1 Week Update

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It’s my one week in India today!

I can’t believe the last couple of months have come and gone so quickly. I want to make sure before I start to share my update that I take a moment to say THANK YOU. Not sure it even expresses fully my heart overflowing with gratitude and love. All of your prayers, support financially, messages, notes, gifts, encouragement has been overwhelming. What a gift you all are to me. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing family & community. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. #youareallincredible #yesijusthashtaggedinablog

One of my first impressions of Mumbai was ALL the KITES. While on the drive from the airport to our flat I saw trees covered in kites. And on a different day while riding on the train, people were flying them everywhere. They really captured me for some reason. Later one evening I found this quote and loved it.

“Throw your dream into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”- Anais Nin

………………………………………….

Week 1 wrapped up in a nut shell.

1. My daily routine is something a long the lines of this: rickshaw, train, rickshaw, work, chai tea, work, lunch, work, chai tea, work, rickshaw, train and lastly rickshaw. With some fun stuff thrown in the midst of it all.

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2. Living in a really fun flat with my awesome roommate/co-worker/friend/howtogetaroundindiaandwhattodoandnottodoexpert —-> Alex.

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3. We often go to the market to get what we need. There is NUTELLA, so life is pretty good.

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4. Work has been good. Doing lot’s of learning and adjust. Excited to jump in a little more and get into the swing of things. All the girls at work are super sweet and they call us (me, Alex and the manager) DIDI (which means sister in Hindi). So my name is DIDI Meredith.

5. I am finally over jetlag and not waking up at 5am everyday! WOO HOO.

So there you have it, a little update.

Excited to share more with you as time goes on. Thank you for all your support, love and prayers. Wouldn’t be here and be able to give this year to iSanctuary without such an amazing support group at home.

Cheers to a new year and new adventures. Throw your dreams into space like a kite, risk and see what ‘NEW’ comes back to you.

M

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an untold story

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Recently, I took some time to reflect back over the last couple of years. When I first started this process my initial view of the recent year was: hard, long and I did a lot of waiting. I lived most of this year fighting to stay present and hoping that this season would come to a close.
Yet as I processed deeper I had forgotten the ways God was gentle and kind to me amidst the chaos. I realized I have an untold story that I think needs to be shared.
Late December/early January of this year, I went to India with 25 amazing people from ROCKHARBOR Church. I had never experienced a trip with that many people where most every one was meeting each other for the first time. For some reason my biggest concern before getting to India was, “what is my role on this team”.  God had been teaching me a lot about serving behind the scenes and servant leadership vs. upfront leadership.  Yet despite that I felt this need to be seen, to take on a teaching role or some sort of ‘upfront leadership’.  I often caught myself stressing out about it. Who am I amongst the 25? Am I supposed to lead or preach? Will I have some big give? I believe my real fear was that I would get lost in the crowd.
As we spent our first couple of days in India, I realized that my role was to just be me. It was the night of New Years Eve, we were preparing to go to the orphanage and celebrate the 2012 year with all of the kids. All of us ladies finally had the chance to put on our new sarees. The beautiful sarees which were altered to fit each of us, made every girl feel lovely. I found myself helping to wrap girls in their sarees, doing hair, handing out my millions of bangle bracelets and applying henna on anyone who wanted it. In that moment I realized I didn’t need an official role or a defined job. There was joy in doing the simple tasks of helping my teammates, whether it be with their hair or giving out jewelry.
The next day I was on the bus with one of my team leaders Christine. We hadn’t had a chance to chat much but we were on a long bus ride to visit an elderly home so we took the time to get to know each other. I started sharing with her how much I was struggling with what my role was before the trip and how I have seen how important the little things can be. Christine was so sweet and encouraging as we bonded and chatted more.
As we arrived to visit THE CUTEST grandmas and grandpas they greeted us with flowers and smiles in front of the elderly home. A few of us got to sit amongst all the sweet elderly ladies, while a group stayed upfront sharing stories and leading worship. The lady in front of me would start laughing and giggling as I would touch her back or smile at her. Such joy she had. Another lady next to me was quiet and shy but seemed happy to have me next to her. As our time was coming to a close at the elderly home, the shy lady next to me noticed my hair was coming out my hair tie. Before I even had a chance to fix it, she grabbed my head and started pulling my hair back. I looked up and saw Christine standing there with tears in her eyes. In that moment I felt God quietly say to me, “I see you”. Then I started crying. What a special and Holy gift I had received.
The mundane, the small acts, the faithful service, the ‘unseen’ moments, the times you comfort your crying baby, the times you give your best away, the moments you feel alone, the hours of sacrifice, the ways you treat a stranger, the things that make your heart break, the burdens you carry, the ways you WAIT, the moments of holy discontent, the ways you daily show up to work even when it’s hard, the risks you take and the ways you live out who God made you to be DO NOT go unnoticed.
Every time I retell this story it makes me cry. It was an ordinary moment that changed my heart in extraordinary ways.
M
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A current update on my financial fundraising:
Raised: 60%
Total to fundraise: $7,000 (for the year; $500 a month)
Here is the link to read the ways to you can donate:
And here is the direct link to donate:
Prayer for:
– Rest!!!!
– Visa application process (to go smooth and for it to be approved in a timely matter)
– For all of my fundraising to be completed before departure (in January 2014)
– As I prepare emotionally, physically and spiritually
 *if you would like a support letter sent to you, please email me your address: ohsomere@gmail.com

1 month

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SO HERE IS A QUICK UPDATE:
1. The plane ticket is purchased. January 10th I fly to India and start my year adventure.
2. I finished my last day as RockHarbor staff this past Sunday the 8th. Things are getting REAL.
3. Truly grateful for iSanctuary. If you are looking for a gift that you can give with purpose shop HERE.
4. There are not enough hours in a day, days in week, weeks in this next month to spend time with all
of those I love, cherish and adore. So I am going to do my best to rest, fill up and enjoy as much as I can before I go.
5. Can I just proclaim how GOOD God is. He loves, fills up, brings life and provides.
6. My visa is still yet to be in my hands. Pray for favor and quick return of my passport and visa.
7. I am 59% raised!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With that I still have some support raising to do. If you would like to support me check out the following links.
8. Do you have one of those large vacum/ziplock bag thing-ys?! Would you be interested in donating
them to me or selling them at a low price? This would be a HUGE blessing.
9. Every moment and day is filled with nervous excitement. I am so glad to be doing this all with such an incredible, supportive and loving community.
10. IT’S ONE MONTH AWAY. ONE MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!
M

living in the between

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I can’t believe how quickly and yet slowly time is going as I get ready to move to India and embark on this adventure with iSanctuary in 2 ½ months.
Did you catch that: 2 ½ MONTHS.
What a strange place to be: the in between. I am in my job at RH Fullerton till the beginning of December, starting to be present in the iSanctuary office and hitting some of my big event markers faster than I can enjoy them.  Being present and yet preparing for what is next has never felt so hard. Emotions run from sadness to excitement, confusion to confidence and from feeling fear to feeling brave.
It’s hard to really prepare for such an event as moving to a foreign country, into a different job and all the changes that go along with it. Yet I know the risk is SO worth it, the tears are SO worth it, the process is SO worth it and the ways that God has and will wreck, change and grow me is SO worth it.
The love and support that I have already received has been beyond incredible.  How am I so blessed? I have been gifted with a community who has extended grace to me as I live in the in between season.  I have been cared for by my family and friends with words of confidence, care and support. I have been encouraged by unexpected financial and prayerful support from old friends, new friends and strangers. And God has been so gracious to me in my personal doubts, the emotional roller coasters and in His provisions.
And the crazy part is I am still 2 ½ months out. There is still so much to be done: visa’s to apply for, plane tickets to be purchased, supplies to be bought, job training to happen and transition from the old to the new. And of course many more coffee’s, lunches, dinners, conversations, celebrations and days to be present with all the people I love and adore.
So here is my update. The in between has been tough but it makes the daily moments so much sweeter and grander than I expected.
Thank you all for the ways you each have loved me. I surely do not know how to even repay you but shout from my heart how much I LOVE YOU, each and everyone of you.
“Faithfulness requires the courage to risk everything on Jesus, the willingness to keep growing & the readiness to risk failure throughout our lives.” – Brennan Manning
____________________________________________________
A current update on my financial fundraising:
Raised: 33%
Total to fundraise: $7,000 (for the year)
Here is the link to read the ways to you can donate:
And here is the direct link to donate:
Prayer for:
– Visa application process (to go smooth and for it to be approved in a timely matter)
– For all of my fundraising to be completed before departure (in January 2014)
– For peace and moments of rest over the next couple of months
– Transition between old job & training for new job
 *if you would like a support letter sent to you, please email me your address: ohsomere@gmail.com

why india

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Dear Friends and Family:
I want to invite you into a story that God has been writing for some time.
To be honest I don’t even know how and where to start, but I want to share with you some new things that God has been doing in my life, so let’s begin at the beginning.
When you posture yourself with open hands, be prepared for God to take you on an unexpected journey.
A few years ago I had a strong desire to leave the United States to go and explore a different country and see where my creativity would take me. However, every time I explored an opportunity the door would close and my fist would close tighter. Around the high point of my disappointment and frustration I sensed God was saying that I should stay in Fullerton. At first, this was discouraging, but over the next couple of years it couldn’t have been any clearer why having to stay was necessary. I was able to finish college. I was able to intern with an amazing leader and mentor. I became grounded in life. And later I started on staff at RH Fullerton. I could have never dreamt that I would get to serve such an incredible community.
Recently, I had the honor of going on a humanitarian trip to India with one of ROCKHARBOR’s global partners, Harvest India. For 6 years my heart has always loved and longed to go to India, and yet I wasn’t able to go there. Every time I tried, each opportunity was met with a ‘NO’ attached the end of it.
So this last year, when I recognized another stirring to go to India, I timidly applied for the RH trip with open hands and an open heart. I was shocked to finally hear the ‘YES‘ that I had been longing for as I was asked to join the team. Needless to say, I was thrilled with anticipation. As I prepared for the trip (late December), I couldn’t help but be in awe of God’s provision financially, but also the community/family that had rallied around me.
Before I left for my trip I had gone to an event to support Remnant Uganda and many other awesome organizations (Krochet Kids, 31 Bits, iSanctuary & more) that are creatively bringing justice, healing, education, and fair wages to people all over the world. That night I had the opportunity to chat with one of the staff members of the non-profit organization iSanctuary (International Sanctuary). This organization works with women in India who have been victimized by human trafficking, helping them reintegrate into society by teaching them the craft of jewelry making, paying them fair wages, and giving them education and value. I left that conversation even more excited for my upcoming trip to India.
I also left that night feeling like I had received a missing puzzle piece that I had been looking for. It was the most unexpected feeling, but one I had tucked away knowing in my heart that one day this conversation or ‘puzzle piece’ would make sense.
Thanks to good ole social media I actually have the status from that night that I wrote on December 1st.
“You know when God keeps giving you puzzle pieces and you have no clue what they mean or are for and yet you hold on tight to them because one day you know they will make sense?!  Yup. Puzzling.”
I left for India the day after Christmas. I surrendered many of the expectations that I had put on this long awaited journey. This allowed me to be present with my team, with the ministries that we visited and the culture we were in. God was very gentle and quiet in the ways he spoke to me while in India; consequently, I felt at home, myself, comfortable in India. My team would joke with me that I was an Indian woman at heart. I was pulling out bangles, earrings, and accessories left and right for my fellow team ladies. I applied Henna on anyone who came near me. And I couldn’t stop smiling everywhere we went; the people of India were so beautiful. Not to say that it was easy or that everything was dreamy, but I had found a large part of me that felt at home.
One night on the bus ride home from one of our events, I had a conversation with a friend. All we talked about was how we wouldn’t be surprised if we came back to India one day for a longer period of time. And since I had waited, what had felt like ages to finally visit India, I had no real expectations that it would be any time soon. As I returned home from the trip I found an email from iSanctuary saying they were hosting a pop up shop in Fullerton and wanted to see if I wanted to show my art work during their 3 day event. While at that event I had the same staff member mention to me that she thought I might be a good fit for a position that they were looking to fill.
From that point I approached this opportunity with open hands. They were looking for a Jewelry Design intern that would live in India for a year. It truly took me by surprise but the opportunity sounded like one worth pursing. I approached my family & mentors with the opportunity. They joined me in praying/seeking if this was a good fit and next best right step. After consulting the staff I applied for the position.
It wasn’t a step that I took lightly but there is no way I could have ever decided to apply without the support of the people I work with, family, friends and mentors. I recently was given the news that I was accepted and will be moving to India to serve with iSanctuary in January 2014.
A dream that I remember sharing during one of those late night dorm room talks with roommates about aspirations, dreams and all the other things a freshman in college talks about was actually coming true. This country that I have adored for years, and a next step that I couldn’t have even have imagined was right in front of me.
This wasn’t something I decided swiftly but a call that I explored obediently. I remember praying that if God was ever to call me out of my community, comfort, current job it would have to be something I couldn’t deny that He was leading me towards. A prayer that I have seen answered.
Can’t wait to share more with you all over the next few months.
M