One year ago today I stepped off a plane in Skopje, Macedonia where I was met by the smiling faces of my supervisors and their precious son who whisked me away to Prilep.  To quote my facebook status update from that day, “I lost a suitcase and my lunch, but I’M FINALLY HERE!!! Woohoo!!! :)”

Within a couple weeks I had started language tutoring, established official temporary residence status, experienced my first Macedonian holiday, and attended my first team retreat.  This past year has been full of ups and downs, but it has been one of the most amazing adventures of my life.  Here are a few photo highlights.

They butchered my name and I look 10, but at as long as they let me stick around that’s fine with me!

Prilep is amazing, wonderful, beautiful, and unique!  (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

Even the language is lovely.
(though definitely still a struggle)

And I have had some truly remarkable experiences since I arrived.

Helping at a village school.


Journey Girls Holiday Adventure

Sharing my love for football
(And the Patriots)

(Day of Forgiveness)

Women’s Day

First professional haircut in 10 years
(And bangs too!)


Taking illegal photos

Rome & Istanbul with amazing friends!

Spending time with my Normandale family

Athens with more great friends

And even Mt. Olympus!

These pictures don’t even scratch the surface of the things I’ve seen and done over the past year.  There is simply too much to be able to show and tell.  But these things, as fun and exciting as they were, are not what it’s about.  This is not the reason I’m here.  This is not what makes my heart beat faster.  This isn’t what makes my eyes sparkle.  It’s all about CHRIST.  It’s about loving Him and loving others and sharing His truth with the people we meet.

It’s about learning to love in a new language.

It’s about making new forever friends.

It’s about the Gospel and letting His light shine bright.

Only when my life is being poured out for His glory is it worth anything.  Only then am I fulfilling my purpose in life.  Only then am I truly satisfied.  He has given me a happy heart as He has allowed me to be a part of what He is doing in this city and in this country and in this world.

This year I have grown more than I could have ever anticipated.  I have seen more of my sinfulness than I ever knew existed.  I have learned to trust Him in new ways.  I have struggled and fought and faced defeat.  I have experienced grace.  I have learned so much more of what love really is.  I have known true joy and contentment.  I have been in His presence.  And THAT is what this year has really been about all along.


One response to “Reflection

  1. Oh, Carissa, I am so happy for you and so proud of you! I can hardly believe it’s been a whole year! I love reading your updates. Keep living the Gospel and sharing His love. May you be blessed beyond measure!

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