Friday, August 21, 2015

My Vegan-Friendly Life

Good Evening,

It is that time of year: the end-of-summer/back-to-school frenzy of final barbecues, last trips to the beach, and school supply shopping.  It is the time of year when I still feel like I should be back in a classroom frantically hanging bulletin boards and labeling supplies.  Sigh.

Alas, I am not in a classroom and that is okay.  A bit sad, but okay.  I am loving what I am doing with World Orphans and know for sure that this is where God wants me at this time.

Though I love my job, one challenge is that I work from home.  I literally work in my bedroom, at a desk right next to my bed.  It is a bit strange and has led to me feeling a bit cooped up at times.

To combat this cooped up feeling I take walks, schedule plenty of social outings, and am trying to invest more in hobbies.  For example, I started learning Spanish in preparation for a trip to Guatemala.

My post tonight is not about World Orphans, school, or Spanish though.  It is about another hobby of mine: cooking, specifically cooking vegan food.

Let me just start by saying that I am not a vegan.

However, over the last year, I have been leaning more and more towards plant-based eating.  I never was a big meat-eater, so this was not a difficult progression to make.  In addition, I have drastically reduced my intake of dairy, so some days or meals I am completely vegan.  Therefore, I consider myself to be "vegan-friendly."

I owe much of my love for vegan food and cooking it to my sister who gave me The Holy Grail of vegan cookbooks for Christmas.  It is called, The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, and it is AMAZING.
Angela's recipes are not only vegan, but often gluten-free and/or nut-free.  They are healthy, colorful, and super fun to make.  I love having a counter full of fresh veggies to chop and spices to blend.  Cooking and eating is much more fun when it is colorful.  It truly helps me appreciate all that God has created and to value food as fuel for my body.

That being said, here are a few highlight recipes that I've made from the cookbook or Angela's blog.  It was hard to choose just these because I have absolutely LOVED everything I have made from it.  By the way, I take no credit for developing these recipes.  If they look good to you, check out the cookbook or blog.  Also,  I know that my food-photography skills need some serious work.  :-)

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Stew
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta
Glowing Strawberry Mango Guacamole.  Oh my goodness.
Guacamole on a whole new level of awesomeness.
Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole with black beans, corn, rice, spinach, and lots of spices.
Warm Spring Salad with quinoa, asparagus, peas, and strawberries
Did I make you hungry?  Haha.  Perhaps some of your final summer shindigs can be vegan-friendly this year.  Bon appetite!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Camp Travels and a Future Trip to Guatemala!

Greetings from New Jersey!

I am back home after an adventurous first half of the summer.  It is so nice to reconnect with my friends and my church community.  Travel is that much sweeter when you have a home-base to return to in between.
As much as my last newsletter was filled with celebrations, this one is too.  Together with World Orphans, you and I are part of God’s great work to not only care for the fatherless, but to draw each person closer to Him.  I could share a million moments where God clearly showed up this summer through one-on-one conversations, prayers, worship, and so much more.  However, I will try to limit myself to a few highlights.
Kirkwood Camp and Conference Center: In early July, I had the pleasure of spending a day and a half at Camp Kirkwood, near Cincinnati, Ohio.  Though I grew up with knowledge of this camp, I had never visited.  As soon as I arrived, I knew it was a special place filled with people who love the Lord.
            The camp generously gave me an hour to teach a breakout session.  Since the theme of the week was “Storytelling,” I wove together my testimony with the story of Usha, an orphaned teenager from India.  I encouraged the campers that their stories were instruments for sharing God’s love with others and speaking out for those who are in need.  Next, everyone broke into small groups to pray for orphans and to discuss how they could use their gifts to make a difference through World Orphans Rescue Teams. 

Becky speaking to senior high campersCamper looking at a picture
Seneca Hills Bible Camp: After spending eight days working from my parents’ house and enjoying time with them, it was time for my next camp experience, the one I had been eagerly anticipating for months.  As a college student, I spent two summers serving as a counselor at Seneca Hills Bible Camp in Pennsylvania.  They were two of the best summers of my life and I spent the years afterwards missing that special place and the amazing people there.  I thought I would never get the chance to go back, but God knew better.  Earlier this year, the program director invited me to serve as the missions’ speaker for one week!
            Knowing this was a huge task and that I could not do it alone, I invited my friend and India trip team member, Kim, to come with me.  Together we spent six days bonding with the campers, counselors, and staff.  We taught missions each day to over 100 campers, ages 6-12.  Since the age group was young we focused on what it means to be a missionary, the challenges orphans face, and how children of all ages can make a difference.  The campers engaged well with all the topics and were especially invested when we shared the stories of specific orphans in India.  Plus, they had a blast learning about Indian culture and singing “Yeshu Tera Naam, (Jesus Your Name is Higher)” in Hindi.

        At the end of the week, at a special campfire, campers were given the opportunity to share what God had done in their lives and what they had learned through all the camp experiences.  A few quotes stood out to both Kim and me.
"I learned that you can worship in any language and God will understand."

"I learned that there are 1.2 billion people in India and most of them are Hindu.  I am not the only one who needs Jesus."

"I learned that you can be a missionary wherever you are!"

Children often say it best.  It is incredible to realize that God is opening their eyes and hearts to the world even at such young ages.
Now that we have celebrated the summer, it is time to look ahead.  Right now, I am busy launching three new Rescue Teams that resulted from Big Ticket Festival. Hopefully, a few more will get going soon.  Also, I am preparing for a very exciting trip to…Guatemala!!
Guatemala Trip:  This trip is designed specifically to cast vision and to invite churches to partner with World Orphans and international churches in Guatemala.  For this purpose, World Orphans invited me and two others from my church to join the team.  This way we can experience the work being done there first-hand and report back to leadership.  In addition, my experiences in Guatemala will enable me to communicate more effectively about World Orphans to many others as part of my daily advocacy work.
As part of my preparation for this trip, I am responsible for raising $1500.  To help with this process, I will be selling shirts.  The cost is $20.  I would be so grateful if you would not only pray for me and the whole team, but prayerfully considering donating and/or buying a shirt. 


Donate: Becky's Guatemala Trip

T-Shirt Order Form
Thanks so much for all your prayers and support!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!