Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just Because

It's been a while since I have posted anything. Not because I haven't wanted to, but I just simply have not had the time to sit down and edit my thoughts into a cohesive and readable form. I will admit that I don't really have any purpose for this particular post, I just really wanted to write today.

I almost died last week! Did that get your attention? I have almost died several times here. The drivers are insane. I was literally one light down from my house, and this dude just crosses across my lane without even looking. I braked and stopped literally 2 inches from his drivers side door. I know it was God who stopped my car in time. The impact would have killed him instantly, and probably would have killed me as well. So, don't forget to pray for a safe trip every time you enter your car!

Since we are on the subject of cars...
Last week my co-worker's car broke down and I drove her to her second job a couple of times. One of the days we got stuck behind a pretty bad traffic jam, when we realized that one of the cars in front of us had died and the passenger was trying to push it all the way up the exit and off to the side. Keep in mind that Texas drivers are insane and also that this is in the middle of a construction zone. Cars were driving up on the sidewalk, wrecking the bottoms of their cars, just to get around this person. NO ONE was getting out and helping this person push their car to safety. Long story short, my co-worker and I got out of the car and helped push this car into a random neighborhood, and out of the way. Seriously, two girls that are barely 5 feet tall could get out and help push a car, but no guys could get out?!? What the heck, Texas?

In other (still car related) news, I finally registered my car in the state of Texas. It took about 4 hours, but I did it. Next thing to do is to get my Texas Driver's License, which I will do next time I have any money, since the registration fees practically bled me dry. It was frustrating, but I have to admit, it feels pretty good to be able to do all of these "grown up" things on my own. I'm learning so much about myself and just about life in general.

I have been blessed and honored to serve with the Imagine Praise Team. With them, I sang at a Texas District event for college and career students called, "Fuel", and I also got to sing at a Bi-lingual (Spanish and English) district event at our church. Also, this past Wednesday,  I lead worship for the first time! That was a really surreal experience for me. I just kept thinking back to all of the things I have been through and all of the times that people in ministry told me I wasn't good enough or that I wasn't anointed and that I wouldn't amount to anything. I feel overwhelmed and blessed by the amount of love and support that is found in every member of ministry and in every member of the congregation here at North Cities. It just means so much to me that anyone would even afford me the opportunity to go in front of my peers and do what I believe that I am called to do. God is good all of the time.

Something I'm realizing more and more every day is just how much I miss my family. December really can't come soon enough. It will be nice to be back in Portland, even if it is just for a week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Something I wrote about girls like you

DISCLAIMER: I did NOT write this. This is written by my very talented sister, Kristy. Enjoy.

Something I wrote about girls like you

How can one person be so innocent
and vicious; charming and conniving?
A witch that's bewitching
Using words as teeth and hugs as weapons
Switching lies for truth and truth for lie
Ending every sentence with, "I love you, goodbye"

-Kristy Yauger

Friday, September 27, 2013

Overcoming Fear and Claiming Victory

 Lately, I have been dealing with fear. This is a new thing for me. I mean yeah, I had the typical phobias; spiders, snakes, blood, the pitch dark, but nothing so crippling as what I have experienced since my move here.

Some of you are aware of the fact that I battled some very strange health issues in Oregon, and that for a period of time I had to give up my license and wear a heart monitor. For those of you who didn't know, well, you do now. Long story short, God used that experience to reveal to me that the physical symptoms I was experiencing were not at all related to a physical ailment, but were in fact a physical manifestation of my spiritual surroundings. It was God's way of shaking me up and opening my eyes.
Obviously, Texas is very different than Oregon, so the physical and spiritual environment is going to be different as well. Music sets me off now. I was sensitive to this in Oregon too, but not on the level that I am now. A group of my friends took Kristy and I to the Hard Rock CafĂ© back in August for our birthday weekend, and I literally had to get up and walk out of the restaurant. The music and the videos stirred something so ominous and wicked up in the atmosphere, and it was all I could do to avoid losing consciousness in front of my friends. I was literally holding my head in my hands and on the verge of tears in the middle of my birthday dinner.

Perhaps some of you are also familiar with my story of encountering a demon on my mission trip to Switzerland last year. For those of you who aren't, please feel free to read my post from August 13, 2012, titled, "Friday the 13th".
I had another, more intense experience on Monday night.
I got home from work on Monday, September 23rd feeling ridiculously exhausted. I started reading a book, and when Monica (my roommate) got home at around 6:30pm, I was already dozing off.  I finally decided that I would go into my room and take an hour snooze and then get up and get some things done. One hour turned in 15 hours. I was in a hallucinatory state the entire night, I felt off, yet I couldn't bring myself to wake up. I had a few kooky dreams, but nothing alarming. I have no idea what time it was, but at some point in the night, I woke up, rolled over onto my right side, and looked around the room. I remember looking out my window, realizing that it was dark outside and debating whether or not I should try to wake up. Suddenly, I realized that there was another body in the bed, laying directly behind me. I could feel the body heat and I could hear the heartbeat. I reached behind me and I could feel a solid mass, but when I turned to look at it, I could not see anything. It was as if my eyes stopped working altogether. The atmosphere suddenly changed, and I immediately became aware that I was in danger. I began to sit up in my bed, when I was pushed down by another entity , and the solid mass that was previously behind me, began to push itself down on top of me. The room was now pitch black, and I could not see anything at all. The air became dense and I had a hard time breathing. I immediately began to open my mouth to cry out the name of Jesus and rebuke it, but my mouth couldn't seem to form the words. The words came out broken and in a whisper. At this point I began to worry for my life. I tried shouting the words, and thinking them over and over in my mind, "Jesus, Jesus, In Jesus Name. I rebuke you, I rebuke you!".  I then began to back up out of my bed, in order to push whatever was behind me out of the bed. I backed up out of my bed into a standing position, when suddenly my vision was restored. The demons were gone, and my room was normal, yet here I was standing in the middle of my floor, saying "Jesus" over and over again at some ridiculous hour in the night. There is definitely power in the name of Jesus. No one can tell me otherwise. After this horrifying ordeal, I calmly jumped back into bed and resumed sleeping, because that's totally normal...

Little did I know, the enemy was aware that God would do something amazing the following night, and wanted to instill fear into my heart as if to stop me from doing God's will.
Tuesday night after Connect (youth group bible study), I went out to McDonald's with one of the girls to talk. We got to talking and she began to open up to me about some things going on in her life. I felt impressed to pray and I told her so. She looked at me and said, "Uh...okay, but right here in the McDonald's?". I said, "NO, I think we should go out into the parking lot".
So we did. We went out to the McDonald's parking lot and we began to pray. At first, not much was happening. Then we rose our hands, and God told me to open my mouth and that he would give me the words to minister to my friend. I turned to my friend and simply opened my mouth. God completely took over and began to quite LITERALLY speak through me. It was a night that neither of us girls will ever forget. Seriously, what a humbling experience. Also, I think it was great entertainment for the people picking up food from the drive thru that night.

Why I am I telling you all of this? I don't know. I just felt to. Honestly, it's too good not to share. Also, I am having to learn how to deal with spiritual intimidation and the fear of my own flesh. If we can just push past these fears and trust in God, he could really use us in a way that we never thought possible.
I'm not used to being attacked in this way, and I hate it. However, my God is so much bigger than that. He is not the author of fear, but the author of peace. I am learning how to claim victory over fear with the help of my creator.

On a much lighter note, I did face one of my biggest physical phobias on the 19th, when I allowed an examiner to take 2 vials of my blood. I didn't even pass out! How crazy is that?!?
Here I am, just learning every day and doing weird stuff I never would've done back home. It is what it is, homes.

*9 weeks and 2 days in, and I'm still loving Texas. Loving it more every day. Oregon, you may have some competition. *

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slightly Sick for Home

I experienced my first official feelings of "home sickness" as of last week.
It only took me 7 weeks, after all.

As some of you know, I work at a call center that schedules life insurance exams for applicants of  various insurance companies. Last week I took a call from this guy with a 503 (Oregon area code) phone number. I took down the address for the exam and suddenly realized that he was from my home city of Hillsboro. Before I knew it, my eyes experienced  a strange stinging sensation accompanied by light wateriness. In the same week, I heard news that my good friend, Raymond Mason and his wife, Iryna, were planning on moving back to Oregon. This motif of Oregon got me thinking...I started missing the trees, the insanely fresh and clean air, the mountains, the sky, the rain, the weirdness, the art, the adventure, the hippies, my friends, my FAMILY.
I miss asking my parents for advice, I miss my dad's weird sense of humor and my mom's amazing cooking, I miss my strange and yet awesome bromance with my sister Kristy, I miss weird scifi movies and videogames, I miss my bratty cat, I miss my lumpy bed, I miss my hipster clothing and giant hipster glasses, I miss it all.

So much missing Oregon in one week. A lot of these emotions have transferred over to this week as well. It's weird though, I haven't actually had a sit down, break down, cry it out moment. Instead, I experience a trigger, a reminder of home, I feel a twinge of pain in my normally icy heart, and then I move on. I think it helps that I haven't really had the time to sit down and process what I'm missing. I have been too pleasantly and hectically busy.
I plan on going back to Portland to visit sometime in December, at which point I am sure I will become completely overwhelmed by emotion and will finally realize just how much I have missed everyone and everything. I plan on bawling like a newborn.

So, here I am, a survivor of 8 weeks and 1 day in the state of Texas. I will admit that I have fallen in love with this place. So, I guess half of my heart is in Oregon, and the other half is here. For now, this is my home. I don't know how long "now" is, but I do know that I belong here and that God has brought me to this place for a purpose.

For those of you who are reading this in love and support: Thank you and you are awesome.

For those of you reading this to be nosy, and who are still hoping for my imminent fail (you know who you are, and I know who you are): You will be waiting for a very long time. I suggest you do something productive with your OWN life. Oh, and Jesus Loves You.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Happy Happy

Alright everyone! I'm finally taking the time to sit down and update you all on my transition from Oregon to Texas.

I tend to be a pretty crazy and impulsive person, but even I will admit that this is by far the craziest thing that I have ever done. Leaving my family and friends was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences for me, and I questioned the validity of this decision up until the morning that I left Oregon.

Truth be told, God gave me plenty of notice. I knew the moment that I landed here in 2009, that I would eventually return. I just didn't know how or when. Moving here was something that I have looked forward to since December, and I knew it would change my life, but man...I didn't expect this much goodness in one place. I honestly don't even know where to begin.

I have been here 6 weeks now, and was blessed to have Kristy here with me for my first month here. Together we experienced kindness, love, and acceptance amongst the youth here that we very rarely  experienced in Oregon. We made a solid of group of friends who have already changed my life in the short 6 weeks that I have known them. I believe that God has ordained these friendships. I feel more than blessed.

I attend a church congregation of 1400 and counting. The Holy Ghost moves every service, and multiple people are baptized every service. It has been upwards of 100 people baptized in this year alone. I have involved myself in as many youth oriented programs as I can at this point, and have joined the youth praise singing group. I also had the unique opportunity to help cook breakfast for the discipleship program for new members (called Foundations) with my roommate, Monica, up until last week when the class ended. So, I'm pretty much at church related events at least 3-4 times a week. It is truly amazing to be a part of a church in revival and I can't wait to see what God has in store. I already feel changed and I know that God is just getting started.
I believe that I have finally left the valley and have reached my mountaintop. It's a strange and enlightening experience. I love my roommate, I love my friends,  I love my God, I have a job. For the first time in a very long time I am happy. Truly and unequivocally joyful.

OF course I miss my family very dearly and I miss my friends in Oregon. For those of you who supported me in this, I just want to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude. Without your prayers I wouldn't be where I am. I was dying, and you breathed life back into me. For this, and so much more, I thank you.

I will try to be better about updating you all about my life here in TX. I can't guarantee anything, but I will definitely be making a more concerted effort.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Close, but no Cigar

It is the end of day 3 of the epic family road trip to Texas.
I haven't even been driving, but I am completely exhausted. The rest of the family is pretty dead as well.

We finally made it over the state lines into Texas, but we are still an entire 8-9 hours away from our desired destination. Close, but no cigar!

Oddly enough, I'm still fairly calm about this transition. I say fairly, because I did get a few butterflies once I realized that I was in Texas and that I am actually going through with this.

This is real. Oh boy, let the freak out begin...tomorrow.

Pack, but please leave the baggage behind

I'm sitting in a hotel room here in Wyoming while the rest of my family sleeps, just thinking about the course that my life has taken in the last 2-2.5 years or so.
It has been a whirlwind of pain, loss, horror, heartbreak, but ultimately, victory.

I could entertain you with every single raw detail, and I probably would find some sort of satisfaction in exposing the truths in my life, but I simply don't have the time or energy to relive these moments. This post is not about complaining about my woes or the wrongs that have been done to me. Instead, this post is about leaving all of this baggage behind.

There are very few people outside of my family who know my heart, and who have stood by side during my personal trials. To those of you, I just want to say, I love you and I could've never made it without your prayers and words of encouragement. Without you, I would have lost my mind.

Thank you, Jesus. You are amazing. Thank you for placing these beacons of hope and love in my life. Thank you for speaking to me, and giving me the boldness and strength to keep moving forward. Your mercies are new every morning.
Phillipians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

I find it strange to think that this time a year ago, I was just returning from a youth mission trip to Switzerland/Liechtenstein and now I am embarking on a completely new adventure. I am leaving all of my family and friends behind, and moving to Texas.
For those of you who know me, I am very much a "Type A" personality...or at least I was. I plan everything; I calculate pros and cons, I make charts...I STRESS.
I almost never make a decision that doesn't make logical or financial sense.
For the first time in my life, I do not have a plan.
I have no idea what will happen in Texas.
I am completely trusting in God, and knowing that he has a reason for sending me. I am confidently jumping into the unknown without any contingency plans whatsoever, knowing that I will find a safe landing.

So here I am, sitting in a hotel room in the middle of Wyoming, ending day 2 of the road trip that will inevitably alter the course of the rest of my life.
It's time for a fresh start.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 16th: I'll fly away

Monday, July 16 2012

*Last Switzerland Post*---ONLY a year after the fact....

The time has come for us to all go our separate ways and return to our lands of origin. I found it strange how people who just met a mere 10 days ago could feel so connected. It's weird, there was a sort of sadness that came over me when I realized that it would be a really, really long time before I would ever see any of these people...if ever again. We all played a part in each other's lives, even if it was just for a very small period of time. I know that most of these people will move on and accomplish great things in very influential ministries and that they will bless people's lives. I guess that realization sort of took a bit of the edge off...but only a little.

The morning was severely stressful. Group B (people who are primarily from the East Coast) had to leave earlier than Group A (my group, West Coast) in order to take the tram that would take them to the airport in time.

We went on the trip in two different groups, and that is how we left.
Today was really fuzzy, as we were running this way and that, so I'm hazy on the details, but the tram system was off today, so we had a really difficult time getting to the airport.
We kept getting on, getting off and had to ask many a pedestrian for directions.
Bro. Mann was heading up Group A's return to the airport and somehow managed to get the whole lot of us on and off of the tram each time, which believe you me, was near impossible due to the packed nature of these trams. We were so panicked that we would somehow leave someone behind.
Luckily, we did not.

We did make it to the airport (OBVIOUSLY...I've only been home for a year!). When we arrived, we realized that Group B had only just arrived as well, and they were in the process of checking in.
We said goodbye to them for real and hoped that they all got on their flight successfully (they did, but just barely).
Group A got onto our flight to New York, and instead of sleeping like we should have, we spent most of the time talking with people, getting last minute signatures in our books and just having a good time. Then the rest of the flight was spent watching movies. The great thing about our airline, is that we had access to a ton of movies, new releases too. I spent most of my time, sleep watching a bunch of comedies. It helped pass the time, but not by much. I was like a 5 year old again; too tired to stay awake, but too afraid that I would miss something important if I actually did fall asleep. I think most everyone else felt the same way.

We got into New York, through customs, and then it was time for us to part ways. Since we were all responsible for our own flights home from New York, we all had different flight schedules and pretty much began saying goodbye at the baggage claim.

At first I just sort of wandered aimlessly in an attempt to find my airline and possibly check in, except for the fact that I was hours too early to check in.
So, I just awkwardly found a seat available next to a stranger and found a plug in for my phone, so I could finally call home and check in.
Every communication, every interaction has a purpose.

Long story short, I got to talking to this lady and she told me all about her family and her grandbaby who had a lot of health problems. I asked the lady her name. Her name was Pechy Vara.
She began telling me about some of her personal ailments, and I began to feel this sudden urge to pray for her. Before I could even stop myself, I turned to Pechy and asked her if I could pray for her.
She didn't even hesitate to say, "yes!". So right there, in the middle of the New York airport, I prayed for this perfect stranger. She thanked me and then gave me her contact information. We began to talk about God and the recent trip I went on. You never know when God will present a witnessing opportunity.

Shortly after my interaction with Pechy, I ran into Rachel Kolarovski, a fellow member of the Switzerland AYC trip. She was awaiting her flight back to Canada. Rachel and I decided to pass the time by exploring the airport. We grabbed some lunch, and then we had a wonderful opportunity to get to talk about the differences between Pentecostal churches in Canada and their American counterparts. The conversation was eye opening and just reaffirmed for me that it is completely unacceptable to be judgmental of one another. We need to love each other and support one another in Christ. I was really grateful for the time spent with Rachel, and was sorry that I didn't get the opportunity to hang out with her more on the actual trip itself.

Rachel and I. We were SOOOO tired!
In conclusion, this trip to Switzerland was a blessing to me and a blessing to the churches in the Switzerland area. This awakened a passion for reaching the lost, and a hunger for traveling. I learned so much about myself and about the power and faithfulness of God. I remember questioning if this trip would even be a reality. God provided for me through friends and family.
For all of you who prayed and blessed me financially, I just want to say THANK YOU.
I cannot fully articulate what this experience has meant to me, or how it has affected the entire course of my life. I hope these blog posts, although very spread out, were able to illustrate even just a mere fraction of my experiences, and that they were able to bless your life in some way.

God is good.