Birthday: August 29
Hometown: Cheyenne, WY
Favorite Bible Passage: Romans 8
Influential Music:Kansas, Chicago, Project 86, Steve Taylor, Daniel Amos, Theocracy, TesseracT
Favorite Movie: The Matrix (1999), The Princess Bride
Favorite Book: Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer, the Bible
Hobbies: Crafts (knitting, crosstiching), song-writing, taking long walks, running, exploring downtown areas
Although her hometown is Wyoming, she actually spent most of her childhood in China because of her parents’ work. She has also moved over 20 times in her life. She has been playing guitar since she was 15 and she is excited for all the opportunities that she will have to minister through music this year. This is her second year with the Fulltime program and she is excited to once again be a part of this ministry and all that it stands for.
Hillary’s Blog Posts
Something interesting and unpredictable happened to me in Toronto during one of our concerts there. On this particular evening, we were performing an hour long concert at a church. It started out looking like it would be a pretty “normal” concert. We were able to set up in about 30 minutes, sound check ran smoothly, and I was fairly well prepared for what I was going to say from stage. As the concert started, the first two songs ran pretty smoothly without anything too eventful happening.
Toward the end of the third song, however, as I was strumming agressively on some octaves, my D string suddenly snapped! In disbelief, I stumbled through the rest of the song and then waited for an opportune moment, as the next person was speaking, to grab a new string from my guitar case. Then suddenly it dawned on me: I didn’t have any extra strings in my guitar case! At that moment I realized I had a choice. I could either give up right then and there, or I could continue the concert with only five strings.
This incident reminded me of an illustration in a sermon that I listened to during overseas training in the Fall. This illustration involved a famous violinist named Paganini. During one of his concerts, he broke three strings on his violin. However, despite these odds, he kept playing the Concerto (excellently, at that!) until he was down to only one string. Even with one string, he persisted until the song ended. At the end he took a bow and proclaimed “Paganini with one string!”
I wish that I could say that I played as excellently with five strings as Paganini did with one. I honestly stumbled through the rest of the concert, hitting several wrong notes and having to skip some central lead lines. However, now that I look back, I have no regrets, because I knew that I tried my best.
As I look back at that concert, I realize how applicable this is to my life right now. Right now, as I persist through the end of this year, I feel like my life has a broken string. In other words, there have been times where it feels impossible to continue through the physical and emotional fatigue and difficulties that come my way. It is in these times when I have a choice to make. I can either give up and emotionally check out, or I can persevere with my “five strings” that I have left. During this last leg of tour, I want to choose the ladder option. I want to look back and realize that I did try my best with what I had left!
However, the comforting thing in all of this is that even when I do stumble and make mistakes (as I did in the concert), if I continue to give it my all until the very end, and continue to be a good steward of what God has given me, God will honor that, will give me strength to push through, and still use me, mistakes and all!
Hey Everyone! This first week and a half has been a very eventful one for all of us. From Minnesota to New York, we have at times done three concerts a day and have been driving for long periods of time. Yet it has been an amazing adventure, and I wanted to share with you some of the places we have been during this eventful beginning of tour!
1. Churches and youth groups! Whether it has been a Sunday morning service or a Wednesday night youth gathering, we have had incredible opportunities playing at churches. Sometimes we have played for the worship portions of services, while other times we had the whole hour to perform a program. So far we have played at churches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
2. Colleges and Christian highschools! We have played for Christian gatherings at public colleges and many chapel services at highschools this past week. So far we have played at schools in Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
3. Ministries! We have had the incredible opportunity of playing for two ministries during this first week of tour! One of them was a YFC (Youth for Christ) located in Columbus Ohio. The other one was a rescue mission located in Wilmington, DE.
At all of these places, we were incredibly blessed by all of the people we encountered and their provision for us. We were very encouraged by our interractions with contacts, hosts, and concert attendees this week! Therefore, even though the beginning of tour has been very busy, I have come out this week feeling blessed: blessed by the opportunities that God has given us as a team, and blessed by the people God has placed in my life!
We have less than two weeks left of Winter Tour, and it is it has gone so quickly! I have been on tour for close to ten weeks straight now, and at this point traveling has become my life!
As you can probably imagine, traveling to a different place almost every day can bring about frustration, exhaustion, but ultimately Spiritual growth. Today, I wanted to share some lessons/wisdom that I have learned along the way:
1. Take time to reflect, pray, read the Bible, and be poured into. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast, unpredictable pace of road life. During the especially stressful times, it is honestly easy to either sleep away all of my free time or use it for mindless things (like social media, TV, video games, ect.) However, one thing I have been forced to learn is to use this time to read my Bible, pray, reflect, or even ask for prayer from someone else (whether that be a family member, friend, or teammate). I have found that if I don’t do this, that I am a lot less outward focused, I am a lot less effective in ministry, and I tend to grump at my teammates. As my dad has told me before: stress empowers flesh. Therefore, it is really important for me to find time each day to rest (not sleep) and reflect, especially when things are stressful!
2. Live each opportunity like it is your last. In other words, take what you are doing seriously! I know that it is easy for opportunities every day to become routine, but I have found that I have the least amount or regret when I am intentional with what God has called me to do! I may never see some of the people I encounter again. Therefore, in many of these instances I only have one chance, and I want to make the most of it!
3. Finally, Don’t worry! God commands us in His word not to worry about tomorrow, and He has good reason in saying this. Worry is not only trying to take control (and lack of trust in God) but it is also exhausting and life-draining! I find myself paralyzed by fear of the distant future, or even the next day! There is so much that could go wrong, so many things that need to be done, and so much that needs to fall together. Yet when God commands us not to worry He says this so that we don’t have to bear the burden of an unknown future. We can trust Him, and there is so much peace in that!
This has been “Hillary’s lessons learned from Winter Tour”. I hope it encourages you today!
It’s always interesting to stop for a moment and realize how blessed I am to have this job. I literally get to visit a different city almost every day, meet amazing people, experience many thriving ministries, and use one of my main passions (music) to share the most important thing in my life: the gospel! How much better can it get than this?
However, even in the midst of this I still have doubts. I’ll be honest; I am going through a dry season right now. Even though I preach the gospel every day, I still go through periods of time where I wrestle with God’s goodness. I struggle to trust Him during these times, and I can’t get anything out of His inspired Word, even when I read it every day.
Being a missionary does not mean you are super-human or super-Spiritual. As much as I wish I could feel close to God all the time, this isn’t always the case. It is especially difficult to feel His presence when my personal life circumstances are challenging (like they are currently).
Yet during this time of doubt in my life, I am reminded of a metaphor that my Dad explained to me once. God’s work is like the waves of the ocean. Sometimes it comes crashing on me and I can tangibly experience it. Other times it seems to pull back and is at low tide. Yet no matter what I may be feeling on the shore, the waves are still churning just as powerfully beyond the shore where I can’t see them.
In the same way, God is still at work, even when I cannot see, feel, or understand what He is doing. There is far more going on in the Spiritual realms than I could ever understand. So even though I feel like my prayers have been bouncing off of the sky lately,
and I can’t feel God at work in my own life, I have to trust that He still is!
Even though it has been a difficult season in my Spiritual life, there is far more to following God than feeling Him. It sometimes involves trusting in what I can’t see, can’t feel, or can’t comprehend. Now that, my friends, is true faith!
I love being in control. This is a fact about me that is unfortunate but true. When I feel like a situation is completely out of my hands, I either do everything in my power to take control of it, or I fall apart. There is no middle ground for me, and this is a struggle that I have had my whole life. When something goes wrong, instead of optimistically trusting and hoping that God will provide, I worry about it. Somewhere in my mind, I think that if I worry about something, the situation will somehow turn out better than my mind is making it out to be. In this way, I feel like I am in control.
It is no wonder, then, that God has been teaching me on the road to trust in Him regardless of circumstances. While I have been on this team, there have been many situations that have been completely out of my hands. Whenever the trailer breaks down, whenever the van gets stuck in the mud, whenever our equipment suddenly stops working five minutes before a concert, or when our schedual changes unexpectedly, I feel completely helpless. On top of that, when things go wrong in my personal life, it sometimes seems impossible to fix it. For example, when someone at home or friends outside of CTI are sick or struggling, I can’t be there for them.
These are the circumstances this year that have forced me to learn to trust God. The fact of the matter is, even when things are confusing, I don’t see the whole picture. I only get bits and pieces. God is the only one who sees everything: the past, the present and the future. Not only that, but He promises to take care of me. Proverbs 3:5-6 contains this promise:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight.
It can we difficult to trust God and let go of my worry when nothing around me is making sense. However, two things that I have been constantly reminded of on this tour is that (1) I am never in control, even when I think I am, and (2) Even if I was, I shouldn’t be. God is the only one who can see the whole picture and put all of the pieces together.
Learning this has been a long and difficult journey, but I am slowly realizing what it means to not lean on my own understanding.