Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Home: A Tour of Our Flat

Welcome to my South Asian home!

First up is my bedroom. I like it's simplicity. My room in Louisville got too crowded.  Our AC is just the ceiling fan and opening windows, but AC hasn't really been needed so far…I've actually been getting chilly in my room lately. Those marble floors can be cold on bare-feet.

Here is another view of my room. You can see my built in desk here, and that door leads to my balcony. Those cabinets are my closet.

One more view of my room. Had to get in the painting I did. I'm glad there are art stores here! :) 

This is the view out onto my balcony.

 View from my balcony

One more view from my balcony. The netting keeps out pigeons and helps deter the monkeys.

In case you were wondering, I do have a Western toilet, however, there isn't any division between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom. I put up a shower curtain to create some barrier. 

That box thing you see above my shower curtain is how I get hot water…first I have to turn on the switch outside my bathroom and let it heat up. Then it's a race to shower before the water goes cold.

This is our dining area. I like the built in storage space. Behind the curtains is another balcony.

Our kitchen. I like the openness of it. That's the water filter above the sink…don't drink unfiltered water unless you want to risk getting sick!

Another view of the kitchen. You can see our laundry area behind the kitchen. You can also see our gas canister sitting out because we had to move it due to a gas leak. Hoping to get that fixed soon so that we can hide the ugly canister again and because gas leak. (Don't worry, it's not connected to the leaky pipe now.)

Our lovely laundry area which is also where we have our toaster oven for now. There wasn't enough counter space or plugs to have it in the kitchen so we make it work.

Looking down the hallway toward my room.

Last, but certainly not least, our living room with our cute little Christmas tree.

One more shot of our living room…we're still hunting for a coffee table and it could use a few wall decorations, but it works for now!

There you have it. That's our flat. It's a nice place and in a good neighborhood. We have some really great neighbors, which is definitely a blessing. It's a relatively quiet neighborhood by South Asian standards, which is nice. I'm getting used to the horns, dogs, and trains, ha.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Living Life in South Asia

Well, I haven't blogged in a while, but I've started multiple blog posts so I got the idea from my friend Kate's latest post (that is now several weeks old, but was new when I started typing this) to combine the various posts I've been working on. Here's a little update on my life lately, enjoy!

1) Home

This Nathan Fillion GIF perfectly shows what happens when I try to answer any question about where my "home" is. 

I'm from Mississippi but I lived in Kentucky for the past four years. Louisville, KY is the first place I where really lived on my own (The dorms at MC don't really count.), but MS is where I was born and raised. Both have a special place in my heart, but if I'm back in the U.S. after my time here, I will most likely move back to Louisville. Who knows what will happen during these two years though. Thoughts about what's next can wait at least until the end of July aka halfway through my term. I hold plans very loosely, and I honestly don't know what's next. Thankfully I serve a sovereign God who does know. 

2) Language Learning & Harry Potter: A Lesson in Patience

Some days during language learning I feel like Ron when he was trying to learn how to properly say his spells. To quote the book (because the movies are good but the books are better), "You’re saying it wrong," Harry heard Hermione snap. "It’s Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long." I feel for you Ron. I really do.

I like languages. I find them fascinating, and I know basic greetings in multiple languages. But learning a new language is hard, especially learning a new language in a way you've never tried before. We're using a method of language learning called the "Growing Participator Approach," also known as "GPA." You can find out more about it here:
The main thing you need to know about how this method is different for me is that it's an oral approach to language learning. It requires a lot of listening. Never in my life have I struggled so much to hear whether a "d" or "r" sound was said. Our language helper told us the other day that we're her funniest students she's had…I'm glad we can make her laugh with our ridiculousness.

Language learning and the general process of adapting to a new country is a very humbling experience. In many ways it's like becoming a toddler again at age 26.

3) Exercise and a 10k

I've been trying to figure out the best way to exercise here. I miss going to the gym for free at SBTS. That was really nice to have. I also miss all the wonderful parks Louisville has. It's just not pleasant to exercise outside here, which saddens me because I love being outside, but breathing in the dirt and pollution does not work well for my lungs. Some friends of mine have started a weekly exercise class to teach national ladies how to exercise with a wholistic health approach. We teach the ladies exercises and then share a story at the end of class. There are just a few ladies who come, but it's fun.

These same friends are the ones who convinced me to do a 10k. I've done 5ks and a couple of half-marathons (not well, but I did finish) in the States, but this 10k was unlike any race I've done in the states. In typical South Asian fashion, it was chaotic.

The race was scheduled to start at 10p.m. (for those concerned about safety, we had a ride with some friends) so we got there early to pick up our race bibs and timing chips. There was only one place to pick up the 10k packets with only a couple of guys working the table. The line hardly moved for the 30-45min we were standing in it due to the way lines tend to work here where people tend to push their way to the front. Finally they gave up on their check-in procedure and said that if you just wanted a bib and timing chip you could form another line. You would just have to remember your number to get results. We were fine with that since we all had our own timing devices anyway.

Once we had our race bibs we made our way to the starting line and joined the massive crowd of people. It was about 10 min until the race was supposed to begin. As the time approached 10 they announced that they would be starting the race a little late because of the chaos of check-in (my version of what they said). Finally around 10:20 (or was it 10:30?) we started the race. I immediately lost my friends in the crowd, but we had set a meeting point for after the race so I wasn't concerned. I had my music, so I was good to go. I am an introvert after all.

The course was actually a 5k loop that we had to run twice. It was definitely the most crowded race I've run. The street got pretty narrow in some areas, and since I was running a pace that kept me back with the walk-runners it could get frustrating and gross trying squeeze between sweaty people. At one point I got shoved by one of the leaders lapping me…thankfully I kept my balance. After I finished I met up with my friends and managed to shove my way through a crowd of sweaty people to claim my finisher's medal. Thankfully we had a ride home, and collapsed in bed after quick showers around 2a.m.

I'm really proud of myself for being able to run the whole thing. Sure my pace was almost a 12 minute mile, but I finished. I have knee issues so I was trying really hard not to push myself too hard. I've learned my lesson the hard way too many times. I did wake up feeling pretty stiff (downside of a night race), and sure, my knee hurt some but not nearly as bad as it has in the past. I'm glad I decided to do the race simply for the fun experience with friends…and I admit that I do like a challenge. There's just something about running through the finish line of a race that I love.

Oh, and fun fact…this race was sponsored by Target which is such a tease because there are no Target stores here, just offices. We talked to several of the Target workers and told them that they need to bring Target to this city. :)

4) Future Blog Posts…

I definitely have more I could write about, but this post has already gotten longer than most people are willing to read so I'm stopping. What would you like to hear about in future posts about my life here in South Asia (that I'm willing to write about on a public blog)? Food, cooking, transportation, shopping, holidays? Those are some topics I considered talking about. I might do a series on different foods I try. Let me know what you would like to hear about!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Finding the Light

*Warning: Photography geek-out ahead.*

Yesterday an online photography workshop that I signed up for began. It's a four week workshop on natural light by Brooke Snow done through the Rock the Shot Forums. Each Tuesday a new lesson is posted with several videos. After one session I'm already loving the workshop, and definitely think it was worth the money.

The first session covers "finding the light." Lighting is everything in photography. Brooke says, "Find the light first and the location second." She proves this point during one of her demo videos when she shows how she took some awesome head shots while standing in a bathtub. Sounds crazy, right? Well there was a window, which allowed for great natural light, and the white walls and tub are natural reflectors.

Her talk about natural reflectors and absorbers was really helpful. They were concepts I knew but hadn't thought about in some of the ways she mentioned. I find the demo videos to be extremely helpful. Some of these concepts have been explained to me before, but actually seeing how she set up her shots helped me a lot. Sometimes I just need to see it for it to click. I'm a visual learner (which shouldn't be surprising).

Each week she also gives us an assignment. This week she told us to focus on "catchlights." Catchlights are those highlights or "sparks" you see in a subjects eyes. They add life to the photo and draw your attention to the person's face. One of Brooke's demo videos focused on shooting with natural light while indoors. She showed us various ways to use windows. Since I haven't done many indoor portraits, I decided I wanted to try it out...but I didn't have anyone around at the time so I decided to attempt a self-portrait, and I'm glad I did.

I love the way my self-portrait turned out. I used the window to get good lighting on my face, and I was able to achieve good catchlights by looking out the window toward the bright sky. I love this photo because I feel like it captures my emotions right now. It's kind of hard to explain how...and I feel like any way that I try to explain comes out sounding cheesy, so I'll just let the photo speak for itself. :)

If you read this post, thanks for bearing with me in my photography geek-out. I could go on and on about the things I learned just in that first session, but for everyone's sake I won't do that (anymore than I already have). I just hope that you'll be able to see my growth as a photographer through my photos. :) Also, I confess to a love of learning, and I love that I can go through this workshop at my own pace since I can save the videos and materials. Okay, I'm really done geeking-out now.

What do you think of my self-portrait?
Anyone else out there have a love for learning and photography?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bucket List

Is there a better term? Moving list? Wish list? To do list? ??? "Bucket list" isn't quite the right term here, but I couldn't think of anything better. :\

I'm only going to be gone for two years. That's really not that long, but I do have a list of things I would like to do in Louisville and back home in Mississippi before I ship out. Some things are things I've been meaning to do for a while and just haven't gotten around to. Others are things that I love, and want to squeeze in a few more visits. Hanging out as much as possible with friends and family is a "duh," and, therefore, not on the lists.

Louisville List (In no particular order):
  1. Big Four Walking Bridge–I actually just did this, but I want to go again at sunset with my camera.
  2. Louisville Zoo
  3. Louisville Bats Game
  4. Visit my favorite local coffee shops as much as possible without going broke. (Vint and Quills)
  5. Eat at two or three of the places I haven't been to that people have told me I must try. (Hammerheads is the main one I can think of that my CG keeps telling me about.)
  6. Go on more walks at parks, particularly my favorite, Cherokee Park.
  7. Serve as photographer at least one more time at my church, Sojourn. (Doing that tomorrow.)
Mississippi (Jackson/Ridgeland/Madison area) List:
  1. Eat at Keifer's (My favorite Greek restaurant)
  2. Eat crawfish
  3. Hang out in my backyard, by the lake, in my hammock. 
Okay, so my MS list isn't very long because I mainly want to spend time at home with my family, and eat. haha The things I do in MS are not as much about places as they are about people. That sounds like Louisville isn't about people, which is not true at all. Honestly, I would love to do the things on my lists, but I would be just as happy simply hanging out with the people I care about...preferably a few at a time so I get more quality time with them. :) (Plus I'm an introvert.)

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things I would put on my lists so tell me what would be on yours.

Louisville people, what would be on your list?
And Mississippi people, what would be on yours?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Next Step

Well, I did it. I officially a graduated from Southern Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree last friday. A friend and I were talking at my graduation party about how weird the term "Master of Divinity" is because I am no where near a master of divinity. If seminary has taught me anything it's that I can never learn all there is to learn about God. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know...and I think that's awesome. Our God is an infinite God. If we could learn everything, then he wouldn't be God. As someone who likes learning, I find that pretty cool. There's always something new to learn. Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent.

For the most part, people know that my next step is moving to South Asia. The main questions I've been asked are about my timeline and if I'm excited. (Timeline = leave Louisville at the end of June for Mississippi, followed by training in VA for 8 weeks at the end of July, then heading to South Asia at the beginning of Oct.) That's more of a loaded question than I think anyone realizes. I always tell people that I have mixed emotions. I am excited but I'm also sad and scared and so many different emotions all at once. And that's okay.

I've come to realize that it's okay for me to be sad and scared. In fact, I think it's even a good thing. I'm sad because God has blessed me with a wonderful community in Louisville and a wonderful family back home in Mississippi, which makes leaving hard. I'm glad that leaving is hard because it means I have wonderful people in my life that make it hard. I'm thankful for technology, but it's not the same as being in the same place with the people I love.

Like these people (not around them enough as it is):
Daddy, Momma, Taylor, Me, & Lindsey

And these people:
Community Group
Jack, Christi, Lowell, Dustin, Ben, Meghan, Eric, Laura, Josh, Me, & Trey
Also these:
Jamie, Liz, Me, & Becca
Former hallmates/roommate

 And her:

Me & Sharon
Former Roommate
And many other people. I've experienced being separated from friends and family before. My best friend, Lindsay, lives in Africa right now. My family is 9 hrs away in Mississippi. Laura Leigh and her precious new baby are 6 hrs away in Memphis.

I knew one family when I moved to Louisville, and I have come to love this place. Honestly, I'm not worried about making friends when I move to South Asia. I already have some friends there, and I know I'm going to make many more friends. I'm simply sad to be leaving my community here.

It's also okay for me to be scared. I don't feel adequate, and I'm not. I'm not some super Christian. I struggle with self-discipline and making time for the things that are important and not just "good." I struggle with feeling like if I can't do something perfect, then why do it at all. I'm not a super outgoing person. Small talk isn't my thing. The thing is, because of these weaknesses I know that anything God does through me to bring anyone closer to him is all his doing. I can't save people. I'm not adequate. I'm not perfect. But God can use me. He uses our weaknesses to show that he is strong, and that's freeing.

I don't know what my plans are beyond these next two years, but I'm okay with that. I know that moving to South Asia for the next two years is God's plan for me, because my own plans were pulled out from under me in a big way not once, but twice, and everything has worked out better than I could have planned on my own. I fell in love with Louisville, and I have no doubt that I will fall in love with South Asia as well. I'm excited, scared, sad, and thrilled about this next step in my journey. Please keep me in your prayers, and feel free to email me ( to learn more about my move or anything really.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Monday, April 22, 2013

Washed by the Water

This past Thursday I got to see two of my favorite bands in concert, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, and NEEDTOBREATHE. I bought my roommate and I tickets for her birthday, and I'm so glad I did. Such a great concert.

I fell in love with Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors a couple years ago when I saw them in concert at a really small venue here in Louisville. Ellie Holcomb is possibly the cutest person ever and has an amazing voice. I just want to be her friend. I didn't bring my camera to this concert because I didn't think it would be allowed in, but here's a picture of Drew and Ellie from the concert I went to a couple years ago. If you've never listened to Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, do yourself a favor and look them up now. (Their old song, "Mercy," is a personal favorite.)

NEEDTOBREATHE has been a favorite band of mine for a while, but I've never had a chance to see them in concert until now. I think I had forgotten just how much I like them. I love cranking up their music in the car and singing screaming along. They have so many great songs that I can't really choose a favorite...The Outsiders, Something Beautiful, Washed By the Water, Drive All Night, Let Us Love, etc.

Recently I've been listening to Washed By the Water a lot. The lyrics of that song remind me of one of my favorite verses, Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." This song talks about how even when storms come, Christ won't let us down. We are still washed clean by Christ even when things around us seem to crumble. Plans I've had for years have changed, people I know have been diagnosed with cancer, I'm moving across the world, and terrible things have been happening in the world lately, but I still have Christ, and he won't let me down. (Disclaimer: Moving across the world is exciting, but leaving my community in Louisville and knowing I won't be able to talk to my family as frequently is hard.) This song is reassuring during a very transitional time in my life. It's comforting to know that while many things may be changing, Christ's love for me will never change.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Camera Backpack

I've been looking for a camera backpack for a little while now. I admit I'm picky. I want something that doesn't scream, "THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A CAMERA BACKPACK, PLEASE MUG ME!" Maybe that's an irrational thought, but I'd rather not advertise that my backpack has expensive gear in it. Also, I want to blend in as much as possible when I move overseas...not that a petite, blonde, American girl will be able to blend in well in S. Asia...but I can at least try not to stand out.

Anyway, as I was searching, I came across this backpack which I fell in love with...but it's a bit out of my price range ($429). It's just so pretty.
via Ona
My family took a look at that backpack and helped me search for more reasonably priced options. My dad found some National Geographic backpacks that I'm seriously considering. Still pricey, but much more reasonable. Any good camera backpack will be somewhat have to consider the cost of what it's protecting. Here's my favorite of the National Geographic backpacks.
via National Geographic
I do own a great camera bag. I absolutely love my Kelly Moore bag, but while great for many events, it isn't the best for travel.
Here's the Kelly Moore bag I own:
via B&H
I obviously like gray camera bags/backpacks. Gray is one of my favorite neutral colors. If anyone knows of any other camera backpacks similar to what I'm wanting, let me know in the comments! I'm still searching. I think I take after my Dad in that I enjoy doing the research before making a bigger purchase. If I'm going to spend the money, I want to make sure I love the product. (Not trying to be materialistic, just trying to make sure I spend my money wisely.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I've been planning on writing this post anyway, so what better day than National Sibling Day?

Momma (Judy) & Daddy (Lane)
Taylor (youngest '93), Lindsey (middle '90), & Me (oldest '87)
I've always known that I'm blessed to a have a close family with parents who are still together. My sister, Lindsey, figured out that my parents have been together for 36 yrs. They've been married for almost 29, but they started dating in high school and got married when my dad was in med school. I hope I have a marriage as strong as theirs one day.
Lindsey tweeted this recently, which made me laugh:
Mom: "You're not through talking cause your feet are still twitching.." What a 36 year relationship sounds like.
Lately I've realized just how much of an exception I am. I've heard stories recently from multiple friends about growing up in divorced families. Some of my friends have pretty rough backgrounds. I got to hear a couple of my their testimonies recently, and I'm thankful God drew them to him even though they weren't raised in Christian homes like me.

I used to think that my story wasn't all that special. I didn't have some sort of crazy story where God pulled me out of a rough situation. Quite the opposite. I was a goody-two-shoes, typical oldest sibling, who tried to be appear perfect. I grew up in church; knew all the major Bible stories; made good grades; considered myself to be a good person. My parents lived a Christ-like life before me, and were the natural people for me to go to with my questions.

I became a Christian when I was eight. One of my friends was baptized, and I wanted to know what that meant. I remember standing in my parents room and having them explain the basics of Christianity to me. Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and he rose again defeating death. He lived a perfect life and died as the ultimate sacrifice for us. We simply need to accept the gift God has given us.

God drew me into a relationship with him when I was eight, but I didn't immediately start living perfectly. I tried though. I was a bit legalistic growing up without realizing it. I'm a people-pleasing perfectionist...I don't say this to brag. It's often not a good thing. I truly believe I became a Christian as a child, but I've always placed high expectations on myself and this bled into my relationship with God.

I thought I needed to be perfect. I looked up to other Christians in my life and never thought I could be as good of a Christian. The past few years I think the message of grace has finally been sinking in to my thick skull. Diving deep into theology through seminary and my church has been extremely beneficial. Knowing others in my CG who struggle with similar issues, and having others in my group call me out on my dumb thoughts has helped. God saved me by GRACE through faith. Christ died for us while we were STILL sinners. I'm not perfect and I don't have to be because Christ was perfect for me. God sees Christ when he looks at me. This doesn't mean doing what I want when I want. Living for Christ means wanting to obey him, but it also means that all I need is Christ.

I've gone off topic, but I think these things needed to be written...and now back on topic. I'm thankful I was raised in a loving home with Christian parents. I have a great relationship with my parents. I can talk to them about anything–theology, camera equipment, emotions, clothes–anything. We don't always agree on everything, but I know that I can talk to them about anything, and I praise God for that. I take it for granted too often. Hearing others' stories recently has made me realize how I take my relationship with my family for granted far too often.

I have two younger sisters as well, and I'm glad we're all close. We have our typical sibling fights, but for the most part we get along pretty well. I definitely think we've gotten closer now that we're all adults. I'm proud of my sisters. I'm not always good at expressing myself verbally, but I love my sisters, and I'm proud of them.

Lindsey is three years younger than me and recently graduated from Mississippi State as a painting major. She's an extremely talented artist. Check out some of her work here. Her road to graduation wasn't easy. Some plans changed, but I think she definitely wound up in the right major because she is ridiculously talented. She'll be heading to ultrasound tech school soon. Painting isn't a steady job market, but becoming an ultrasound tech will hopefully give her some job security while still allowing her to pursue painting.

Taylor is my baby sister. She's six years younger than me, and attending my alma mater, Mississippi College, where she is a sophomore nursing major. She just got her official acceptance letter into nursing school at MC. I think she will make an amazing nurse. Taylor has always been the most servant-hearted of the three of us. Lindsey and I abused her servant-hearted nature quite a bit growing up.

Sorry this post was so long. Sometimes I can't stop writing once I get going.

Some questions/thoughts for you...I'd love to hear your thoughts:
• Are you close to your family?
• How have your family relationships impacted how you view God/religion?
• Do you struggle with perfectionism or other traits which influence how you treat God?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Prayer Cards

This is my potential design for my prayer cards as I prepare to head overseas. Let me know what you think, and feel free to shoot me an email if you would like one once I get them printed. I need to have 100 people committed to praying weekly for me while I'm overseas, so if you'd like to be one of those people just comment with your name and email address. Thanks!

A big thanks goes to my friend Kara for taking some awesome portrait shots for me. It felt weird being on the other side of the camera. ha Glad she was willing to trade services with me, and I look forward to doing a family session for her!

*Edit: Added Sojourn's logo to the back.

Monday, April 1, 2013


I realize I already posted once today, but what can I say, I'm in a blogging mood...and I was playing with my camera, so you get a photo post.

It's spring break [I mean spring reading days], and while I am getting to relax some, I have a lot to do. I need to do two site visits and reports on Christian ministries in the city for my church action in community class, and I can't use my own church. I know one place I'm going to use, but still need to come up with another. I've also been put in charge of the backdrops for VBS...I'm hoping I haven't bitten off more than I can chew by agreeing to this. I think I have it under control now, but I was stressing out earlier today. And, of course, I always have reading I need to do for classes. Seminary reading never ends.

While I have a lot on my plate, I was fairly productive today.

1. I brainstormed ideas for the backdrops, did some research on how to best build them, and emailed the people I needed to about the ideas.

2. I did sprint sets with wasn't pretty, but I survived. Also, my knee didn't give out. I consider any run where my knee doesn't give out to be a victory.

This is my post-run, I survived, face:

3. I went to Target after my run [ok, maybe not the most productive thing], and bought this immersion blender with a gift card and some surprise money from an Easter package my parents sent me.

4. I also used a gift card to enjoy this iced caramel macchiato...I admit that I prefer my favorite local places, but free is free.

5. I cooked dinner for my roommate and me. Tried out this recipe for "Crispy Black Bean Tacos," and they were delicious. I'll be making these again.

I still need to clean up the cooking mess though...anyone want to volunteer? I enjoy cooking, but hate cleaning the mess up...especially since I don't have a dishwasher or disposal. Bleh.

I was also productive earlier during my break in that I had a portrait session done for my prayer cards by my friend and fellow photographer, Kara. Kara and I are trading services. I'll be doing a family session for her soon. I love the two photos from my session that she has posted on fb so far. It will be hard to choose which one to use for the cards.

Hopefully I'll continue my semi-productivity the rest of the week. I would like to finish my last semester strong, but it's so tempting to just quit sometimes. 

He is Risen!

Easter Sunday is a wonderful celebration of what Christ did for us, and that the grave could not contain him. My church knows how to celebrate. We sang some of my favorite songs today including Absent from Flesh, Death in His Grave, The Power of the Cross, and a new arrangement of the hymn Up From the Grave. We also got to shout, "He is Risen Indeed!" a few times, AND it was a baptism Sunday, which is always a celebration. I love that Sojourn has someone read the person's testimony to the church before they are baptized.

Click here to see my church's service recap, including some of my pictures.

Here are some of my favorite photos I took of the service yesterday:

Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
Our fantastic band lead by Jamie Barnes
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
View from the Balcony
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
Our East Campus Pastor, Kevin Jamison
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
The band getting into the music.
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Yeah, I kind of love my church, and by "kind of," I mean, I love my church a whole, whole lot. 

I also love my community group (Yes, they're included in my church; therefore, already loved, but they get even more love.), and got to have a wonderful Easter lunch with some of them at Laura's. Laura is an amazing cook...she and my dad are my main cooking inspirations. 

Here's a little collage of the deliciousness we ate:
Nom, nom, nom.
 ©Allison Rushing

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Plans Are Not My Own

©Allison Rushing

Over the years I have learned to hold plans loosely, but sometimes God still has to beat it into my head that my plans are not mine at all.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9
 This is one of those times where my plans changed, but I know that God is so much bigger than my plans. I'm not saying I handled it well...I bawled me eyes out in front of people I barely knew.

I never know quite where to start when I'm telling people about my plans to head to S. Asia because this has been a slow chipping away process over many years. It started when I went to Greece in 2008. I realized on that trip that I could use my skills in media to share my faith overseas. Through a series of events, this lead to me applying for and getting into seminary...Southwestern Seminary. If you know me, then you know that's not where I wound up. I'm in Louisville at Southern Seminary and loving it here.

My change in seminary plans is the first time I had big plans completely pulled out from under me. SWBTS used to have a media program. I was planning on doing this program and moving there right after working at camp in TX summer of '09. It was on my last 24 hr period off that my mom called me and told me she couldn't find that emphasis on their website anymore. She woke me up with a call that morning to inform me that she talked to the school and they no longer offered that emphasis.

Getting this type of news right as you wake up is not pleasant...and your emotions aren't very rational when you're awoken like that. I started questioning what I was doing with my life. Was I supposed to go to seminary? I've graduated college. I'm working at a summer camp. I don't have a backup plan. WHAT AM I DOING?! Those were the thoughts going through my mind. Thankfully a friend of mine calmed me down, we continued with our plans for the day, and my parents and I started contacting anyone we knew who might be able to help.

My former pastor, Dr. Sills, was one of the people my parents contacted, and he responded with a long email about the M.Div. Great Commission emphasis at SBTS. I was told I could get in on special student status. I don't really remember my thought process that day, but I decided to go for it. The next day I was in at SBTS and had housing available in the dorms. I drove the 10 hrs home from camp at the end of the week, got in at 1 in the morning, then headed to Louisville early the next morning. I was the last girl to move into the dorms, and classes started the day after I got to Southern. I'm pretty sure I was in seminary culture shock for at least my first month. I have fallen in love with this city and my church here. Leaving will be incredibly hard, but this experience is one I can look back on and see firsthand how God has been faithful. His plans are so much better than my own. (Side note: I came to seminary with the idea of doing some sort of media ministry.)

Fast-forward to this past summer when I went to Nepal. I fell in love with the people there, and with the vision of Sojourn. This renewed my interest in heading overseas and I began the application process. I was accepted and thought another girl from Sojourn would be going to the same conference as me, but that fell through. Just days after that fell through, I was contacted by someone asking if I was interested in doing media since they saw I had a background in it.

Of course I was interested. There were emails back and forth until right before I went to the conference where I would be putting job/location preferences. I thought the job I wanted was a sure thing. I love photography and was excited to get to combine my passions. The conference was from a Wed. evening to a Sat. morning. Friday I was told that I needed to meet with the head photographer. I had no clue that I would be meeting with him while at this conference, and it didn't go well. Once again, my plans were suddenly changing. I walked out of the room and started sobbing and asking God why. I knew though. I knew I was too set on my own plans, and that he had better plans for me. I was still upset, but I knew that plans were out of my hands at this point. I had a night to figure out which jobs to put down as my top three choices when everyone else had been figuring this out for the past few days. Whatever happened was exactly what God had planned for me. I had my past experience with my seminary plans to show me that.

I believe God used the possibility of that media job to open me up to the location. I don't know if I would have considered this particular city if it weren't for those emails and some friends of mine also moving to this same city. I wasn't surprised at all when I got the phone call letting me know I had been matched to a job in S. Asia. It hasn't been an easy journey, but I'm truly excited about the future. I'm also quite nervous, and there are many days I don't feel adequate. And you know what, I'm not adequate. But with His strength I am.

Specific ways you can pray for me:
• That I don't let the busyness of my last semester keep me from being in the Word.
• That my various transitions from Louisville to MS to VA to S. Asia go smoothly.
• That I don't let goodbyes keep me from being present wherever I'm currently located.
• That I don't let emotions (about my adequacy, goodbyes, learning a new culture, etc.) overrule what I know to be true.

Sorry this post was so long, but it's hard to tell my story in an abbreviated manner...and this was somewhat abbreviated! ha
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