A Saturday Story- Rachel Hrovat- Botswana

Enjoy this Saturday interview with the wonderful Rachel Hrovat!

1. What has been the most challenging part of living overseas for a year? What has been the most rewarding part?
         Challenge: the greatest challenge has been learning the language. Most people speak English, so there has not been any formal language training, it has just been my responsibility to learn along the way. After living here 6 months, though, I feel like I should know much more than I do. 
         Reward: The most rewarding part has been seeing how the Lord is the same in all nations! That He has faithful followers in this country who love Him with their whole hearts! It has been incredible and I love being able to talk with brothers and sisters here and although we have vastly different backgrounds and are from opposite hemispheres and sides of the world  our foundations in Christ enable us to build deep relationships.

2. What have you learned about yourself and your home culture through this experience?
              What I have learned about my home culture can best be summed up in the words of Ghandi: “There is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.” The USA as a whole is entirely too materialistic, and I struggled with that while living in the US, but when I moved away and have been in another country, I have seen how true it is that very little is actually needed to live. I have been convicted of my own frivolous spending, and even while living here, I come home each night to food while many of my friends go to bed hungry, both children that I mentor and college students at the university. I have been learning of the Abrahamic covenant, where God told Abraham, “I will bless you and through you all nations will be blessed.” He has blessed me and wants me to use those blessings, whether they be monetary blessings, certain gifts and abilities or knowledge, who am I to squander and consume the blessings He has freely given me?

3. Is there an attribute of God that has been particularly sweet to you during this season of life?
           His faithful love. It has been quite a hard truth to comprehend that there is nothing that I can DO or nothing that I CAN’T DO that will make God look on me with any more love or look on me with any less amount of love. Understanding that His love is unconditional has been a hard truth to grasp but it has been refreshing as I fail time and time again, knowing that He continues to remain faithful and sovereign in my life and continues to pour out His love on me, as one so entirely undeserving. 

4. What one piece of advice would you give to graduating seniors? How about freshman?
           The Lord has blessed us to be a blessing to others. Learn what this means and live it out.

5. What’s your favorite food there? What snack do you miss the most?
            My favorite food here is anything traditional. But in short, I’d have to say a “fat cake” which is basically just a ball of fried bread. The snack I miss the most is COFFEE! A white mocha from Starbucks with a shot of hazelnut. Hahahaha. Ok, I know that’s a drink, but I cannot think of any snack food I miss the most….hmm. Maybe Whales? Yeah, lets go with that answer 🙂

6. How is life after college different than you expected?
           I never expected to be living in a different country and have the title of “missionary”. In all honesty, I thought that I would have a job, begin working my way on the corporate ladder and find a nice man to settle down and marry, then start a family. While I have kept many of my friends from college, I have been amazed at the close relationships I have formed with the people I have met here in Botswana. But as I have said before, God knows me better than I know my own crazy, random self. As I yielded myself to Him, and  took the leap of faith to follow His calling to a random country and culture I knew nothing about and had never been to, He proved Himself faithful as I have fallen in love with this slow-moving people, almost feeling more at home here than I have felt in any other place in my life. It’s like I was separated at birth from Botswana! 🙂

7. What made you decide to spend a year overseas?
           Living in another country had always been a dream of mine, but never in a million years did I think this dream would become a reality. But the decision came from lots of time seeking God and trying to discern what His next step for me was after college. The opportunity to come to Botswana literally sprang up out of nowhere and as I tried to reason why I should not go, there was no way that I could say no. I didn’t fully understand at the time why I would be going to Botswana, but it has been neat looking back and seeing His plan unraveling. I knew that if I said “no” to Botswana, I would be saying “no” to a very clear call from my Lord and Savior, and that was not something I wanted to do.

8. Can you share a story of how God is working in your location?
           The theme of our student movement, BOTSCRU, this semester is making disciples as we go. The harvest here in Botswana is DEFINITELY plentiful, but the laborers are so very scarce. There is great need for discipleship and God has been revealing that to both staff and students. While through evangelism we see many students give their lives to Christ (something that seems crazy and foreign for those on US campuses) it is through follow-ups and discipleship that lives are changed and individuals excited and in love with Jesus Christ are raised up to be sent out. We had a Valentine’s Day outreach and from that outreach alone there were 500+ contacts to follow up with who showed interest in talking more about their faith and God.  The students in our movement all received stacks of contacts to follow up with, so seeing the students take hold of the vision and be proactive in doing these follow ups.

9. How can we be praying for you?
          Please pray for me in my discipleship relationships. I have been so overwhelmed recently trying to figure out how to meet and pour into the girls I am “assigned” to be discipling while at the same time be holding follow-ups and doing evangelism, always getting more contacts even while I have others to follow up with. I am feeling stretched very thin and thus am feeling ineffective in ministry here. But on the other side of this is letting time slip away and feeling lazy. I just want to not be lazy in these next few weeks of the semester but rely fully on the strength of the Lord and give all I have to His work here. Also, prayer for time to sit and be still and listen to His guidance concerning next year would also be much appreciated as I have NO clear direction whatsoever. THANKS!

Be Free Fridays (Meg)

“Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”
– Jesus (Matthew 11:28)
Doesn’t rest sound like just about the most wonderful thing you can imagine sometimes? How often do we walk around flashing our “busy badge” and yet on the inside we are crying out for rest? For breathing in and out. For calmness and gentleness and all good things. A day by the water. A view from the mountains.
Oh, how I long to rest! Physically and spiritually! Don’t you?
A natural “performer” {in the “getting an A on my assignment” kind of way, not quite the “take the spotlight and come alive on stage” kind of way}, I often find it hard to rest spiritually. I often disregard the free gift God’s given me – the way He has called me His child in spite of myself – and I tell Him I want to show him I can do it. He should be proud of me, after all. Look what I’ve accomplished.
But this is not what it means to rest in grace! This is not the abundant life Jesus talks about! This is certainly not the freedom He has given me. My cycle of life goes more like: Work, work, work. Try to please God. Get tired. Work again. That sounds less like rest and more like bondage, doesn’t it?
The truth is, I cannot separate rest from freedom.
I find myself working “for” Him without resting in Him. I find myself going back to the yokes of my former slavery, the bonds of performance and longing for approval that so gripped my heart and kept me from knowing abundance and LIFE, all the while ignoring my identity in Him.
I am so in need of experiencing what it means to rest in grace, to be free to abide in God rather than in the things I’m trying to show off for Him. I’m in desperate need of reminders and this rhythm of rest.
So on Fridays, every once and a while, let’s take time to process through this freedom. Let’s process through this rest that is so preciously and purposefully ours in the gospel. Let’s set aside time to intentionally be free to rest in grace. Let’s start our weekends off well.
In essence, let’s ask: Am I awake enough to hear from Him right now, to be sensitive to the Spirit, to recognize the truth and reality of my humanity and God’s grace? And am I so abiding in Him that I may be free to live out what he has given me today, this week, this year in a regular rhythm of work and rest, seeking and surrender?
Lean in with me. Ask Jesus to grant you that rest, to help you understand that grace and freedom. Maybe your story looks totally different than mine. But the truth is, His grace and freedom and rest covers us all. His love has set us free.
Today, I pray that you may rest in Him. I pray that you may evaluate exactly where He is leading you to wake up and to surrender. What does it look like to be free in whatever and wherever he has placed you?
Because of His great love for you, I pray you would experience true freedom from “work” that bonds you – performance, the drive for acceptance, whatever – those things that keep you from God. This Friday, I pray you would be free. Free to love. Free to follow. Free to rest.
Good reads and listens for your weekend:
  * Psalm62 {a favorite psalm I’ve clung to in times of dire unrest}
  * “FindRest” by Annie Lawrence
  * “Nothing Holding me Back” by Bryan & Katie Torwalt
  * “Revive Me” by Christy Nockels
  * “Present over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist

::a summer, a friend, & a giveaway!:: (Brooke)

Today’s post is kinda sappy. friend sappy.  

And today you get to tag a friend for a chance to win 2 prints:
one for you and one for her!

But first, let me share a friendship story with you:

I met my best friend 10 summers ago on a summer project with Cru in Ocean City, NJ. On the first day of the project I knew no one. The project director said, “For the first week two girls will need to share a king bed, who is willing?” Without much thought I raised my hand and at the same time she raised her hand. And from the first night of sharing a bed we haven’t stopped laughing and praying for one another through all life’s joys and sorrows. BTW: she claims I put a pillow between us to keep it s e p e r a t e d for that week. I don’t remember such things. 

But what I do remember from that summer is how much I laughed-like-deep, slightly always crying laughing. How from the first day of project she called me “joey” never Brooke unless she was getting stern– now the joey has evolved to “josie”. I don’t get it either. but I like it. I remember how on our free day each week we would drive to the next town for Target & Starbucks(pictured left) listening to Jars of Clay, windows down. I remember how on our one a week “date night with Jesus” we would always have a picnic on her bedroom floor before going separate ways for our extended time with the Lord.  I remember how early she woke up to go be with Jesus(& I think to go get coffee) and how that encouraged and challenged me.  I remember how we both had to be a part of a mandatory softball game and how we both were nervous wrecks and whiffed at every at bat.  I remember walking to Wawa daily so we could get fruit cups and soda.  I remember how we would harass the mailman every day when he would come to the project house, “BILL, ANYTHING FOR US!?!”.

There’s nothing like a summer with a new, dear friend.
There’s nothing like a lifetime with that same friend.  

I am so thankful to God for friends. They point us to Christ and remind us that everything is going to be okay.  They help us to dream and sit with us when we mourn. They remind us of the Hope and Future that is indeed ahead. 
“Because there really is nothing like good friends, like the sound of their laughter and the tones of their voices and the things they teach us in the quietest, smallest moments.”  -from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist


To celebrate the friends in our lives my Bestie has donated two prints from her cute, cute shop! The print is 8×10(inspired by a Hillsong United song) and will look fantastic in your dorm room or around your house.  To enter to win: tag one friend on facebook or twitter or instagram with this post—AND comment below with your name and email address & the name of the friend you tagged. You have til Saturday(3/22) evening at 5pm to enter. We will announce the winner later that evening!
*You don’t need to be a Tidewater Cru student to enter*   

A friend loves at all times.  Proverbs 17:17