Saturday, April 29, 2006

takin' it to the streets

well tonight i am taking part in the global night commute with Invisible Children. when i was in rio i always wondered about that, the idea of spending a night on the streets, so it should be interesting. it'll be very different, obviously, but still interesting.

then tomorrow i am meeting up with my friends emily and ben, who i was in rio with, for our first reuniao! :) i am excited. it's been almost 5 months. and these are two of the 8 or so people who really know a part of me that is so huge and so hard to share accurately with people who weren't there or haven't had a similar experience. so that should be good. only problem is i may not get much sleep tonight... hopefully that won't be a big problem.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

can anybody out there hear our cries?

welp, i asked for it. i've been putting it off for months, maybe longer, because i knew it would be bad news when it happened. i just finished hotel rwanda. i've been afraid to watch it because, well, i'm already all worked up over sad things in distant lands, so i thought this would get me more worked up, and i was correct.

i can't believe these things happen in this world.

i can't believe there are millions of people in america alone who could seriously stop this. not just help. stop.

i can't believe i'm sitting on a big comfy bed right now, typing on my personal computer, while there are children i know personally sleeping on dirty cobblestone with no blankets, or children in africa carrying weapons as big as they are after being abducted from their homes and forced to fight, or children who have no family, whose parents have died just trying to feed their family. these are realities. and the contrast is too big for me to swallow right now.

when i was in rio, i would leave lapa at night, the place where my friends who lived on the streets stayed, wondering how i was allowed to walk away from that place, while my friends were left to sleep there, to deal with the police, to shiver when it was cold there. i would wonder while i layed in my bed how it was okay for me to be in a bed, when so many others didn't have a roof. this world is incredibly injust, and i know it. i've seen it, i hear about it on the news everyday, it's in movies, it's everywhere. the question is what am i gonna do about it? am i going to continue eating my dinner when i see mass genocide on the news?

the good news is that i can do something about it. there are so many things really. i may not be able to singlehandedly change the injustices of the world, but i can bring the love of a God who hates injustice to those dark and hurting places. and i long to do that.

i think my originial intent for my next post was to be more upbeat, positive, comical...
oh well.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

i've been sittin', waitin', wishin'

there's word of some potential future opportunities in the making. i'm excited.

i'm reading 'a chance to die' by elisabeth elliot, about the life of amy carmichael. it's really good. it pumps me up, just reading about the way God was working in her, the way he shaped her heart for the ministry that he called her to, and the path that she followed that wasn't always clear cut or obvious. it says about her decision o leave what she knew and travel abroad to preach the gospel,
"If it was in fact God's leading, it was not by any miracle such as a pillar of fire, an audible voice, an angelic visit, a star, or handwriting on the wall. It was not by the ordinary methods by which, in combination, God seems to nudge us in the path of righteousness: circumstances, common sense, godly counsel, biblical principles. It was a thought."

i really liked this because i feel like since i've been back from my time in rio, my desire to serve God and the oppressed overseas hasn't waned. but i also feel like no other opportunity that seemed right has come to me. i've had ideas, hopes, daydreams of things that seem like options, but nothing has really been like, this is what God wants me to do. nothing has, like the book says, come to me in a pillar of fire. but maybe, the thing is, i can't really go to the wrong place or love and serve the wrong people if my heart is right and my desire really is to love God and spread his love to those who are pushed to the side. where i go could just be a thought. or a friend's thought that she sends in an e-mail ;) who knows. i say that a lot these days: who knows.

also, i'm reading 'compassion' by henri nouwen in a small group i'm a part of. the last chapter was on togetherness in the context of a Christian community. it says, "(Christian community) grows from a deep sense of being called together to make God's compassion visible in the concreteness of everyday living." and then later, "the Christian community is not driven together but drawn together."

it makes me think of the friendships i've been forming recently, the passions i share with people, and the ways i am drawn into deeper relationships with those that share similar desires and hopes. it's neat to think that this is Christian community, and that our "team" that we daydream about could really be, that we are drawn to one another because of our love for Jesus and our sense of calling.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

all that i can do

well it's been a good weekend. i've gotten to see a lot of friends i haven't seen in a really long time.

i had a hard time today at a bridal shower feeling silly because i had to tell people what i'm doing now. and all i have to tell them is that i'm a barista at a coffee shop. now i really like this job, but i feel like telling people this is what i'm doing is insufficient. like i need to be working a "real" job in a corporate office or something. but i know that what i'm doing doesn't define me, and that it doesn't matter what others think of me or what i'm doing with my life. it's so unfortunate that having a job like mine receives reactions like, "you can do that while you're young," and things like that. if the decisions i'm making in terms of my life are recognized as "young" then i never want to be old. i don't want to get the normal job and start accumulating debt and all that goes with the ordinary life that i'm expected to assume following college graduation. i want to live a life that glorifies my God and pursue the passions that he has built into me. i don't wanna wait until retirement to do what i always really wanted to do. that's not what God intended.

I think a lot of times girls are told in terms of their image and things like that that God makes them beautiful and worthy of love. it's true of jobs and just life in general, too. i am who God says i am, and nothing less. who cares if i'm "just" a barista. the only reason it receives that reaction is because it's not a high paid job. but maybe that low paying job allows me to interact with people and touch hundreds of lives each day hopefully with the love and joy of Jesus. and who's to say this isn't just a part of my journey?

The LORD is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And he knows everyone who trusts in him.
nahum 1:7
i'm so glad God knows me. all that i can do is hold onto him and follow where he leads me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

stormy weather

this is a gloomy day. luckily i forced myself to run this morning before the rain. i had lunch with my friends meredith and jess. i haven't seen muffrey (meredith) since last august before i left for rio! so it was really good to see her and it felt like old times. i'll get to see her again sunday for her bridal shower. ahh, bridal showers... i wonder what that will be like. :) i've been home alone this week-my fam's all out of town-and although i do enjoy kinda doing my own thing, i feel lonely. i could never live alone. that'd be the worst.

not much is new, so i feel like i have nothing to write. i am at the bucks and enjoy it, even though i feel a little anxiety before each shift. i guess that's to be expected. but it's fun to be interacting so much with my coworkers and customers. it's good for me!

Monday, April 17, 2006

just have this secret hope

i hate goodbyes. i say them waaay too often. i just said another tearful goodbye tonight, and i am so bad at them. i feel as though this past year especially i can think of at least three instances where i cried so hard as i said goodbye to places and people i love. the neat thing is, none of those goodbyes were permanent, and i know this one isn't either. sometimes i get this feeling like something's about to "go down" and i've had that feeling lately.

in other news i started my very adult, very responsible new job today as a barista at starbucks. i have now served approximately 5 frappucinos. i must say i have a knack for it. :) my coworkers seem amiable (i'm reading pride and prejudice and have chosen to add this word to my vocabulary) and the atmosphere is flexible and fun... so it should be good. i hope.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

if God made you he's in love with me

i've just been sitting here trying to reflect on my thoughts on easter, and it's really hard. i think partly cuz i don't wanna post a sermon and partly cuz whenever i "bare my soul" so to speak, i feel as though i threw up in front of people and left them to clean it up. ha. gross.

but seriously, i don't think i've really sat down and thought about this weekend and it's significance in my life. i've been resisting all of the cultural "traditions": gifts, too much food... all those things. and in doing have failed to look for what good friday and easter really mean.

so now i'm doing that, and really there's no way to express everything that's running through my mind... GOD becoming man, a horrific death, coming back to life a couple days later... and the effect those things have on my life and the lives of those i love: hope, promise, redemption, learning to/about sacrifice, real love... so many things.

what would it be like if every day i recognized the truth and the weight of Jesus and lived according to that truth?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

all for love's sake became poor...

i'm reading the book of james. it's a good one :) in james 2, the last verse he says "faith without deeds is dead." i'd read this plenty of times before, but it stood out to me the other night.

last night i went and saw the african children's choir, and they sang "here i am to worship." a line in the song says "all for love's sake became poor." i've noticed recently the number of songs that talk about Jesus and the poor, him being the God of the orphaned, the oppressed, the sufferring. even patty griffin says "jesus went to live with the poor" in Chief.

now allow me to tie these two random thoughts together. i feel as though since i've been home i've kinda sensed a "you did your time" vibe from people. like, that was good, but now it's time to be here, get a job, settle down, all that. but the thing is, Jesus went to live with the poor, and if i'm not doing anything (deeds) my faith is dead. why is there this attitude of entitlement, of doing our own thing and following Jesus when it's convenient? i dunno, i think that i've just had several people say to me that maybe my heart for the poor will change, or that the rich need Jesus too.... that may be true; but what would most people choose, a life of ministering to the wealthy from the comfort of their homes, or living among the poor and sharing Jesus' love with them?

just things i've been thinking about.

the african children's choir was great. adorable, really. they talked about africa, about the hundreds of thousands of children who have aids or live in extreme poverty, whose parents have died because they have no food or diseases that could have been treated. maybe i should go there? :) who knows...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

sunshine on my window makes me happy like i should be

oh beautiful days and the way they transform me! thank you God for warm weather and sunshine! i had lunch with my friend jess this afternoon. i think that is the perfect way to spend a pretty day-in the company of people you love!

i am officially a volunteer for the ABLE class-i don't know what ABLE stands for, but there are a couple foreign born students who will apparently be happy for the help and i will be happy to get to know! and jess told me i can volunteer at the children's home she works at-hanging out with one of the kids once a week. yes, please! i feel the winds of change.... things are about to get good:)

i had e-mailed a friend from my servant team about my thoughts on being home, for this long, and not knowing what to do next. she told me this desire is from God, and he's gonna do something with it. this is something i tell myself everyday, but it feels good and reassuring to hear from others.

so where will it be? cambodia? india? laos? brasil? thailand? with who? oh, sometimes, when i feel so sure of the good that is to come, i get so excited! because i've seen what it looks like to live life abundant in the midst of God's will-and it looks GOOD. i can't wait to experience that again.... hopefully i can begin to feel it here, in my "preparatory time" as i see this, and that i can live joyfully wherever i am.

muda esta vindo...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

mais perto do ceu

it was a great day. one of the few truly great from start to finish days i've had in a while. i observed an esl class this morning, and it just made me so excited to be around people from around the world. the funny thing is, i kept wondering, why did they come here? ha. but i don't know their stories. i'd like to! hopefully i will get to be a part of that course and build some relationships there. i also went and observed the class for adults studying to get their GED and things like that. that's neat too, i feel like it was an encouraging thing to see people being empowered in that way. so then i met courtney and we went for a run (we are such runner girls) and then went and had lunch. i love her! we have so much fun together, and we are gonna get our "team" together and move overseas and it'll be great. then i came home and hung out til small group, which was also fun and we had a mini celebration type thing our newly engaged couple and courtney who's moving next week (don't go! just kidding, it'll be good.) so all in all it was good.

the sunny weather has really impacted me, made me hopeful and excited. things are changing, i think for the good, and something's gonna happen! i'm just happy today, hopefully this is lasting...

Monday, April 10, 2006

home enough to know i'm lost

welp i went to tennessee this weekend. the warm weather and change of scenery was good for me-made me kind of sense change even though nothing really has. i did get a new job, i will now join the ranks of post-college baristas. i hope it's fun!

this weekend gave me a sense of hope for things to come. warm weather seems to help with that-making me feel like things are good and happy, instead of dismal and sad the way snow and rainy days make me feel.

i received an e-mail from my friend from rio who is learning english. the subject was "hello good morning angel." that e-mail made my day. it was mainly in portuguese with english words thrown in where they seemed appropriate. that day i got to sit in on my friend's sixth grade science class and that was hilarious. they asked great questions about my time in rio and made me feel like one of the coolest people in the world. hehe. ahhh, rio. it was a good remembering day. today i found out another one of my friends from lapa was arrested. i hate getting those e-mails, i read them really fast with my heart pounding, afraid someone else has been killed. but she was arrested for having drugs and her three babies who i love so much are split up in the houses of family and friends. i just pray they'll be loved. and she will know she is too.

i was reading my friend courtney's blog aqfter talking to her about not wanting to come across as hateful or judgemental. she wrote about that, and about being sad and missing what we were doing around the world. she said she didn't want to be sad anymore, but hopeful instead. that's what i want, too. i want to trust and know that eventually i will be back overseas, loving the unloved, and until then i have to have peace that something is happening, i'm being worked in, and i need to take advantage of this time, too.

i had a lot of time to think on the 5 hour drive to and from tenn!

this is my friend and her children. pray that jesus will be present in their lives. that they will have hope.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

road trip

last night i went with friends to see patty griffin on the first night of her tour in lexington. it was wonderful. she's so great, and the weather was beautiful... just a great night. plus i went with fun people. one of my friends is moving in like two weeks. i panicked last night thinking about her leaving. i'm gonna be sad.

i find out today if i got a job (not a real one) i interviewed for on monday. ahh, the fear of rejection rears it's ugly head. i keep thinking what it will say about me if i don't get it. ridiculous.

on a brighter note my friend sent me a link to this organization:
i'm really excited about it, because they seem really cool and just looking at the webpage my heart beats faster. options have been presenting themselves. i suppose the time will come for action. for me acting on some option. will i know when that time comes? or is it here and i'm just afraid? i don't know. nao sei. sela.

Monday, April 03, 2006

wherever you go, there you are.

things are just bouncing around in my head today. i feel like i'm processing something, which is good.

"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation" Nelson Mandela

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:12

"March 25, 1971, posed a different sort of problem for Everett. A statistical difficulty, primarily. Natasha had lived with him, they had shared their lovely continent together, for 44 days. And March 25 was the 45th day since she'd left him. The 44 best days of his life followed by 44 days of sodden hell. And today the hell began to outnumber the happiness. What should he do about this? What sort of observance should he observe? If he decided to mourn, when would the mourning end? But if he decided to celebrate, it was like celebrating her absence-and he still wanted her back!" The Brothers K

this may seem a strange jumble of thoughts, and it is, but these are all things that pertain to me, my future, what has previously happened that has shaped my future, and decisions i now have to make.

on a different note, i have good friends. some who have similar thoughts, frustrations and passions. i am so thankful that i have people to share with, who understand, or even if they don't, who listen to my word vomit with a tender heart and support me in my ravings. thank you God for good friends.

i was advised by one that i consider a member of my "council" to just do it. to formulate a plan and go. wherever. there's no wrong place. it sounds so simple, but it doesn't seem that way. i know God's up to something; i just wonder what.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

sounding board

up til now i thought these things more for my high school friends and those that live far away from everyone they would regularly talk to. but at this point, when i feel i have so much on my mind, and writing it in a journal is as therapeutic as talking to myself, i have decided to explore this unknown world of web-journaling and see what i think.

i don't really expect people to read my entries, i really just think that, in order to save my unsuspecting friends from further random ranting and venting e-mails throughout the week, i would use this thing, this intangible sounding board, to put my thoughts into words and hopefully receive some kind of freedom in that.

so there ya go. i'm now a blogger.