A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Last week I found myself posting at 2am after I got home...

This time, I found myself wide awake at 2am. 
I went to bed around 10:45pm and found myself waking up to the buzz of my cell phone which is weird because that has never happen before. 

There was a text that I was awaiting before bed, but it wasn't sent recently. I read it and decided to go back to bed.

However before I could find myself laying my head back on the pillow, I began to pray.

I once heard that maybe sometimes we are awakened in the middle of the night is because that is the only time that God can get us still enough to listen or to be with us. 

I began to pray about the text I had received, some things going on in my life...

Right as I began to close my eyes- I felt Psalm 41:10 flash across my mind. 
With all of my amazing God moments as of late, I couldn't ignore it. 

My instinct said, just jump to Psalm 46:10... "Be Still and Know that I AM GOD"... but I already knew that and 41 stood out so clearly in my mind. 

So I got out of bed and walked over to my bookshelf- realizing my Bible was in my car and it was far to cold and I was home alone in our new house... I found my books on Psalms and Proverbs and opened it up...

Psalm 41
How blessed is he who considers the [a]helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of [b]trouble.
The Lord will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall [c]be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed;
In his illness, You [d]restore him to health.
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”
My enemies speak evil against me,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
And [e]when he comes to see me, he speaks [f]falsehood;
His heart gathers wickedness to itself;
When he goes outside, he tells it.
All who hate me whisper together against me;
Against me they devise my hurt, saying,
“A wicked thing is poured out [g]upon him,
That when he lies down, he will not rise up again.”
Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.
10 But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up,
That I may repay them.
11 By this I know that You are pleased with me,
Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And You set me in Your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

As I read through the whole Psalm, nothing really stood out, until I came to verse 11 that was already marked and underlined in my book.

I began to tear up... felt God really speaking to me and telling me He was pleased with me. I began to tear up and pray. 
As I prayed, I decided to turn on one of the worship songs that has really been affecting me... 

Ocenas by Hillsong United

First this set of lyrics hit me:
"And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine"

I began to feel as if I was surrounded by waves (like Peter) and I could barely see... waves crashed against my body and ears and were throwing me around but my eyes were focused on God during this time. Despite the moving of the ocean, I was still able to keep my eyes above the waters to feel I had focus...
The lyrics "For I am Yours... and You are mine"... I began to just weep. God was calling me His and was telling me that He was pleased with me. 

I began reflecting on the verse... "You uphold me in my integrity and you set me in Your presence forever." God was going to uphold me...

My intergrity, motives and intentions were pure... I am going to pursue God's call.

After a few months of prayer I have decided to pursue vocational ministry... all of which came with leaving my job in June when I leave for Haiti...

My parents have not been fond of this idea- but they are happy to have me out of a church in Los Angeles soon...

They have these hopes and dreams for me to be this successful and rich business woman- because I have a Masters degree. But this has been my struggle and conflict as of late.

I am a hard working and determined and organized woman... of course, I finished my degree in a year and had these ideas of expectations that my parent's wanted for me... but I have realized that God has called me to something far greater...

I personally have come to terms with the fact that I am not called to live the life of monetary success... success to be me is being within God's will. 

I think when the people that are suppose to love and support you the most are constantly at war with what God is telling you and where He is leading you... there can't help but be an inner turmoil. 

It breaks my heart to not live up to their expectations, to feel as a disappointment to some extent...

But you know what...
God is pleased with me. I can't help be more confident than ever that I am headed in the right direction. I have spent the past year learning and growing and being stretched... I have learned and discovered so much about myself. 

I met with a career counselor yesterday... and old adviser from college and grad school. I told him my personality types and strengths and he began typing away at his phone while were at lunch... he began describing me and describing things that I enjoyed and then began describing career options and direction... he said I was headed in the right direction... I almost wanted to weep while at lunch with him.

I felt like someone trusted in me- I felt as though God was speaking through His kind words... as through I was yet again getting confirmation to help me to stand strong and to continue holding onto my faith...

The other lyrics that have rung true over the past month took an even deeper meaning as well:

"So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"

Lord, I am calling upon your name.. as I feel surrounded by waves.
My soul longs for you, Oh Lord... I find rest and strength in your embrace...
I am Yours... in whom You are well pleased.

You have led me to these waters that now surround me... my faith has following you out of LA, out of my job, and now embarking upon Haiti... and is following you as You call me into minsitry.

I could never have imagined leaving my job or going back to Haiti this summer, but you have called me... much farther than my feet could ever wander without your love, faith in me, and strength that You provide.

I am in the presence of you... You are mine and I am Yours.

Once the tears settled and I prayed out loud, my heart felt more at ease.

Then this morning's devotional letter was perfect for what I had experienced and how I was feeling:

Do Not Fear

My Princess,

Are you bound up in darkness and fear? Come to Me and tell Me what you're afraid of. Is it the future? Your health? Your circumstances? Your finances? Your security? Don't you know that I am Creator and King of all? I own all the resources in the universe. Nothing is beyond My knowledge or My power.

Remember that I am your God and Salvation. I will never give you more than you can handle. Ask Me about anything with faith and obey what I tell you to do, and you will feel your fear vanish. I am the Lord your God, and I delight in caring for you, My child. So do not fear, My princess. I am always near.


Your King and your Fearless Leader

"The LORD is my light and my salvation-so why should I be afraid? The LORD protects me from danger-so why should I tremble?"
    ~Psalm 27:1~

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Accept The Challenge: A Story of a Man Named Ernie

I sit up here in bed and it's almost 2am and I have just gotten home...

Normally I was jump right into bed and gain some much needed beauty sleep. But God is stirring and showed me so much tonight...

I was out with a friend in LA for a concert... we decided to keep the evening Dave Ramsey budget friendly and be adventurous and took the Metro.

On the way home, I was reminded of SHIFT Students this past week as we had a prayer and reflection night. One of the stations was entitled, Accept the Challenge. You were encouraged to take a strip of paper. The paper contained a challenge for us to act out over the next week or month- I have begun mine. That which I won't share... but that challenge reminds me of the challenges that we face as Christ-followers day to day.

I think one of the challenges we face... not as in difficulties... but as in one of the things Christ asks of us is to sit and listen. To be still. As my life has been changing and the direction God is leading me over the past few weeks, I feel I have been more aware of seeing God in lots of little moments.

I think that we are called not only to be still and listen to God... but we are called to listen to God's people. To see that sometimes people just need us to listen to them and only speak when necessary and sometimes to speak without words, like through a smile or a handshake.

We stood there on the platform at Union Station just past midnight and there was this "couple". You heard this woman quietly singing to the man she was with... most people wouldn't notice this woman or would just write her off or ignore that she was singing... But I listened closely and she was singing a worship song... and then another one. I couldn't help but feel God's presence in that moment.

Travelling as two single woman, past midnight through LA can be very scary. I am very aware of my surroundings- especially after getting my black belt, traveling abroad with a team, travel safety classes, and migrating around the East Coast on my own for a few summers doing missions... but nonetheless I couldn't help but feel safe and protected in that moment by the simpleness of a woman quietly singing. My friend and I just smiled at each other and just felt blessed by that little moment as we boarded the train.

I feel as if I was aware of God's protection and aware that he would keep us safe and bless us on this journey home.

As we sat within the small train car, a man with a bike sat across from us and began to eat. We kindly smiled and said hello.

If you know me... I am extremely introverted with strangers or people I have just met or haven't found a connection with. Like it scares me to death... but courage and boldness only takes a few seconds and could be life changing... a simple smile or hello can really glorify God as I break outside of my shy shell. Once I know someone... or feel comfortable and or have found something to relate to them with, a common ground... I can be like the friendliest person you've ever met. But until that point, I am a shy and awkward human being.
But God has been stirring my heart lately and asking me to step out and be bold and to take leaps of faith. So we said hello and smiled at this man and he just began talking with us- just began sharing his story and his testimony.

It was amazing- I felt God's tug to acknowledge him and we just listened.

So I ask you to pray for my new friend Ernie.

Ernie is going through a divorce. He lives in Arcadia and works in Redondo Beach... he takes the bus, to the train, to another train, and then bikes to work. Typically it takes him 3-5 hours for this commute. The other day it took him 7 hours. Ernie will get home around 2am... only to turn around 5 hours later and began the same commute back to work. Ernie works at a fish market and loves his job. He believes his interactions with people glorify God- to share a kindness with a stranger. Often times he says people have such a scowl look on the train and he was shout out hello and say God Bless you to people. Ernie was involved in a gang and managed to get out at the age of 19 and find Christ. He commutes 5 days a week to his job and loves it because he loves to use his gift with people. We talked about sharing God's love with others, especially youth. He thought I was a high school or early college student. Flattered I told him I work with youth and I shared a little about my time in Haiti. We talked about the hospitality of people in other places, and lack of it in Los Angeles. He said his days are long and exhausting and his hands get tore up from cutting fish open- but he couldn't be mad because God has just blessed him with a .75cents raise.

He attempted to take a quick nap and we offered to hold his bike and wake him up at our station stop.
It was a pleasure talking with him and just feeling like God wanted us to share our heart for Christ and others, but to just listen to Ernie and show him kindness and compassion.
We shook hands and exchanged names and he invited us to visit him some time and he'd treat us to lunch...

I want to go visit- to make the commute to Redondo Beach and meet Ernie again- I feel that encouraged and blessed... anyone with me?!

But that's besides my point...

Best of all- Ernie was eating his dinner on the train and he offered us some. We declined. He told us that when he leaves work, he will leave with several bags of food (nice prepared dinners) and take them on the train and give them to homeless people that he encounters. How amazing is that?!

Will you join me in praying for Ernie? For his commute, for his heart for God, for him to have the strength and energy through this commute... even though he says he would never trade living closer because of the people he encounters in the process... please pray for Ernie's family through this divorce. He has one daughter at Glendora High who is graduating.

My prayer is that we begin to interact with those around us, if God is tugging at our heart. Be safe and smart about it- but begin to ask God when we encounter each day... ask who would He like us to encounter, talk with, bless, or just listen to... sometimes it's just a simple, hello or smile in passing...

I remember in college someone remembering my name, smiling at me, and asking how I was doing and I felt there sincerity... I still think about it to this day and that was almost 7 or 8 years ago.

The person could be some at your church, someone at a train station, someone in line at the bank or at a concert, or maybe someone in your life that you've been neglecting... I encourage us to be bold and be willing to listen...

Do you accept the challenge???

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Greetings Blogosphere!!!

It has been some time since I last posted.
And I have a big updated and announcement for all you readers... whether friends, family, curious Facebook friends or others.

I feel like this announcement will be met with some questions, or maybe lots of logical questions. I believe that this post my bring some doubt or skepticism.

But I am confident... why you ask? Because my faith and foundation is solely rooted in God's word and I have never felt more in line with God's will than I do now.
Wait, what? What's going on?!

Okay... here it goes.
Last year I returned from Haiti, like most mission trips with a sense of sadness. Serving God fully for fourteen days with no internet, not interruptions .. you can't help but feel so in line with God's will. Serving Him with your whole heart and ready and willing to do what was asked. Being back from Haiti, my heart often aches of the kids I met and held in the orphanages.

But life has to go on... and so mine did. Before leaving for Haiti I was blessed with a full time job in Los Angeles working at a church. Those of you who know me really well, this job is the perfect fit. Why didn't I think about working at a church years ago. I began volunteering my time in youth and young adults ministry before leaving and quickly fell back into my roles there. The more I worked at the church and immersed myself in the community there, the more I felt at home. A few months after being back from Haiti, I finally felt that I could call my work church... my home church. I joined membership and poured and invested hours above and beyond in youth ministry.

I think what makes me so passionate about youth is that I can see myself in their shoes... I wish that I had someone in my life to pour into it when I was a kid or a teenager. Currently as an adult I have a great support system, a supportive home church I came from, great best friends, an accountability partner and a Christian mentor and friend. I desire for a child to feel this sense of acceptance and love and grace. I know one day I want to be a mom and so I love getting to nurture and love on my students... to invest in them but also to be a godly example of a woman of God.
In work therapy sessions, I often time refer to these kids and my kids. If you see me talk about my love for these children, you see the joy on my face... you see God's light in how I describe them or talk about them.
I have learned so much over the past year in leadership and in my relationship with God.
I have also learned when God commands we must go. I believe that God can tug at our hearts for change... and it is uncomfortable and scary- but it is what we are called to as believers. We are meant to be disciples.

Over the past two months, I have spent much time in prayer and in counseling with Christian mentors and those who can actively listen to my heart and pray for me as well.
I can't help but feel... rather know... that God is calling me to vocational ministry!

With this directions, I am transitioning out of my position and into a part-time ministry position until I can find something more permanent and something in full-time ministry.
This transition has also caused me to pray about a lot. To trust God fully with finances and change and where ever he would send me...

To my surprise and excitement... I am starting this journey by going back to Haiti to spend two weeks... to begin this journey full immersed in ministry.
I get to revisit with youth I met in Haiti, but will also everyday for two weeks working at a special needs orphanage in Haiti. My heart is so excited to pour out God's love and light.

If you would like to know more about Haiti, you can read my support letter!

I am getting asked... why would you leave your job? What about when you get back?
Your questions are all valid... but I cannot be more confident that God is directing me to Haiti. And that God is leading me into be immersed in community to love and serve with my gifts and talents... where ever that would be... for right now, it's in Haiti. But I am ready and willing to God because my love and trust in God is so strong and I have patiently waited for a few months as I sought council through this process.

The scary thing is that I have 3 weeks to raise $2500. But God is faithful... in the past week I have raised $800. Wow God! I need about $400 more to purchase my plane tickets... And less than a week for that amount to go.

Please be keeping me in your thoughts and prayers...

If you would like to help out financially, you can donate online... or read my letter for more info...
Donate here: http://nwhcm.org/give/travel-payment (Be sure to put my name on the memo line)
And make sure to include my name- Jennifer Elrod in the memo line.

That is all for now... so if you know of any where hiring... let me know.

Thank you all!!! Much love and keep me in your prayers.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where You Lead Me Lord, I Will Follow- Journey to Haiti

Here is my blog:

Dear Friends and Family-
This past summer I had the opportunity to go to Haiti, what a life changing experience, I learned so much about myself. I went to share my gifts and talents with the community but instead I was the one who was blessed. In the city of St. Louis du Nord, I fell in love with the work of Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (NWHCM) and all of the programs that they run there. But what truly began the change in me this past summer was an unexpected relationship, I fell in love with a little boy named Gilbert.

I remember so vividly my first few days in Haiti. It was hot, extremely humid and I found myself struggling to find the purpose for which I had been called to Haiti. I knew God had equipped me to be a co-leader of the team as I helped facilitate team bonding as well as fundraising but once I was in the country, I had a hard time connecting and finding purpose. Then on our second day we went to go   volunteer in the Miriam Center, a special needs orphanage located at the mission. The room was hot and I was overwhelmed with emotions as I had never worked with special needs children before, I was afraid that I would hurt a child if I held them too tightly. I had a hard time reading their emotions as so many noises floated in the air; I didn’t know whether they were laughing or crying, joyful or in pain. I tried to engage myself in games with the team and the children but often times I found myself hiding behind my camera. That is until one boy pointed in my direction and wanted me to visit with him in the window. He wanted to learn how to use my camera, so I nervously let him which caused me to let my guard down. It was the best decision I could have ever made as I bonded with Gilbert hanging out with him every chance I got over the next 10 days.     

Gilbert is 14 years old and is one of 10 children. Gilbert and one of his sisters both have a type of dwarfism, cerebral palsy and some other health related issues. He came to the Miriam Center at least two years ago when his mom became ill and could not care for him and his siblings. When Gilbert’s sister passed away, he blamed his mom for her death thus creating chrysalis around his heart that is sometimes tough to see through his big smile and fun nature. But I have seen Gilbert’s love for God, I have seen his love for others, and I have even sung worship with him. I know that God’s love, mercy, and grace is powerful; I pray not only for Gilbert’s health but for the condition of healing and forgiveness in his heart.
Since graduating school I have often questioned God’s direction for my life, wanting to really just serve God with my gifts and talents. Over a year ago I began working and serving at a church in Los Angeles, and God has grown and stretched me so much over the past year. Over the past few months, through much prayer, discernment and wise council, I have decided to pursue ministry vocationally. I have begun transitioning out of my current administrative roles and into a part-time ministry position as I seek full-time employment in ministry. I cannot think of a better way to start this next process and journey in my life than to fully immerse myself in ministry in Haiti for two weeks beginning June 18th- doing what I love and serving God through my gifts and talents.

Haiti is the poorest country in the world. In Haiti, the youngest children in a home usually get fed last. If a child has a mental or physical disability, things are even tougher. Having a disability in a developing country like Haiti means you’re invisible. And because voodoo is practiced in Haiti, disabled children are also viewed as a “curse” resulting from evil parents. However, NWHCM shines the light and love of God on the “invisible” and making it visible. NWHCM and the Miriam Center believe that every child is of value and I am excited to partner with them again this summer.

I ask that you would please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare myself for this trip. I ask that you pray for Gilbert and for NWHCM and the Miriam Center, as well as the country of Haiti. Lastly, I ask that you would prayerfully consider financially sponsoring my trip. My goal is to raise $2500 and I have less than two months to do so. Your prayers and donations (which are tax-deductible) help to change lives around the world as we work together to be the hands and feet of Christ.

My previous experiences in missions from Camden, to Peru, to Haiti and even locally would not have happen without the love and support of my family and friends. Thank you for your continued support and impact upon my life. I can’t imagine a better way to spend sometime this summer than being reunited with Gilbert and seeing how the Lord continues to work through our lives. 
Jennifer Elrod
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)