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This is it.

Well, I’ve been back in Oklahoma for almost two months now. The time has gone by so quickly. It has been an interesting time re-adjusting to life back here. Just in the few days after returning I had to remember to put on my seatbelt (I never really wore one in Ecuador) and that I couldn’t honk at people driving down the road (that’s how you communicate when you’re driving there).  My body is still having a hard time adjusting, the cold might kill me! My jungle blood can’t take it! I know most people think once you return things just go back to the way they were when you lived in America before. But, that’s not really the case. In Ecuador, I became accustomed to a new way of life and then upon returning I somehow have to mesh those two together, and it takes some time.

The week before last I was able to attend debrief in North Carolina. I was so thankful to go. I didn’t know how hard leaving the jungle would be. I knew that I was really sad and I wasn’t allowing myself to grieve. During the debrief the facilitators helped walk the class through lots of things, grieving a loss was one of them. One huge thing I realized was is how blessed I was to work with a great organization, others there were not so lucky.

Before I left for debrief I was offered a job! Can you believe it! Isn’t that what we had been praying for! I will share at another time how I knew that taking the job was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do. There’s not been to many things in my life that have been so clear…it was pretty awesome!

TO MY SUPPORTERS… December can be your last month to give! Okay, now get the tissues,

Just so you know this part is being written with tears, lots of them. Goodness, I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for you. Grateful doesn’t even come close to touching it. You helped to make a difference in the jungle by allowing me to be there. I didn’t worry about funds because you were faithful in supporting me. You gave extra when I asked and when you didn’t have to. You never questioned me about what I was doing or said I wasn’t doing enough. You trusted me with your heart as I went and followed the Lord across the world. You cared for me during the time I was in Oklahoma and was struggling with illness. One of my greatest joys is knowing there is a mess load of people cheering me on behind the scenes. My heart is full of joy as I say thank you from the deepest part of my heart for all that you have done for me. You have stored up great treasures in heaven!!!!

When I moved to Ecuador on January 8, 2015, I was in the airport frantic because I found out while checking in I could only take 2 bags instead of the 4 I had packed. So I repacked in the airport, all the while trying to push back the emotions of leaving. Then as it was time to go my sweet sweet friend prayed this blessing over me. I think it’s only fitting that I pray it over you as we close this chapter together…The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Amen.

 

Saying Goodbye to the Jungle

My life as a missionary has taught me so many things. Things I think I don’t quite fully understand. One of the greatest things I have learned is how relentless the Lord is. This time last year was a little difficult for me. The Lord was trying to tell me something and I wasn’t listening. It took a few more months and a conversation with a friend for me to finally hear what the Lord was trying to tell me. He was telling me it was time to leave the jungle and move back to Oklahoma. When I said it out loud I was a little shocked. I hadn’t ever thought of leaving before and thought I for sure would be in the jungle for a while longer. It was a few weeks before I said anything to anyone else, I wanted to make sure I had heard the Lord correctly, and I had. I shared the news with my organization a few weeks after that and they were saddened but understood. Although the Lord said it was time to leave I still needed to return and fulfill my commitment for 2018.

Upon returning to the jungle I wondered why the Lord told me so early that it was time to go, and I am so thankful He did. If he wouldn’t have told me I think I would have treated this year the same as any and not savored sweet moments. I’ve already had to say some goodbyes, to teams, to some beautiful places, and some people I love. If I hadn’t known I wouldn’t have been able to cherish all of those moments. I’ve also thought maybe I haven’t done enough during my time here, what fruit has there been. Then the sweet Father reminded me of this, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are both God’s building.” 1 Cor 3:7-9.

I will boast about all the great things the Lord has done in this place! I’ve been able to see in my life and here in the jungle how faithful the Lord is, and IT IS AMAZING! I’m not sure why the Lord has called me back home. When I leave here it will be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do. I love this place and it has become a home for me, my heart is here. But right now, I don’t think it’s my job to understand why the Lord has called me home, it is my job to be obedient.

My plan is to come back to Oklahoma at the end of October. I will go to a debrief the first of December in North Carolina (the same place I went for missionary training), this will help me learn how to re-enter the culture well. As far as what I will do when I move back home…I have no idea. Since the Lord told me to go back home I have been praying for provision, a place to live, a job, a car, all of those things. I thought for sure He would have shared some info with me by now but that hasn’t happened. I can’t wait to see what will happen and for the pillar of faith that will be built in me when He shows His faithfulness! This will be my prayer for the next few months, taken from a book written by Elisabeth Elliot: “Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to thee to be thine forever. Fill me and seal me with thy Holy Spirit, use me as thou wilt, send me where thou wilt, work out thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

Here is how you can pray:

  • For me as I finish up the last couple months here
  • As I say more goodbyes
  • Provision when I return home (job, car, place to live)
  • For the sweet girls in the student home, they don’t know I’m leaving yet
  • For the friends and family I will leave behind- who know’s when I’ll see them again

Here is how you can help: I am needing around $2,500 to come home and go to debrief. This will cover plane tickets and the cost of the program. If you would like to give you can give here: http://harrahchurch.simpledonation.com and where it says choose fund select my name.

To those who have supported me through prayer and finances, I can’t say enough how grateful for you I am.

 

Settling In

I would like to say that I am mostly settled in here in Ecuador. I am learning the bus routes and what time of the day is good to take the bus and which is not. If you ever get the feeling of being alone or need to be around people, being squeezed in on the bus is a great fix for that, and I mean literally squeezed in! This month has been a little difficult for me, not bad at all but difficult. I have been sick a few times which sucks all the life out of me. I hate being sick and hate having to miss Spanish class and hate missing time with the girls. Hopefully my body will start building up immunity to the food here. (Please pray for that!) It’s also been a hard few weeks with the girls. We have had 4 or 5 leave and new girls come in. It is extremely hard on me when the girls leave. We don’t know what kind of situation they are going back to. I want to just take all of them and keep them so they can be safe for forever. I know I can’t do that and I know that God has a plan for them. Sometimes I wish God would smack me up side the head and say, “Hey Ashley…..remember me??? Ya I got this!” Maybe I should write that on my hand or something! The second part of this is working with teenage girls! Man they are tough! There are 9 girls or so living with each other, constantly around each other with no break. Ya you catch my drift…..they can be difficult sometimes. (You can pray for that too!) I found a devo that deals with being a friend and why we should love and how we should love. Hopefully they are listening when we are sharing the devo, but I continue to pray that they will realize they are one big family and they need to make the best of it.

I got to visit Jungle Kids for Christ (the organization I am partnered with) last month. It was a nice visit and I was able to find out a little bit more of what my responsibilities will be when I move there. (Right now I live in Quito and work with Dunamis a sister foundation to JKC. I am working with them and learning Spanish so that when I move to the jungle I am better equipped with the language.) I will be working with the short terms teams that will be coming, help with all work that goes into that. I am extremely excited about being able to that. I also hope too that we will be able to open a child care center, as that will take some time.

God is showing me that I need to be totally dependent on him. Whether its being sick or frustrated with being squeezed in a backed bus or whatever it is. I am so thankful for His love for me and I ask quite often for Him to fill me up with His love I ask that you would pray for the girls I work with. Pray for both organizations that I work with; Dunamis and Jungle Kids for Christ. For my family back home, for my health and well being, my spiritual health and the provision I need.  Also pray for my awesome partners and their families!

Love and miss you all, thanks for reading. Also I was asked for a wish list in case you wanted to mail me goodies. I heard that you are not allowed to mail food anymore, Ecuador changed their laws. But I would love letters or pictures or cards! If you would like my mailing address please send me an email or a message and I will respond back with it.

Bienvenida Ecuador!

Hello from Ecuador! I have been in Ecuador a full month now! Sometimes it seems like I have been here forever and sometimes it feels like I just stepped off the plane. I am kind of starting to settle into a daily routine here. I have made my house and home and have gotten connected with a church and a singles group within the church. I have tackled the grocery store, somewhat, every time I go I discover something new….like cream cheese or whipped cream. Although,I have not seen enchilada sauce, thats okay I think I can make my own. My days usually consist of working with the girls, and by girls I mean girls that are live in a shelter in Quito. They either live there because some sort of abuse or neglect took place in their homes. The girls arrive at the foundation and we share a devotional each morning then they either work on jewelry or sewing or a computer class that I teach on Friday. Working with these girls is such a blessing, when we are not busy working they latch right on to me and want to be hugged and loved on. I love it and am super blessed that I get to share all the love that God has given me with them! In the afternoons there is a Spanish language tutor that comes to my house and teaches me Spanish. I initially had planned on going to an actual school, but that did not work out as it is pretty far from my house and costly for a taxi each day. So the tutor, Martha, is amazing and a great teacher and I really enjoy learning from her. Plus working the girls helps me to learn, as well and they correct me when I am wrong! I also teach them some English so it all works out. I am actually writing from the jungle right now. I came down to do a site visit and discuss what my future role with the Jungle Kids for Christ. In discussing with them their need in the foundation they need a person to handle and take over the short term teams that come. This position will oversee all that goes on with the teams before, during, and after their visit. Also being able to work on the child care center if that is the way God leads the organization. I am excited to work with teams, it was on a short term team that God showed me where He wanted me to be. And hopefully I will be able to share my testimony in that, and God can use that to recruit other missionaries!

God has been truly amazing in this last month. He has been right by my side and holding my hand tightly. I know that I live in a foreign country but so far it has not seemed like that to me. I really do not feel out of place and I feel at home. I think that in my past, growing up the way I did and always having to adapt to situations that children should not have to, has helped me to adapt in every situation good and bad…..this of course is a good one!

Some ways that you can pray for me are: my phyical health, I did get sick a couple weeks ago from parasites and I am sure that it will happen again. Pray that God will use everything that goes into my body as nurishment. Not sure if it counts when I eat chocolate or drink a coke….but hey you never know! Pray for my spiritual health. We had two girls leave the foundation, the government said it was time for them to go home. They usually do not go back into safe enviroments when they do. It is hard when they leave because we establish loving relationships with them, and more than likely not see them again. Also being away from my family is hard and I do miss them a ton and they miss me, please pray in that. Pray that God will keep the devil away from me and the organizations and my family.  You can pray for both organizations that I work with, Dunamis and Jungle Kids for Christ. Both are raising funds for the great things that God has going on for them, and that God will send more missionaries their way. Pray for the girls at Dunamis, that God will work in their hearts and that they will see how much He loves them. You can pray for my amazing partners that give each month either with prayer or by financial means. Pray that God will bless them and help them in what they need as they are a major blessing not only to me but to the organizations that I am with.

Thank you to my partners who do give each month as you have committed, you have no idea how thankful I am for you! It is one less thing to preoccupy my mind when I need to be focused on what God would has for me to do. I do have a mailing address so if you want to ship me some goodies either email me or facebook me and I will give you my address. Also check out my facebook page…..Ashley Murphy Missions as I regularly post pictures and quick updates!

Time to say goodbye

Well the time has come, ticket is bought, bags are being packed, and goodbyes are being said. This month has been full of ups and downs. I returned home from training the beginning of November and have been going non stop since. At training they told us that transition would be hard and they were RIGHT!! There have been so many emotions and I have grieved over things I didn’t think I cared about. There were a few days that I felt like I shouldn’t be talking because everything I was saying came out the wrong way. But it has gotten better and thank God he has held my hand through this time.

My church commissioned me at the beginning of December and it was an amazing day. My really good friend Curt came from Nashville to preach and commission me alongside my church. I am grateful that it took place during all 3 services. One of my friends took some pictures for me and you can hardly see me through the sea of people that came up to pray over me. During the service, Kevin my pastor, read a letter from a lady that God used to turn my heart to missions. I was surprised at the letter she wrote to me full of such kind and encouraging words, this was a very special moment for me, among many. Previous to the service I had been worried about getting the monthly support that I needed, 50 people at $25 a month. During the service we showed a video and I poured my heart out and shared what I would be doing and what I needed. I had people come up to me after the service and said they were going to partner with me and handing me money. This was an amazing overwhelmingly emotional day, filled with family and friends and God continuing to show me that HE is in control. The next day I was elated to find out that I got all my monthly support needs met! I sure am thankful that I prayed and asked God to “make it rain!” Yes I did pray this, He knows how crazy I am!

I will be leaving on January 8th, and if you have heard the names Jim Elliot or Nate Saint or Pete Fleming this is a special day. January 8th is the day these fearless God loving men were killed trying to reach people that certainly were the least. They put their lives on the line to share the Gospel with people they knew were dangerous, but God had given them a heart for them and they needed to share it. I had the privilege to visit the Nate Saint house back in March and I don’t know that I have been more taken over by the Holy Spirit than that. When I settle down in the jungle I will live about 30 or so miles away from where these men were murdered. Probably sounds scary to some people, but to me it comforting God is truly in this place. These men kicked the doors for missionaries to follow, and especially in Ecuador. If they hadn’t gone I wouldn’t be going to Ecuador to share the Gospel. So to leave on January 8th to Ecuador is a privilege to me.

Please be in prayer for me that leaving will go smoothly, that my family will be in peace as I leave, that the rest of the one time money comes in, and that God will go ahead of me and make the way.

I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart that decided to partner with me, whether financially or by prayer or both. Love you all!

See ya in Ecuador!!

 

It will never be the same again….

Well I am finishing up my last week here at CIT, Center for Intercultural Training. I have been here since September 13th and have loved every minute of it. I was quite nervous coming in and wondering what it was going to be like and nervous about spending all day in a classroom, but it has been really great. I have made wonderful friendships that will last forever,and even met some awesome people who will be in Ecuador as well! The training here is invaluable. We have learned so much from equipping in a new culture, to skills on learning a new language.

I think a few things really stuck out to me one is that I will never fit anywhere again…… Leaving home, relationships will change with my family, friends, and my church. They will all move on and go on about their lives without me. I will go to a country where I don’t know their language or their culture or how they do things and I won’t fit there. When I come home I won’t fit either because things will have changed and I will be a different person. But the more and more I think about it, I think I am okay with this. My blog is titled Ashley’s Not Normal and I believe that God made me not to fit and he will use that to His advantage. Another is how hard it is to be a missionary!!!! I knew that being a missionary was going to be hard but at training they make sure you know how hard it is!!!!!!! And give you a lot of tools to use, thankfully.

These 6 weeks here have been a difficult time to be away from home. One of my cousins past away, my sister was going through some trials, a couple of my family members have been very very ill (both like a mom to me), and one of my closest friends is ill and her son is very sick too, I am still recovering from my broken ankle and have a wisdom tooth coming in. I think these trials were to see how I was going to handle being away from home and not go run and be there for my family and friends. I realized I have to pray and give it to God, I can’t do anything else and I don’t need to. That should always be my first step and it wasn’t. I need to pray and put my faith in Him and let Him handle it.

At CIT spent every morning having a devotional time in our training. We also had small groups that we would brake out into based on the region of the world we were going to, and each shared our histories (sort of like testimonies) with one another. A few days before I shared my history I read an article that talked about God’s adoption of us. So many times I would say of how unworthy I am of God’s love for me. When I was reading this article I think God slapped me upside the head. I started thinking that when a parent adopts a child they pick that child and they already love them, or when parents have a child they love them automatically and unconditionally and they do not make their child earn their love. So why did I think I was unworthy of his love? He chose me, He adopted me, I am His daughter and He is my father, my dad……I am worthy of His love. And I am so thankful for it!!!!!!! God is sending me to a country and area where most kids have no idea who their dads are. How AMAZING is it that I get to go and share that I know their dad!!!! He chose them and has adopted them and is a father to the fatherless and He is my dad to and He has sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much love to give us!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH amazing and humbled I get to be God’s tool in this!

So I will be heading back to Oklahoma at the beginning of November and continue support raising and saying goodbyes….ehhh don’t want to think about that right now. We shall save that for next time! Thank you for your love and prayers and support! Leave me a message on how I can pray for you!

 

In motion

Things are moving right along! I feel like I am on a train that’s moving in super fast motion, a good train though. This has been an interesting month for sure. I was able to spend some time in Nashville with other missionaries. I spent time with an awesome woman who grew up in the mission field and then spent time in Bolivia for 4 years. She was telling me about her time in Bolivia and about what she has been able to accomplish. I definitely felt unqualified compared to her, and honestly I started to question if I was going to be able to go and serve. I quickly realized why I was feeling that way and knew it was the devil trying to attack me. We are all made different and all have different ways of serving God. Just because I did not grow up in the mission field or have a degree doesn’t mean that I can’t serve as effectively as she did. I am very thankful I got to spend time with her and learned quickly to STOP comparing myself! I also got to spend time with a great couple! He actually lived and served in the same town and mission I will be serving with. It was great to hear his experience and see all the pictures he had taken and hear the story behind them. After getting to hang with them I started to feel a little better about myself, and also rebuking the devil from me every five minutes helped too! Then while there I got to meet a family that is moving to Ecuador, we will also attend the cross cultural training together. Let me just say I think that we were made to live in the jungle together!! We had so many quirky things in common it was kind of crazy, I am so excited that I will be able to serve along side them! We are a new family whether they know it or not haha! Leaving Nashville I felt like I was right where God wanted me to be. Taking the steps and moving forward to go and serving him.  I come home and go back to my regular daily life and BOOOOOOOOMMMMMM the devil strikes!! I decide to play on the slip and slide with my niece and a couple girls (peyton and keena), I run and jump and land wrong on my ankle and hear a crack. I roll over try to get up and couldn’t, I just sat there while I am being sprayed my water (which is funny now, but at the moment it was NOT) and could not move. I made my way into the house then to the am/pm clinic. They do x-rays and tell me that it is fractured and that I might need surgery. I did not cry at all until this point, and then I lost it. All I could think about was what is going to happen if I have to have surgery…. I have plans!!! I am going to training in September for 2 months and then I am leaving in January to go to Ecuador. I CAN NOT have surgery. So everyone left the room and I just sat there and prayed…..you know what you are doing, you know why this happened, and I need your strength and I want your will for my life, even if I have to have surgery. A couple days later I made it in to the doctor and come to find out I don’t have to have surgery and I will wear this boot for 3 weeks and go back and see how it looks then. PRAISE GOD!!! Two things I learned this month…1. You have to learn to be content in whatever situation you are in. I think we get so comfortable in our lives and when we aren’t we automatically want to see how we can change it to make comfortable. I don’t think it should work that way,  God is showing us that we need to come out of our comfort zone. I can’t imagine that being a full time missionary will be a comfortable 100% of the time, I am thankful now that I know it will not be. 2. A new level you reach with God or the more steps you take to serve him, the devil strikes you in even bigger ways. After they said I might need surgery I said, God must have something extraordinary in store for me because the devil is on full attack. And that’s ok let him attack, he might hurt me and try and brake me but it’s not going to work! I am on a mission to live out God’s will for my life and I won’t be stopped! I ask that you would continue to pray for me and my health and the provision I need to go and serve! If you do feel inclined to contribute to me you can go to harrahchurch.org and make a contribution there! Thank you in advance for you prayers and support!