Friday, January 30, 2004

ugh. Fridays look like they're going to be lots of fun. Maybe it wasn't wise to add that extra shift at work. Because of this I felt obligated to do really well in everything else to prove to myself that it wasn't too much. Not only did I work extra hard on what I was already doing, but for some reason felt called to toss aside the grungy mop and scrub the bathroom floor on my hands and knees as well as run all the errands I've been saving for 2 weeks.
Guys, there's a reason women have been known to break down and cry at the slightest comment - they're worn out. They're not overly emotional or moody, just exhausted.
Friday nights look promising though :-) I had been sentenced to the impossible quest of dusting my perpetually dust filled room when I was rescued by two wonderful friends. Then I went and partook of warm brownies and homemade icecream and then curled up for a nap during the first half of Mission Impossible 2. Woke up just in time to see the motorcycle scene (the only reason for watching that movie in my oppinon). Lisl and I discovered the mysterious connection between sunglasses and manpoints. Apparently they add a lot when you're fighting. So does doing twirly kicks when a straight punch would be faster and much more effective. Fortunately, enemies in movies are lousy shots and are patient enough to wait for one to execute these fancy moves.
Then we played two rounds of Uno Attack (I lost both but that's normal).
Now to sleep in my nice warm room. I missed my heater. Goodnight

Monday, January 26, 2004

If you ever get a chance, borrow a text book from someone in Christian Doctrines or do some independent study on your own regarding Atonement. I'll try to post more later after I sort it out a bit more in my head. I have to write journals on it anyway :-).
If I didn't know before, I know more know of just how amazing God much for human words me thinks.
:-D *uber big grin*
I have a Pudge...he's small and fuzzy and has big big feet. Oh so cute.
"Pudge controls the weather" - so says Lisl. If any flight majors who wish to borrow him, we may be able to work out some deal involving chocolate.
He is not for pranks or hanging, oh, and he is NOT a pinyata. ( you know who you are peoples...grr)
There will be massive retaliation on you and your children if you confuse him for any of these.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

I sit in a daze at my computer...where do I begin to write the events of this day. How about I settle for brief glimpses.
- a horrible frustrating incident with a Baptist preacher
- odd "chance encounter with an encouraging group of Presbyterians as I stole their bulliten
- watched a shopping cart drive past my dorm loaded with Flooders
- drove all the way out to Kilgore just to play frisbee with other LU folks
- I was handed a "randomly selected" prayer card as I walked into Chapel asking me to pray for Congo
- and best of all, I recieved an encouraging note saying, "I think you look adorable with a pencil up your nose". What can I say, those number 2s get them everytime. honestly though, I've never tried this. no pencils or noses were injured or involved in anyway during the writing of this post

Saturday, January 24, 2004

*happy sigh* I love my Saturdays. For the past year or so I've had to work every single weekend. Now, other than being woken by people pounding frantically on the door at 10 AM, they're free. Free to sit and muse about life over coffee with my roommate. Free to miss lunch and muck around in the mud and rain instead. Free to sit outside alone watching rain drops fall off trees till you realize you can't feel your toes anymore. Best of all, free to curl up to think and pray.
Not sure why, but Lisl said I should put this on my blog. I don't claim to be a poet, this is just something I was learning and wrote down back in September. I suppose in a way it kind of explains why I've never dated and how I cling to friendships. It's based off of a piece of advice in Song of Solomon 8:4, "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. "

Don't toy with my heart,
A plea to myself - not to others I make.
Silent affections play, dreams rise and fall.
Again and again I put my heart at stake
And when each love grows tired and starves alone,
I plead once again - do not toy with my heart.

Don't toy with my heart.
Love all, but only one with all that you are.
Grow it slowly, cautiously
Loves too quickly sprung overnight
Tend to die in the heat of the day.

Meager scraps to nourish the soul
Hungry my heart cries
Desperate to stop the hurt -
Don't toy with my heart.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Did you know that there is a little single celled creature that lives quite happily munching whatever it munches all alone...then one day, when the food runs out it does something incredible. These little guys all come together and their cell walls break down and they become one. Now you've got this giant (compared to the original lil guy) slug creature that moves around till it finds the perfect spot then plants itself and puts up a spore so it looks like a mushroom sort of. It stays like this till there's more food and then it releases bunches of free cells again. I never knew slim mold was so Borgish. It’s pretty cool though to watch all those individuals become the great slime monster. :-) God's so creative...

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Last night in devos, I stumbled across a really cool verse. Unfortunately, we were discussing something else at the time (not a bad subject though mind you) so I book marked it for a time. As soon as I got back to my room I curled up in my desk chair and pondered my discovery. In trying to explain what I'd found amazing to Amanda, I discovered more to the passage than I'd originally thought.
Luke 20 opens with a question from the church leaders directed to Jesus, "Who gave you this authority?" He answers by asking who gave John authority. Disliking this question they copped out. So Jesus goes on to tell a rather obvious parable. He uses the vineyard metaphor that the church elders would without a doubt understand the subject of his story. A man plants a vineyard then goes away for a long time. At harvest time he sends servant after servant to the tenants to attempt to collect the fruit. Each man came back beaten and empty-handed. Finally the man says, "I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him." But, no the tenants not only rejected the son but went so far as to kill him. Jesus' audience, not being completely dumb were horrified at the thought and said no, "May this never be!”
Once again it’s a case of people building up in their own mind a picture of the way God is going to work in their lives, or a way of how He will carry out His plans. Jesus' response to them was to quote the verses, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." He follows it with these words, "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." (Luke 20:17-18)
Jesus is the capstone of the new covenant. Whoever comes to be saved will be broken. Broken of preconceived notions on what God will do. Broken of old mindsets and heart attitudes. It reminds me of a story Lisl told me this morning when I was pretending to snore. Those who wish to be cured of snoring have to undergo surgery and have their nose broken and reset. It’s kind of like that. We've grown crooked our whole lives and when we come to be healed and reconciled to God the only way to heal is to break our old selves and reset them properly.
Amanda put it well when she said, "Its better to be broken by hands that love you than to be crushed to smithereens and condemned to hell"
Sometimes I get comfortable and don't ask, "Where do I need to be broken? Where do I need to grow most? How does my faith and relationship with God fit with the reality of God, and what needs changing?"

Sunday, January 18, 2004

I think I'm developing a habit here of Sunday afternoon posts. So much to think about I guess after church.
Made it safely back to the states as I'm sure you've guessed. Lots of "interesting" people on my flights. One poor man has no idea how close he came to getting an elbow in the head for stealing half my seat while he slept and pushing me out into the alse. To kind of give a general idea of the characters though let me just write a little about the first person I talked to as I waited to board. He was a young, plain clothes Catholic priest named Chewbacca from MbujiMai (GoatWater). Life is so much funnier than anything we can make up...till I lost my bags that is :-)
God has been doing so much in the past week since everyone's come back to LU. Connections for LFGH that were thought lost were remade in a "fluke" 5 minute phone call. We went from having no way to fax, print or copy to getting joint ownership in our very own new machine. Not to mention the way he's been working in so many hearts, not the least of which mine.
At times I feel like I play such a small part compared to others. I'm not one who writes pages upon pages of cool spiritual insights that God has revealed to me to share with others. I don’t counsel half of the western world, or go on two week VBS camping trips in the middle of Africa and help bring thousands of people to Christ. For as much as I tend to talk, I don’t have a gift for speaking eloquently. The things God teaches me are quieter, harder to put into words. Kind of all tied together to slowly reveal more and more of Him. I really liked the subject of the sermon today, 1 Corinthians 12:1-12. I remembered I don't have to have the same gifts as my friends. Whether truths are revealed to them first or to me, either way the important thing is to listen and learn. I don't need to work my butt off trying to outdo anyone, God gave me different gifts for a reason. And if I'm off trying to do someone else's part, who's doing mine?

Friday, January 09, 2004

*Sigh* The time has come. In about 9 hours I leave for the airport and head back to the US/Mputu.
Many thoughts, stories, pictures and memories from this trip. Need to write some of it before I forget.
If anyone reads this they could be praying for my many flights in the coming 2 days and a safe arrival.
Four weeks is just long enough to start getting settled back into life here and getting tied in again. All of a sudden, I don't want to leave...Hmm, maybe I should start packing sometime though.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Since I've been back in Congo one of my "aunts" gave me a book to read entitled "Third Culture Kids". Its all about how different, yet normal MK-types are and their special needs when adjusting. Usually I dislike these sorts of books because they tend to isolate TCKs into a special category. Kind of like they're excused from participting with the rest of the world because of how they grew up. I'm not a rare odd species though, to be studied and coddled.
This book was better than most though. I recognized many of the behaviors described in this book, either from myself or friends. However, I also noticed something the authors didn't admit. These behaviors and feelings aren't all unique to TCKs. It so easy to play the role of ignorant newcomer, priviledged world traveler, or a victim of homesickness. I've been all three - sometimes all at once oddly enough. Its no way to live for long though. You can't keep it up, or at least I can't. People are people though, no matter where. They have different ways of expressing themselves, and different circumstances that bring out those behaviors but I'm pretty sure they've all had to deal with the same emotions at some point in their lives. A friendship ending, maybe betrayal, homesickness, love, friendships, joy and so on. I've had to say goodbye to friends more often since coming to college than I ever did growing up. At least on the mission families were on 4 year rotations so there usually was a hope of running across lost friends at mission conferences or back on the field. Maybe its just me always trying to find similarities among people, a common ground to reach out and connect.
As often happens, my favorite part of the book was a section 2 pages from the end. (grr, 308 pages for a few paragraphs)
"Once my world stopped spinning, people, places, things, behaviours, and even a language were ripped from my life and I was thrust naked, except for the skimpy garments of family and the rags of memory, into a cold, new, and unfamilar world. The more I invest in the world you and I are creating, the more there will be to grieve for when our world stops spinning.
If, I think quickly, if.
I am training myself slowly to the belief that worlds don't have to end. Is a measure of my intimacy with and trust in you that I can change the "when" to "if", even as an afterthought.
It is a mark of how much I trust you that I don't play the roles completely with you. I forget to. I lapse into pidgn, point with my chin, pick things up wiht my toes in your prescence. You are amused. I've tried to explain to you that this is who I am." --Sophia Morton
Ok, its time to post a more positive discovery. This past Sunday the final hymn closed with these words, " Another year is dawning: Dear Father, let it be, on earth or else in heaven, another year for Thee"
What a great reminder to put things in perspective eh?

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Humility. I think this whole vacation, punctuated by this Sunday has been a lesson from God in humility. I pray I've learned it well.
If last Sunday was interesting, today was doubly so. No, nothing profound in the sermon...we were told how many times the concordance listed the word resovle and covenant. The preacher didn't feel the need to expound on either of these. The old and new covenants were mentionened but not explained. Notes were passed out asking the church memebers to support IPCK (the church we were at). We were asked to help "do God's will" but that seemed only to amount to playing piano, ushering, speaking and such. I know I must seem rather negative, and I do believe that the people's hearts are in the right place because, in spite of the talk, the rest of the service was very worshipful and focused on God.
Instead of taking note of word frequencies I turned to Hebrews 10 and wandered over to Jeremiah 31 to do a little studying on my own regarding the covenants.
Ok, now for the humbling, interesting part...
My mom and I were supposed to play the song during the offering. We had practiced Speak for Me and it was going well. But everytime we tried to play it the lights would go off. hmm, so when the lights were off we got to playing in the dark, just worshiping. This happened about 3 times so we gave up on the planned song and decided to play More Precious/Love the Lord your God/and As the Deer. Got up to play in church and the first thing out of my violin was More Love, More Power. ??? How that song got stuck in my head I don't know but my mother was most confused. I did an awkward switch into what I was supposed to be playing so she could accompany. By that time I was flustered and started to shake. ARGH. Needless to say it sounded horrible. The second time around I was supposed to play the first song again and made the same mistake. Maybe the Lord wanted them to hear a rather pathetic version of More Love, More Power this morning - or maybe I goofed. Either way, they heard it and I am once again reminded of my weaknesses and His strengths.
At least he has blessed me with a sense of humor :-) As long as I don't have to confront everyone from church right away I can laugh at how odd this morning's gone.
Only a week left in Congo, many plans for the days. You'd think I would have learned about planning eh...But hopefully sometime I can study a bit more and write down what I learned this morning en lieu of listening to New Year's Resolutions