Stephanie Bradley's Archive

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17 Commentsby   |  05.28.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

As thoughts keep roaming through my head I can quite grasp the fact I will be in Ukraine in 8 days. The words “There’s so much to do!” keep floating through my mind. First, finish two online summer classes which end the day before I head out while still maintaining good grades in both. second, preparing for a wedding a day after I step of the returning plane to Dallas. Third, I’ll probably make at least two Target runs before I leave. One suitcase, and not a clue on what to fill it with yet. Yet! There’s the beauty in this process, this journey has been constantly preparing me to leave and it started last fall when I turned in my WWW application. Then the semester course on short-term missions.  The continuous beauty lies in with God and how I need to put my trust in Him. My professors have been a helping hand in the process of journey. God has been the instructor and has let me learn what I need to before I embark for two-months half way around the world. So when I say that I don’t know what to pack that is just a simple metaphor to the bigger realization that God has already given me the knowledge and the maps (so to speak) to lead me. That’s what this trip is about. It is not about the American’s bringing God to people. It is about myself and my team mates letting God USE us in His novel that He has already written. He has already begun to work in the hearts of the children we will get to know this summer. That’s the beauty of it. He has already made this plan a long time ago. Now he is just using me to let His kingdom advance. I definitely find real beauty in that.


22 Commentsby   |  04.24.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

There is just a little over a month before my team mates and I head out to the Ukraine. To be honest up to this point I have not really been thinking about the work we will be doing but rather the idea of going over seas to the Ukraine. These past week I was moved by different people and their thoughts and ideas. First off, one person said “we have to submit to Christ.” Another said “we must be real and show our baggage. We must learn to share and let go of it.” A few weeks ago in chapel it was Justice Week. A week of chapel devoted to learning about injustice in the world and how me might do something about it. We watched a documentary on child slavery. It was compelling yes, because it is wrong.  But it made me very passionate about the way we treat those around us every day. We learn when we are younger to be kind to everybody. Yet we do not learn until we are older to LOVE everyone. I am ready to be done with this semester and to be in the Ukraine loving on the kids that will be coming to camp. I feel very passionate about the kids who are abandoned or abused for various reasons. First, these kids have yet to feel love from their parents, or have never had parents. I understand that every child needs to feel love. Being loved and to know you are loved are two different ideas that play in the same game of life. I am ready to learn how to love kids and to learn ways for the kids to know they are love and to feel that they are loved. Two months seems like forever sitting at my computer screen at the moment. Though I hope the two months I get to spend in the Ukraine will pass slowly but have fast effects on the kids we will get to love on. I hope time passes slow in the aspect that I will not want to leave, and not in the aspect that I want to leave.

Just as my thoughts and worries were growing to an all time high I was reminded by these recent storms that it is not my worry to worry. The storms this weekend have been a great reminder for me to slow down and live in the present. Each day we are moving closer and closer to the end of the semester, the end of summer school, and flying to the Ukraine. I do not like worrying, but it is a part of how I deal with stress. My feelings at the present are very ‘future’ oriented. I’m learning to slow down and live in the present before I miss it and it is in the past. I’m reminded by these storms to take a step back, It is not always in my hands. The reason this reminds me to calm down is because this past summer the reason I was hit by lightning in the first place was because I was trying to be helpful and was going after tents and people’s belongings that were flying off. If my youth minister and I would have gone to the vans with everyone else we would have been safe. I was busy getting ready to be a new freshman at ACU and never thought something would hinder my experience.  I keep looking back at this event in my life and keep trying to make meaning out of it. I could go biblical and quote Job 36:32 to explain it. Or I could learn to live in the present. This weekend I was caught in multiple storms. The first one I was driving and saw lighting. I burst into tears and had to pull off on the side of the road. The significance of this and the other encounters particular to this weekend is that I have a special reminder of our God who is bigger and stronger than me. He has hands that shape and create events that will be specific to each of our lives. These are just a few events that have shaped my understanding of God. My main reason for writing on this was that I’m excited for this summer but also that I was reminded to remember God’s presence everyday. This summer one of my hopes is to remember to be selfless and in doing so, something metaphorically like being hit by lightning may occur.

I’m also learning that bumps in the road like fund raising are a part of the experience.