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Volume 2, Issue 1 January/ February 2012

Magazine Ministry at home?! Jesus

Seize the day

Our mission is to inspire teenage girls to surrender their entire lives to Christ and live radically for Him.

Table of Contents

A Letter From The Editor

Preparing to be a Mother

By Kendel Garcia

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“All in the Lord’s Timing”

Shop Debu

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By Melanie Knapp

Contest Information Page 6 Answers From Titus 2 Women Page 8

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String of Pearls “Laying Down Your Life” By Khloe Williams

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Ten New Years

Spirit Spotlight: Self Control

Resolution Ideas

By Tiffani Hockings Page 10

Becoming a Warrior Princes

The Neglected Gift

By Kendel Garcia

By Cherrie Wagner Page 13 Beautifully Made

For Those Who Wash Feet

“Inner Beauty”

By Christina Polk

By Kylie Ramos

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Ministry Spotlights Page 45

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Cast and Credits

Breaking Chains “Beware of the Me Monster” By Anonymous

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“A Diary of an African Missions”

Back to the Basics By Sierra Brewer

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Want to take the next step and volunteer with Debu? Find out how by emailing

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A Letter From The Editor Dear Debu Sisters, I love New Year’s (aside from the fact that on the 1st there is mass sleepiness, drunkenness, and football watching), but I love the thought of a big worldwide party celebrating the year. There is a sense of freshness about New Year’s—a cleanse of sorts—where the old year is sloughed off and a new coat of paint is applied to our lives. We decide to be better people, to do bigger and bolder things, and to act with more diligence than before. We press on, excited and ready for the year in which we will read our Bibles, loose twenty pounds, run a marathon, and sponsor a mission that feeds hungry children in Africa. New Year’s is a time to dream big. A time when our dreams are sometimes bigger than our realities. We all make these silly lists—lists that for some of us look the same every year. We sit back with a pen and paper and say, “O yes, this year I am going to…” and we start the race. And boy, do we go out with gusto. We run and bike and swim and read until January 5th...and then life goes back to normal. We fall off the schedule we committed to following. We eat the extra piece of cake. We hang up the running shoes before the run, instead of after. We stop organizing the house. We get jaded. We see ourselves no longer as being able to accomplish our goals, but as sick, fat, unhealthy, unorganized individuals. New Year’s resolutions are the best and worst part of New Year’s, because once the New Year is over, the resolutions are no longer new. We don’t last. The other day I learned a new fact, goldfish only have a 6 second memory. Sometimes I feel like a glorified goldfish, except I make myself forget, and convince myself that I’m better in my old routine. “Oh yes, cake is a perfect option for me. Who needs Wheat Thins?” You see the thing I love about New Year’s is that we see ourselves as beings more like whom God created us to be, unspoiled by sin and selfishness. So, why do these resolutions fail? First, because we choose to forget. We forget the feeling at the beginning, the feeling that we were doing something good and worthwhile, something to further the Kingdom. Second, we choose to remember. We remember low self-esteem and what a failure we were. So, this year I challenge you to choose to forget to remember (did ya get that?). Choose to be intentional about what you are doing—pick a resolution and stick to it. Forget the old you. We fail resolutions because we automatically default back to the way we were. Stop being a creature of habit, or rather, be a creature of new habits. Remember who you are as a child of God, that He has given you what you need, that as a child of God it is your duty to make the world a little brighter, to make His name a little more famous. So my friend, make those resolutions, but stick to them. As a child of God you are called to live louder, love deeper, and shout His name from the rooftops. Let that be your resolution. Your Sister in Christ, Kendel Garcia Founder and Editor in Chief of Debu Magazine Page 2

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13 Page 3

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Want to win an amazing Debu t-shirt or wristband? Here’s how: Contest Dates: November 2nd, 2011-March 1st, 2012

What to do: Get as many of your friends to subscribe to Debu as possible (make sure they reference your name when the subscribe on the website for every 5 friends that subscribe you will get one entry into a drawing. Prize: First prize is a Debu t-shirt, two second place winners will receive a set of Debu wristbands, and three third place winners will receive one wristband! That’s six opportunities to win!

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What if U no that 1 of Ur friends is doing something that her parents would not approve of...should U tell her parents? This is a case where she is dating and her parents don't want her 2!!! She isn't living at home right now because her Aunt and uncle R at the hospital all the time with their preemie baby so she is taking care of the rest of their children!! If I tell her parents then she will have 2 come home because her parents won’t trust her anymore but the her Aunt and Uncle will be left sit with no one 2 take care of their kids!?!?! What should I do?? Tell or just shut up?? Dear Tell or Shut Up, This is not an easy situation. But, as a general rule, my personal belief is that it is not your responsibility to "tell" on your friend unless she is in danger of injuring herself or is going to harm someone else. I do believe your part as her friend is to confront and encourage her to be honest and obedient to her parents. If she is a believer, there are many verses to back up the truth and honor. "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother..." Eph 6:1-2. The older you get the more you will realize that the truth always comes into the light; some people have to learn this the hard way. You can remind your friend that by obeying her parents she is obeying God. A true friend speaks the truth in love. I do not feel it is your place to "tell" her parents unless of course you were in the situation where you were asked a question about it; it would never be ok to lie to cover for her. Confronting a friend is no easy task and you may receive a harsh word or two from your friend if she is not ready to listen to your side. Take heart, that does not mean you are wrong. You can continue to pray that she will honor her parents because that is where safety is found. Hey was just wondering what do you do when a guy likes you, and you want to stay crush free? Dear Wondering, Staying crush free is definitely not an easy task in today's world. However, if you set your actions to match up with the intentions of your heart it will be much easier. Much of the time, we end up in places that we don't want to be because we are not strong enough to make the decisions necessary to get us to our desired goal or because we are not paying attention to the little things along the way. Little by little, we inch towards the place we say we don't want to go. There is a great book by Andy Stanley called "The Best Question Ever". I highly recommend it! It is a great perspective on making decisions and ending up at your desired goals. Without knowing the details of your situation, my best advice would be to be clear and honest about your choices. Many times guys can misread our joking, friendliness and even our shyness. If your desire is to remain crush free, then your interaction with guys needs to reflect that. Finally, you will have the most success if those around you know your intentions, don't be intimidated by the opinions of others, be brave and honest about your desires - choose friends that will support your desires and not ones that will encourage you to stray from them. "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be renewed by the transforming of your mind." Romans 12:2

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Be joyful always!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Page 9

By Tiffani Hockings

We’re all human; we sometimes succumb to the desires of our flesh. We sometimes get fleshly emotions, such as worry, fear, anger etc… And we’re also girls. We multitask. Our brains fly around in a hundred different directions at one time. We like to take care of things. We like to make sure everything is under control. Our control.

Aren’t you excited? No? But it’s control! You should be happy that there is at least one thing in your life you’re allowed to control! Right…

So what if I was to tell you that there was something we could control? Are you getting excited? Drum roll please! It’s…OURSELVES! AKA: Self-Control! [crickets chirping].

Is Self-Control easy? No! Can we do it alone? No! Just like every other Fruit, the only way we can fully understand and exhibit it, is to pray and be led by the Holy Spirit. Our goal should be for the Fruit of the Spirit to come naturally to us—not easily, but naturally, because we were made to walk in the Spirit.

Why is it that when it comes to Self-Control, suddenly we want nothing to do with it?

Could it be that maybe Self-Control is a little difficult? It means that we have to focus on our motives. Yet the Bible tells us that we are not in control like It means we have to slow down, watch ourselves carewe think we are. We are not to worry about anything: fully, and chaperone ourselves, in a sense. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, Self-control is the foundation for many qualities that by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present we young ladies are striving for, including one of the your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts most important for us, purity. and your minds in Christ Jesus” ~ Philippians 4:6-7. As I studied Self-control, I realized that this Fruit is This is a little hard for us to handle sometimes. We the combination of each of the other fruits. Not that don’t like to dwell on that fact and honestly I’m sure you can have any one without the other. They’re some of us would admit—despite knowing that we called the Fruit of the Spirit, not the Fruits of the would feel peace—we’d love to just ignore that part Spirit. But really to have Self –Control, you need to and keep on “controlling” our lives. It’s “easier” than be kind, show love, overflow with joy, practice pasurrendering. tience, feel washed with peace, have faith, and so on.

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By this time you might be wondering why I’m talking about Self-Control when this Issue’s theme is Service. And it’s true; at first glance putting others first and Self-Control, doesn’t seem to mix. But let me tell you, they do. You cannot cultivate a servant’s heart without this particular Fruit. The most simple example would probably be when your mom asks to you do a chore or something that you feel is a chore. Instead of lashing out about not wanting to or doing the chore with a bad attitude; complete the task, keeping in mind that you’re also doing it for the Lord, and you will be much more of a servant for your mom. In Matthew 25:35-46, Jesus tells that when we are serving others, we are really serving Him. So when we serve our parents, we are serving our Savior. When we serve our Savior, we are learning how to better serve others. Self-Control also comes into play about our motives and pride while serving. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into the trap of giving yourself a few too many pats on the back while serving. Maybe your pastor

thanks you for your help and suddenly you start feeling important. A little pride might start creeping in. “Whoever has no rule over his spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” ~ Proverbs 25:28 A city that is broken down and has no walls is completely defenseless. Defenseless against attacks of all kinds. King Solomon is telling us that when we have no Self-Control we are just as susceptible. It’s natural to feel good when you get praised for your service. It’s natural to like the feeling of being needed. We just need to be careful in these situations and practice our Self-Control to make sure those feelings of joy don’t turn into thoughts of pride and forgetfulness. Forgetfulness of Who really should be getting all the glory, Who deserves the credit, Who is the One who gave us breath and enables us serve. I think the most important part of serving is our motive, why are we serving? To make ourselves look good? To get praise? SelfControl helps us keep our motives in check to make sure the only reason we’re serving is because we sincerely want to help others and point to Jesus, while giving Him ALL the glory. So even though I can’t control the traffic, or what others are doing, or even the events that are going on in my own life, I’m ready to take on the responsibility of controlling the only thing I can…myself. * Check out Tiffani’s blog at

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By Cherrie Wagner I’m not sure about you, but whenever God is trying to teach me something, He makes sure I can’t miss it. Whether it’s what I’m reading at the time, a song I hear on the radio, something a friend will share with me in conversation, or a sermon I hear at church, it’s as if God shouts at me through these different means to get my attention. He covers all of His bases. Does this ever happen to you? Prayer has been that thing for me lately. I’ve gotten into numerous conversations about it, I’ve blogged about it, I’ve taught Bible studies about it, and I’m even preparing right now to teach some 1 st-3rd graders about it. I can’t get it off my mind, not that I want to either, but prayer is something I’ve always done, right? So, why is God trying to teach me about the importance of prayer now? Don’t I already have this one down, Lord?

prayer. It causes me to want to pray, to desire times of prayer. When you receive a gift, how do you react? I get excited, super excited! I can’t wait to open it, and I usually squeal or scream my thanks to the gift-giver because receiving a gift makes me feel loved. Prayer is a gift to each one of us from God. It’s one of the many ways He expresses His love to us. It’s one way that He speaks to us, and it’s our way of communicating with Him. Before Jesus died on the cross for us, we didn’t have direct access to God through prayer. We had to go through a mediator, someone who would take our requests and confessions to God for us. That is no longer needed because Jesus opened up the lines of communication through His death on the cross. Prayer is gift, and it came at a high price.

Not only is prayer a gift but tragically, it’s a gift that is frequently neglected. It’s a gift that we rarely use, one that we leave unopened. It’s that box on the shelf that collects dust as we forget that it’s there. In our fears of not knowing how to pray and worrying that what we have to say will come out wrong, often times we just don’t pray at all. Or, we think we’ve prayed about something, but all we’ve really done is talk about it and worry about it…a lot. Prayer is simply talking to God and listening to Him speak to you. It’s a conversation. Like other relationships we have, our relationship with God takes time to grow, but how can we ever expect it to grow if we never spend time with Him? As God continues to teach me more First of all, prayer is a gift. Have you ever thought about it that way? about the importance of prayer, I’m becoming more and more I know I didn’t, until recently. I always viewed prayer as an obligapassionate about sharing this gift of prayer with others. I’d love tion, something that I knew I should be doing more of but failed at nothing more than to see a prayer revoall the time. lution in our generation! Wherever Thoughts of prayer would acyou’re at in your faith journey, company feelings of guilt at the let’s start using this incredible gift same time, because I knew I just of prayer today. One thing I know wasn’t praying enough. Someto be true is this: times spent in thing that God has opened my prayer with the Lord NEVER eyes to lately is this completely disappoints me!* new perspective on prayer. When I view it as a gift that God has given me, a way to communicate with Him, my heart changes in my approach to It seems a silly question to ask, as if prayer isn’t something that I can grow in. Of course it is! Prayer is vitally important in our walk with God, and it’s something that becomes better over time as we grow to know God more. The conversation between us and our God becomes simply beautiful over time as we choose to make Him a priority in our lives. What I want to share with you today are a few of the things that God has been impressing on my heart in relation to this thing called prayer. I hope that what I’ve been learning will encourage you in your prayer life.

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And having shod your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. -Ephesians 6:15 Page 15

Beautifully Made “Inner Beauty” By Kylie Ramos What do you think of when you hear the word beauty? Do you see the woman in your latest magazine? Or do you see a Godly woman who shines with Jesus’ love? I hope you picked the second one, but if not your choice may change. You see, I have always wanted to look like the Godly woman and I was touched by the Lord on how to get there. The reason that a woman glows the way she does all boils down to inner beauty. Inner beauty is the way we see ourselves and the way the Lord sees us and how it makes us look on the outside. Have you noticed when you are having a bad day you physically do not look like yourself? But when you feel extremely close to God you glow? That comes from inner beauty. In short, to be truly beautiful on the outside you need to be beautiful on the inside. The first aspect of inner beauty we will discuss is having a servant’s heart. Serving is not something we do for ourselves; it is something we do for others. One thing that seems to be common is people not knowing where or how to serve. Certain people are made for different serving opportunities. Take me, for example. I love kids and hanging out with them. So when I was looking for an opportunity to serve I chose to serve at my church in the child care area. I have been serving there for the past five years. To be with those kids and to give my time so that parents can enjoy listening to the Lord is a great gift. As far as how to serve, there are many ways. For instance it could be that you smiled at someone who looked like they were having a bad day or took an elderly wom-

an’s grocery cart back to the rack for her. Wherever there seems to be a need God loves it when we fill it. One thing I want to make sure I say is you can serve anywhere. Serving doesn’t just begin and end with your church. You can serve in your home, in your neighborhood, in your community, wherever you feel that the Lord is leading you. This is an amazing way to honor God and we should take advantage of it. God gave you great qualities in order for you to serve Him and others. Look around you, talk to your pastor, and find ways to serve. Personally for me serving is something that I have always enjoyed. I love the way people react to being served. You can see it in their face they light up because for once they don’t have to worry about something for a change; whether that is watching their kids, trying to feed their family, or not feeling loved ect. This is a great opportunity to show God’s love, and to show the Lord our appreciation for his blessings by blessing others. I encourage you to become a servant. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Mark 10:45. By serving and touching someone else’s life you will feel blessed for the opportunity. In addition to that you will become more and more beautiful on the inside from your love for others and the Lord. This inner beauty will shine through and cause you to glow for the Lord.

Party Idea: Now that the holidays are over invite your friends for a party. Use your serving skills and do their hair, makeup, nails, whatever you are good at. Show them how much you love them by serving them. And have fun!

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Back to the basics By Sierra Brewer

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and the darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” –Genesis 1:13

-Go raw every other month -Visit the retirement home more often. -Learn to sew. -Memorize 100 Bible verses.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the previous list of resolutions versus the latter, but can you see where the priority line is drawn? Last issue, one of our writers (and a dear sister of mine) submitted an article about seeing Jesus in our playlist. How about apHave you ever made a list of “New Years’ Resolutions,” or plying that to resolutions? Your priorities are almost always defined by your goals. Could someone look at your even just a single goal/resolution? goal list and see Jesus? A deeper question is, could some-Exercise on a daily basis one look at you at any time of the year and see Jesus? -Memorize 100 Bible verses and read the Bible in a year. To me, in our culture and lifestyle, it seems like there’s a Most of us have heard this- it’s the first three verses in God’s Word. As the New Year—2012—opens, it’s important to truly take things “back to the beginning.” I’ll explain in a moment.

-Go ‘raw’ every other month

problem going on with the word “resolution.” Where I live, our summers hit temperatures of 110 degrees, -Learn how to sew. sometimes higher. I look out my window January 1st, and -No sugar one week per month. see a mass amount of runners. Throughout the next month, If you looked at the above list someone compiled of resolu- numbers dwindle. At the end of March, I see maybe four, tions, what would you say their resolution actually was—or maybe six runners each day. rather, what was the goal they wanted to accomplish the And then, summer hits. Heat. At about 5:30 AM I can look most? Goals 1, 3, and 5 point to a healthier lifestyle. Now out my front window and see two runners. By the end of take a list at the following list of resolutions: August… gone. Yes, they’ve turned into walkers. There’s -Read Bible in a year -Spend one full night in prayer for Christians suffering across the world one night a month.

one person that has continued her morning run for the past eight or nine months. (Now do you call that perseverance or what?!) Page 18

Let’s backtrack to my second paragraph. When I say, “back to the beginning,” I mean back to God’s Word. His Love Letter to us. Genesis~ it’s in the beginning. The word Genesis comes from a Greek word meaning, “beginning;” as well as the Hebrew title Bueshith, which means, “in beginning,” “head,” and “literally.” How ironic ;) Back to the beginning. When man walked with God.

God brings me… and know, and feel, that I am truly safe in His arms. Because whatever He “throws” my way—why should I fear what man can do to me, when I serve a holy God? Friends, I would encourage you this year, to truly go back to the beginning, to walk with God, and to be so in tune to Him. To truly abide and trust (with contentment!) in our Abba, who is recreating each of us. Will you listen when He calls you to new and uncharted territories?

In the Christian world, it seems like most people know “Only one life; ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done Genesis 1:1—and yes, that is important. But I espefor Christ will last.” –C.T. Studd cially love Genesis 1:2-3, because, well, let’s insert May our Abba light up each of our lives, this year and the name “Mary,” into those verses: always. And may His light shine through us, so that all “And [Mary] was formless and void, and darkness who look at us see not our selves, but His light. Many was over the surface of [Mary’s soul]; and the Spirit blessings! of God [saw her]. Then God said, ‘Let there be light (In our Abba, who makes all things beautiful in His [in Mary]’ and there was light.” See, why that verse is sooooo special to me, is because perfect timing)* God has handpicked each and every single one Check out Sierra’s blog at of us—has brought us into His marvelous light, out of darkness, out of shame. He is recreating each of us… into His refined vessel, ready to accomplish any task. What if this year, instead of or along with resolutions, we picked one word to take to heart. To live by. After much thought, I picked three: abide, embrace, and content. Abide. There’s, oh! so much in that one word. And it’s simple, because nothing can exist except by abiding in His love. The One-Word idea is based off of the idea that you will not set goals, resolutions, nothing but your one word for the year of 2012. Abide is my word. At first these words were hard to pick—but then I realized that this is number one for me. I am fresh out of high-school, looking at life with new eyes. But I need Jesus to get me through this, because He makes everything beautiful in His perfect time, if we abide in Him. Thus, I saw it only fitting to use abide. Because that, my friends, is what I want to do… truly. Embrace and content because I want to do just that— truly embrace, and be content— with whatever Page 19

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Breaking Chains “Beware of the me monster” By Anonymous

The breaking chains column is anonymous on purpose. We think it best that the young man who writes this column be hidden from you girls to guard your purity and your hearts. Please refrain from inquiries as to his identity because you won’t get it out of us!

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I remember all too well watching the hilarious comedian, Brian Regan. He is a man that takes what we see as everyday life and touches it with a bit of reality and humor. Ok, maybe not merely a bit, but a lot of humor. Point being, he takes what seems to be normal to us, and really shows life's abnormalities. Audiences cackle, snicker, and laugh not because it is simply funny, but because it is so true. For instance, Brian paints the scene of what is a common event when going out with friends and associates for dinner. Seemingly, as he points out, there is always a Me-Monster loose. The Me-Monster is a person who continually talks about him or herself and all that is going on in their lives. The conversations seem to always focus on his or her life in a egocentric way. If you could interpret and summarize a Me-Monster's words, it would come out as the comedian portrays, "Me, myself and I, and I and me and me and I. Meeeee. Meeeeeeee! Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!" With such atrocities out loose, Brian concludes with saying, "Beware of the MeMonster." How true! Ever since I heard that joke, I can't help but always caution myself when I am in public settings. I don't want to be a Me-Monster. Who would? I can't help but see Me-Monsters outside of the public settings, however. I can't help but see it in myself. We, because of our flesh, are naturally lenient to be self-centered. And whether we see it or not, that same self-centered nature appears in romance and love. Amidst the world, love has adapted the consumer mentality where all a person's focus in dating is how can this person meet my "needs." And if they are amidst those who choose to marry—because people are now bypassing marriage by simply living together—that's all the marriage is about. Then, they have a fifty percent chance of failing, ending with divorce. We are not unfamiliar with these statistics. Thirty-three percent of those divorcing couples are claimed Christians. Something is wrong here, and I believe it is the mindset we hold. True love is not self-centered. Whether we like to admit it or not, the church has adopted this same mindset. We may not be living

together, and we may not be dating but "courting," but I'll tell you, our focus is still on our selves. Not all, but a lot of Christians like to exclaim, "true love waits." We paste that phrase on bumper stickers, wear it on shirts, and teach it in purity classes. I am curious. What is true love waiting for? A spouse? Sex? Love? What does love even mean now? Love is so opaque and ambiguous with all its clouding definitions. It is the same with Purity. Purity is now commonly defined as merely saving sex for marriage. That is still selfcentered. Sure, you’re waiting for one person, but for what? Now, don't get me wrong. We need to save sex for marriage. True love does wait. These are both biblical standards. However, I don't believe there ends your principles for marriage. I believe it goes much deeper. Keeping the marriage bed undefiled is founded with more than waiting. True love does not twiddle its thumbs. It does more than wait; it sacrifices. And how does it sacrifice? True love sacrifices by going beyond what is commonly considered purity (save sex for marriage; don't live together; stay away from porn). True purity is self-giving, not self-attaining. The me-mentality prevents us from serving the Lord and serving our future spouses, while it thrives in serving ourselves. Purity cultivates a godly mindset of singleness and marriage. It transcends virginity and leads to a lifestyle that exemplifies our awesome and holy Savior. As Christ wishes and is sanctifying His bride to be pure for the marriage of all time, so also are we to be "sanctifying" ourselves for the altar. Are we prepared to look our spouse in the eyes--spiritually, mentally, physically, and circumstantially? Get past the emotions and stomach butterflies. Can you honestly say you are readying yourself to stand before God as He unites you with the spouse He is preparing for you? With a surrendered heart, mind, and life, God will make you ready. However, that word surrender is key and crucial. If you wish to control your love life, God is a gentleman that steps back and let's you have your way. Sadly, we sometimes will allow our way to blind us from seeing who is the spouse God wishes for us to

True love Is not



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marry. But if we are under His Lordship, who should be in control? The Lord. I want to challenge you to seek/live your single years and marriage with Him at the center. I pray the Lord will release our grip so that we will not have a Me-Marriage and Me-Purity. As Jesus shows love is sacrifice, we need to sacrifice—before, at, and after the altar. We need to see purity not as self-attaining, but self-giving. Yes, there are some things we will attain. But what is our focus? It is like wanting to be with God only for His blessings when we are to come to Him for Him. We need to have God attaining glory as the center. He is to be our focus, so that He will be glorified and at the center before and during our marriages. If not, then we are at the center. And look

Surrender where that has gotten us today. Divorce after divorce. Marriage counseling session after marriage counseling session. The sacredness and beauty of the relationship God ordained at the beginning of time is corroded to self-centeredness. Who wants to be a Me-Monster?

Breaking Chains, ~Anonymous

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"If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. “ -Matthew 18:13

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Preparing to be a mother: all in the Lord’s timing

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I cuddle him close, his little curls brushing my face and fingers in his mouth as he turns his head around to face the world I’m talking to. He’s teething, poor thing. Cranky cries, watery eyes, and just one big mix of “miserable”. I continue talking with my friends as I slowly sway back and forth—and soon I note the silence. His head is on my shoulder. He’s asleep. I don’t want him to wake up. “Just stay there, little man,” I think as I slowly adjust him on my shoulder and hug him. He stays this way for over an hour. When he finally awakes and I hand him over to his foster care family, I think my arm is going to fall off. But it is worth it. So worth it.

realizing my hands are no longer playing with her hair. A reproving glance and pat on her head quickly sets me back to work. After a little while she gets up and goes to get a toy. I move the stool and relax in my chair. Shortly after, she comes up and pauses, staring at where the stool rested a few minutes ago. She finds it, drags (for it is half her size, you see) it back out, sets it in front of me, and sits down. One glance back and I know what she wants. She loves it. I don’t have to do anything but run my fingers through her hair over and over again. She is making my heart smile.


~ That little glance. He knows what I’m communicating just through my eyes. “Andrew, please no throwing the balls, okay?” His arm lifts with the ball in hand as he watches me intensely. With both eyes locked to his and a calm and steady tone I repeat, “Andrew, no.” The battle raging within is written on his face as he slowly brings his arm down and it hangs by his side. He lets go of the ball and it drops to the floor. “Thank you, buddy.” A quick smile and he is off to play another game…

You know the feeling I’m talking about. I love watching the little kids at our church as they run around; the girls with bows bobbing and skirts swaying, the little guys in their collared shirts and sweater vests. This past Sunday I saw one little girl— blonde curls, big hair bow, fluffy winter dress—cuddled in her daddy’s arms whispering to him, and my heart melted. I can’t wait to be a mom.

Yet, I find myself overwhelmed as I look at the tasks that await me as a mother. How will I train up my children to love and serve the Lord with radical abandon? How will I stay organized? How will I cook for them all (so thankful I don’t get ~ 10 at once and that I will have time to learn as they are added one I finish with fourteen-year-old Samantha’s hair. Long, -by-one—*pauses* unless the Lord has something in store I don’t dark, dark brown waves in swooping curls. The little ones around yet know about *laughing)? How will I show them who Jesus is? us are watching a movie nearby so we can keep an eye on them. They will entrust their hearts to their daddy and I—the Lord will Little two-year-old Abigail saunters up to the stool with entrust their hearts to my husband and I…what a task! But what joy! a brush in her hand. She looks at me with her big blue eyes and pats her head. Sometimes as I ponder what being a mother will “You want me to do your hair?” I ask. She nods with a smile, revealing her little baby teeth. She climbs up on the small stool and turns to face the TV. I run my fingers through her fine blonde hair, just playing with it. A braid. A ponytail. A twist…then I take it out and run my fingers through again. Her little body slumps in contentment the longer I go. I gradually slow down to a stop and scoot back in my chair to take a break. She turns around after

mean, I am overwhelmed. I think of all I will have to

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learn then and I ponder how in the world I will ever be a Gospelradiating mother. But then I realize a couple things.

Children have such faith. They trust those they love without question, and are easily persuaded. This is another thing to remember when you are around little ones. They notice your First, that the Lord will be with me as a mother, just as actions…how you respond to authority, and how you interact He is now with me as a single young woman. He grants me guidwith other people. They will mimic you. Remember Paul’s exance day by day in my life right now, and I know He will not fail hortation to Timothy: me in the future seasons He has in store for me. …but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, Second, I don’t have to “wait” to learn many of these in love, in faith, in purity. things. As a young woman who truly believes that it is the Lord’s will for her to one day be married with a brood of children -1 Timothy 4:12 (whether they are biological, adopted, or from foster care) I think This includes little ones. We, as young adults and teenthat part of my responsibility as a young woman is to prepare. agers, do play a part in the lives of the little children around us. Proverbs 31 is an excellent example of this truth. The young Remember that the messages you instill within hearts when they woman described did not learn all the character qualities she is are young, whether through direct communication or example, commended for in one day. They took time, work, and—I am will influence them for the rest of their lives. Little children are sure—many days of tears and sighs. She learned what it meant to the future. They are the ones who will come after us and proclaim “fear the Lord” and this showed in all her spheres of life…as the Gospel to a lost world. They are the ones who will walk cleaner, baker, mother, wife, merchant, worker, and hostess. through even deeper hardships then we have if our nation continWhat does this imply? That my training ground can ues down the path it is currently traveling on. Yet, if we are a begin now. When I hold a baby in my arms, I am holding the generation, and we mold a generation, that is radically willing to future. I am holding a little one that is a sinner and will either give everything for our Lord, who knows what can happen? With grow up and turn against my King, or bow his knee before the God, all things are possible. All that truly matters is that more throne and accept Him as Lord and Savior. I have a responsibility people come to know and serve our dear Savior. to be an example to all the little kids in my life. As young women, we have several opportunities when Take the opportunities the Lord gives you to serve with around young ones. First, we are given the opportunity to show little ones. That doesn’t mean it will always be sugar and spice. them Jesus through our example. Second, we are given the opporSometimes, it means watching a lightning bolt crawl around at tunity to practice patience, encouragement, and love—all characfifty miles per hour. Sometimes it means lots and lots of spit-up ter qualities we will need as mothers. But not only this! We get in and tears. Sometimes it means reading until your throat hurts. some practical practice of cleanup, changing diapers, quieting And sometimes it means administering punishment to a not-sotemper-tantrums etc. ;) Third, we are given the opportunity to willing subject, patiently and firmly with love. serve their mothers, and give a bit of ourselves. But take each task with joy. I am reminded of Matthew 20:26-28. …But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. I am reminded of how our Savior served. Remember what Jesus says about little children?

So let me encourage you to take the opportunities the Lord gives you to serve and play with/care for little ones. Remember how He gave all of Himself. Remember the Proverbs 31 woman. Remember that all of these things scribbled on the above pages are in vain if you do not love and fear the Lord. Praying that He begins to mold a future generation of mothers that will raise children in the knowledge of Him and for His glory alone. Because of His grace,

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is ~Melanie Joy the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to Check out her blog him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:1-4

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But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. -1 Corinthians 12:18b

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First, a little introduction to this new column in pray that as I study these women, I will learn from Debu... their examples and learn to trust God more with the plan for my life. Join me? “A String of Pearls” is a column about many In your opinion, who is the person who has women that God has influentially used in the lives of sacrificed the most, laid down their life for others, and His people. From Eve and Ruth to Sarah Edwards and strived for a greater cause? There are so many people Elisabeth Elliot, women all throughout history can who may come to mind, but I want to draw attention teach us something about ourselves and God. We can to the seemingly least of these: our mothers. Mothers learn from decisions they’ve made and apply lessons are some of the greatest servants in our lives, yet they they’ve learned to our own lives. “A String of Pearls” often go overlooked. I beg to argue mothers have one may not make sense to you...I like to think of it this of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Do you want way. Imagine a string or necklace of pearls. Each to be a wife and mother when you grow up? I do! pearl on the string is unique, beautiful and priceless. Well, if that is the case, we have our work cut out for Yet, there are many pearls connected on that one us. string. The one string represents our connection with Mothers have played an important role in life God through Christ. Just like those pearls, each wom- since the beginning of time. Without Eve being a an of God (no matter how old you are) is unique, mother, none of us would be here. (Now, I know that beautiful and priceless, and we are all connected by God could’ve made more people just like he made Adthe love that Christ showed for us on the Cross. In am and Eve, but that’s beside the point I’m making. this column I will share with you the stories of women Yes, fathers also have a part to play in this process, who have affected my life. In the inevitable compar- but this is a girls’ magazine and we are going to talk ing we will do, may we not be condemned by the about our mothers and save the fathers for a later shortcomings we see in ourselves, but be encouraged time.) Mothers are the “molders” of the next generaand look to God our Father for the grace to grow! I tion (Titus 2:4 and Proverbs 1:8). Don’t you think Page 29

that’s a big job? Mothers are the main caregivers for their children. Mothers are the washer women, the scullery cooks, the correctors of bad attitudes, the teachers, the house maids, the grocery shoppers, the chauffeurs, the babysitters, the child-bearers, the nose wipers, the stroller pushers, the clothes changers, the gospel preachers, the teeth brushers, the hair doers, the diaper changers, the bakers, and the dish ladies. This list could go on and on, but I think you get the general idea. A mom does almost everything! Do you think it is by her own sheer will-power? Make me laugh! The few times I have been in-charge of running the house have never come off without the hand of God immersed in my work, and a little help from Mommy. Imagine doing that all day, every day, for years and years. That is our future as wives and mothers. Are you beginning to see the great calling God has given us? Oh, and we are just at the beginning!

and begins interviewing new nannies to fill the vacant position. Enter Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. What basically happens here is she hires herself and heads straight up to the nursery. Mrs. Banks walks in to the living room where Mr. Banks is still searching the fireplace for the advertisement he tore up. They begin a conversation about the new nanny. Mrs. Banks asks, “Will she be firm with them? Will she mold our young breed?” This statement came to my attention only recently when I watched the movie with my family. Isn’t it a pity? “Will she mold our young breed?” coming from the mouth of a mother who is completely capable of caring for her children herself. God designed mothers to be the nurturers, caregivers and lovers of their children. Without my mother’s influence I’m absolutely positive I would not be where I am today. As the teachers and caregivers of their children, mothers are never at rest. Life is a mystery to a child who knows only what their mother and other inHave you ever seen Mary Poppins with Julie fluences teach them. It is God’s grace that mothers Andrews? Remember the scene right at the beginning and their families prosper. of the movie. The children are missing. Katie Nana has just quit her job as nanny and is leaving the I’m not the only one who wants to promote the Banks’s house for good. Following her departure, Mr. mothers who have laid down their lives for their famiBanks takes it upon himself to secure the next nanny, lies. I am joined by some friends who have some very encouraging things to say. Imagine yourself at a table with a group of your best girlfriends. This is Amy, Melanie, and I. We are all sipping coffee, hot chocolate, or tea and having a Q-and-A talk about our mothers, trying not to all talk at once. Pull up a chair at our table and join in the conversation. Be careful not to spill; our drinks are hot! Question 1: What has been your mom’s biggest affect on your spiritually? ~Amy: I love just talking with her and asking her questions. Being a teen, I'm growing up, and sometimes I have a lot of questions. I love how kind, but practical she is. When I get discouraged she'll sometimes say, "Lay it at the feet of Jesus!” ~Melanie: Her faith is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. She never gives up. She grows extremely weary, yes, but she truly knows what it means to “stand firm” when the world seems to crumble. I respect, admire, and desire this faith very much. She knows Whom she has believed (2 Timothy 1:12), and has truly trusted Him with her life. May I do so also!

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Question 2: How has your mom’s example of serving affected the way you serve? ~Amy: Her diligence. She plans out her days so she can serve. Also, her joy in serving is very evident. ~Melanie: She has been a continual example of sacrifice and love. Especially with my little sister Emily (who has Down Syndrome)… mom shows extreme patience and perseverance, even when it may seem overwhelming because Emily (literally) hardly ever leaves her side. She continually seeks to make Emily smile and play while spending time with her, even when she has every “right” to say, “Okay, I’m done now.” I admire this. So much. ~Me: When I was little, my mom and dad wanted to instill in my sisters and I a servant’s heart. From a young age, they carted us around to wherever they were serving, teaching us how to lay down our lives. Now, I love to serve! By the grace of God, that small serving seed my parents planted in my heart is growing!

Question 4: Do you have any special traditions with your mom that just the two of you do? ~Amy: We do random girl outings and we normally are the ones doing the holiday and birthday stuff, and we really enjoy doing that together. We also do normal house decorating sometimes. I love just goofing off with my Mom! ~Me: We love to bake and cook. Nothing is really a “tradition”, but we love to watch old movies with popcorn or ice-cream. British dramas of old books are some of our favorite movies to watch together. ~Melanie: Um, we both like (okay, love) to sprinkle (or perhaps, better said as “pour”?) salt on our grapefruits. Kinda odd, but true…

Her Diligence

Question 3: Do you and your mom serve anywhere together? ~Amy: Recently Mom heard of a lady who made up little packages of food to hand to homeless people and she jumped right on board with that. She bought a little book of John’s Gospel, granola bars, raisins, candy and water and we made up little packages that we will just have in our car to give. We also go to nursing homes together and spend time with the elderly people there. ~Me: We often go to spend time with younger moms in our church. My sisters and I occupy the kids while the mothers have the much needed, sane, adult discussion times. My mom and I also serve on the church Resource Team together, selling the books in the bookstore.

Now, here is something special for our mothers. I asked the girls this question.

Question 5: If you only had one chance to tell your mom what you loved about her, how thankful you were for her, or anything else, what would you say? ~Amy: Mom, you have done more for me than I will ever know. Thank you for raising me up in a godly way, and teaching me about Jesus. I love that you are such a good friend. Thank you for setting an example of how to love your husband and family. You’re great! ~Me: Mommy! This is documented for the world to see. I love you so much! Thank you for everything you have taught me! From how to peel potatoes to how to respectfully appeal to authority. You are a wonderful example of a godly woman who fears the Lord and has a quiet and gentle spirit. Thank \you for showing me what a healthy and loving (sometimes too loving) marriage looks like. You are, and always will be one of my dearest friends! Thanks you for investing in my soul for so many years, even when it was a struggle. God has fulfilled His promise to you; you sowed seeds and they have not returned void. I love you...this much! ~Melanie: Mom, I love you dearly. I know you know that, but I want to say it to you. Page 31

You’re example of perseverance and virtue throughout difficult circumstances has been and continues to be a huge inspiration to me. Your faith is absolutely incredible and I respect you deeply for it. Thank you for continually encouraging me to run to the Lord through your words to me, and just your everyday example. Thank you for your patience when I fail. Oh! Jesus has won my heart…and I know this causes you to smile and rejoice in your own heart. I love you so much!!

Well, that’s that. Mothers. Laying their lives down for others. Unconditionally. It’s amazing! Only by God’s grace can any of us achieve His purpose for us! If you haven’t told your mom how thankful you are for her recently, make a point to do so. It is encouraging for anyone to hear that they are appreciated. Make a point to say “thank you.” Tell her how much you enjoyed dinner and help her without being asked. Appreciate her in a way that is personal and special to her. Learn from her and thank her for it. Hopefully, we can make a small difference by showing appreciation. May we all grow to be glorifiers of His name!!*

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10 New Years Resolution Ideas 1.Pray Every Day 2.Read Your Bible Every Day 3.Read Your Bible in a Year 4.Volunteer regularly at church 5.Volunteer with Debu (send an email to 6.Skip dinner one Night a week and have “Rice Night� donate the money you save to a local hunger ministry 7. Go on a missions trip 8.Adopt a grandparent 9.Tell every member of your family that you love them every day of the year 10. Learn a new skill and find a way to serve the Lord while doing it. Page 34

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By Kendel Garcia

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I used to have this shirt that I wore all the time, it said, “I’m a princess my father is the King of Kings.” I loved it, and now after it is too small to wear I love the message that the shirt offered. Today I am going to share with you what this saying means to me, and what it inspires me to do. I am a Princess Everyone wants to be loved. That’s how God made us. He wired us so that we want to be accepted, cherished, and welcomed. He made us so that we desire community and fellowship more than we desire food and water. And though some of us may be blessed with an amazing family, loving friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ who love us unconditionally, we never have enough love. There is a void we have, a void we have created for ourselves. Our sin causes us to never feel enough love. Human emotions get the best of us, someone says something snarky and suddenly, no one loves us, and we respond with human emotions. We have a hole in our hearts which is nasty and infected, and it’s an empty void that can only be filled by the King. The King, our Redeemer, loves no matter what. He is constant; He is trustworthy; He is our Father. Our Father has declared ownership of our sad broken hearts and has decided to give them the cure for the void, and that cure is love. He has adopted us as His Children. As a daughter of the King, I am a princess and so are you. The warm, enveloping love of the Father makes me a princess. “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” –Romans 8:23 The Princess’ Duty I am all about being a princess; the incredibleness of God’s love amazes me so much I could simply bask in it all day. But as a princess of the Most High, my job is not to sit on the couch, eating bonbons, while looking pretty. No, the King has given us a mission, a cause if you will. A cause for the Kingdom— a battle ground where He asks us to fight for His honor and glory. What is your cause, you ask? Your cause is the need that the King has equipped you to meet. Your cause is the people that have broken hearts, yet to be cured by the King. Your cause is to spread the love that rescued you. You see a need and you meet it. You see an empty stomach and you fill it. You see a naked body and you clothe it. Page 37

You see an empty, broken heart and you fill it with love. Causes are people, the people you are called to help, to love, to nurture, to protect, and to encourage. Who is your cause? Where is the need you are called to meet? Who are you called to love?

God has given you a sword Once you’ve found your cause, you will be thrown into battle. But thankfully, we aren’t thrown into battle alone and weaponless. The Lord has gifted us with two main “weapons” with which we can approach the battlefield confidently and courageously:

You are called to be a warrior princess, to fight for the The first is the armor of God. Lord. To protect the broken and helpless. You have a “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty powmission, a cause; fight for it. er. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take “But someone may well say, "You have faith and I your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our strughave works; show me your faith without the works, gle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ruland I will show you my faith by my works."”-James ers, against the authorities, against the powers of this 2:18 dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in ‘"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done you did not do it to Me.'” –Matthew 25:45

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everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” –Ephesians 6:10-18 So, not only do we have the God of the universe backing us, but He’s given us armor! Who can stop us? Second, God has given us fellow believers who charge into battle alongside us. We have many unique brothers and sisters in Christ— *ehhemm excuse me*—Princes and Princesses. This is a gift often not utilized, for we want to charge into the fray and be the hero. But Jesus is the only true Hero. If we charge into battle alone, we will either get cut down or surrounded by the Enemy’s troops. Use your fellow believers for the weapon that God created them to be; a unified force wins the greatest battles. “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” -1 Timothy 6:12 Charge! So go, my sister! Bask in your Father, find your cause, fight the good fight, and let these words be your battle-cry: “YET NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE.” –Luke 22:42b

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For Those Who Wash Feet By Christina Polk

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I think it is her eyes that capture me first, the way they reflect the sunlight, large and almond shaped, so full of a tangible light. I can’t get over them, these children that I have come to serve as a student missionary to South Africa from my church. I am sixteen years old and this journey to the other side of the world has stretched me wide, made my heart split wide open and spill love and an inordinate amount of tears. I am at the Bible Study that our group is conducting in the slums for these kids, ninety- three in total, and this is the first day, the first time I have looked at all of their faces and been faced with ninety three reflections of Jesus. It’s blinding, all that shimmering love looking back at me. I beckon to the one girl that keeps looking at me, ask if she wants to sit on my lap. It’s a game in sign language since she speaks Zulu and I only English, but the message and answer are clear enough. As we sing, this child named Wendy sits with me, hands on my knees, at her feet the one plastic spoon that she has brought to eat the free meal that we will serve. I was to find out later from the pastor that it was the same one she had brought for the past two weeks as well. Preparing lunch for ninety-three kids outdoors is, to say the least, an adventure. There is a big rice pot that I have to keep stirring in the kitchen, vegetables to be cut with blunt knives, cups for juice to be poured into, forty in total. I am told this is not a problem; the kids who finish first will rinse the cups and they will be reused. Then there comes the moment when we, the Americans, have to call out ninety-three South African names. I think of telling God that I didn’t get the memo that these names have twenty letters at least, and that’s if they don’t use their middle name as well. There is also the matter that one must make a click on the roof of your mouth

on certain syllables, and the fact that this seems to elude my speaking capabilities. The job is a barrel of fun though, and when I relax, I find that it’s rather entertaining. It’s fun to butcher names, laugh, try again, fail, and prepare for another shot. The children are fascinated by the six of us who have traveled from my church’s youth group to come visit them. Questions fly at us, and we answer them as fast as we can. What is a state? Do I live next to Oprah and Chris Brown? How many celebrities have I met? What do I do in school? How many sports do I play? I get asked how early I have to walk to school, and the question stops me in my tracks. I hesitate to say that I ride in a 2009 Honda Accord with heating for the cold days and air conditioning when it gets a tad warm. In fact, I hesitate to say anything about my life back home, modest by American standards, but incredibly rich in this neighborhood called Ghamalake, the slums known around town, the streets carved from red dirt and the living structures without numbers. These people long for identity, to be known and loved, and they want, more than anything, to know that someone cares. Should I tell them of my dishwasher when I see a cracked dollarstore-bucket filled with cloudy water that they wash their dishes in? Should I tell them of my washing machine for my clothes when I see theirs blowing from scraps of string tied together to make a clothesline, the treasured school uniforms swinging gently in the breeze? I think fleetingly of how I complain about going to school each morning and how I whine about how depressing the building looks, the prison box where I have to learn. Granted, it’s hard going to public school, but my eyes are taking in the fact that I’m standing near the school where the majority of Page 42

these children go to learn. I’m looking at the pale green walls, peeling and cracked, the tarp-covered top, the door hanging awkwardly from its hinges, creaking a haunting melody of the poverty that has infiltrated all these kids’ lives. It is now time to play games, jump ropes are produced from our church; simple ones from the dollar store, but from the looks I am getting, heaven has surely arrived. I have never seen feet jump so fast, so high, so full of joy. There’s joy in the jumping, the reaching, the tripping, the falling. There’s joy in the magic of something new. I’m starting to see the way these kids do, the way their eyes shine as they point out the shape of the clouds, how they look like people, flowers, animals, something different every day. I look at the pitiful playground area in the middle of “town” the way that my new friends do. The rusted iron structures are gateways to heaven, and look, a field! Something to run across! It’s not just a spot where all the cows come and belt out hungry moos; it’s where we gather “wildflower” weeds and weave crowns and dream dreams together. It strikes me how there are ninetythree people who have already learned Paul’s message about being content in every situation. These kids have learned to give thanks, not only to take what God gives with grace, but to thank Him for it. God is thanked for everything, for the riches that He bestows that would seem like inflictions of poverty to other western nations.

my life. Here, I see people give thanks to God through AIDS, through abandonment, through having to be the one to run their family at the grand age of eight years old. My shallowness cuts deep, because hardship is all these people have ever known, and they still exhibit this great joy with their problems, inconceivable in America, because they believe with all their hearts that God is good – always.

A hand slips through mine. I gaze into the eyes of Wendy and see that she has brought three more friends with her: Nompilo, Gnequoquo, and Quin. They have the shy, questioning look in their eyes, and I wait for whatever it is that they want to ask. Wendy interprets their words quietly and with a smile. “They want to know if…we can all hold your hand while we walk across the field.” And so I divide my hands, two or three fingers for each one, and we walk with a purpose. We are the King’s daughters, and these girls know it. Their heads are held high, their smiles are blazes of brilliance in the afternoon heat. I think about what I’m going to say when I get home to everyone asking about my trip. I already know it’s been the best one of my entire life, but I’m still figuring out why. I finally think I’m catching a glimpse of the answer: the mission trip had nothing to do with me. It surprises me how freeing the statement is. One would think that I would be stressed about all the planning and the organizing and the pleading with God to use all of us with our unique skills and talents. I remember a prayer that our youth pastor prayed over us before we left, I am feeling rather uneducated right about saying, “God, we’re going because You called us, and now. How have I lived sixteen years of my life and not known? I’ve been too busy serving myself and not I already know that our plans aren’t going to go the picture-perfect way that we want them to. So just God, and I feel like I’m just learning my ABC’s all show us how to wash feet this week, to make these over again. I have always thanked God for the good people feel lovely and special, like all Your children things, but have I actually tried to find the joy in the are supposed to feel.” It has stuck with me when I spin hardship? God doesn’t make mistakes, and hardship will always be here, and I’ve unconsciously just writ- wildly in the fields in new clapping games that “my ten it off as small or big errors that have happened in girls” were teaching me, through taxi rides when I can feel their scent on me from all the hundreds of hugs

God is good-all the time

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I’d been given, through the smiles that almost blind me. This week, I have loved, and I have fallen hard for these people who are chasing after God, having His heart inside them, a burning ember that is reaching past their neighborhood and into the world.

struck by how simple all of it is, how Americans think they have to put a value on everything, and it just doesn’t work that way over here. We always keep points. A favor for a favor. A gift for a gift. A smile for a smile. I am a dreamer, and I imagine. What if we They are funny, God’s curve balls. I think I am loved because we could, because we know extravagant love is so powerful that it can save lives? Why boarding a plane to serve others, and I end up being the one served, the one observing so that I might serve not? Jesus’ love saved me, and I did nothing to deserve that. My mind is running wild, and I think more others the same way that these South Africans do. crazy thoughts. What if we smiled at people because These that live in Ghamalake, they know nothing they didn’t smile at us, to make them feel like they about money, but they know everything about love, and that the love of money leads to no solution at all. have worth so that they might smile the next time? These children run their lives by God’s ways. They go What if we praised God with not only our voices but our actions, and we gave of ourselves, not of our posthe extra mile to make people feel special and happy sessions, and we were happy doing so? The thought because they can. They hug and kiss foreigners’ makes my heart fly as we drive away.* cheeks because this is their way, and this is God’s way, and this is how they run their lives. I’m dumb-

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Those who made this issue possible:

Kylie Ramos Melanie Knapp Missy Ramos Neeley Moore Nela Holmes


Sierra Brewer

Kendel Garcia Editor in Chief

Tucker Pendleton

Kylie Ramos Managing Editor Melanie Knapp Executive Editor

Models Bryce Ramos


Cody Knapp


Debbi Garcia

Cherrie Wagner

Emma Williams

Christina Polk

Hannah Ruzicka

Kendel Garcia

Kendall Hayden

Khloe Williams

Kendel Garcia

Kylie Ramos

Khloe Williams

Melanie Knapp

Kylie Ramos

Sierra Brewer

Melanie Knapp

Tiffani Hockings

Neeley Moore Tucker Pendleton

Photographers Bryce Ramos Fawn Lawson Kendall Hayden Kendel Garcia Khloe Williams Page 48

Debu Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1 All For His Glory

Volume 2 Issue 1  

Debu Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1

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