Category Archives: Live it

Plans with Vision

Everywhere I turn people are talking about vision.

We must have a vision for this and that. Or our church, our youth, our school, our class, our lives…

Vision, it seems, has become the theme of my life.

It is not a bad theme to have, really, when you have a clear an purposeful vision. But when your vision is a little fuzzier than you like, or your vision doesn’t quite match with God’s vision for you, it can be downright frustrating.

Or, let’s be real for a minute, it can even be annoying.

I’ve always been a planner. I like having detailed instructions and I’m one of the only people I know who reads instruction manuals (Yes, I read them—I don’t just skim them or use them for door stops). But my vision for my life has not turned out quite the way I thought it would. And yes, I planned it all out when I was about 12. I still have a pretty decent list of goals I wrote that I have been systematically checking off and, of course, adjusting as life changes, because let’s face it, I’m not the same person I was when I was 12. The point is, I’ve always had plans.

Recently though, I’ve realized that plans and vision are not quite the same thing and despite the fact that my plans were and are pretty good, God’s plan—well, if I stop being so arrogant and just listen to it—has real vision and actual purpose in it that my plans well, just lack.

And that terrifies me.

It also thrills me.

Mostly it confuses me and my plans.

By natural inclination leans toward existentialism, but the world isn’t irrational. With God at the center of it, the bigger picture becomes clear and relatable even to someone who is as confused as I can be. Or as stubborn as I can be. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” but the perfect plans of God almighty will always, always guide (Robert Burns/ “To a Mouse”),. And true vision really can change the world.


Slovakia Fundraising Update

As many of you know and have heard I have an amazing opportunity this summer to travel to Slovakia to work with the youth at an English camp. And let me just say, God must be as excited as I am that I said yes to this opportunity because I am overwhelmed by the amount of support and grace shown to me by my family and friends. Your support in this means more to me than I can even begin to express, and as the trip comes ever closer I ask again for your prayers. Please be praying now for what will happen this summer. God is going to do amazing things, and I just know that whatever it is–it’ll be BIG and I want ALL of you to be a part of that!


One of the bests parts of this adventure is being a part of a team. Honestly, I think we have the best team possible of this trip. Why? Great question.

Let’s start with Laura, our leader who has been to Slovakia many times and who has organized this trip down to the last detail. We couldn’t ask for a better, God-fearing woman to lead this group. She is a fierce and beautiful reflection of God’s love and grace. As a youth leader, she and I have worked together over the past few months at Grace Life and I honestly couldn’t imagine doing life without her now.

Will and Sarah are Laura’s family, and it shows. They are also Slovakia veterans, which adds a depth to the trip, knowing that with some of us amateurs there are also some experienced mission-oriented individuals to help guide our steps. Will and Sarah are an amazing team. They complement each other well, and their hearts are on fire for God. Together they bring just enough level-headedness and jocularity to round out the group nicely.

Sam is our other Slovakia veteran. Having also worked with the Grace Life youth, he is a young man who has a heart for the Lord. What I appreciate about Sam is how he seeks out mentors and answers. Not everyone his age is that wise.

Then there is Ben. Grace Life’s own Youth leader in the flesh. I’m super excited that Ben will be joining us on this trip. I’ve never had the kind of energy Ben has. I’ve wished for it, admired it, been in awe of it, and disbelieved it (that’s a terrible sentence, but it’s all true). I told Ben once I was going to write a book and entitle it I Don’t Believe You, Ben because the story of his life is unbelievable. Jesus has his hand on Ben’s life and it’s amazing!

Finally we have two youth ladies going with us on this trip: Kaylee and Tyler. These two ladies are wonderful and I’ve had the great honor and privilege of getting to know them better this year. I’ve watched them grow this year in ways they never thought possible. God is doing amazing things through them–changing lives and futures! They have been working hard to raise the support for this trip, which leads me to the ultimate purpose of this post. They could really use some more financial support. If you feel compelled to give to these ladies, please click on the link: and help out these amazing strong young women. God wants them on this trip. I know this. Would you consider being a part of how they become a part of what we will do in Slovakia this summer?



Reach. Our. World.

This summer I have an EXCITING OPPORTUNITY to be a part of GRACE LIFE CHURCH‘s Short Term Team to the SLOVAK REPUBLIC

Image credit to S. Augello 

This past year has been a growing experience for me in a lot of ways. I have started a new job, moved into a new house, made new friends, but even more importantly I have found a church home where I have had the opportunity to grow in my relationship with Christ. One of the most important lessons I have learned this year is that faith is more than just a personal relationship, and more than just something to believe. It is a CONSTANT surrender to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to act for the advancement of God’s kingdom.

The needs are great in Slovakia. Although communism is no longer the political stronghold, the country is still in great need to build up churches. This is especially important among the youth. As you all know, I have a heart and a gifting for working with and teaching youth, and firmly believe that this is the way to improve the world we live in today and reach even more people in the future. Youth, after all, are not just the future. They are they present and building that foundation now is important.

Our team has the opportunity to work with the local ministry of Josiah Venture to help build youth ministries and develop youth leaders to reach their country. This summer I will be working with students from Slovakia as they are invited to an English camp run by Josiah Venture where within a camp environments students are taught conversational English and exposed to Biblical truths for the first time.

After camp, students return to their hometown and are invited to youth group events at the local churches where relationships are built and maintained.  As a writer, teacher, and lover of languages and youth I can feel God is going to do something amazing this summer and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

Please pray for our adventure and time this summer as we prepare for this calling. If you are interested in becoming a part of my support team, you can print out the response card below OR you can go to the following link and donate financially online.

(Choose Ashley Carmichael in the drop down designation)

Prajem Božie požehnanie! (May God bless you!)




Slovakia Response Card