Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Simply loving him/Him!

I absolutely love mornings. Why? Why would I wake up at 5am? Why would I stomp through the rain to my car and drive to meet someone for two hours before work?

It's easy and an absolute delight! I met Josh this morning at Caribou to read with him and sit with him while he did some schoolwork. It was such a joy. Josh helps me better understand what my mindset should be when I approach the love of my life. Sure, Joshua is my earthly dearest, but my true love is my Savior. Would I wake up while it's still dark to dress up in His favorite skirt, shirt, and makeup (or something like patience, kindness, goodness...) to drive through the rain so I can spend two hours with Him before I start my day?

I have a lot to learn, and my dear sweet Joshua is teaching me (without even know it). It's unbelievable how much the Lord is using Josh to teach me how to love Him by simply loving him.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Josh & I are getting married in 52 days! We're so excited, but we are feeling the pressures of planning. Despite our ever growing to do lists, we are making progress. We've decided on ceremony and reception venues, a photographer, the honeymoon, flowers, some music, the wedding party, etc. We have a lot left to do in the next seven and a half weeks! This weeks big project is the invitations. Finding everyone and making address lists is kind of a nightmare, but it's going to be all worth it when we look into the crowd and see our dear friends and loved ones celebrating alongside us.

Thank you Esther for coming last weekend! Thank you Mom for being here! Please pray for us as we continue planning. Our schedules are packed.

- Moving and unpacking
- Working a new full-time job
- Josh working full-time
- Josh in night school
- Planning a wedding in 2 months
- Maintaining healthy relationships and good communication
- Pre-marital counseling

Monday, September 21, 2009

Josh proposed!

I'm engaged to Joshua Wagner.

It was an incredible proposal, and you are definitely going to want to read it on The Knot.

You can also read about it in my latest prayer letter or see pictures here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My life now... as I know it

Two weeks down and seven to go!!!


Josh and I have been at SIL-UND for two weeks now, and we're loving it! We're in separate classes during the day, but we're managing to find some time together at meals and doing homework which is pretty much all we do. We eat breakfast and head to class at 8am. Then we meet up for chapel (which is always good!) at 11am and then lunch until 1pm or so. Then when he heads back to class, I either work on homework, nap, or go swimming with kids. My work assignment is swimming for a couple hours three times a week. I know, it's rough. Josh gets to do some nerdy computer stuff for his. Yes, we both LOVE our assignments. Then we meet up again around 4pm and do homework, eat supper, do homework, and do more homework! This lasts until about midnight and then we head to our rooms on separate floors of the same dorm. Sleep is wonderful. Then we're back at it again at around 6 or 6:30am to study and read our Bible together before breakfast. We spend a lot of time together, but we are finding that we have to be intentional about making time to actually talk! We're having so much fun though and we do take time for fun outside of our fun school work. :) We're on the same volleyball team! We have also escaped on walks a few times, once in pouring rain.


I'm taking the Literacy Megacourse and loving it! There is a TON of reading so that keeps me (a slow reader) very busy. I feel like what I'm learning is going to be soooo applicable to whatever I decide to do in life. :) Here are just some titles of articles and chapters that I'm reading this week:

The Nature of Learning (Words or Otherwise)
Development Theories
Information Processing Theories
Results Based Management
The World of Digital Storytelling
The New WWW: Whatever, Whenever, Wherever
Basketballs for Bows and Arrows


I know that many of you are still praying for me. This transition has been difficult, but the Lord has been so gracious! I'm learning so much, and I am filled with joy each day as I'm reminded of His leading! Thank you so much for your prayers. Please keep praying for me and Josh as we seek the Lord together and separately. We are trying to follow him and to discern what He has for the our next step(s). I'm sad that I'm not with the Yala people in Nigeria and that they are still waiting for workers to come and help them with Bible translation. BUT, I'm praising the Lord that He is sovereign and all-knowing. I'm so happy that He's called me to continue training and learning from and ministering to those around me NOW. Magnify the Lord with me and be outrageously blessed, dear friends!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Move and "Goodbye"

I moved! Last week, my parents left for Salinas, CA where my Dad is doing a 11 month internship for seminary. Life is pretty crazy and unpredictable for me right now. I was "supposed to be" in Nigeria, but the Lord changed that. I'm now unemployed, living with my cousins just east of St. Paul, and getting ready to move to ND for 2 months for SIL!

It was a lot of work, but we had a great time my parents into a moving truck :) and me to the Dahl house. This is a couch that was given to Josh and me! We found that it fit 5 comfortably. Kristine, Jeremy, and John were happy to help us out with relaxing during the move. :)

I am so happy that my family loves Josh and that he loves them! They have WAY too much fun!!! Here, Josh and Kristine (my sister of another mother) are pretending to surf on the trailer. Weirdos.

I had a wonderful two and a half years with my parents and brother! I am excited to see what the Lord has in store, but I will miss this beautiful apartment, the swing, and the view of Medicine Lake!

It was hard to say goodbye to them. I am going to miss them so much! I am so excited for them and the opportunity to serve at St. Ansgar's in Salinas! Bless you, dear family.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Waiting, but not waiting...

The transitions are not done, and I don't really expect them to be. With my life, staying in one place would just be weird. Right now, I am trying to get all my worldly possessions packed up. My parents are moving to California next week. I am sad that they are leaving me, but I am so happy that they are beginning their internship at a wonderful church in beautiful Salinas!

Praise the Lord I'm not homeless! ...for now. I'm hauling my junk to my cousins' house about half an hour away. I'll stay with them until June 6th when I'll be driving up to SIL-UND with Josh. We'll be studying with geeky linguists and playing volleyball and frisbee for two months! Josh is taking Package A, and I am looking forward to taking the Literacy Megacourse. It's going to be valuable training for translation work, and it will also apply toward my M.A. in Dallas at GIAL. Please pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord separately and together for his guidance with how to serve Him.

After SIL, I'm hoping to come back to the Twin Cities to find a job and a place to live. I need to work and save some money before I go back to Dallas to finish my program. God is good, and He ALWAYS provides. His ways are best. Right now, I'm learning that though I'm still waiting to go overseas, this shouldn't be a period of waiting. I, with Josh, am praying for an effective ministry right where He has placed me/us. There are many opportunites, and I am praying to be used somehow for His glory.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Plans are Changing... Again

Well, my life is changing... AGAIN! About three months ago, I had a few meetings with LBT, and we discussed the details of my assignment. They were uncomfortable with my level of commitment because of my budding courtship. They told me that I needed to commit to more than one term or consider resignation. After several weeks of discussion and prayer, I resigned from LBT. I have not and still do not have peace in commiting to more than one term at this time. Unfortunately there are no short term or home staff options for me so I'm seeking the Lord for the next step. I have sent my last prayer letter which is linked here or on the side under "My Journey." I look forward to serving overseas, Lord willing. I've been waiting to go for about six years, and God is still saying, "Not now."

In the midst of all these changes, I met Joshua at a Wycliffe Bible Translators meeting. This is all pretty exciting AND unexpected. God is doing something BIG! See pictures of us here.

I am hoping to continue working on my master's degree in linguistics by taking the Literacy Megacourse this summer at SIL at the University of North Dakota. This will give me training to be a Literacy Specialist. Josh is also going this summer to begin his studies in linguistics!!! Then, who knows? I have quite a few options... I could finish my M.A. in TX or stay in MN. I would love to finish my degree, but Josh is a fabulous reason to stick around for a while. Hmm... more to come on this story.


  • Keep me in prayer!
  • Support LBT and Bible translation work with prayer and contributions. Here are are some opportunities.
  • Contact me if you have ANY questions after reading my letter.
  • Let me know if you would like to receive email updates.
This is a crazy time of unexpected transitions, but He is so good! Thank you for standing with me in prayer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bulldozed…or something

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I have not updated this thing in a while for good reason, or what I like to think are good reasons.  Probably the same reasons why I haven’t cleaned my room in four weeks, why my library books are due and I haven’t read them, and why I have stacks of boxes in various parts of the house that need to be sorted and packed.

Reason #1:

My progress updates are on hold.  I don’t know what the next step is yet.  I still don’t have my visa for Nigeria.  Though this isn’t a good reason for the above cleaning and reading issues (that reason is below), it does take a lot of motivation away from packing.  I was expecting and hoping to leave for Africa at the end of January, but God has a different plan.  This is okay.  Actually this is best.  He knows best.

Reason #2:

I may not have fallen off the face of the earth, but I have fallen extremely hard for a young man.  He’s pretty much the man of the dreams that I haven’t had for a while.  I was convinced that I wanted to be the next Mary Slessor or Marilyn Lazlo or Joann Shetler or Amy Charmichael or… you get the idea.  I’m learning more about God’s heart and with what He is pleased…what He instituted and planned from the beginning of time.  So besides continuing with preparations for Nigeria, I spend nearly every waking moment with this newfound love the Lord has placed in my life… more like this newfound love with which the Lord has surprisingly bulldozed me.

I don’t quite know how God is going to fit everything together.  He’s working in my life, and it is very obvious to me that He has a plan in all of this.  Even though it is quite frustrating for me, an obsessive planner, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This time of waiting, surrendering, and processing, has taught me extremely valuable lessons.

I still want to go to Nigeria.  I am still preparing for translation work with LBT among the Yala people.  I still have a desire to honor this commitment, but I am open to the Father’s leading.  He knows me.  He knows what’s good for me.  He knows how my life will honor Him best.  I will continue to wait for my visa and prepare for work in Nigeria, but all that I can really do is be a humble, willing, and teachable servant of the Most High King.  I can’t even do this without His Spirit.  I’m still learning about this.

This passage has been an encouragement to Josh (the dreamboat mentioned above) and me as we seek Him, our Shepherd.  He knows us, and we want to know Him more.  A beautiful version of this passage is sung by a friend of mine here.


1 O LORD, you have searched me
       and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
       you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
       you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
       you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
       too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
       Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
       if I make my bed in the depths,  you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
       if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
       your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
       and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
       the night will shine like the day,
       for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand.
       When I awake,
       I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
       Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
       your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
       and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
       I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
       and lead me in the way everlasting.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Unexpected delays!

Dear loved ones and prayer warriors,

Thank you so much for standing with me in prayer.  I am looking forward to living among the Yala people in Nigeria for the next two and half years, Lord willing!

DEPARTURE UPDATE:  I still do not have my visa.  LBT (Lutheran Bible Translators), the organization with which I’m working, hopes that the paperwork will come through this next week so I can buy my ticket for the end of March.  The Lord’s timing is perfect.  I am confident in this, but it would be nice to know when I’m leaving and how to plan.  I have lists to make.  Please pray for my visa, for wisdom in packing, and for comfort through goodbyes.

JoshGOIN’ COURTIN’:  The Lord surprisingly introduced me to a very admirable young man this month, and we are now courting with the blessing of both our parents!  His name is Joshua Wagner.  I met him at a Bible translation meeting; he’s hoping to begin linguistic study this summer.  He is on fire for the Lord and has an incredible heart for the lost.  I am amazed that God has given Josh a peace and desire to pursue this relationship and to wait for me to return from Africa.  It is very obvious that this is the Lord’s hand, and we look forward to seeing what God has in store.  Who knows?  This may be the reason for the strange delays in my departure.  Please pray that the Lord guides us and draws us to Himself more through each other. 

PROTECTION:  Please pray for protection for me.  Going as a single missionary brings its dangers.  Please pray for me, my family, and LBT as we seek God’s wisdom in how to heed warnings.  Please pray specifically against rape, AIDS, kidnap, and abuse and that the Lord will provide a hedge of protection through a Yala family in my village.  I have been encouraged this month by the Moses’ testimony of the way God delivered the Israelites.  In Exodus 14, Moses said to the people,

“Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

May the Lord bless you outrageously as you continue to know and serve Him more!  You are a blessing to me, and I could not have gotten to where I am without you.  I need you!
Click here  for my February letter.

Abiding in His love,

Saturday, February 07, 2009

10 Lessons from The Heavenly Man

I just finished reading The Heavenly Man: the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. What an incredible book! I would highly recommend it! It’s a biography, and I LOVE biographies because I feel like I’m living through the person and learning the lessons that they learned. Yun’s story especially struck me because of his intense and unwavering dedication to truly know and serve God. His attitude toward the Word and his desire to internalize it through memorization is inspiring. These are ten lessons that stood out to me:

10. Ministry can become an idol: “Ministry had become an idol. Working for God had taken the place of loving God. I hid my condition from those who prayed for me and carried on in my own strength, until God decided to intervene in his mercy and love” (p. 198).

“I realized again that I was a labourer who worked without real peace from the Lord. I love doing things for the Lord so much that it had become my security and my source of joy. God wanted to remove this idol from my life” (p. 267).

9. ANYONE can burnout: “The Lord God jealously desires us for himself. He is the lover of our souls. If we ever put anything before our relationship with Jesus—even our work for Jesus—then we will be ensnared. If you are burned out, stop! Rest! Your lamp needs a constant infilling of the Lord’s oil or your light will be snuffed out” (p. 199).

8. Persecution will come: “When God is blessing us, the devil is always active, doing his best to try to stop the advance of the kingdom of God” (p. 232).

“Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects his love and power. This is true freedom!” (p. 287)

7. Gospel spreading needs to happen at home and abroad simultaneously: “If we stay in one place and refuse to advance until we’ve completely finished the job there, we’ll never be able to impact the world with the gospel. Surely God’s way is for us to be winning our home at the same time as we’re sending new workers to the ends of the earth! Believe me, our vision to reach the world does not mean we’ll stop or slow down our efforts to reach all of China with the gospel! The two will take place hand-in-hand” (p. 288).

6. See revival: “There’s always something to keep us on the run, and it’s very difficult to sleep while you’re running. If persecution stops, I fear we’ll become complacent and fall asleep…The pursuit of more possessions will never bring revival…The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God’s Word is missing…Not only is knowledge of God’s Word missing, but obedience to that Word. There’s not much action taking place” (p. 296).

5. Keep your eyes on Jesus and know him: “We don’t keep our eyes on the signs and wonders; we keep our eyes on Jesus” (p. 300).

“Slowly I began to understand he had a deeper purpose for me than just working for him. He wanted to know me, and I to know him, deeply and intimately” (p. 313).

“Never be satisfied with God’s calling or his gifts in your life. Be satisfied with Jesus Christ himself!” (p. 318)

Brother Yun emphasized numerous times the utmost importance of memorizing entire books of the Bible!

4. There is time for everything: “Before a chicken is hatched it is vital it is kept in the warm protection of the shell for 21 days. If you take the chick out of that environment one day too early, it will die. Similarly, ducks need to remain confined in their shell for 28 days before they are hatched. If you take a duck out on the 27th day, it will die” (p. 313).

3. Do not fear man: “The world can do nothing to a Christian who has no fear of man” (p. 313).

“Those Christians who have a public ministry are most in danger of falling into trouble, because they can easily be tempted to listen to the applause and praise of men. If you are a preacher, beware! You must cry out and ask God to help you listen only to his voice, not to the crowds of people who pat you on the back and place you on a pedestal. God’s principles are often the opposite of our own. While we hope people will like and accept us, Jesus taught, ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you.’ Luke 6:26” (p. 317).

2. Lose your life: “I have found the Christian life is not glamorous to the flesh. When a little seed is put into the ground it is not comfortable. It lies in the dark isolation of rough soil for months, suffers in the frozen ground of winter and the heat of summer, and is even covered with stinking manure and fertiliser. Only after it has silently endured all these trials is the seed ready to spring to life and produce a harvest that will feed many” (p. 338). Also see John 12:24-25.

1. Display freedom: “When you’ve been set free, you should act like it!” (p. 339)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The mission & a prayer request

Tonight my mind is full and my heart is heavy.

I went to a mission meeting at the Bible school that I went to in 2003-2005. This meeting was almost identical to one I was at 5 years ago. Many of my thoughts were the same from both times. God is faithful. There are people across the street and around the world that need to hear about Jesus. To love the Lord our God is the heartbeat of the mission (see lyrics for Steve Green's "The Mission"). I have sworn to dedicate my life to this mission: to live responsibly, deepen my devotion to the cross at any price, and to testify to the Gospel of God's grace.

Today, someone very dear to me called. He said that I shouldn't go to Africa. I told him that there are people in Nigeria that need to hear about Jesus. He said, "There are people here that need to know about Jesus." He is not a Christian.

I could not go if I wasn't confident that many of you are here in the United States telling people about Jesus. Thank you.

My co-workers and mentors have postponed their departure for Nigeria. Their daughter-in-law is pregnant with conjoined twins. They share all organs except their hearts. Please pray for a miracle! My heart is heavy for them. They are supposed to be the nearest (30 minutes away) missionaries to where I hope to be in Nigeria. I don't know how this will effect my assignment yet. I still hope to leave around the first week of March. Please pray for them and the babies!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


O God whose will conquers all,

There is no comfort in anything

apart from enjoying thee

and being engaged in thy service;

Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what to me

thou makest them, and no more.

I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is,

or should be in all respects,

And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair

I would choose to refer all to thee,

for thou are infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,

as I am in danger of doing.

I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,

and it delights me to leave them there….

I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed name,

but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul

and body to thee.

-From The Valley of Vision: A Collection

of Puritan Prayers and Devotion

Picture taken by Mary

Thursday, January 22, 2009


These are just some of the goodies we had at the commissioning service. Thank you to all who helped make it a wonderful night!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


As a child, I was worried about whether my paper dolls and stickers made it into the suitcase each time my family made a trip to or from Bangladesh.  Now as an adult, I'm frantically making my packing list for the next few years of my life in a village home in southern Nigeria.  My dolls have been replaced by Greek lexicons, grammars, and malaria medication.  When everything is so readily available here in the United States, it is difficult to think of my potential "needs."  I just bought a year's supply of contacts, many bottles of contact solution, and a spare pair of glasses.  My Christmas presents were mostly kitchen supplies.  I was also given two solar ovens and some medical supplies!  I still have to purchase a motorcycle helmet and a water filter.  The difficult part is this:  How am I going to pack everything into three suitcases that can only be fifty pounds each!  Please pray for me that I will know how to pack wisely.


I was commissioned for missionary service in Nigeria with Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT) on Sunday, 18 January 2009 at Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The service was beautiful, and I was in tears the entire time.  Pastor Tom Brock was the officiant and Dr. Marshall Gillam, Executive Director of LBT, gave the message.  We sang I Love to Tell the Story; We've a Story to Tell to the Nations; Hark, the Voice of Jesus Callingand O Zion, Haste, Thy Mission High Fulfilling.  Pastor Brock asked me, "Will you, trusting in God's care, seek to grow in love for those you serve, strive for excellence in your skills, and adorn the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a holy life?"  I was only able to respond positively because I KNOW that this is the Lord's work and I am merely His servant.  I am so excited to learn and to be used.  I hope to leave for Nigeria at the beginning of March.  My first term is two and a half years.  Please pray with me for the Yala people and those working in translation among them.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

20 Things You Didn't Know About Me

1. I'm left-handed.

2. I've met Mother Theresa.

3. I've been attacked by a rabid dog and had 2 series of rabies' shots in the stomach.

4. An elephant pooped on my porch.

5. I've lived in LA, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Dallas.

6. I've been stung by a jellyfish in Florida.

7. I grew up with servants.

8. I got 2 high school diplomas and graduated at 16.

9. I've had surgeries on both knees.

10. I've studied dozens of languages but only speak one fluently.

11. I was on an international flight before the age of one.

12. I've attended four post high school schools and am half way through an MA.

13. I've driven over 15,000 miles by myself in less than 6 months.

14. I can't eat animals that look like themselves on a plate.

15. I love playing the piano and want to learn how to play the guitar.

16. I love whistling.

17. I absolutely love waitressing.

18. I want several kids (if any).

19. I've had at least 9 roommates (not including short-term or housemates).

20. I have white hair.

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