My Trip to India

It seems surreal to have already gone to and returned from India. I met with other members of my graduate cohort to tour and learn about different faith groups, and to think about religious pluralism.

Our week was packed with a visit to a mosque and a boys’ orphanage, an Islamic school for young men, a Jain temple, and a Sikh temple. We had a question-and-answer time with a yoga guru, and later a Hindu scholar. We traveled to one of the largest Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe, India, and visited the Golden Temple. We also received a guided tour of the Mysore Palace. We attended a Christian church and finished the week by presenting our thesis proposals.

In the Mysore Palace, Mysore, India.

While out and about taking photos in India, my creativity was flowing. There was so much to see all around me. I captured many photographs that I really like.

Traveling in India is interesting. We mostly traveled by van. Painted lines on the road mean nothing. Honking is constant as drivers warn others of their presence. Rolling stops are more often the case than full stops. Drivers maneuver around vehicles and pedestrians with inches to spare.

One night, we walked back to our hotel from a restaurant. In walking like the locals, we walked through a roundabout in the middle of traffic and the vehicles parted around us. Later in the week, we rode in a Tuk Tuk to a mall for 80 rupees or $1.15. That was a fun, noisy and exciting ride.

A man praying in a Jain Temple in Mysore, India.

I’m often mistaken as Indian, and I anticipated that I would either have many people come up to me and assume I speak their language or I would have the exact opposite response and people would notice differences in me and not do that. At the airport just before departure, a woman walked up to me and asked me a question in her own language. I simply smiled and said, “I speak English.” She said sorry and looked for someone else.

Leaving India, I followed two men in front of me to the shortest line at the airport security checkpoint. I began to grab a bin for my things when a security guard had asked me to move out of that line to what I thought was the next line. So I moved to the next security line, and he tapped my shoulder again pointing farther. I looked to where he wanted me to go. It took me a few seconds to realize that the line he was pointing toward was a women’s line and I was standing in a men’s line. I laughed at myself, apologized and moved over to the women’s line.

India is the most populous place I have ever visited. I’m thankful all that I was able to see and experience. The trip was so quick that I wish I could have spent more time exploring.

In Him,


Stoked in Costa Rica

This trip to Costa Rica was filled with papaya, pineapple, and people. I traveled with a group from Sioux Falls First to capture the trip through photos and videos.

Within the first couple of days, I got to see a glimpse of a 25-year long story come full circle for one of our leaders as we prayed for a man who was recently diagnosed with cancer. My leader had prayed for his salvation for all of those years. We talked with him and learned that within this past year he received Jesus in his heart and he is now going to a house church in his community. 

I had such anticipation of what else the Lord would show me as we headed from the beaches to the mountains. 

We arrived at a Youth With A Mission base and started to build a cabin that will house mission teams, missionaries in training, and YWAM staff. During the trip, we got as far as finishing the frame of the cabin. 

At the same time, one of the leaders taught classes on Community Health Evangelism to seven students. This course is geared toward training leaders to empower people within a community to solve their specific social problems. The approach is holistic, dealing with all aspects of life. 

Community Health Evangelism class and teacher (centered).

The Lord helped me realize the opportunity to reach out to the missionaries there and offer them my photography talent and equipment so they could share their stories better through high-quality photos or videos. This is something I have dreamed of doing for years. 

In all of this, God spoke to me about my future, and without thinking about which word to use, I described my excitement to another person by saying, “I’m stoked!” That was the best way to describe how I felt and still feel. 

Stoke: to stir up or tend a fire; to feed abundantly. This trip was one of God stoking the fire that is in my soul. Halfway through the week, I woke up with the song in my heart called Set a Fire by Will Reagan.

“Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of you God. I want more of you God.”

I couldn’t get that song out of my heart or head. The fullness of God’s love surrounded me, and my heart felt full and heavy all the way home to South Dakota. 

I’m excited for the future. I believe God is going to do far more than I could ever ask or imagine.

In Him,


My Ever-Present Tutor

In July 2013, I was overseas looking out at some mountains as that Lord began to show me which desires of mine He had placed in my heart. One of the desires was to earn a master’s degree. I had no idea when this would take place or where or what program to go into. I distinctly remember thinking and praying about how I would love to travel the world as a type of apprentice with people who have already traveled the world over. My prayer was more of a comment to God telling him how awesome I thought that would be.

Fast forward three years to September 2016. I was overseas again and preparing to return to the U.S. I was mandated to complete classes that would help me get a job and reintegrate into society. In the process, my mom suggested that I consider graduate school. I prayed about it not knowing where on earth I would go or for which degree. I looked up many biographies and graduate programs in the world. I prayerfully narrowed it down to a couple places that I was interested in.

Over five days, God showed me which college and why this was the time. He often confirms things in my life through my mom, and this was no exception. He had shown my mom the exact same specific reasons that I was to move forward in this at this time.

Trinity Bible College and Graduate School was never on my radar before September 2016. I had never visited there. I applied while still overseas and was accepted. I’m now working toward a master’s degree in global theology. What I like most about this program is that I travel the world with people who have already been there before.

Long before classes started, the Lord promised to help me through graduate school, and I am so thankful for His help. He is my ever-present help.

“God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46: 1-3.

I remember struggling for weeks with a research paper during my first semester. I had read and re-read the syllabus, and I didn’t know what to do with the paper. I needed feedback. The staff at TBC&GS is excellent in providing feedback and encouraging and praying with their students. This time, however, I asked for feedback and was directed to read the syllabus. Mentally exhausted, I decided to take a nap and set my alarm for 40 minutes. I slept for two hours. I would have been upset by being that much closer to the deadline, but something happened. While napping, I had a dream. In my dream, I was reading my paper, and I saw how I could finish it. When I woke up, I typed it before I could forget it and was done with it.

Fall 2017

I find this very unusual, and I do not encourage procrastination with hopes that this will happen. God knows that I was not procrastinating. I’ve honestly never heard of this happening to anyone. What doesn’t surprise me is that I was dreaming about a solution. I often dream about solutions to problems. Some of the solutions to world problems that I dreamed as a child were quite silly.

Last semester during a late night of studying, I felt God impress upon my heart that He enjoys helping me research and draft my papers. I understand that He knows everything there is to know about everything. Sometimes He gives me better words to use and sometimes he encourages me to read another book. I’m thankful that He helps me discover and understand things I’ve never known or understood.

Fall 2018

This semester is well underway. I’m studying religious pluralism. Books for this topic are pictured above. Globalization and pluralization on all levels make for exciting times that we live in. Although there are serious challenges in our world, we are not without hope. God is not surprised by any of the changes taking place.

This program has helped me think about things I’ve never thought of before. Every semester has gotten better. I’m halfway done, and I’m so thankful that God is helping me. He is so good.

In Him,

A Woman with Rock-Solid Faith

I met Gerti in the fall of 2018, and I have had the opportunity to pray alongside her and watch her story unfold. Gerti and I attend the same meeting in which we pray for the South Dakota reservations and state government, and the U.S. government and people. We also share personal prayer requests with the group. 

Last fall, Gerti would ask for rides to and from the prayer meeting, because her van had broken down. She was faithful to go in spite of the challenge to get there. Her van would not drive in reverse, and it needed a new transmission. She and her husband had tried jump starting it but were unsuccessful at starting the van for months. Week after week, Gerti would get a ride to prayer meeting, and all of us would pray that the Lord would give Gerti a dependable car – a car that she could easily get in and out of. I got to know her more when I would give her a ride to or from the meeting. 

Gerti needed a dependable car so she could continue to minister to people in the hospitals in Sioux Falls and on nearby Native American reservations. 

In early December, Gerti shared at the prayer meeting that she felt the Lord asking her to give her van to her nephew. She said she began praying that the Lord would fix the van or provide the funds get the van fixed. We were still praying that the Lord would give her a dependable car. 

Soon after, the road construction crew that was fixing the road outside her home told her that she needed to move the van for them to continue. Her husband had gone outside to move the van and didn’t have issues jump starting it. He drove it around the block and in reverse. He checked the engine. He found nothing wrong with the van. The Lord had fixed her van. 

Gerti knew she needed to do what she felt the Lord had asked her to do and give her van away. She still did not know when the Lord would give her a car, but she was faithful to give her van away. She gave the van to her nephew who was in the hospital. Her nephew is paralyzed from the waist down and has been without a vehicle for years. They talked about modifications to the van that he could receive so he could drive himself. Teary-eyed, he accepted the vehicle and asked, “What are you going to do without a car?” Gerti told him to not worry because the Lord would give her a car.

Two nights later a friend of Gerti’s in Minneapolis called. They hadn’t talked in years. She said, “Gerti, I have a proposition for you. If you drive me to Florida, I’ll give you my blazer. I will not need it there.” Gerti accepted and then began praying for another way to accomplish the drive in the winter. 

A couple nights after that conversation, Gerti’s friend called again. This time, she said she decided to fly to Florida and told Gerti to pick up the blazer any time before January 9th. This was another answer to Gerti’s prayers. Gerti and her husband traveled to Minneapolis to pick up the blazer before the 9th. 

Gerti’s prayer was always for a dependable car. After she picked up her blazer, her son had asked if she would trade her blazer for a car. She accepted. He swapped her with a well-maintained Buick La Sabre, which she could easily get in and out of and had better gas mileage than the blazer. 

As I sat and listened to her retell her story, she said, “It’s all for the glory of God.” She is so grateful to have been able to help her nephew. She saw a revived hope in him, and he’s now thinking to pursue a master’s degree. 

Gerti is now able to respond to requests to visit people in the hospitals in Sioux Falls. She is also equipped to go to the reservations again and pray with people there. 

As I watched her story unfold, I had such anticipation that the Lord would give her a car. Her faith was solid. For her, it was a matter of timing. She remained faithful to praying and asking the Lord to give her a dependable car. He did! He is so good. 

In Him, 


Sexual Assault Awareness

I serve as an advocate for sexual assault survivors in the Army National Guard. I attended an 80-hour course in 2017, and I spent the last two days in refresher training. I hope this information helps you in your daily lives and spheres of influence.

The Army’s official definition: Sexual assault is a crime defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by the use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent.

Sexual assault is immoral. It is not about sex. It is about power and control. Sexual assault is not the victim’s fault.

Some arguments say it is the victim’s fault because they put themselves in a position to be sexually assaulted. This is not true. What needs to be understood is that we all assume a level of risk with every decision we make.

I have absolutely no issue with informing people of the risks involved with specific actions or behaviors. In fact, my mom informed me at a young age of the reality of sexual assault on the reservation we lived on. She told me about high-risk decisions such as walking outside alone at night or getting drunk. She also informed of the systemic issue that perpetrators are hardly ever held accountable for their actions, and victims are left to suffer without much help at all. She told me of commonly-used tactics such as alcohol and date rape drugs. She taught me that I had every right to do whatever I could to fight back. After hearing about all of this, I determined in my 8-year-old heart that I wasn’t going to drink alcohol or do drugs. I did not want anything to alter my mind and make me more vulnerable. I was already at risk living on the reservation.

All that to say, even if someone makes an informed high-risk decision, such as going out and getting drunk with people they do not know, that does not mean they are asking to be sexually assaulted. That does not mean that the sexual assault was the victim’s fault and that does not mean they deserved it.

I can think of another place where high-risk decisions are made — in war zones. At times, there is a high risk of death, but just because a decision is made with a high risk of death, that doesn’t mean they are asking to die or that death is their fault.

Sexual assault is not the victim’s fault.

A story that has stuck with me about sexual assault is Tonier Cain’s story. I had the privilege of hearing her speak in 2017 at a Children’s Justice Conference in Rapid City, S.D. Her story is intense. She experienced repeated sexual assaults beginning at nine years old. That led to alcohol and crack addiction, prostitution, homelessness, and being arrested 83 times and convicted 66 times.

The last time she went to prison, she went through a program called T.A.M.A.R’s Children which addressed addiction and trauma. She shares how God healed her there and brought her out of decades of abuse and destruction. Today, she advocates for trauma-informed care. She is the owner of two companies. She has shared her story in every U.S. state and abroad. She speaks in front of many professionals in law enforcement, health services, treatment facilities, and high schools and college campuses.

What I glean from Tonier’s story is that there is hope for healing. She was often written off as a hopeless case, but there is always hope. God can heal us from things that have happened to us.

If you are interested in her story, I’d recommend reading her autobiography, Healing Neen. She doesn’t hold back on the realities of what she faced and what she did. She has more information at

To sexual assault survivors: It was not your fault. You didn’t deserve it. Even if you made a high-risk decision, that does not mean you were asking to be sexually assaulted. There is hope. There is help available if you decide that you need it.

National 24-hour Helpline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat at

Yesterday, I watched a Netflix documentary titled, The Hunting Ground. This documentary has helped expose the issue of sexual assault and mishandled sexual assault reports on college campuses in America. Sexual assault survivors share their stories. I think it definitely worth watching.

In Him,


Reflections of God’s Goodness in 2018

I’m sitting in the midst of Winter Storm Eboni as I reflect on 2018. This year began unlike any other year: I was awakened by the sound of gunshots in Dallas at 12:00 a.m. on January 1. My immediate thought was to drop to the ground, but I didn’t. I was informed that people celebrate by shooting toward the sky. My attention turned to the dream I had just dreamt. 

My first impression of the dream was that my life was about to change. I prayed for three weeks asking God what the dream meant and He revealed it all. I was to move and fairly quickly. He gave me the exact steps to follow, the timeline, and confirmation after confirmation. He gave me promises in moving forward. 

I had lived in Spearfish, S.D., for eight years and made many lifelong friends. I knew it wouldn’t be easy leaving, but I also knew of the joy that comes with obedience to God.  

After moving to Sioux Falls, I quickly connected with people at Sioux Falls First and have been volunteering there by taking photos. 

God is so good. He has been faithful. I lived forty percent of my days out of a suitcase. Until late September, I was never in the same place for more than 2.5 weeks. I have multiple suitcases. I would have one packed for a flight and have one at home packed for the follow-on road trip. I traveled to Nicaragua, England, Ukraine, South Africa and 13 U.S. states. God has kept me and everyone I’ve traveled with safe. 

A new nephew of mine arrived in early February. I finished Captain’s Career Course and was promoted to captain. I finished two semesters of graduate school. I also ran my fourth half marathon. I keep a goal of one per year. 

God has helped me with homework. Just this past semester He gave me the impression that He enjoys helping me research and draft my research papers. That makes late study nights more enjoyable. 

He has helped me understand His love for people more, and He has freed me in many ways. This year has been a very blessed and full year.  

No single scripture comes to mind for 2018. Instead, I’m reminded of the many times that God has given me scriptures for the situations I found myself in. I’m thankful that His word is alive and active.

As I look forward to 2019, I see that I hit the ground running with a road trip, training on sexual assault prevention, birthday parties, a speaking engagement, and a trip abroad. I’m looking forward to it all! 

In Him,