Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adventures in Traveling

Now that I am safely back home in the good old U.S. of A, I can look back at my travels to get here and laugh.  At the time most of the things that happened were not funny, but now, especially with a much clearer head, I can definitely chuckle.  

It actually started out Tuesday morning when I woke up with a sore throat.  At first I thought that it was just allergies so when I got to SALI I took some allergy medicine and hoped for the best.  Unfortunately, as the day progressed I started feeling worse, but of course I needed to head out, so I tried to ignore it.  Things came to a head when I reached the Lima airport and stood in line for at least 45 minutes in the line to check my bags.  I was starting to feel dizzy and was having more and more trouble swallowing.  By the time I got through customs I was hot and cold and having an extremely hard time thinking, much less speaking in Spanish or English for that matter.  When I couldn't find my gate I asked for help, or rather, signed that I needed help.  The woman, who thankfully spoke English, became instantly worried, got me to buy some water, and then took me to an airport employee.  Almost immediately, he called the airport doctor.  After checking me over and discovering that, big surprise, I had a fever and (I think) strep, told me that I needed an antibiotic and that unfortunately all they had was a shot, no pills.  Furthermore, they needed to give me the shot in the butt.  Yeah, I wasn't exactly cool with that, but they told me I might not be let on the plane.  So after finding a female employee who would go with me, I went to the bathroom and got my first ever shot in the butt... in the Lima airport...

Amazingly, a few hours later I could actually swallow and the fever had gone away.  I was so relieved that the fact that I couldn't really sleep on the plane didn't bother me.  After that the trip was fairly uneventful and I finally made it to Texas to enjoy a glass of wine and hot wings (great combo believe it or not) with my Dad.  

I'm so thankful to be back for a while and that I got sick while I was traveling and not working.  God is so good and I'm so thankful for His love and protection.  He was just reminding me of how He is in control and that no matter how bad things seem at the time He can take me through it.  

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thanksgiving... Finally

It has been a few weeks since Thanksgiving and I am finally getting around to my Thanksgiving post.  Needless to say I've been a blog slacker lately.  So though it is a little late I figured it would be better to post the things I'm thankful for before Christmas actually came around.  Because I have so many things to be thankful for, I decided that narrowing the list would be the best option.  Here are six things that I am thankful for.

Number one: My U.S. friends.  A huge influence on my life from High School to College.  They've made me happy, frustrated me, co
nvicted me, been there for me, and have always loved me even when I'm frustrating them.  I am so thankful that God has put them in my life and that we've stayed in touch while I've been here in Peru.

Number two: My Peru friends.  Through all of my homesickness and the like, Heather, Julie, Gillian, Sarah, and Hamilton have been there for me.  Whether it was showing me around town,
listening to me when I was blubbering at midnight, or giving me directions to the post office,these girls have been Christ to me for the last four months.  I'll really miss Sara and Hamilton next year but I look forward to welcoming the new girl who comes and helping her out the way these girls have helped me.

Number three: My family.  Always, always there for me no matter how
 much of a pain I am.  I'm thankful for my Dad who is about as emotional as I am and is willing (and excited) to watch The Incredibles a thousand times with me.  I'm thankful for my mom who talks to me on Skype every day and helps me to realize when I'm being irrational.  And I'm thankful for Thomas, who though often times gets on my last nerve ;-) is the best younger brother in the world and is willing to play the movie game for hours on end.

Number four: Skype.  Allowing me to connect with my family back in the states.  I really don't
know what on earth I would do without it.  I love my family and hope that I'll talk to them everyday until we're old and gray.

Number five: Peru mission.  Frustrating, sometimes lonely, amazing, and of course a learning experience.  I know that God has sent me here for a reason and I am so glad that He is in control and not me.  I'm learning Spanish, gaining ministry experience, meeting awesome people and hopeful
ly spreading His love to the people I meet.  Though I've missed everyone in the states I've gained a new family here and they've helped me through the hard times.  I look forward to seeing God's kingdom advance while I am here.

Number six: Jesus Christ.  I know that sounds like a church answer but I couldn't write this list without Him.  Even in times when I feel I have no one, when I can't hug my mom or dad or my friends from back home, when I feel directionless and maybe even a little unloved I know that He will always be faithful, He will always love me, He will never let me down.  He is my Lord and Savior, my Life and Light.  I am so thankful that God the Father came down as God the Son to live a perfect life and die with my sins on Him, and then to rise again conquering death.  I can only hope to serve Him the way He deserved, but I rest on the fact that though I may stumble He will never love me any less than He already does.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Students

Well, some of them.  These are two of my basic 9 students.  I've had them for about four months and they have improved so much!  It's really exciting to see them understanding more and more each month we go.  Now if only I could remind myself to speak a little more slowly.
Hard and work... because I told them to pretend to work on their work books...
They'd kill me if they knew I put this one up...

The one in blue is Roseangel (she and her husband are expecting their second child!  Yay!) and the one on the left is Susana.  Keep them in your prayers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Tag!

So, I was just tagged by my friend Mari.  Thought it might be fun to play along!

The Rules::*Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.  *Share seven facts about yourself on your blog.*  Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.  *Let them know they are
 being tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Fact 1: I am currently working as a missionary in Trujillo, Peru teaching English to Peruvians. 
 I miss my family bunches but am enjoying the opportunity to serve here.

Fact 2: One of my favorite things in the world to do is write.  I have currently written about four and a half novels (not very good ones I can assure you) and I am currently trying to finish the half and praying for inspiration for a novel that will, in fact, alter the universe.

Fact 3:  I'm a little obsessed with working out.  I love the way I feel afterwards and it's an incredible stress buster.  Currently my vice is jump roping as it is a little easier on the knees and safer to do in Trujillo as I can do it in the comfort of my own house while I watch a movie or listen to music.  

Fact 4:  I play guitar... kind of.  I also had the best teacher ever, who will be tagged once I'm done putting up ridiculous facts about myself.

Fact 5:  This is making me feel rather narcissistic... does that count as a fact?

Fact 6:  Some of my favorite movies are the Pixar Movies.  Not only are they clean, but they are incredibly clever not to mention adorable.  My father and I bond over movies and one of our favorites to watch together is The Incredibles.  It surprisingly has a lot of good insights into life.

Fact 7:  My dream job would be being a stay at home mother who writes world changing novels on the side... of course God likes to have His own plans which in the end are normally way better than what I planned so we'll see what happens in the future.

 Kiki: My amazing former girls youth director and current awesome mom/writer.
Kelly:  My other amazing, awesome former girls youth director, currently and awesome mom.
Hamilton: Awesome roomie here in Peru.
Jessica:  Awesome friend from high school.
Julie:  Yet another amazing room mate in Peru
Gillian: A very cool lady living with me in Peru, answering my many questions
The Krajca Family:  A second family to me while I was living in College Station

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prayers For SALI

So, for those of you keeping up, I've just finished my fourth month at SALI.  Things went well this past month, my students have improved a lot which is awesome, but they need work on grammar (as do I =P).  Yesterday (the last day of class for the month) I went out with my Basic 8 class for Cebiche, it was fabulous and though we spoke Spanish pretty much the entire time the little English they did speak was so much improved!  I have two of the same classes next month and a new class.  It's going to be a little crazy teaching three grammar classes but I've already taught one of the courses so it shouldn't be too bad.  Just a TON of grading.

Now, prayers for this month:
  • SALI has to move.  The details are sketchy and confusing but the bottom line is we have to move before January.  We had thought about closing SALI for December as it would be very busy trying to move and teach but we would not be able to pay our bills if we closed to that idea got panned.  The big problem right now is finding a place.  As of now I don't think we have anything.
  • The girls have to move.  Despite our contract with the man who is in charge of our apartment the guys who owns the building wants to move into our specific apartment by January and in the spirit of avoiding unnecessary confrontation it was decided that we should leave.  I'm not going to lie, I'm not real excited as I have moved about 7 times in the last six months, so the prayer is that I will be thankful that God is the one in control and that this is somehow the best.  So pray for sanity with all this moving and that our students won't suffer.
  • That despite all the craziness please pray that God will show His love and patience through me and that I will have a thankful spirit rather than a complaining one.  
Thanks so much to everyone who has been praying for me and keeping up with my blog.  I hope to see as many of you as possible when I come home for Christmas!  God bless!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Time for a Random Post

Every morning I make oatmeal for breakfast with a little peanut butter.  It's tasty, pretty healthy, and it keeps me full until my midmorning snack.  However, this morning when I was making it things did not go so well.  Yesterday one of our friends from church came over to make ceviche and some other fish dish (I could never figure out the name).  Ceviche is fish that has been prepared with lemon and aji (not a clue if I spelled that one right) which is a spice they use here.  The acid in the lemon makes it safe to eat without cooking (I realize that I may have people correcting me on this and corrections are appreciated =P).  The other dish was incredibly spicy and sooo good.  Unfortunately, they used the little pot that I use for my oatmeal.  I smell the spiciness this morning and had second thoughts about using it, but then decided to try.  Mistake.  My oatmeal was spicy and disgusting.  I felt pretty silly.  Needless to say, tomorrow I will be using another pot!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas Comes Early in Peru

So because Peruvians do not celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously) the super early Christmas celebrating comes even earlier than it does in the states.  Though I know many people in Texas who will put up lights the day after Thanksgiving, our cleaning lady and secretary are already putting up a Christmas tree.  No joke.  But that's alright with me.  Christmas is my favorite time of year, family getting together, friends reuniting, giving presents, good food, and most importantly celebrating the birth of Christ.  So here are a few pictures to enjoy though it is a bit early:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

"Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  Luke 12:15

Today, I left my back pack in the trunk of a taxi.  Not only was my credit card in it, but also my driver's license, keys, journal, and bible.  The card, easily canceled, the driver's license, easily replaced along with my keys, but the things I wrote in my bible and journal are a little harder to let go.  Hopefully, those lessons are still in my heart and the writing still in my head.  But I have so much to be thankful for!  Most of the time I leave my passport in that bag.  Thankfully, we are taking care of my visa at the moment so the missionaries have that.  Thankfully, the only money I lost was sixty soles and a missionary family let me use their Vonage phone to call my credit card company and cancel it.  Thankfully, they understand that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions and they loaned me a little money.  Thankfully, though I now can't get into my cabinet at SALI, my students have a listening exam this week... MOVIE DAY!  

I have been very upset all day.  I won't lie and say that I've taken this as well as I should have, but I've been shown so much support and generosity and I know God will help me through it.  However, your prayers are greatly appreciated.  Pray that I'll have peace, pray that my new credit card will get to me soon, and pray that I won't be in anyway bitter about losing my stuff.  Because in reality, it isn't my stuff at all, it belongs to God.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Word From a Pretty Smart Guy

  "Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do?  But I would rather get away from the whole idea of clocks.  We all want progress.  But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be.  And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.  If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest it the most progressive man."  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

I felt this quote appropriate, especially with all this talk of change and progress, and though I don't have too much to say about it, I hope that whatever the change may be that Christians would simply pray one thing "Lord, you will, not mine, be done."

Blog Change

Well, unless you're blind you noticed the change.  Why you ask?  I was bored with the old lay out and this one is much brighter and prettier.  Enjoy =D

Bye Caleb!

Last Saturday we went to Moche.  I enjoyed duck for the first time and must say I liked it very much.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and there was dancing and as always lots of food.  That night we went to the bus station to bid our fearless leader, Caleb Sutton, farewell.  We'll miss his bad jokes, amazing grasp of the Spanish language, leadership, and daily hugs (enforced by Hamilton, Sarah, and myself).  Bye Ca-leb!  You'll be always in our prayers!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Where's Your Trust

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  Psalm 20:7

Though I am not particularly happy about the winner of the 2008 Presidential Election, I am at peace.  Despite the fact that I believe Obama will do terrible things, I do not trust in presidents or kings, I trust in the Lord of all creation, the Holy One who came down to us, walked in our skin, and took on our punishment to satisfy God's holy and just wrath.  I trust in my savior, because He is all powerful, all knowing, holy, and perfect.  Unlike either presidential candidate He is perfectly good and works all things for good.  

So though I will be praying for the new president, I will not be putting my trust in him, I'll be putting my trust in my eternal King. 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Update

So I'm really excited.  I was talking to our intern director's wife last Friday at Starbucks (oh yes, it has invaded Peru as well) and I was telling her that what I've really always wanted to do was disciple younger women.  I had the two best girls youth directors when I was in high school and I wanted to do the same for other women when I got older.  I told Robin (intern director's amazing wife) that I wanted to do that here in Peru but still had such a huge language barrier.  She suggested something that I should have thought of before but didn't: Missionary kids.  Two of the families down here have girls about Jr. High age and apparently one of the past interns did a bible study with them in the past.  I thought it was a great idea, and when I talked to them they got excited as well.  So this Saturday I'm starting up a bible study with them, at the notorious Starbucks!  It amazes me how God gives us opportunities in places that we don't look in.  I am very excited and I hope that you will all be praying for my energy and God's wisdom and I try to be there for these amazing girlies!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bad News

I might not get to vote.  My absentee ballot still has not come in.  This is my own fault of course, I forgot that we moved to a new county so I had to register after I sent in my request.  Oops.  Oh well, God is in control whether I get to vote or not and even if the guy I don't want to win is elected God is still in control.  

I'm still sad though.  =(

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prayer Requests

I just had an idea as I posted my last little update.  Everyone's praying for me and I want to be praying for them as well.  So leave your requests in the comment box and I'll try to remember to pray for you everyday!

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

End of the Third Month

So this is the end of my third month and I thought it would be good to evaluate how things have been so far.  Some things I really want to improve on are:

  • Patience when things throw my schedule off and with my students
  • Making time for my students outside of class
  • Seeking opportunities to present the gospel in the class room
  • Seeking to encourage the other missionaries and interns down here with me
  • Purposefully praying for those around me and those I've left behind
  • And as always, seeking God's direction
So pray with me if you will.  Next month I have two of the same groups of students with me and I'm hoping to continue to build relationships with them.  One student already wants to go to lunch with me!  I'm so excited.  For part of the time we're going to practice English and part of the time we're going to practice Spanish.  She's already a Christian I think but I hope this will be an opportunity for discipleship or mutual encouragement!  Often times I find when I'm working so hard to help others often times they help me.  I really appreciate that because I know that God's giving me some encouragement through them.

Thanks for everyone who reads and prays!  Love and miss you all! 

Monday, October 20, 2008

And Actual Update

Ok, so I've come to realize that the main point of this blog was to update people on what was going on with me here in Trujillo, Peru and I haven't been doing too much updating!  So, here's a quick overview:

I'm teaching two grammar classes and one conversation class this month.  I love this schedule because my grammar classes are in the morning and conversation's at four.  I have a lot of time to plan and then be by myself a little in the evenings while the other girls are teaching.  I also use that time to work out and skype!  

Next month I'm teaching the next level of these classes (so I'll have the same students, yay!) and then I'll have test duty! (yikes!!!)  

I am going to start trying to go to grupo de jovenes (youth group for those of you who are not as Spanish savvy as I am ;-)) and hopefully build relationships there and improve on my Spanish!

For those of you who are praying for me, I have a little list:
  1. That I would seek God's will and glory here in everything I do, including grading papers.
  2. That I would be able to build relationships with my students and witness to them and or disciple them
  3. That my Spanish would improve so that I can build more easily said relationships
  4. That I would thank God daily for all he has done and is doing for me
  5. That I would seek His direction and not mine
  6. And most importantly that His kingdom would advance here, not mine.
Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Something I Don't Understand

A recent quote by Barack Obama, stating "The first thing I'd do as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act" which would wipe out all state and federal abortion restriction including the partial-birth abortion ban has got me thinking about something that's bothered me for a very long time.  Let me start off by saying that I will attempt to understand the issue soberly but I admit that it is an emotional issue especially for me so...

First, I want to pose a purely hypothetical question: If I got married and found out that I was pregnant (I start off with marriage because I don't plan on getting pregnant outside of wedlock) and either miscarried or somehow otherwise lost my baby, would anyone dare tell me that it wasn't my child that had died?  I certainly would hope not.  It would be cruel and just plain wrong.  So my major question is, if you wouldn't tell me that I'd lost my baby early on during pregnancy then how can you turn around and say that it's not manslaughter to abort a child only because it's the mother's choice?  

If you would tell me that I hadn't lost my baby and just a fetus then I'd have to wonder how much you actually care about women.  People will tell you that it is about a woman's choice with what to do with her body, but what is more important?  Our choice?  Or the life of another?  I could then say, 'Well, it was my choice to drown my three month old daughter'.  I know you'll say that she was no longer part of my body but I honestly do not see or understand the difference.  

On the issue of rape, my biggest question would be do you really think that killing the child will help you recover from such a tragic event?  Moreover, having that baby is fostering life where the rapist was trying to destroy it.  And even if you can't handle keeping the child there are so many women who can't have children.  I know the adoption system isn't the greatest in the world, but in my opinion it would be far better to give that baby a chance to live, give a woman who can't have a baby the opportunity to love the child...

All this to say I will not be voting for Obama next month, but more importantly, I will be praying that the church will reach out to hurting women in the community, those stuck in bad situation and even those suffering from depression after aborting their child.  I encourage those of you who are Christians to reach out to your friends and family into your community, let people know that there is a better way, that we will love on them and not judge them for the things they have done because God calls us not to judge and to remember what we've been forgiven for!  And I encourage everyone to pray for our hurting nation, in this issue and all the economic issues there are.  In the end, I will pray for whoever becomes president and I encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Learning Spanish: Church and Bible language

So I have decided to start reading a passage from Psalms in Spanish every morning.  This is incredibly difficult and often times it goes completely over my head, but from my desire to start my day with scripture, and learn more language for Spanish church services I'm soldiering on.  At the very least my some amazing church friends from back home gave me a Spanish/English bible for graduation so I can check back and forth.  

When my Spanish teacher (Pastor Eduardo's wife Noami) found out I was doing this, she started teaching me some of the songs from our church in Arevalo because many of them are based on Psalms.  She also give me bible verses for the week which I am going to try and make more of an effort to memorize.  

Her is this week's verse:

"Porque para mí el vivir es Cristo y el morir es ganancía." Filipenses 1:21

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A comparison

Now can you tell?  =P

Bored with my hair...

Don't know if you can tell, the lighting isn't very good, but my hair is no longer blond.  Last night, Sarah, Hamilton, and I dyed my hair brownish red.  Sometimes you just need a change.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Spiritual Friendship, Loving those that May Annoy You

I've been meaning to post this all week, but admittedly I am sometimes a little lazy.  Last Sunday, Trujillo had this huge parade, complete with beauty queens and baton twirlers.  We knew it was going to be a little crazy through the day, but we didn't think that it would make us miss church.  After trying to find a comi (these cars that will take as many people as possible and run one route for just a sole!) we gave up and attempted a taxi.  After another fifteen minutes of going the wrong way because of the streets blocked off for the parade, we really gave up.  Sarah, Ham, and I came back to the apartment to listen to a sermon by Tim Keller (Kellar???) and I must say it almost made me glad that I missed church.  The sermon was about spiritual friendships, taken from Acts 20 where Paul is getting ready to go to Jerusalem.  

Keller talks about how the gospel creates and causes us to spiritual friendships.  That they are needed, discovered, made, and eternal.  One of the most interesting things he said was that "the essence of friendship is to kneel before the same thing."  He talked about how seemingly very different Christians, who would otherwise never, ever, hang out, have more in common than others of their same "social group".  What that said to me was that I should be able to hang out and love another person despite the fact that for whatever reason they get on my nerves.    Keller went on to say that "When you start to fall in love with Jesus, friendship begins" that friendship without God at the center of it, it always selfish, always self-seeking.  

I've been thinking about this all week, of course constantly seeing myself as the victim of other Christians who I think aren't seeing this concept and who aren't treating me the way I think they should.  But of course God smacked me in the face a few dozen times to remind me of how I have treated others in the past, and how in the relationships I think are not right, I have failed in putting forth effort to make them right, or even getting to know the other person.  I often times ponder the verse "love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you" but I had a revelation recently.  I don't have that many enemies, people pursuing me for my life, but there are people who just grate on my nerves.  I think that God would tell me to love those who annoy me, and pray for those who I get irritated with.  I should be seeking to see who I have wronged, and know that just because my personality clashes with another does not mean that I have the right to ignore or mistreat them.  If they are my brother's or sister's in Christ then I should be loving them as a brother or sister in Christ, if they are not a Christian then I should be loving them as one of God's created beings!  Made in His image!  Anything less is just down right sin.  And I am the worst.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Two Pics from Murder Mystery!

No idea what I was doing.
All the characters!

Apparently I'm in a picture posting mood...

Most of the office gang, we're missing three people =(  I think this is kind of the 'early' morning crowd, and by early I mean eleven or so.  Of course some of us get up at six or seven (*cough* Caleb, Fabian, Harrison, Jamie, and me =P)  

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Murder Mystery Dinner

I'm a sad clown.  Though...I'm smiling...I might be a murderer also!  I'll find out by the end of the night!

For Those of You Who Want Pictures...

All the current interns at one of the missionary's houses.  Sometimes they feed us.  It's great.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Discovery

So you know how you're probably supposed to get about eight hours of sleep a night?  Well, I'm discovering a few things that are very interesting.  Not only do I need at least eight hours of sleep a night, but I need to go to bed at 10 PM and wake up at 6 AM.  It is seriously the best thing every as ridiculously early as that may sound to some of my college buddies.  A friend told me that her doctor recommended this to her at one time but it just wasn't possible for her, I'm discovering that it's true, at least for me.  I have so much more energy then I did before and am way less grumpy.  Even on the weekends when I get eight hours but go to be at Midnight I don't feel this good.  So give it a try sometime if you actually have the time, it's pretty amazing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life Lesson #3

Never stand in front of your teammate when they are kicking a soccer ball, especially if they are trying to score.  It really hurts when you get hit with the ball, and you will have effectively blocked your own teammate.  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ham, C-Dog, and Smoy

Picture of the Day - Hamilton's way of taking more pictures whilst in Peru.  I will be stealing her photos until I find my cord to download pictures from my camera.

Spanish Life Lesson #2

Never say the phrase 'estoy embarazada' (not certain on the spelling).  It does not mean you are embarrassed, it means you're pregnant.  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

5 AM

So it's 5:58 AM.  I woke up around 5:15 sweating (we don't have air conditioning) and having issues breathing (bit of an anxiety attack).  This wasn't a huge deal for it happens all the time and I typically know how to deal with it.  My ear plugs were falling out of my ears because after a night of changing positions they get a little more squishy and a lot less firm, so they weren't exactly working that well.  I thought 'no big deal, it's five something in the morning, surely it's quiet.'  Wrong.  For some reason our next door neighbors were up and because our walls are so thin I could hear every word they were saying.  At that point I gave up on sleep and decided to get up.  As irritated as I was that I couldn't get back to sleep (the heat, breathing, and noisy neighbors all contributing) I decided to thank God for a little time alone for reflection.  So I pulled out my bible and opened up to Psalm 75.  Here's a little of what it says:

                                  "We give thanks to you, O God,
                                         we give thanks, for your
                                              Name is near;
                                     Men tell of your wonderful

What a perfect verse to read this morning when I'm a little frustrated and very tired.  I need to remember that God is good and that He is completely in control of everything that happens.  More importantly, He works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.  Sometimes it's hard to remember, sometimes I don't want to hear it, but it's always true, and I am thankful for the reminder.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just Because I Haven't Posted in a While

Spanish Life Lessons #1:  Never, ever, say 'estoy caliente'.  Yes 'estoy' means 'I am' and yes 'caliente' means hot, but it so does not mean that you are heat hot.  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Taking Things For Granted

I never valued water so much until last night.  Here in Peru we cannot drink the tap water because it is not safe.  We could get parasites or other nasty things and frankly I want to avoid that.  So we have to buy very large bottles of water and apparently one does not cut it for me.  I ran out on Tuesday after buying it on Saturday and had planned to go buy more but... well, I'm a slacker apparently.  

It wasn't a huge deal at first.  I bought water at lunch and had been refilling the little water bottle at Sali because there's a monster water container in the kitchen that's safe to drink.  But after our hour and a half soccer game I had run out, and I was dying!  Ok, so I wasn't but I was really, really thirsty.  So I decided to boil some tap water.  Good idea right?  Yeah sure, if you want water the next day.  It was far too hot to drink right away and I really needed some good old H2O and fast. 

So I had another brilliant idea: ice!  We had a bag of ice in the refridgerator!  Perfect.  So I grab the bag by the end that I believe is the open end and pull it out of the freezer.  Unfortunately, the bag was open on the other end, and all of the ice came crashing down on my toes!  Ice went everywhere, the cat started licking up the dirty water, and I crumpled to the ground in pain with one bleeding toe.  My poor, sick roommate Heather came to the rescue and swept up all the ice and put it in the sink while I limped to find a bandaid.  Needless to say I didn't get much water last night but I did learn a lesson in slowing down and checking bag openings.  

Also, I will start buying at least two bottles of water on Saturdays.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

"Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

For those who lost loved ones in the tragic events of September 11th, my prayers are still with you and your families.  I pray that God will bring you healing and peace of mind.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Am I the Only One...?

Please tell me that I am not the only one who thinks that this looks ridiculous.  I don't know about you, but I do everything in my power to cover up my underwear.  That's what belts are for.  I know these guys are supposed to look 'cool' but I really don't get it.  The guy in white pants looks as if he's about to be in nothing but his undies and the last time I checked that was not cool.  

Now, I'm not a fashionista so maybe I missed the memo, but personally I think he looks ridiculous.  Maybe he's talented (I have no idea who he is... who either of them are) but he kind of looks like a kid wearing his big brother's clothes because he thinks they'll make him look cool.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks he looks ridiculous!

Maybe this is just a sign that I'm old and too conservative, but I just feel that if you're about to trip over your own pants because they are falling down, and you have the money to buy a pair that fits, then you need to rethink your wardrobe.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Prayer of Thanks

Thank you Lord for making me a light sleeper.  I've never slept through my alarm, never missed an appointment because I've been sleeping so hard that nothing could wake me up, that it is very easy for me to get up in the mornings.  Thank you that unlike some of my friends I would never sleep through a burglar alarm.  Forgive me for complaining about the way you made me.

In Jesus name, Amen

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Please Tell Me Why...

Why won't my body let me sleep while there is noise anywhere in the near vicinity?  Just because I stupidly grew up in suburbia where it was dead silent pretty much all the time... why does that mean that I can't even sleep through loud music or loud talking while wearing ear plugs?  I'm so frustrated, especially because I get so irritated with people who stay up late (when, by the way, the sleep that you get before midnight is more valuable then the sleep you get after midnight) and keep me up in the meantime.  I'm supposed to be loving and kind and merciful and I'm wanting to storm down the stairs and take a sledge hammer to someone's stereo!  I get so frustrated with myself and I'm frustrated at them and I'm exhausted.  Friday night, not such a big deal, whatever, but Saturday when I have to get up for church or Monday night when I have to get up at 6:15 for work... so not cool.  

Ok, sorry for the ranting, I'm tired and irritated. 

Friday, September 05, 2008

Quote of the day

"The cynic knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing."  Oscar Wilde

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Speak English Good...

I'm finding out, though I'm fairly certain I knew this before, that just because you speak English does not mean that you will be a good English teacher.  Though I know more rules then a lot of English speakers (I am a huge English nerd) there are stink load of things I do not know.  Today I was teaching the difference between 'a lot of' and 'lots of' (there isn't any, 'lots of' is just less formal) and I was sitting there scratching my head going "I know this is right I just have no clue as to why".

Thankfully I found a website that has explanations... and I have Caleb, the SALI director, who I can go to for all of my English questions.

It kind of reminds me of evangelism, a little bit.  God does not call us to be amazing public speakers or power evangelists.  In Matthew Jesus tells His disciples not to worry about what to say when they are questioned about their preaching because the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say.  That's a comforting thought when it comes to being bold in our faith.  The Holy Spirit really does most of the work.  Of course that doesn't mean that we just sit back and say nothing, faith does require action, but the Holy Spirit is the one who saves souls.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Climbing Through Windows

I had a little adventure.  Yesterday evening I went out with some of the other SALI interns and after dinner a few of them wanted to go to the mall.  I was pretty tired and my stomach was acting up a little to I decided to go home.  Julie, being the sweet girl that she is agreed to share a taxi with me and we rode home.  So far, so go.  

When we reached our street, however, we realized that we only had a working key to the front gate.  At first we thought that this wasn't a problem, Sarah, in theory, was supposedly home and we could knock and easily get in.  Unfortunately, when we knocked we received no answer.  Being the control freak that I am, this really bothered me.  I wanted to get in and it wasn't fair that I couldn't.  (Can we say "Me monster"?)

So after a few minutes of knocking and whining from yours truly, I decided to try another approach.  On the stairwell there is a little wall, partly thick blocks of glass, partly sheet rock... or something.  So I climbed up on the wall and reached for our kitchen window.  To my delight one side was unlocked.  To Julie's horror, I climbed over the wall and into our kitchen.  Quite exciting.

The one thing I wish was that I was better about accepting the little bumps in my perfect routine (-eye roll-).  Hopefully, that is something God will e fixing in me.  Thankfully, He never gives up on even the most stubborn of his sheep.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

How You Live

"A great many things determine how people live, and money is not at the top of the list.  Choices are always available.  What you choose will depend on how you see things: yourself, your work, your right to express taste and desire and personality, you understanding of the love of God as expressed in His creation and order and harmony."

Currently, I am reading a book that a church friend sent me called These Strange Ashes by Elizabeth Elliot.  In this book she shares the faith lessons from her first year as a missionary.  The first few chapters so far have been talking about one of the stops she and her friend took before their final destination to mission to the Colorado Indians in South America.  The description of the missionary family's house that they stayed in is, to my spoiled, North American eyes, appalling.  It is dark, dank, surrounded by feces and smells that I am rather thankful to say I've never had to experience before.  To be honest it made me feel like a spoiled missionary.  I live in an apartment with running water, electricity, a washing machine, and clean furniture.  (Not to mention a Starbucks at the local mall).  But what I appreciated about Elliot's description was her honesty.  

I wanted to get out of this place.  The depression it brought me made e feel guilty, for I thought at the time that the ugliness and squalor and lack of privacy were sacrifices appropriate for a servant of the lord.  If I did not like the atmosphere it must mean that I was not yet prepared to lay down my life s I had promised.

I don't know what conclusions she comes to at the end of the book yet, but it is a comfort to hear such a strong woman of faith being honest about her reaction to this sort of situation.  I'm excited to learn about how God grew her and prepared her for future mission work and I hope He is doing the same in my life.  For now I will rest in the fact that you don't have to go to a foreign country or live in squalor to be a missionary.  Each of us have different mission fields whether it's in the US (which is just as lost as the rest of the world), Africa, or South America.  What God calls us to do is to "make disciples of the nations".  Pray for opportunities and do not be afraid.  God will give you the words when the time comes.

Final note from Elliot:

"'And God saw that it was good.'  Was it possible that E.T. and his wife [The missionary family] saw their way of living as good?  It was possible indeed.  Perhaps they really liked it.  Perhaps, on the other hand, they chose this way as appropriate to a bondslave of Jesus Christ.  They worked in a "dark" place - a place without the light of Christ - and they were willing to live in darkness."  

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Apartment

Yes, this is the fifth time I've moved this summer.  Hopefully we're done.  =P

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yesterday I experienced my first earthquake.  I didn't find out about it until four hours later because I didn't feel it.  It happened around 4 o'clock during my conversation class and Caleb, the director of SALI, told me about it at 8 o' clock.  Rather anticlimactic to say the very least.  But to be honest, I'd rather anticlimactic then have anybody get hurt.  Yay for my first earthquake!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Make Straight What was Twisted

Dear Lord Jesus,

Sin has twisted this world.  It has made us forget who You are, made us strive to build kingdoms for ourselves rather then for you, and has caused us to seek out worshipers for ourselves.  It has brought wars and illness, racism and oppression, jealousy and hatred, self-consciousness and fear, depression, anger, foolishness, pain, self-righteousness, deceit, theft, murder, gossip, grief, loss, restlessness, doubt, pride, vanity, sloth, gluttony, and waste.  We live for ourselves and wonder why we are never fulfilled.  Our plans fall through and like fools we curse your name.  Only when we need something to we turn to you.  All of us have gone astray, all of us have made idols of ourselves rather then you.  Even as I pray this prayer I sin against you as my mind wonders.

Lord, make straight what sin has twisted.  The war has been won.  You defeated sin and death on the cross, but we still have battles to fight.  Work through us!  Show yourself in Your people.  Help us be light unto the world because You shine through us!  Build Your kingdom through us and knock down our kingdoms of sand.  Help us realize that our purpose is to serve You!  That our souls are restless until they find rest in you!  Forgive me for my self-righteousness.  Forgive me for my pride.  Forgive me for trying to build a kingdom for me, full of worshipers of me.  Help me to strive to build Your kingdom, full of worshipers for you!

In Your precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

Update Number 2

My jump rope broke!  It snapped it half!  How weird is that?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today's Update

I am learning to be more flexible.  And my lesson planning is taking much less time then before.  To all you teachers out there, I salute you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Goal Obtained

Yay!  I finally did it!  I jump roped for thirty minutes!  Now I am really tired.  Maybe it wasn't worth it.  Hurray for me!  I just hope I didn't wake anyone up this morning, but Sarah was still conked out so I guess I'm good.  Now to stop eating so much at.... every meal of the day.  Crud.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Matthew 7:21-33

'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!'

Early in this passage, Jesus says that "only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" will enter the kingdom.  At first glance, His rejection of those claiming to do good works in His name seems contradictory.  After all, they are apparently doing things to right the world twisted by sin.  However, with a closer look at the means of salvation, the reader can see that it is not contradictory at all.  

Romans 3: 10-12 says "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."  This causes us to question what it means to be righteous.  We see people all the time helping the poor, feeding the sick, and doing all sorts of kind things for others, and yet the bible calls us all dead in sin (Eph. 2:1).  So how do we reconcile this?  Our immediate reaction is to believe the bible is contradictory.  We all want to agree with Helen Keller in saying that everyone is basically good, because we don't want to believe that everyone is basically evil.  

It would help if we first define what it means to do good.  Matthew 7: 21 reconciles this.  Jesus defines righteousness by saying that only those who do the will of the Father will enter the kingdom.  Therefore, only good works that are specifically God's will are actually good works.  Isaiah 64:6 says that 'our righteous acts are like filthy rags'.  So who can enter the kingdom?

Only one man ever did the will of the Father.  Philippians 2: 5-11 tells us of Christ doing the will of the Father, and He was therefore glorified.  Only Christ can enter the Kingdom of Heaven on His own works, his own merit.  

So how on earth can we enter the kingdom?  Matthew 7:24-27 clears this up.  We must build our lives on Christ, put our faith in His works and merit and not our own.  Thankfully we do not have to initiate this.  Eph. 2:8-9 says that grace saves us.  

So I end my rather discombobulated argument with Paul's praise: "Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Saturday, August 02, 2008

What I Am Reading

The Problem of Pain.

It is amazing.  Of course it isn't scripture, and I don't always agree with what C.S. Lewis has to say, but he is an extremely deep thinker, and argues extremely well.  Read it.