Sunday, January 30, 2005

I had a FUNTIME (okay, chill) this weekend. Yay for Krista and Pishy. There was also about a foot of snow up there - woot. Friday night Pishy had an 80's party which consisted of side pony tails and The Breakfast Club. Then Krista and I stayed up and talked about some drama goin' on in our lives - hers is kinda similar to mine actually, or at least some of it was. Then yay sleep! Saturday morning I went with Krista and one of her friends to look at apartments downtown Grand Rapids - it took us awhile to find them and then we couldn't get in because no one was in the office even though they were supposed to be open at that time. So then Krista and I went to Mancino's for lunch, and then we went back to Holly's apartment and she took a shower and then we all went and got coffee - yummy! After coffee we I don't remember what, followed by Tae Bo - yay for sweaty man instructor guy who was fake sweaty after only sweating - yay for old work out videos! hahaha! Then we went to this thing for one of Holly's friends where he asked a bunch of people what they thought about the GVSU library - how it was helpful, how it could be improved, etc. I had fun even though it doesn't sound fun and I couldn't give any input. Then we at applesauce and went to this overnighter thing they had for their little sibs weekend - Holly and Krista had signed up to volunteer to help work the event, so then I did too. Holly and I delt black jack - for 5 hours ha. Then the night ended with raffle drawings - I didn't win anything. And then we went home and went to bed. Slept in this morning - no church. And then we had chinese and now I'm back and writing this but now I'm stopping

Friday, January 28, 2005

Well last night we went to Perkins and on the way back we were singing and Mel just stopped and said "I think I" and couldn't talk and looked like she was either choking or about to vomit, or both. Turns out she has calluses (?) on her vocal cords and she felt like one of them burst, but she wouldn't let us take her to the ER. But yeah so got back late last night from her apartment. Today I have New Testament Ethics and then Ryan's coming over for lunch and then I have PE and then I'm taking a quick shower, packing, and going to Michigan to visit Pishy and Krista since I couldn't go last weekend. Woot.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I heard a quote once that said "words are poor containers for our thoughts" and that's totally true, but here I go anyway...

"The voice often comes in the middle of the night or the early hours of morning, when our hearts are most unedited and vulnerable.... But there is the busyness, the drivenness, the fact that most of us are living merely to survive. Beneath it we feel restless, weary, and vulnerable... a Sacred Romance calls to us through our heart every moment of our lives. It whispers to us on the wind, invites us through the laughter of good friends, reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love.... rouses an inconsolable longing deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty, and adventure... the tears I shed in the moments before sleep were sad and joyous and felt not at all contradictory...Not realizing it is a journey of the heart that is called for, we make a crucial mistake. We come to a place in our spiritual life where we hear God calling us. We know he is calling us to give up the less-wild lovers that have become so a part of our identity, embrace our nakedness, and trust in his goodness.... When did I stop listening?" - John Eldredge, "Sacred Romance"

I don't know where I'm going with this. It's 1:30 am. John up there is right - God definately speaks to us in the wee hours of the night/morning. We just need to listen. Two weeks ago in church Matt spoke about how we need to stop worrying about being busy Christians and be more focused on having a deeper relationship with God. This has been a tough thing for me and as I posted earlier I have been very dry lately. I haven't been reading my Bible and I haven't done much praying either, with the exception of "Honey Do" prayers. I was definately convicted. So... in the past week what did I do about it? Nothing. Then this past Sunday comes. Yet another amazing sermon - this time about how Jesus was zealous for His temple and overturned the tables - the NLT version of John 2:17 says "Passion for God's house burns within me." - but 1 Cor 6:19 says that "Don't you know that your body is the temple of theHoly Spirit who lives in you and was given to you by God?" - so... Jesus could say to me that "Passion for YOU burns within ME!" - should we reverse that as well?

Sunday Evening - I finally read my Bible. I read James 5 for my bible study with Puff, Deanna, Ruth, and Stacy. So we talk about it, yay. But then we get on this tangent about God's will. God's will is a topic that has had much debate throughout always. At this point there are too many things going in my head to even remember what was said Sunday night.

Tonight. There's a group at Mercy House who meet with Matt at his house and last week they discussed that they were passionate about the city of Anderson and the community of Anderson and that they wanted to do something about it. He suggested that we read and discuss Nehemiah, because basically, he was the same way. And he did do something about it. So this afternoon I didn't read the whole 13 chapters because I knew this wasn't just a one time thing - but I did read the first four. And wow - I have never gotten so much out of an Old Testament narrative before. It's incredible. And looking back over these scriptures I don't think that in the past I would have gotten so much out of them either. So tonight we had our discussion about it - and it also eventually went into discussion of God's will. So... all of what I've prepped with here and some other things I haven't mentioned yet... here are where my thoughts are going (if they are even understandable, which I don't think is a word)

God's will - so many of us are so worried about what God's will is for our lives. We've been told many things and we don't know how to balance it. Last semester during Spiritual Emphasis Week (as opposed to IMPACT your world week - had to throw that in for Thrash) Bart Compalo (sp?) came and I remember him talking about how as Christians we spend too much time praying about stuff and using that as an excuse not to do it. If a man says, "Hey I have an opportunity for you to go to this ministry and help these people" as Chrsitians we tend to say "okay let me go home and pray about it and figure out if that's God's will" and then we pray and pray and usually forget about it. Bart told us repeatedly to "go until we hear no" - and he definately has a point. If it's "God's will" for us to go then when we start to go doors will open and we'll get the money, the days off work, etc. But if He doesn't, then those things won't happen. But tonight in our dicussion (I'm running so fast to catch up with my thoughts that I can't tell if I'm spelling things right or not so bear with me) Matt brought up the example of how this is not necessarily right - Abraham and Sarah. God told Abraham that he would have a son and Abraham looked at Sarah and said, "dude, she's old, she can't have kids" so he slept with her servant and got Ishmael - which lead to the Muslim faith. So at this point we decided that you need to have a balance between prayer and doing. Nehemiah prayed for four to sixth months before God opened the doors of communication between him and the king (to get permission to rebuild the walls). Nehemiah could have brought it up at any point before that, but it probably would have resulted in his death. Instead the king was gung-ho about it and even helped him out more than he asked for. So then we got talking about how do we balance and all that. Dansky brought up Romans 12:1-2 "And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done fo you, is this too much to ask? Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what god wants you to do, and you will know how good and pelasing and perfect his will really is." - Dansky talked about how we should be servants ready and willing to do our duties - to pray every morning, "God, I am your servant. What duties do I have today?" (not his exact words, but the idea that I remember). He compared this to a child telling his parent "I'm ready to do whatever chores you have for me" - obviously that child is going to get a lot of chores - and we should be like that with God, and then do those chores and that will be our spiritual act of worship. But then Paul brought up the fact that we should rest in God and dwell in His presence. And many other things were brought up that just went back and forth between opposites. But I think, at least for me... it eventually boiled down to this:

We need to not worry about knowing God's will - we need to focus only on knowing God. The whole of the Bible can be summed up in this - love God. I believe that if every day we try to know and love God as much as we can, then His will is going to be carried out in that. This does not exclude human nature and sin - those things will happen, and they will be roadblocks along the way. But if we model our lives after God - he will work through us. Jesus was just walking down the road or hanging out with his friends, and someone would come along and need his help, and he helped them. If I came back to my apartment and my roommate was freakishly bleeding badly I wouldn't stop and pray if it was God's will that I call 911. I would just do it. The more we grow and learn to love and know God, then the more His life is going to be reflected in our actions. I think that I almost belive that I do know what God's will is for every single human being...



love

"O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for you people Isreal. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, laws, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. Please remember what you told your servant Moses: 'If you sin, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back ot the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.' We are your servants, the people you rescued by your great power and might. O Lord, please hearm y prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you, Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. put it into his heart o be kind to me." - Nehemiah 1: 5-11

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Friday, January 21, 2005

Yay for winter and all the pretty snow - but boo for the roads not being very safe and me not getting to see Krista and Holly this weekend. But it's for the best anyway because now I can go to the meeting at Mercy House on Sunday after church, and Krista said she has a lot of homework this weekend and that on Saturday night her roommates are going to have a bunch of people over and they'll probably be drunk. So yeah. But I miss those girls. Anyway - snow is pretty. It's fun walking through it to class also. Yay for class getting out early this morning. Yay for working out Wednesday in class and being sore yesterday, but working out again anyway last night w/ the roomies and the ervinator, and yay for not being as sore today and yay for working out in class in a few hours and yay for the word yay. Yay.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Here's the email that I sent to Matt Conner about Mercy House this past Sunday, and his sermon -

I missed the Mercy House while I was gone! A lot. I'm sitting here talking to Jenna right now about your sermon today and I just wanted to tell you how much it hit home for me. I have been feeling really dry lately, and similar to your trip to Israel I was expecting my mission trip to Jamaica to be this great eye-opening experience that would blossom my relationship with God and while it was an amazing trip and I met some great people I found myself totally forgetting that I was there to serve Him and to grow in Him and actually hardly even thought of God at all while I was there. I didn't really notice this until I got back and one of my friends asked me what God showed me on the trip and I had a hard time coming up with an answer. I know there are so many things that I saw and experienced that are of Him but I feel like I have been blinded from it and have come away with just a few new friends and a tan. And I also know that I need to read my Bible a lot more often because right now I really don't read it all that much at all, but at the same time I don't want it to become habit or duty. I also realized this morning that I have a lot of pride. Not pride as in I want people to see the great things I do or anything but pride in that I want people to think that I have an amazing relationship with God and that everything in my life is perfect. I feel like I just started on a new topic and that I stopped mid-thought but really I'm done so - the end!

Monday, January 17, 2005

First weekend of the semester:

Friday we had to jog 1.5 miles in PE class woot. Um then I was done for the day and so I showered and Jen came up and we watched TV and then Thrasher and Megs came over, Stacy got home... we were going to watch a movie but we ended up just watching Jen and Megs wrestle on top of Thrasher and then we decided to go out to eat - woot Texas Roadhouse! Then afterwards Stacy and I went to see Shrek 2 in Reardon (the auditorium on campus) for free and that was fun... but the fun was only beginning! We walked out of the theatre and everyone was looking at this really bright white cloud and there were helicopters circling it. So we came back the apartment and there was a voice mail from the physical plant that said the Magnesium plant (about 15 blocks down) was exploding and that the city evacuated about 8,000 people. At this point AU didn't have to evacuate but if the wind changed we would have to - the fire itself wasn't a concern but while watching the news we learned that the fumes are toxic (even though AU told us they weren't) so Megs, Thrash, Amy, Ervin, Stacy and I evacuated to Megs' house in Indy just to be safe.

Since Ervin stole my paragraph, I'm stealing her pics and captions:

In this picture you can see where the building collapsed. The part that is still standing was holding blocks of pure magnesium, and by miracle only, did not catch on fire as well:

Yay for there only being 4 magnesium plants and Anderson's being the largest in the world and exploding! Funtime! Okay. chill. We came back Saturday afternoon, and on the way Jen got pulled over for speeding hahaha but no ticket. And then Thrasher came back over and her, Jen, Stacy, and Jenn Johnson and I started watching Lord of the Rings - Stacy and Jenn left at some point but Ervin, Thrash and I watched all three movies, extended versions. We went to bed at 5:30 am. Woot. Then yesterday was church, yay Mercy House! (that's another entry for another day) and then L'ami went to Panera and on our way back we drove by the magnesium plant - it was all imploded in except for two sides of it and it was still smoldering a little bit. I looked online today for articles about it and we knew that they couldn't put it out with water but now I know that's b/c water actually makes it worse - and so they don't know yet how the fire started but there was a sprinkler system that made it bad - I guess it used to be a different warehouse or factory or something so that's why there were sprinklers, but they were told to cap them and they didn't - so someone prolly isn't gonna get any insurance coverage. hahahah! BURN! (literally ha) woot. YAY FIRE! okay um... yeah. I'm done I guess.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

WARNING: REALLY LONG POST!

Selections from the journal I kept while in Jamaica -

Tuesday 12-28-04
I woke up at 2:30 this morning and took a shower and finished packing. Melissa Kae picked Lori and I up at 4:15 and took us to the airport. Our flight was delayed 20 minutes and we were supposed to connect in Philadelphia but there were a lot of planes coming in and so we were in a holding pattern for another twenty minutes. We arrived ten minutes or so before our next flight was supposed to leave and so we hurried all the way to the gate, but the plane wasn't leaving yet. We arrived in Montego Bay at 3pm - an hour later than we were supposed to. Then 14 (out of 17) of us waited (after going through customs) for an hour - until 5:00 pm for Moose (one of our leaders), Jason, and Crystal, because Crystal and Jason's luggage got lost. Then we loaded into this bus. Our luggage took up the back two rows and then it was seated to on one side, one on the other side and then the aisle had fold-out seats. We rode into town and stopped at KFC because we hadn't eaten all day. Then it got in the bus - forever it seemed - four hours later we got to Mandeville at the church we were staying at. The pastor forgot we were coming or something and no one was there to let us in - we made some phone calls (the phone number Tri-S had given us wasn't working) and finally some one let us in. I don't really feel all that safe here, and it's not good living conditions. Worse than the Mexico trip. We have bunks like in Kentucky with AUCME and there's cockroaches, the shower is a hole in the wall and I think I liked the solar showers better. Some of us are talking about not showering until Montego Bay. I just keep thinking about how much better our villa is going to be. The bus ride here, although really long, was neat. It was dark so we saw some Christmas lights on houses - unlike America they're all just thrown on haphazardly. WE drove through the mountains on a really curvy road (and on the left side). It was totally random - people walking down the road, little shack stores, big houses and everything in between.

Wednesday 12-29-04
We got a lot of sleep last night and it felt really good. When we woke up we realized the place we're staying at isn't too bad and that last night we were just tired and cranky. But we're all really looking forward to the villa. We found out that we aren't going to work on this church - we're working on the church that Sikon, a Jamaican AU studnet, goes to. It's pretty far away so we have to drive but we didn't have transportation today. So we walked down the street and went to Dominoes for lunch (the only place we found quickly) and got some Jamaican juices from the grocery store next door. We also exchanged some money. We split into two groups - one group bought groceries for our breakfasts and my group went to find a card that Moose would put in his cell phone so it would work here, but his cell company locked it out, so that didn't work. We then went to the hardware store and bought some lumber to rebuild the church's roof. Then we all came back. Some people bleached the showers, some played frisbee, and I played cards with some people. Then a group of us went into town to go shopping. I bought a little flag for my brother. Then we came back and took a short nap. After my nap I changed my clothes and we all went to a jerk restaurant - spicy, but VERY good. And the owner, "Logan, Vince Logan" was very friendly. Most of us had chicken, some had pork. There was a lot of little bones, but still it was good. For a side we had this thing called Festival - it was sort of like fried bread. We took some pictures and then came back. We had a time of reflection on the day. We had all noticed that the kids and the older people are really friendly, and the people more our age aren't. We are the only caucasians here. This is definitely not a part of Jamaica most Americans come to. We worshiped some, and then got ready for bed, played a few games of Mafia and then slept.

Thursday 12-30-04
This morning I woke up - and the sun was shining! It was so beautiful compared to the clouds we've had so far. It rained last night and everything looks so fresh now. Thanks to God for new beginnings - His mercies fall fresh each day. We had cereal and fruit for breakfast - mmm... fresh pineapple! Then we piled into a small van and traveled about 30 minutes through more mountains to the church we're working on. The wood wasn't there at first so we played games with some kids and moved a ton of rocks to even out a pathway. Then the wood showed up and we unloaded it - after that there wasn't much to do because a man from the church cut the wood - so we played with the kids. Late in the afternoon we had mountain coffee and tuna sandwiches, then we played more and walked around, and it rained a little bit, and then we played Mafia, and then we had dinner - it wasn't very good and we don't really know what it was. And we had more coffee - so good! We came back to the place we're staying at and we walked to McDonald's and then to the grocery store. I bought some coffee for myself and for my mom and some jerk spice to take home and some snacks and water. We came back and had ice cream, played with a gecko, and had a devotional/worship time. Today when we were playing with the kids we sang "Hold Me Close" which the girls chose. The 11-year old, Delisha, had an amazing voice and it amazes me how God crosses cultures - the same worship songs, the same God. We also sang some Christmas songs. I've noticed that I keep forgetting that it's Christmastime. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve! So crazy.

Friday 12-31-04
I am sure that right now the gang back home is getting ready to head over to Chris' house, white elephant gift in tow. They'll watch a movie or two, a pancreas mug and Mr. Bubbles will be exchanged, the ball will drop and they will drink their sparkling grape juice. Several inches of snow on the ground, below freezing temperature and even colder wind chill. I am not there this time. I am sitting on a flimsy, squeaky bed with a thin, stained mattress in a cockroach and gecko infested room in a building missing half a roof, in a country where it is currently mid seventies and white elephant gifts would be frivolous... New Year's in Jamaica. Not party-on the beach tourist Jamaican New Year's Eve, but go to church with he locals Jamaican New Year's Eve. Today at the worksite there was nothing to do other than play with the kids because the carpenter (whose name is Mr. Wood), Moose, and Jesse finished the scaffolding and Mr. Wood made the rafters and they all hoisted them up. We're hoping by Monday we'll have the materials to start plastering. I'm not myself here. I've been so subdued.

Saturday 1-1-05
What an amazing day. We piled into a bus around 7:45 in the morning - so early! We drove about 3 hours through the mountains to Dunn's River Falls - a park with a beach and a beautiful waterfall. We took some pictures and then went swimming in the Caribbean Sea. After a little while we decided to play in the sand. We were going to build a sandman instead of a snowman (my idea - other builders were Lori, Abby, Kristen, and Crystal) We eventually gave up because it was looking nothing like a snowman. Ah well. We then walked uphill to go back to the bus for lunch. To exit you have to walk through a market. People were yelling "hey pretty girl" and "hey sexy lady" and wanting to take us to their shops. One guy took Abby and so we followed her to make sure she was safe and then someone took Crystal in the other direction. We finally got out and got to the bus and ate PB&J sandwiches. Then we rented water shoes and went to the beach again. From there we all climbed up the waterfall. It was hard in some places but it was incredible! By the time we were done with that it was time to change our clothes and leave. We piled into the bus and came back to Mandeville. We rested for a bit and then walked to Island Jerk for dinner. I got the same thing I got last time - jerk chicken and festival. Then we came back here had a meeting and went to bed.

Sunday 1-2-05
This morning we had more transportation problems - Roy, our driver, informed us that they needed the van to pick up kids and elderly people for church. So Moose went to town and got a bus taxi. It was a little shady because the driver didn't know how to get where we were going. The seats were ripped, he was wearing boxers and rudely yelled at Moose "WATA" (water), but we got there. They cooked breakfast for us again, and then church started at 11 - it got out at 2:45!! Then we had lunch. Church was amazing. Moose preached and talked a lot about when he was in Africa. There was so much culture there it's so different coming from a church where everyone wears jeans to a church where the girls wear formal dresses. After church we got rides back from people - I rode on the back of a truck with Dorrell and Neslie - very interesting. We stood in the parking lot and talked, and then Jimmy Tucker showed up - he sat next to Holly Davis on the plane and must have written down all the information off her customs papers and he came here and gave her a CD and said he wanted to talk to our whole group - creepy! Later we went out for dinner - some went to De Windie's and some of us were going t go to Juci Patti's but it was closed so we just went to Dominoes because we were meeting everyone at the movie theatre and it was right next to it. We saw Ocean's Twelve but I fell asleep b/c I was exhausted.

More to come...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Jamaica update is coming, I promise. But in the meantime, as I look forward to my 22nd birthday and look back on my 21st year, a thought on 21st birthdays:

Why do people so look forward to a day where they can legally kill a bunch of their brain cells, loose inhibitions, then later get mad at themselves for what they did that night, if they even remember it?

Sunday, January 9, 2005

I am back in the States and it's 10:11 pm which means it's about my bedtime - or at least the time I went to bed while in Jamaica, so.... I will update tomorrow sometime with lots of stories about the trip. Rock, rock on!