My Big Passions

First off, I am sorry that I have not done a post in almost a month. That is a long stretch from my three posts a week promise. But I am back with a post about passion!

Passion is a gift that God has given us. He gives each of us a different passion because we are all special and unique. Passion for a certain people, project, subject or skill is the fire that gets stuff done. Don’t ever lose your passion for Jesus and His work.

Below I have about a paragraph about a few big passions of mine. Feel free to comment below and tell me what you are passionate about.

Passion for Jesus
First, I just want to say, if you profess as a Christian, this should be your first passion ever. Jesus. The one who came and incarnated and died on a cross for you. He saved you for himself. Now you are free, but to live in Him. And that is exciting. Jesus is my friend, redeemer and Lord. I gave my life to Him and that is the best thing I ever did. I love my Jesus.

Passion for Missions
I grew up reading and re-reading missionary stories. That is what I always wanted to do. Be a missionary. God planted a love for His lost people in my heart. When I went on a missions trip to Mexico when I was 13, I came alive. I knew that serving others and showing the poor and lost the love and joy that Christ brings was what He made me to do. And I am passionate about that. I jump on any opportunity to be a part of international missions work.

Passion for the Outdoors
God planted in me a love for His world. I love to hike, canoe, climb, run and bike in the beautiful nature that surrounds me. I love the sun, the wind, the grass, trees, mountains, dirt, sunsets and fresh air. I look at the glory of nature and I “sing for joy at the work of His hands”. (Psalm 92:4- my life verse) I am passionate about the outdoors. A burst of energy and excitement curses through me as I gaze at a beautiful sunrise or a breathtaking view.

Passion for Pioneer Living
Half of my childhood I wore a pioneer dress. I loved learning about the pioneers in the prairies with the covered wagons and Indians and all the excitement back then. I loved pioneer living. I would rather toil over handmade candles then flip on a lightswitch. I would rather spend two hours making bread then five minutes at the grocery store. I love homesteading. I got chickens and started a big garden and as we move we hope for more animals and a bigger garden. God gave me this love for whatever you would call it. Farming, homesteading, pioneer living, going off the grid, sustainable living. Those excite me. I love cooking and pie making and trying my hand at homemade cheese. God made me a farm girl.

Passion for Literature and Music
I started piano lessons at about nine years old. Soon I wanted to play those long, epic piano scores from the Lord of the Rings book, so I did. I have a passion for beautiful music. It is a way that I can worship the Lord and give glory to His name. I also have a passion for reading. I literally devour books. When I was four, I started reading. I taught myself. From then on, it is history. I read with intentsity, soaking up every word. When I go into a bookstore I get that shiver of excitement up my spine and making book lists is like a hobby for me. I love reading and music.

All of these passions are loves that the Lord has put in me. I don’t say these things to boast but as an example of how God has made each of us passionate. He made me in a specific way to specifically love certain things so I could specifically serve Him in a specific way. He did the same for you too. So tell me, what are your big passions? Comment below!

Priscilla Joy

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Changing A Life Through A Shoebox

Yesterday was a big day. For all of you who don’t know it was the start of National Shoebox Collection Week!

Millions of shoeboxes pour in every year to an Operation Christmas Child processing and distribution center. Then they are shipped out and handed to a child and then… that childs life is changed.

Operation Christmas Child was started by Franklin Graham (the head of Samaritans Purse and son of famous evangelist Billy Graham). Operation Christmas Child is a program that goes on every Christmas to give children all around the world a shoebox full of gifts. Sometimes whatever is in the box is the only possesions that child owns.

Here is how it works:
1. Individuals choose what age and gender they will make a shoebox for. You can choose girl or boy ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.
2. Then you take a shoebox (or box shoebox sized) and fill it with gifts. Items to pack include hygenie items (toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, hair brush/comb, soap and soap dish), school supplies (notepad, coloring book, pens/pencils, crayons), hard candy (no chocolate!), other useful items (flashlight and batteries, t-shirt, sunglasses, mittens, water bottles, plastic plate etc.) and toys (for boys: soccer balls are a favorite and for girls: jump ropes, dolls and jewelry)! Things NOT to pack include: army related toys, liquids, glass/breakables, chocolate and complicated toys and games kids won’t understand.
3. Write a letter to your child and include a picture (this step is optional). Make sure to include your address in case they want to write back!
4. Add $7 to the box to cover shipping, or you can donate your $7 online and they will track your box for you.
5. Take your box to a drop-off center near you!
6. Pray for the child who will recieve it. This is important!

Tips and tricks:
-Dollar Tree is a great spot to shop for shoebox items. They have lots of great stuff there and everything is only $1!
-With the $7 donation and shopping at Dollar Tree, our boxes usually cost about $20 per box.
-The older children (10-14) are good ones to pack a box for, lots of people choose the younger children so I choose the older ones a lot.
-Boys LOVE soccer balls so you can buy a deflated one and add a ball pump in for them too.
-We usually buy a pack of hard candy (smarties, lifesavers and jolly ranchers are good) and then scatter it through the box after it is packed to save room.

My History with Operation Christmas Child:
Operation Christmas Child has been a huge part of my Christmas every year. We almost always packed boxes as kids and now I always put money aside to pack at least one shoebox. Here are some other ideas that you can try.

1. Packing Party
My sister and I have birthdays in early December so for a birthday party (my 10th) we wanted to do a shoebox packing party. We sold cookies all fall to raise $120 to make six shoeboxes. We each invited two friends and went shopping and then came home and put them together. It is always better to give than receive, isn’t it? You could do a packing party with your church, school, friends or family.

2. Shoebox Drive
Last year I was president of our 4H club. One of my responsibilities was to help our club leader plan activities, service projects and programs. I organized a shoebox drive for November. We had boxes, labels, and information in October and the club members brought the shoeboxes back in November. Our club made around 15 boxes.

3. Shoebox Gift
This year I had a friend whose birthday was in late October and for her gift I gave her a shoebox outing. She picked the age and gender and we went shopping together and then out for a treat. This is a great gift to give your giving friends who you want to bless with a meaningful gift.

4. Volunteer at a Shoebox center
Our youth group has gone to volunteer at the shoebox processing center for the past three or four years. It is soooo fun! The shoeboxes go through an assembly line, you take out the donations, go through the box (make sure it is full, take out any inappropiate items, etc.), tape the box up, box the boxes up and send them off. It is very fun to see all the thoughts and prayers put into each box. You must be 13 or older to go and you need to have 1 adult for every 4 youth.

I hope you have the oppurtunity to bless a child with a shoebox this year. It is amazing, beautiful and heartwarming. After the children are given a shoebox, some are entered into a discipleship program and presented with the Gospel. Lets hear it for Operation Christmas Child!


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When God Says No

I read “Do Hard Things” two or three times. Yes, it is that good. Our youth pastor preached a series about doing hard things. The idea changed my teen years.

The last time I read the book (a month ago maybe?) I felt like God had a hard thing for me to do. What was it?

Then I realized it. Doing hard things isn’t always planning an outreach or fundraiser, saving someones life or even diligently doing chores at home. Somethimes a hard thing is just to say yes when God says no.

I recently had this experience.

I had the oppurtunity to go down to Mexico for a week to serve at the Rancho3M orphanage in November. In fact a week from now I would be in Mexico.

Now if you really know me you know that serving down there is the highlight of my summer and that I really have a heart for that ministy. Oh and I love all the kids down there to pieces.

I REALLY wanted to go.

But God shut the door.

I was disappointed although I didn’t show it outwardly. I missed it down there. And that is when I realized that I have to say Yes to God even when He says No to something I desperately want to do.

His plan is always better. Isn’t it? We don’t always know why He gives us that answer. Sometimes we see it after and sometime we don’t. We just have to leave it up to Him.


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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 8

So here is my last installment of journal entries from Mexico. Hope you enjoy!

Our last day there we had a prolonged devotion at breakast and we sang “10,000 Reasons” as a group.

After our breakfast, we packed up the vans and cleaned the dorms and kitchen.

Some of us ran to the Mexican convenience store and got Mexican coke and authentic Mexican candy. It was spicy, sweet, tangy and sour all in one. How does that happen?

Next, the kids got up and we spent the rest of the morning hanging out with them. I played some last soccer with Chuy, Manuel and Aline.

Soon, the call came to pack up in the vans and then well there was lots of hugs and more hugs and even more hugs and goodbyes. Goodbyes are so hard.

The rest is history, I guess. Drive out of the Ranch trying not to cry. Go to the airport. Unpack the vans and say goodbye to the team you worked alongside all week and split up to get to our flights.

We arrived at our gate, and took a flight to Dallas TX and then after a layover we flew to Charlotte, NC. I am not a city girl, but I must say it was pretty to see all the ligts of Charlotte, since we landed at night.

I said goodbye to the team I had flown with (yeah, this was a day of goodbyes) and went down the escalator to see my family.

I saw William and Dad first, they were at the bottom of the esalator and then farther back there was Mom, Celia, Jace and surprise! my best friend Abigail!

And now there were hello and welcome back hugs for once.

We dropped Abigail back off at her house and went home. To bed.

It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again! (hopefully)

your one and only,

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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 7

The week is coming to end. It is sad for some, exciting for some but the whole team is tired. But today is not a day of rest, it is finishing project day. There is a shed to finish, curtains to make, and trees to plant. We did not stain today but instead used the time to help finish projects.

At first, I helped with the curtain crew, doing the dreaded task of turning the sewing from inside out to right side out. After that, there wasn’t much more I could do so I moved to helping the tree planting team. I helped with that most of the day.

Planting trees in Mexico is not just sticking the tree in the ground. You have to mix up a special recipe of dirt which includes manure, ash and straw. Then you have to put equal amounts of the dirt mixture and water in the holes before putting the tree in. Once the tree is in, you fill in the hole with water and the dirt mixture. Then you build a type of wall around it with dirt and then you flood the inside. Then you rake around the wall to make it look nice. :)

We planted pistachio trees and I hope to see them growing strong when I go next year. :)

We took a break from planting for a quick lunch and then went straight back to work. We planted around 50 trees that day.

I had to leave mid afternoon to help with games. We did the same games as on Thursday and Daniel translated for us again.

After games, I planted trees again until dinner. After dinner, we served ice cream to the kids and gave them paracord bracelets that our team had made in our spare time.

Then our team took a hike to the “cross”, which is basically a cross erected onto a mountain near the Ranch. You can hike up to it and watch the sunrise or sunset. We stayed up for the sunset. The older kids came with us and we had a blast.

When we came back, the teens from our team and the Ranch played hide and seek in the dark.

After a while, we went inside and got into bed.

It was a long hard day of work but we had a LOT of fun! Serving the Lord is the best! :)

I can’t believe that tomorrow we leave. :( Lots of the kids don’t want me to go. One of my little friends said “No, you are staying with me” and another kid wanted to have me pack him in my backpack. Sniff…sniff, I miss them.

your one and only,

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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 6

Another beautiful sunrise and devotion filled early morning. After breakfast, we got to work.

So today, Lauren and I were the only one who were staining. We both got a lot done though. This would be our last day of helping with that as you will find out tomorrow. But that is okay because other teams throughout the summer would be able to finish the project. Lauren had lunch duty so I cleaned up everything before heading in for lunch.

That afternoon, after siesta, I went and set up for games with Mikayla. Today we played a ladder/number race game and a game called Steal the Bacon. Daniel, missionary kid at Rancho3M translated today.

We stopped work and games a little early today so we could get ready for the staff dinner. We put on “Sunday clothes” (skirts and nicer shirts) and hung out with the kids until dinner was ready. I got one of the older girls to braid my hair. They LOVE doing hair! It was really pretty.

Before the staff dinner, I tried to call my family, but it was pretty stormy and the connection wasn’t the best so I couldn’t talk for long.

At the staff dinner, we had an authentic Mexican meal, including chili reino, Mexican rice, mole (I think that was what it was called), enchiladas, and peach cobbler for desert (peach cobbler provided by the Americans :) ). It was really good. After dinner, Pancho and Valeria shared their testimonies. SO touching. There were several generations of Rancho3M staff there, which was pretty cool to see.

After that, we went back to our dorms, showered and went to bed. That night I knew, that I would miss Rancho3M terribly. I do.

Well, stay updated to catch the last two days of my trip and a sneak peek of what a school day looks like for us. Since we have started school, you should see regular posts, so stay tuned for more!

Your one and only,

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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 5

So when I woke up this morning, I don’t think it would be humanly possible to imagine the fun I had today! Lots of days are like that for me. :)

Pretty regular morning this morning, we had breakfast and got to work staining. Right next to where we were staining some of the guys were building a storage room off of an office. It was really cool to see the progress they made, day by day.

Today though, I got a special treat. Santiago, a very cute staff child, still too young for school, followed me around and would hide behind brick walls and play peek-a-boo. He hung out around us all during the morning, until we went in for lunch. When Mikayla and I were setting up for games he was with us playing with chalk. I got to chat with him in Spanish all morning!

Also, this morning, Lauren brought us some authentic Mexican food to try. She wouldn’t tell us what it was until after we ate it. I ate it and found out what it was. Pig skin.

Over lunch, our team thought it would be fun to have a water fight with the kids and the afternoon work crew would ambush them. So that afternoon during siesta, some of the other teens/college students of the group and me of course helped fill the water balloons.

We filled about 1500! There were three huge coolers of them! We all had blisters on our hands from tying them all! By then the kids were out of school and it was quite a big job to keep them from getting into it right then!

For games that day we played with balloons. We had some games planned to do with them but the games involved popping the balloons and the kids grew rather…. attached. :) Instead they carefully untied the balloons and filled them with water and dumped them… on us. Today I was the “translator” of the group again.

After a while, the kids doing crafts came out and we played a big game of Shipwreck or 4 Corners. Whatever you want to call it.

During this time the work crew had gone and gotten water balloons and then went out to the sombrero and proceeded to ambush the kids!

Well after this, we brought the rest of the water balloons out and had fun throwing those around. The water balloons evolved into buckets which somehow turned into hoses and basically, everyone got wet! I was soaked, muddy (I had slipped in a mud puddle), and had a skinned knee (from slipping). It was pretty fun.

After washing up and hanging out with the kids some more, we went into dinner and then we played our USA vs. MEX soccer game.

I played midfield. They won, like usual. 4-1 But hey! We scored and they didn’t score more than 5! I would say Victory for us. I actually got the ball a few times and I didn’t kick anyone by accident. Good game!

By now, as you can imagine, I was tired and proceeded to go to bed. Ahhhh! Good night!

Your one and only, :)

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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 4

On this day it was pretty normal. Get up, have devotions and breakfast and then get to work! The whole morning I worked hard staining the eaves, we had fun while we did it, lots of laughing and joking and enjoying others company. And then lunch and siesta.

After siesta, Mikayla (my amazing game partner for the day) and I set up for games. Daniel, the son of Rancho3M’s director, helped us with Spanish translation that day and we had a lot of fun.

I played soccer with the kids until it was time for dinner. After dinner I was playing some more soccer with the kids (I was goalie) until an event that I will never forget happened. So on my last post I told you about how the staff guys shoo the kids off the field and play their own rough game in the evenings. Well, tonight I somehow got myself into that game! They made teams, (I was still standing in the goal) and they asked me if I wanted to play as their goalie. I said “Sure” and prepared for battle.

I felt bad whenever I let a goal in but when I made a save, I had a cheerleader squad to celebrate for me. Yes, all the older girls were watching and cheering me on.

This game actually gave me lots of opportunities even better than just playing with the big guys (…. an honor :)). I formed friendships with people I would not have thought of being my friends. Senor Carlos, a guy on my team would always say “Hola Priscilla! Como estas?” when he saw me and I got to know him more.

And the older girls, in the past they have not been the ones I click with naturally but after going over and thanking them for cheering me on, they became instant friends. Lluvia (one of the girls) always flashes me the most adorable smile when she sees me and well, Aline and Yesenia are some of my besties. :)

After soccer, I played basketball with some of the older girls and teens on the trip. Then we looked at the stars. Beautiful. Renee, a young lady who has been at the Ranch for 2 years, took me and Sarah (girl from our team) up this sand dune type thing and pointed out the cities around Guadelupe. Again, beautiful.

Then I went to bed. Boy, do I love Mexico.


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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 3

AAAGHHH! Its July and it has already been two months since my trip. But I will finish my ‘Journal Entries’ series, so keep updated for days 4-8 in the (hopefully) near future.

So today I got up and had devotions outside in the early morning before breakfast. I had to have it in the play house because Lolo (dog) and Tigre (cat) were following me around everywhere and that is the only place where I could find some peace! Then we had breakfast and got to work.

First, we had a meeting to plan kids activities for the day. I was put in charge of games and was given (overwhelmed with) game suggestions to use. After that, some of the other teen girls and I went to tour the baby home while the other ladies measured for curtains they were going to be sewing. Next we did some small projects to get ready for the games we would be playing that day by making a bowling set using 2×4’s and dowels. Lauren (a former intern) then took some of us girls to dust and start staining the eaves around the girls and boys dorms.

After that we had lunch and siesta. In my siesta I normally read, write or lay there (I rarely nap) but that day I was pretty tired so I lay there and rested. I got up and set up for games before the kids got out of school and then hugged them when they did get out of school.

In the group of people who were helping me with games I was the only one who spoke Spanish and so I was what I like to call translator although I am not quite fluent in Spanish. Today we worked with kids (boys and girls) 3-11. We played some water relays and a version of “Mother, May I?”.

After we did organized games we just hung out with the kids and I worked on my Spanish by talking with some of my little friends Yesenia, Cristian and Alfredo. It was a nice surprise to see Alfredo since I had not seen him there on Saturday or Sunday and assumed that he wasn’t at the Ranch anymore. I spied him and asked Cristian if it was Alfredo and if he still remembered me. Cristian’s response? “Oh yes” I hope that is a good thing. :)

When the kids went in for dinner, David, Mikayla and I kicked the soccer ball around a little bit before our dinner. In the evening I watched the staff guys play soccer (check for a funny story about this in my Day 4 post!) and just hung out with the kids.

When the kids went to bed some of our team played cards and then I went and took a shower and went to bed. Aaahhh…… it has been a great day!


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Journal Entries- Mission Trip to Mexico- Day 2

It is Sunday today. After breakfast, we got ready for church and then just hung out as a team. We then went on down to the church and just hung out there with the kids before the service started.

Church is fun there. We worshiped the Lord in Spanish of course. Poncho led us in worship with his guitar and we sang some songs. Some I recognized the tune and could pick out words. We also sang a song about saying to the mountains ‘Move!’ and they move. That is when they give the offering and then you dance around in a certain part of the song. It is very fun! Then they have a time of testimonies where the kids can come up and recite a verse or say something they are thankful for. I enjoy that time too. Then after that, my youth pastor did the sermon and then we left for lunch.

In the afternoon it was visiting time for the kids who have parents in the area. Brian, a boy who was at the Ranch last year but not this year, came to visit his brothers who are still there. It was refreshing to see him again. I mostly hung out with and played with the kids who didn’t have parents visiting. We played tag and this really fun game that is hard to explain.

In the evening we just hung out some more, it might sound boring but really, just hanging out is one of the most fun parts. The slide on the playground is really fun to slide on, the first time I went down I slid right off the slide! Another fun game one of the girls Yesenia likes to play is where they say the Spanish name and pronunciation and then we say the English. Example: Alejandro, Alexander.

Monday we start the work day, and organized structure.


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