination. It's a harsh, overwhelming reality.

There's also a lot of good news---no, great news. Firstly, we serve a God of Mercy and Justice. A God who cares deeply for the broken-hearted and the oppressed.  A God who can heal and restore not only the lives of the victim, but also the abuser. How beautiful is that? You guys, so many people are already fighting these crimes against humanity. We're not alone! I read two articles today about justice being brought to trafficking situations this week in America (article 1, article 2). Incredible!

2 Corinthians 2:11 encourages us to not be ignorant of Satan's schemes, so let's be ignorant no longer! Not For Sale Campaign has come up with an awesome website, slaverymap.org, which allows people all over the world to document cases of Human Trafficking---bringing to light what was once hidden in darkness (John 3:20). Go there, find out about the injustices happening in your area, and speak out. The Bible calls us to be more than sympathetic, it calls us to advocate on behalf of "the least of these." The first step is to open our eyes.

Here's a video inspired by slaverymap.org that was made by a fellow Pick-A-Pocketer! 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ethiopia Bound

LtoR: Melody, Corey, Ulla
Next week we'll have to say goodbye to two more of our Pick-A-Pocketers as they head down to Ethiopia to work LONG TERM with our projects there! So amazing. Corey already left a few weeks ago to work with our boys of garbage city in the capitol, Addis Ababa. Now Melody and Ulla will move to the southern city of Jinka to bring more girls out of prostitution to work in our Rahab Cafe. I'm so excited to see the fruit that will come from their work! Please pray for them as they head out...that they'll receive the finances they need, for safe travels, and that God would prepare the hearts of the people they'll be reaching out to.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

All My Devotion

Beautiful Man
Beautiful God

You're more than worth my time
You're more than worth these longings of my heart
Left unfulfilled
Just for a time

And I know You don't come as easy as some
But I will watch and pray
I will watch and pray

Take it all
Take it all
Just give me Jesus

I don't want any other Lover

All of my devotion
Belongs to this man

These words are from the song "All My Devotion" by Kristene Mueller. She puts it so beautifully! Right now, this is the prayer that's on my heart. Plain and simple. (listen to it here)

Monday, October 11, 2010

In The Cool of The Day

So this hasn't been my week for electronics. My external hard drive took a nose dive down the stairs a few days ago, and today I managed to accidentally spill a full cup of tea on my laptop. Luckily, with the help of friends we were able to get it back in working order. However, I was without a computer for most of the day and was unable to do my normal daily work. A blessing in disguise. In spite of my task-oriented nature, it forced me to stop and be still.

And as soon as I got still, I found myself missing God. 

That's not to say that God's not always with me, because He is. But I felt a true longing just to sit in His presence and be. To stop doing and just be with Him. 

So I did. 

I went home and walked, sat, and lay in our garden for almost three hours. It was exactly what I needed. To just be with my Father and lay whispering among the roses. It gave me comfort to realize that despite the fall of man and the loss of Eden, we can still walk with God in a garden in "the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). 

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Right now I have the privilege of helping out with the graphic design track of our Marriage of The Arts Discipleship Training School (there are eight tracks, or departments, all together including fine art, photography, dance, music, film, hand crafts, writing, and graphic design). As I get to know these students and hear their hearts for the poor and the oppressed, I get more and more inspired with my own work. It's so awesome to see these 135 students seeking after God's heart for these issues and using their creative talents to advance the Kingdom. Check out this video from the first day of their school!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Flame Goes Forward

The day after I arrived in Germany, I had the opportunity to go to Lausanne, Switzerland for the Western European regional celebration of Youth With A Mission's 50th anniversary. It was incredible! Admittedly, it was a bit much to be trying to catch up on jet lag while embarking on a 16-hour drive (one way) with almost 200 people in tow. In the end, it was totally worth it. Not only is Switzerland breathtakingly beautiful, hearing about the past fifty years of YWAM ministry from the founders, Lauren and Darlene Cunningham, themselves was a blessing. As a new staff member, it was so great to really get a feel for the vision of YWAM---past, present, and future---and inspiring to hear all that God's doing in our grassroots ministries worldwide. Not to mention it gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the 135 incredible Discipleship Training School students who arrive a couple of weeks before I did! All-in-all, a weekend well spent.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Life In Transit

Life in transit looks like this: one three-hour drive to Dallas, one nine-hour flight to Berlin, two buses to the Hauptbahnhof, two trains to Löbau, and one car-ride to Herrnhut---all done while hauling 150lbs of luggage. I am quite the Frau. And now, here I am, back in this little village that I love so much. I still have my moments of "Oh, geez....What am I doing?...What have I done?!!" but it doesn't take long for me get back to this place of peace about my decision and excitement for what's to come. The walk through the forrest (a.k.a. Narnia) along the river to the castle is enough to make anyone glad to be here. I'll take some pictures today so that you can get a feel for what I'm talking about. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Garbage City, Ethiopia

Check out this video about our Garbage City project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. If you want to find out more about this project and the others we've started, pick up a copy of our new book, Reject This Reality. It'll change the way you look at poverty! Click Here for our online store, or stop by H.V. Chapman & Sons downtown if you're in Abilene, TX!

The Lovely Things Left Behind

Being home has been such a blessing. Over the past month I've spent time in three cities that share my heart, seen countless friends, eaten many good meals, and generally soaked up the lovely things of life. Now my time here is coming to a close, and I'll have to trade one life of lovely things for the next. I'm so excited for the future! But it's bittersweet when it means I won't be around when Evie speaks her first words or Dad plays his next concert. I'm so thankful that we serve a God of relationships whose love transcends the distance between these continents and so much more.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Liz & The Lions
FREE MUSIC! That's right---free music download of  our very own Pick-A-Pocket-ers: Liz & The Lions acoustic EP "Learning To Be Dangerous." CLICK HERE to download! :)

In Our Own Backyard

The mindset of so many Americans is that the horrors of human trafficking and modern slavery don't exist within US borders, and as much as I want to say we're truly the "land of the free," last week's news suggests otherwise. The FBI recently found over 400 Thai nationals being forced to work on twelve different farms in Hawaii. They were recruited in Thailand, brought to America, stripped of their passports, and then forced to work off the "debt" they owed recruiters for their passage to Hawaii. Can you imagine the devastation, the helplessness, you would feel...thinking you're arriving in the Promised Land, only to find yourself in the Negev, the desert, with no way out? The saddest part is that these injustices seem small in comparison with the even bigger problem of sex trafficking in Hawaii and the other 49 states. To read more about these issues, see my links below

Hawaii Home To Largest Human Trafficking Case in US History - News Story - KITV Honolulu

Making A Difference: Pacific Survivor Center Helps Hidden Victims of Human Trafficking & Torture

Friday, September 3, 2010

A New Season

A new chapter has begun in my life as I've really felt God challenge me to take what I've learned through my Discipleship Training School and turn it into a lifestyle. That could look like a lot of things...but for me, for this season of my life, I want to be committed to a group of people actively and radically trying to make a difference in the world.

I plan to spend the next five years working with one such group, called  Pick-A-Pocket. We are a community of young artists, photographers, and musicians, with different backgrounds and cultures who have been united by a passion to serve the poor in both creative and practical ways and whose ultimate goal is to advance the Kingdom of God on earth.
At our fall retreat in Hamburg, Germany.
I've created this blog in the hope that you'll walk with me as I take this step of faith, move to Germany, and pursue what God has for me there!

Living to make His dreams come true,