Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who needs water?

I've always tended to save quotes and files in my email drafts so I wont lose or forget them. I was going through and cleaning it out when I found this that I wrote back in 2009.

So much running through your head you cant focus on anything else you know both what you want and what you need, but you cant take the steps to get it, its like your in the desert weak from dehydration, you know you want and need water but your not sure how to get it, and even if you found out your are too weak to get there; so you just sit and wait in the midst of the sand storm all around you.

You block it all out, pretending that since you cant see water there is none. but you know there are people who can help, but you are to tired to reach out. Your afraid if you do your open hands will stay empty and you'll look like a fool. so you sit alone and wait, each minute of each day the thirst growing stronger.

You are so afraid of being rejected, you never try to be accepted. instead you wait by yourself and try to find a way to make your own copy of the real thing. When you know deep down it's impossible; you just keep trying. Every time you fail makes you feel thirstier and more lost and helpless then ever. you still don't reach out, you never do. you continue to grow thirstier and more lost and helpless until you finally die. All because you were too afraid of looking like a fool, and being rejected, to ask for help.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pushing and Pulling

It is difficult when a friendship you expect to last a lifetime manages to fade away. No fight, falling out or even upset emotions, just a silent distancing. I tend to wonder if I did something wrong. It's a battle to know when to pursue that laid aside relationship and when to let it go. Since there was no official end, can we still hope for a revival?

I supposed it is these kind of endings that can hurt the most; somewhere so deep inside you can only recognize it flipping through photographs or as you toss and turn on sleepless nights. Remembering laughs, adventures and growth causing conversations. The what-ifs plaguing your mind with "If only we saw each other more" "If I had called more" " If we had figured out a way to talk more" or, the worst of all, "Do they still think about me?" No matter what we believe it to be the answer to this can be detrimental. It can lead us to a harsh realization its over or to a false sense of hope. However that hope is short lived as we realize they ignore out facebook messages and over thought texts.We can't tell them what we've thought about, cried over, and prayed for. If the opportunity to talk was there how would we use it? What could we say to fix months of not speaking and return to normal?

I'm forced to recognize that in my situation there is nothing that can complete this task. The connections I am missing were built so strong from being pushed outside of our comfort zones and needing a friendly face. Formed over being cut off from everyone we knew and needing someone to talk to. Seeking someone to laugh with, share with, confide in and vent to. I need to face these facts, and that if a continued friendship is not mutually desired, the ones that i formed will remain in that place and are gone from me today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rita's Story

I went to Africa expecting to see the things Ive read about and seen in documentaries. I had done my best to prepare myself for the poverty and the sickness, the things people may share with me. However, on one of the first nights in Zambia, I asked God to "break my heart for what breaks his". (WARNING: DON'T ASK FOR THAT UNLESS YOU ARE SURE YOU WANT IT!!) Trust me, he did. The biggest way was through a little girl, Rita.

In Zambia, for one week we did a out reach camp, "Camp hope". One day while my team members were playing games with the rest of the kids, I grabbed our translator and asked Rita to sit and talk with me, in a more personal setting then the whole group. I asked her a simple question, just small talk.

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"No, they all died."

She then proceeded to tell me her story. She had used to live in the city, in Lusaka. She used to have brothers, a big sister, and a mom and dad. A happy family. Her brothers died a long time ago. Then one day, her father was walking home from work when he was hit by a car. He was in the hospital for a little while, but didn't make it. Then one day Rita was with her sister, when her dress caught on fire and burned up to her chest. She was scared but could not do anything as she watched her sister burn to death in front of her.

At this point, Rita started to cry. She quickly wiped the tears away and looked in the other direction clearly embarrassed. As I assured her it was OK to cry she continued talking. Her mother was still alive, however she had been diagnosed with AIDS. The AIDS had gotten very bad recently, and the Doctor didn't expect her to live throughout the week.

When Rita was finished talking, I told Albert (the translator) he could go if he wanted. (I was told later that he had walked away with tears in his eyes). And I just sat, and held Rita in my lap.

  As I continued to go over her story in my mind, my own eyes began to water. Rather then wipe them away, I pulled back, wanting to remind Rita, that it is okay to cry. She looked up at me, and smiled, a real smile, and reached up to my face and wiped off my tears as  her own spilled down her cheeks.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Turning World

The reason for the name of this blog.

A turning world, not the world spinning around the sun or rotating on it's axis, but instead the sad truth of too many people turning away from poverty, disease, hunger, loneliness and pain. We like to imagine its to far away for us to care. But its not. The world is turning away from need on a global scale but also in our own communities and cities.
It is "Safer" to turn your eyes to the ground then to acknowledge the man with the sign on the corner. It's more reassuring to turn concerned thoughts towards blame of a woman selling her body in a hotel. It is easy to be confident that all the needs of abused, lost or homeless youth are taken care of by Child Protective Services. I'm not denying these facts. It is so much easier to pretend it all doesn't exist. But I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines while innocent people suffer, so to start I'm going to let my voice be heard. And I hope that you will listen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Journey (A post Written in Zambia)

As I sat in worship the other night, I was reminded. Not by the words spoken by the PD, or the group prayer,  but something brought a memory to my mind. It was almost exactly 5 years go when I grabbed one of my friends, stepped out of the aisle, and gave my life to Christ. I didn't fully understand his love, or even what the word grace was,  and I had no idea what giving my life to him would mean. Here I am, years later still not fully understanding him, half way around the world wondering where he will lead me next. Where will I be in another 5 years?

When we give ourselves to Christ, he will do more with our lives, then we ever could of done on our own. In a way, having a specific plan for your live is silly, because he's not going to change his call on your life to fit into your white picket fence mentality. It's important that we still have dreams and goals,  but if you find yours don't match up with where he is leading you, don't let them hold you back.

Jeremiah 29:11 has practically become a motto on this trip. ( "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.) In VBS we told the story of Joseph. He didn't know why so many difficult and painful things were happening to him. I highly doubt he had hoped to be betrayed by his brothers and planned to be sold into slavery. Yet God had a plan, one that Joesph didn't understand, but followed. 

I can't speak for anyone else, but I can say that I love being able to look back at my life and say "Wow, look where God has brought me", it's an encouragement both from the past and for the future. I enjoy sharing with the people we meet in villages about how Christ can radically change your life. I've dreamed about Africa for years, been convinced I would go someday, written letters to celebrities and organizations asking for help to get there, and yet if you had told me just 8 months ago, that I would be here, sitting on a dirt mound in Zambia, I would of laughed in your face.

But here I am, this is where God has brought me. Places I never believed I'd go, doing things I never would of dreamed, with people that I couldn't of imagined. If you look back at your life where has he brought you? The better question, that makes me nervous and extremely excited; Where is he going to take us? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reflection About My Direction

Just 2 months ago i had to wake up a buddy, pull on shoes and a sweatshirt and stumble through the
darkness under a star filled sky to get to an out house with a broken door and a hole in the ground to use the bathroom at night. Just 2 months ago, I was constantly nervous about and occasionally saw snakes, tarantulas and giant ants that hiss. I could only drink bottled water and there wasn't a grocery store or McDonald's in sight. Trips were made on dirt and gravel roads and I was constantly met with communication barriers. At the end of the day I was exhausted, and dirty and desperate for a hot shower, that wasn't an option. Just 2 months ago, everyday was a challenge and everyday had a purpose. Just 2 months ago I spoke words of life, continued learning and held orphans. 2 months ago i was committed to letting God guide and use me, staying attentive to his call and slowly falling in love with his word. That was where I was at just 2 months ago.
When I lay in bed trying to fall asleep but instead I'm reminded of a moments, someones face or a story, something that proves to me I was really there. I can't help but be shocked by where I was, a place I never thought I could be and then shocked even more at where i am now, a place dangerously close to where i left. AMAZING things happened, and I saw God's POWER, so how can I slip back into the same routine? How can i Continue to be a zombie at school or struggle to have my quiet times? If you asked me if I had changed, I would point to the things that have things searching for leadership positions in my church and different ministry opportunities. These differences are great, and should in no way be discredited but I've simply realized that I still have a long way to go.  2 months ago was a taste, a sneak peak of what life can be like, now i just have to pursue it.  Where will you be in 2 months?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Experience

I've looked into the eyes of the oppressed
saw the desperation and fear of the distressed
I saw churches of believers torn to the ground
heard mother's stories of babies born without a sound
gave an ear  to a woman previously abused
knelt before a girl simply being used
a woman so sick she couldn't leave her bed
a little boy with a smile on his face, but bruises on his head
spoken with men where false teachings led them astray
confronted and asked what is worth living for day to day
I prayed over a girl with legs misshapen
families broken by miles of separation
children ripped screaming from mother's arms
an angel so hurt and alone, she turned to self harm
kids alone playing in the street
clothes torn, hair knotted no shoes on their feet

I've seen a woman dieing of AIDS
But I've also had a orphan tug my hair into braids
playing and sharing candy with tenacious and surprise
letting God use me to open people's eyes
while occasionally i was rejected
it wasn't me, but Christ reflected
In a place where many don't know Jesus
he blessed me to be the one, to help with the pieces
getting to talk with two girls my age
god gave me the words for the 1, 2, and 3rd stage
the world around us is in such pain
be encouraged what Christ calls us to isn't in vain
his people are hurt and broken
will you be his voice spoken?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A word from the past

On our first morning in Zambia, I woke up with words in my head.  As I went through breakfast, instead of going away even more came to me. So during quite time i wrote them down. What came out was a message for my fellow team mates.  While, i thought it was specifically written for C trip (those who went to South Africa and Zambia) I began to realize it was for the whole team, A, B, and C!  I shared it with James (our team leader) later that day and he told me i could share it on one of the last days in country. When that time came closer i read it to Dave (Project director) and he agreed it was something that should be shared. However, due to all the chaos of one last night across the world, the time never came for it to be read. Yet, i decided i still wanna share it with my team, and whoever elese may be out there reading this.
For those of you who were on the trip, you probably can remember i kept writing poems during my quiet times, words that God just laid on my heart. This is the first one, the one i felt needed to be shared with you the most, but never got to. I hope God will speak to you, and remind you of the things he told you while we were thousands of miles from home. He wants to use you were you are, just as much as in Zambia or South Africa. God is still POWERFULL, he is still our HEALER,  he still looks at you with LOVE, and he still has a PLAN for your life.

All you princesses and the prince,
Listen because you need to know this
We've had a time of learning and growth
Given men and women the everlasting hope
But now is the time to stand firm and proud
Don't listen to the world telling you your life is to loud

While we were changing the world across an ocean
we were able to push away homely thoughts and emotions
For now we are leaving behind this wide open land
abandoning the yellow grass, scattered rocks and sand
God called us here for such a time as this
to see the faces of the people the world doesnt know exists

As we begin to make the long journey home
be reminded there are people there just as alone
The work we did here was important and grand
But we live where we are to take a stand
Don't let this trip be a single chance
But opening a door, the first step of the dance

We are called to a single great commision
and we must choose daily to live out our mission
All around the world, people are broken
If we just follow his spirit, the right words can be spoken
At home the world can cause you to fall
stay deep in the word, committed to his call

If in christ we stay firmly rooted
There is no chance for the enemy to loot it
These words I'm saying are not my own
But christ in me, changing my tone
If you only hear one thing here today
Don't let the love of christ in you pass away

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Street Jabulani kids?

Journal from June 21, 2012.

     Today my ministry group was doing hut to hut in Diepsloot. We came to the end of one of the streets and were surrounded by so many kids we decided it would be a good idea to stop for awhile. We played games for awhile, something like our dodge ball using a plastic bag, and then there were no more ideas on what to do. So we gathered all the kids together for a story, a few more hopped in and we had at least 20 kids. Without any other stories, we told them about Jesus coming and dieing on the cross (which had actually been our Jabulani kids (JK) story). Then I asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus and a few did, so I got to pray with them, and talk about how we can talk to God whenever we want to.
     Then we did our JK songs right in the middle of the street! Brittany had the songs on her phone, but it was to quiet to work. So we were our own music, in our out of tune, out of breath (due to the jumping and rolling movements of the songs) voices. We literally had street Jabulani kids, with no props, no sound box, no sticky dots or candy, just us, a group of kids, and learning about Jesus. It was great, even thougth it was unplanned and unorganized, thats what made it so special.

Friday, August 3, 2012

June 17, African Church!

The following is my journal from June 17, which was the 2nd day in South Africa.

      Church today was Amazing! As we drove through Diepsloot (one of the squatter camps, 250,000 people living in a 2 mile radius!) people everywhere were starring and waving at our bus. The church had different sections of carpet laid over dirt, about 2 and a half cement walls, and the rest, roof included was a tent.
      Througthout the whole service, people, especially children would walk by the window and wave. There was even a little boy who stood outside blowing us kisses. At one point there were so many kids were surrounding the window,an older woman came and told them to leave.
    The service, especially worship was everything I'd hoped for, full of singing and crazy, or should I say passionate, dancing. There was a point where people came forward and began a dancing, circular conga line. If you know me you wouldn't be surprised that I wanted to join so badly. I wasn't sure if I could, but a man made space and motioned for me to join. I hopped at the chance. I was the only person from my group, the only white and/or nonafrican person. Best moment of my life.
    After church and going to the impact Africa cresh (school) for lunch we went down to the soccer pitch and split into our ministry groups, we only had a few minutes but it was our first time out in the community. We decided to focus on the kids that surrounded the pitch. At first there were just a few, but then there were 5, then 8, then 12! The girls loved to play with my hair, because it was light and long. They all also loved to be picked up. I picked up as many as I could. There was a boy that was a bit dirtier then the others, and had a mysterious sticky black substance on his hands and face. There was about 6 seconds where I let that bother me before I picked him up and hugged him too. When we had to leave it was hard because all the kids were following along and wanted to come with.
   We also had session tonight. I chose to make a commitment to letting God use me, to work through me in ways that I could never do. I felt nudged in my heart to go pray for certain people, and as much as I didn't want to I stepped out of my comfort zone and did. A little later one of the interns came over and asked to pray for me. He said allot of stuff, but the only thing I can remember is him calling me "a dangerous weapon". I don't know why, but that really stuck out.
Ministry starts tomorrow, I'm so excited!