Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hope's Story

Today, Hope Martin shares her story. It shows that even in the areas we are most comfortable, God can still challenge us. Humility is a lesson we all must learn.

In August, I attended TeenPact Survival. It is a 5-6 day camp where they teach us teambuilding, spiritual growth, and leadership.

I had wanted to go since I first heard about it in '08, so I was really excited when I found out that I was going! I was a tomboy, so it was kind of my thing, being outdoors and learning all these survival skills.

Going into the week, I felt confident that I would be able to do well. I felt like I would be one of the better skilled people. God had other plans. I was constantly challenged during the week, mentally and physically.

One of the activities was that we would do obstacles of various types to help us be better teams. One of these obstacles was called "The Wall." We were doing this as the last of five, physically challenging obstacles. It was around 13 feet high and we had to get all 12 people on our team over it, as many times as we could. The first time I tried to go ever it, I didn't quite make it all the way over. So, they lowered me down and, after a short break, we tried again. This time, I was pulled up and I had my feet on the platform of the other side of the wall.

Ultimately, my team had the lowest number of points, so we were the last team. I had been so confident early on in the week, and I was very humbled afterwards. We can't ever forget our dependence on God. That is the most important thing, and if we are trusting in our own strength, we will fail. That's all there is to it.

Always keep God in the center of your life. He is the reason we live and breath and move! God will never leave us or forsake us, so we can and should be utterly dependent on Him! Isaiah 40:28-31 and Deuteronomy 31:6

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Gumball Machine

Normally, I would post the title as "So and So's Story". The writer of today's story has requested that I keep them anonymous. So I will respectfully do so.

Today's story shows just how big of an impact one seemingly small act of kindness can have on a person. Never pass up an opportunity. 

"I am worthless. I am not loved. I am not important."

These all too common lies that had been creeping into my mind were finally taking their toll. I sat on my bed, contemplating my life. There was nobody I could trust. Friends came and went, they never cared or stayed for long. God felt a million miles away. What did He care about my life, anyway? It was pointless, worthless, nothing. Nobody even cared about me. Whether I died or lived, life around me would go on the same. Feelings had disappeared. All I could feel was nothing--bitter, lonely nothing. All I wanted was to feel something.

I laid on my bed, fully planning to take up the knife and force myself to feel something. I was so desperate. So sunken into the pit of depression. I even contemplated ending my life...yet my misery was so strong, I didn't even want to do that. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it's how I felt.

I glanced around my room. My eyes suddenly fell on an old gadget I kept on my bookshelf-a mini gumball machine.

Now, ordinarily, a gumball machine wouldn't have meant squat to me. But I looked at it.. and a sweet memory flooded my brain.

2005. A bunch of my friends and I went on a bike ride. We all came back to my house for hot dogs and ice cream. While the hot dogs were cooking, we decided to rummage around the basement just to pass the time. Somebody picked up the gumball machine and said something to the effect of "cool!!" I sadly explained that it was broken, had been broken for some time. They set it down, and I didn't give it another thought for another hour or two.

There is a guy who we will call "Bob" [original, right?], who has been a friend of mine for quite a few years. He always has and always will have a special place in my heart, for various reasons I don't need to delve into. Bob is a somewhat quiet, reserved guy, and isn't much of one to take initiative or do kind acts without prompting.

That day, however, a few hours after introducing it to my friends, he came up to me, handed me the gumball machine with a shy look on his face, and told me that he'd fixed it.

I don't know how much time he spent working on it. I don't know if it was a complex matter or a simple task. It doesn't really matter. All I know is that he took the time to fix it, completely unprompted, because he knew it was special to me.

He did it because he cared about me. [And I mean this in the most innocent, friendly way.]

So, back to the current time. This all came back to me in a manner of seconds...and for the first time in several days, I felt an emotion. I smiled a genuine smile. That memory of a kind act of friendship reminded me that there was still hope. That there was always hope. That people, and more importantly, God, did truly care about me.

And this show of friendship, five years later, saved me from a road which leads to death.

To see how the Ripple Effect was started and what it's all about, go here.
To join the Facebook group, go here
To follow the Ripple Effect on Twitter, go here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who Moved My

It was suggested to me recently that I should share a certain personal story on here. It happened during the week of TeenPact National Convention. Truly, it was one of hundreds of stories that happened there. I know if I talked to every person I met, they would have a Ripple Effect story to share. Maybe I should pick a few people and ask them to share part of their NC story. But for today, here is mine.

I stood up, a million thoughts running through my head. What time is it? I have to run! Oh why, oh why, oh why does my seat have to be so far back?? I was in full blown panic mode. My flight from Seattle had been running late, thus we landed late, thus I needed to get off this plane ASAP so I could catch my connecting flight or I was done for!! I kept whispering the same prayer over and over. Please God, let me catch my flight. I have to catch my flight. 

But God had different plans.

Finally the line started moving. The ladies in the seats next to me graciously let me go ahead of them, even though we could all see it wouldn't do a whole lot of good time-wise. Moving as fast as I could I finally got off the plane. I quickly found a flight board (conveniently located right as one entered the airport from the gate). My heart dropped. I started to shake. This could not be happening to me. But it was. My flight was gone. It had taken off fifteen minutes ago, leaving me trapped in North Carolina. 

I was stuck in that airport for four hours. It felt like longer. I spent probably about half that time either crying, praying, or both. The other half I spent poking around on my iPod, staring numbly off into space, or on the phone. Every time I talked to my mom she kept saying the same thing. "God has a plan. He knows what's going on. This will work out according to His will." I kept praying for understanding and peace in the situation. It was really hard to just say "Okay God, this is in your hands." At some point, my mind went numb. I mechanically answered my phone whenever it went off. Truth be told, I really don't remember much about sitting in that airport. 

Finally, I got there. After the flight being delayed several times (thus the four-hour airport wait), I was finally in Tennessee. There, I found a staffer, some TeenPact parents who had also been on my flight, but no luggage. My suitcase and sleeping bag were gone. On another flight to be specific. And I had thought my day couldn't get any worse. So, my backpack and the clothes I wore being the only possessions I had to my name at that moment, I filled out a lost-luggage form and got on the van to camp.

When I finally got there, dinner was long over and evening session was almost over. Not really hungry anyway, I got registered and slipped into session. Finally, I was able to get to my room. I was shaking as I walked in, explained who I was, my predicament, and was given my choice of bunks. There were three left. Glancing around, I blindly picked the one in the farthest corner. Above a kind-looking girl with blond hair. She introduced herself as Lily James and offered to lend me a pair of sweatpants for the night. I accepted, and after zombie-ing through rendezvous, climbed onto my bed and fell asleep.

The next morning, my luggage had arrived. Ecstatic, I dragged my suitcase and sleeping bag into the room, and changed into a pair of jeans and my campaign t-shirt. I gave Lily back her sweatpants and saw that she too was wearing a campaign t-shirt. For a Kiefer Partridge. Somehow we got to discussing campaigns, she being this Kiefer-person's campaign manager, I running for Representative. She was able to give me an extra packet from the campaign meeting I had missed. Grateful, I asked her if I could trail her to breakfast (not knowing basically anyone at camp). Sure! she said, You can meet Kiefer!

So I met Kiefer. I ate breakfast with him and Lily. Got a look at his campaign table. Set up my table. Went to session. And began weaving a lasting bond with two of the most amazing people I have ever met.

If just one thing had been different, I may have met Lily and Kiefer, but may have never formed the friendship that we formed. We basically spent all week together. God had a plan when He allowed me to miss my plane. Being human, I couldn't see that plan, so close into my future that it was. I thank God everyday that they are in my life, I wouldn't have it any other way. I just hope that I have blessed them half as much as they have blessed me.

Lily and Kiefer, thank you so much for your friendship. God was truly smiling down on us the day(s) I met you two. What's even more amazing to know is that He knew this was going to happen and planned it just right even before this world had been created. Crazy, isn't it? I just want y'all to know that you made NC ten times better than I was ever expecting it to be. My mind keeps going back to Thursday night as we huddled together in prayer with Amy and Serena. That night my heart went under some major renovations. Thanks for being there. The encouragement of feeling your arms around me and mine around you was a bigger blessing than you will ever know. If this isn't proof that God loves us and knows what He's doing, I don't know what is. Thank you again. *heart thump* Rosie

Thank you for reading! My experience at NC is what really inspired me to start this project. God works out everything according to His plan, and His plan for us is the best we could ever have, and trust me, it's amazing. Have an amazing rest of your day, and God bless!

For the full story on why the Ripple Effect was started, what it's all about, and how to submit, go here.
To join the FaceBook group, go here.
*NEW* To follow the Ripple Effect on Twitter, go here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All Because of An E-mail (Part 1)

Lily James and Kiefer Partridge have once again shared a Ripple Effect story from their lives. I have to say, these are some amazing people (and not just because they're providing me with so many stories).

Lily and Kiefer met in 2009 at the TeenPact State Class in Wyoming. Lily is from Laramie, Wyoming; Kiefer, from Gillette. Kiefer helped Lily with her state rep campaign, and Lily later agreed to be Kiefer's hard-working (and stressed) campaign manager when he ran for Representative at National Convention this year. Through all of this, they have become good friends. Yesterday, Lily received an e-mail from her local homeschool chain. Originally from a family in Illinois, it expressed their need for a place to stay in Gillete, Wyoming. Instantly, Lily forwarded this e-mail to Kiefer. After reading the message, Kiefer gave the family a call. 

God used one simple e-mail to provide a family from Illinois a place to stay. The ripples in this story are not yet finished. God has a plan for this family and the Partridges, this did not happen on accident. Nothing in life is on accident, and this unfinished story is proof. I hope to be privileged with updates to give y'all from time to time.

Tomorrow's story is also from Lily and shows yet again how God can use just one e-mail. 

God bless, and have a great rest of your day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lily's Story

A good friend of mine, Lily James, posted a video she received in a forward to the Facebook group.

This video is truly amazing, and a great reminder that who you are really does make a difference! To watch the video, please click here.

I really hope you enjoyed today's Ripple Effect story. I know today's post isn't very long, but sometimes it doesn't need to be. As long as the message is clear, the length doesn't matter. I hope y'all have a wonderful day. God bless!

For the full story on why the Ripple Effect was started, what it's all about, and how to send me your own Ripple Effect story, please go here.
To join the Facebook group, please go here

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rissa's Story

Today's Ripple Effect story is kind of a combination story. In order to greater understand the Ripple Effect, I'll start of with a bit of my own story, then move on to how God used my story to affect Rissa Crowe.

When I was eleven, my mom led me to Christ while sitting in our living room late at night. A few years after that, some dear friends (the Solem family) told me about TeenPact. I was a little iffy about going--and delayed going for at least a year. Finally though, at age 16, I went to a TeenPact State Class for the first time. It really got me on fire for God, for government, and for leading. Just last week, I attended the TeenPact National Convention, where God did some major work in my heart. I felt so light and burden-free! As soon as I got home, I began blogging about my experience at NC. I am very much on fire for God now, and want to honor Him with everything I do. Then, yesterday, I opened my Facebook and saw that I had a message from Rissa Crowe. Now here begins her story . . .

"[L]ately, I've been in a "hit and miss" mode. I do the stuff I need to for God then be done with it. Quick & shallow prayers, skipping on some bible reading, not really caring to try at anything. It's my life, I can do with it as much or as little as I want... right? Wrong! But such has been my mindset.... until tonight.

It seems a million and one things have been gripping me and stabbing at my heart to bring me to repentance. Everything from tv commercials to the very ground I walk on seemed to remind me of my condition and pound me with conviction. But I was still spiritually "asleep", no matter what the Lord was trying to put in front of me. But tonight, He put your blog in front of me. Sleepily I kind of just stumbled into my room... grabbed the iPod touch and got on facebook. There it was... your blog. I clicked it and started to read, read, and read some more! I couldn't stop! The way the words flowed kept my attention, and the way in which Christ and His ultimate glory was pointed out as foremost in nearly everything, brought me to my knees. Was it the way I admired your love and devotion to Christ? Was it your ability to pour your testimonies into beautiful wording? I don't know. But there was a small moment when in reading your blog, I broke. I woke up.
 I don't understand the feeling, I really can't explain it! But I just put the iPod down and started to pray. It was the sweetest time of prayer I think I have ever had. :) God and I talked. I repented from what I had been doing against Him. The joy afterwards was immense! I got right back on the iPod and started to write this message to you!!!"

God definitely gets the credit here! I was absolutely floored when I read this message. God's amazing-ness knows no bounds! Rissa and I met while on a "College Up-Close" trip at Bob Jones University. The deal is, the way we met, we could have very well gone on the entire trip and not have met each other! God can use even the smallest event or person to affect a lot! Take Rissa's story for example. I am merely one person. In a big world of everything, my blog is just one small thing. But God, in His grace and mercy, used it to affect something big: Rissa's relationship with God. Everything big that happens can be traced back to one small thing.

I hope you enjoyed reading about how God worked in Rissa's life! Thank you for reading!!

Tomorrow's Ripple Effect story is a video sent to me by Lily James. She received it in a forward, and it is truly amazing. I'm looking forward to sharing it with y'all!

 For the full story on why the Ripple Effect was started, what it's all about, and how to submit your own story, please go here.
To visit the Facebook group, go here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kiefer's Story (Part 2)

 Kiefer Partridge, who's story was featured yesterday, shares his thoughts on the Ripple Effect in a paper written by him a couple years ago. I received it in this really cool pdf format, but unfortunately, Blogger does not seem to like pdf's. So, here is just the text.

 "Billy’s absolutely on fire. He gave his life to Christ this summer at a teen rally, and
he meant every word of it. Billy loves to make funny YouTube videos, and he’s
getting good at it — so when he accepted Jesus as his Savior this summer, he
immediately knew that there was nothing he’d rather do than make Christian
No one at school knows it, though. His friends can tell something has changed,
for sure, because he used to hang out with them. Now he’s taking advanced
filmmaking and video production classes, along with photography. He’s joined
the young writer’s club, and he spends all his spare time reading or watching
DVDs about filmmaking. He simply doesn’t have time for them anymore, and
they can’t figure it out.
Meanwhile, his parents are getting frustrated, too. They were thrilled when he
told them he accepted Christ, and thrilled when he realized he should be using his
moviemaking skills to tell others about Jesus — but he doesn’t seem to have time
for his family anymore.
Aren’t we all a bit like Billy sometimes?
so heavenly minded…
We’re all a little prone to becoming, as the saying goes, “So heavenly minded,
we’re no earthly good.” It isn’t surprising. After all, God’s a God of God-sized
dreams, and He usually gives us a vision that’s just a little too big for us to handle
alone. But we often take it too far, and the result is sometimes very short of
disastrous to the people around us.

Take a look at this:
“The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this:…. ‘Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 10:13-16 [NIV]
We’ve all read the parable of the good Samaritan, and we all know that
“neighbor” includes everyone around us — but I’m afraid we all too often
overlook the fact that “neighbor” also carries with it the idea of starting with
those close to us.
This is exactly what Jesus did:
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the
disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of
God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the
kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in
his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Mark 10:13-16[NIV]
Let’s face it, little children were not Jesus’ target audience. Certainly the gospel is
meant for them as well, but if Jesus were simply concerned with making the
biggest splash He could on the political scene of His day, He wouldn’t have
bothered to waste His time on kids.
So why did He? Because the best way to impact people is not by what we do, but
by how we live. Unless we are actively engaged in blessing those immediately
around us, we can never have a big impact on those who are far away. Blessing is
like a drop of water; the ripples will spread across the entire pond, but they must
start from that one single drop. And if we are to reach the very edges of the earth,
we have to start at our own front door."

Beautiful words. Thank you Kiefer :).
Rissa Crowe will be featured tomorrow. I look forward to sharing her beautiful story.

And, on a side note, the Ripple Effect is now a Facebook group!