Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Fellow Canadians

So it appears as though the only other Canadians around here in Winona Lake are the Canadian geese that hang out down by the lake, which also happens to be where many of us at Cpaf live too.

I didn't know this until I got here, but it appears as though Canada Geese do not sleep at night!!! We can hear them at all hours of the night honking away outside of our windows. As much as I'm glad that there are other Canadians here, I have to be honest and say that by 3:21 last night I was officially ready to go out there and wring their little Canadian necks. The constant sqwaky honking is severely annoying.

I told the gals that the only logical explanation for the constant ruckus, is that those geese are up at night trying with all their might to peep in our windows. . . . no doubt they are trying to get a glimpse of their fellow Canadian, "the diva":) So, we have officially named those nocturnal geese down at the lodge. We now refer to them as "the peeping geese" or more directly "Tom”, “Dick” and “Harry." Unfortunately those geese are giving Canadians a bit of a bad reputation, but really who can blame them? If I was living in such close proximity to a diva like me and my other sistah's down at the lodge I would definitely stay up all night trying to catch a glimpse of us too:)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

From My Kitchen Window

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."
Psalm 19:1

A Winona Lake Sunset- Nov 26/06

Friday, November 24, 2006

My 1st American Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day here. My roommate and I were invited to spend the day with Leilani's family, who is one of our coworkers here at Cpaf. It really was a beautiful day. We headed up to the Wells' farm and spent the day with a truly incredible family, 2 horses, 2 dogs, a goose and a Brasilian Baritone:) It was fun to see how the Americans do Thanksgiving. I feel so blessed to have been a part of the celebration.
Hee Haw!!! Yup, that would be me on a horse!!! I swear this place is going to suck the diva right out of me:)
For a girl who claims to come from the big city Meaghan was quite comfortable around the smelly horses.
This is Liliana with one of the Wells' dog, Bear. Liliana is the youngest of 7 children, she was just the sweetest little hostess yesterday. We really did get along famously. Oh what fun it was to play hide and seek and make up ballerina dances together.
Estee, Leilani, and Josiah stuff themselves with the incredible turkey dinner.
Peggy Sue and Hannah enjoying their dinner. Peggy Sue, or "Mamma" as the kids would call her, is a single mother of seven kids. I am just amazed by the strength that radiates from this beautiful woman of God.
Apres dinner, Meaghan and Leilani decided to play music from the Nutcracker Suite.
Inspired, Liliana and I decided to perform the Nutcracker ballet . That's me as "the Nutcracker". Although some would disagree, I thought that my portrayal was very graceful and convincing:)
Here's Robson showing his best "Divo" moves. Robson is an incredible Baritone from Brasil. We performed several opera scenes together at Masterworks in 2004. Robson is going to school in Michigan right now, and came up to spend Thanksgiving here. It was fun to see him again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"The Big Q-tip"

My first week here has been interesting. Whenever I reflect back to my time here in Winona Lake in 2004, I usually pinpoint it as a time when I finally opened my ears to really hear God speak. It wasn't that I wasn't listening before, but I definitely needed a big cotton swab shoved in my ears in order for all the gunk that was blocking me from hearing correctly to be removed. That’s exactly what God did here in 2004 He shoved that swab in so deep and cleaned out all the gunk. After Masterworks, I was not ashamed of the dreams He had given me nor was I about to stifle them.

After this week I'm convinced that He has pulled out that big cotton swab again. My ears are being cleaned out of some major gunk once again. Maybe I should start calling this place "the big q-tip":) This time I'm really not enjoying it so much. The theme of the week has been giving up my dreams. In many ways I thought that coming here was about that, but clearly He sees it differently. God has been asking me loudly and with great clarity to lay everything on the altar, which indeed is what I strive to do everyday, but I didn't think that He would be asking me to give up, as in forget about the many dreams that I heard Him affirm in me here 2 years ago.

Many of my conversations with others have involved the very topic of giving up dreams. The first thing Dr. Kavanaugh said to me when we sat down to have our initial intern meeting this Monday was "If you want to do this kind of ministry work here or anywhere you have to be prepared to give up all of the plans that you have for yourself." This was inceredible to hear from him because He really is a man who has put those words into action. This was coming from a guy who only 25 years ago was an up and coming symphony conductor but gave it all up to start this ministry now called the Christian Performing Artists' Fellowship.

My roommate Meaghan and I have talked about it over and over again this week, she seems to be hearing similar things from God. Meaghan lead our worship night last night and taught us this song. It sums up very clearly what I've been struggling to genuinely say to God this entire week. I’m not sure if my heart really means it yet, but In comparison with His thoughts, His words, and His love and all that He is in my life, giving up my dreams should really be no sacrifice.

No Sacrifice
- Jason Upton
To You I give my life
not just the parts I want to
To You I sacrifice
these dreams that I hold on to.

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life.

To You I give the gifts
Your love has given me
How can I hoard the treasure
that you designed for free

Because Your thoughts are Higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine.
Your love is stronger than mine.
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life.

To You I give my future
as long as it may last
to you I give my present
To you I give my past.

Because Your thoughts are Higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine.
Your love is stronger than mine.
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

First impressions

I finally made it to Indiana yesterday. This is so not what I imagined it to be. Talk about culture shock!! It could just be adjustment issues like living in a small town, being around artists who live and work by their own schedules, having to still figure things out - I don't know. I have a feeling though that the visa difficulties were only the beginning of what is going to be an extremely challenging year for me. I think I'm in for some major changes, like the painful peeling off of layers kind of changes. Changes that I'm not ready for. I can't imagine that my first impressions are right, but based on how I've been feeling for the past 24 hrs I'd pack up and drive the 8 hrs home right now. Too bad that I don't have the guts seeing that getting me that work visa caused such a fiasco. Oh God give me strength to endure.

Monday, November 13, 2006


It's Finally here!!! The document does indeed exsist!!!
Praise the Lord!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Are you for real????"

I just sent this prayer letter out. When I re-read it after sending it I couldn't help but break out into hysterical laughter upon reading my first paragraph. I'm sure when people read it they'll be thinking "Is this girl for real????" If I wasn't living it, I don't think I'd believe it myself. Oh how ridiculous this whole visa process has become!! This is the first time I've laughed in days though and as serious as these circumstances are, laughing sure beats crying right now.

I am in need of some serious prayer intervention. After months of waiting for the work visa, it finally being approved, and my being sent the official documents last week I was set to leave for Indiana to start my internship this past week; however, more unexpected drama has been added to the picture. Yes, my visa approval document has been lost in the mail!!! It's unbelievable isn't it? The CPAF sent the document registered priority mail 10 days ago with a guarantee of it arriving between 2-4 business days. I expected it to arrive by Tuesday so that I could leave Wednesday, but that was not the case. After several days of attempted tracking, it is nowhere to be found.

I can not even express the discouragement and disappointment I have felt this week. After months of waiting in faith I was finally ready to just give up altogether. This has been so wearing on me, my family, and the Christian Performing Artists' Fellowship. After several discussions with the CPAF, we can only conclude that somebody is trying really hard to keep me from getting to Indiana. After much questioning, intense prayer, and study of the word this week I can say for certain that God does not want me to give up on this internship.

The CPAF has sent their portion of the visa approval document by Fed Ex this evening to arrive by noon on Monday. This is the only original document left. With all that has gone on with this visa so far, I know that prayer is extremely vital this weekend. Please join me and the entire CPAF team as we pray that those documents will arrive safely without any complications on Monday so that I can leave for the States this Tuesday.

Believing God,
Andrea <><

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don't give up

After two months of waiting for the work visa, today was definitely my breaking point. I was sure that today would be the long awaited departure date, but when the visa papers didn't show up yesterday as expected it was clear that I'd be stuck here until the end of the week. When they didn't show up today, I broke down and called the CPAF in tears looking to see what was up. I explained that I knew how ridiculous it is for me to get this upset at this point in the game when after two months I somehow managed to get through everyday with a hope of what tomorrow might bring. We're trying to track the papers but all we know is that they left the US on Sunday and are assumed to be floating about somewhere in Canada. Today I just couldn't be hopeful, the waiting and all the unexpected mishaps with this visa have been so wearing on me. All I can do is think the worst.

I suppose today was the day I finally believed all of Satan's lies and accusations that I have been hearing since I applied for the internship but have managed to push out until now. The accusations of being a complete fool. Giving up my job believing that all things will work out. Waiting until who knows when for a stupid piece of paper that will allow me to go and be a broke intern; will force me to give up my security, my friends, my family, my home and will leave me nowhere but as a struggling artist in the end. The lies that kept telling me that my hope was in vain. The lies that kept saying that perhaps this dream isn't worth the wait.

I got into my car tonight and went for a drive just to get my head in a different place. In my CD player was Josh Groban's new CD, Awake, which my Mom bought for me as a going away gift. Even though he's considered "popera" and all of the hoity toity profs from grad school frowned upon him because he was a sell out, I've always been a Groban fan or a "Grobanite" as they are ususally called. I'm a fan who can definitely appreciate his incredible voice and the way in which he has managed to maintain his integrity as an artist in the pop world. Anyway, as I was driving this song came on, written by a Canadian nonetheless, and I don't know what the writer's intentions where, but it reminded me of why I can't give up. I couldn't help but hear the song from Jesus' perspective.

You Are Loved (Don't give up)
By: Thomas Salter

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
when your heart's heavy, I
I will lift it for you.

Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you, I
I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved.

Don't give up
It's just the hurt that you hide
when you're lost inside, I
I'll be there to find you

Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you, I
I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved.

This was a great reminder not only that He is there for me when I am weak like today, but also because this is exactly what has fueled my faith these past two months. Getting His message of love to the lost is the reason He has called me to go and do His work at the CPAF. It's amazing how God will use artists to speak to our hearts. After being reminded of His message how could I ever possibly give up?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Butterfly Thoughts

I wonder how a butterfly knows when it's the right time to come out of its chrysalis.

I wonder if a butterfly is ever afraid to come out of its safe, warm, familiar shell.

I wonder if a butterfly ever hesitates to move as it thinks about how much easier it would be to just stay in the chrysalis forever.

I wonder if a butterfly ever feels all alone as it begins the difficult yet beautiful process of emerging from the chrysalis.