Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hello 2016

I honestly feel like it is still 2010.  Not because I want to go back to being 15 years old but more because my mind refuses to acknowledge the haste with which time has moved in recent years.  Now as I look forward to the New Year, I am filled with anticipation.  This is the year that I will become a senior.  This is the year that I will somehow put together a regional mechanical engineering conference.  However, the main source of my anticipation is my upcoming trip to Sacramento, California.

I thought that this was the year that I would take a back seat for missions.  I would help my friends with fundraisers and be a prayer warrior instead of a traveler.  Yet for some reason that didn’t quite sit right with me.  I knew that I needed to leave my summer open this year, but I still had a strong desire to be able to invest in a team as well as reach out to another part of the world.  One trip that I have always admired is the all women trip to Mercy Multiplied.  The women on this team have always come back with incredible stories and clear changes in their hearts and attitudes.  They also have displayed a bond that can only be achieved by a group of all women.  Amazingly, ORU Missions is allowing me to lead this trip that I have longed to be a part of for years now.

This semester is going to be absolutely insane.  With a full class schedule, loads of activities, and now a mission trip that I couldn’t be more eager to embark on, I cannot help but feel a bit nervous about it all.  However, I am blessed in the knowledge that I am following my calling and am doing what brings happiness to my life.

So now dear readers, all I ask is that you pray for a few specific areas.  First and foremost, pray for the women that enter Mercy Multiplied’s multiple locations.  They have each faced incomprehensible battles yet have made the remarkable leap of seeking healing.  Also, please pray for the ladies of my team.  They too have areas in which they need healing and growth.  Pray that they find where they can thrive.  Finally, pray for the Middle East.  My lack of plans to travel there this year has not lessened my heart for its inhabitants nor lessened the need for God’s revelation and His love in this region of the world.

For more information about Mercy Multiplied, you can visit their website.  Here is a link to one of their success stories about a woman named Sophonie:

Thank you so much for walking through life with me.  There is one more thing that I hate to be the focus but that I need to mention.  If you would like to donate towards this trip, you can visit and put my name (Christi Sleiman) as well as my team (Sacramento Mercy).  Every cent that is over the $1,099 that I need for the trip goes directly to making sure that the 12 other women on my team get to join the journey too.

I hope that each of you enters the New Year with anticipation.  It would bless me so much if you would email me with any prayer requests at  I would love to be a part of your life in that small way.  Thank you all for taking the time to read this.  I will do my best to keep you updated in the days to come.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Put Down the Headphones

     Running and I have such an on and off relationship.  Recently I have loved it, but I fully attributed that to me finally downloading good music and buying decent headphones.  The burning in my lungs and the fatigue of my legs somehow becomes fun while listening to "Hey Jude."

     I didn't run for most of training week because most of the days were exhausting on their own.  However on Thursday my team did not have to meet until 10 A.M.  We were stoked!  Adam and I decided to have an optional time of prayer at 9 for those overachievers who were looking for a challenge.  I was exhausted.  This was the break my body was looking for.  BUT this was training week which meant my spirit had a much louder voice.

     I decided to wake up early.  I put on my running shoes, grabbed my headphones, and headed towards the door.  That was when I remembered that when I finally downloaded good music it had deleted my Kari Jobe album and I was completely devoid of Christian tunes.  "It's not a big deal," I told myself.  But it was.  I was being intentional about not only avoiding social media, secular music, and anything that could be a distraction.  So I said "Hey God, I am trying to challenge myself by running, but I can't do it without headphones.  Is it cool if I listen to this music?"

     He didn't tell me that it "wasn't cool" if I listened to secular music.  Instead, He asked if I would let Him be enough.  Wow.  That was the moment I had to stop making excuses.  God wanted to be my enough.  Well, I'm not a big fan of telling the creator of the universe that He isn't enough, so I put the headphones down.  Instead of jamming to "Say Something", I prayed.  I prayed for each of the members of my team.  It was hard, definitely harder than running with music, but it felt glorious at the same time.

     During the 9 A.M. prayer time my team had, I took a moment to write down what God was telling me about each of my members.  Those simple sentences were later used to speak life and prophecy into the lives of my team.  Some of what was shown to me I was privileged to tell them that day, other parts were saved for commissioning night, and some were never told at all.  That's not the important part.  What was important was that I listened.

     I will always remember Thursday, May 7 as the day that I listened.  I woke up.  I put down the headphones.  I wrote down what God told me.  These were all three very small steps that set up my day to be remarkable.  In these tiny steps of obedience I learned that for each step you take, the Lord takes a mile.  God is omnipotent.  He has the power to do anything, but I believe that He often waits for us to make a move.  What better way is there for us to show faith?  And love?  And then there are those times where it feels like we keep taking more and more steps and yet we see nothing.  I believe that He is still moving.  That is where true faith comes in, the kind of faith that Jesus mentioned in John 20:29.  Faith in that which you cannot see.

     I learned something else that day.  Okay, I learned a lot of lessons that day, but one that I have to tell you.  Every hour spent with God is an hour spent in victory.  To me, God is not invisible.  I see Him in His creation, in little things like sunsets and tall trees.  These wonders are reflections of their Creator.  Man, if those are just reflections, I cannot begin to imagine the mind-blowing beauty of the Lord.  Every second spent serving this indescribable God is not deserved yet freely given.  And the enemy tries to distract and persuade us away from this!  He uses excuses like being too busy or having time later on me all the time, so I bet he uses it on others too.  He really isn't that creative.  Another way that my time of victory is robbed is when my mind and heart are not fully engaged.  It's like I'm having dinner with God but texting someone else the whole time.  Sure I still eat, but the quality and purpose is completely lost.

     Compared to the insane amount of love and sacrifice the Lord pours on us, He does not ask for much.  However, what He does ask for often seems like way too much in the moment.  Or like it's not a big deal so why even bother.  I am making it a personal goal to look for the little steps I can take, the minor moments where I can say "yes" to God so that when the bigger moments come I already know how.  On Thursday, May 7, I put down my headphones.  It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Treasures in Trash

     As a kid, I had many aspirations.  I thought maybe I'd be a teacher, psychologist, or maybe even president.  I thought I'd do incredible things like climb mountains and make great speeches.  Never, ever in my life did I see myself picking up trash.

     Trash is gross.  There is no way around that fact.  It stinks and has germs and is ugly.  Yet, on this trip one of my team's favorite things to do was pick up trash.  Why? When we humbled ourselves to perform this job, the Lord chose to reveal Himself to us in entirely new ways.  On my team of 12, I heard stories from around half of them of what God showed them while picking up trash.  I remember being amazed by this.  Sure, I had enjoyed my time praying while cleaning our assigned location, but I wasn't having any extreme revelations.  However, on our last day picking up trash, the Lord spoke.

     There were way too many of us at this location.  At least, that's what I thought until I really got cleaning.  I started just picking up a piece of trash here and there, but then I found my spot.  It was a gap in the ground that had a very nice layering of grossness on it's surface.  I hopped in and got to work, not realizing what I had just gotten myself into.  I was at one 3 by 5 foot spot for over an hour.  Whenever I thought I had made progress, I found another stash to be picked up!  It was actually humorous how much trash there was to be picked up on this one little spot compared to what I was expecting.

     Remember the lady I told you about yesterday?  When we spoke about Isis, she said she tries every day to forgive them, but then hatred boils up again.  She told me that she doesn't even think they are human, that they are actually devils.  For a second, I agreed with her.  How can humans commit such awful sins against humans?  But while picking up trash, God showed me His answer to me.

     Underneath layers and layers of trash, there is still ground.  No matter how much trash is piled upon the ground, that does not change that it is ground.  The ground doesn't get to choose what trash is piled upon it.  That is not to say that the ground doesn't allow weeds to grow too, but trash is literally thrown upon the ground, polluting it, without any say from the ground.  How much grossness has been forced upon many hearts?  Piled until the heart is barely recognizable and a "devil" is left in its place.  Yet God still sees the heart beyond the trash.

     When God showed this to me, I said "but God, I cannot ever fully clean this ground."  It was true.  Even if I picked up every large piece of trash, the ground would still have the shriveled remains of bags that had deteriorated.  Shards of glass would have still been left untouched.  Yet God said "but I can."

     It is not my job to fix the world.  I cannot heal broken hearts or tear down barricades around them.  That will never be my job, and for that I am thankful.  However, it is my job to say yes.  Every day I have to choose to say yes to the Lord and all that He desires from me.  It is a joy to say yes, because even if I cannot melt a frozen heart I can trust that when I follow the Holy Spirit's prompting I can be used to put a stitch on a wound or a chip in a wall.  Saying yes to God is all I am responsible to do.  The rest is in His very capable hands.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Unforgettable Individuals

     I'm an extrovert, so having a conversation is like breathing to me.  Yes, they are necessary to life for me, but not something that I really think about.  More of a natural thing.  I had countless conversations on this trip, but like most breaths, almost all of them will be forgotten.  However, two people I spoke to left such an impression on my heart that forgetting them is impossible.

     One woman I spoke to translated for a youth service we did in Bethlehem.  She was upbeat and positive, but upon truly getting to know her it was apparent that her life is full of pain.  She is a member of what we call the persecuted church.  She doesn't fit in with the Muslims for obvious reasons but also cannot get along with traditional Christians.  Her kids get in verbal fights at their catholic school until they finally silence themselves about their faith.  She can't let her kids play at the park because the other kids won't accept them.  Her kids aren't allowed to run two minutes away to the store for candy because the streets aren't safe for them.  I cannot imagine trying to explain to my children why they cannot live like the others around them.  She lives in fear of Isis mere hours and checkpoints away.  I had the honor of praying for her that day, and I continue to keep her and the rest of her church family in my thoughts and prayers.

     At a block party hosted by a church, I sat down to have what turned into the most insightful conversation of my life with a 90-year-old man.  He was charming and had kind eyes and became like a father to me.  What I thought would be five minutes of chatting turned into two hours of learning about his past joys and pains.  He was originally from Jerusalem but was made into a refugee and relocated to Bethlehem after Israel was reestablished as a nation.  He went by Abu Jonny because his oldest son's name was Jonny.  My dad's name in that regard is Abu Jonny too, so we connected on that fact.  His son Jonny passed away, which he told me while holding back tears.  He has lost so much, yet his love of life and love for God shine through it all.  He taught me the value of family.  Yes, he told me about his past job as a judge and bus driver instructor, but the only thing that really mattered to him was his loved ones.  It reminded me that when everything is said and done, family will be all that is left.

     I'm sorry that I could only scratch the surface on what these two showed me.  I can't fit into one blog post what was said and how it changed me.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Training Week

I truly intended to update everyone throughout the trip, but it became apparent early on that I needed a break.  I needed to take a rest from social media and any obligation other than serving and growing.  However, my trip is officially over and I am ready to share my awesome experience to anyone who will listen.  Although I went on a two week mission trip, I really had three weeks of growth because of training week.  I have honestly never taken as huge of a step towards hearing the voice of the Lord as I did in my week spent training with my team.

On the first day of training, my team maneuvered itself through what we call low ropes which was a series of various team building challenges.  It proved to be a mix of victories and frustration but served its purpose of bringing my team closer together and forcing us to trust each other beyond what is comfortable.  From simple trust falls to maneuvering each other through tied up string like a sack of potatoes, my team learned how to literally carry each other through rough spots.
                Highlight:  This day was when I learned how to pray constantly.  The facilitator had us pray while doing things like carrying one of our team members from one course to another.  During my trip, this day rang as a reminder that while doing the most mundane tasks like picking up trash I could be praying for the people of Israel or even the specific people who discarded the trash.

Tuesday, my team received evangelism training in the morning and then had athletic challenges in the afternoon.  The evangelism training was unlike any other training that I have ever received and it truly did its job of showing how to make presenting the gospel less nerve racking.  Athletics was an incredible physical challenging in its mental and physical pushing.  I loved that the training pushed every single member but it was not individually driven.  Each goal was set as a team and we either reached or failed those goals together.
                Highlight:  The Lord pretty clearly told me that I was going to have to be vulnerable and share a piece of myself at evangelism training.  When the time came, I thought He’d want me to somehow weave my story into a sermon, but it turned out that all I had to do was openly share.  It was incredible to see how others were able to relate to my story and how a simple moment of vulnerability could be used to bless others and myself.

On Wednesday we had the privilege of doing what we call towers which is basically high ropes.  We did a rock wall, this crazy contraption called the Wobbly Woozy, and then the group climbing wall where the only way over the wall was pure teamwork.
Highlight:  My absolute favorite was the Wobbly Woozy where we all paired up and had to walk across a line that became continually more and more distant.  The interesting thing about the Wobbly Woozy is that there really is no way to “win” because eventually you and your partner are simply too far apart to not fall off, but it is an awesome challenge to try to make it to that point.  I was absolutely terrified and felt like I was going t fall immediately, but my team leader Adam and I somehow managed to make it very far on the line simply by trusting each other. 

Thursday was an amazing break because our day started at 10 AM instead of the usual 8 AM.  This was our day of Bible and Ministry prep, so we got to dissect a chapter from Matthew and work on our skits and other ministry tools.  The team definitely needed this moment of rest.  I did my best to take the extra time we were given to invest in my personal growth.
                Highlight:  My team and I broke down Matthew 13 as individuals but then came together and shared little pieces we pulled out.  This training set me up for a time during my trip of truly divulging God’s word and loving every second of it.

The final day of training we had our most practical day which we call scenarios.  We went through various situations as a team that are like the ones that we are likely to face on the field.  The most hilarious one for me was where they fed us disgusting food for us to practice being culturally sensitive.  The harshest scenario was when we went to a home with an abusive Muslim man and then to top that off there was a call to prayer.  That one really got my team and made us think.  That afternoon we practiced outdoor ministry and running a church service.
Highlight:  At the practice church service, we did a couple skits and then ended with a testimony from one of our girls.  Even though it was just practice, our team as well as our practice audience was absolutely moved and this led to a time of prayer where we started to share the things that weigh heavily on our hearts.

Every evening of training week we finished off with a service.  They were started off with amazing worship from various teams which was followed by a sermon and then some fun skits from us.  The last night was a bit different because we heard testimonies, took time to thank our staff, and then broke into our teams to prophecy and pray over each member.  That night was by far my favorite.

Training week was just the beginning.  I promise that more stories are coming over the next few weeks!  Please keep me accountable in my sharing.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Meet the Team

Hey Everyone!

In less than one month I will be done with training and on my way to Israel.  Wow.  I am so amazed by how quickly time is moving.  I want to thank you all for your prayers and support.  In case you missed the Facebook posts, I raised 100% of my funds!  God is amazing.  If it’s okay with you all, I would love to go ahead and introduce you to my team.

My team is full of world changers.  With six guys and six girls, we all work as a cohesive blend to balance each other out.  I have been amazed by the fluidity that we experience because each of them have pure intentions and desires when it comes to missions.  They are all on a journey in which they strive to run the race that the Lord has placed in front of them at full speed.  Our meetings contain both laughter and tears, silly moments woven together by the sharing of what brings us joy and pain.  We are a group of random ORU students that are doing life together and the results have been breathtaking.  We haven’t even truly started training yet I would go anywhere with these outstanding individuals.  Here is a little bit about each of them:

Adam Giedd:  Adam is my co-leader on this trip and he leads with an amazing blend of humility, structure, and grace.  He is one of the smartest guys I know and I am so blessed to be able to serve with him.  Adam and I love to joke that in the “good cop bad cop” scenario we are both bad cops, but let’s be real, he is as soft as a puppy when it comes down to it.

Macy Cochran:  Macy is my dear friend who also lives on my floor this year.  She has a beautiful singing voice and loves coffee.  Her presence calms me down and I learn something from her in every interaction.  She and I relate on what we enjoy, hate, and the life struggles that we face which leads to incredible conversations full of growth.

Connor McGraw:  Connor is an engineering student, so I often get to see the nerdy side of him.  He is hilarious, but not in a loud way, and loves a good competition.  He loves Lord of the Rings more than most things.  When he focuses, he is not easily deterred.  Anyone who meets Connor cannot help but smile when they think of him.

Brenale Johnson:  Brenale connects with my heart because of her pure passion for dancing.  She is very honest and when she experiences joy it is a beautiful sight.  I love how real she is and that she avoids pretenses and masks.  I have never seen her be anything but kind to any person.

Seth Huber:  Seth is that amazing gem that you have to dig to find.  He is quieter, but once you get to know him you get to see his integrity, wisdom, and best of all his goofy personality.  He has a quirky smile that never fails to make me smile back.  Seth has a heart to serve that is rare in its selflessness.

Amy Escobar:  Amy is a leader.  She takes initiative and goes the extra mile because that is what she enjoys.  She is stylish and loves playing around with makeup, so she always looks amazing.  Her exterior only scratches the surface of her inner gorgeous self.  Amy is that person who comes up with ways to support my team without me even thinking to ask.

Hunter Zier:  Hunter is a fun yet serious individual with a professional persona.  He holds honest values and shows extreme dedication to his friends.  He is literally so great to hang out with because he is respectful and genuinely cares about those in his life.  Oh, and he is an RA so we are totally buds from that too.

Bella Ortega:  Bella is charming and expressive.  When she tells a story she captures her audience without trying.  She is game for anything that is good and fun, and she loves a good laugh.  Bella looks for ways to grow and develop in every opportunity.  She is a bubbly spirit that is full of delight.

Jonas Tucker-Alleyne:  Jonas has one of the hugest personalities that I have ever seen.  He has the passion of a preacher, the persuasion of a salesman, and the power of a cannon.  I feel like he could sell water to someone who already has plenty but instead goes and finds those who don’t.  I hope that makes sense haha.

Paola Robayo:  Paola works harder than almost anyone I know.  She shows devotion to her job and studies yet still makes time to learn about various subjects that she simply finds interesting.  She is the image of peace.  She was the most recent addition to our team, and she definitely was our finishing touch.

Samuel Oudraogo:  Samuel doesn’t laugh often, but when he does it is thunderous.  He makes hilarious sly comments that brighten up my day.  He thinks on his feet and is ready for anything life can throw his way.  He also has an amazing accent that makes it super fun to talk to him.

This Wednesday my team has been tasked to reach 100% of their funds.  Many of them still need support, and if anyone would like to support them visit
and enter our team name (NAPHTALI) and then enter one of the members names listed above or my name and it will be distributed to those who need it.  

God bless you all and thank you so much for your support and prayers.  I promise to update again once training starts in May.