Help Leena Learn in Tanzania This Summer

26 05 2017

I’m taking a risk and have partially paid for a study abroad adventure in Tanzania this summer! This class is  one more check off the graduation requirements list for my Master of Divinity Program at Seattle Pacific Seminary. Students in cohorts from my seminary entry year and earlier have a cross-cultural Immersion study abroad class option to fulfill a particular requirement. If you want the travel option you kind of have to jump onboard as they are offered and if it is of interest to you or you need to graduate because our program doesn’t offer trips every summer. 

I technically could wait another year or two and wasn’t sure how I’d afford this trip, but my husband convinced to take a risk (or leap in faith) and apply for the trip because:

 (1) because as mom and congregational child/youth/Christian Education minister when will this kind of opportunity so blatantly present itself? 

And (2) because, he reminded me – Africa in general and Tanzania specifically, was the place that I always said I wanted to travel to learn about and experience the culture. as a child, teen, and before I became a mother. I was shocked I actually forgot how much I desired this opportunity in the past and apparently life has taken me other directions in the past 20 years. 

This Tanzanian travel dream is dusted off and making a comeback now that I’ve turned 40. Our trip is coming up quickly  – July 8-27, 2017 – Would you like to join me and be on my “Leena Learns in Tanzania Support Team“? 

You’re invited to support me through prayer, encouragement and learning with me as I learn in Tanzania via following my blog (you’re reading  it) and/or joining a little Facebook group for trip tidbits and updates that I just created. 

If you’d like to help support me financially with a few dollars or several you can donate via my FundMyTravel.com page or contact me directly for offline donation options. 

I hope you’ll choose to join me on this adventure one way or another!





A Note to my 15 Year Old Self

12 10 2012

I saw several blogposts and articles fly by on Facebook and Twitter today regarding International Day of the Girl. Even on the radio I heard talk show hosts sharing what they would tell their 15 year old self. So this is what I would say to my 15 year old self … 20 years later:

* I know everyone makes fun of you being skinny, brush it off , they still make fun of us. Mom says that will change when we are 40. Maybe then we’ll weigh enough to give blood (115lbs). And don’t worry about not being able to donate those blood cells – there are plenty of other ways that you can be there for and help others.

* Soon your mother will remarry and it won’t be easy – don’t get so mad at her if you can help it, she is just trying to get through life just the same.

* When people tell you that your younger sister is cutting classes and hiding out in the bathroom – go get her and let your parents know. When you are worried about her, don’t be afraid to confront her – she needs to know she is loved – And it is your business.

* That prayer/wish you made on a star a few years ago – to have a relationship/marriage opposite of your parents and your parents’ parents – so far it has come true for 16.5 years (4.5 yrs dating + 12 yrs marriage).

* You want to prove that you are so much more than a scrawny little girl whose parents divorced and have very little money — don’t let your first boss get you down, it is actually depression and not the real you who gets you to work and school late. It may follow you I to adulthood – don’t be ashamed – get some help when you think you need it. Just because yours may not be as deep as other family members’ is it still worth finding healing.

* It is OK to be a kid, even though you’ve always had to be the grown up for others. You are not responsible for the feelings and actions – you cannot fix everyone – nor should you try.

* When the internet becomes accessible junior year – don’t give out your phone number on that bulletin board and don’t call him – even if he says it is OK to call collect. So not worth the drama. AND be aware of how expensive every hour in the internet is in the 1990’s – otherwise you will spend you whole summer working for a paycheck to pay the hundreds of dollars you owe your mother for the bill.

* Watch out for that guy from the hospital (Stay clear, you said no — thank goodness because the creep got someone pregnant a few months later).

* Don’t look for love and approval from others to validate who you are – And don’t get mad or so embarrassed when people compliment you. Let them, it will do wonders for your self esteem – and theirs.

* Turn in your homework assignments on time – and don’t get discouraged by your 9th & 10th grade English teachers, somehow you manage to do alright later. Also, you don’t have to push yourself to do well in science and math if you aren’t able – just do your best – it might help you chair a science night for your daughters’ elementary school but med school is not where you are heading.

* Listen to your pastor and all those others guiding you towards ministry – maybe even pursue seminary ASAP – we are still waiting to get there. Someday it will happen, but for now A bachelor’s in ministry will suffice. People believe in you – really they do – believe in yourself as much as you believe in God and as much as you believe the awesome potential everyone else holds in their lives. It is kind of a love yourself like your neighbors situation (yes, I twisted that verse around!).

* Choose community college over private college when your mother says she can’t afford to take out loans – you can still go far even though PLU provided you with some of the most amazing friendships, advisors, and growing experiences in your life … Including meeting your husband. Trust that God will provide, so you’re not having to be in debt forever.

* You don’t have to over extend yourself to hide from your troubles at home, while it is painful to be there – you’ll wish you had been around more to get to know your family. While you have a great résumé of experiences and you manage to not drink, smoke, experiment with drugs, and even stayed a virgin until you we’re married – you became addicted to busyness and missed out developing a hobby (other than volunteering) and still struggle with learning how to slow down.

Ahhh. There is so much more I want to say to you, but you’re not the night owl you used to be 20 years ago. Occasionally on a youth retreat, but you’ll find yourself making up this lost hours of sleep as an adult.

((Hugs and hang in there))





31 12 2008

It is December 31st, 2008.

I have a blog about my faith formation ideas and ponderings since I work in children,youth, and family ministry. 
I have blogged on MySpace. but I don’t really visit there much anymore except to check up on friends there.  
This is much easier to maintain and more accessible to others, if there are others who are interested in my life. 🙂
Something I’m interested in starting up, borrowing from my buddy Lisa is a List of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days. I’m curious if it would be possible to accomplish. It will take some work to put together, and we have to finish our Christmas — now Epiphany — Letter first!
Happy New Year to you!
~Leena







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