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God is moving, can you see it?
June 4, 2012 6:57 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been in my head a lot lately.

You know the feeling, when you realize you’ve been sitting in the same position for a long time, staring at the same spot on the wall, just thinking.  I’ve had some incredible experiences lately that have caused me to retreat into the recesses of my brain (and heart) and mull.  I’ve had a chance to go through photographs of the last month, and it has only deepened my “head time.”  Oh how I love photography.  The fraction of a second snapped with a camera has the ability to rocket me back to a time and a place, helping me remember.

These photos are my visual breadcrumbs, they are significant marks on a path of memory that I can follow through the woods of my mind.  They leave a trail, reminding me of where I’ve been.  Whoa, did I just get a little “heady” there?!  Sorry, that’s just how it’s been lately.  Here are some of my latest “crumbs”…

I had my first guests!  After six months without a familiar (Montana) face, my heart nearly exploded with joy at the sight of these people.  We ventured around Kenya, and went to many places that had an impact on me in 2009 when I first came to Kenya.  The second time around is always different than the first, but sometimes even more meaningful.

Lots of laughs with Joanna, Yasmin, and Holly

Revisiting Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, home to more than 500,000

Spending time with my dear Kenyan host family in Korogocho slum, Nairobi

Get-away with my girls on Lake Naivasha, complete with several hippo encounters!

In early April I had the privilege to experience a different area of Kenya, outside of the bustling epicenter of Nairobi.  The media team and I traversed eight hours north to a place called Maralal.  It’s an arid, scrubby land where the sun shines hot on the baked earth, and all the plants seem to have thorns.  The Samburu people call this area home.  They are tall, lanky herders (goats, sheep, and camels) with friendly, warm spirits, sun-weathered skin and broad smiles.  Oh, and they like beads… a lot.

Samburu mama and her chicken

Samburu kiddos

I was struck and inspired by one Samburu, a young pastor named Peter.  A warrior turned multi-church pastor, Peter left his tribe to get an education, and unlike so many, he returned to be with his people afterwards.  He rides his bicycle for miles and miles every week between his four churches (one of which is under a tree).  I’ve never met someone with such a heart of joy and passion.  His fire inspired us all.

Pastor Peter on his bike near one of the first churches planted in the area

Little Samburu girl at church

Chai tea and hospitality at Pastor Peter's house

After my mini-adventure to northern Kenya, I boarded a plane bound even farther north.   North Africa.  Little did I know what was waiting for me… a whole new world.  I went to see what that world looked like, felt like, tasted like, smelled like; I went to broaden my knowledge of what and who makes up this crazy continent of Africa.  I went to see my dear friends who labor in love there.  I went so my heart could begin to understand.  Head coverings, mosques, Arabic, the call to prayer… It is a place unlike anything I had ever experienced.

Fabrics for sale in the market

Canyon walls

Exploring local crops by the river

Breakfast with friends

Oasis town

Fragrant tea blend of rose hips, chamomile and mint

Camel trekking

Honeydew is best shared with friends

Fresh orange juice!

Climbing dunes to watch the sunset

A couple braves the rocks to watch the ocean

Spices galore!

Thread baskets

Toasting adventure with saffron mint tea and dear friends

Now, I know how to pray.  Now, I have breadcrumbs to remind me of all I saw, heard, tasted, and felt.  Now, I can’t pretend that I haven’t seen this world, this beautiful and vibrant yet hard, heavy, and dark world.  Now, I can’t ignore it… now I press into it.  Now, I bear witness of my experience.  I feel a bit like Paul, who was knocked clean off his horse on a road to another place, and made to see.  Afterwards God told him this…

Now get up and stand on your feet.

I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness

of what you have seen and will see of me…”

Acts 26:16

Paul rises, taking with him what he has seen, and walks forward into God’s promise… that he, Paul, will see more of God.  I am responsible to bear witness to everyplace God leads me.  Now, what do I do with what I’ve seen?  That’s why I’ve been in my head, I can’t just walk away from this one.  God has planted some curious seeds in me, and I’m giving them time and room to grow.

I only have one life to pour out, and I want to make it a beautiful offering, a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice to my God.  I will not lay before Him a life that was easy, nor one that cost me nothing.

What can I say?

What can I do?

But offer this heart, O God, completely to you.


March 17, 2011 9:22 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , ,

No, not the side of my head… the temple of the Holy Spirit!  ME!

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you, whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I remember when that truth finally sank in for me… that I am the new house of the Holy of Holies.  The Spirit of God no longer lives in a private part of the temple, only accessible to high priests, He lives in me.  WHOA.  This is so wild.

I don’t know about all you other temples out there… but I feel like this kind of raises the bar for our lives.  We can’t just get away with being a regular old tent of flesh, blood and bones anymore.  We were formed, grown, redeemed and transformed to house God.  That is pretty stinkin’ majestic!

The thing is, I forget this sometimes.  I get caught up in slingin’ coffees 40 hours a week at work, doing busy little things on my days off , not to mention planning, prepping, and tweaking all the details in my life to feel like I am in control.  I am forgetting about that majestic truth.  God is inside of me.

So I’ve decided it’s time for a temple scrub-down.  Physically, and spiritually.  I mean, this is the only temple I’m gonna get… so I’m breakin’ out my Jesus Brillo-pad!

I’ve started going to Zumba and Oula classes!  Oh-mylanta, is it ever FUN!  For an hour three times a week I get to dance around (like a HUGE dork) and exercise the temple.  Ole!

In celebration of the loosening grip of winter in Montana, and the promise of a balmy 50 degrees tomorrow… I’m going for a bike ride! I’m gonna bust my trusty turquoise road bike (her name is Gwendalyn the Road Warrior) out of the garage and go for a pedal, yay!

I just completed a gall-bladder and liver detox cleanse.  I survived one week without (beloved) dairy, and delicious meat. I gagged down several servings of Epsom salts, and had one whole day spent in close proximity to the bathroom.  While sparing you the gory details, I can tell you that I feel like a million bucks, and am host to many less stones these days!  Sha-zam!

I’m jealously carving out time for Jesus.  I am coming to find that the days and nights in which I honor that time with Him, are indescribably better than the ones I choose to fill with busy-ness or, or quite often laziness.

On a backpacking trip last summer, my friend Jill asked me to picture a place where Jesus and I get to go together, where it is just He and I.  She asked me what my special and unique sanctuary and sacred retreat with the Lord looked like.  I had honestly never thought of that before.  Mostly I had just been seeing the dark insides of my eyelids when I prayed.   So I stilled my thoughts and opened up my imagination.  Where would my perfect retreat with the Lord be?  What would it look like?   I pictured a sun-lit clearing in the woods, a flowering hill (I can have flowers, I’m a girl!), fresh, earthy, and calm.  It was a place of peace, and safety, and seclusion.

Now believe me, I don’t physically get to zap to a meadow every time I pray.  While that would be totally rad, teleporting isn’t necessary.  You see, God is offering us unrestricted access to Himself 24/7/365.  He beckons us into the folds of His deep peace, unfathomable love, overflowing joy, and inexhaustable strength.  All we have to do is but arise and answer His gentle call.

My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Jesus is calling to us, from within our own restored hearts.  Come away with me! I just have to ensure that I give myself space and time alone to answer.  Ok, Jesus, let’s feel the flowers beneath our toes!

Scrub, scrub, scrub…

Because of Jesus, I have been given a new heart, and a been turned into a sparkly new temple.  Bling, bling!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,

the new creation has come:

The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

It is my prayer that I will remember what Christ has done for me.  May I never let the walls tarnish, nor allow the lights grow dim, or ever let the temple fall into disrepair.  Squeaky clean, and lemony fresh, I am making time to dwell.  Lord, help me to honor you with this temple.

December 7, 2010 6:50 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , , ,

Just a random little note today…

A friend of mine shared an interesting NPR article today.  It talked about how “big” events, places, and things are/were, scale-wise, and it was WILD to look at and imagine.  They ended the article with a picture of Africa… and had an awesome way of describing it’s enormity… check out the picture below.How wild is that?!  All of China, Europe, India, Japan and the USA fit inside!  In a way it is a bit daunting… that is a lot of land, and with it, a lot of people.  More than 1 billion souls… incredible.  My mind starts racing, how can the love of God reach all of them?  It seems too hard, too much, too BIG!

But then, I stop and think about God.  Talk about big!!  The word says,  “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”  (Jeremiah 32:27)  Too right, God.

It has always been hard for me to fully trust God.  I find myself covering all my bases in case He doesn’t come through for me.  But what He really wants from me is surrender, complete surrender… its a lot to ask.  Come, sweet release, come!

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

(Isaiah 58:6-11)

Do I believe that God is big enough to cover not only me, but all of Africa in His love?  You are so big, Lord, help my small faith to grow.


November 14, 2010 7:04 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , ,

There is NO way I can make this journey alone.

Though I will only occupy one seat on that plane next summer, it is my prayer and my hope that all of you will make the trek with me.  Through your unceasing prayer and faithful support, you can join in with God’s work through AIM in Africa.  As intercessors and partners we are all connected to what God is doing throughout the world.  Each of us can be a part of witnessing the good news encompass the earth… whether it be in our neighborhoods, at our jobs, or even all the way to Africa, the call to holy lives full of purpose and love is within all of us.

Will you join in what God is up to in Africa?

If you are interested in PRAYING for me, I would be so grateful!  Your intercession crosses timezones and hemispheres and blesses me, how incredible is that?!

If you are interested in supporting me financially,  I would be absolutely honored.  My time in Africa will be lived out on a 100 % support-raised salary.  As excellent stewards of money, AIM will dispense all support sent to me into my accounts for things like rent, health insurance, gas, travel, and even a furlough account for when I visit home!  And of course, all of your donations are tax deductible.

To donate online please visit CLICK HERE

1. Click the drop-down menu and select> Missionaries (US Sending Unit)

2. Click the second drop-down menu and select> Brownlee, Bess

3. Enter the amount of your gift, and click ADD, and enter your billing info, and finally click NEXT

To donate using AIM’s Electronic Funds Transfer program…


The page contains full instructions about donating through your checking account.


Africa Inland Mission
ACH Transfer
PO Box 178
Pearl River, NY 10965

To donate by check

Make payable to Africa Inland Missionenclose a note with my name on it or write my name on the memo line

Mail it to…

Africa Inland Mission
PO Box 178
Pearl River, NY 10965


Your prayer and support are BEYOND valuable and essential.  God’s love expressed by all of you are the reason I am able to embark upon this adventure… THANK YOU, Asante sana 🙂