The Purpose in My Art

There are very few times, as a musician, that you truly feel like you're doing something meaningful with your art. For me, anyway, I tend to see the sea of singers, writers and seemingly millions of guitar players, and forget that I have a voice. That I have something valid to offer. The day I learned my first song, beginning to end, I thought I'd never learn anything else. The day I wrote my first song, I thought I'd hit my limit. The day I played my first show, I almost threw up and said I'd never do it again. The day I led worship for the first time, I knew it was why God gave me that skill. The most fulfilled I'd ever been in my art. Today I got that feeling again.

As I sat in the living room, guitar next to me, reading and conversating, I heard the boys outside on the porch. They're a rowdy bunch of boys that come over each day. They play futbol and tag until eventually, someone gets hurt and it's time to go home. But today they stood on the porch, looking in the window, listening to our every word. And then they spotted it. "Is that a piano?!" I couldn't help but laugh, but then I realized they were serious. They'd never seen one of these before. I asked them some questions... "Have you seen this? Have you heard this before?" The response was a choir of "No's". As I walked out onto the porch, they gathered 'round. I started with one of my absolute favorite worship songs, "Hosanna". They sat and stared, looking at me, looking inside the guitar, putting their ears on the strings. It was a beauty I'd never seen before. The look in their eyes was absolutely magical. The smiles on their faces were gleaming. As I finished the song they stood and cheered. One kept saying "Wow, wow!", while the others danced and laughed and begged for more. We sat out there for a good hour playing everything that came to mind, until they had to go home.

That experience... I don't think I could forget it. I don't know how I could look at myself, and my gift, and not see meaning. In each passion that God gives us, He plans such a unique way of using it, and I am so thankful for the times that I get to see that take place. I had to share this as my encouragement to take hold of your passions and use them for God's glory! He is prepared to bless you in every good work!


First Home

“People from my first home say I'm brave. They tell me I'm strong. They pat me on the back and say, 'Way to go. Good job.' But the truth is, I am not really very brave; I am not really very strong; and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am simply doing what God has called me to do as a person who follows Him. He said to feed His sheep and He said to care for 'the least of these,' so that's what I'm doing, with the help of a lot people who make it possible and in the company of those who make my life worth living.”
― Katie J. Davis, Kisses from Katie It's still hard for me to believe that I've found any sort of home, here in Africa. As someone who grew up thinking I'd probably never leave the States, I still marvel on a daily basis that I'm even here. That God called me and has an incredible plan to use me in this place. Day to day life is beautiful. My relationship with the Lord grows closer and closer. The perspective I've gained over a few months would span years in America. And so I say this with some hesitation... I miss my first home.

I almost hate to be that honest with myself, let alone anyone else, but I think this needs to be documented. I'll need to look back on this experience the next time I go on the mission field, remembering only the good times that bore so much fruit. The good news is I've got plenty of those memories to look back on. But today - this week - I miss my first home. This is the week I would've been back. The week I would've seen my friends, gone for coffee, hugged my mom for hours while crying in her arms over all the things I've seen. This is the week. But I'm here. I'm staying. And I'm so thankful for that. If I were home, right now, doing all those things, I would know I missed out. I would know that God had more from me here and I didn't stay to see what He would do. This quote hit home for me because I talk about this very thing all the time. The "bravery" of the mission field. The "strength" of those who step out into what God has called them to. By no means am I more brave than anyone else. By no means am I stronger in any sense of the word. But God called me and therefore I went. I know this doesn't sound like any sort of encouraging message, but I hope it is. If I can do this, you can too. Taking the step may be hard, the process may challenge you, the road won't be easy. But if it's what God is calling you to, it'll be more rewarding than anything you've ever done. You'll find the support of your loved ones overwhelming on those days you miss your first home. You'll discover that God's grace and comfort are beyond anything you could've imagined. You'll discover your life.


One Month

Officially, it's been a little over a month since I've been here, but I delayed in writing my one month post, so here you go :) It's been a nutty ride, so far! To be honest, for the first few weeks I felt a real lack of progress. On my last visit to this beautiful country I was only here for two short weeks and we made the most of it. Constantly going every day: visiting orphans, widows, hospitals, prisons... I felt useful. This time around is so different. Beautifully different. I hit the road with multiple interviews - hearing great stories - great tales of God's glory and grace. It was powerful and sweet, but somehow, it didn't quite feel right. Like it wasn't what I was here for. I was almost discouraged. Then I got malaria, and I was fully discouraged. I practically spent three days in bed, most certainly not useful, and not sure how to turn that around.

Finally, I opened my eyes and saw past the fog. I realized my mission here isn't a "mission". I'm here to live with these people, love on them and show them Jesus. My greatest work isn't in standing up and teaching them, but sitting down and listening to them. Soon after I found a specific calling in reaching out to young women. Hearing their stories, helping in any way I can (which almost never feels like enough), and encouraging them in the Lord. The way these young ladies love is incredible to me. The way they trust blows my mind. As is always the case, I'm being far more blessed by them than they are by me. I thank you all so much for your prayers and support during this time. The first few weeks were a rough ride, but the tides have turned. Jesus has calmed the storm, as He so faithfully does.

[I'm also very determined to get photos of these people smiling. These are my successes thus far.]


Bijjaba, Uganda

This weekend I had the incredible opportunity to venture out to a village a few hours away. It was a completely new experience that I absolutely loved. Going such a small distance, the culture changed so much and our mission out there was great. We went for two open air crusades and a church plant, both of which are so different from anything I've seen in the States. Plus, I got to go out deeper into the village for a day and meet the people out there. It was absolutely beautiful and I could not have enjoyed it more.
The hardest part was seeing the need there. Sure, it's all around, but this was worse. So much worse. They're currently in a dry season that's lasted much too long. Their bananas are diseased and have produce no fruit, which means they have no food and no money. The overall feeling there is desperation. And the kids. Most of the kids are half naked, none of the kids have shoes. And they all have jiggers that have completely ruined their feet. It was so hard to see, but I absolutely know that there is something we can do about it. From the moment I saw, I knew this was my mission to complete. So I've started a fund-raiser to pay for shoes and treatment for these kids. I know I can only make a dent in the problem, but it's a dent that needs to be made. There are 400 kids that need help and shoes cost $2 each. $2! So I've set a goal of $1,000 to take back treatment and shoes. It can change these people's lives! I've decided to share because I know so many of you an spare $2, so please, share this link, donate if you can. These children appreciate it! Thank you so much!


Wind, Quake, Fire

Hello everyone! It's been a little bit of a crazy week thus far. I felt like I was finally getting the hang of things and starting to be productive when I got hit with a few obstacles. First an infection, then malaria. Don't worry, it's not as bad as everyone thinks! Just like the flu. Anyway, I was cooped up quite a bit and didn't have a very productive week, but the Lord showed me so much through that time and I wrote and recorded this song, so I wasn't entirely useless! Now that I'm back in full health, I'm very excited for a trip out to the village tomorrow. It will be a whole new experience for me and I cannot wait to see the way they live. I hope to have some great photos and stories to share with you all when I return!


My Sweet Friend, Agness

Hello everyone! I've been very busy around here, between interviews and house-hunting, there's not much down time, and when there is I'm exhausted. Even on days that aren't so busy I find my eyes getting heavy early in the day. Thus I haven't been doing much to keep people updated. But I'm trying! 

I wanted to share the greatest experience I've had with this precious little one, Agness. We met last year (you may remember her photos), and I was hoping to see her again on this trip, but I didn't have a clue of even her name, or if she still lived in the same area. 

[Taken on last year's visit.]

About a week into my visit, as we pulled away from the church one day, I saw her out on the steps of her home. When she saw me, her face lit up like I can't even describe and she came running out to wave as I drove down the driveway. 

The next day I brought her a picture of the two of us together and she introduced me to her family. Since then, each time I arrive at church they're waiting out on the porch. They come running for hugs and it absolutely warms my heart every time. There is something so special about that little family. 

Well, not so little family...

Anyway, aside from that I don't have too many photos to share quite yet. I was almost frustrated by it until I realized that I've only been here two weeks! I feel like it's been so much longer, but the experience of living here longer term has meant not doing so many things every single day (conferences, visiting schools, hospitals, etc.)  Hard to believe that on my last visit I was already heading home. This week we're continuing the search for a home and next week we're going out to the village for four days! I'm truly so excited to see what the Lord does there.


The Beginning

Today I was finally able to begin my project - a book filled to the brim with stories of God's love and redemption. I had the opportunity to interview three people with three great, and very different, stories. It gave me new eyes for this mission and a fresh excitement for what the Lord is doing. Thank you for your prayers! I look forward to sharing more of their stories with you in the days to come.


Lake Victoria

Hello all! I'll just start by saying that I can't even believe where I'm sitting right now. Returning to Uganda has already been (after 3 days) an incredible blessing. It seems there's so much to catch up on, but for now I'll give you a glimpse of a beautiful day of rest. On Saturday there was a leadership retreat at Lake Victoria. I've never been and it was such a treat! The lake covers 26,564 square miles and is absolutely gorgeous. Spending the afternoon and evening there I saw so many beautiful things, and got to spend some time getting to know Shalom and Shaddai. It was absolutely the best way to adjust to a new time zone and a very new way of life.

Since then, I think I've probably eaten every food they have here, learned a handful of words, done laundry by hand, one worship practice, ridden two boda-bodas, IMMUNIZED CHICKENS! I know probably tons of people do that at home, but I never have and it was 400 of them. It blew my mind. Overall, I feel as though I've been here a year, in a great way.  I can't wait to see where the Lord leads this awesome adventure, but I know His plans will absolutely stun me. Thank you all for your prayers and I hope to update you soon!


Change of Heart

It's something I don't often talk about around here, my faith. But I'm realizing that's a problem. It defines my life. Defines who I am. I'll start by saying that I believe in the Living God. One and only. He has drastically changed every aspect of my life, led my way, and shown me an incredible satisfaction in who I am, where I am and what I have. Something that doesn't quite fit in to a fashion blog. Coming back from my recent trip to Uganda, I've struggled in every way imaginable. Missing the people. Missing the country. Missing the incredible passion for a spirit-filled life that just doesn't exist in America. And it's all bringing me to the conclusion that my heart is changed and I'll never be the same. Ever.

My days are spent like never before. My desires are almost backward. And I crave the same for every person that I love. For every person that I see. God is incredible. God is good. And God has a spectacular plan. When I left Uganda, I knew I was going back. Not when or how, but I knew. After only being back for a month, I'm already on track to go back and the Lord has confirmed this path for me over and over.

All that being said, I came to the realization a few nights ago that I will most likely be poor(financially) and somewhat homeless for the rest of my life. Whether here, in Africa, or wherever else God leads, my heart is in missions and I can't imagine anything holding me back from that. And guess what. It costs a lot. I've stated before that I've never had a boyfriend/relationship and I now know that it's because I was created for something more. If I have that, I'll find it in a man with a heart for missions as well. My desire isn't for a husband who provides financially, but spiritually.

I know this is probably starting to feel like my own personal journal, but bare with me. This is ALL to say that I've changed and so has my blog. This isn't a fashion blog any longer. Sure, I'd love to share clothes and fun ideas from time to time. But the focus is now on who I really am. Who I really love. What I really care about. I hope you'll stay along for the ride!

xo, Bruklyn


I Left My Heart in Africa

In my last few posts, I've talked a lot about "big changes". New job, vacation, kitten... honestly, I don't know what these BIG changes really were. I suppose they were all a first step to a truly big change. A life-altering trip to Uganda.

There is not an ounce of me that can truly describe what I experienced there. When people ask about the trip, I'm instantly overwhelmed with answers and emotions. The impact made on my life over a short two weeks couldn't be measured. Things that were once important have no pull on me. Hopes and dreams are gone. My heart wants nothing more than to be back there, but I'm learning to be content right here. Honestly, I'm struggling.

I look through these photos 15 times a day. I've got them framed, printed for an album, on my computer... there are TONS. I've become useless to the world! I think going back to work this week will help me re-assimilate myself, but I'm not sure I want to lose the feeling. I don't want to forget the people or the places. The lives. I know this isn't uncommon. People struggle with it daily. People in the group I went with are in the very same place. But what does one do? How do I maintain a balance of happiness here and my desire to go back? I need prayer, guys! I miss these faces...