Category Archives: Growing in God

1Mission Round 2

DONATE HERE: https://my.1mission.org/c/5634/ashtonis19

Hey everyone! Some of you may remember the 1Mission campaign I did in December 2015 – May 2016, where we raised $3500 towards building homes for families in Mexico. It was truly an incredible learning & growing experience for me because I had to 100% abandon my heart & my abilities to God and trust that He would take control. And as He always is, God was present through the entire journey, proving Himself faithful time and time again.

Well now here I am, 2 years later, ready to launch another campaign to celebrate my 19th birthday on February 14th. YAY!!! I am so pumped for this!! I want the start of my next year of life to be a reflection of the rest of the year, and this was the absolute best thing I could think of! As I have mentioned many a time, I have a strong passion for the organization of 1Mission and their mindset of partnership. Rather than offering free handouts to families in need they work with these families to build them not only a home, but also a community and a future. I have been to Mexico with 1Mission 5 times, with 3+ trips planned for 2018. Also, just to clarify, the money raised from this campaign is not going towards me going on a trip, 100% of the donations will go straight to 1Mission and be used to build homes for families who have earned their volunteer hours.

My last campaign lasted about 6 months, but this one will be specifically for my birthday and last until the end of February. I didn’t really think of doing another campaign when I turned 18, but I was thinking about it after my birthday last year and kind of just thought “why didn’t I do that again?”. I remembered how fulfilling it was to spend my 17th birthday partnering with family, friends, and strangers to better our world and give God ALLLL the glory that He alone deserves. So when I was thinking about this year’s birthday there was no question about it, God was once again calling me to launch a campaign! I have often heard that God blesses us, not for our benefit, but so that we can, in return, bless others. God has blessed me with an amazing life and there is no reason in heck why I should keep it to myself!! God has given me a purpose that is outside of Ashton, I don’t know fully what that purpose entails, but I feel like this is a pretty dang good start.

I will say there was one more motivation for doing this campaign. My friend Rory from my high school church group recently passed away, and some of my favorite memories with her were from when we all went on Mexico mission trips with 1Mission, so this campaign is also meant to honor her.

My goal is to raise $1900 by the end of February and I would be absolutely         O V E R J O Y E D  if you would join me in this project by donating whatever amount you feel lead to (link below & above), as well as by praying with me for the families who will be receiving new homes this year!!! I am so looking forward to what God is going to do through this!!

Thank you! || Ashton

DONATE HERE: https://my.1mission.org/c/5634/ashtonis19

1Mission Mexico Trip // October 2015                                                                                  (I’m on the far right & Rory is right next to me in the black hat)

1Mission Mexico Trip // October 2016

Bird’s Eye View

IMG_1349You know those typical looking-out-of-the-airplane-window pictures that people tend to post every single time they fly?? (example above) Well, if I’m honest, these photos used to be awfully cliché to me. I changed my mind after a 3 hour flight I was on yesterday, though. You see, I found that flying is a pretty much the BEST time for contemplation & reconsidering these seemingly annoying things.

What I have come to realize is that, beneath the disguise of normality we have placed on flying, there is still an innate sense of fascination inside each of us for this indescribable feeling. The ability to look down on our world from a perspective we don’t often get is so captivating to us. It’s the bird’s eye view we sometimes wish we could have on our own lives, with everything in sight and perfectly organized in distinct shapes of squares & circles. Being above & in the clouds, we really can’t help but feel close to God. It drives us to ponder each individual piece of creation, and the way each of those things bonds to one another, forming something so incredible that we could never even begin to comprehend it.

Sometimes I get upset when motion sickness kicks in on airplane rides, then I remember that I’m like 40,000 miles up in the air, breathing normal oxygen, sitting in a (semi) comfortable seat & end up just being thankful for the inventive miracles that God has blessed our world with.

I urge you to keep on posting those one-of-a-kind pictures from above, because they are a true reminder of the fascination of God’s handiwork ingrained in us since birth.

N E V E R stop admiring the everyday gifts from God.

Stuck in the Stereotype

In our society there are certain sayings, possessions, actions, personalities, and attitudes that have become the “normal”. Unfortunately, those who are outside of that box of so-called normality have a tendency to be less accepted. It is completely okay for everyone to have their own personality, that is exactly what I’m trying to promote here, but when one certain personality type is deemed “better” is when everything goes amiss.

It breaks my heart to see so many smart, powerful individuals fall into default mode from fear of rejection. I have found myself in this situation before, and realized at a certain point that I needed to break out of the comfort zone I had created if I ever wanted to fulfill God’s true purpose for my life. Without thinking we have created community full of monotony. There are so many more opportunities for growth & individuality with the resources we have around us.

Take finals week, for example. Everyone knows it is notorious for being extremely stressful. But that’s the thing, is it really as terrible as we make it sound? Or is it just that we hear those negative words being spoken about it & automatically think the same negative thoughts? Yes, I do understand, finals week can be a very busy, full time, but it does not have to become so stressful that the joy of life disappears in a frenzy of study guides & sleepless nights.

Negativity is not something we want foremost in our lives, and it just so happens to grow like a weed in this whole stereotype situation. Let’s say goodbye to these fake, stereotypical people we have become per the world’s requirements & follow God’s standards instead. The results will surely be much more rewarding.

Simple & Holy

Simplify. What a beautiful, absolutely refreshing concept it is that this word implies. Rather than meaning mundane, plain, or boring, as some might think, to me this word fully encompasses what a renewed life should, and can, look like. In the New Year we simplify and set goals for the next 12 months, during spring cleaning we organize our homes, rooms, and closets and simplify them. When one is baptized into the Kingdom of God they choose to simplify their heart and make room for what is now most important. We do undertake this idea of simplifying periodically, but it is not enough. Piles upon piles of junk accumulate anyway, in our thoughts, words, bedrooms, minds, lives, etc. I don’t know about you, but I feel like my heart & soul could really use a breath of fresh air to cleanse myself from this clutter daily

To dig even deeper into this idea of simplicity, though, let’s build a connection between it and the word Holiness. I have been learning a lot about both of these terms recently, and how curiously similar they really are. To be simple can also mean to be holy. Any everyday occurrence, such as putting on your shoes or making the bed, can become a meaningful way to elevate ourselves to God. Just by purposely thinking about how thankful I am to have multiple pairs of shoes that I get to choose from each day, or praising God for blessing me with a comfortable bed and a house to sleep in every night during the process of these things, I can work towards achieving this state of elevation. It is all about having a positive, grateful mindset.

Think about the moment of baby Jesus’ birth. There was nothing absolutely extraordinary about it from first glance. I mean, yes, legions of angels appeared in the sky and sang praises to a baby whose birth was witnessed by farm animals, but still, for the most part it was a simple night, with simple people. But it was also the holiest of all holy nights. This occasion in history, as well as all the other stories that are written in the Bible for us to read at any time, sets a perfect example of marrying these two concepts, simplicity and holiness, and receiving a breathtaking life full of His blessing in return.

xoxo,

Ashton

A Birthday Worth Committing

Many of you may have seen my last blog post regarding my 1MISSION Campaign with all the details and a little story explaining my ‘why’ of the whole situation. (If not, you can read through it here: My 1MISSION Campaign) This last week I decided to take the next step and use my 17th birthday, which is on February 14th(Valentines Day), to advance my campaign, as well as to obey God once again. I am so thrilled about this you guys!! Instead of gifts I request that you donate to https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign! 

This was not an easy decision, & to be honest, I really struggled with selfishness at the beginning. But God has already taught me so much that I am very thankful for. One thing that God has revealed to me numerous times recently is the importance of motivation. When I say numerous I really mean it, like I noticed it in my bible reading, it was talked about at least 3 different bible studies I went to, & it even stood out to me in my psychology reading. No doubt about it, God was trying to tell me something. I realized that, as much as I think about the details of the campaign, if I don’t follow through with those ideas and actually DO them, what is the point?! I have to work hard & motivate myself to finish what I start.

Not only would your donation put a huge smile on my face, those at 1MISSION’s, and the family’s who will receive a home, but there is also a little incentive for you:) Everyone who donates will receive a sticker, designed by me and made special for this occasion! It does not matter the amount of the donation, I just wanted a way to say a little thank you to everyone. I am currently still working on all the details, but look out for a post with more info on Instagram/Facebook soon!! 

To give you a little perspective… a donation of $10 can pay for 1 bag of cement to be used in building a families home, $30 could be used to buy 1 window, or $100 could cover the costs of all the doors & windows for 1 home. Your donation matters. Now it’s time to get this birthday party started!!! YAY!!!

xoxo, Ash

                            

My 1MISSION Campaign!!!

((Click here: https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign to Donate!!!))

Sweating so much your shirt turns a different color, the sound of constant hammering in your ears, a work load like no other, living the uncomfortable tent life for three nights, and a ridiculous amount of humidity. Imagine all this but you don’t care one bit. That sure does sound backwards… why would all this not bother you?? Because you & everyone around you is filled with so much stinkin’ love & hearts are overflowing with the joys of new friendships & Gods peace that passes all understanding. That is how I would describe the weekend of October 9th-12th for me. 400 high schoolers, including me, from Phoenix, AZ made the 4-hour drive down to Puerto Penasco, Mèxico. We had one mission(pun intended, hehe), to provide safe housing for thirteen families before the weekend was over. I am very happy to say that our mission was accomplished, all the homes were completed and the families are currently beginning a new life in them, but it was oh-so-much more than that. Hearts & lives were rejuvenated.

While in Mexico the 1MISSION staff gave all of us the opportunity to start a campaign to raise money and build even more sufficient housing around the world, but I didn’t really think anything of it at the time. It was like a, “Oh that’s cool, I hope lots of other people do it and change the world” & move on kind of thing. But ever since I’ve been home from that trip (over a month ago) I felt God tugging on my heart and bringing me back to the idea of starting a campaign. I kind of came to the realization that just taking 4 days away to do God’s work did not have to be the end, there is no limit to God’s strength, His power. I have gone to Puerto Penasco twice with 1MISSION and love what they do and the fact that it is much more than just donations and houses, they value connections and relationships, which sometimes makes more of a difference than four walls and a door. The beauty of 1MISSION is that they work with families, if someone wants a house they must earn it by serving in their community.

This venture of starting my campaign has been slightly delayed, I knew and have seen proof that this is the right direction to go, but I kept making excuses for myself saying things like, “It’s not the right timing”, “Not today, I have a lot to do”, and all other sorts of junk with no true reasons. God has given me the perspective that it is ridiculous to be selfish when He is the One who blessed me with a wonderful house, so why not do what I always say I want to do and be like Him by being apart of another family receiving their blessing of a home? So today I am choosing to obey God by launching my campaign! The donation page will be open until May 31st and my goal is $3000, which I know is a lot of money and honestly makes me a little nervous but I trust that the end results are in God’s hands. If you would like to help me reach my goal & be a part of providing a family with a brand spanking new home you can donate at https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign. Not to mention that prayer is extremely essential throughout this campaign & I’d be absolutely overjoyed if you would join me in praying for these families, what God is doing in their lives, and for His faithful provision. Thank you so so so very much to you all, I am stoked for what’s in store in the next few months!!!

xoxo, AshtonMy 1MISSION Campaign

Day 56 out of 365

 // Visit many good books but live in the Bible. \\

>>On August 1st I started something that lots of people attempt but few finish. Reading the Bible in one year. If I’m completely honest, this entire journey has been quite the struggle, until today. You see even from the first day of the plan I was behind. I didn’t set aside enough (or sometimes any) time during my day to do the reading, which resulted in it piling & piling up, until I felt like it’d take forever just to get caught up. I prefer to read my bible in the morning, you know for a fresh perspective to get me started for the day. But when I woke up I would find myself putting it off because I was just so overwhelmed & thought about how stinkin much I was behind.

However, a couple days ago, I changed my attitude towards it. I figured, there’s no way I can go the entire year just pushing it to the back of my mind, hoping to get caught up ‘someday’, I’d end up quitting eventually with that mindset. So I sat down, picked up my bible & started reading. I think I read like 20 straight chapters of Exodus at one point, which, let me tell you, was not easy. Once I began reading though, I was determined to get caught up, at least in the next couple days. And now here I am, on day 56 of the ‘Bible in a Year’ plan, the first day so far that I’ve been on track. I must say I’m pretty happy about it, although I realize it’s just the beginning, I’m going to have to work super hard to keep it up & not fall behind again. The main reason why I was itching so badly to be caught up was so that I could get back into spending time with my God & reading His word everyday, not just every once in awhile when I felt like reading a lil bit. 

Anyway, I didn’t share this with you to try and get you to read the bible in a year or anything like that, just with the hope that this will encourage you to start or continue reading your bible everyday, because boy do I see a difference in my days when I do. Also if there’s something in your life (not necessarily bible reading) that you feel behind on & keep pushing away, don’t give up. It truly is all about the attitude, if you tell your self you want to & can get it done, you will, and also asking God for strength to push through is always a good choice.

 

The Power of Prayer

Prayer- it is the way we communicate with our Heavenly Father. It is extremely important in our everyday lives as Christians. I think we need to start praying big again. In the Bible people would pray for strength to overcome an entire city and have complete faith that when they prayed for a sign, God would tell them which direction to take through it. I feel like the prayers of this generation have become less confident than they could be. We have gotten rather good at giving God the reigns right before a math test or the big game, and don’t get me wrong, those are definitely things we should pray about, but we should also trust Him in the impossible situations. This is definitely something I have struggled with and am still working on, but I see how crucial it is to have such strong faith & that God ALWAYS answers. Here’s the thing though, He always gives us an answer, but that doesn’t mean He always says yes. Sometimes He tells us later, not now, maybe, or just straight up no. No matter what we pray or ask of Him, He will still do what is in His flawless plan. However, this does not mean there’s no reason to pray.

(James 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

In this verse we are told that we cannot just magically have wisdom, we must pray and ask for it. Think about it this way, we don’t receive salvation at a certain age or anything like that, it’s whenever we decide for ourselves and go to God requesting it. Same with wisdom, forgiveness, discernment, etc. Prayer is very necessary in order for those virtues to be evident in our lives. 

Maybe you’ve only ever been taught how to pray when you need something from God or are in a troubling circumstance. A good piece of scripture to follow while praying is the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13…

This, then, is how you should pray: 9“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (Praise the Lord for all He is & everything He has done in your life) 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Give Him your full trust and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through your life) 11 Give us today our daily bread. (This is where you would say any prayer requests: whether for healing, or direction, or wisdom, like we talked about earlier, or anything) 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Confession time, tell Him everything you have done wrong and ask Him to forgive you. Also, let go of any grudges against those who have hurt you.) 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Declare that you feel secure in knowing that our Heavenly Father has the power to completely overcome the devil.)

I am not at all saying this is the ‘only’ or ‘right’ way to pray, because any prayer is a good prayer and God hears them all. I have just found that this outline is excellent if you aren’t sure where to start or just need a little direction to stay focused 🙂 I use this almost everytime I pray & it works really well for me. My favorite part is that it starts out with praise, which is something God demands from us. I try to keep my praise to things simply about my Lord, leaving myself out of it. For example, I wouldn’t usually say “I praise you for loving me unconditionally” rather “I praise you because you are capable of unconditional love”. This way it truly is just about giving all the glory to the One who deserves it. Again, I know this is not required and I do not expect it from everyone, just my personal preference. 

I could honestly go on & on & on about the value of prayer and how genuinely powerful it is. You may even see another post on this in the future. I just really love talking to my Creator and hope you have or will experience how wonderful it is!!

-Ashton

the power of prayer-2