Wednesday, January 29, 2014

day 29 of 31: prayer request

My prayer request tonight is for my mom.  She had a scratchy throat yesterday and this morning woke up with hardly any voice and an "icky" feeling.  She went to the doctor this afternoon because she wasn't feeling any better.  She tested negative for the flu but has most of the symptoms.

Please pray for my mom. Pray and ask God to put His healing touch on her body.  The doctor has asked her to remain home as much as possible and only come out for the wedding.  Sadly this means she'll miss a lot of the girl activities on Friday and the rehearsal. 

Please please pray that she'll feel better before Friday!  Also please pray protection over my dad, me, and Mark as we do not want to get sick as well.  Thank you for taking time to say a prayer for my mom, her name is Beverley.  As I said yesterday, God is sovereign and He is in control.  He has all power and I know He can heal her and keep the rest of us from getting sick too!  Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 28 of 31: snow in the south

Mom and I walked outside today to see these white flurries falling from the sky. Yes it's snowing here in the south! For us, this is a rare treat and it kept snowing for another 6 hours.

Even though snow is the last thing I expected to see the week leading up to my marriage, I am thankful for snow in the south.  Because we don't normally get snow, it's just one more reminder that our God is sovereign and in control. If He wants it to snow in the south, He can make it happen.

He is bigger than any normal weather patterns and He is big enough to bring in snow one day and have 60 degree weather on either side of it!  I love that about God! He can do as he pleases and he chose to send His Son Jesus into the world because it pleased Him and His perfect will! 

So yes, I praise God for the snow in the south. He is the God of the impossible! As Mark and I enter into marriage this Saturday, I pray we wouldn't forget God's sovereignty and submit our lives to Him and His authority! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

day 27 of 31:bridal march preview!

So one of my favorite scenes from the movie "Love Actually" is the scene where the boy Sam runs through the airport being chased by security to tell the girl Johanna who is boarding a flight back to the states that he loves her.  Sam is willing to risk getting in trouble with airport security to tell Johanna he loves her.  He is determined to get to the airplane before she takes off because he'd regret not telling her he loves her.

The theme song that is played during the chase to the gate is one of my favorite songs.  I've always thought I'd like to walk down the aisle to this song because it makes me all giddy and happy that there is a love out there that ignites people to do crazy things (like run through entire airports to tell someone you love them.)  It's very fanfare like and I like that too because there has been a build up to the BIG DAY and I'm super excited it's finally here!! 

So yes, let's shout it from the rooftops, blast the cannons, Saturday February 1st I Katie Hooks get to marry the love of my life and I'm EXCITED about it!  I praise God that the day is so close and that in His perfect timing, I get to marry my best friend!  And if I had to run through airport security to tell Mark I loved him, I hope I would do it too!

Here is the link to the scene on youtube.  I can't wait to walk (and maybe run) down the aisle on Saturday towards Mark with this song playing in the background! Just makes me smile!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

day 26 of 31: I'm thankful for...

Tonight's blog was Mark's idea.  He said I should write up 6 things I'm thankful for since we have 6 more days til we say "I do!"

#1) I'm thankful for my fiance who helps me when I'm in need of ideas and encouragement.  I'm super excited that in 6 days I get to be your wife and journey together down this road called life! Thanks Mark for being someone I could talk to and for being there to listen and encourage me.

#2) I'm thankful for my parents.  They have let me stay at home, fed me, housed my junk, let me borrow their car to run errands and see friends, loved and supported me.  I am blessed that I've had this time at home before getting married to spend time with them.  Even though I'll always be their daughter, I know the dynamics will change once I'm married so I'm thankful now for this time.

#3) I'm thankful for my Savior Jesus! He didn't come to condemn the world but to save it!  He loves you and He loves me.  He died that I may have eternal life.  He has given my life an eternal purpose: to worship Him, to know Him, and make Him known.  My identity isn't found in being a wife or a daughter or a missionary, my identity is solely wrapped up in a daughter of the King, King Jesus!

#4) I'm thankful for the amazing women God has put in my life.  For the slightly older ones who pour into me and pass on their wisdom to me. For my peers who share life with me, the hard, the good, and the fun!  For my babies, you know who you are. Thank you for letting me invest into your lives and get to see you grow as young women after the Lord's heart.

#5) I'm thankful for my supporters.  I'm still in awe of the fact that for the last 5.5 years I have been supported by the love and generosity of the body of Christ.  People have sacrificially given to me that I may live out my calling in full-time ministry.  I'm so thankful that they have answered the call to give cheerfully and faithfully!  I can't wait to see their reward in heaven for coming alongside me!

#6) I'm thankful to GET MARRIED ON SATURDAY!!! It's been a long road I must admit. Singleness is hard in a world that tells you that only another person can make you complete.  (bologna!!)  God is the only One who can make you complete!  But He did create Eve because He is a God of relationships and saw it wasn't good for man to be alone.   He made a helper suitable for him.  I'm thankful that I've found my helper and I can't wait to exchange our vows before God and everyone that I'm forever committed to Mark!

Friday, January 24, 2014

day 24 of 31: I'm not pefect...

I have one more week as Katie Hooks! I can't believe that a week from tomorrow I'll be walking down the aisle not as a bridesmaid but as THE BRIDE!! Not that I didn't think I'd be getting marred someday but I can't believe it's getting so close!

As for my hiatus from blogging all of last week, I will give it another shot to blog daily up until the wedding day!  It's really hard for me to accept the fact I didn't make my goal of blogging everyday for a month.  I guess I don't like failing but who does??  However, failure is a part of life.  I will not do everything perfectly and I will make mistakes.  But boy do I hate messing up. 

Failure is another reminder that I'm not perfect, and that's hard to swallow some days.  I would love to be perfect at everything but that is not in the cards for Katie Hooks (or Katie Manning either).  I will mess up but it's okay.  God doesn't expect perfection.  If He did then I wouldn't need Him and He wouldn't have had to send His Son into the world to save us from our sins.  I need God to help me when I fail.  I need to Him to practice His loving qualities of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  I praise God that He does practice them and practices them with joy. 

God wants my daily surrender and my utter dependence on Him.  So here goes again, one more week, 7 blogs..Lord only through you can I accomplish this goal. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

He > I

He is greater than (>) I 

The Lord God almighty is greater than I and I mentioned before, He is in control.  He can do immeasurably more than anything I ask or imagine.  Jesus must become greater and I must become less.  My life on this earth is not about me but about bringing God glory! In order to bring Him glory, it means I must follow His commands which are written in His Word and revealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Yes I am getting married two weeks from tomorrow, but even though I'm the bride, this day is not about me.  God brought Mark and I together and He alone deserves all glory and honor and praise.  His Son Jesus Christ died on a cross to reconcile me to the Father and be in a relationship with Him.  Mark and I are bought with the precious blood of Jesus and we will stand on our wedding day in complete awe that even though we are sinners, Christ died for us.  We can't wait to celebrate our Lord and our union on Feb 1st!!

My prayer:
My wedding day isn't about me or Mark, that it is about God who so loved us that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Mark and I's love for one another comes from God's love for us and what Christ did to reconcile us to Him. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 15 of 31: I have to admit

I'm halfway through my goal of daily blogging. It definitely hasn't been easy and I have missed one day thus far. However, it's forcing me to see more of what God is doing in me and around me.  It is making me reflect more on the daily events and to praise God more for those events! 

It's also revealing something I've known for awhile but didn't want to admit.  I have to admit, I puff myself up when I see how many people have viewed my blog. I also notice the same thing with "likes" on Facebook. This realization is causing me me to evaluate where I get satisfaction from and where I get my worth from. 

If I'm not getting my worth from my relationship with The Lord and who He says I am then I'm destined for disappointment and discouragement.  This world is gonna let me down and no one person or thing can truly fulfill me like Jesus!  I must continue to find my identity and my worth from my risen Savior Jesus Christ and Him alone! 

So if no one views this blog does that mean I'm less valuable in His eyes?? The answer is NOPE! He loves me no matter what and longs for me to love Him back! This blog isn't written to attract the masses, it's written to bring glory and honor to God for He alone is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise!

My prayer:
Lord forgive me when I look to other things or people to satisfy me and give me worth! I can be confident in being a dearly loved daughter of the King! 

My challenge: where do you find your identity? What gives you worth in this life? Does it truly satisfy? Have you tried a relationship with Jesus??

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An unexpected phone call

I recieved a phone call today from a volunteer who I met back in 2010. I hadn't spoken to him or his wife in awhile so I was surprised to see his name come up on my phone.

One of the first things he said was he was calling me because of the "pricking in his heart by The Lord." So that caught my attention. God told him to call me and after some catching up time he said, well really I'm supposed to pray for you. So he prayed for me, for my walk with The Lord, for my upcoming marriage, for Mark and for my ministry. 

Tears came to my eyes while he prayed for me. The Lord was using him and his prayer to touch my heart and renew my soul! I want to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and I don't want to get caught up in me me's not about me! It's all about Jesus! I'm very thankful my friend was obedient to the Lord's leading to call me! It couldn't have come at a more perfect time! 

My prayer:
Lord forgive me when I make it all about me. You must become greater! I want to make your name glorious! Thank you for the cross! 
Has God been tugging at your heart lately about something? My advice, listen and obey. Trust that God knows what's best!

Day 13: God is in control

God is in control. Incase you needed that reminder today here it is. God is in control.

With a very rainy forecast for today, we were able to move in my belongings rain free! Why? Well we prayed and asked for times of sunshine! Now God didn't have to bless us in this way but I'm thankful He did! He is even in control of the weather! 

God is in control of the future! We don't have to worry about tomorrow! God has it all figured out. We can trust Him with today and tomorrow! It is hard when the future is unclear but that doesn't mean He isn't working right now to orchestrate that future! He's worthy of our praise now for what He'll do! He is in control after all. 

My prayer:
To remember God is in control, especially in the unknown! He knows it all and is worthy of praise!  Thank you Lord for your sovereignty! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Days 11 and 12: Moving prep

Nobody's perfect. I missed my blogpost yesterday. So in an attempt to not miss 2 days in a row, I'm 30 min away from midnight and blogging.

This weekend was spent preparing to move! I'm very glad to say that 2013 was the first calendar year since 2003 where I did not move (i needed a break!). I can't believe I've moved every year for almost a decade! Whether it was in and out of college, across the ocean and back, to Louisiana, then from one house to the next...I really should be a pro by now. 

But something about this next move is different, it's not just moving houses or moving neighborhoods, but moving from single-hood to marriage! I'm goin from living with girls to living with my husband! I know it'll be an adjustment but I'm excited to start my life with Mark! He's my lobster to quote a very old friends episode! As much as I'll miss my house on derbigny, I'm giddy with excitement for making a home with Mark! 

My prayer: 
For our moving process and for our new home! May God bless our home and give us many opportunities to shine for Christ on our new street! 

Praising God for Mark who let me go to bed early while he keeps packing the suburban and trailer! Such a sweetie! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

day 10 of 31: debriefing

Every week that we have a volunteer team, we intentionally take time on Friday to debrief them on how their week went.  We ask them three questions which I'll list below.  Why do we do this you ask?  For some, they haven't even started to process the week and this is a first step in helping them think through what happened this week and how will they take this experience home with them.

During debriefing, we get a firsthand story of how God blew away their expectations, taught them something new, and is now challenging them to be different when they head home! How cool is that!  I always point out that not everyone back home will understand what you're talking about when you tell them about NOLA.  However, the team around you will understand and so keep these relationships going when you're back home!

My Prayer:
For TIU - that they will take the lessons and reminders God revealed to them home with them and DO something about them! 
For myself - to reflect more often on what God is doing in my life and praise Him for it!
For you - that you would take time to reflect on this past week by asking these three questions:

1) What were your expectations for this week? Were they met? Why or why not?
2) What has God taught you this week?
3) What will you do in response to what God has taught you?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I did all the talking...

Ever since I can remember, whenever I would sit down to pray, I'm 100% positive I did all the talking!  From the "Dear Heavenly Father" to the "In His Name, Amen," I always talked!  It's hard enough talking to God whom I couldn't see, so I can't imagine if I wasn't talking while praying.  Well that's starting to change...

The idea of listening prayer is something I'm new at and still getting a feel for.  I knew to have a relationship with God, much like being in a relationship with a friend, family member, significant other, etc. means that both sides talk (hopefully one a time).  So I needed to learn how to listen in order to have a relationship with God.  I needed to practice quieting my thoughts in order to make room for God's still small voice.

My prayer:
Talk less and listen more!  Lord help me quiet my thoughts to hear from you.  Help me remember that to have a relationship with you means you get to talk too! 
I hope you take some time this week to sit and listen with the LORD.  Don't come with an agenda, but only expect to hear from God on what you should pray for.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

day 8 of 31: $250,099.47

When the typhoon hit the Philippines in November, my boss was already on his way to Malaysia for a conference and had the chance to be on the ground in the wake of the crisis.  After several days of providing relief to those in need and casting a vision for long term ministry in the wake of this crisis, my boss prayed and asked for $250,000.  These funds would help bring the Gospel to the Filipino people by meeting the whole needs of the whole person.

We weren't sure when and how God would reach this goal but TONIGHT we received word that $250,099.47 has been donated towards the typhoon response!  PRAISE THE LORD!!!! I'm completely blown away by His provision and the generosity of the Body of Christ.  God put it on people's hearts to give and they did!  The verse I just read yesterday in Genesis 18:14 - "Is anything too hard for the LORD?"  And the answer is NO! Nothing is too hard for Him!

My Prayer:
I pray I would have more faith that God can do anything! He can do even the things I think are impossible!  He can change people's hearts and draw them closer to Him!  He can raise up people to give, to serve, to pray...He can do anything!  Lord please remove my unbelief!
Please pray for the Filipino people who are still suffering from the aftermath of the typhoon.  For more updates check out:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 7 of 31: Old Testament in a Year

Mark and I have started a daily Bible reading plan on

You have the option to read the Bible in order from how it appears in the Bible or chronologically. You can also read 4 sections a day: the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.

For this year we are just reading the Old Testament and Proverbs. Starting out in Genesis I realize how much I can learn from this book!  You get to read about our Creator God who made everything, mankind's disobedience and God's just character and yet merciful, Noah's faith in God when asked to build an ark, Abraham's trust in God's timing for a son, etc. 

I look forward to being reminded of the type of God I serve and love. He is a covenant God who keeps His promises and remembers His people! Amen

My prayer:
Lord I pray I remain in your Word daily and keep it in my heart!  
If you haven't ever read the Bible in its entirety and would like to try, check out the website: 
I hope your New Years resolution involves building a closer relationship with Jesus Christ through reading His Word and putting it into action!

Monday, January 6, 2014

day 6 of 31: A Desired Outcome or Result

yes this blog is about EXPECTATIONS!  I've heard this word quite a bit since serving with Crisis Response.  Our goal is to challenge the volunteers and ourselves to put aside our expectations and expect God to work in us and through us however He desires.

I asked the team to journal their expectations for this week and on Friday we'll see if and how God answered those expectations.  So for today I challenged them to think about these expectations listed below:

Do you expect to draw closer to Jesus this week? 
Do you expect to completely depend on God and your teammates this week?
Do you expect to face spiritual warfare this week? This could look like getting lost and becoming frustrated, having conflict with another team member, being tired and physically done, tools breaking on the jobsite, etc??
Do you expect to serve or be a servant?  If it's just to serve then you'll want to serve your way but if it's to be a servant, then you give up "your way" and truly serve in anyway asked or needed.
Do you expect to learn something this week?  I hope so!  The phrase "help me understand" goes a long way in cross cultural situations!
Do you expect to be out of your comfort zone this week?

My prayer:
I pray I can set aside my expectations on a daily basis and trust the LORD to lead me throughout the day.  I pray for a flexible, servant heart for every plan that changes.  Help me remember that it's not about me! It's all about Jesus!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

day 5 of 31: Welcome TIU

WELCOME Trinity International University to New Orleans!!

This awesome team is led by return leaders, Matt and Sarah.  I first met them last year when they led the TIU team down to serve for winter break.  Then, at the end of January, I was able to visit them on campus.  I'll never forget our NOLA reunion because Matt and Sarah shared how they felt God's call to come live in NOLA once they graduated from seminary!! I was completely shocked! I mean yes God had put it on my heart to move to New Orleans after a one-week mission trip but I forgot how crazy that sounds. 

New Orleans was definitely not on their radar for post-graduation but God knew all about it!  Matt graduated this May and moved down after the summer.  Sarah just graduated in December and she is moving down this month.  I'm so excited to see how God will use them and their gifts here in NOLA.  Matt has already connected to a church planter here and has built many relationships with his neighbors.  I praise God for calling them here and for their desire to lead another team down this winter break!

My prayer:
That no matter how crazy it sounds, I always walk in obedience to God's voice.  I pray I don't let fear or doubt stop me from following my Savior wherever He leads.  I hope you can pray that same prayer too!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 4 of 31: Delicious Day NOLA style

I experienced a first today. My friend Terah introduced Ronnie and I to the awesomeness of Delicious Day!  Delicious Day consists of visiting a variety of restaurants and ordering one appetizer or entree to share.

Here is a list of the restaurants we visited and what we ordered:
Salad Station - Salad and soup 
Charcoal - boudin balls
District - fancy donuts & coffee
Dat Dog - turducken sausage
Rum House - calypso beef taco & chocolate molten fritters 

It was nice to try the yummy tastes of New Orleans that I hadn't tried yet and spend time with the girls.  I'm looking forward to the next delicious day and the next time I get to hang out with such amazing women! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

day 3 of 31:PRD'd today

I PRD'd today.  PRD is short for "Personal Retreat Day" and our ministry requires that we take a personal retreat day (PRD) once a month.  So what is a PRD you ask?

It's a day set aside from my usual ministry duties and responsibilities to intentionally spend time with the LORD.  So yes, its a requirement to take time away from "work" and fellowship with the LORD.  How cool is that!  Not only is it a time to renew my heart and draw closer to Jesus, but also to evaluate how I'm doing with my ministry duties.  It's nice to take a step back from what I'm doing each month and evaluate the direction I'm headed.

Even though I know the blessings of a PRD, it's not always easy to take them.  I've learned that unless I set aside a PRD a month in advance, it's very easy to keep working and miss a month or two.  I used to think if I took a day away from "work" then ministry would be lost without me.  I've definitely learned over the years that God can certainly take care of things while I take time away.  He doesn't need me but chooses to use me and has prepared good works for me in advance.

My prayer:
I pray that I never think I'm so important that I can't take time away to spend with the LORD.  I pray that I always take a PRD as regularly as possible no matter where God takes me in the future.
So how often do you take time to intentionally spend with the LORD? Is it easy or hard to set down your responsibilities and trust that Jesus can take care of things while you fellowship with Him?  I pray that you check out your calendar NOW and see when you can schedule your own PRD.  Let me know how it goes!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

day 2 of 31: Holding Hands

Yesterday I prayed for God to show me someone that I could connect with so I could learn more about the purpose God had given them.  It was neat to see how God answered that prayer at dinner last night.

On Wednesday nights, we host a gathering at a local BBQ place called Ms. Hyster's.  We invite the homeowners to come out and join the teams for a time of fellowship, good food, and sharing life together.  It wasn't a homeowner I spoke with but a friend of mine who has grown up here in NOLA.  He told me how he feels God has put a desire and passion in his heart for more intentional discipleship of young men and to find ways to encourage them to grow in their walks with the LORD. 

He referenced Exodus 17:8-13 when Moses needed Aaron and Hur to hold his arms up so the Israelites would defeat the Amalekites.  Aaron and Hur didn't try to take Moses's purpose from him, they came to support him in living out his faith.  He sees this is where discipleship comes in to play.  He wants to be a support to the guys in the community to live out the purpose God has given them. 

My prayer:
LORD, I praise you for how you have given my friend a purpose to invest in the young guys here in NOLA.  Thank you for putting that desire in his heart.  LORD I pray that you would give me eyes to see who you would like me to intentionally disciple whether someone here in NOLA or far away.  LORD I pray for someone to intentionally disciple me.
If you are a believer, I encourage you to pray for people you can disciple and to pray for someone to disciple you.  We can't neglect the Great Commission, to go therefore and make disciples, if we truly desire to follow Christ.  I praise God that I've had wonderful women in my life who held my hands and encouraged me in my walk with Christ.

So LORD, whose hand do I need to hold?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I've never done this...

I don't know why but for some reason I've been thinking about writing a post every day for the month of January.  Now granted I've never been a daily blogger and I'm working in New Orleans, planning a wedding in North Carolina, and traveling this month but hey, what's one more task on the to-do list.  So please be gracious as I'll probably miss a day or two.

So here goes...last night I celebrated New Year's with the volunteer teams that have come to serve in New Orleans.  I'm still amazed that people would agree to give up their winter break to serve God and the homeowners here (especially since Katrina was almost 9 years ago). It's amazing to see people who three days ago were complete strangers but today are laughing and joking with each other, playing games together, serving each other, and eating meals together like they've been friends forever.  I love seeing teams take advantage of being in the same place and not letting where they come from stop them from building relationships with one another. 

We all have so much to learn from each other.  I have so much to learn from the teams and people around me about life, family, God, culture, etc.  I hope I can continue to be intentional with building those relationships.

My prayer:
God puts people in our path everyday that we can learn from or that we can build relationships with...are my eyes open to see that?  Are your eyes open to see that? Let's pray and ask God to show us who He wants us to connect with today.  Maybe its a colleague at work, a fellow student, a neighbor, a friend from the past, etc.  Every person is someone God has created for a purpose and perhaps He wants you to learn more about them so you can see that purpose and praise God for it!  Let me know how God answers that prayer!