Monday, December 30, 2013

Highlights from 2013 & Welcome Winter Breakers!

I can't believe 2013 is almost over.  What a year it has been!  I praise God for how He has walked with me throughout the year.

The Highlights from 2013:
January - getting to recruit at Trinity International Univ and visit intern Ronnie at NIU
February - getting to celebrate my mom's 60th and my bro's 40th birthdays!
March - getting to mentor two awesome young ladies - Holly and Katie K
April - going on a massive roadtrip to visit colleges and supporters with Katie K
May - getting to see two past interns, Chelsea & Dustin, get married!!
June - getting to serve with new interns Wren and Anna
July - getting to mentor 4 awesome young ladies!
August - visiting NC friends
September - moving Mark to LA after a family beach vacation
October - getting ENGAGED!!
November - getting to meet more of Mark's family at Thanksgiving
December - the first intern of summer 2014 was officially accepted! Welcome Emily!!

We have several teams here for winter break weeks!  They come from as far west as Hawaii to all the way to the east coast! (Thanks Terah!)  Please pray for these teams as they continue to serve homeowners like Mr. Lionel, Mr. John, Brother Larry, and Mrs. Mary.  Please pray that God will use each volunteer to show His love to those in need and that each volunteer will experience God in a new way this week that will draw them closer to Him!

Happy New Year from Katie Hooks (and in 33 days it'll be Katie Manning!! yay!!)

EFC of Diamond Bar painting at Mr. Lionel's house today and connecting with his neighbor Ms Minnie

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy 200th Blog Post!!

I signed into my blog today to discover that if I blog one more time I'll hit 200!! Wowzers! I can't believe it.  It's kind of interesting to look back over the years to see what God has done and what He's been teaching me in the process.  I'm definitely grateful for His patience and grace with me on this journey and I'm grateful for His provision and protection along the way!

Our 200th blog post comes with GREAT news!! Today, Mark & I signed a year lease on a home in New Orleans!! HALLELUJAH!! We had a window of 14 days (today being the 14th day) to monitor craig's lists, zillow, padmapper, & local rental agencies, to set up appointments at various places, to drive around different neighborhoods, to become aware of people who scam potential renters by claiming to be out of the area and unable to show them the property but if you send them $$ they'll send you the keys (how sad!), and to pray pray pray for God to show us where He wanted us to live.

I PRAISE GOD that He has helped us find a place to live and for your prayers that helped us on our search! I can't believe that in 45 days I get to marry Mr Mark Manning and we'll get to start our lives together under the same roof after our honeymoon! My reading today was in Psalm 136 which repeats over and over again that "His love endures forever!" Yes Thank you Lord that your love endures forever and ever! 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever. 
Psalm 136: 1,4,12,24 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Remembering what it's all about!

Today is my first day back in Louisiana after an amazing time up north visiting Mark's family.  I'm very thankful for the chance I had to meet more of Mark's family and I'm grateful for these next few weeks we have down south.  Mark's best man Joe arrived today with his wife and we're excited to have them here to serve alongside and share our lives with them.

Now that it's December I begin to feel the tug of end of year responsibilities.  Making sure to get out end-of-year newsletters, buying Christmas gifts, planning Christmas travels, and attending various Christmas gatherings, which are all good things but can start to distract me from what Christmas is all about.

One of my staff members pointed out that it's cool how Christmas falls at the end of the calendar year because the other thing we can think about in December is all the ways God has provided for us and protected us throughout the year.  So as we're thinking about all that God has done in the year 2013, we can also think about how He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to be born of a virgin, without sin, fulfill the Old Testament prophecies, and be a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 

How awesome is that! We get to take intentional time this month to celebrate our Savior's birth!  My prayer is the same of another staff member's this month, Babette. She said that she wants everything she does for Christmas to glorify and represent Christ.  So with every light strand hung outside her house, she wants it to represent Jesus who is the light of the world.  For every nativity scene displayed, it is to show just how our Savior humbled himself to be born in a manger and humbled himself even to death on a cross for you and me.

Let us not forget that our savior left his heavenly home to come to our world that he may identify with us.  In the words of Chris Rice song "welcome to our world," he wrapped our injured flesh around him, breathed our air, and walked our sod, robbed our sin and made us holy.  Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! Let's celebrate Him this season in all our December activities!