Sunday, May 26, 2013

"I'll see you when you see me."

Change and goodbyes; it can be so difficult to go through. Which is currently what I am going through right now. This was my last week of school at Northwest Middle School. I have been teaching there for 2 amazing years. I have truly loved working there. My co-workers have been the best co-workers that anyone could have asked. The amount that I have learned about schools and about special education is amazing. The knowledge that I’ve obtained from working at NMS have truly been in preparation for what God is calling me for me.

I hate goodbyes. I’d much rather say, “I’ll see you when you see me.” That doesn’t sound so permanent, so final. The relationships that I have created in Knoxville have been more then I could have hoped for. I know without a doubt that God called me to Knoxville. He has placed me here to develop and grow as a person and as a Christian. Being away from my entire family, and everyone else that I was familiar with, forced me to depend on God for everything. Not only was He was my Savior, but He became my best friend, He became my everything. This is a lesson that I needed in order to be able to spend the year in Tanzania. I know that once again, when I say “see you when you see me” to my friends here in Knoxville, God will remain my everything, He’ll remain my best friend.   

I have once again been extremely overwhelmed by the support that I have been getting. I have sold close to 200 cookbooks which is way more then I imagined. I have also had many different people support me that I would never have imagined. God is good and He has come through in so many different ways. He keeps challenging me to ask Him to be big. And every time I do, He has not failed to follow through. He has never ceased to amaze me. I love the lyrics to the song “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship. I need to continue to put my faith in Christ and trust what He says. He has promised to take care of me, He has promised to never leave me. That is something that I will cling to in these moments of goodbye. In these times of uncertainty. When everything else around me is drastically changing, I know that my God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And though I may be weak but Your spirit's strong in me My flesh may fail My God you never will”
Thank you so much for your support. Please keep me in your prayers as I’m getting ready to leave Knoxville. It truly has become my home, and I really do hope to return again someday, Lord willing. It will be a rough, emotional week!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Mountains

Dear Brother and Sister in Christ,

Throughout this whole journey it has been amazing to see God's timing and God's power. There have been many mountains that have had to be moved. Since I've started to prayfully consider joining God and his activity, I would continuously ask the questions "But what about this? or that?" I was trying to see things through my eyes, I was trying to solve problems with my power. Let's just say that not much was happening. It wasn't until I let go of everything that I really started to see the mountains move. "May the Mountains Be Moved" has been my theme throughout this whole time. There have been many mountains that could have prevented me from saying yes, and sometimes saying yes, is the scariest thing to do, especially when all can see are the mountains. But we serve a God, who not only can move them, but he CREATED them. And He will never leave us to climb them alone.

So throughout this post and throughout this blog and this upcoming year and a half, please don't look at me and say "WOW, look at what she is doing!" or "WOW, she is so brave" At the end of every day I want to make sure that everyone knows God's POWER and see God's movement. I don't even want to attempt to share in God's glory. I want my actions to always point to Him. I pray that He will be so big in what he does through me, that nobody can miss him. That is ultimately my prayer. So as I go through the mountains that God has graciously moved since I've said yes to Him in January. It really is an account of His faithfulness! I pray that you too may see His faithfulness through this as well.

Mountain 1: Preparing my heart:

Isaiah 6:8 says "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said 'Here I am. Send me." Let me tell you, those can be extremely scary words to say. When I started praying those words back in October, I had NO idea that God would be calling me Tanzania. It was no where on my radar or even in my plans. I was content with monthly trips in the summer, that was enough for me. But God's plans are so much greater then ours! One of the things that I love about this verse is the faith that Isaiah had. He didn't try to come up with a million reasons why he couldn't or shouldn't do it. In fact he didn't even know what it was at that moment. He just knew that God needed someone to join in and he said yes. His natural response without hesitation was "I am here, send me!" Oh to have that faith to automatically say yes. To take that step out of the boat, even when everyone thought it was crazy. Isaiah didn't even worry about the mountains that were looming over him. To him, they were not even a factor. Oh may we have that faith! Lord, I pray that you will put that faith in each of our lives! 

Mountain 2: Raising Support:

Because this is volunteer position, I have to come up with all of my own support. Like almost every human being, I HATE asking other people for money. I cringed at the fact that I had to send out support letters asking for the money for me to go to Tanzania. But it has been truly been amazing to see the many people that have offered to join me in both prayer and financial support! God is bigger then money, and He will provide the way for this to happen as well. At this point I'm not 100% funded yet, I'm close, but I have no doubt in my mind that God will provide for the last of the support to come. One of the ways that I've been raising support is by creating a cookbook. Which brings me to my third mountain.

Mountain 3: Cookbook

The Mountain Be Moved Cookbook, was originally an idea from a very dear friend of mind. I think that when she mentioned in home group, she had no idea what she really started. Before I even said yes to Village School International, I had another dear friend say that she wanted to do the cookbook project for me. Oh my goodness, let me tell you, I don't think we ever imagined it to turn out as awesome as it did. IT just goes to show that with God behind something, he will blow our expectations out of the water! I originally thought that I was just going to hand make some on my own and sell like 10 with maybe 25 recipes in them. I really think that God was laughing when I set that low of an expectation. My friend who said that they wanted to take it over, found an amazing program online and set it all up. She was the one who came up with the name of the project. We put it online, and I started to verbally tell friends and family to start putting in recipes. I was hoping for 75, once again, God was laughing. Once we reached 75, I thought 150. Once we passed 150, I finally just said "Okay God, just show off!" and show off He did. The final cookbook has 487 recipes from friends and family all over the world! How amazing. (If your interested please visit my sister's blog at Rusty Hinge-

The amount of support that I've received these past couple months has been overwhelming. From prayer and financial support. In the moments when I think that I made a mistake or that I'm crazy, God will send another person to give me the support that I need to make it through that attack. So thank you for everything!!! I truly would not be able to go through this without it.

Ps. 62:11-12a says "One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving." I'm not going to say that when I think about everything that has to work in order for this to happen  I don't get nervous and overwhelmed. But I then remember this verse and that God is strong then any mountain that stands in the way or any arrow that the enemy will throw my way. Because Satan will try his hardest to thwart any movement of God's children joining in with Him in his activity. God knows that I am created from the dust and yet he still choose to use me! I do not have to fear because I know that God is going before m. All the work that gets done will only get done through Christ. I am the vessel that our All-Powerful and Amazing God will be using to do some awesome things.

In Christ,

Alexandra Dodde

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Beginning

Dear Brother and Sister in Christ,

God has been preparing me for this moment for as long as I can remember. It started back when I was a little girl. I had my dolls and ponies all set up and ready to listen. I then would open my Bible and start preaching and teaching. They were the best audience I’ve ever had! I’ve always known that I wanted to be a teacher. God gave me many opportunities to grow in this area; through leading Bible studies, youth group, Vacation Bible School, tutoring and mentoring. My love for special education started when I was a junior in high school. This was the time that I started teaching a group at Friendship Bible Study. This is a Bible study for adults with cognitive impairment. Every night I taught, I came alive! I loved it! I had discovered my sweet spot! I knew this was where God wanted me to serve.

My love for Africa started so long ago that I really think that I was born with it down in my bones. I was that one person, that one student who was sitting at the edge of my pew listening to every word, observing every picture of every missionary who came and spoke at my church. My love grew and grew. Without ever having set foot on the continent, I was in love with a place. I was in love with a group of people I’ve never met or ever looked into their eyes. Finally, my junior year of college I was able to go to the place that I loved. I spent a month in the country of Kenya. That love became so much deeper. My heart cried out for another opportunity to go back and serve my God in my sweet spot in a continent that I have an indescribable love for.

Well the opportunity has come. God has been tugging on my heart for a while now, “I want you to do more.” “Are you ready to move?” And then the last questions really struck a nerve, “Do you trust me to be your everything?” Every fiber in my being wanted to shout “YES!” I was beginning to understand what Peter went through when Christ asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” In my life, I have denied Christ more than I care to admit, but here was my chance to shout yes, as Peter did. But yet, even though I so badly wanted to shout out on the top of my lungs, I found myself holding on to things….”Everything, Lord?” Surely I had misheard Him; surely he didn’t really want me to leave EVERYTHING. But the more I prayed and pleaded with God, He continued to say in that small voice, “Do you trust me to be your everything?” It became a never ending question in my head. It seemed that every sermon, song and devotion was asking that question. I knew what I had to do. I had to say yes! So like Peter, I must go feed and care for Christ’s sheep.

So this journey to Tanzania is the chance for me to go and teach and hopefully start the long process of introducing special education. This is really a chance for me like Peter, Paul and so many others to say “yes, I do trust you to be my everything!” Like Moses, I feel 100% inadequate for this opportunity, but I do have faith in the promise of God’s amazing power. Because of inadequacy His glory and power will truly be seen! It is really Him doing everything, I am just the vessel He has allowed to use in His work. I am beyond excited!

I ask that you too would join me in this journey. I ask that you would keep me in your prayers daily! There is nothing that I covet more than them! They are the valuable thing that you can do for me! Thank you in advance! You too, can say yes! I may be going to teach and help introduce the concept of special education, but through it I will see Jesus. I will be walking among those whom Christ says are the least of these. I will do the only thing that I truly know how to do: love. I’m ultimately going to love our brothers and sister in Christ. One of the vision statements of Village School International is “sharing the Gospel in Africa through education.” This is what the Lord has called me to do. I ask that you too would consider sharing the Gospel in Africa through prayer support.

I am extremely excited to see the amazing acts that God is going to be doing! Thank you so much in advance for joining me in this journey!

Your sister in Christ,

Alexandra Dodde