Speak

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This has nothing to do with this post, but it turns out that I really like to doodle trees. Here’s one of my more recent ones.

  My ring catches my eye as my fingers dance across the keyboard. The ring I wear now has a special significance. It reminds me to speak up. To open my heart, use my voice, and communicate what I think and feel to those around me. To some, this may be easy. Instead they may feel that not speaking, not opening up, and not being venerable is difficult. But to me, each time I open my mouth a part of me goes out into the world. Sometimes the world can be a cold heartless place, full of cynicism and defeat. It scares me to send even a detached part of myself out into that world. Even though it is no longer inside of me, those spoken words are still attached to me, my ears are taking in the things they have done, my eyes recording the actions they have caused. My heart responds to the reaction my words get, whether they are beaten or praised.  

                What if I don’t speak? What if my lips are stilled while forming sounds, and my fingers are stopped while making my words more permanent on paper? Does it really matter? Why is my speaking up so vital? The world got along with my being silent for many years before, why must I speak up now?

Because God didn’t make me silent.  

                Although I may not have realized it, and have still not realized it fully, I am a communicator. My spoken word is valuable, but my pictures speak long past the moment, and my pen holds the speech of a silent tongue. When I speak the sound reaches only to those near me, but my pen and picture can reach thousands I’ll never know. So then, what does it mean to speak? Does it simply mean to form sounds with your body and project them to the ones near you? Or does it mean something bigger, does speaking in this age include pen, paper, pictures, keyboards, and web layouts, not just my voice?

                Even if those things are part of communication today speech is still vitally important.   Ask me about the time my tongue was swollen to the point where every word I tried to say was painful and difficult. It helped me to realize that being able to speak to those around us is a gift we very often take for granted. To be able to scream in pain, sigh in relief, whisper in confidence, and laugh in joy is a precious gift. And speaking up, with your voice, really has no substitute. Because only when you open your mouth can you really see what those around you think of what you said. In a text, a letter, or a picture your body language, voice level, eye contact, enthusiasm, and even personality are all lost. The act of speaking, and to be spoken to, should never be done away with.

                So, I speak. But I also write, sing, and photograph. I believe all of these are important tools I need to better learn how to use. Just to bring a down to earth ending to this rather theoretical post, I am hoping to go to college to learn how to do these and many other things better. When I will go to college I am not exactly sure. There is a slight possibility of it happening in August, but this next spring may be more likely to work out. The school I’m looking at is Cottey College in Missouri. To go there I’m going to have to either save up a bunch of money before I go or find and receive some really good scholarships. (Side note, if you know of good ways to find scholarships, or scholarships I could apply for, please let me know. You’d make me a happy Anna.) I’m kinda curious to see how it happens. My goal after college is to help end human trafficking. It’s too big of a job for me, rather impossible really, and I’m even more curious to see how it happens, if it happens, where and with whom it happens, etc. But the driving reason for my going to college is so I can do better at that than I can now.

                Anyways, God bless, may his hope surround you and his presence be with you no matter what life comes at you with.
                Thanks, Anna Crumbie

               

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Thank You Lord for a Year.

“What has God been teaching you in this past year?” Hardest question in the whole staff application for summer camp. If I had been given more room on the paper (every writers problem when filling out paperwork) I would have written a quote from The Princess Bride, “Let me explain, no, there is too much, let me sum up.” (Inigo speaking as they look at the guarded castle walls right before Evil Humperdinck’s wedding, just in case you need a reminder.) But, I made myself skip the quote and instead asked myself where I was a year ago. I then realized that one year ago I was graduating School of Photography 1! How was that a year ago??? It almost scares me how much I did right after that, and how I jumped into it without knowing how tough it was going to be.

After that school I learned more about injustices like modern day labor and sex slavery, bad orphanages, HIV/Aids stigmas, and others which alternately made me numb and made my heart break while my mouth screamed at God. Living for seven months in a place where I could not scream or sing without someone else hearing me almost drove my introverted self crazy. Co-leading a trip to Africa challenged me more than I thought it would. Someone asked me after I came back if I was scared to go so far away while leading other people even though I had so little experience. My answer, “Not as much as I should have been.” But the red dirt, iron ore rocks, lonely fields, and thunderstorms I saw there sure were nice. :)

When I first got back from that trip I may have wished I hadn’t done it. After a few months though, I can say I’m glad I did. Not because I did a great job, or had a great time, or saved lots of lives, or even got that much closer to God. Those things didn’t happen as much as I would have liked. I’m glad I did it because I’m glad I obeyed God. God showed me that he can do things through me that I cannot do on my own. He can protect me when I unknowingly do something stupid and dangerous. (Quick example, I stomped at a green mamba to scare it away from the other girls in my team. I didn’t realize what I was doing before the snake had already turned away. Nobody got hurt, except for the snake, some awesome African guys killed it.) God is bigger than we are. Even in our mistakes He’s got us covered and can do stuff through us that we can’t do ourselves. He has bigger dreams than we do.

Now I’m home doing things I never would have thought of doing before. Growing up I had no clue there were prostitutes anywhere near me. I hadn’t really even thought about the fact that they existed ‘till a year or two ago. This year I’m starting to work with organizations that help women who are or were prostitutes or strippers. I don’t know why I should do this and not someone else. I’m not qualified to do this by any means, but I’m willing to help. Yes it will be hard. Yes, it has been hard. But I don’t think we’re supposed to run from difficulty in this life.

Anyways, I’m not sure why I wrote this tonight. I wasn’t planning on it, but I guess the main thing I want to do tonight is to say thanks to God for getting me through my wildest year yet.

A faucet I found right behind my School of Photography 1 Classroom.

A faucet I found right behind my School of Photography 1 Classroom.

So, forgive me as I give Him a little space online and pray….. God, I am in awe of what you have brought me through in the past year. A year ago I was graduating School of Photography 1. You have done so much in me, brought me through so many things, taught me so much, and been right beside me as I grow up. Thanks. Thanks so very much. I don’t know how I did what I have done, which to me is proof that I had to have done it with you. I have made mistakes, but you have been right there to catch me. I have learned so much, and you have been right there helping me to apply the knowledge. You have brought me to places I had only dreamed of before, shown me people and lifestyles that are painful to know about, but Father, you are still God. No matter what I see and how little it makes sense you are still truth. Thank you for the book of Habakkuk in the Bible, thanks that you are bigger than anything I can try to wrap my head around, and I’m so glad you are. :)

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So, apparently I’m a speaker…..

Today I talked about human trafficking.  It was in for a inter-agency council.  And if you don’t know what that is that’s ok, I didn’t either, and I’m not 100% sure I do now… It was a group of people from all over East Texas who get together once a month to talk about cool things the company’s they work for are doing.  Or something like that…  There were about 30 people there, most of whom worked with nursing homes, women’s shelters, hospice care, and other helping-people-oriented business’.  I was planning on presenting this talk in April, but a week or two ago I was asked to do it today since the speaker they had planned canceled.  So, I edited a talk on human trafficking I had given at Jefferson High School and stretched it from 10 minutes to 30.  I didn’t think I had enough to talk about, so I prayed that I’d be able to fill the time I was given.  I ended talking for longer than thirty minutes, but thankfully everyone was ok with that.  They actually thought I did a good job.  (Thanks God, and thanks Mom for making me take speech class in junior high even if I hated it…)

I never would have though of myself as a speaker.  I was known as “the quiet one” all growing up, I once completely forgot the words to a song I practiced for when I sang it in my tiny home church of 25 people, I’m better than I used to be, but I still get sooo nervous when I speak in front of people, even a small group of ten, I would let the phone ring ’till it was about to hang up in hopes that someone else would pick it up.  If you don’t know me, I prefer observing to interacting and listening to speaking, it’s easier, I learn more.  But, I have found that if I’m passionate about something I am able to speak about it.  Even if I’m scared.  Before I would talk about horses.  Trust me, you can still get me talking about them for hours, but now days people ask me to talk about missions work and human trafficking.

I think it’s pretty cool that Jesus can take a quiet little girl like me and give her the confidence to speak about topics others can be afraid to talk about.  I believe it when God said “My strength is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Thanks for listening, Anna :)

P.S. if you want me to come speak somewhere about human trafficking or missions work, just let me know I’ll see if I can do it.

P.S. P.S. I’ve put a lot of new pictures on my blog, feel free to look around.

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Anna’s Ramblings

I just wanted to give you a quick glimpse into what I am doing at home.

For the first few months after I came home my mom was on bed rest because of a broken sacrum.  (The sacrum is part of the spinal column and connects the spine with the hips and pelvis.)  I can really see Gods hand in bringing me back in time to be able to help my family during this time.  Although she still isn’t fully healed we are very glad that she is doing better. Occasionally she still has pain coming from where it was broken, and she isn’t able to do things like pick up heavy objects, be on her feet for too long, etc. but she is no longer on bed rest.  We would really appreciate your prayers for her full healing.

This past week I have taken training with an organization called ‘Purchased’.  Purchased is a ministry located in Shreveport, Louisiana designed to locate, love and motivate women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking.  They desire to love these women no matter where there are, like Jesus would.  It is really cool to see how God has opened doors for them in the community.  They work with women in strip clubs, prostitution, and jails in the area. They provide free healthcare services, a Christian community that does their best to bring them into a relationship with Christ, ways to get out of the industry, and much more.  I know they have seen several women come out of the sex industry into a better life. I have just gotten started working with them, and still don’t know a lot of the things they do.  If you would like to learn more about them this is their website:  www.purchasedshreveport.com

There is also a ministry similar to this called Refuge of Light that I’m hoping to get involved with soon.  Refuge of Light is located in Tyler, Texas. ( www.refugeoflight.org  ) Neither of these ministries are part of YWAM.  At some time in the future I would like to continue to work with YWAM, but I feel like I am supposed to be doing something different for right now.

I really felt like I was supposed to share about what I’m doing with Purchased at Church this past Sunday.  Right after I shared about it one of the guys from church who works in the jail turns around and tells me that they arrested a guy for human trafficking the day before. (This is in Jefferson, a little town of 2,000 people.)  The rest of the day I tried to get more information about what happened to the girl who was trafficked.  We weren’t able to find out anything solid about her, her name, where she is, etc. He thinks she may have been sent back to Mexico where she was taken from.  After talking with some of the leaders from purchased I hope to be able to be of more help if a situation like this does come up again.   Please join me in prayer that she is safe and will not be trafficked again.

As people here in Jefferson have found out that I am working in these ministries an opportunity has come up.  I have been asked to give a short talk about human trafficking to a small group of students from the Jefferson High School.  That will be happening during second lunch at the high school on Thursday, January 30th.  I didn’t expect to transition from learning about this to teaching others so quickly.  If y’all could pray that I am able to do a good job and that I’m kept safe spiritually as I do these things I would really appreciate it.

Also, in a few weeks I’m planning on speaking about my trip to Africa at a church breakfast.  There will be about 40 people there.  This is the first time I’ve been asked to speak about my trip outside of my home church, so I hope I do well.   Please pray that I am able to speak well and help them draw closer to Christ.

And finally, I am hoping to apply for a job this week.  Nothing big, working with the Jefferson newspaper, or waiting tables, or cleaning hotel rooms, whatever comes up.  Just hoping I get the ‘right job’ to earn some cash. :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and pray. I should be back in touch with you all once I get more involved in these things, just to keep y’all updated with things to pray about.

Thanks, Anna

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Engish Lessons….

I’m walking down a path in Togo, West Africa.  With me is my co-leader, Sam, and a Togolese friend.  We’re talking about our day and we use the word ‘clumsy’.  “Clumsy? What does that mean?”  Our Togolese friend asks.    “Clumsy… Hmm.”  Sam says as she searches for the right description “Clumsy is when….  Anna, How would you describe clumsy?”  “Clumsy is when a person isn’t very coordinated, like someone who….”  At which point I trip and fall flat on my back in the middle of the trail.  “That!  That is clumsy!!”  I say as I roll with laughter.

Walking Back

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Semi-Johns

During one of our first days in Togo we sat down with the base leader who gave us some information about the area we were in.  As she tells us about transportation in the local cities she says “There’s these things called Semi-Johns.  They’re like taxi’s, but they’re motorcycles.  You get on the back, tell the driver where to go, and then pay him at the end of the ride.  Don’t ever take them.  You don’t have to have a drivers license here to drive a motorcycle, so any fool can get on one and make some money.  Take a taxi instead.”

The next day half of my team and I are in the middle of the capitol city of Togo.   We’re out on the side of the road and our guide friend tells us that we need to take some semi-johns to get to our first stop.   Amid my loud protests she explains that we can’t take a taxi, and one by one the rest of my team follows her and gets on Semi-Johns, behind some pretty sketchy looking drivers.  There’s nothing I can do.  I’ve never been on a motorcycle before in my life, and the roads here look more like a Mario Kart game than highways.   Reluctantly I get on behind my driver, burning my leg in the process because I don’t know to avoid the hot tailpipe.   As we zoom down the crowded, bumpy dirt roads we pass chickens, goats, and babies all being held by the locals as they happily ride along on the semi-Johns beside us.   I hold on to the back of my bike, scared to death and praying my heart out.

Needless to say we all made it to our destination safely that day, other than the burn on my calf…  When we met up with the other half of my team I hung my head in shame as my team tells of their adventures riding on the motos.  My co-leader looks at me, “You let them ride a semi-John!!!  YOU rode a semi-John!!!”    “Yah, her knuckles were white she was holding on so tight!” My teammate laughs.

You know what though? I kinda liked riding them by the end of the trip. J

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