Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frustrations and Conversations of Love

Life is busy around here lately.... and I'm exhausted. I'm beginning to think I have some sort of sleep disorder... 

We had a graduation on Friday of last week, Julie, who'd been in the program for awhile, made it to the end of Shelterwood. She was one of the ones I'd had the most difficulty with. It was more of a power struggle than anything. I think with her, I really learned that strength and calm in the moment were the best thing... and then after that, follow up was key. I wasn't that close to her, but learned a lot from her. It will be cool to see where she goes in life. 

We have two graduations tomorrow. In the morning, we have a high school graduation, where only one girl will graduate. But, sadly, not from Shelterwood. She is leaving the program after almost 2 years. Then, in the afternoon, a girl I spoke about earlier, "Jenny", will graduate from Shelterwood. Its really exciting to see how far she has come. Please keep her in your prayers that she comes to know the Lord. Hopefully that will happen soonish. 

I had this past weekend off, and like always, it went by so fast. It was good, but sad that its not longer. Our weekends are Friday at noon to Sunday at 8pm. My "job" in the house is house chores, assigning and checking, and giving consequences when necessary. I change chores on Sunday evenings. So, when I got back tonight, I was switching the chores, and since we're losing 3 people in one week, chores are tricky! I almost had to assign double chores to a girl, lets call her "Kim", and I told her that I was going to do that. The two chores that I was going to double up are both relatively easy: Breakfast, which is preparing/serving drinks and cleanup of tables, and snack, which is taking down the snack items at mealtime and before bed. "Kim" threw a huge fit, like was ANGRY at me for doing that. I felt disrespected, and told her so. She told me she was trying to not be disrespectful, and had to walk away. AH! I let her go, but let me tell you, my blood was boiling! "Kim" and I have had something similar to what Julie and I had, a power struggle of sorts. But, she does have some major things going on in her I think. It hurts sometimes to think that they take out their frustrations on me, but I'm really trying to not make it personal. That is something you can pray for me about. THEN, ha, and no, it doesn't stop there. THEN, had to have a talk with one of my little's about a "rumor" that I heard. When I confronted her, she denied it. That makes my heart so sad. So so so sad. THEN... I'm on night coverage right now, and one of the girls in the room where I'm got angry at me for giving her early bedtime for being out of bed. The rule is black and white, not grey all over. She continued being disrespectful, and I tried to be so calm! AH! Sometimes all I wanna do are yell dollar words and 3 work hour words! 

So all that frustration to say that I don't know what kind of spiritual warfare is happening in this house, or what kind of things are going on in these girls, but its exhausting! I think that three girls leaving has something to do with it. It makes me super sad though that taking it out on me is the only way they see out. 

OH! I have a praise! On Thursday night, I had an awesome conversation with the house president, one of the girls, and that shes sick of how the little's treat me with disrespect. It sort of feels good to have someone on the other side that has our backs, but its also weird. I really like this girl, and I hope to have a really awesome relationship with her. She was the informant of the rumor, and I know it was hard for her to be so honest, BUT I LOVED IT! I love that she came to me. I love that. AH! So good.  

So, I hope that you see that all that junk that happened tonight was worth it already because of the one really, really good conversation I had on Thursday. I'm not trying to complain, I guess what my blog is for me is a venting system. I need one of those!

Break starts Tuesday, only two girls will be staying for Christmas. It will be so nice to only have 2 girls! So sweet. I'm looking forward to down time. I have 6 days off after Christmas! YAY! I don't know what I'm doing yet, but hopefully I will know soon!

Things you can be praying for:
1. My confidence level in hard relationships, hard conversations, and giving consequences.
2. My stress and anxiety level, that it drops dramatically. 
3. The hard relationships and hard conversations, that I learn something from both, and that I can learn to work through them. 
4. My own attitude, towards the little's especially. Its hard sometimes to have a good one. 
5. Encouragement. I need some. 

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


My expectations are constantly being eclipsed by the realities of life at Shelterwood.... Its been intense the past week or so, and I keep forgetting that we cannot hold these kids to a standard that we could hold to any "normal" teenager. I think I'm learning to not have any expectations because things can change in an instant.

We had what felt like a surprise intake, but in reality, I think I found out about it right after I blogged last. We got two new girls in the same week ("Anna" and "Taylor")... talk about chaos. More like controlled chaos. The rest of the girls warmed to the new girls, but were also on their "best behavior" as they got to know them right away. "Anna" is sweet, but I'm actually waiting to see her bad side. She is still sad and upset about being here, as it was a surprise to her. "Taylor" is almost the opposite of Anna, she is sweet though, but is more outgoing and sassy. She also didn't know she was coming, but since she is familiar about Shelterwood, she is more relaxed about being here. Having "levels" in the house is a different feel and different setting because they are foot restricted, meaning they have to be within 5 feet of a big at all times. It can be trying at times being fully and constantly aware of someone, but its also good that its their responsibility to move when you do, and there are consequences if not. The first three weeks are the hardest for these kids, so I'm asking that you pray for Anna and Taylor, and all of us bigs, as we're in for a long few weeks.

Christmas is coming so fast! I cannot believe it! It seems like it was just last year when I was in Maui for my last Hawaiian Christmas. I wasn't working, and it was glorious. I guess it seems like it was just a few months ago because I haven't really done much since then... well, okay, I've done a lot, but it feels like I haven't done anything. HA. I really do work a lot, so that's funny. Anyways, I am going to be here for Christmas, which is fine by me, I don't have the money to go anywhere. The two new littles are going to be here for break, and possibly a few more kids. Breaks are fun because we really don't have any structure, and get to just hang out and do fun things with the kids. I'm looking forward to that time!

Prayer Requests this week:
1. A stress free week ahead, like I said, its been chaos.
2. Safety of all the girls.
3. Again, for financial provisions, I'm struggling a bit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Post Break... and a New Dawn

Sadly, Thanksgiving break has come and gone (in about 6 hours). I was lucky enough to get to actually leave for the break... something I'm sure the Lord provided. And, actually, I was lucky enough to have a friend lend me her car so I could leave.

I went to Joplin, Missouri for 5 days. Its only about a 2 hour drive, something that I'm not really used to anymore! It was a fun drive down.... in the middle of Missouri. I met Cassidy this summer at Hume... again, totally the Lord, providing a friend for me who would live close... how great! I had Thanksgiving with Cassidy and her family, it was so fun. On Saturday, we all trekked up to St. Louis for the State Football game at the Rams' stadium! Cassidy's younger brother plays, so of course, we HAD to go. It was another fun road trip, about 4.5 hours, and I read the whole way. Their team won, so that was awesome to be a part of. The bonus, I got to take some fun pics of the arch, which was right by the stadium. I spent a lot of time with Cass and her friends and family, and it was great to experience life outside of Shelterwood for longer than 2.5 days!!

Things in our house are in constant chaos. I received some disheartening information recently, and its still killing me. Its such a hard thing to process and live with, and I'm hoping that things don't get any worse or go south.

We're getting another girl on Wednesday. This hasn't really happened yet, so it will be interesting. We had an intake a few months ago, but she was going to our Kansas City property and stayed only 3 days. I'm interested to see how the girls react to her, and what she is like. It will be an adjustment, but hopefully an easy one at that.

A few things you can pray for:
1. A peace of mind for our house, for all the bigs and house directors
2. Our new little "Anna", that she be welcomed
3. Financial provisions looking into the new year
Thanks for reading... its such an encouragement! Keep in touch!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another one leaves our nest....

Yesterday was the 2nd graduation (for girls) that I've been able to be a part of. Jordan, the sweet and silly one, graduated high school and Shelterwood. Its strange to see them all leave. All two of them. In December, we have 4 more graduating! AH. Talk about weird. The picture below is of Jordan (L), and Adrian (R), who both just graduated. Adrian's graduation was 2 weeks ago, but she came back!

I thought for sure a few months ago, that I would not be able to do anything for the Holidays. Well, turns out, I am wrong, at least for Thanksgiving. I have a friend from Hume, Cassidy, who lives in Joplin, Missouri, about 2 hours away. God is so good. Also, since I thought I wouldnt be going anywhere, the House Directors picked my days off so that I could be more flexible to help others who needed specific days off. So, I got 5 days off in a ROW, and I get to go see my dear friend Cassidy. How exciting. The Lord is truly providing for that need... which is needing to get the heck outta here for a few days. Whats funny though, is that I have 3 days off, starting now, and I have ALL THIS time to hang out and not do too much. Its so nice... but also strange, because I havn't had this much time off since last year this time... 3 full months off. Im keeping occupied with free Branson shows (SO amazing), good friends, movies and books.

I have two days on next week, and one of the days will be spent doing airport runs, and the other, we dont have any kids... so its FREEEEEEEEEEEEEE TIME for me. Will I really need it though? Most likely not.
I went to two light show drive through things this week... I've included a few photos of that for you!

Happy Thanksgiving! Its almost Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A LONG week... but many blessings.

Its been such a hard week for me. I've learned SOOO much, but at the same time, this is one of the hardest weeks I've had here. 

Part of LeadTime, and actually, part of working for Doulos, is having times to serve and give back to the community. We have serve day every Thursday, and last week, we had our Thanksgiving Serve Projects. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we were split into teams of staff, LT, and kids, and were sent out to serve. 

On Wednesday, my team was on raking. I was astonished at the amount of leaves on the ground at the TWO houses we went to. The first house's yard was HUGE. Probably a good 50 yards, think half of a football field ish. And that was just the front yard... and, the leaves were at least 4 inches thick on the ground. It was crazy! I really havent seen that many leaves in my entire life. The couple who lived there had been married for something like 61 years, and had lived in the house for 35 years. What a blessing to be a blessing to him and his wife. 6 hours of raking, and a huge reward. 

On Thursday, we were assigned to a building project, or rather, tearing down a house. We had the opportunity to help out the area Habitat for Humanity by demolishing a house so they could rebuild for a family in need. We tore out windows, and moved cement blocks, took off the porch... etc. It was cool to see that process. But, the best part about the day was when we found love letters in the attic. Dated back to probably the 70's or 80's, we dont really know when. It was really fun to read the letters and cards, and figure out their lives. It was quite the thriller. 

And, my favorite day, Friday. I looked forward to this all week. We got to deliver Thanksgiving Food Baskets to people in need. Talk about Humbling. We delivered 11 baskets, and every time, I was so convicted about how I live, and those less fortunate than me. It was an incredible day, helping others to enjoy the upcoming holiday. We talked with one lady for about 10 minutes, and she was so sweet, and vibrant, and charismatic. Precious. My heart has a passion for moments like I had that day. 

So, on top of all of that, I slept in the house for 3 nights, and it was crazy. I think the girls were stir crazy, and just all of the circumstances... I had a rough few days. I got yelled at, confronted, walked away from, dang. All kinds of things. It really hurt my heart and my spirit. But, the Lord is teaching me about follow up and confrontation this week. Its cool, really cool, but so hard. I had some really great follow up conversations with the girls who hurt me, telling them they did. It was freeing to be able to speak to them in such a way that frees me from hurt. 

Also, today, almost a week later, I've had some really great conversations with other girls, and I got to include GOD! Usually I dont get to, or dont make the opportunity to. These girls are Christians, so its a bit easier to "slip" it in. Gosh, every single hard moment is erased completely by the good moments and good conversations. It makes living here worth it. Not that it wouldnt be worth it, but it goes to show everyone on the "outside" that this ministry and this program WORKS. How incredible!

We have another graduation this week, Im so excited! Its really fun to get to see the end of the journey. I know her well enough to say that she is going to succeed in this life! 

Like I said, this week has been about follow up and confrontation. I really feel that the Lord is moving in me and through me to the littles, and its so exciting. Also, I walked into this year feeling lonely and weird that I'm 24 and still single. After much thinking and praying, and heartbreak, I can actually say that Im content with where God has me. I know that He is going to be faithful in this area of my life, as He has been faithful in so many other ways. Its incredible to have a changed mindset. It took awhile, but how GREAT is our GOD. Who knows what He has for me, but I'll be ready when it happens :)

Im looking forward to Thanksgiving break! It starts this weekend! I have 8 DAYS OFF! They're split up, but thats okay because by Wednesday, ALLLLLL of the girls will be GONE! How awesome. PARTY! No, not really, only figuratively. It will be fun! Im just ready for more than 2 days off in a row. :)

I guess I have one more thing to add... actually a story. Today I went thrift store shopping with another big, and we went to a store that we've helped at several times. The owner runs the store for a ministry/shelter for women. She noticed that we were familiar, and asked where we were from, and when we said Doulos, she got teary eyed, and asked for help. Her daughter is young, 18, and just had a baby. She is on psych meds, and is slowly detaching from her baby, and making bad choices, etc. She was crying by this point, saying that she had a family ready to take the baby when her daughter was ready. We were standing there almost awestruck and teary too. How vulnerable she was, and so desperate. She considered Shelterwood last year, but couldnt afford it (its middle range in the big picture of res. care) as a single parent. She was practically begging us to mentor her daughter, or to find SOMETHING to help her.  WOW. I was so humbled, and promised to do what I could. That poor baby boy, in the middle of it all. So, I guess why I wanted to share this is to show the impact of Doulos on the community, as well as how incredible God is to use my off time to minister to real people. AND, so that you can help me pray for this family.  

1. Two littles got saved on Sunday! Im praying that its genuine and that it sticks. Be praying too!

Prayer Requests:
1. For my continued trust in the Lord, in the way of finances, healing of past things, and new things too. 
2. For the graduate! Pray that she is able to transition well into this harsh world we live in. 
3. That the littles continue on the right path, and that they can see why they are where they are, and that this is just a season in their life. 
4.  For the family in the last part... mom, daughter and baby boy... that they find help and restoration. For peace in their lives, and that the Lords will be done in their lives. 

Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. Im so blessed by it!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall is a beautiful thing!

Fall in Branson... its so beautiful! The leaves change almost daily, and its finally starting to feel cold. Not that I was avoiding it or anything, but last week was so warm! Im thankful to have to use my coat this week.

We had 2 graduations on Friday. It was amazing to see how the Lord works in the lives of the kids and families. Because of privacy, Im not allowed to talk about my littles, but now that shes out, I can! Adrian, 18, from Texas, graduated! I've only known her two months, but I've seen a major change. The Lord truly works here, if only you could witness it first hand.

We have 14 girls left in the house, with one graduating in a few weeks, and some graduating next month. I think that by the end of January, we will have 6 girls left. Currently, there is no one on our waiting list, and its said that girls will go to the Kansas City Property before us. But, who knows what could happen. Please pray for these girls, that the Lord be working in them and through me and the LeadTimers. There is one girl specifically (lets call her Jenny) that does not know the Lord, but through a potential crush, is getting to see God. Pray for her heart that HE works on it, and that we're here to help.

THIS is exactly why Im here. I am part parent, part sister, part friend, part mentor, part everything else. So I could use your prayer as well.

Prayer requests:
1. Financial peace.
2. "Jenny", that she comes to know the Lord before going home.
3. That Adrian continues on a path of righteousness before heading to YWAM!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prayer and Supplication

I've been learning a lot about prayer and supplication this week. 

Its been a long week. Our house deals with a new thing, a new vice, a new fad each week. Usually, its on the negative side. Im having a hard time dealing with this myself, wondering why the heck these things happen. BUT, I am so encouraged by the Love of God, and who I am in Christ. I have been learning to pray about my attitude, and give everything over to my creator... with no buts. 

My life is busy, so I apologize for not responding, or calling, or texting, or whatever as often as I should or have in the past. It is my desire to do better in this area, so keep with me people, Im on it. 

It is my prayer that the kids, all 15 girls, recognize the voice of the Lord as I have, and maybe you have. We have a graduation this week, and I couldnt be more proud of her. Please pray for her as she ventures out into this world, and onto bigger and better things. 

I have some prayer requests...

1. This may sound silly, but I am in need of a printer, but I dont exactly have the funds to pay for one. Please pray that this material need is met. 

2. I am sitting well financially for the next few months, but one of my student loans is coming out of defferment soon. I am looking ahead to my financial need, and there is a need. Please pray that the Lord provide for me in this, and that I have a peace about this will of His. If the Lord is calling you to give, please pray.

3. My dad's wife's health is mediocre right now. She is heading into a gamma ray treatment on Thursday, and we are optimistic that it will work. Please pray for healing, and the Lord's will in this.

4. I need more rest! Please pray that the Lord provide time for me to get rest, and please pray that I find rest in Him, and His word. 

Monday, October 20, 2008


Well, alright. Its been a crazy two weeks. Basically what the whole thing comes down to is Spiritual Warfare and how to fight it. Sometimes I feel so lost, and feel like I dont know what the heck Im doing. I realize that I was once a teenager, but honestly, you only hear about kids that have these kind of issues. Im actually working with them. I dont think the "novelty", if you can even use that word, will ever wear off. I know that sounds crazy, but Im serious. Everytime I think about it, I'm like, "WHAT?!" hahaha.

Anyways, the spiritual warfare part, I really just need your prayers. This is heavy stuff, this house NEEDS your prayers. These girls are dealing with some serious things, and its always a new road to travel down. Thank goodness Im flexible. :)

Please PRAY for:

1. Hearts to be softened
2. Lives to be transformed for the Lord
3. The Lord's will be done
4. Health and safety for all the bigs/littles

Monday, October 6, 2008

I finally have something to write and time to do it!

Hey Everyone!

This journey of LeadTime is proving to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined. Think of this: being 24 years old, and a parent to a troubled teenage girl... well 15 troubled teenage girls. Its SO hard. I think that I glossed over this difficulty, but let me tell you that it is so rewarding. When a girl comes running to me after a hard parent call, and falls apart in your lap, its most certainly worth every second of hard times. I enjoy the challenge of always being challenged.

Please keep me in your prayers... My prayer needs are:

  1. My stepmom's health isnt good. Please pray that she is healed quickly from surgery and that her brain tumor shrinks.

  2. That the spiritual warfare that Shelterwood experiences calms down, and that the Lord's will be done.

  3. That I have the ability to give unending love to all the girls, and to my fellow LeadTimers.

  4. REST!

  5. The Lord's financial provision. Pray that I will receive more support!

I would love to hear from you! Please email or send regular mail!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Branson!?! Why Branson!?!

Well Everyone, I made it!!! Its been such a long week, and honestly, Im completely overwhelmed. Its so incredible to finally be here, I just cant believe it. 

I left Hume on Monday afternoon, and left Vegas yesterday morning. I flew into Kansas City, and spent the night. Its a nice place, and it was COLD! Then today, I was driven down to Branson. What a long car ride, but maybe it didnt feel long at all. Fun. AND, I didnt get carsick, thankfully. Oh and the best part, we saw two Amish cart/horse things driving down the highway. SO funny.  

Branson is not what I expected at all... its really green, and hilly, and its beautiful. I would take pictures for everyone to see, but my camera had an accident at Hume, and I cant have it until it gets fixed. But, I promise to get photos soon. 

Everyone here is so great, Im just overwhelmed by meeting all of these people... My cabin is nice. Its outside the main house, which is really cool. It has a baby kitchen, and its own bathroom. Loving it. 

Please email me, or send me letters, or call me, I might need some encouragement in the coming week. 

Thanks for everything!!


my address:
Attn: Chelsie O'Neal
282 Doulos Drive
Branson, MO  65616




Monday, September 1, 2008

Leaving Hume with memories in tact

The time has come for me to leave Hume Lake! The days have been so many, its hard to really know how long I've been here unless I look at a calendar, which I dont even have. Im leaving in less than an hour and flying "home" to Las Vegas, where I will spend 2.5 days.... not quite enough time, but thankfully I have friends that will fit on one hand, including my family.

I've been so blessed to have people in my life who love me and support me wherever I go, and Michelle, if you're reading this, I thank the Lord for you everyday. Thank you for the lattes and love. ... I just pray that in Missouri I have the same kind of people like the West family to love on me.

I cant wait until Thursday, to leave LV, and head to Kansas City... bittersweet really. I just cant believe that the Lord has brought me to a place where I will be in full time ministry... its incredible, this following of the Lords plan stuff :) In the words of Abbyrae, I LIKE IT.

Please follow me as I head into Missouri for the year of a lifetime !!!!

I have my cell phone turned back on, so give me a call!!!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Well, my time at Hume is ending.... I have 10 days left. It seems like I just got here. Time flies around here, but at the same time, it feels like a really long time.

I have 14 days until I arrive in Branson, and I couldnt be more excited!! The thrill of a new place is always the most exciting part for me. My friend from Hume, Stefanie, arrived there today, and I cant wait to hear all about it!

Please pray for me that I am able to finish the summer strong, but be ready for the next phase of life.

And, a side note, Praise be to God for Daniel Mauck waking up! AMEN!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I have finally found out where Im moving, which is in about twenty something days! Im so stoked to be going to Branson, which coincidentally , OR not, is where the Lord was telling me all along.

I bought my plane ticket today!!! YAY!! I love southwest because they dont charge for baggage! What a novelty! I will actually be leaving Vegas on September 4th, staying in Kansas City with the director of recruiting and her husband, the director of the KC campus. Then on Friday, the 5th, they will be driving me down to Branson.... a 3 1/2 hour car ride... pray for NO motion sickness!

But, that is a bit far off... I still have a lot to prepare for... like, shopping for winter clothes.... and sending out support letters... you know, the likes of it.

Thanks again for all of your support and prayers!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The wait continues.....

Well, the Lord must really be doing a number on Doulos Ministries.... The Lord had major plans for everyone involved and they need more time to decide for me and everyone else where they are putting us. Its always a waiting game! Im still totally excited for wherever God places me, but I just have to be patient.

I bought a plane ticket for Fresno to Vegas for September 1st. I have yet to buy my other plane ticket.... Maybe by the end of next week :)

I just finished my support letter, and now Im waiting for my stationary so I can send them out! Please be praying for me as I prepare to send out letters, and pray for those who will receive them. The Lord will provide!

Thanks for all of your support!!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

YAY... The Journey Begins.

I keep wanting to say Aloha... I guess old habits die hard.

Im still at Hume Lake, but the great thing about today is that I know exactly what Im doing with my time after summer. Its comforting to finally have an idea and know.

Im going to be moving to Missouri (gasp and awe/shock is an appropriate response to this statement) on September 4 or 5. I will be going to work in a faith based, group home environment as a "big sister" to high school girls in need. The program is called LeadTime, and is part of a bigger ministry called Doulos Ministries. The group home program is called Shelterwood. This is a one year commitment, in, like I said Missouri. There are two campuses, Branson, a smallish town in Southern Missouri, sometimes called the "family friendly Las Vegas", and a brand new one in Kansas City, an actual city. I wont find out where Im going until Thursday or Friday of next week. WOW.

I know in my heart that the Lord has called me to this particular place, and its absolutely unbelievable. It goes back to my shoulder surgery, having all that time off, God putting a bug in my ear to work at a summer camp, Charles begging me to come to Hume (I didnt want to at first), and me finally coming here, to one day hear about LeadTime from a former LG, and getting inspired to do LeadTime. God is amazing and wonderful, and Im following His plan for my life... I think Im doing a pretty good job at listening.

Please check out :

Your prayers would be most appreciated. If the Lord puts me on your heart to give something other than prayer, please contact me, I have a few needs, your help is most appreciated.

My address at Hume:
Chelsie O'Neal - Summer Staff
64144 Hume Lake Road
Hume, CA 93628

My email address:

Thanks for reading my very first blog!!!

--chels <3