The Lord is SO Faithful!

The past week has been really good and relatively normal (normal weeks have been in short supply this year). My teammates went to Pepe, English classes, Bible studies, Home school, and other regular ministries on our schedule which was really nice. This week one of my teammates, Jess, and I noticed God's faithfulness in our ministries and the fruit He is allowing us see in this part of our trip and I would just like to tell you all about some of things were are seeing.
First, in one of my favorite ministries, basketball, a guy that has been consistently coming to our study received Christ one night after our study. John Michelle, the man who started basketball ministry in this zone, talked with Alex one night after our study and in the end Alex received Christ. That alone is amazing but this past week as I sat at basketball ministry and observed Alex I could see that he is changing. His demeanor was lighter and his eyes a little brighter and I am so thankful for what the Lord is doing in his life. At Skola Di Vida, a place my teammates and I teach English, we were having some difficulty with a boy who although is incredibly smart, he would not listen, would sometimes not do his work, and who was just hard headed. Some of the kids we teach have really difficult home lives, and although it is frustrating during class as we teach and they do not act respectfully sometimes, we must remember that we do not know everything that they are going through and we must pray to have grace with them everyday. Never the less, this boy we had difficulty with this past week was completely different. A few weeks ago I felt like he would not look me in the eyes or listen but this week I noticed him looking me in the eyes, listening, participating and it was really beautiful. Next, in the zone we do house studies with outside the city ("na fora"), as they call it, we are seeing a lot of growth. With one study it was simply that it felt more like group studying God's word instead of just teaching, in one the teaching touched a woman's heart and she wants us to start a study in her home, and in another the girl we are meeting with is asking questions and seeking after the Lord. Lastly, the Lord is showing himself faithful in my teammates lives as we are looking to what next year holds. He is giving direction and opening doors for our futures and we are thankful to see Him guide us and excited to see where he leads us in new phases of life. There are a few other testaments of God's faithfulness from our team and ministries but these are a few I have noticed over the past week. God is so faithful and so good. As Jess realized and shared with me this past week, we may have had a really rough beginning with tears and lots adapting but the Lord is graciously allowing us to see some fruit from our time here and I just wanted to share a little bit of what the Lord is showing us here in Cape Verde.

Please continue to pray for our team as we seek the Lord and strive to be a vessel for Him. Also for our minds to be present here this week during ministry as we are beginning to plan for next year and our next steps. We love it here, but sometimes it is hard to not be consumed with home trying to make plans for next year. We need to be praying to be present everyday and to ask God to help our focus to be here. Another prayer request would be for the Italy team that is here with us. As many people may know, the corona virus has impacted Italy and that impacts the team here as they have plans to return to Italy in late April.
- Two times in the past two days I have heard a message about how the Lord has created a time for everything under the sun. Although this is a great comfort, it reminds me of the trust we must put in the Lord for the Italy team, our time here, next year and more. Pray that my team and I will trust the Lord and His timing for this year and the next.

Long Time No Skreve


It has been a really long time since I've written a blog and I'm sorry for that. In the past couple of months a lot has happened. Lots of laughs, lots of new experiences, lots of lessons of which I am very thankful for. The Lord has truly blessed me with five months (so far) filled with learning and growth. Over the past few weeks I am seeing some lessons the Lord is teaching me, and just how he has allowed me to experience new things for His glory. I feel like I am constantly learning of God's sovereignty and being reminded that I really can rest in His plan. Even the struggles I have he knows, and it is really comforting to know He has a plan for everything. It is also comforting to know that God reveals struggles and allows us to go through difficult or stressful times so he can teach us more about himself, ourselves, and others. The past couple of months have been really full leading to some stress, but a lot of growth and fun.  Full of new things like the Italy team joining us here in Cape Verde, new additions to my schedule, and new island experiences.

The Global Year team from Italy has joined us here in Cape Verde for 90 days due to their visa only allowing them to remain in Italy for 90 days at a time and leave the country for 90 days in order to return. There are seven of them including their leader, two girls, five boys - evening out our original seven girls and two boys but I really love them so much!! They arrived January 8th and since they have arrived our teams have truly meshed and we are a really big family. It has been so amazing to introduce them to Cape Verde and share our experiences and skills to work together to serve the Lord. They have challenged our team to bond and explore more as they are really close and love to be adventurous. One really obvious way they have helped us here in Cape Verde is just the simple fact that because our team has grown, our ministry opportunities have grown as well. We are involved in a couple more house studies, another English class and other opportunities. I am really thankful to have the Italy team here. It is really nice to have other people in the same stage of life as you, experiencing the same thing as you so that you can grow and learn from each other.

With the Italy team's arrival, my schedule changed and I am now focusing on teaching English with Jonathan, and Emerson, from Italy, and Jacob who has been in Cape Verde. This has been a challenge but defiantly a blessing. I have loved getting to know my teammates, new and old, better and learning how to organize and execute a basic English class. We teach Tuesday through Friday in two locations: ICCA, and Skola di Vida. We have been teaching in Skola di Vida for a few months now and will continue but classes at ICCA are new and are going really well. So far our focus has been on teaching them some basic, using songs and some fun interactive games, along with ending our classes with a Bible story to teach them about Jesus.

One last new thing has been the opportunity I had to go on a short term trip to the island called Brava. Brava means "wild" or "untamed" and it is exactly that. The island is mountainous and beautiful and also known for it's flowers. This is the smallest island in Cape Verde and has a very small population and an even smaller population of believers. Although the island was the first reached with the gospel, there are few true believers and only a Catholic church, and a Nazarene church present on the Island. A few teammates and I, two of our Pastors, Judjuka and her husband from Brava and another woman from our church set out for Brava on a five hour boat ride. We arrived safely and with a mission that we would visit Judjuka's family, do house visits/evangelism and just try to sow seeds and water seeds that have been sowed. Our trip was only four days including travel, but it was a really special time. I was humbled by the people's openness and hospitality, and walked in awe at how our pastor sang with us and how he easily recounted Bible stories in homes. Our time at Brava was sweet, and uncomfortable, but we got to see how the Lord is working in their hearts. We were able to witness a few people coming to Christ and encourage those who are already believers. I left feeling full, yet challenged that my faith needed to grow and thankful for the time I got to spend with my team and leaders. My favorite part was spending time with my Pastors, Pastor Manuel and Pastor Scho. They are so strong and lead with such joy yet with an ferverence for the Gospel and Jesus. I am really thankful to have been able to spend time talking with them, singing, and just walking with them.

 Please be praying for Brava. The people there do not really have leaders other than themselves to grow in their faith. Pray that a fire would start in their hearts to share what they know and a fire to grow in God's word and their relationship with Him. Please also be praying for my team as we continue to mesh, work and grow together.

Full Schedule, Full Weekend

Hello! Thankful for all the prayers and support from back home as I miss my family and friends during the Christmas season. It really is almost Christmas, but it really does not feel like it most of the time. There is a little Christmas tree on our kitchen table and in the living room, some Christmas lights in the town, but Christmas is not advertised as it is in America. In America around this time of year everything surrounds Christmas but it just is not the same here. I miss the Christmas feel of home some, but for the most part it's surprisingly okay. I think because everything has changed the idea of Christmas not being the same as it has been in the past has just been adapted in my mind. I miss home some, but this is a season that the Lord has been giving me peace and contentment in which is a blessing. Our schedule for the past couple of weeks has been changing and full, but our ministries have been good and we are being challenged in new ways like teaching in Kriolu, meeting new people, and will continue to be challenged more and more.
This past weekend my team and I had the opportunity to witness two important events: a wedding, and baptism Sunday.  
Saturday my team and I had a special opportunity to witness the first wedding in a village called Ribonegua in the interior of the Island. The wedding was in the village church, decorated with banana leaves and other green plants and participants of the wedding wore red and white. It was beautiful and simple. my favorite part of the wedding was the vows as the bride and groom repeated the vow Ruth made to Naomi. I had never heard of these vows being said at a wedding but I thought it was so beautiful and strong. It was cool to witness a wedding in another country, and I loved spending time with my team that day. 
Sunday my team and I went to baptism Sunday! I loved the whole day! First a few of my teammates and I went to pick up people, then we arrived at the beach Gamboa. It always brings me joy to see our friends from the churches and I am thankful I got to see everyone yesterday. We began, praised the Lord, then headed to the ocean for baptisms. They took people down to the water two or three at a time and baptized. We stood on the shore and watched or praised the Lord with variations of singing, clapping and of course some dancing. I love the way they worship. It is not just a song to them, it is joy and a way of fellowship and this moment was no different. As the baptisms concluded, we went back to our seats. A pastor preached a short sermon on baptism  and shortly after we took communion. I thought taking communion right after baptisms was beautiful as it seemed to really emcapture the new baptized believers into Christ's family. The day was great and was a celebration even in the heat and sunburn that was a result of being outside.

Late Thanksgiving Update:

Hello! Happy (late) Thanksgiving!!! I know I was not home for Thanksgiving, but our time here was so sweet for thanksgiving. All the American missionary families got together and had a huge, yummy Thanksgiving meal that was awesome! I had a blast as we ate, introduced our friend Michael to his first thanksgiving, played games and got to know everyone a little better. I was apprehensive about the holidays because of the nostalgia the season brings as going through the holidays without my family will be difficult but my team and I have gained such an amazing, loving Cape Verdean family. The Lord has truly blessed us with sweet friends and I am so thankful. 
The past couple of weeks have been smooth ministry wise, a little bumpy emotionally and spiritually but the Lord is still good. I have become involved in a soccer ministry in the morning that I have really enjoyed the past couple of weeks. It has been a great way to start my day with energy and movement along with being another way to be an example for Christ and build new relationships. 
My team and I had a special opportunity to eat lunch in a home where we have a Bible study yesterday. They invited us over for lunch and we had a great time of fellowship before the meal was ready. We played some Bible trivia and sang a lot of songs in order to wait for the meal but this time was great to just spend time with our friends. Having lunch in their home seemed to take our relationship a little deeper which was sweet and special. When the lunch was ready, we ate a delicious meal then began our Bible study. Although it may have been a bit of a long day because we went to lunch right after church, I could tell our relationship with those friends grew deeper and I am excited to how we will all continue to grow this year. I am so thankful for how these people love us as they are kind and warm and genuinely study God’s word even in such a simple home setting. 

Prayer Requests: 

  • The holiday season as it will be busy here and my team and I will be dealing with different emotions as we are away from home. 
  •  That this week would be focused on the eternal mission and not just going through the motions;
    relying and looking to God this week constantly in my ministry. 
  •  For my team and I to continue to grow in our language skills and grow in confidence to practice and speak. 
  •  Growing relationships this week.

This Week is Thanksgiving
Hey! The past few weeks have really flown by and I can hardly believe this week is thanksgiving (meaning Christmas is approaching soon!) I am so blessed to be here in Cape Verde to see God here in the lives of these people. God has also been teaching my team and I so much about who He is and who he has created us to be. I am excited for the time to come and I am so thankful to be here building relationships and watching the Lord work, and watching the Lord teach all of us.

Even in difficulty, God is our comfort.
Even in doubt, God gives us faith and grace.
He is a good God, showing grace to us constantly.

Praise the Lord!

2 Month Mark

 My team and I have been here in Cape Verde for two whole months! It has been hard, fun, and so many more emotions rolled into one. I am so thankful for the time I have had already in Cape Verde and I am excited and feel an urgency about the remaining months. I have loved making relationships in our different ministries from children at Pepe (preschool) to the young adults and adults on the worship team. The Lord has really blessed my team and I with relationships and the desire to see them grow. It has been very interesting to see how our relationships grow a little more each week as we continue to get to know people and simply learn more and more of the language. I look forward to seeing our friends in ministry and love them dearly.
Language has continued to be a challenge, but I love it! The more we speak the language, the easier it is to carry conversations and build on to the relationships we have made. It certainly has been a challenge and some days are easier than others but I have enjoyed learning another language.
My team and I were refreshed by Pastor Gene and Mr. Johnny Condrey as they came to visit for a week. It was great to have someone here who knows where I am from, my family and friends, and to be able to have a little taste of home away from home. I also enjoyed showing Pastor around our ministries here in Cape Verde such as Pepe, basketball, house church, and Eskola di Vida (school of life). I am so thankful God allowed Pastor Gene and Mr. Johnny to come and visit us. They were certainly an encouragement and comfort and I hope they enjoyed their time here.

Prayer Requests:
 - Eskola di Vida ministry: This ministry is has been an opportunity for some of my teammates and I to teach English to some students a few times a week. Prayer is needed as we navigate teaching, and navigate this ministry in general. Also prayers that we would build relationships with the children and others in the community.
 - Holidays: The season is coming (even though it is still warm here and does not feel/look like it), please pray that my team and I would be present here even during the holiday season.
 - The continuation of my team and I building relationships with those around us.
 - Language: That we would continue to learn and be courageous in practicing.
 - That I would abide in the Lord to see the enemy's attacks and simply so I would grow in the Lord daily and be filled in order to walk in love.

Thank you for your prayers!

November 18, 2019

Almost Two Months

My team and I have been in Cape Verde for almost two months!!! It is crazy to think Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even parent week are coming very soon. The past couple of weeks have been full and a little crazy. We have begun to be a part of a new ministry: Eschola de Vida (school of life) where my team and I will take turns teaching English lessons to children on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I am excited for this experience and challenge. It is fun to teach, but also a challenge to prepare and communicate what you are teaching well. I am excited to make relationships with these children and help them learn as they also help us learn Kriolu. Our days at Pepe this week have been smooth as we continue to learn from our Tias and grow in our relationship with our kids. They are sweet and it is becoming easier and easier to understand them each week.
I have really enjoyed our basketball ministry on Tuesdays. We go out, play basketball for an hour or so then have a Bible study where we play a game, sing some songs, and teach God's word. This past week I loved playing and guarding my friend Ashlyn. I also really enjoyed the opportunity I had this week to teach the lesson for the Bible study. The lesson was one The Israelites rejecting God as their king, but how we should trust in him as our king and in his faithfulness and goodness to take care of us during our lives. 

Prayer Requests: 
- Health for my teammates as many people have been sick over the past couple weeks. 
- The enemy has been trying to hinder my team's ministries but we just need to keep going, and not let him steal our joy.

November 7, 2019

Loving These People

This has been a great week! Our weeks are beginning to fly by and it is crazy to think it is almost November! This week was filled with Pepe preschool ministry, spending time with our friends that are quickly becoming family, and learning the language.
Our daily ministry at Pepe this week was very good. Although we mostly just help out where we can, as the language becomes easier and our relationship with the kids are growing, spending time with them becomes more enjoyable and easy. They are sweet (most of the time) and being there for them in the morning is a sweet ministry.
Some of the sweetest parts of the week for me are spending time with the friends we have here in Cape Verde. Most of them are currently from the church, but spending time with them and getting to know them allows us to be more at home here. One of the best ways we spend time with our friends is worship practice on Friday nights and this week we had practice on Saturday as well. I look forward to this time because we grow closer to the people in the church each week at practice and learn more Portuguese/Creole from the songs we sing. I have enjoyed being part of the worship team at our church in Sao Filipe as we learn new songs each week, some of which we know in English and some we do not, but each week we make a stronger relationship with members of the church that are key parts in the church ministry. Learning and practicing the songs also has helped us pick up more of the language in an easy yet effective way. I also, of course, just love to sing and think singing is fun in another language.
Language has really been coming along. Although my speaking is not great, I am beginning to understand at least pieces of what is being said. A prayer request here would be that when we are in situations to listen to Creole or Portuguese that we would really listen and stay focused because that is a hard task sometimes. We currently have Creole class two times a week on Tuesday and Friday but honestly being in situations where people are speaking Creole around my team and I helps us learn I think as well as class. Learning the language has been a challenge but I have really enjoyed it especially since communicating is becoming easier and easier each week.
In the upcoming week my team and I will be involved in teaching some English and PE classes in Pepe a couple days a week. This will be a new challenge, but I know we just need to pray, prepare, and do our best. We will also be involved in teaching English at the "eschola di vida" (school of life) in zone 4 of Praia. I am excited for this but at the same time do not feel quite ready. I know there will be new challenges this week, but they are simply things that my team and I will need to trust the Lord with daily. (which is easier said than done)

Prayer Requests:
- preparing for our teaching responsibilities
- staying focused on ministry here
- taking every opportunity
These past couple of weeks have been great!!! We are beginning to have more ministry and are forming more relationships with the people at the churches which makes being here sweet. Last week was not quite as busy or eventful as this week, but this week has been awesome! Last Saturday  my team and I went with Brazilian missionaries (that are here for 15 days) to evangelize in an area called "zone four." Although we did not do much talking, it was cool to see evangelism here and observe the the gospel being introduced to new people. I have loved working with the Brazilians this week. They work very hard and are here to do whatever they can. Although they do not speak Creole, they do speak Portuguese which people understand and most can speak. The rest of this week has been more normal as we are beginning to get involved in ministries here. We worked in Projecto Pepe this week which is our preschool ministry we work in from Tuesday to Friday 8:00-12:00. We have mostly helped manage kids, play with them, and just assist in any way we can but this upcoming week we will begin to have responsibilities like teaching a little bit of English and teaching PE. Tuesday nights we are currently involved in a basketball ministry that I have come to love. I never thought I would like basketball but I really do! We play basketball for a while then have a Bible study in a neighborhood. I have enjoyed basketball even though I have never really played before. It is a new experience but is just fun. Thursday I was involved in a follow-up Bible study in a home in zone four. Again another new experience, but I thought it went very well. People from my church, Pastor Elton, and a girl named Ana and I entered a man's house and discussed sanctification. Pastor Elton and Ana walked through a paper discussing sanctification after becoming a believer. How this is a process we all walk through daily with the Lord. Although the study was in Creole or Portuguese and some of it may have been translated to me, I really loved it. It was also encouraging to be able to pick up some of the language while being there or being able to read some of the devotional paper when Pastor Elton asked me too. Every sentence or few words I can understand during the day is a small victory and I love it! I have enjoyed learning a new language even though it is frustrating at times. Getting back to this week, Friday part of my team and I participated in worship practice for our team. Jess played guitar, Kyle played some piano and Lindsey and I sang. I am excited to be making friends with the people involved in worship and to be involved closely in their worship on Sundays. Saturday, the team and I went to participate in a mini-Olympics where kids came to a home in zone four and we had organized games that corresponded with them learning John 3:16 and the salvation bracelet colors. This ministry was fun, dusty, and left me sunburn. This was one of the main times this week we worked with the missionaries from Brazil which has been a joy this week. Today we went to church, ate lunch, then went to the interior of the island for another church service. The interior of the island is a little over an hour drive but it is beautiful. Although the Island is usually brown, right now it is green because we have had rain making the view today amazing. Church was good, I did not understand the message but that is okay. You can still see the people genuinely worship and see how they interact with each other and us. Their greetings are so warm here with hugs and kisses. One interesting story from today: while in the interior, we entered the home of one of our friend's mom's home where we were offered food. The piece of food I picked up being pig ear. I took a bite, nawed on it, and when they were not looking gave the piece to our friend Michael and put the piece of pig ear in my pocket that I had attempted to eat. We were only in that home for a few minuets, but it was definatley a new experience that I am sure will happen again.  are so many new experiences that I enjoy and of course some that are hard or uncomfortable. It is all a learning experience and I know God will be teaching my team and I how to trust him for faith, patience, and how to trust him for each day as we miss home and are sometimes uncomfortable or stressed. I am excited for this year as I become friends with people here, learn the language and know God will grow me this year.

Week 2: Adjusting is Hard

The past couple of weeks have been exciting yet challenging. It certainly has not been easy to move somewhere new where so much has changed at one time. Although it is exciting, it has taken a toll emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Thankfully the Lord is good and he is always here to sustain my team and I everyday. There is no way to completely prepare to move to another country; likewise, there is no way to fully explain what these past couple of weeks have felt like. I know this year is going to be hard but I am so excited to grow. There is no growth without hardship, so I'm excited to see how God is going to teach my team and I how to trust Him in new ways throughout this year.
Throughout the past two weeks my team and I have really just barely dipped our toes into life in here in Cape Verde. We have had Creole lessons, which have been challenging but fun. Creole is a simple language similar to Portuguese meaning it is also similar to Spanish in some aspects. Luckily I have been able to make some connections between Creole and Spanish to ease the learning process. I am very excited to learn Creole and possibly Portuguese and am hoping the inability to communicate to locals here will fuel a fire to study the language. 
We are beginning to start ministry including our main preschool ministry called Pepe. My team and I have been split between two church locations: Terra Branka and Sao Filipe. I will be working with the Sao Filipe team and be involved in their church and Pepe location. The other half of the team will be involved in their church and Pepe location in Terra Branka. I have only visited our Pepe location for one day but this week, as we begin our normal schedule, I will go Tuesday through Friday. We will also be involved in a basketball ministry one night a week where we will go play basketball for a couple hours then have a devotion. These are couple of ministry opportunities of which I am sure more will come throughout this year. My team and I have visited both church locations and have begun to make relationships with the people here. Church here is a challenge right now due to the fact that we do not know the language well enough to really be able to follow a sermon. (other than to follow the scripture and try to listen but it is hard to stay focused when you do not understand) Worship is by far my favorite part of church. Almost half of the songs we know the English version making worship special and easier but their songs in Creole or Portuguese that we do not know are amazing too! They love to sing, clap, and dance in their worship which I think is so beautiful. We were able to go to an event that happens monthly where the different church location come together for worship this past Saturday night. I think it was my favorite thing we have done so far. It was so different but incredible. We sang, we clapped, we danced and we had an amazing time even though the songs were not in English. That night was amazing and I would go over and over again. 
These past couple weeks have been hard, and I have been homesick. But I know I am going to have to learn and adapt to being in a new place and learn to trust the Lord in many, many ways. Please continue to pray for my team as we continue to bond and begin to be immersed in this culture and ministry. Also pray for our faith to grow as we trust God daily.  

We're Here!!!

Hello! Just here to give a short update on what my trip has consisted of so far. The first real beginning of this trip was saying bye to my parents at orientation this past Saturday. It was a hard goodbye, but filled with trust and peace for this trip from the Lord. Immediately after saying bye to our parents, my team and I began our drive to the Boston airport. We made a pit stop in Rutherford county for the night and after going to church, got right back in the van to arrive at the Boston airport at five a.m. This was followed by a 6 1/2 hour flight to Cape Verde where we arrived around 6:30. Needless to say, we had a long few days.
Things have slowed down today, as we have unpacked, bonded, and spent the day together and my team is amazing! I know we are not have an incredible year serving the Lord and each other this year. My first impression of this country is that it is beautiful and hot, but that it holds exciting potential for this year. The language here is Kreole, a mixed language that I am super excited to learn. It is a simple language but still challenging because it is not a Latin language. I am excited for the challenge of the language, heat, and ministry. Not the most poetic blog post, but just a simple update of where my team and I are at our first full day in our new home.
Prayer Requests:

  • Continuing bonding with the team
  • Spiritual attacks
  • Courage for ministry

The Lord is SO Faithful!

The past week has been really good and relatively normal (normal weeks have been in short supply this year). My teammates went to Pepe, Engl...