Monday, September 27, 2010

Beautiful day with Jesus

God is soooo good! His love is perfect. Here are a few pictures from Sunday, my day off :)

The weather was lovely. Not too hot, not too cold. The breeze was nice too.

My day started off with some Starbucks. First time treating myself to a drink! Made me miss home so much.

I went to the bookstore and rested there for a bit.

Then I stopped by my favorite little place called The Tea Centre. Its one of the most cozy places to read and write, just to rest and be still, I can't describe in words just how amazing the tea smells are but they are incredible!

Hungry Jacks = Burger King

As I was walking towards the river I passed this beautiful tree tunnel. I love the bush here.

There are so many beautiful buildings.

And the trees are HUGE.

I can't get over the beauty of Brissy. There are incredible modern buildings with color and right next to it there's gorgeous old aged buildings with unique design. Amazing.

I took this while I was walking over the bridge to South Bank.

There are heaps of places where I can find peace and relaxation. Fountains and gardens with grass and benches. Such a blessing.

Cute lego men climbing on this art building.

I spent the day barefoot. So freeing.

Part of South Bank (South Brissy) There's a man made beach in the middle of the city, with fountains and pools.

So many cute kids playing in the water.


I sat in a japanese restaurant for a little bit...

This is how they serve water everywhere :)

As you leave South Bank to go back into the city there's this amazingly wonderful ferris wheel. Gorgeous with all the lights shining.

This fresh grassy area right beside the water looking to the city is probably one of the most soothing places. I love Brissy so much. I'll have to take a video sometime when I'm running at night, but its so quiet and peaceful. Yes you can hear cars and such, but there's a stillness about it thats so calming. No horns, no loud noises. Super quiet. And the people are so friendly too, I feel super safe in the city at all times. Even at night when I run, its really safe. There are so many runners out. I love praying at night time.

Sitting on the grass by the water praying over Brissy. (Left view)

(Right view)

Near the grassy patch is a bridge that runs along the water, this is that view. This is where I run, along this long bridge walk thing...the next picture shows the path.

This is the path. I run along here...

I'm headed up to that white shining bridge that goes into the city, right now (when taking this picture), I'm on the South Bank side of Brissy.

I run up a circular ramp leading up to the bridge, cross the'd think it'd be loud and noisy at night right now, but its actually so quiet. One of the most breathtaking places I've ever been to. God is so good!!

Stretch break/water break on the bridge.

If I needed help or assistance at anytime I press that button and someone will come.

Almost into the city. From there I run to the train station. (See the shining small half circle on the right side? That's the ferris wheel!)

I made it safely to the train station. Hopped on the train and found a cozy cushioned seat. It was a short, quiet ride home, as you can see its super empty. Felt so good to sit down.

Then it was home sweet home :)

That was my Sunday. Now you have a glimpse into what a day off for me looks like. I hope you understood each picture caption, I tried to make them as clear as possible so you could really understand everything, and get a better overall picture of where I'm living :) God is so incredible! Glory to HIM!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I miss my baby sister

Love you to pieces Bre. I'm listening to our songs right now. MUAH the rest of my amazing family, miss you heaps. kisses to all :) insly

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tea all day

A rainy afternoon here in Brisbane :) It's been a great day today. It's all about attitude and perspective. I spent a few hours this afternoon reading, writing, planning, and listening to some powerful music with Jesus as the rain fell on my windowsill. Oh, and I can't forget the tea! The most important part!

Here in Australia we have tea all day long. Its so lovely. You should go get you a cup. Its simple yet amazing! I hope you're having a wonderful day wherever you are.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Having Peripheral Vision

Today is the first day of my Basic Leadership Training (BLS). It's lunch time right now. I had to escape to my room to just write and pray.

I feel like I'm standing in front of the highest mountain I've ever seen in my entire life, and in the next two years I am going to have to climb it. Starting with these next three weeks, starting today. The first steps seem to be the hardest. We have class in this extremely small room with very low ceilings. There are twelve people plus the few teachers. Eleven of them have done their Discipleship Training School (DTS) here in Brisbane, and eight of them have already been doing their BLS for a full year. They are entering their second DTS that they will be staffing. (In the full BLS commitment, we are required to staff two DTS schools). This morning when one of the leaders was passing out the handout of the schedule for the next three weeks and explaining who the speakers will be, etc. There was a huge eruption of laughter and talking amongst the second year BLS people as Gwendy (the leader) read the schedule. I was sitting in the back of the room against the wall. My eyes were frozen at the floor in front of me. I felt so intimidated. I thought to myself, "Alicia, what am I doing here?? How did I even end up here?" I felt so out of place. Surrounded by people with three years of walking life together and connection, experience, true relationships, and having experienced all this stuff last year this time. Then there is me. With no experience what so ever, I've been here for only three weeks so my level of connection within the people is not strong by any means. I don't have that one person who I feel close to or completely comfortable around. Family isn't going to come to me, my friends aren't going to come here to Australia and be by my side. I'm having to swallow and trust God more than ever that in time relationships will grow and I will feel connected. I have to give it time. Time time time. Sometimes I wish there was a fast forward button in life. Also just to let you know my staff team (the MAD Staff) are all apart of the BLS. There are nine MAD staff, and three Frontiers staff.
So here I am standing in front of this huge mountain. I don't know how I'm going to climb it, I don't know anything at this point. I feel like I've been treading water for the past three weeks - constantly surrounded by people having only surface level conversations. I so badly want to let my body fall into the water and give my legs and arms a break. (Meaning give my mind heart and soul a break) I thrive in deep conversations/relationships. In the midst of all of this that I'm sharing, the intimidation, the mountain in front of me, the lack of real deep connection that can only be built through time and experience, on and on and on and on, the constant treading in water feeling, ALL OF IT - I KNOW THAT GOD HAS CALLED ME HERE. I know that without a doubt I am supposed to be here for such a time as this. Right now that is the only thing I am really holding on to. "GOD HAS CALLED ME HERE. GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE MY SIDE."

While I was sitting there at my desk, in my chair, surrounded by so much noise and laughter from others, sitting very still trying to stay focused and to breathe deeply, God gave me a picture and I could hear Him whispering to my soul...Even now the picture is so clear. I got this picture of me laying on my face on the beach. My face smashed into the sand. I was having trouble breathing. I then hear the Lord say "stand up my beloved." I take His hand and stand up. He guides me to this ladder that rests only two feet away from where I was laying on the beach. Together we walk up this enormous ladder, I'm talking huge! Like higher than any ladder you've ever seen. At the top of this ladder there is a platform. The floor of this platform is covered in flower petals and music is playing louder than you can imagine. The music seems to reach as high as the blue sky above, so high the stars seem to sing along and the ocean waves clap their hands. There is perfect peace and I can see the ocean in front of me, the horizon line stretching on for what seems like forever, the clouds, the birds, the trees, the blanket of blue that stretches to the galaxies upon galaxies.
That's the picture I got when I was sitting in the room. God wants not just me, but ALL OF US, to climb up the ladder and GAIN HIS PERSPECTIVE. Not to bury our faces in the sand and focus on what's directly in front of us or whatever your problem may be. No! Get over yourself, its not about you! "Alicia, its not about you at all! Get over yourself! God has called you here and wants to use you. If God has called me here then I have to know and believe in my heart that He will carry me through this ENTIRE PROCESS. Beginning to end. Easy to hard. Joy to tears. No connection to connection. Feeling seen to feeling unseen. So on and so forth.." Have a peripheral vision, global perspective, keeping a perspective with the end goal in mind. For me, it's being aware that God is training me in LEADERSHIP. Not only to lead these Discipleship Training Schools for the next 2 years, but to use what I learn and apply it to rest of my life. This is my learning ground. It's so important to keep that BIG PERSPECTIVE: Why am I here? Because God has called me here.

That's me processing my morning BLS session! Yeah! I want to stand on the platform with Jesus and hold on to the peripheral vision, big picture thinking - each day it's a choice, every moment I must choose. Choose to trust that God is big enough and holds everything. It sure isn't easy and these first few weeks are going to be a challenge. But I am determined to hold on to THE TRUTH OF WHO GOD IS! I am being stretched in ways I can't express, and I'm learning things I can't explain in words.

A verse that comes to mind right now is the verse in James 1
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Needle and Thread

Today has been such a lovely day. We had teaching this morning until noon. My duties for the rest of the day are lunch and dinner clean up. Such a blessing to have some free time. It has been a full week. So wonderful, just super full. I decided to make hoot hoots in my room! I made myself some hot tea, opened all the windows in my room so the breeze could dance all around me. I organized all of my materials, closed my door, and put my ipod in. Sewing with needle and thread is such a simple thing - it brings me so much peace. I'm learning that its so important to take care of YOU. No matter what you're doing in life, or what your day holds - its so important to set aside a few minutes each day for you. What brings you peace? Find that something, and do it. Let yourself be still and breathe. Ten minutes filled with stillness and peace can make such a difference in your day!

Love love love!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 19

I have some downtime this evening and thought I would fill you in on how I'm goin! I can't believe I've been here only two and a half weeks. It feels like two months. I don't think I've ever been more stretched in my entire life in such a short amount of time. Stretched in a good way - God is doing unreal things! He is teaching me so much about freedom. Choosing freedom.

I'm over jet lag at this point, although sometimes I find myself a bit tired between 4 - 7pm. Back home that's the middle of the night. It's hard to find peace and quiet here on the base. Before coming to Australia, my life was so isolated. Not on purpose, but just because of my summer schedule. I worked and came home, went for runs and visited a few friends here and there. Most of the time I spent my days alone. Me in the car alone 98% of the time. Especially at night this past summer, I would stay up and paint or make hoots, or just spend time with the Lord. Here I'm with people 98% of the time. Saying its been a change would not be doing it justice. Words can't really express how drastic of a change its been for me. But through the change God is teaching me so much. He's showed me that for the past 6 months or so my heart has been so hard. I get a picture of huge cement walls surrounding my heart. Just within the last 5 days, God has told me to take those walls down. To let people into my heart, to be real, to choose freedom in Him. He's opened my eyes in so many ways. I used to think that my closed heart was a safe place. God has shown me that its the exact opposite. We were created for relationships. And when I close my heart that is when the enemy streams darkness in. Now having alone time and closing your heart to people are two totally different things. I still cherish my silent moments, but I'm learning to take down the walls of my heart and let people in. Because when I do, light comes in, and the enemy can no longer feed darkness behind my closed walls. Its a beautiful thing to experience. I am so much more free to be myself. So that's what I've been processing the past 5 days or so. That's what God is teaching me and its so incredible. "CHOOSE FREEDOM" has become my daily saying. You can never over say truth, and I'm finding more and more that words have so much power!! Every morning when I wake up I speak truth to myself. I actually speak out loud these series of verses and sentences. All in all it takes me about 10 minutes but every morning before I say anything, I speak truth. Words have power!

Right now its 8:39pm on Tuesday. I am sitting on the floor of my room. All of the windows are open and the cool breeze is so refreshing. I just cleaned so it smells super nice. I think I'm going to go down into the kitchen and get some Milo. Milo is one of my favorite drinks. It's a chocolate/malt drink that you can either have cold or hot. It's powder, then you put a dab of sugar in it, then add milk - I microwave mine. It has great vitamins and its so tasty.

Some words I have picked up are "Cheers. No worries. Heaps" I love Australia so much. I am so thankful to be here. This is just the beginning!

Prayer points for this week:

-Peace of mind
-Unity within my team would continue to grow
-Continuing to choose freedom in Jesus
-That God would prepare my mind and heart for the students coming (They arrive in 5 weeks)

I love you!

My new home

This is where I'm living :)

Near the front of the house

Beautiful tree at the bottom of the front staircase

Staircase to the front of the house

This is right outside the hallway to my bedroom

Same view when you're walking up the stairs to my room. Side open porch area

Staircase leading to the backyard

Backyard with trampoline, rope swing, and benches

Workout area on the first level

Pool tables!

There are soo many ant beds everywhere. Filled with green ants that will bite you.

Back driveway area, or part of it at least. Beautiful trees everywhere!

Back/Side of the house, one part of it

This is the sidewalk as I'm leaving the house to walk to the store, train station, parks, coffee shops, market, etc.

This is my lovely neighborhood (below pictures). Notice the adorable mailboxes and gorgeous trees! Each house is so unique and precious.

Look at how narrow the sidewalk is! The cars drive super fast you feel like you're going to get run over or blown into the wind. This is the sidewalk on the other side of the house, if you follow this way it takes you up to this cemetery on a hill that looks over the entire city.

At the top of the hill. This is the oldest church in Brisbane that is still being used. It's so beautiful.

That's Billy :) He's awesome. This was a favorite day. There are benches up on the hill so its a perfect get away.

This week I will be recording a new vlog too! So be on the lookout for that. I hope you guys are doing well!

Big hug,