11.18.2008

Mmmm..Quesedillas...Que sera sera...

I've come to the conlusion that my comfort foods are bananas, chocolate, and quesedillas. I went out for lunch with a friend of mine today, and introduced her to the delicious world of quesedillas. If you have never had one, I suggest you try one next time you're in a restaurant. I consider myself to be a connoisseur, and by far the best is a little restaurant downtown in my city. But since everyone can't come here, than the second best would be at Montana's.

Basically, for those who don't know what these beautiful creations are, a quesidilla is a tortilla which has green onions, tomatoes, sometimes green and red peppers, usually chicken, and my favourite part, CHEDDAR cheese. (am I making your mouth water yet?) These ingredients are placed on one half of the tortilla, while the other side folds over. AFter this, it is baked just until the cheese melts, and then is cut into 4 pieces. It is always served with sour cream and salsa. Don't underestimate the simpleness of this meal-it is most tantalizing indeed :)

I had to work this afternoon, and it was slow until 1 1/2hrs until we closed. I was so tired, because I stayed up until 2:30 AM reading a book, that was, unfortunately, NOT my Bible. However, it is a Christian fiction book, and a mystery to boot, so I couldn't put it down!

Hope everyone has a great night...

Love, Ash

11.17.2008

No Hay Nadie Como Tu.....

I went to the Treasure House today and bought a CD I had ordered in. It was the Hillsong CD in Spanish :) There's something about listening to worship music in another language that is just so beautiful! Even though I don't understand all the words, it just lifts my soul in a way that other things can't do. I know that God created other languages because people were getting too proud(at the Tower of Babel), but His imagination is so amazing! I can't believe how many languages there are in the world, and that some of them are related, but others are vastly different.

I have been missing speaking in Portuguese lately. I don't know what it is about that language, but I always feel so at peace when the words flow from my lips. Aaaah....I have a love affair with language :) God is so good :)

Today was a restful day...my only day off other than Sunday, and I was able to visit with one of my best friends, and catch up on her life. And guess where I went? the coffee shop I work at...
You would think I get enough of that place when I work there!

Yesterday I wrote a song, and unfortunately I haven't been able to record it, otherwise I would likely be able to put it here. However, I will post the words, and hopefully they will touch your heart:

Intro-
Lord, I have come here to worship you x2
You alone are worthy, Lord x2

Verse I
In the silence, You speak to me,
Even when I don't hear Your voice.
I try to listen, I want to be free
From the distractions and the noise-

Chorus
With my mouth I will praise you
With my hands I will serve you
With my feet I will go wherever you lead.

With my voice I will worship
With my heart I will love you
With my ears, I will listen and obey.

Not my will, but Yours be done,
Speak to me, here I am!

Verse II
My desire, the only one I need
Is Jesus Christ who died and took my shame.
Lord, You're my light, help me to be
Unashamed to speak Your name!

Chorus

-AshWin-

I hope everyone has a blessed evening!

Love, Ash

11.15.2008

Rain + Snow = A Winder..er.. WINTER Wonderland :)

I'm sitting here with my decrepit laptop, which is keeping my lap nice and cozy, while trying to ignore the way my frozen toes are screaming at me to warm them up somehow! When the rest of my body is warm, my toes and fingers are always cold. It's one of those things in life I will never understand!

All during my shift at work today, people kept complaining how miserable it was outside, how the rain was ruining their day bla bla bla....I was just happy it wasn't snowing! All of a sudden, Tom called to me and said, "Ash, come look!" Of course...it was snowing. I don't like snow, but for some reason it was comforting. As much as I hate to admit it, snow is pretty, especially when it's falling softly to the ground.

Even with this admission, I still wish I was somewhere warm.

Wish I was sweating buckets instead of freezing ice cubes...
Wish I could see the grass growing instead of the snow accumulating on the ground...
Wish I could smell the hot asphalt instead of the piercing chill of the night.

Love, Ash

11.14.2008

More thoughts from Break!

I've been enjoying working these 8-4 shifts, because I get a break and can read my Bible. The other day, I was confronted with questions about "enlightenment", gods from other religions, and other such things I wasn't prepared to answer. The person who posed these questions is someone who does not believe the Bible is inerrant, and so I think he was just saying random stuff to trip me up. However, I was reading in 1 Corinthians again, and found this passage that I really like:

"We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"),
6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."

In Chapter 8, Paul is talking to the Corinthians about food sacrificed to idols, and how they need to be respectful of the weaker brother. People who used to worship idols may be tempted to go back to that life if they see someone eating food that was sacrificed to idols. Paul was just reminding them that idols are nothing compared to God, and that no matter what, there is only ONE God, and ONE Lord.

I just thought this was such an amazing statement of belief, and it is so powerful to me!

Love, Ash

Just some thoughts....

I was reading my Bible on break today, and decided to start reading in 1 Corinthians. For some reason this passage stuck out to me from 1 Corinthians 1:

27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.
30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

This made me remember that we cannot take any glory for anything that God has given us---He deserves it all!!!

Just something to think about...

Love, Ash

5.09.2008

South Asia...

We arrived yesterday, safe and sound, exhausted but happy, and God is protecting us. Thank you all for your prayers!

It is hot here, hot and humid, and I can't believe the amount of sweat one can produce while simply walking around outside:)

Today we went to church, an English-speaking church, and then we toured some historical places, as well as saw the parliament buildings. It's beautiful here!

They are slowly easing us into the culture, and soon we will be visiting some of the poorer places.

The food is amazing, and the people are so nice!

Love and miss you all..I'm not sure of the next time I will have internet access, but please continue to pray for us!

Until next time....

Love, Ash

5.07.2008

Made it to the Desert!

Hi everyone!

Just want to give you a quick update. Our almost 14 hour flight to the United Arab Emirates went well...long, but well :) and now I'm standing at a free internet cafe in the airport waiting for our flight to our final destination, which will be in about an hour and a half.

We have completed an 18 hour layover, which we were able to make faster by going on a desert safari with the team for initial bonding. I will tell you more about that later, but it was a blast!

Now the the real test of faith begins, and we are thanking God for the unity he has brought to a group of people who have never met, but have spent almost two days together on a long flight and a hot desert.

Thank you for your prayers, and I will let you know how things go as we go along! Please continue to pray that we will grow from this experience, and that we will learn much!

Love always,
ASh

5.05.2008

Vision trip Update

To my dear family and friends:

The moment has arrived. I can hardly believe it, but tomorrow at 10:20 AM I will be on a plane heading for South Asia, where I will stay for two weeks! Only ONE more sleep! (Truth be told, I will probably get no sleep tonight!)

I want to thank everyone for their words of encouragement, your prayers, and your financial support that has lead up to this time. I have some good news: I have all the financial support I need! Thank you all!

Prayer is one of the most important parts of the trip. I would ask that you would pray for our team in these next two weeks. None of us have ever been on an adventure like this before, and I am sure that many on the team have nervous stomachs today!

I also ask for prayer that we will not take things at face value, but that we will get into the culture and learn more about the people in a deep way. I hope that we will learn much, and that we will experience how God is working in this country.

The team from Wycliffe that is there also asks for prayer, as they are going through some changes to make Bible translation more effective. Pray that God will give them the strength to do what they need to do for Him!

Please pray that we will be safe as we travel there, as well as our travels while we are there, as we will be going to many different places.

I’m not sure if I will have access to the internet too much. May God bless you all in the coming two weeks, and I will update you all when I get back!

Thank you again, and please continue your prayers!

Love,

Ashleigh

4.15.2008

Peelings...

Ok, so I only have four major things to do yet for the school year, but they are going to get done by today and tomorrow. This is exciting, because at the beginning of the semester I had 20 major assignments! Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me along the way, especially mom, who wasn't afraid to tell me to step it up! Thanks so much! And God has been seeing me through, even when I thought it was an unreachable task. I got this in an e-mail from Nana the other day, and I wanted to share it with you. It shows how even in our negative thoughts, God is positive, and he holds us up.


You say: "It's impossible"
God says: All things are possible
(Luke 18:27)

You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest
(Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I love you
(John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient
(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps
(Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things
( Phil ippians 4:13)

You say: "I'm not able"
God says: I am able
(II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it
(Roman 8:28 )

You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I Forgive you
(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs
( Phil ippians 4:19)

You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear
(II Timothy 1:7)

You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME
(I Peter 5:7)

You say: "I'm not smart enough"
God says: I give you wisdom
(I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you
(Hebrews 13:5)


Thanks be to God for His everlasting love, his never-ending mercy, and his unspeakable joy!

I hope you all have a great day!

Love, Ash

4.13.2008

Vision Trip Update #2

Dear Family and Friends:

I know some of you receive an e-mail with this update as well, but I something transpired since that e-mail tonight...Jessica was able to get our VISAS!!!! I'm so excited!

I hope this past week-end finds you all well.

Although exams and last minute assignments are approaching, it will soon be over before I know it! I can’t believe in three short weeks I will be in South Asia!

I have some more exciting news to share with you! Our flights are booked and confirmed!!! We fly direct from Toronto, on May 6 at 10:20 AM, to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates) and then from Abu Dhabi directly to our destination. We will get there on May 8 at 7:35 AM. Then we depart on May 21 at 9:35 AM arriving in Toronto May 22 at 8:40 AM.

It is going to be a lot of traveling, and many things to do and experience once we get there, but I am POSITIVE that it is going to be an experience like none other!

I want to thank you all who are praying for this trip and those of us going on it. Your prayers are so important to me right now!
Please continue to pray for:
-spiritual growth of our team
-continued perseverance as the end of the school year arrives
-financial support and trust in God

I have a praise: God continually provides! Thank you to all of you who have contributed financially! As of last Thursday (April 10), the office in Calgary told me I had $2, 805.50. That means I only need $294.50 until I reach my goal of $3100!!! That is so exciting! Praise the Lord! If anyone was still interested in supporting me, my deadline is April 25th, at which time I need to have the full amount. Please e-mail me at: ashl5570@rogers.com if you need the address.

God has been testing me and stretching me so much this year, and I think this trip will be another big challenge. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to see what God is doing in the world! Thank you all for making it real for me!

Have a great week!
Love, Ashleigh

4.08.2008

Happy April and Beautiful Weather...

Hi everyone. I hope that you all had a wonderful week-end! I was able to go home after not being home since February. I had a great visit with my family, and was able to speak about my trip at my church.

I would just ask anyone reading this to keep my Poppa in prayer. He is going in for his second surgery on Wednesday, and I know both he and Nan must be nervous. Thankfully we know that God has everything under control! I love you both, and I AM and will be praying!!

May God bless you and keep you. May He cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace.

Love, Ash

3.28.2008

Vision Trip Update...



Dear Family and Friends:

Hello! I trust that you all have been keeping well since my last update for my trip to South Asia!

Preparations for the trip have been starting to come together. I have received my vaccinations, and have sent my passport to my team leader for the VISA. I am in the process of getting pictures done for the VISA application, which I will give to Jessica (my team leader) next week.

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from Jessica which is loaded with information about the trip, including our team biographies, introduction to cross-cultural ministries, the country profile, and spiritual preparation. I am looking forward to reading through all of this. Knowing the others on my team also have this makes me feel a sense of connection with them already. We are all preparing for this trip together, and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ longing to glorify Him in this stretching experience.

I have some exciting news to share with you! I now have received $1170 of the total $3100 for my trip that is quickly approaching! I do have some financial deadlines coming up, however. I only need $830 by April 2nd, and the remaining amount of $1100 is due by April 25th. If the Lord has been leading you to support me financially in this trip, you may send a cheque to this address for a tax receipt:

Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada
Receipts Department
4316 10 St. NE
Calgary, AB
T2E 6K3

Thank you so much for prayerfully considering your partnership in this trip!

I do have some prayer requests:
1.) For focus and motivation in school in these last three weeks
2.) For our team to grow more in Christ this month as we prepare to leave
3.) For trust that God will provide all of our financial needs

Thank you to those who have been praying for me. Continue to keep me in your prayers as this next month is going to get busier with school and more preparations before we leave on May 4th!

God Bless!

Love, Ash

3.27.2008

The End is Near...

I can't believe my last day of classes is April 11. I don't know what to do with myself. I have an incredible amount of homework that I have due, and VERY little amount of time to do it all. Need I say more? Incredibly, I am not stressing. I would like to say that it is because I can feel God's presence so near to me that I don't have to worry. Sometimes that is true. However, I feel the reason why I am not stressing is because I am choosing to pretend that the work doesn't exist. I believe that the amount of homework that I have due is all subjective. It is a figment of my imagination, and is all relative to my situation...*

Ya right. However, I have decided that it is better to start working away at one thing rather than focusing on the mountain that is before me. So, I chip away. And to amuse myself in classes, I write poetry. (for clarification, I haven't done this in a LONG time, and I actually was paying attention to the lecture WHILE writing...inconceivable!)

I want to run like a jaguar,
Swim like a barracuda,
Fly like the toucan.

I want to jump like a squirrel,
Walk like a lion,
Dance like the butterfly.

I want to laugh like a stream,
Cry like a waterfall,
Sing like the waves.

I want to scream like a howling wind,
Shout like the owl in the dead of night...

I want to be silent,
Then perhaps I will be heard.

-AshWin-

I hope you have a blessed day!

Love, Ash

*I blame the use of philosophical terms in this blog on my philosophy of religion class. It alters my mind...

3.25.2008

MORE SNOW...

Ok, so just when I thought that spring was around the corner, what swirled around in the air today but MORE SNOW! I couldn't believe it, and although I was perturbed, I decided not to dwell on it too much. If God wants to ..."bless" us with snow yet again, I have to be thankful for every little unique snowflake that falls to the ground.

I was VERY thankful for my boss this morning. I was supposed to work a 3 hour shift, but she let me take it off so I could work on some, ahem, VERY late papers. It was so nice of her, and of course I felt obligated to do homework since that was the reason I wasn't working. I felt like I got a little more accomplished than I have been lately, so it was nice!

Tonight we talked about Islam in my world religions class. It was a great class, and it helped me understand a little bit more about Muslims, and how to talk to them about my faith. I hope it will come in handy when I go on my trip to South Asia.

I should go...I'm planning on working out with Katie soon, and I don't want her to have to wait for me.

I hope you all have a great night!

Love, Ash

3.23.2008

Happy Easter...

He is risen...He is risen indeed!

I'm sure any of you who went to church this morning are familiar with this phrase we are so quick to greet one another with.

It was hard for me to get into the Easter season this year. I didn't have much time to reflect on Jesus' death and resurrection, and so I felt kind of rushed in church. It almost felt like a dream, where you move from one scene to the next without fully understanding what is happening.

Honestly, I doubt that I could ever fully and truly understand. Sometimes when I even try to contemplate, meditate, or reflect on how God sent His perfect Son into the world to die for humanity, to take all of our sins upon Himself, it is overwhelming. That is one thing I thought about on Friday during the Good Friday service. It's bad enough that I feel guilt over my sins, and cry out to God to forgive me for my weaknesses; I can't imagine how Jesus would have felt with the weight of the sins ALL OF HUMANITY taken upon himself. It wasn't just my sins that He bore, but it was the sins of everyone who has ever lived, and everyone who WILL ever live. When I thought about that, I had a new appreciation for what He did. He didn't have to die for our sins, but He did, because of His immense love for us.

The reality is, after He died with the weight of the world upon Him, He AROSE! Just when we think it is over, nothing more can be done, He rises from the dead 3 days later, and reigns victorious over the sin that enslaves us. He has won the battle over Satan, and that is truly something to rejoice over!!

I hope you all had a wonderful day, as you think about all of this. Perhaps you were able to visit family and friends today, and rejoice over the wonderful things God has given to you, be it physically or spiritually. May God bless you all!

Love, Ash

3.20.2008

Easter...

I decided that since Good Friday is tomorrow, I would post a poem that I wrote which is appropriate for this somber day. Remember that Jesus died for you as you read it, and meditate on what His death means in your life.

Bodies.
Writhe around in pain.
Hiding in my shame.
I turn my face away.

Suffer.
What do I know of this?
I, like Judas' kiss,
Condemned my Lord to die.

Feel.
Thorns pierced in His head.
See His skin stained red.
I drove in the nails.

Died.
Christ did it for me,
So I could be free.
How can I do less?

-AshWin-

Love, Ash

3.17.2008

Speech...

I said my speech tonight, and it went fine(Praise the Lord!).

Today was Katie's birthday, so her boyfriend Andrew through a little surprise party for her and invited her close friends here at school. It was a nice little get together, and I know that Katie was really encouraged.

This day went by too entirely fast. I had chapel practice today, and realized that we're playing one of my favourite songs, which is "God of Wonders". I'm so excited for chapel on Wednesday!

I should go, but I hope you all have a great night!

Love, Ash

Emotional Speech...

In my communications class I have to present an emotional speech. I decided to post it here so that you all can read it. I know it won't convey the amount of feeling it would if you heard it, but that's ok.

Here it is:

Good evening. I hope that you all had a wonderful week-end, and were able to get outside yesterday to enjoy the sun!

Tonight I want to talk about a word. Not just any word. Not even an English word either.

There is a word in Portuguese that cannot be translated into any other language. It is used to describe the emotion we feel when we miss something or someone. This feeling of “missing” conveys an almost negative attitude of nostalgia, knowing that we may never get that person or thing back again.

Now, in English we can say that we miss someone, or we can show sadness in not having them with us anymore, but there is no word for that sense of “missing” we feel.

The Portuguese call it “saudades”, and it clearly describes that feeling of longing or yearning for the way things were when we had that person or were in a certain place. It gives a sense of futile “missing”, that no matter what we do, we can never have those moments in time back.

Have you ever felt this way? Do you miss something or someone so much that it hurts, and everything you see or smell or hear seems to remind you of them? I’m sure every one of you has “saudades” right now for someone who has passed away.
I’m grateful to say that I have never lost anyone close to me, but at the same time I am embarrassed at how na├»ve I am in this area. I don’t know what it’s like to lose someone dear. When that time comes, however, I will be able to better sympathize with those who have. If that’s you, I am sorry for your loss.

The “saudades” that I have are not for a person in particular, but for many people, and for a beautiful country in South America, a country so diverse, yet so similar. A culture in which the extremes of poverty and luxury live side by side. This country is Brasil.

In 2005, I went on a missions trip to Brasil with 9 other people from my church. We left in November and stayed in a place near the capital city of Brasilia for three weeks. It was my first time flying, and the trip there was quite the experience. The flight was only a tiny part of what happened during those three weeks. We went to a mission, called Voo Livre, which was run by a missionary who offered free ESL and guitar classes to the surrounding community. We helped teach some ESL classes, started building some classrooms, sanded and painted walls, and did anything else we could.

I never imagined that I would get so attached to that place. We spent almost every week-day at Voo Livre, and I got to know many of the children through playing various games of volleyball and soccer with them. They were so beautiful, kind, and helpful, and even though the language barrier was huge, they slowly won a place in my heart.

All too soon, we had to leave. When I came back to Canada, I couldn’t stop crying, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Brasil and the people there.

Through e-mail, I told one of the ladies I had met there how I was feeling, and she said I could come back and help teach at her English school.

Three months after I returned to Canada, I found myself in Brasil again, and I stayed there for 5 ½ months. I went by myself, and since only a few people knew English, I had to learn Portuguese fast!

However, if I thought that leaving the first time was hard, this time it was even harder. I had solidified some of my relationships, and I had grown to love this beautiful country and the people in it.

When I came back to Canada, I had the hardest time coping. They say that you can have culture shock going into a different country, but I didn’t experience that in Brasil; I felt the culture shock coming back to my homeland! The food was so different, and the people around me did not speak Portuguese. It just didn’t feel the same!

Most of the “saudades” I felt came in response to smelling things in the air that reminded me of Brasil, or seeing people that looked like those I knew in Brasil. I have cried so much in the past two years, and I felt like I was drowning in my memories of the people there.

Thankfully, my “saudades” have greatly diminished in the past few months, but there are still times when I get overwhelmed with a great sadness, and a longing to go back. The people and country have such a big place in my heart, and I will never forget them or that time in my life ever!

I know that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Even though at times I feel like I will never stop having “saudades” for Brasil, I have to remember that God knows why He allowed me to go there to experience the things I did.

If you are drowning in your “saudades” for someone or someplace, I just encourage you tonight to place your trust in God. Remember that He has a perfect plan for everything; He has a perfect plan for your life, and He will guide you through it if only you let Him. Give your “saudades” to Him, and He will take care of the rest!

Love, Ash

Spaghetti and Sun...

I made spaghetti today for the first time this year! It was so delicious, and I definitely have left overs. I was so excited to eat something substantial, for my own cooking that is.

The sun was shining so brilliantly that I couldn't resist going for a walk this afternoon. It was still a bit chilly, cold enough to turn my ears and face red, but I had a good time. I didn't wear my coat, so that could be why I was a little bit cold.

This morning in church, the pastor encouraged us to be "socially disruptive". An odd concept, I know, but he told us to help others see that our society is not perfect. We need to shake up our churches and other Christians to put people in action, and not to become complacent. An important concept that has constantly been coming up is "prayer". North Americans do not pray enough. We become so comfortable with our every day life and business that we rarely set aside time to pray diligently for change to happen in our lives and the lives of those around us. I have been trying to pray more, and not only for myself, but I have been trying to pray more for others. One of the best acrostics I heard for a life motto was "JOY"... Jesus, Others, and you. Putting God first is so important, but so hard in this age of technology where other things are so quick to take up our time and distract us from Him. Once we put God first, then we must focus on others, caring, thinking and praying for them. Only then should we think about ourselves. I tend to be so selfish, and most of my prayers are about me and how I can change. It's going to take a while to get out of this habit. Not that it's bad, but when I do that, then I forget to pray for others, or I don't have time.

I encourage you all to examine your prayer life, and see where you are doing a good job and where you are lacking. I pray that God will show you how you can change, and focus more on Him, and I hope that you will do the same for me!

Have a great night...

Love, Ash

3.15.2008

Temple Trips...

Tonight I have decided to tell stories with pictures. I went to a Hindu temple and a Sikh temple today with some others from my school, and it was a very multicultural day, with delicious Indian food to top it all off!

This is the Hindu temple in Toronto. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so we had to settle for the outside! Even from looking at the outside, you can imagine how beautiful it would be on the inside, and it was even more so than I imagined. It was all carved in marble, and the carvings were exquisitely beautiful.

Inside the worship place, the women sat closer to the back, and the men sat in the Holy of Holies. The women usually sat and performed the "puja", or cleansing of themselves with fire from a votive. The men were either standing or lying prostrate in front of the idols as they worshiped. The prayer service lasted only about 30 minutes, and the during the service, their sung prayers were played throughout.

The group of us standing in front, although the sun was so bright it was hard to get the temple in the background.



After perusing a flea market(where I met a very nice Lebanese merchant named George while buying a flag pin), we went to the Sikh temple. We sat in the worship place for a while, and then moved on to where they serve lunch. We had to sit on mats to eat our meal. We brought our steel plates and cups over to the mats with us, and then men came around with pails containing the food and ladled it out to us. They were so generous.

George, the man I met at the market, was very interesting to talk to. I don't know what came over me, but I was simply looking at the flag pins when all of a sudden I asked, "Where are you from?" He told me he was from Lebanon, and then our conversation continued from there. I asked him why he moved to Canada, to which he replied that he wanted a better life for his kids. As it was, they were not getting a good education while there. They would have one day at school, and then 10 days off due to bomb threats or other such things. He did not want them to grow up in that kind of an atmosphere, and since his sister lived in Canada at the time, he decided to move here. He told me that he enjoys fishing, and sometimes he goes and fishes up north with his son. Later on I was told that the purpose of going into the market was not to buy anything, but to talk to people and get to mix with the cultures. This was not made clear beforehand, but I'm glad that I was able to talk to George without the pressure of knowing it was expected. It was more natural that way, and I really enjoyed it!

The Sikh worship was very different. Whereas the Hindus have different times for their services, the Sikh worship lasts all day. Their holy scriptures are sung by men at the front, and they also beat on small drums. They must have replacements after a while, because I can imagine that they would get tired of singing the whole day. People can come and go as they please, and the women sit on the left side while the men sit on the right side. Also, Hinduism consists of 330,000,000 gods(Hindus choose one that they worship, while recognizing that the others have power also), Sikhism(a mixture between Hinduism and Islam) worships only one god.

Naomi and I are wearing our head coverings, as both women and men have to wear head coverings in the Sikh temple. As you can see in the picture above, they gave bright orange handkerchiefs out to those who didn't bring head coverings.

I found it difficult to eat the meal with the head covering on, and I kept spilling food on the cuff of my pants! I never thought that would happen, but I have never had to eat a full meal while sitting on the floor either!

Our free meal consisted of(from top left in a clockwise manner): a lentil soup called "daal", Indian rice pudding, a cheese soup, a sweet called "jalaby", rice, and chapati bread(otherwise known as roti, or Indian flatbread). I couldn't believe that the Sikh temple serves all this for free, and there were so many people there today!


Our group standing with some men from the temple. Unlike the Hindu temple, we were allowed to take pictures inside the Sikh temple.


So this little number here is called an "aperture", or something like that(I forget the Indian word). It was supposed to clear the palate after eating so much Indian food, but there was so much flavour going on that I couldn't really handle it! It wasn't spicy, but it had some rose petals,and other strange herbs in it. As one person put it, "it's an acquired taste". I heartily agree!


I know that some of you are going to call me lame for taking so many pictures of food, but seriously, one cannot experience a culture unless one experiences the food as well! I happen to think that food is one of the most amazing inventions God ever created! This sweet little number is called "jalaby", and it is the most delicious "sweetmeat" I have ever eaten. I don't even know how to describe it,other than to say it is sugary and has some syrup-y stuff inside. Man...this one is gold. I have to get me some!


I didn't really know what to expect going into the trip today. I thought it would be kind of like a tourist trip where we would just go and look, as we did. But one of the men who came with us, Sunil, acted as our guide. He is a converted Hindu, and also a pastor. He related everything back to Christianity, and showed how similar the religions are in some ways. He said that many religions get so close to the truth, but then sweep right on by and miss the point.

Sunil is a very interesting Christian, as he has contextualized his beliefs to fit in with the life of a Hindu. For instance, he will still prostrate himself before God(although some Christians do this also). I'm not saying that he has changed the fundamentals of Christianity to suit his needs, but he does not believe in conforming into the "Westernized" version of Christianity. For instance, he led us in communion after the day's events, and instead of using the bread and wine, he used a coconut. He said that if Jesus had lived in India, he probably would have used a coconut also, as bread and wine would not have made sense. When we took communion, the flesh of the coconut represented the flesh of Christ, and the water represented the water that ran out of Christ's body with the blood when the soldier stabbed Him. It was a very neat concept. Sunil also had symbols for us to think about, as Hindus use symbols to represent what they believe. He took a shaker of salt, and had each of us pour a little into our hands. It represented that we are the salt of the earth; we also ate it so that we would remember. He took honey, which represented the milk and honey of the Promiseland,and we all had some, remembering to look forward to the day that Christ takes us to the Promiseland(heaven). He had incense burning, as Hindus use incense in their worship. It represented how we give our bodies as living sacrifices to Christ, and that our worship of him is like fragrant incense. Another symbol was a light, which represents how we are to be bringers of the Light and Truth to our world, to those who are still in darkness and do not know.

It was a very encouraging day, and Sunil asked us to pray that God would set us apart for His cause. We need to let God use us to do His will, and to shine His Light to all the nations, whether here in Canada, or abroad. It is not so that we can make ourselves look better, but it is all to bring glory to God and His Wonderful Name!!!

Love, Ash

p.s. please forgive any spelling mistakes. I am so tired right now, that although I checked once, I'm sure there are more! :)

3.09.2008

Nature...

I know I haven't written in a while, and now I'm going to write only for the purpose of sharing another quote from C.S. Lewis' book called "Miracles".

"...only Supernaturalists really see Nature. You must go a little away from her, and then turn round, and look back. Then at last the true landscape will become visible. You must have tasted, however briefly, the pure water from beyond the world before you can be distinctly conscious of the hot, salty tang of Nature's current. To treat her as God, or as Everything, is to lose the whole pith and pleasure of her. Come out, look back, and then you will see...this astonishing cataract of bears, babies, and bananas: this immoderate deluge of atoms, orchids, oranges, cancers, canaries, fleas, gases, tornadoes and toads. How could you ever have thought that this was the ultimate reality? How could you ever have thought that it was merely a stage-set for the moral drama of men and women? She is herself. Offer her neither worship nor contempt. Meet her and know her. If we are immortal, and if she is doomed(as the scientists tell us) to run down and die, we shall miss this half-shy and half-flamboyant creature, this ogress, this hoyden, this incorrigible fairy, this dumb witch. But the theologians tell us that she, like ourselves, is to be redeemed. The 'vanity' to which she was subjected was her disease, not her essence. She will be cured, but cured in character: not tamed(Heaven forbid) nor sterilised. We shall still be able to recognise our old enemy, friend, playfellow and foster-mother, so perfected as to be not less, but more, herself. And that will be a merry meeting."
-pg 80-81, "Miracles"

I just thought this was a neat passage, just reminding us that nature is not meant to be worshipped nor cursed, but that it is meant to be taken as it is, the way God made it, and with all its flaws from the sin of our world.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the evening.

Love, Ash

3.03.2008

Back into the swing...

School is now getting to the mountainous stage. The part of the show that climaxes. The part where Ashleigh has to step it up a thousand notches. I am now trying not to freak out over how much I have due in the next few weeks. This semester ends in about 7 or 8 weeks.

I had an amazing week-end, because Mel and Vaness came and visited me. We went out for dinner on Friday night with my friends Darryl and Laurie, went to the mall on Saturday, and had some sweet chill time. It was one of my favourite week-ends this year so far! I had so much fun!

The weather today was so wonderful. I couldn't get enough of it! My favourite time of the year is when it is balmy enough to go outside without a coat, and to don the infamous flip-flops. God is so good!

Love, Ash

2.28.2008

Miracles...

I'm reading "Miracles" by C.S. Lewis for my philosophy book report, and I really liked how he described the Incarnation in this paragraph:

"In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He had created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders. Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both coloured now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too."

Let me know what you think.

Love, Ash

2.26.2008

Missions trip update...

Hello all!

I'm not sure how relevant this is to any of you who are reading, but I know some people had expressed interest in helping me out financially for my missions trip. I got an e-mail from my team leader, and she told me if you don't mind not getting a tax receipt, you can send a cheque to me. However, if you would like a tax receipt, you can send the support to:

Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada
Receipts Department
4316 10 St. NE
Calgary, AB
T2E 6K3

Here are Jessica's instructions:
The cheque is made payable to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Make sure that they clearly indicate the check is for Vision Trip, South Asia May 2008 and designated for Ashleigh Winder. They need to provide a separate note indicating this. They will promptly receive a tax-deductible receipt. Because it is going through Wycliffe, there will be 10% taken off for administration.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please contact me at:
ashl5570@rogers.com

Thank you all so much for your prayers also!
You can continue to pray:
1.) That I will trust God continually for everything
2.) That God will keep teaching me through his Word
3.) That God will help the team to grow spiritually
4.) That God will prepare our hearts for anything



Love, Ash

Immunizations...

Yesterday I got my shot for my trip to South Asia. I drove down to Barrie ALL by myself(I was sooo excited to be driving again!) and got it done. My arm hurts today, but that's ok.

Sometimes I despise being at home alone, but today I am really enjoying the quietness of it all. It is not too quiet. I hear the hum of the computers, the ticking of a nearby clock, the clanging of clothes in the dryer, the swish of cars driving by outside, and the clicking of the keyboard as I type. Sometimes I wish I could go somewhere where it is truly...absolutely...quiet. Then again, that might drive me crazy, being in silence. It's something we forget about in our society, because we never stop long enough to be quiet. That just means we have to make the extra effort to find silence!

I should go and get some homework done...

I hope you all have a great afternoon!

Love, Ash

2.25.2008

My Testimony...

Good morning!

As I promised yesterday, I am going to type out my testimony that I read at my baptism yesterday for those who couldn't make it to my baptism with my sisters!

Here it is...

My Testimony


Hi, my name is Ashleigh Winder, and I am so excited to be getting baptized today(FINALLY!). I just want to thank my family and friends for coming today, to celebrate with my sisters and I as we step out in obedience to Christ!

I grew up in a Christian home, and when I was about 4 or 5 years old I asked Jesus into my life, with a little encouragement from my mom. Then when I was 12 years old, I rededicated my life to Christ. I realized that I was too young to fully understand the significance of my decision, so I wanted to take responsibility of my faith.

All through my childhood and adolescence, both my dad and mom were encouraging to me, and they were influential in teaching me about things of God. They always taught me that it is important to spend time with God in prayer and reading the Bible every day.

Even though my parents were wonderful teachers, there were obviously times where I would go through that I would never spend time with God. My teenage years were definitely a struggle for my parents and I, as I was very stubbourn and unteachable. I think that is one reason why I haven't been baptized until now. I was stubbourn and didn't want to move forward in obedience to God.

Today I am willing to be obedient to Christ and to be baptized here in front of my church and family and friends. Since I have been at Bible college, I have learned so much about Christ and what it means to be his follower. I must surrender myself to Him.

As I'm in my second year of college, God has been teaching me to be "teachable". He has been softening my heart, showing me that as a Christian I need to show the fruits of the Spirit.

Since I have been spending more time with Him, I have been praying that He will grow me into a mature, godly woman, and that I can turn my back on the things that I regret doing in the past.

I want to thank my parents for guiding me in the right direction, and although they're not perfect, God has used them in a significant way in my life. I love you both!

I also thank my grandparents for showing love to me, and for always being there for me. You are all wonderful encouragement!

To Mrs. gale, who is my mentor and friend, God has used you in my life to be my advice, and for giving me words of wisdom. You are a wonderful woman. Thank you for everything!

And to my family and friends, thank you for your encouragement and for loving me even when I don't deserve it.

I want to praise our Lord for His love, how He is always there for me. I am unworthy, yet Christ died for my sins. He has shown me a grace that goes beyond my human understanding, and I want to show my gratitude by serving Him in this life.

God has given me a gift to learn languages and connect with those of other cultures. This May I have a chance to go to South Asia for 2 1/2 wks with Wycliffe Bible Translators to see what Bible translation is all about. I am looking forward to this opportunity, and I pray that God will use me.

As I finish out my degree in Intercultural Studies over the next 2 years, I pray that god will show me how he wants to use me in service to Him, and that I will be willing to do whatever, wherever, whenever for Him! To God be the glory!!

Love, Ash

2.24.2008

Baptism...

It was Dad's birthday today, as well as the baptisms for Vanessa, Melissa, and I. What a wonderful day! Most of Dad's side of the family came, as well as nana and Poppa. It was so nice to see everyone, and I'm glad they could come and support us three as we made our professions of faith!

It was such a wonderful experience being baptized, and I give God all the glory! I read my testimony without hardly crying(which is a first! ha) and the joy I felt after the pastor brought me out of the water I cannot express!

After the service, my family and I(and Katie and Andrew) went out for Brunch, and it was delicious. It was a wonderful time of celebration and happiness, and I enjoyed every moment!

katie and Andrew drove back to Cambridge after I took them on a little tour of my humble town, and tonight me and the fam just hung out at home.

I love days like this. They are so wonderful and full of excitement, I can hardly contain it!

Tomorrow I will try to get on here and type out my testimony for those who would like to read it.

I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Love, Ash

2.22.2008

Home Again...

It's my first night home after being gone for a month, and I am so happy to be here again! Katie came with me, and it was nice having company on the ride up.

I missed all my family, and I still haven't seen Dad yet! I love coming home once a month, because it makes the time with family even more special. I definitely don't take it for granted.

Tonight we went to a talent show at the kids' school, and poor Vanessa was so discouraged as she felt it was not the best one they've ever had. I had to laugh, as in a sense she was right, but there are some talented kids that go to the school!

This week-end is going to go entirely too fast, I just know it. I am so excited to be getting baptized. I hope that this will be the start of my renewal in Christ, as I solidfy the commitment I made to Him to follow him forever.

I hope that you all have a wonderful evening.

Love, Ash

2.21.2008

One more day...

My choice of title today reminds me of a country song which is very beautiful. It actually reminds me of my Dad, when he used to listen to country. It's kind of nostalgiac for me, and makes me miss home. I shall post the lyrics at the end!

ok, so tonight we had a coffee house, which was pretty good. I must say, we have some talented people at my school. Some of them are very impressive. I love the atmosphere at our "talent nights", because they're so casual, and lots of fun.

I only have one more day and then I can go home for reading week. Katie is coming home with me, which I am very excited about! I have so much homework to do in that time, so I will have to do it in the mornings when no one is home!

And now for the song...I realize it is kind of melancholy, however it is not picked with any particular person in mind. I just think it is a beautiful song.

One More Day

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you

One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you

First thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl
Then I'd unplug the telephone
And keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second
Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do, with one more day with you

Leave me wishing still, for one more day
Leave me wishing still, for one more day

By: Diamond Rio

Here is a link if you want to listen to the song: http://www.ladaisey.com/onemore.html

Love, Ash

2.17.2008

Ice-filled Sundays...

This morning I woke up earlier than normal, because I didn't want to be in a rush to get out the door for church. When the time came for us to leave, we looked out the window, and the bus still hadn't come to pick us up. Then we went outside, and as soon as we stepped out onto the sidewalk, we started sliding around. It was icy, and we weren't surprised that the bus hadn't come. Since many of us normally take the bus to go to another church, we decided to walk up the street to a different one. It was an interesting walk, and by that time it was raining. By the time we got to church, we were cold and soaked, but it was worth it. I enjoyed singing older hymns, songs that I haven't sung in a while. The pastor gave a great sermon, talking about how we need to pray for others. Thankfully we got a ride back to the school as it was still raining.

I enjoyed going to a different church. It's always neat to experience how other Christians worship. It also made me appreciate the church that I normally attend!

I am frustrated about Family Day tomorrow. I don't understand the point of the holiday. They are encouraging people to spend time with their family, but what about the students who are in college and can't get home? It really doesn't make sense to put a holiday in February. I don't know. I'm going home on Friday anyways, so I guess it doesn't matter. I will just have to spend time with my friends here, and do lots of homework!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday. May God bless you all in whatever you choose to do.

Love, Ash xoxo

2.14.2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I remember how I felt about Valentine's Day when I was in highschool. I vaguely remember filling out schoolwide "matchmaker" surveys, and getting the results back that said, "You would be 90% compatible with so-and-so", or "You would be 100% incompatible with so-and-so". I remember the carnations that we could pre-order, and getting 1 or 2 from some of the girls I hung out with(including Melissa). I remember that we could buy Valentine's cards from the Latin club for "$0.25 each, or 4 for $1.00...what a deal!" and have them delivered to the person we wanted to show love or interest to on that wonderful day of February
14th. I remember always getting little Valentine's from my friends, some of them heartfelt and genuine, most of them goofy. I remember never having a boyfriend and always wishing that a boy would send me a carnation. Yet, in this small tragedy of a young teen's heart, I knew that one day I would have a Valentine.

And so enter college. It is once again Valentine's Day, and once again, I don't have a boyfriend, thus, I don't have a Valentine.

This is not a tragedy, folks. I absolutely LOVE Valentine's Day. It is a wonderful time of the year that we can celebrate love, whether it be the love between a boyfriend and girlfriend, the love between a husband and wife, or the love that family shares and friends have for one another. It is a beautiful, glorious day.

It is not "Single-ness Awareness Day" that I have heard so many of my single friends call it. It is not "cry-my-eyes-off-because-I-have-to-work-tonight-instead-of-go-on-a-date" day.

It is a day to CELEBRATE LOVE!!! God is love. And because we are made in his image, we too can love, albeit in a capacity MUCH lower than his love. But the love that fills us from Him we can use in turn to love others, and to show them that love.

So, if you are single, like me, show your love to your friends. Go out and have a get-together with your single girl-friends, have a chocolate fondue, give each other goofy Valentine's, and watch a chick flick, or an Audrey Hepburn love story. Show love to your family. Make sure you tell them you love them all, and that you mean it with all your heart!

If you are dating, married, or engaged, WHAT ARE YOU STILL HANGING AROUND THE HOUSE FOR??!! Go out and have a romantic dinner, with candlelight, and chocolate and flowers, and make today special, because this day was meant for you to celebrate YOUR LOVE! If a romantic dinner is not your cup of tea, use your imagination and do something else that will still have meaning to you both.

I think we sometimes take love too lightly in this society, we use it flippantly and say "I love you" when we don't actually mean it. I have been guilty of this myself. We also take it for granted. Don't take love for granted today! Show it to those you love, admire, and respect, and don't forget to thank the ONE who created this love for giving you people who surround you with it.

I want to include this poem that Nana sent to me yesterday. I thought it was cute, and I dedicate it to all of my family and friends. I especially thank our Lord for giving me people to love, and want you to know that I'm thinking of all of you today.

A Valentine Prayer

I said a Valentine prayer for you,
And asked the Lord above,
To fill your heart and bless your soul,
With the precious gift of love.

I asked Him for sincere love,
The kind that's meant to stay.
Just like the generous love,
You give to those you touch each day.

I prayed for love from family,
And from every cherished friend.
Then I asked the Lord to give you,
His love that knows no end.

Love is patient,
Love is kind.

It bears all things,
Believes all things,

Hopes all things,
Endures all things.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4,7,8

I hope you all have a wonderful, love-filled day!

Happy Valentine's!

Love, Ash xoxo

2.13.2008

Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday...

Today I was very moved in chapel. We had a pastor from one of the local churches come in to speak, and he was talking about 2 Timothy 1:8-13, and how we are not to be ashamed of Christ. He also said that we should live every day to its fullest, because who I am to know that I will live until tomorrow? Of course we have to plan for the future, but we always need to try our best EVERY DAY, because it could be our last.

I realized how negative I can be, and how that can rub off on others. I want to be more positive, so that others will be attracted to the light of Christ in me.

These are just some of the things that I've been thinking about.

I hope you all have a great evening!

Love, Ash

2.12.2008

Baptism...

I am very happy to say that I am finally getting baptized! After many years of debating when to do this, I have made the decision to be obedient to what God asks Christians to do.

I am also happy that I will be getting baptized with Melissa and Vanessa also!! This is such an amazing thing, and I can't wait! The date is on February 24, my dad's birthday.

It is snowing quite heavily right now, and I have class soon. I tried to do homework this afternoon, but I was so distracted. However, I did do some already today, so that's better than nothing. I also did homework yesterday and Saturday, which is very encouraging. Please pray for me, I have had a huge lack of motivation lately.

I hope that you all have a wonderful night!

Love, Ash

2.08.2008

End of the Week...

I want to end the week with another devotional for the day. I have been very blessed in my time spent with God this past week. He has been teaching me and showing me many things that I need to change about myself. I can only hope that as I continue spending time reading His Word that I will change, and that the fruits of the Spirit will become more evident in my life!

The Secret Garden
READ: Proverbs 4:20-27

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. —Proverbs 4:23

The Secret Garden, a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, tells the story of Mary, a young girl who goes to live with her wealthy uncle Archibald on his estate in England. Mary gets to know Dickon, a working-class boy who loves nature. The two children discover a fenced-in garden that Mary’s uncle has locked up because it reminds him of his deceased wife. The garden looks dead because of neglect, but Dickon assures Mary that, with proper tending, it will recover with new life. With the children’s help, “the secret garden” eventually bursts forth with colorful, fragrant blooms.

All of us have a secret garden of the heart. How we tend it will determine what speech and behavior it produces. Proverbs wisely admonishes us: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The word keep means “to watch or guard with fidelity.” Guarding what we take into our hearts and monitoring our response will determine what takes root there. As we remove the thorns of resentment, weeds of lust, and roots of bitterness, we can replace them with the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Are you tending the garden of your heart? —Dennis Fisher

Think not alone of outward form;
Its beauty will depart;
But cultivate the Spirit’s fruits
That grow within the heart. —D. De Haan


God wants you to water the seed He’s planted in your heart.

God Bless!

Love, Ash

2.07.2008

Beautiful Sunshine...

Such a contrast from yesterday was this wonderful lovely day filled with glorious sunshine! It was so nice to feel the warm glow.

I had my first pilates class ever today! They are offering it here at the school, and so I signed up, hoping that I can learn something new. I just need to get a yoga mat now. We learned about lengthening our muscles, as opposed to bunching them together. I think I'm really going to enjoy it. The instructor is very nice and encouraging. There aren't as many girls taking it as I thought, but that's ok. The small classes are better anyways!

Work was ok tonight. It wasn't too busy, but I had company so that was good.

Last night I went to bed at midnight(which is early for me) and woke up at 8:30 without my alarm clock. It was so cool. I would love to go to bed early again tonight. I have a little class in the morning anyways, so it would be nice to get some sleep.

I realized how distracting the internet is. Actually, this isn't a new concept for me. This too shall pass when I have more important things to do. I pretty much have more important things to do all the time. Maybe I should give up Facebook and MSN like one of my friends is doing for Lent. Who knows. We shall see how good my stamina is! Although it wouldn't be a bad trade off-spending more time with God rather than listlessly looking at new updates on Facebook. How sarcastic was that! God is clearly the better choice. I need to get my priorities straight!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful night.

Love, Ash

2.06.2008

A Snow Day...

Blessedly today was a snow day. I am so happy for this, because I really didn't want to go to class today(just one of those days). Last night it snowed like crazy, and me and some of my friends played in the snow and threw snow-balls at people's windows(those on campus, not random neighbours! :D

Today I did some homework and relaxed. It was a pretty good day altogether.

I hope you all had a great day also.

Love, Ash

2.04.2008

Beautiful days...

I forgot that I already wrote today, but I just got the urge to write again.

I feel like today was just a good day. It was beautiful weather outside, and I had a great time with friends today, laughing so much. I love to laugh. I think we need to laugh more often! It is such good medicine for the body!

I should go now.

May God bless you all this evening!

Love, Ash

A New Week...

Good morning everyone!

I hope you all had a good week-end. Mine was great :D

This week I really need to pull up my socks and do lots of work. I need to get started on some of my major projects that are due in a month's time.

haha. "Pull up my socks" is a pretty funny saying. Gotta love the English language!

Have a great day!

Love, Ash

2.02.2008

Thoughts for Today...

Maybe some of you read the devotionals entitled "Our Daily Bread". I want to share with you the devotional for today's date, because it basically describes what God has been trying to teach me lately.

Best In Show?
READ: Matthew 23:1-12

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. —1 Samuel 16:7

About this cover
Dog shows on TV can be entertaining. The dog owners are impeccably dressed and trot along with their pedigreed pooches as they show off their unique canine beauty. The dogs have been trained to stand confidently with chins lifted high, their shiny coats carefully brushed and styled. To me, they all look like winners.

But I wonder sometimes, when their audience is gone, what are these dogs really like? Do they ever relax and let their sleek fur get so matted they’re mistaken for mutts? Does their doggie breath start smelling foul?

More important, what are we really like when nobody’s watching? In Matthew 23:2-7, Jesus rebuked those who were interested in how they looked in public rather than how they were seen by God. He wants us to be obedient, faithful, and committed to Him—even when nobody else sees. The Pharisees focused on the way they were perceived by other people. God’s focus is on what we’re like inside. His desire is for us to look like His Son.

We’re not in a competition with other Christians. God will never ask us to compete for “best in show.” He measures us by the perfect standard of His Son (Eph. 4:13). And in love, He provides the righteousness we need so that we can be blameless before Him (Col. 1:21-23). —Cindy Hess Kasper

Just live your life before your Lord,
It matters not what others do—
Your actions will be weighed by Him
Who metes out judgment just and true. —Roe


Living for God’s approval is better than living for man’s applause.

May God bless your life today!!

Love, Ash

2.01.2008

FEBRUARY FIRST!!!

I can't believe it is already February!! It is so incredible to think that it has already been a month since New Years.

Well, the week is almost over, and I have accomplished nothing so far! It was missions conference, so that's understandable. I'm hoping to get lots done today, though.

I want to thank everyone for the wonderful support they've shown to me so far in terms of my upcoming trip! It has been amazing. I am so grateful to you all!

I hope that you all have a wonderful day!

Love, Ash

1.30.2008

Missions Conference

This week, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we had our annual missions conference. It was so fun, and very eye-opening to the things that God is doing around the world. Tonight is the international dinner and cake auction. We raise money for those going on missions trips. It is very well attended, and everyone has a lot of fun.

School was cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday as well, and since most of my classes are on those days, I don't have school!!

As I prepare for my trip, I am starting to get nervous. I'm so excited to be travelling again after almost two years! And to be going to Asia!! It leaves me kind of in shock.

HOpe everyone has a great day!
Love, Ash

1.29.2008

Dear Family and Friends:

As some of you may know, I have decided to go on a vision trip to South Asia this coming May. I am going with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and because of the sensitivity of the area I am unable to mention what country I will be traveling to in writing. However, feel free to ask me as I would love to share with you all about it!

In the past I have often wondered about how I would use the gifts God gave me, and how my passion for learning new languages and experiencing other cultures could be used to serve Him. At one point translation came to mind. Now, as this opportunity has come to go and see what it is like first-hand, I cannot help but wonder how God will use this trip to either affirm this idea or reject it.

I am aware that in such a short time span it is not possible to understand or come to grips with all the things we will be experiencing there, but I am willing to get a broader understanding of the world. I have been to places that were quite poor, but I am sure that some of the places and concepts I will see in South Asia will educate me in a way that merely reading about could not suffice. I am excited to see what God is doing in this part of the world!!

As I prepare for this trip, I ask that you would support me in either or both of two ways:

1.) Prayer: Please pray for myself and the team, as we get ready to go. I have a heavy semester in terms of papers and other homework, and I am feeling very distracted. Please pray that as I prepare for the trip that I will feel God’s peace and his presence very real in my life. Please pray that once the team meets one another that we will be able to get along and feel connected to one another.
2.) Financially: Those of you who are students or who cannot give financially, please don’t worry about this! Your prayers are good enough for me! However, if anyone feels led to support me financially, I would be greatly appreciative. I need to raise $3100 in total, and if you need a tax receipt for any amount please get in touch with me.

I appreciate everyone’s support! It’s wonderful to know that I have such amazing friends and family.

I will keep you updated along the way. For now, I am learning to trust God in everything, and know that He will provide the support that I need so that I can serve Him. Thank you for joining in this opportunity!

Love, Ashleigh

If you want to get in touch with me, my e-mail is ashl5570@rogers.com

1.13.2008

Beginnning of a New Semester...

Wow.

It has been almost a month to the day since the last time that I wrote a blog. I do need to write more. You get out of practice when you don't write for long periods of time.

I had a module class last week on the Wisdom Books. It went from 9-4 every day. I enjoyed it immensely, and learned so much. I still have projects due on March 17, but the class is over anyways. That definitely frees up my semester with only 4 classes to deal with!!!

My Christmas and New Years' was wonderful, visiting lots of family and friends. It was such a good time at home. My family got the game Sequence for Christmas, and we played it off and on throughout the holidays. I even played with Graham for about 2 hours one day! It was so much fun.

I'm excited to begin the new semester, looking forward to doing better than I did last semester.

May God bless everyone, and I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Ash