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Surprising Support

   A couple weeks ago Kevin and I went to rehearsal dinner for our friends wedding, the dinner was up at Alpine Inn in Hill City.   I was nervous to go for two reasons, one: I still have been having tummy pain, like nausea (which is totally normal during the healing process) and two, because I can't eat very much in one setting. Why? I'm not sure, maybe cause my body is starting to absorb the nutrients from the food now or because my body isn't used to me eating much food over the past several months. So naturally, I was trying to figure out what I was gonna do. I didn't want to explain to everybody that I had Celiacs and make this evening about me. I didn't want to sit there and try to eat the food and ruin everybody's evening by being a party pooper.   So my first step was to call the restaurant and see if their stuff is gluten free.  If you've never been to the Alpine Inn, they only serve filet minon, toast, baked potato, and a salad wedge. Obviously, I knew I couldn't have the bread, but I didn't know if the ranch for the salad had gluten in. Did the salad come with croutons?  Did they season the steak? Does the Bacon have gluten in it? (Most do.)  So I called up and asked and the lady I talked to said that none of their products contained gluten. She answered a little too quickly for me, so I wasn't comfortable enough with that answer. I decided I would go but I would talk to a manager first, so I would feel comfortable about how my food was being made.  (Tips I read in this book about being gluten free...The G-free Diet.)  We get to the restaurant, sit down, and I asked the server if I could speak to the manager. Fortunately, our server was the manager. I explained to her that I had Celiacs and couldn't have anything with gluten and asked her if the food was gluten free.  Come to find out that she also had a gluten allergy and said not to worry. She assured me that she personally would make sure everything was done right. Sigh of relief! This was the first time that I felt comfortable eating food that I didn't prepare myself, and not knowing whether I was going to get sick the next day. 

     After I had talked to the manager about my allergy, the guy sitting next to me at the table (our limo driver) started asking me about what it was like having Celiacs. I told him about how I felt and the things I was learning and some of the challenges. He then told me that his son they found out had a gluten intollerance which, is not as extreme as Celiacs, but still can cause issues. He said his son was having odd behavior issues and after doing some tests they tried removing gluten. He said it has helped improved his sons attitude and behavior by great amounts and didn't realize gluten could have such an affect on people.  He proceeded to tell me that he used to be a manager at Outback Steakhouse and the general manager there was the one that started to bring awareness about Celiacs to Rapid. He said that the staff have special training on how to properly cook gluten free food they offer.  I worked as a waitress, so I know a little about how the the cooking staff can be....not helpful.

     There was such a huge relief on my face, not only cause I know a safe place I can eat without having to worry about getting sick because the staff understand how it important it is to be safe. I don't know anybody who has gone through the same thing I have.  My family has been very supportive, of course, but knowing somebody else is going to take care of you because they know what it's like, or they understand why you can't eat something, you don't feel good, or that you can't eat much. They get it....and it was such a great moment when you realize that somebody else knows the exact feeling you feel.

The After Math

    It's been a month and a half since I was diagnosed with Celiac's and at first I wasn't sure if that's what I had because my improvements were very little, but now after not having gluten for a month and half I am happy to say that my improvements are great!  At first it was just the extreme cramping and constant running to bathroom that went away (which is still good) but I was still having some uncomfortable pains and bloating and not being able to eat a whole bunch.  It was pretty much all day with the worse pain in the morning when I woke up, then it moved to just pain in the morning but, I started feeling hungry after a few hours of being awake...which was another good improvement....although I still couldn't eat a lot. Improvement is improvement I'd say, even if it took a while.  This week has been the first week that I have woke up with no pain and I am even starting to feel hungry when I wake up in the morning!  I can eat full meals on a daily basis, hardly experiencing any pain, and my body feels really good. I actually feel hungry and no bloating.   My mornings are so much easier and stress free now.

    Things I am learning though, is to scour the labels. I did accidentally eat gluten about two weeks ago and it did not end pretty. My stomach was hurting so bad and I felt nauseous, but that is how I will remember to always check the labels before I buy and/or make anything!   Some things you wouldn't assume have gluten in them, like Pringles, and if one flavor or type of candy is gluten free doesn't mean all of them are gluten free such as Reese's peanut butter cups are gluten free, Reese's wafers... not so much.  You can't assume anything, even if you think you know the ingredients of a food ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!  Don't assume you know what they say about people who assume.... Now time to get my teeth fixed.....yuck!

So it begins....

      So in September of 2011, I returned from a 6 month mission trip from Japan and South Korea. The trip was great! I had so much fun and I fell in love with Korea!  However, the day we left Korea, I got sick to my stomach. My stomach was cramping up so bad that I couldn't even move. My body was shaking, I was dry heaving, and I felt like I was going to puke; all while not being able to leave the potty....(yuck I know).  So I took some Pepto Bismol, waited for it to kick in, and tried to get ready and pack my stuff up in time to go to the airport.  I slept on the flight, but my stomach was still hurting, but manageable.  From there on out, I had the worst stomach pain all the time. I could hardly eat and sleep was my only means of escape from it. I was excited to go to sleep but hated waking up knowing that it was going to start all over again.  My diet included crackers, root beer and water, that was about all I could eat without having too many issues.  After a few months, I finally went to see a doctor. Several tests and some awkward moments prior, they couldn't find anything.  Feeling super discouraged, I went home and my stomach hurt more than ever. I thought it was going to explode. I didn't know how far my belly could stretch.   My mom had heard though how probiotics help with certain things such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which was what I possibly thought I had.  So after taking the probiotic I started feeling much better, after about 6 months maybe I was able to stop the pill completely.  

    I was doing great until the summer of  2014 when it started up again.  So I kept doing what I was doing, taking Pepto when needed, trying myself to figure out what was wrong with me and just handling the pain.  I started to keep a food journal to see if I could pinpoint what set it off, totally random I could eat the same thing two days in a row and one day I'd be fine and the next my tummy would hurt.  So I tried cutting out gluten for a week, no changes then I thought maybe it was lactose, I felt better for about a week and had my symptoms all over again.

    So FINALLY I decided to go to the doctor, a different one of course.  He then referred me to a GI (Gastroenterologist) specialist.  Who then after talking to me requested a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy....yeah super exciting. I had to drink this nasty stuff called GoLytely which I couldn't get down easy any possible way, cause of my stomach already rejecting any food that went it, so scarfing down a nasty drink didn't make it any better.  I tried my best hoping that they would figure it out without the colonoscopy.   So after both my tests, they told me that I tested positive for Celiac's disease!   They told me it takes at least a month before I can start feeling better. Unfortunately, is why when I tested it the first time it didn't do much.  Although, I read that usually when people stop gluten their symptoms tend to stop right away, so even though the doctor said that's what it was, I have my doubts. Maybe when I start feeling better I'll become a believer.   Lets hope that day comes soon....


Week 6

Well welcome to the end of week 6. What a week it has been. Ok lets start off with lectures. This week our speaker was Chris Colby and she was talking about worldview and getting down to the root issue. She used a tree for an example and said everything we do has a root cause. In order to figure out the root cause we need to start from the top and work our way down. It starts with CONSEQUENCE which equals the fruit we produce. Then it moves to your BEHAVIOR which is the branch. Then VALUE which is the trunk of the tree. Then last is BELIEF which is the root of the issue(s). So whenever we try to fix something in our lives we can't just cut off the branch we need to get to the root issue otherwise it will still be there. I really enjoyed her talks, we watched Amazing Grace in lecture also as an example of how William had to change before he could change slavery, and when he did end slavery he had to get to the root issue for it to change. Another thing I liked about Chris is that she made us discuss everything instead of just giving a bunch of information and then leaving. I quite enjoyed her. In our small groups we got these journals that we have to write in , which at first I wasn't a fan of but now I love it. Our small group leader Ashley (she is amazing!) gives us 5 questions and then we write our answers. We can discuss our responses if we choose. I am very excited for it! Last week our questions were:
1.) What is a new revelation that you've learned about Gods Character?
2.) One thing outside of lecture that I am struggling with?
3.) What are 2 things that I'm expecting from outreach?
4.) What does it mean to be hospitable?
5.) 1-10 rate how I feel that week.

It was really fun answering those questions. I am excited about this weeks questions too they are a little more intense.

1.) What is something I can do to help end slavery this week?
2.) Ask God what heart I should have for the production and what He wants to display.
3.) Write an encouraging letter to some one.
4.) Rate My week 1-10.
5.) Make a tree and find the root issue of either me or a social issue.

I am really excited to answer them! I think I have the best small group of all time and my leader Ashley is the best. She is the same age as me, and she is just awesome! In my small group we do a lot of serious things but we do it in a way that we kind of have fun with it. Like the other day we wrote down things that might be preventing us from getting closer to God, and then we asked God to take them away and replace it with something else that He wants, then we burned the papers. It was freeing, fun yet serious. Another time we did things that put us in a box and we made little boxes then, after, we broke off the things that put us in there, and then we smashed the box. Yesterday we wrote down lies we have believed or that people have told us then we wrote truths to go with those lies. We crumpled up the paper with the lies and just read off the truths. It's been great in my small group! Another fun thing we do is pick a girl and just encourage her or say nice things we like about her, it's tons of fun to encourage as well as be encouraged. Sadly when we go on outreach my small group will be different, because we mix guys and gals together. June 3rd we are supposed to find out who is going to be in our small group on outreach because we are performing in Hilo. We aren't doing the full performance because we are definitely not ready. It's like pre-outreach prep. I'm excited except there won't be showers while we're there....ew. But I'll survive =) I am definitely pumped for outreach I have a little bit of campus fever since I don't go anywhere really, most everything happens on campus. So I am ready to go on outreach, I think it will go by way faster because we are moving so much. We are only planning on staying in Japan for 3 weeks, the rest of the time we will be Korea. At the end of lecture phase we will be having a feast and then again at the end of outreach. I'm so excited for it. I'm also excited that we have our own cook for outreach, everyone says we are going to eat well! I can't wait! I have had 2 goals for my lecture phase, one was to learn how to really listen and hear Gods voice and I'm doing that. The other goal was to find out what God wants me to do with my life. I think He has begun to reveal that to me. I feel He is leading me in the direction to be a translator. So I am very excited about that. Please continue to pray for us!

Blessings,
Victoria

So Excited

Ok I'm so excited right now!!!! This week as been totally awesome! I really felt that God was talking to me this week, which made me so ecstatic and I also became aware of some hard feelings I had in my heart concerning some of my peers. I have to say this has to be my favorite week so far. On Wednesday night I had my one on one with my leader Ashley and we started talking about hearing the voice of God, and then we prayed that I would be able to hear it clearly. On Thursday morning during worship God gave me a vision of a bunch of different paths each leading to something different. At first I didn't know what it meant, but then later on that day God gave me the verse from Isaiah 30:21, which says "Whether we walk to the left or to the right your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'". I wasn't sure if this was God, or just me, but during one of our worship sessions, another girl stood up and said God gave her a verse to give to me, and it was the same verse! I was so happy! Then on Saturday I felt God laid it on my heart to be a translator, which would be so awesome! I am still praying about that one, but I feel like it's something I could persue in school. I am slowly learning Korean, it's so much fun! I can understand some of the stuff they are saying and it's great! Our lectures this week were really good as well. Our speakers have been absolutely amazing, and so funny! They have been talking about how important and influential "the arts" are. I am still praying about everyone's financal situations. I myself still need about $2000 for outreach. We are doing fundraisers to help us out, and I know God will provide!

Blessings,
Victoria

Welcome to corporate week

Well, as the title says week 3 is corporate week! Which means all of our lectures are in one place and everyone on campus has to attend. The founders of YWAM, Darlene and Loren Cunningham were our speakers as well as David Hamilton. I am not a big fan of corporate week but the lectures were pretty good. Loren is kind of hard to follow because his points are all over the board, but Darlene and David were very good. I learned so much! Darlene talked about how not to give up ever, and to say yes to God before he even asks you. Which is not a very easy task, especially if you don't like what he is asking you to do, but the best place for you to be is in God's will. Then she talked about how to stick with things even through the hardships. Its easy to be happy and trust God when all is going well, but when life gets tough that's when you need to persevere. He will get you through the hard times no matter what. Then they talked about how we need to have an opposite spirit, like if we are talking to someone who has bitterness in their heart we need to take the spirit of forgiveness. And you know how the bible says an "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" David was talking about how if your brother hits you don't get back at him with twice as much force. So its been really interesting. I told you last week about our small groups, which is like my favorite part of the week. It's a good growth and accountability time, and your leader helps you through struggles you might have and what not. I love it so much! Tonight we have a dodge ball competition, and then on Saturday we are going to the beach as a DTS for a bbq, which I am also so excited for, maybe there will be meat. Please continue to keep our finances is mind, God has done so much for a few peoples finances already, and we start fundraisers next week, so please continue to keep that in your prayers.

Blessings,
Victoria

Pics





Went to the beach for Hannah's b-day!

Mock up of our campus.


Flags, flags and more flags.





Frozen yogurt time!

The water is so blue!
Hannah Crean

Week 2

So this week during lecture we talked about marriage and how to change the world, which starts with marriage. Then we talked about sex and the 8 steps that lead to premarital sex. Some really good stuff! Another lecture was about the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. I really enjoyed that one. The Holy Spirit gives everyone different gifts, including the ability to speak in tongues. Something I have always wanted to be able to do but haven't. Again, I really enjoyed it. Other than that I haven't really started practice for our performance, it's been a little here and a little there kind of stuff but nothing too bad. The other day we learned hula dance which is very difficult and boring. We are all very hungry since the food here never fills you up. They give us lots of salad and rice, and that's it a lot of the time. Sometimes you just want some meat. We went to a Thai restuarant and I tried mussels for the first time, not bad. Evenings have had more free time as we have not started practice fully. After our workshift is over, we get to chill and just listen to people play guitar, one guy plays songs we know and the other sings songs he wrote. It has become one of my favorite things to do, that and walking to McDonalds at night (we do lots of walking). Another thing that I love is we have small group, and we get to have one on one with our small group leaders. I love that so much and I've only been to one. We have small group once a week so I'm excited for the next one! The weather here has been kinda chilly but still a lot nicer than South Dakota. Well, that's all for now. Thanks for your prayers! Still working on my outreach fees.

Blessings
Victoria

Week 1

Well week one has come and gone. It feels like I have been here a month, and that I've known all these people for years. Everyone says the first week is the hardest and the longest. The first few days I was exhausted, but thanks to everyones prayers I have been sleeping like a baby. Praise Jesus! Last week during our lectures Kenny Jackson was our guest speaker and he is also our DTS leaders husband. He spoke on finding the identity and character of God, good stuff. I wish we could have done more, but since it was the first week everything is really light. Then we had another speaker who came to talk about the Bible, but honestly he was all over the place. I think he wanted to cover too many things in one session and we just couldn't do it. So I really don't know what he was trying to get across to us. Today we start talking about sexuality and relationships, that should be an interesting lecture. Also, today we find out what areas we are gonna be working in, then we have another set of auditions to see what our spots will be. So I'm kinda nervous but very excited. My days are so jam packed that all you want to do on the weekends is just chill. We've just been listening to people play the guitar and singing along with it, very relaxing. The food here isn't too bad, minus my picky eating. They don't give us a lot of meat, so it's mostly salad and rice. I don't know how we are supposed to survive on that. =) One thing I do miss a lot is my mum's home cooking. The other day while we were skyping she was eating chicken, and before that my dad was eating spaghetti, my how I miss it(specially with the food I eat here, no comparison). My leader said outreach food will be better than this food, because we have our own cook, 4 months left and then I will be back to my mums cooking! I have met some new friends who I really have connected with, one is from Australia and the other from Egypt. I'm so happy to have met them, it has helped a lot. I'm super excited to be here! Please keep us in your prayers! Still working on my outreach fees, so if you would like to donate, you can do so easily by clicking the donate button on my blog.Blessings,
Victoria

My new home for the next 3 months....

Outside my dorm Local flowers

Part of our orientation was warning us not to stand under the coconut trees!




Our bathroom, ewwww. Is this preparation for the coming conditions?




Our kitchenette





U of N front gate







Mess Hall
Hello world!
Wow there is so much to say and I've only been here for 2 days. Well lets start off by saying that the goodbye to my family was the hardest thing I think I've ever had to do. At random times I've wanted to just burst out in tears and have. Everyone keeps telling me it will get better and I think it will just as soon as we get going, so far it's just been so relaxed. Yesterday was a long day plus I was so tired from the plane rides and not being able to sleep the first night. I ask that you pray for me about feeling homesick. My leader Maria has been a huge encouragement, as have my roomies.

On Thursday when I got here my leaders where so excited to see me. Maria the head of the DTS gave me a huge hug and said she was so happy I made it. All but one of my leaders are Korean. The other one, Johnny, is Canadian. So when Maria speaks she speaks broken English so there is also a Korean translator. Maria is such a funny lady she is so cute and kinda fiesty. I'm really glad she is my leader. Yesterday we pretty much just went over the campus and some of the base rules. There aren't many. Just the obvious ones, like no smoking and drinking. But they warned us of some insects that we have to watch out for, and to be careful when walking down the street, and the current in the ocean is very strong, so just watch yourself. Since pretty much everything in Hawaii is outside I feel like I'm at camp, except I don't have to ask to leave campus or anything and I can leave whenever I want. As long as I attend class I'm fine. Maria told me that our base is the hardest one here because we work late and we don't have a lot of free time during the week. Yesterday was Aloha Friday, which we meet in the Ohana court and had worship. We got a special presentation by the islanders. They did a dance for us and then did some special effects with fire. On Monday it will be our official welcoming by our base. They are gonna give leis, and introduce us to the staff. Then on Monday night we will have dance try outs, and then Tuesday night there will be acting try outs.
I still need just under $2000 to cover my outreach fees, so please consider donating. Just click on the link beside this post.

Blessings,
Victoria

4 more days...





Saturday it was 78 degrees and Sunday we were having blizzard conditions off and on.

So my mum made me stand in it so she could take a picture. That umbrella is bent in the wrong direction thanks to the wind!



5 days





Greetings! Well I will be off to Hawaii in 5 days, I'm not sure how to feel. Part of me is super excited the other part is quite nervous. I've never been away from home for very long and now I'm gonna be gone for months in a foreign land. Plus I have never flown before either, (that should be fun). I will be arriving in Hawaii on Thursday, then on Friday it is orientation day. I'm thinking I will have the weekend to explore Hawaii. I'm excited to see who my roommates are! I have met some of them already online through the YWAM site, which makes me feel a little better. Well, please continue to pray for me. Blessings, Victoria

Almost There

Hey everyone,
I am almost done with work, only 5 days left! 18 days until I leave. I almost have all my funding only $2400 left to go, praise God for all his provisions. Some of you have been asking if my trip has been canceled due to the Earthquake and Tsunamis that have hit Japan and Hawaii, the answer is yes, I am still going to Hawaii. As of right now my base is still planning on going to Japan, but they are still praying about it. I would like to ask for your prayers as well, pray for safety (especially if we are going to Japan) and also that my finances come through.

Blessings,
Victoria

Welcome

Hey friends thanks for visiting my blog!
I appreciate you taking an interest in my journey as I head to Hawaii and then Japan on my first missions trip. I will try to post at least once a week so you guys can stay updated and hear what God is doing in my life. I hope all that is well and that you enjoy.

Blessing,
Victoria