This was actually written in October and I was certain posted but I guess not. Unfortunately I have no update on the woman in the prayer request below.
Hello from the other side of the globe! This is the first time I’ve gotten the internet here to allow me to access my blog.
M just finished co-teaching a seminar at a college not far from the tallest mountains in the world! Great scenery. I’ve enjoyed getting to know local women. It seems everyone is having a baby this spring and it’s a great open door for cultural learning. I’m so surprised at how many differences there are between the medical advice you receive here vs the USA. Women here are advised to avoid calcium and Vitamin C for the first five months of pregnancy! Also shocking; getting pregnant after 35 is considered so dangerous that the doctors will try to insist on aborting the baby. They do not take no nicely either. Please pray for a woman I met here who is 37 years old, 19 weeks pregnant, and get’s a lecture at every OB appointment on how she’s being foolish for not accepting an abortion. It doesn’t help that she’s been having some complications (spotting and a kidney stone) which makes the doctor feel very vindicated.
This summer is already coming to a close and I never bothered to post anything, mostly because nothing really has happened. It has been one busy summer of playing with the grandparents, visiting the zoo, teaching Kai the rudiments of baseball and visiting festivals. And waiting for the autumn. And hoping we’re meandering down the right path as we wait for our next big trip.
And then God thought it would be a good time to throw us a curve ball. A tiny curve ball that is changing everything in his or her wake. This March or April, right in the middle of our candidacy program with our company, our family is going to be growing by one! We’re excited, nervous, and trying to figure out how in the world we’re going to work all this out.
And there’s not much time to think about it. The next big trip is now just days away. The three (four if you count Surprise) of us are off to India. M will be teaching at a Bible school, encouraging students to use indigenous music and leading song writing workshops where believers will write songs in their own musical “heart language.” We’re excited to reintroduce K to the land where he spent his infancy and he is excitedly walking about the house telling my parents that he’s ready to “see new places and meet new people.”
So ready or not. Here we go!
I started this back in May and it’s been sitting in my draft folder ever since.
Final grades are in and I am happily done with Bible school! It has been quite the trip. I’ve learned that I can multi-task like never before, that I LOVE being “just a mommy”, that even if you are “just a mommy” it’s nice to read a scholarly article every so often and most of all; if you lean on God and ask to be used and gown, He’ll do just that.
The most beneficial part of Bible college was the prayer ministry. I finally got the chance to get rid of some baggage and my relationships with my family seem really improved. I’m also not scared anymore even though I’ve been plagued with a list of intense fears all my life.
I’ve met some amazing people on this trip. I hope to reconnect with at least a few of them in our target country. I’ve learned that M and I are presently doing well on our goal to love and appreciate all members in the Body of Christ. Before we left we heard from the AOG church we go to in the morning and the Emergent church we go to in the evening how missed we will be and how well we meshed with them. We didn’t put on our AOG face in the morning and our Emergent face in the evening. I treated them with honesty and openness and I am so pleased that I am learning tolerance and love. They are things I began praying to grow in when we started this journey. There’s so much we can learn from each other and there’s so much good we can do if we work together in spite of our differences.
Despite going to a Bible college that directly disagreed with me on lots of things I came out theologically pretty much the same as when I went in. I still don’t think I have to hit my son to teach him accurately about God’s character. I still strong believer in Christians pursuing social justice. I’m not a pre-millenialist though I still don’t really know what I believe. There’s a lot I’m still very unsure of but I do know I don’t fit into any nice cut and dried boxes but neither does God. And I know that I’m still growing and learning and I hope I keep doing so until all things are complete.
Things are wrapping up here. My final class is hermeneutics and while hard and occasionally dry I feel like I’m learning a lot. The teacher’s focus is to get us to understand the different varieties of literature that exist in the Bible and know how to interpret each one. For instance; if you’re reading Genesis and a character does something morally inappropriate in our culture do we change our morals and start acting like that character? The answer thankfully is NO! Genesis is a historical documentation of the origin of the Jewish people. Almost all of it’s content is not directed at us as moral directives. It is merely the actions of and commands given to specific people who lived long ago. That doesn’t mean that God will never speak to us through these stories of ages past. He can speak to us through anything, especially these Holy writings. Gosh I should stop writing here and get to my paper. I am on a role!
One paper, one year-end summary, one book report and I am FINISHED!
“What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer: ”Faith, hope, and love”? That sounds beautiful. But I would say – courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature… we lack a holy rage – the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth … a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God’s earth, and the destruction of God’s world. To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish … but never the Chameleon.” – Kaj Munk
I’ve been reading The Irresistible Revolutionby Shane Claiborne and it is amazing. Here is someone who is echoing the cry of my heart. Here is someone standing against the complacency of our American Christian culture. It’s not required reading for school though. It’s not from the school library and I doubt it will ever make it’s way there. It has been so encouraging to me though as we stand the odd couple among the “adults” here (adult meaning married) which is sad. Tis community which is here to reach the world with the Gospel could do so much to show Jesus’ love. There are buildings standing empty on campus yet down town there are homeless people. Why not invite them over and saturate them with love and the Gospel? Oh yes. Then it would make this place unsafe. And yet they teach us that proclaiming the Gospel is never safe and that we need to get over our love of security and take risks for Christ. I would love to see them actually live that instead of just telling it to us.
On a cool note I can see the light at the end of this sterile suburban tunnel. Soon and very soon I will have my transcript poving that I spent a year at Bible school and made it out with all A’s and B’s (and that one C- in the class I hated but we won’t go there). Hallelujah!
The last two classes were really heavy on the homework so time to write on the blog was cut short. The Synoptic Gospels and Old Testament 1 both went well. Despite mountains of homework I persevered and even pulled off good grades too! Right now I’m taking my last class with the rest of the students, an indepth study of Acts (which I found out really stands for The Acts of the Holy Spirit Through the Apostles). Our current teacher is a riot. It’s funny because his son taught a class last semester and told a couple stories about his dad in passing that were so funny they were almost unbelievable. Now that I’ve met the man I understand. It gives me great hope that there’s a niche in the body of Christ for wild extrovert comedians like my father-in-law. These two would get along great!
We did have a week of spring break where I probably should have gone on-line to write but it just didn’t happen. M went to Haiti with a group from our school doing earthquake relief. They helped run a medical clinic and a children’s outreach program and they bought supplies to be distributed by local churches. I meanwhile stayed on our campus with K and one of the girls who couldn’t afford a plane ticket back home to Texas. We had a great time living koinonia (aka christian community) together and taking shifts watching K and working as cleaners on campus. I thoroughly expected to be lonely and bored to tears but it was a really wonderful, restful break full of laughter, shared dreams and many games of dominos.
Now that the end of our year here is in sight we’re pondering what to do with our summer. We’re pretty sure that God wants us to take the summer to spend with our families. This may be their last chance to spend much time with K before we go overseas. It will also give us a chance to love them and show them Jesus. M is the lone believer in his family and my family is only marginally better off. We would love to see them reconciled with God and living in his freedom. Please take just a minute to pray for them before you navigate away. We’d SO very much appreciate it!
We had an amazing women’s retreat this weekend. I’ve only been on fun fellowship retreats but this one really balanced fun and spiritual growth times. There were 6 seminars/workshops to choose from including one on pregnancy led by a homebirth midwife which I would have gone to but I knew all the stuff she was going to cover and I wanted to leave a spot open for other ladies (and it filled up fast). Instead I went to one where we wrote notes of encouragement to missionaries working overseas and one on encouraging each other. Then we had a nice big chunk of free time toplay games,knit, go sledding and try out the giant ice slide or just nap if we’d stayed up too late the night before. After dinner we had an amazing session on our identity in Christ and how He can work in our lives if we let Him. Afterwards people were invited to share how Christ had changed them and ways they wanted Him to begin changing them and it turned into a beautiful group therapy prayer meeting. It was so beautiful and deep and we kept it up long into the night! They cut us off at 2am so we could get some sleep before packing up in the morning.
New Testament 1 ended last Thursday and I did great on the final. 147/157 DS decided to celebrate by getting sick and now all the adults in the married dorm have got it. Blech. It’s not dreadful, just a sore throat and achiness all over. I’ll live but if my writing style seems choppier than normal you’ll know.
This week is minitry week. They split the students into 5 groups and each group goes out to work with a group minitering in the city. We’ve been working with a homeless outreach group that also runs a clothing/food pantry for low income families. They had one of their head ladies quit and have been short handed ever since. On Monday we gave the place a thorough clean up (including a new paint job) and unloaded a truck of donated food from Second Harvest. It’s amazing some of the stuff stores are going to throw out. There were boxes of cookies and crackers and macaroni from a store that was closing and a ton of greens. It was more than they would ever use so they sent us home with fresh green beans and bags of organic spinach.
Tuesday we continued cleaning, made new Bible verse posters focusing on God’s love (the February theme), and in the evening helped run an outreach event. I played with the kids while M led worship. Afterwards folks could pick out anything they needed from the clothes and food rooms. The kids were great fun. I played Snakes and Ladders and ran a pretend book store with a couple boys
Wednesday was unloading more donations and sorting clothes in the morning. Then we went down to the Salvation Army to help with dinner and gave their kitchen a thorough cleaning. There was a big crowd of the usual homeless army vets and drug addicts and we chatted with them while we wiped down tables and chairs. The most memorable were the two girls there with their pimp (at least that’s what we’re assuming he was, he sure acted like he owned them the way he ordered them around and touched them). There were other protitutes there but these girls were young. They said they were 17 and 18 but they didn’t look it and the ”17 year old” acted way younger. The 18 year old was just sitting so straight and starring at nothing and occassionally her lip would quiver or she’d sniffle. My heart just went out to her. I’m guessing that she’s a run away stuck in a world of drugs and sex. I don’t know if she was stoned, shell shocked, or just longing for her next fix. Everytime I tried to get close to talk to her the pimp would block my way. When he got up for a drink one of my classmates, N, saw the chance and talked to the girls. They gave their names as Jasmine and Carmelia and said they were from “The Bay” and Chicago. The younger girl said she was here with family but I doubt that’s true. What kind of family let’s their 17 year old hang out at the Salvation Army with a gangster on vacation? They both let N pray for them (the 18 year old even asked) but the pimp didn’t want her to and I’ve gotta give N props for having way more guts than me. She just put her arm around the older girl and prayed out loud anyway. She told me later that she figured there were enough people around so he wouldn’t touch her. I would have chickened out. I really hope and pray that God leads them out of that situation. Please join me in praying for them. It’ll only take you a minute!
I hope everyone reading had a happy holiday! We got back to the dorm Sunday evening after a lovely visit with our parents and K just loved Christmas. This was the first year he was actually old enough to appreciate everything that was going on and it was a lot of fun.
Yesterday and most of this week will be devoted to cleaning up the campus (M and I are splitting 8 hrs of work study each day) and getting everything ready for the official start-up of the semester on Friday. New students will be arriving today but there will be no new dorm-mates for us. The African family couldn’t get their visas. I’m a bit disappointed. It’s lonely without other kids living here. It’ll be better once the Brazillians get back. They got permission to return late so they could visit family in Brazil and help with his family’s orphan/street child ministry.
The semester is ending tomorrow and things are wrapping up here. I have the two last pages of my outreach reflection paper to write, two verses to memorize and one last class. With any luck we will be heading out tomorrow afternoon for the 16 hour drive to spend the holiday with our parents. It’s really bittersweet. While I’m looking forward the break and K is really looking forward to seeing his beloved grandparents things are changing here. The family we’ve been sharing the dorm with is moving on to ministry with Betel in England. They moved out today taking with them K’s best friend and our adorable resident baby. Next semester we will probably be getting a new family from Africa. They have a four year old daughter and I really look forward to meeting them but it won’t be the same. It was really sad watching them go but I’m excited for them that they will doing the ministry. My travel bug has been itching just watching them pack.