living a life like Christ

“the missionary is required to ‘renounce himself and everything that up to this point he considered as his own, and to make himself everything to everyone.’ this he does by a poverty which sets him free for the Gospel, overcoming attachment to the people and the things about him, so that he may become a brother to those to whom he is sent and thus bring them Christ the Savior” (Redemptoris Missio, par. 88).

woof, that’s a lot. renounce himself and everything that he considers his own? be everything to everyone? i don’t even know where to begin. this quote makes my stomach churn and my heart soar all at the same time. this is what it means to live a life like Christ?

am i really suppose to drop everything and follow Him wherever?

well yes…and fortunately He has landed us in st. louis, at a good job, with good people and a new couch.

sure sometimes when Jesus says poverty he means to be poor in pocket. yesterday i had to walk a mile and a half to the grocery store to get food for dinner. i  packed my backpack up and carried another bag in my hand and started my journey uphill both ways (you know how it goes). as i was walking and thinking about the decision nate and i made not to get a second car i felt inconvenienced. in a few short weeks we will be in our apartment less than a mile from where nate works – he can walk or ride his bike and on especially cold or rainy days i can drive him, it’s really quite ideal to be so close. and that means the car stays with me to use. but we’re not there yet and nate still needs the car to get to work so here am i, wallowing in self pity and mourning the car i so hoped to have this fall.

on my twenty-five minute walk uphill both ways i remembered our neighbor jackie. she lives just up the road from us and almost every day i see her out walking, bringing a dinner plate to an elderly friend or on her way to church or rolling a small cart down to the grocery store. jackie doesn’t have a car and every week she takes her cart down to the shop’n’save. as i thought about jackie shame rushed over me. i had taken for granted the fact that having one or even no car is the reality of so many and yet i silently complain over this minor inconvenience.

sometimes when Jesus says poverty he means to be poor in pocket. it is a poverty to me to not have a second car simply because i want one for my own. but moving my two feet as fast as i can to avoid the rain with twenty pounds of groceries on my back is not a poverty. i now realize it is a grace to be like jackie. i now see that by giving up a car has allowed me to honor my friend and to understand her way of life, to become a sister walking alongside her.

sometimes when Jesus says poverty he means to be poor in spirit. Jesus said “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Mt 5:3, NAB).

“the missionary is required to ‘renounce himself and everything that up to this point he considered as his own, and to make himself everything to everyone.’ this he does by a poverty which sets him free for the Gospel, overcoming attachment to the people and the things about him, so that he may become a brother to those to whom he is sent and thus bring them Christ the Savior” (Redemptoris Missio, par. 88).

the kingdom of God belongs to those who are poor in spirit because it is brought to this earth by those who are poor in spirit, who are self emptying instead of self seeking, who are givers instead of takers. those who are following the path that leads to the foot of the cross.

we don’t need a lot of things in this life. i don’t need a car or cable or a new dress, even though some days i think i do. what we need, you and me, is a heart that is poured out for others, a heart that can say “it’s not about me, it’s about Him and His mission and His people.”

if that’s what Jesus means by poverty, then i’m in, are you?

with love,

kiera

a future with hope

“missionary activity renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. faith is strengthened when it is given to others!”
– 
Redemptoris Missio (introduction)

at the beginning of my first mission year i felt so weird about calling myself a missionary. i didn’t feel like one. i didn’t feel like i had some divine calling to make disciples of all the nations. i wasn’t even sure i knew what a disciple was and tiger, georgia didn’t exactly seem like ‘the nations.’ i have to admit that for a long time i was embarrassed to tell people i was a missionary because i didn’t feel like i lived up to what that meant. i had never read acts or even most of the gospel before, how could i go and tell people about Jesus? did i even know who he was?

i can’t explain the feeling i had in my heart 4 1/2 years ago when in a small hotel room packed with 20 tired college students i said “i think i’m supposed to be a missionary.” or the feeling i had my senior year when i realized a career in film wasn’t for me. or the feeling i had when i told my mom i wanted to join Life Teen Missions and calmed her by saying “don’t worry, it’s in the US.”

but what i can describe is the faith that was in my heart, the sense of knowing that my life was no longer in my control but in God’s and no matter what he asked me to do i just had to do it and that it would be good.

so i packed my life into a few suitcases and flew to georgia, not knowing what to expect and now 3 years later i’m still trying to figure out what happened.

i’m a missionary, now without a mission (at least not a well branded one that gave me credit and not to mention all the t-shirts). i’m a missionary simply trying to live out the truth that faith is strengthened when it is given to others. so here you go, take my faith. it is for you to know that God is real. to know that He is wonderfully in love with you. to know that He has already forgiven you. to know that the break in your heart you feel for the hurt of some random stranger or the incredible love that you have for whatever it is you do is from Him. my faith has showed me that God is the best writer there is and he wants to make your story incredible. but don’t just take my word from it, take His:

“for i know well the plans i have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for woe, to give you a future with hope” – Jeremiah 29:11, NAB

to give you a future with hope.

with love,

kiera

signing a lease

IMG_20150817_092648446

nate and i signed a lease for an apartment last week – our first real home together.  i say “real” because the past year in missions we have been sharing a house that was picked out for us.  don’t get me wrong it was a great house, filled with lots of fun memories, like mornings beside the fire with hot coffee and that one time my husband ripped pants off our roommate….

i’m excited to have a home that we picked for ourselves.

in the past year we’ve lived in 2 houses so i feel like i know a good deal about what i want and don’t want.

  • want: hardwood floors – i hate carpet almost more then anything, i don’t like to vacuum and i much prefer the look and feel of wood on my feet.
  • want: big kitchen – the kitchen might be my favorite room in the house, it’s automatically warm and inviting. i like to spread out when i cook, take my time, and make it worthwhile so space in the kitchen is a huge factor in picking a home.  and i like to share that time with my friends.  the kitchen is a place of communion and conversation and i need it to be big enough to hold all that love.
  • want: a dog! what is probably even more important to me then a big kitchen stocked with homemade goodies and wine is a having a dog. the first place we were in this year had carpet – no dogs.  the second place we were in this year had nice new hardwood floors – also no dogs.
  • want: a place to walk – a safe neighborhood near nate’s work with lots of parks and places to explore.

i’m happy to report that our new home will have all that i desire and more!  beautiful french doors, new stainless steel appliances, new kitchen counters, cabinets and floors and plenty of space for activities.

IMG_20150808_104850216

come september 1st we will officially be renters of a beautiful apartment in a great area of town and we couldn’t be happier.

here are my hopes for this new home:

  • to be able to host dinner parties and bible studies
  • for it to be a place of hospitality, generosity, warmth, joy and peace
  • to have family and friends visit and stay with us!
  • to become more creative – to write, sew, cook, paint and dream more
  • to welcome a little baby schaff into it

there’s so much more i could probably write but i am dumb with excitement.  this apartment isn’t just a new home for nate and i, it’s part of a new beginning.

we’ve only known life together in missions; this year we worked side by side every day and it has been amazing.  but with new jobs and new missions we will have to adjust and work harder than ever before to grow and serve together. i think we’re up to the challenge.

with love,

kiera

it’s gonna be a blowout

so this happened today…

IMG_20150813_150932

i’m not sure how long i was walking around with a giant hole in my pants revealing my beige grandma undies but i do know an apology letter to a coworker i was with this afternoon was just sent. i couldn’t at least have something cute on under those blue jeans?

well, i guess that’s life, this stuff happens. i’m not sure how or when this rip got so large. was it walking around the parish offices maybe? or could it have been on the home visit to interview a women requesting beds from st. vincent de paul for her and her son? perhaps we will never know but i am having faint memories of tearing these jeans in that spot a few weeks ago. i meant to patch them before the blowout but i’ve been away, i haven’t worn them and the initial rip was small….

IMG_20150813_150506

i guess this is what happens when you live with boys for too long – the makeup comes off, the dumpy ripped jeans come out and you just don’t care anymore.

when i came home to find my underwear staring back at me in the mirror the first thing i did was take a picture and send it to my closest friends and family – priceless.

now for their responses:

“i can’t stop laughing” yeah me neither

“didn’t you feel it rip?” nope

“wow that’s quite a hole” impressive isn’t it

“you must have had everyone in stitches” “nothing is ever as it seams” “lol did everyone rip on you?”

and my personal favorite: “thanks for sharing kiera. i love the picture. i can always look at it when i need to put a smile on my face.”

anything for you mom.

all i can say is what a day.

with love,

kiera

here goes….part 2

you’re back!  thank you.  really, with all my heart thank you for visiting again.  and if it’s your first time well thank you too!  this is my blog, this is my life, and i’m just getting started – with the blog, not with life….

as scary as it is to write on these pages, i am really excited.  for the past 15 months i’ve thought “i want to write” but have continually made excuses and firmly decided “there’s no time so it’s not the time.”  well folks now is the time.  there’s a verse in the bible that goes: “i am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (is 43:19, NRSV). do you not perceive it?  i do. in fact these last 15 months i’ve perceived it but i just didn’t know what to do with it.

well “now it springs forth” and  i feel like i am stepping into the mission that God has for me. i feel God narrowing my focus in on what he has specifically for me and nate.

it’s exciting.

and the craziest thing is i’m not really afraid that this won’t work out.  what i’m really afraid of is that it will and that God will use my voice to reach so many. but fear is fear and it’s stupid and small and my God is big and brilliant and masterful and good.  so need to worry, i will be back tomorrow.

with love

kiera

here goes…

hi friend, i’m kiera.  i’m a wife and a missionary and i love cows and dancing to 80’s rock music and taking long baths. my husband, nate, and i are transitioning out of full time missions and ministry into, well, something entirely new.

we joined life teen missions 3 years ago – separately – and spent the first year madly and painfully in love with one another.  4 dates later we were engaged with no money and a world changing love in our hearts.  we married and moved to a small town in st. louis.  we now call ferguson home and we still have no money….

our third and final year as missionaries is now almost over and as i said, we are onto something new.

nate likes to build things and work with his hands; i like to write and clean and walk dogs.  i got this crazy notion that if I started a blog and told stories about my life, people might actually want to read it and that maybe this world changing love could have a place to call home.

in the past 3 years as a missionary i’ve learned more about God than i ever thought possible and i’ve learned more about myself than i ever wanted to know.  i’ve laughed and i’ve cried, often at the same time.  i met an amazing man and became his wife.  it’s both sad and excited and not to mention terrifying as we transition into a life out of missions.  some small part of me feels like it is passing away while another part feels it is in springtime.  something new this way comes.

i want to write for you.  and somehow even though we are across a computer screen i feel connected to you.  i feel encouraged by you.  i feel responsible for you.

i am a missionary and it’s time for a new mission, one with new friends, a new home, a new way of living and hopefully lots and lots of chocolate and babies.  will you join me on this journey?

with love,

kiera