Sunday, August 1, 2021

Catch Up/Heritage

Well, so much for me staying on top of blogging! Nevertheless, here I am, finally ready to do another post after a bit of nudging. I made a short post for the New Year and now we are over halfway through 2021. How time truly flies! In March of this year it was great to finally have a conference after all of the lock downs, Zoom services, and not seeing anyone from other churches for months. On Course Youth Conference was held on the same fairgrounds as usual but was in a different building, partially outdoors. It was almost like a giant barn, hence the newly birthed nickname, “Barn Course.” I really liked the new venue! God moved in the services and I was blessed to have been able to go. I’m grateful for men of God navigating the difficult waters of these crazy times we are living in. Always pray for your pastor! His job isn’t easy. 

Another way it seems people have been getting fellowship is from the crazy amount of weddings that have been taking place! (At least here in California!) Weddings are like the new conferences and it’s been fun. 

Shortly before Heritage Youth Conference last month in Colorado, we had revival services here at home with Bro. Hansen and, wow. What needed services! It felt like our church went to a new level and God definitely met me where I was, spoke to me, worked on me, and strengthened me SO much. Heritage was the cherry on top! The anointed preaching of the Word, shouting and dancing, weeping and consecrating, fellowship and laughter with good friends - it was all so good and so needed.  So, let's reminisce on the good Heritage memories....
Sarah, Lydia, Courtney, and I at the airport in Denver waiting for Allana to arrive. Sarah and Lydia flew down to California from Honduras and stayed with me. We all flew down to Heritage and then back to California together, which was fun and eventful to say the least! 
Allana made it!
Our hotel was pretty cool but also had some weird hippy vibes to it that I wasn't quite expecting! Psychedelic! Or not...

Allana, Sarah, Courtney and I between services. We all love our coffee!
Church was outstanding! I don't feel I can adequately put into words how awesome and how needed this conference was. I still have a lot to chew on! 
Sarah, Tio Noe Trevino, and I!
Cassie's Target shenanigans....I missed this girl! 
Representing Cali! 
Good to see Mary again!
Our table of schemers playing a game I already forgot the name of! It was fun and entertaining but I'm old and tired and have since forgotten some of the details...maybe they will come back to me at a later time. And maybe not. lol
The last night Elder Garrett ministered powerfully. That service marked many of us.
SO good to see my missions trip buddy again. I missed Jackie! She's hilarious and we had so much fun in Peru not long before Covid shut the world down in 2020.

Our tired morning faces at the airport before we said bye to Courtney.
Love these girls!
Heritage wouldn't have been as fun without Cara and Jackie. Some of my favorites! They always make me laugh.
The tiredness...
PC: Sarah

Had to include a picture of Sarah and Lydia singing at the home church! It was so nice having them and we made lots of hilarious memories. I'll share one special one with you all. Sarah, Lydia and I were stuck waiting in the Denver airport for hours and had a lot of time on our hands. Lydia and I went to the bathroom and left Sarah to watch our suitcases. Lydia got this bright idea to jump out and scare me when I came out of my bathroom stall, but there was only one problem: she had the WRONG stall and jumped out and yelled "RAHHH!!!" at some random lady. LOL Thankfully the lady thought it was hilarious and was not upset in the slightest! We have laughed and laughed and laughed over this! Love these girls; they are like younger sisters to me! 


Anyhow, I guess this is me trying to make up for not blogging for the past 7 months, although I haven't put tons of effort into this post. Ha! I shall try to blog again soon, but no promises. Hopefully my next post will be something a bit deeper and not just me trying to catch up on memories and conferences. 

For those who were at Heritage and understand, I'll meet you all at the top of the hill!

-Jen

Friday, January 8, 2021

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! I know it's already been a crazy year already and we are only on day 8, but God is in control and we can trust in Him. It seems people are just waiting for the world to be "normal" again, but I believe we are living in the last days, and we may not see things get back to "normal." No matter what happens or does not happen -- serve God! God WILL win! 

Stay encouraged! I hope to post more soon. Not sure altogether who reads this blog, but I hope I can be a help and encouragement to you with my posts.

God Bless!


-Jen



Thursday, December 17, 2020

They Shall Renew Their Strength

I wrote the following poem this past summer during a particularly challenging season of life. Life has honestly been so challenging for me personally this year, but I felt God gave me this poem one morning and I want to share it with you all. Maybe you, too, are learning to trust. Our God is so trustworthy. We won't always understand His ways, but we can trust His heart.

My heart is sick of a hope deferred
It aches from the weary delay
But I know that those who will wait on the Lord
They shall renew their strength

I’ve been told that He’s long been at work
On some beautiful master plan
And to me, it’s assigned to keep walking by faith
To trust, and to hold to His hand

The heavens seem silent, forgotten I feel
Yet I know that He sees where I am
And I’m learning to trust with all of my heart
And lean not to how I understand

For His ways are higher and so beyond mine
So I’ll trust and hope just as I should
For He says if I love Him and if I am called
He’s working all things for my good

I’m learning to place all my hopes and my dreams
Into hands, still scarred from cruel nails
For if Jesus could conquer sin, death, and hell
I know that He surely won’t fail

He knows how it feels to surrender His will
To be crushed, and bruised and smitten
Yet great victory came when He died and arose
And fulfilled many promises written

My heart is sick of a hope deferred
It aches from the weary delay
But I know that those who will wait on the Lord
They shall renew their strength

Written by: Jennifer Connell
June 7th, 2020

Monday, December 7, 2020

Thankful

 On Thanksgiving Day I set aside time to pray and simply thank God for all that He has done this year. Looking back over 2020, it's been quite a rough year for most due to obvious reasons, but also due to personal reasons in our own lives. But, as I began to pray I felt so very thankful because God truly has done so many amazing things this year and answered so many prayers! He has been so faithful, He is answering prayer, and He has never left me alone in the middle of all this craziness! 

COVID-19 and all of the lockdowns have not stopped people from repenting, being baptized in Jesus' Name, and being filled with the Holy Ghost! My family has been praying for a young man in prison for a very long time, and on November 2nd at about 11:30pm, he received the Holy Ghost while praying in his prison cell! God has provided financially, healed people, drawn backsliders, and the list goes on. Although it seems there are so many bad reports these days, there are also so many GOOD reports all over Pentecost! Just yesterday we had a boy from the foster care system receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave him the utterance. Bible studies are being taught. People are hungry and searching. It's time to shine! It's time to get this Gospel message out!

This year God blessed me with a new car right when I needed it, and I was able to go on an amazing missions trip to Peru and Honduras before the lockdown and had layovers in Panama and Texas. That's going more places this year than most people have been able to! I've had personal prayers answered! I started a new Bible study. On November 5th, my mom and I celebrated our birthday together and got to go to a restaurant before they shut them down again. LOL (Yes, I was born on her birthday!) The list can go on. Big things and little things -- I just have so much to be thankful for. Yes, this year has been very hard, but look what the Lord has done! What is something God did for you this year? Feel free to share!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Picture Post: Mexico

In December 2019 several days before Christmas, I was able to visit the new work in Ensenada, Mexico. This work started from what seemed to be a bad situation, but God turned it around for good. He's good at that! A newer brother from Bro. Villegas' church in California was deported to Mexico and therefore not able to be in his home church any longer. Long story short, this brother started witnessing. A group was gathered, and his pastor Bro. Villegas started driving across the border and holding services with these people. God is doing a work! Since this post they finally got their own church building and should be having a building dedication in the beginning of December, Lord willing. Bro. Villegas travels down to Ensenada very faithfully to do the work of God -- may God bless him for his sacrifice! This was a whirlwind of a trip; very short, but very memorable. My parents went, along with my good friend, Cara.

This little church building we saw on our way to Ensenada was so tiny and cute! For those who haven't noticed, tiny usually equals cute. At least to the ladies. :) 
Cara and I

Cheyenne and I took a picture with this cute little boy outside. There was a group of Apostolics that went on this trip and all met up. We had a blast!
A view from the hotel
Cara, Mike, and I. This building was where they were renting at the time. It was an empty room at a hotel. What a sweet move of the Holy Ghost we had in that building that night.
Part of altar service. I have more pictures somewhere, but if I remember right, I couldn't get some of them to upload. Bro. Fontanez preached and did a great job. He is so anointed and I love hearing him preach in Spanish!
Cool story about the above picture. The first day we were in Mexico we were invited over to the house of a couple that had recently been in contact with the new church. What sweet people! They invited our group over for dinner and fellowship and we had a good time. Before we left, Bro. Frazier wanted us to all pray over the home and over this couple. They really wanted children but were not able to have children, so we all began to pray, and the Holy Ghost moved into that living room and touched them beautifully. Less than a year later, she is very much pregnant and they are expecting their first child soon! God is a prayer-answering God! They are growing in God and being a blessing to the church, along with her younger sister, Flor, who is now singing and playing the piano in service!
Had to take a picture of the well known wall.
Cara and I.
This picture was taken when we were waiting in the LONNNNNNNNGGGGGG line to get back into the states. There are a lot of people begging at the border, selling things, performing, etc. Many people just trying to make some money. Many of them were disabled in some sort of way, and I noticed several people who were very clearly blind, shaking tin cans with coins, calling out, "un ayudar!" That's like saying "a little help!" So many people in need of Jesus. There is a lot of spiritual hunger in Mexico. Please keep this new work in Ensenada in your prayers!

These pictures and snippets don't even really scratch the surface of this trip, but I least wanted to share a little something! I hope to go back sometime in the near future, Lord willing. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Picture Post: Honduras

 As I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been to Honduras 3 times in just a little over the space of one year. The last time I went was just this year in January, and the time before that was last year in May. I have some pictures I would like to share, and I believe most of these are from the January trip. This year it was a highlight to not only have my whole family go to Honduras, but also my good friend, Courtney. I usually stay at the Schreckhise's house, but this time Courtney and I stayed at one of the little, colorful "cabins" with my parents. 

The path we walked down to get to our cabin was so pretty and tropical looking! Pretty plants, cute cabins, and yes -- bugs.

Our little purple house was cute. Court and I shared the room on the left side, and my parents took the room on the right. I believe my parent's room was painted a turquoise color, while mine and Courtney's room was purple, close to the shade of the outside of the house. I heard that certain cells in prisons are painted pink and purple to help calm individuals who have escalated emotions. This is because these colors are known to have calming effects. I believe it -- our room was SO calming and peaceful!
After we got there and headed to the Schreckhise's house, we all ate there and hung out, although we were totally exhausted from traveling that day. This is Francis, their adopted daughter. She has such a sweet spirit! I love this girl!
Sarah Schreckhise, Francis, and I at the campground. You can read more about Honduras on Sarah's blog, entitled "Grace in Honduras." It's on my sidebar -- check it out!
This is the campground where they host their camps and conferences! Good memories at this place!  

Every time I'm in Honduras, the hunger of the people is evident. They just keep on going. Many times pre-service prayer just goes on and on, with people being filled with the Holy Ghost and getting renewed before song service or preaching. 



Children's church in Honduras is so fun! The Scrheckhise family does a fantastic job with Sunday School and children's church. They bus in TONS of kids and work so hard to create meaningful lessons and props, and everything is saturated in prayer.


Allana Schreckhise, my sweet, talented, beautiful, dedicated, hardworking friend! She is a gem!



So many precious little kiddos! And Charity Schreckhise (pink dress) just LOVES the babies! 
I'm not supposed to have favorites, but Isaac is one of my favorite kiddos! He has an adorable voice and infectious smile and is so smart and talented. God's hand is already upon this little one.
Courtney and Charity
Charity and Isaac's younger brother, Matias.
Funny story about the picture above. The owner of the cabin had gone in to do some cleaning while we were out, and if I remember right, she locked the door but not the screen door. Well, apparently the key we had was for the screen door and not the white door, so when we arrived back at the cabin sometime around midnight, we found we were locked out. But, we didn't realize that and thought that the lock had broken, because the knob had actually been loose. I was able to get a hold of one of the Schreckhises who then called down to get a hold of some people on the grounds where we were staying. My dad was like, "I NEED TO USE THE BATHROOM!" Nothing like being locked out with a full bladder! Ha! We sat there on the porch with the hungry mosquitoes, waiting. These guys showed up with a kitchen knife. LOL The man in the blue shirt thought Courtney was my aunt (we look NOTHING alike), so I asked him how old he thought Courtney was, and after thinking a minute he said, "forty-five." We fell out laughing - all except for Courtney, that is, who gasped in horror and stared at the man. I should also mention that this man in blue used the kitchen knife to scratch his toes in front of us, and I think his face, too. After about 30 minutes, we were finally able to get back inside. It was quite the memorable evening.
Just a view of a random street ....just 'cause.
This is my brother, Paul, along with 2 of the Schreckhise boys, Nathaniel and Josiah. They have some similar features and some people think they look alike, so they swapped hats and all posed this way as I took a picture. I posted it on the photostream for our trip and asked people to guess who was who. The guesses were hilarious! Most people got it wrong, including my parents. And just so you know, from left to right is Nathaniel, Paul, and Josiah.

**Update after this post was published -- it's actually Nathaniel, Josiah, and then Paul. They look so much alike posing this way that I got it wrong even though I already knew the answer. LOL 
Some tasty food provided by the awesome saints at the campground before service!
The first time I went to Honduras back in 2016, I met some neighbors of the Schreckhises and have since developed a friendship with them. The mother's name is Merary, and she has 3 kids - a daughter and 2 sons. Both of her sons are Autistic, but the older one faces more challenges than the younger. I work as an RBT with kids on the Autism Spectrum, so we hit it off! Every time I go, I always make it a point to visit them. This is me with the youngest son, Gabriel. 
And lastly, this is Paul and Josiah pulling some last-minute shenanigans at the airport before we headed to Peru, which I wrote about a few posts back. I hope you enjoyed, and remember to keep Honduras in your prayers!