Burundi, Africa | Pastors Conference with Alarm

 In December, I received a phone call from our campus pastor inviting me to join a team of twelve people headed to Karuzi - a small  city located  in the  northeastern part of Burundi, Africa  to host  a conference for pastors and their wives with  ALARM  (African Leadership & Reconciliation Ministries ) - an organization that works to train and equip African leaders by providing them with the tools, knowledge and skills to  serve and influence those affected by conflict and injustice. to host a pastors conference alongside ALARM. I was a bit shocked by the invitation - knowing that it was a huge honor but  at face value, I was not really sure why I had been invited.  I knew that God had purpose in the trip, but I wasn't quite sure what He had in store.

I'm not foreign to the short term missions world. I've spent a decent amount of time in developing nations - both on visual communication projects & helping lead trips. Historically I've brought some element of tangible value to trips - whether that be managing and organizing people and details or creating a visual representation of what God is doing through photography. This trip is different. It's asking me to do something that terrifies me and it is requiring me to trust God with the story that He has written.  

I've never publicly shared my own journey of loss and suffering with a group, and certainly not an audience who's suffering I cannot even fathom.  I've always prayed that there would be a very specific call to share all that the Lord has taught me through grief and suffering, and I sincerely believe that  this is an answer to that prayer.  The topic that I have been asked to teach (by way of drawing out of a hat!) is  Post Trauma Healing - focused on lament and how we can heal from traumatic loss & severe suffering. Those of you that know me, and know my story, know that there was divine purpose in that being the topic I was given. I'm nervous and simultaneously so excited to see how God uses this week!

If I've learned anything in the last few years, it's that  God accomplishes nothing through us alone, but through a village of believers - each of whom are used for different purposes. Some to pray, some to encourage, some to give. If you are reading this, our primary need is prayer!  I've included a link below to list of things that I would specifically love prayers for - both for myself and for our team.  I've also included a way to give if you feel called to do so. 

You can keep up with all that is happening on our trip HERE or you can follow along  on social media HERE!

1 Year Anniversary Trip | Northern California

When your husband tells you that he's planned a surprise trip for your Anniversary - complete with places to stay, things to do, and all of the little details in between already taken care of - you know you picked a good one. I don't think I'll ever be able to find the words to describe how grateful I am for this man, or this gift of marriage. I am not unaware of the fact that I did nothing to deserve a man who is as kind, thoughtful, patient, and as giving as Travis Latz is. This adventure of marriage that we are on is something I pray I never take for granted! Cheers to one year down, and many more to go!

Here are a few scans from our four day trip to Sonoma, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville, and San Francisco. (We don't mess around when we travel!)