Introducing Shirley Speckerman and Lauren Strickland

We are in the middle of a series of blogs introducing our Journey team for this summer. If you are joining us for the first time, I encourage you to go back and check out those you missed. Enjoy the stories of how God lead each of them to give up their summers to serve in Africa!

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Introducing Shirley Speckerman:

20728_10200222451226547_219627440_nHey Journey friends! My name is Shirley Speckerman and I am from Cedar Falls, Iowa. This past January, I graduated from Cedar Falls High School a semester early. I am so blessed  to have a semester where I can devote my time to fundraising and preparing my heart to spend the perfect summer with you all! This fall, I will be a freshman at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. I plan to major in social work as of right now. There is a super cool student ministry at U of I called Salt that I look forward to being a part of. I am excited to start college and see all that there is to see!

Last August, my mother and I were blessed with an opportunity to take a trip with my church to the community of Kwambekenya, otherwise known as my favorite place on the planet! While I was in Kenya, I had the privilege of meeting the Avery Family. I was talking with Kristin about my future plans one night over dinner and she told me little bit about Journey. At the time, it certainly wasn't something that I thought I would be thinking about anytime soon. But soon after returning home, my church began a series where our congregation fasted and prayed together for about a month. I had never tried to fast before that, and I found that month to be very peaceful. It is amazing how God can speak to us when we take a part of our life as basic as our diet, and fill it with Him. After multiple journal entries and late night devotions, I started the application process for Journey as I felt God leading me.

Often, I find myself thinking of how crazy it is that God has blessed me yet again with an amazing opportunity to spend time in Kenya, doing what I love. Sometimes I just sit and ask Him why He always seems to meet my needs and desires. Every once in a while, I feel unworthy of the ways that the Lord has blessed my life. But Hebrews 6:18 reminds me that "We who have run for our very lives to God, have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go." How encouraging! God has promised us that He has big plans to give us a hope and a future. If we listen to his voice and follow Him, there is no need to worry. There is nothing that we have to do other than reach for our destiny, taking hold of what Our God has in store for us, never letting go.

Introducing Lauren Strickland:

551136_2325874524213_1560260128_nHey! My name is Lauren Strickland. I got to Thomas University in Thomasville, GA. I am an Early Childhood Education Major, which means that glitter, glue, and lots of tiny hugs have become an essential part of my everyday life. I have such a love for children they seriously fill my heart with so much joy.

I have always had such a love for Africa. My parents often times joke at the fact that I was the only child skipping around the classroom proclaiming that I would one day go to Africa. The way that I found out about Journey was completely God ordinated. I had a lot of people influencing me to apply to be a BigStuf intern. I knew in my heart that this was not what I was supposed to do but I gave in and looked into the application process. Long story short because I was looking into becoming a BigStuf intern I stumbled upon Journey. My immediate reaction was that there is no way this is possible. God however has a way of making what we deem impossible possible. I am really excited to see the ways that God continues to move this summer.

God has recently laid Ezekiel 37: 1-14 on my heart. It is the story of the dry bones coming to life. I feel as if over the past few months God has truly been bring my dry bones to life.