Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Humbled by Obedience

I have been a christian my whole life. I have prayed. I have read the bible. I have been in fellowship. I have gone to church. But I've never felt the Holy Spirit in me as much as I did last week. It woke me up, it gave me a clear image and told me to pray. It told me to be obedient. It commanded it! The following letter is a result of this. It was written to a man named Bob Goff. This man does incredible work for the kingdom. 

A little bit of background on Bob:
Bob is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Restore International, a non-profit organization which was established to address the atrocities and injustices committed against children. With a passion and vision for finding audacious ways to restore justice to children and the poorest of the poor, Restore’s mission is to make a difference on behalf of those who do not otherwise have a voice.
With a team of dedicated people, Restore International has pursued justice for the needy. They have worked with Uganda’s judiciary in bringing to trial over 200 cases, including cases involving children who were languishing in jail without trial. In 2007, the Restore Academy was started.  It is a school in the war-torn region of Gulu, with a current enrollment of 220 students. (Bio taken from http://bobgoff.com/?page_id=2)
Recently, he has been helping to prosecute the witch doctor that attacked a little boy named Randolph. Randolph is an 8 year old Ugandan boy who recently had his genitalia cut off by a local witch doctor and was left to die in a field. What Bob and the judge who prosecuted the witch doctor are doing is making sure word is out that if they do anything of the sort again they will go to prison for life or get the death penalty.

Now, listen to this work of the Holy Spirit.

Good morning!
This is a little bit of a strange message. I don't think I've ever actually met you in person, but I know who you are, and some of the things you do over in Uganda with the youth. Something kind of strange happened to me this morning.

About an hour ago I just woke up. (Keep in mind, this NEVER happens to me. I don't "just wake up". I'm the girl who has to set about 6 alarms on my phone and have my roommate shake me just so I don't sleep through my classes. But even beyond that I was up late last night studying for a wold civ exam that I have today--needless to say, it was strange). I was laying in my bed and I just really felt God telling me to pray. Pray hard. Pray specifically for a young man who is in Uganda who you have been helping.There was a heavy burden that was put on my heart for this young man. As I was praying, I also really felt him saying "Kelsey, open my word". So, I started reading my bible. There were a few verses that particularly stuck out to me.

Psalm 18. Even those that love God, who call him Rock, and Fortress and Deliverer go through strong periods of struggle. It talks about the cords of death entangling, and death being right in front. God gets mad, but he then reaches down from on high and takes hold. He rescues from the powerful enemy!

I didn't really want to tell you this because I don't know you and was scared of the possibility that you had no idea what I was talking about and I would just look like a fool. But the next thing I read was this:

Proverbs 15:23 "a man finds joy in giving an apt reply--and how good is a timely word!"

SO...I don't even really know how to conclude. I guess just know and be blessed that there is an army behind you. People who you don't even know who are praying for you and for everyone you encounter and help. And as for the young man in Uganda, if anyone specifically come to mind, it would be cool to know who I am praying for. If not, I will just continue to pray for those who feel like they are cinched in Hell's ropes, with a noose tight around there neck, the devil's water washing over them. Pray that they would know Jesus can save them. That He will catch them and save them and put their life back together because He loves them so, so much.

Thanks fro your time,
have a wonderfully blessed day!

In His name,
Kelsey Starr

Hello Kelsey,
Thanks for your note. It'll blow your mind if I tell you what I will, but here goes. You wrote your note and I got it after meeting with the witchdoctor I got a life sentence against at trial who is now in the maximum security prison here in Uganda. It's a pretty scary place and I wondered what this guy would say to the guy who put him away for life for taking the body parts of the little boy.
Something amazing happened though Kelsey. I went there to tell him that God forgives him and still wants him to be part of His family. Kelsey, this witchdoctor who is serving a life sentence now has a new life, as He asked Jesus to forgiven Him and to start over....
Thanks for the prayers, friend. In the morning, meeting with 30 other witchdoctors to pick a fight, then leaving with the little boy tomorrow night.

How glorious is our God that he would bless me by showing me the powerful affects of prayer, and being obedient! I have learned something so valuable in my heart. I have been humbled and have seen the work that our mighty God can do even through someone as simple as me. Let this be an inspiration. To be obedient, even when you think you may look like a fool. God is much bigger than the fools. Let Him work through you. Will you let Him do that?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Full or Empty?

            Working at Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp has been teaching me an innumerable amount of life lessons! The most recent of these lessons has been learning what it really means to serve: to serve each other, to serve the children that come, to serve yourself, and most importantly, how to serve God. One of the biggest things I'm finding out is how they are all connected. Serving the children that come is what you may think is the main job description when you hear about working at a summer camp, but it's so much more than that! All the other staff members and myself are constantly emptying ourselves out for them. We are serving God by serving these kids, trying our best to be an example of Jesus to them. But we are all learning that as much as we would love to keep pouring out love on them, we can't do that if we are empty. God has been continuously teaching me that I can't do this ministry on my own power, my own energy and my own love; it's not sufficient, it has to be coming from him. We as staff have to put our "oxygen masks" on first.

What does it mean to serve yourself? What is your oxygen mask? How do you get from empty, to full?


Listen to the things God is trying to teach you. Soak it in. What is he saying?

            After coming to my end, after breaking, after running on empty until I about crash, I finally took the time to let God take over. He had some things to remind me, to whisper to me. He reminded me by showing me a series of different verses that I will share with you.

Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. --Eph. 5:14
Kelsey! Do you realize that in order to shine, you have to let ME do it?? 
Let ME fill you up. Let me in. Give me the time, the space, and trust that I can do it. 

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ...restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself too, lest you be tempted."--Galatians 6:2
THIS is the power of Christ in me. 

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart....If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand."--Psalm 37
Kelsey, it is OKAY to mess up sometimes. You don't always have to say perfect things, just love me. They will see that you love me! 

"Come to me, all who labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."--Matthew 11:28-30
You don't have to do this alone Kelsey. I'm right here, and I want to help you!

"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--because I am God, your personal God. The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade creation just for you. So don't be afraid: I'm with you."--Isaiah 43:1-5
I'm on your side. I always have been. 
Trust that when you're going through a hard time, you can lean on me. Give it to me! 

"So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it." --1 Peter 4:19
When you're doing what I tell you to do, it's definitely not always going to be easy...but trust me! 
Trust that I won't ever give you more than you can handle. 
Trust that you're doing the right things. Trust that I know what I'm doing. 
I'm bigger than all your problems, than all your fears. 

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."--1 Peter 1:6.
You're doing this for me, Kelsey. Be an example of me...even in the trials. 
You can do this. I know you can. 

"Gods thoughts are not our thoughts. The way that he works surpasses us all."--Isaiah 55:8,9
I am way bigger than you could ever imagine.
I work in ways that you don't understand. 

            God filled me up when I gave him the chance. He taught me things that I have been able to pass along to campers, other staff members and friends. Sometimes we feel like we don't have time for ourselves because we have to use that time to "serve". I would encourage you to remember that in order to be the best example of Jesus, we have to be full of him, overflowing with his love and his presence in our life. So take the time. Find out what your "oxygen mask" is, and put it on first. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Find the truth in these lyrics that fit specifically in your life. Tell me how it fits and what it means to you!

Hurricane Lyrics


In the fallout now
                    It's hard to feel like we can turn around
                    With the damage done
                    It's hard to see how far we've come

We could not be proud
Of where our feet have walked along the ground

In the silence now
We play it back and forwards again

There's a sound in our guiltiness
It's a warning bell that rings
It's a call for our loneliness
And we can't see

We roll the dice we play like fools
We plead with time to change the rules
It's like a hurricane is coming our way
We've all been warned but we still chose to stay

I can't believe it now the time has come

Play the victim here
You know it's nothing but your pride and fear
But the more you hurt
The more you love the one you were

There's a sound in our guiltiness
It's a warning bell that rings
It's a call for our loneliness

And we can't see

We roll the dice we play like fools
We plead with time to change the rules
It's like a hurricane is coming our way
We've all been warned but we still chose to stay

I can't believe it now the time has come

In the light of the morning
Can we change what we felt and heard
Can we turn it into the glory
Break the paths of our fathers before us

Though we stand on the outside
We will find what we once believed
And will crawl our way to the clear skies
Standing up we are
Standing up we are

We roll the dice we play like fools
We plead with time to change the rules
It's like a hurricane is coming our way
We've all been warned but we still chose to stay

I can't believe it now the time has come

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


      Ever since about freshman year in high school I have been keeping some sort of journal. Back then, I mostly just wrote everything about my days: the events, the hardships, the exciting news, friends, boys,  and the occasional prayer. While I still like to write about things that happen during the day, as I've gotten older I find myself more writing down things that God is doing through the events of my life....a different perspective than before. Probably one of my favorite reasons for keeping a journal is the opportunity it gives me to look back on what God was doing in the past and how things always seem somehow work out. I love relearning things that God taught me at a time of trial. I had the experience of relearning one of these lessons today.

      Last spring was kind of a rough time for me. I went through a number of unfortunate events and was tested through it. All the events seemed to pile up and they left me questioning God. It seemed as though every plan I had for the future was bing shot down, changed, or taken away. During this time I was going through a devotional book that had a different verse and meditation for every day. I would write in it things that I was going through and how it applied to that days verse. Looking back, it's pretty incredible how each verse I had seemed to be the most encouraging thing for me in that moment.
I had so many fears and doubts in what God was doing..."God is taking away everything that I thought I had set for my future. My roommate, living situation, guys track team, summer job; I'm scared for my future. I'm stuck. I don't know where to go or what to do. I'm so confused!" However, it seemed as though every step of the way there was a perfect verse to encourage me. For example, Jeremiah 29:11 "'I know the plans I have for you' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" or Psalm 42:11 "Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!".

      The whole time God knew exactly what I needed. He was always there to comfort me. Even after every time I ignored him and tried to put the situation into my own hands, he was always quick to forgive and help me again. Going through the book now, it is so evident to me now just how much God had my best interest in mind. His path was, and still is, so much greater than any I could ever think of! God changed my roommate, my major, saved the boys track team, provided me with summer job, and so much more! Each one of these events proved to be so much more than I could have ever asked for.

      In the midst of everything changing, God kind of hit me over the head with a saying to try and get me to let go of my own desires. It was to F.R.O.G., Fully Rely On God. We take things into our own hands way too often; we forget that God is BIG enough to handle it...."it" being anything we are worried about! We are to live each day according to his will. Knowing his will however, isn't always an easy thing to figure out. We can't just throw everything at God then and do nothing about it. It's an active process. James 1:5 says "if you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask him, and he will gladly tell you. he will not resent your asking.". In everything we do, we should be doing it because it is what the Lord has called us to do. When we start to think we have a handle on things on our own and go after our own desires, we may be fooled into thinking we're satisfied in the moment, but truth is, Gods plan is so much bigger and so much greater! We must remind ourselves daily to FULLY RELY ON GOD (emphasis on the FULLY). Keeping in mind that better may be harder, stop directing yourself, and start listening to the whispers of God. I guarantee he will take care of you.