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CAFO Conference 2015 and Other Things

Christian Alliance for Orphans Conference 2015. One of the first times I’ve been away representing my company outside of the office or my direct area of work.

I’m hoping to learn a lot here in the next few days. I feel like God has me doing a lot of training lately for whatever is planned for 2016. There have already been a lot of lessons and things I’ve learned so far this year.

On a side note, there is a contestant for American Idol from this town and their fans are outside my window blaring music. I’m so glad I brought my earplugs to this hotel!!

There isn’t too much to say yet. Hopefully I can get my thoughts out in the next few days here to help me process what I’m learning.

Hope Y’all have a good night! ūüėČ



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The title of my blog is Letters from Dana, originally I was going to write letters. This worked for a time.

That time has passed.

Here, today, I would like to put down some thoughts that have been going around my mind.

For example, since I’ve started working with youth from the inner city of Detroit, I now hear the word “thoughts” and immediately think “Thots”. *sign* I love those girls anyway, even if they do make me think in slang.

On the opposite spectrum of that, and yet on a completely unrelated note, I’ve given up playing games on my phone/computer/TV for lent. I’m not even Catholic.

This is one of the reasons why I am here today. Boredom leads to creativity. And so I write.

Lately I’ve been trying to get more in depth with my Bible Study. Iv’e been going through a few verses at a time and asking questions about them. I’ve begun doing this with James chapter 5. Ever since I’ve done the Beth Moore study on James, I’ve very much like this book and the style of writing. But it’s hard on a daily basis to truly think about what James was saying and how it relates to daily life.

Today I read James 5:17-20 – the end of the book.

In chapter 17 he talks about Elijah, and how he prayed earnestly to God for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Then he prayed after those three and a half years that it would rain, and it did.

What faith. Do you have that kind of faith? The kind where you can say to a mountain move, and it moves?

or the kind where you can say to a demon, leave, and it leaves?

We Americans don’t like to talk about demons, it’s better if we pretend that the issues you are facing can be explained away with science.

We like science. We can grasp science. But science doesn’t require faith.

and I feel that God has been calling me to a deeper relationship with him, to have more faith in him. ¬†— side bar, what does it mean when the Bible says “the deep cries out to deep?” Just wondering– it’s not easy. I don’t like to change.

For example, I signed up with work for a nutrition coach. I like her a lot, she’s very friendly and understanding…but she makes me keep track of my food, and then tells me what I might want to change for the next week.

I like sugar. I don’t want to change. But I also like to fit into my clothes, and to do that I have to change. We can change for the better, or we can change for the worse. But every day, in every action we take, we are choosing what we will live for.

I want to live for Christ. Jesus, is his Jewish name.

I’ve been reading the book Rhinestone Jesus. Excellent. It’s excellent. It makes me cry with every chapter I read (this is a good thing). She’s a basic woman who lived out her faith in Jesus. And found along the way that American culture doesn’t often go hand in hand with Jesus. At least that’s what I’m getting from the first four chapters that I’ve read.

Do you have the faith to give up everything for Jesus? Do you love him? Are you willing to live for him? It’s easy for me to say yes. But I’m not sure that it would be true.

I am beginning to loath the phrase “God-Sized Vision”… it’s the new hip thing. Mine? To help deliver babies into safe environments, so they have a fighting chance. To love women and show them freedom in Jesus Christ. To follow Jesus and be unafraid of what others have to say about me. Please understand, my loath does not have to do with God or his vision. It’s just the hipness of the phrase.

I’m finding that despite what I may want from my life, I need to be open and flexible to do what God has called me to do. Right Now.

My husband had to answer that question for seminary. “what is your God-sized vision?” He said he doesn’t have one…to finish school…if you will make him give you an answer. At first, when he said this I was highly disappointed in his lack of imagination. But as he explained, and as I began to mull over what he said, I began to realize that my husband is willing to go wherever Christ has called him. When God opens a door, my husband will walk through it. He will not push his way to the front of the line, or do what others say he should do. He waits. And then God opens a door. And he walks though it. He is a patient man. and I envy his ability to wait on God. (envy is probably not the best choice of words).

So what does this mean for me? and more important what does this mean for me and him?

It means I will continue to work. God calls us to serve each other in love. That is my job.

Right now that looks like doing finances for a local missions agency, evaluating our current missionaries and working with other believers to ensure that we are wise stewards of God’s money, we continue to pray for and support our sponsor child in Kenya, I will lead this Bible study on Hebrews, and I will continue to read God’s word every day, even on Saturdays. And I will grow.

Because working leads to growing, and growing leads to changing.

In Christ,

Dana H.

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Dear 2011,

I’m not a sappy sentimental person. I’m not. I don’t like stupid girly Hallmark movies (except Steel Magnolias, but that isn’t Hallmark, so it doesn’t count), and I don’t like sappy songs, (except Don’t take the Girl…but I maintain the right to at least one song that can make me cry). My point being. I don’t really want to look back at this year and be all sentimental and boring. I do however want to look back and see what God has done for me, thank him, and be ready to move on to 2012 with all it’s changes.

January, February. School and Weight Watchers. I don’t remember school much…but I liked my Israel class. Most of this was trying to see if I could get into Israel. And then Weight Watchers. I loved it. I felt healthy, I was working out, and losing weights. 30lbs in total. That was from January to June. Not bad. And I’ve kept it off. So, Thanks. Thanks for the discipline to finish another semester (and bringing my GPA to an official 3.6!). Thanks to God for my mother for doing Weight Watchers with me. She was an inspiration and the real reason I lost as much weight as I did.

March, April, May. My Grandparents. “you never know what you have until it’s gone” OH! so cliche! So true. I miss them. I missed them most when I got engaged and when I walked at my graduation. I didn’t talk to them much, and I regret that. But I did always tell them about major life changes, and they would be there (on the phone anyway) for each of them. I miss telling them about what happened and what I plan to do next. Despite this hard time, you learn and grow and understand what kind of person you want to be when you look over situations like this. So I am thankful that God has given me a family that raised me in the Faith. I’m thankful that my Grandma and Grandpa Jalkanen left a legacy of Christ-centered greatness in the Copper Country. And I’m thankful for the time I did get to share with them while they were here.

working our way through the year we land in June. The month I celebrate my birthday. I’ve spent two birthdays away from home, and by away I mean like AWAY. the first was turning 17(or 16?) and I was in Wyoming with my youth group hiking in the mountains. Awesome, but not the point of this post. The second was 22. I was in Israel, digging in the earth and working my butt off. Didn’t feel like a birthday at all…except for the one small surprise my roommates planted in the ground for me to find. (thanks girls!!). Whenever I tell people about Israel there is one important thing I say to the Christian folk. “It was more like a mission trip than any mission trip I’ve ever been on”. This is because it was a real life, live your faith or hide it kind of trip. I chose to live it. And from what I hear it showed. This June 2011, I got to share my faith. I’ve never done this before. I shared, he rejected (what I totally and fully expected by the way). Still, it was awesome. I felt used by God, and not in the dirty horrid way (I don’t know that you could feel used by God and feel bad about it really…), but in a totally awesome kind of way. There are thirty thousand more things to say about my trip to Israel. But now, I will give thanks. Thanks for the blessing of even being able to go. Thank you God for my roommates and friends I made. Thank you for showing me that life is meant to be lived everyday for you, and not for me. Thanks for teaching me how to be flexible and willing to be used.

July 2011 was…odd. I wasn’t ready to come home and I knew it. I didn’t give myself time to prepare for life after a trip. And it’s important to say goodbye to a place properly before leaving. So when I came home I was still constantly thinking of Israel and missing it terribly. I wasn’t really myself and I knew that. Then came July 22nd, the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Awesome. The day Dave purposed. It was an awesome day, all day shopping and looking at amazing artwork, then a super fancy dinner at an old train station. With, I might add the best waiter EVER. Then Dave purposed. He got down on one knee and everything. Now…had I not been in this funky longing for Israel mind frame I would have probably been super excited and not felt like I was going to cry…and not like the I’m so happy I’m going to cry type of crying…more like the confused and emotional type of crying. After a few days of crying, praying and consulting with my family members I felt better about being engaged…I even got my Grandma Jalkanen’s wedding rings, newly refurbished and absolutely unique and beautiful. Am I happy now? Yes. But I had things to deal with before I could become totally ok and happy with this. Part of this was simply that I had spent almost a month with girls who were unhappy with their choice of boyfriends and wanted to be free to do what they wanted to do. I didn’t feel like that. But when you’re surrounded by it, it’s hard not to want to feel free as well. The best thing about Dave though is that he makes me feel free. I don’t feel a need to be someone I’m not around him. And if I feel called to the jungles of¬†New Guinea then I believe he would come with me (with prayerful consideration of course). And this was¬†what I needed to understand about Dave and myself. We weren’t an unhappy couple. We knew what we wanted and¬†we were it. Nether of us thought that they would ever really fall in love and want to get married, that seemed ridiculous. But when the rubber hits the road, we both want to be with each other, and that’s what we will do…on June 3rd 2012…just over 5 months. So my thanks for July is the¬†proposal¬†from the man that I love. I’m thankful that he loves me and finds me to be someone he wants to share his life with (which is hard to believe¬†that anyone would want to spend that much time with me…). So thank you God for Dave. Thank you for the love you have put in my life. Thank you that the love of a man can be a reflection of how you love me. And seeing that is truly amazing. because as much as Dave may want to be with me and I with him, you want to be with us a thousand times more.

August, I don’t remember what happened in this month honestly…So we shall skip it with thanks for my Job at LandArc and a soon selling of my Van.

September, October, November. School, new job, lost job, Jessica’s wedding! This is my fall. Stress, yes. Disaster area? Yes. But was the wedding good times?¬†Yes. And¬†I ended up doing well in school, and learned a lot from my two month stint with The Silk Worm. I really enjoyed working with the ladies there. But the type of work wasn’t what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t working for either of us.¬†And then I¬†was done. Cried a little, felt like a failure a little, then¬†I simply focused my attention and newfound time¬†to focus on¬†school. Ended the semester well and learned a lot from my classes. So I want to thank¬†God for my time with¬†The Silk Worm. I’m thankful for the people I met and their help with finding me a new job.

December, the last month of the¬†year. Today is¬†Christmas Eve¬†Eve. So there’s a full week and a half left of this year. But, there have been big things in the beginning of December. First was finishing my final final ever. yay me. Then¬†walking¬†with honors and getting my diploma for my¬†Bachelors¬†in Anthropology. yay me again!¬†Somewhere in this I found out I’m going to be an Auntie. Yay¬†Holly and Erik!¬†And then my interviews and call from Bethany Christian Services. There are many things to be thankful for this year. In this month¬†alone I feel blessed beyond understanding. But looking back at this year it’s been full of ¬†blessings and lots of lessons I’ve learned. I’m so thankful for my family as it continues to grow either through my new niece of nephew, or though gaining a future mom, dad and brothers (yeah…brothers… I’ve never had those before!). I’m so thankful and totally looking forward to my new grownup job with Bethany, and I’m so excited for my fianc√© and I! The blessings in my life continue to be almost embarrassing when you look back at them.

So, 2011 I will soon bid you farewell, and I want to thank God for the change that’s come upon me this year. I’ve never been so blessed, and God continues to supply all my needs even when I don’t see him doing it.