Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Blurb... Love Does

Hello Lovely Readers,

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much and halfway through you knew you wanted to give it to everyone you know (yeah Christmas coming up) but yet when you sit down to describe it you can't put it into words?

Yeah that is how I feel about Bob Goff's Love Does.  My friend recommended it to me in the Spring (I believe) and told me how much she loved it and underlined a lot of passages in it... I quickly ordered it on Amazon and awaited for its arrival. It came and I added it to my stack of "to be read books." It is not that I didn't want to read it, it is just I had other books I wanted to read as well and so it kind of got buried.If you have been following my blog or my life you know I have gone through a stage of feeling stuck and kind of wondering what God's purpose for my life is. I told myself I couldn't keep reading novels and escaping realities, so pulled out Love Does. I will admit I wasn't really reading my Bible (as much as I know I should it wasn't appealing to me)* so I started reading this book in my quiet time.

Bob Goff has lead what I would say a pretty amazing full of adventure life. He is the founder of Restoration International, a non-profit injustices committed against children in Uganda and India. He calls himself a part time lawyer and he is also an Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. I am not listing his credentials because they are impressive (even though they are) it helps put his story into focus.

The book is full of stories from his college days, to stories about his kids, and all the in between.  Many times his story state "we jumped on a plane to (insert foreign county)" as if it was a spare moment decision. Sometimes it is hard to believe all the adventures one person can take but that was kind of the point of the book...

One reviewer wrote-
'Every once in a while someone like Bob Goff shows up to remind us that some things matter a lot more than others.  Love Does has a kind of 'north star' effect that will push you to refocus your life and energy on what is most significant. It doesn't just invite you to respond with your God-given potential, it invites you to become a part of what God can do beyond your potential.' (Amazon)

The Love, Goff's book is about is the Love of Jesus and how it doesn't just ask us to sit by and let moments pass. "Love Does" allows us to jump into having adventurous, whimsy, engaging, and honest relationship with God. There were so many stories in the book but they all started off with saying "yes" to life. I don't want that to sound too "new age-y" because it wasn't like that at all. It was just saying "yes" to Jesus and God even without knowing all the details but just embracing what God wants you to do in life. Overall: I found the book really motivating and after I finished it I prayed and thanked God for people like Bob Goff who dedicate their lives to following Him. It made me think "Does my life reflect following Jesus?"
I feel like I haven't done justice to this amazing book... basically if you are walking through a store and see this book, buy it, read it and pass it on to others.

*- Since starting and finishing this book I have gone to reading the Bible, read the book of Esther,which is another good book to read if you don't know what the purpose of your life to be.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Innocently Optimistic"

Hello lovely readers,

I had a blog post all ready for today but with the actions happening in Paris, Beirut and really around the world it felt hard to act like nothing had happened. I know changing my Facebook profile picture will not change the world and I know that even writing this post will not change the world. But something has to right?

I have always considered myself a positive person, some people might call me "innocently optimistic" and I am okay with that... I rather be that than thinking the world is a dark and scary place. But sadly sometimes the world sends messages that it is a dark and scary place. Sometimes the world feels like it won't ever make sense. And as I sit here in the comfort of my desk still enjoying the warmth from my cup of coffee I have to believe there is still good and there is still hope in this world.

On Sunday my pastor, gave a really hard message about putting on the "Armor of God". We have been going through the book of Ephesians and for the first four chapters it is all about diversity and unity, then Paul gets into some hard things like "submission" and "obeying our masters" and sometimes we rather not talk about or read about that stuff. This message on putting on the "Armor of God" I have always felt is not about looking for a fight or going out to fight just because you can. But knowing that this world and this life is hard. We are going to fight, argue, hurt each other and destruct other people's lives... its what happens because we live in a world of sin.

The passage we discussed:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-19 (ESV)

And I will admit this is a hard passage to understand because we are called to be peace makers and we are called to submit to one another... so how can we be peace makers and still be in the armor of God? I don't have an answer and I might never have one. 

But I know this world is not what God intended. In his sermon my pastor pointed back to Genesis and the story of creation and how in those passage when it says "God saw that it was good" the word "good" means Shalom- peace, rightness, and completeness . And here "peace" is not the absence of conflict but they way the world should be with a fullness in God. I think rather you are a Christian or not that you can look around and see that this world is not peaceful, right, or complete. If it were we wouldn't hold grudges, we wouldn't kill innocent people, we wouldn't have starving children, or tears of pain, and the feeling of hopelessness. This world is not complete. 

I am not a Lord of the Rings fan but I liked when my pastor pointed out this line:
I think that makes sense. I do not think we should go out fighting with guns, swords or bow and arrows but I do believe there is good in this world and we have to protect it. We have to hold on to it and defend it. To me the only way to do this is to have your focus on God and the salvation, love, and hope we have in His son Jesus Christ. 

I will be the first to admit that I am still figuring all this out and I don't have all the answers but I there is one who does and depend on His control, His peace, His righteousness, and love.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I am ready for my life to begin

I talk a lot about my faith on this blog, but lately (the last few months) I keep coming back to two questions in my life: 1)What does living in faith mean? 2) What is the purpose of my life? I don't have answers to either of these questions. But I have making some process on these questions and that is what I want to share with you today.

I live my life by pretty much by routine...if you know personally you will not be surprised by this. I like my schedule and knowing whats coming (I do not handle spontaneity well). I get up turn on my coffee pot, have my quiet time while enjoying my first cup of coffee, get ready for work (I put on my moisturizer, then start my makeup, eat breakfast (while moisturizer settles in), take my vitamins, brush teeth, then get dressed (I am paranoid that I will drop toothpaste on my clothes) put on finishing touches, such as perfume, and blush), then I head out for work. Read my book on the T, take the Green Line inbound then switch to the Red line (never really looking up from my book). Usually grab another cup of coffee before sitting down at my desk, talk to my boss about what he would like me to do for the day, then plug my head phones in and listen to NPR. Okay this could go on for a bit, but I think you get my point.., I am a creature of habit and I rather like it (most of the time). Sometimes I wonder if there is something more?

I think this where my original questions come from. Last year I was going through my Bible focusing on verses that I the word "faith" in them (there are a lot).

A couple of years ago with the word "hope" and discovered that hope in God is like a day in Winter knowing that Spring will come and holding on to that. Hope in God is holding onto something we know is coming and keep going forward with that knowledge. (Read more)

There is the classic verse "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." -Hebrews 11:1(NIV) and I am not disliking that verse but I am still left wondering what that means for me? How can I live out my faith? What does "living out my faith" even mean? Is it random acts through out my day? Is it a life style change? And if the answer is yes to that then what does that look like like?

I don't think of myself as a visual person but I would like a model for what it means to live out my faith in the 21st century. Does it mean I have to become a missionary? Does it mean I only listen to "Christian" music, and stop watching TV?  I am not sure. This is the part I grapple with. And I feel in my struggle to answer these questions I get stuck.
I am afraid to make a move because what if I make the wrong move. I also afraid if I move without knowing what to do, where will I go next? Not necessarily physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. So I let these fears stop me.

On Wednesday night I went to Community Group (Bible study) and we went through the passage Mark 5 about how Jesus heals a man from demon possession. It is one of those stories in Bible, that are great at showing how mighty God and Jesus are, but hard to understand how they apply to our day to day. However, there was one really great question that stuck out... Do we (I) live as if God is in control?

If I am to answer this question honestly, most of the time, No. I mean day by day I know he is in control because he has the power to take my life away, take away everything I think I own, or every person I love. But He doesn't. But most of the time I feel I take advantage of His love, His grace, and all the blessings He has given me. So I in that way I don't feel I live like God is in control because I let myself take over. However, on the flip side of this I know what it is like to not have God in my life. I have had some low moments in my life where I feel I am drowning in an ocean and no one is coming to save me. I have tried to tread what for so long (just to keep my head above the water) but I am tired of that so I stop treading water and sink. Those feeling are very real to me and I know at those moment I need God more than anything.

I have liked "Oceans (where feet may fail)" because of these feelings. 

I still don't have an answer to my original question... but life is not about having an answer. What I do know is that for me faith is living like God is in control. I am still not sure what that looks like but it is a good first step, I think another step I need to take is just to move. I can't keep letting myself be held back, I can't keep making excuses, and I can't keep praying for change without moving. Now where do I go from here? I am not sure but I know God is in control and that is pretty awesome. Because He is the only one who can provide truth, hope, rest, joy, wisdom, strength, and salvation.

About my second question, from the beginning of this blog, I think I will learn as I discover more and more about how to live out my faith. In reading verses on faith I found a great verse "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love"- Galatians 5:6b (NIV). I think I want this to be more and more true of my life... that I am doing things out love. 

Last night on Parenthood Adam was having a conversation on finding a passion and following that. I know I have passions and I think using those passions to work for God's kingdom is my purpose. I am reading the book A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and in chapter 7 he states "the ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God." Then he writes "Each of us was uniquely designed by God with talents, gifts, skills, and abilities. The way you are "wired" is not an accident." I think what I need to do is think about my passions and my gifts and begin thinking how I can use those to do work for God. One thing I will have to be careful about is making sure these are not just activities added to my day and that become motions. I recognize I need God's guidance to have these thoughts, ideas, actions, pursuits, and motives to really change my life. Rick Warren writes, "real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus." And I am ready for my life to begin...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Facing some truths in my life

The Ten Commandments

I have been reading through the Old Testament and there is a big stress on idolatry and I guess this is easily thought to be bowing down to statue and maybe I have seen the movie The Ten Commandments too much because I sometimes picture that when I think of idolatry. While the commentary in my Bible always mention that idolatry can came in forms of wanting power, money or sex and I thought then I am good I don't really think about those things at least not in an obsessive way. So in some way I thought I was exempt from idolatry but in reading the Old Testament I have come to see myself more and more as an Israelite.

Let me go back, I am a child of divorce, and while I never thought my parents divorce was my fault, I felt the ripples of their divorce and believed that I could lessen the pain of it if I made them both happy with me. So from a young age I was a "people pleaser" so much so much that I felt like people wouldn't love me unless I made them happy. In that I never felt good enough to be loved because no matter what I did I didn't feel like it was good enough. For example one time my dad and I were at the hardware store and he mentioned something about wearing make-up (at that time I didn't wear make-up) and I just started crying because I thought "Really, really. I had just finished high school and gotten into college and was trying so hard to be the 'good daughter' and you are concerned about my make-up." I now know my dad made that comment only to be helpful but I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back. And my dad was just there so confused by why I was crying. Anyway needless I have often felt like no matter what I did I just wasn't good enough. It kind of felt like there was this hole in me that no matter what I did I couldn't fill and until it was filled I kept thinking people wouldn't love me.

At my church we are going through the book of Hosea and talking about how God pursued the people of Israel. If you don't know the book of Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute and in the story she runs back to her former ways and Hosea has to buy her freedom back. Hosea's life was a symbolism for God's love to his people. Because while they were praising other gods and falling for idolatry, God still loved them and still called them his people. It really is an amazing story. Last week my pastor was talking about idolatry and while this thought had been floating through my mind he said something about when we have idolatry in our lives it might present itself in different ways but at the heart of is idolatry. He gave an example but the best example of this comes from my own life.

I will say, while I have never sought power or money I have sought love and acceptance to the point where I would say it was my identity. In fact when I was dating my most serious boyfriend, to date, I started putting the hope and trust I should have in God in him and when it ended, it crushed me. I almost felt I lost my world.Anyway, going back, to my example I feel my desire to be loved and accepted as become my idol... it has manifested in people pleasing and it has manifested in my insecurities and in my pride. But at the heart of it, I just want to be loved.

The other day I was walking down the street thinking about my outfit hoping that it was cute and it hit me "hey I think its cute and I only have me and God to impress." And God made me, He formed me and He knows all the details of me. He knows my ups and downs, my good times and bad times and he knows all my flaws and He still calls me "Beloved." The verse Psalm 45:11 comes to mind "The King is enthralled by your beauty honor Him for he is the Lord."

As I am writing this it sounds silly that I struggle so much with love and acceptance because God loved me so much He sent His son to live a perfect and humble life, die as an innocent sacrifice for all my sins, and conquer death so I can have a new complete life in Him. I would love to say that I got this now under control but these feeling have deep roots in me and it is a process to get to. But I am blessed to have God, my family and friends to support me in this. And slowly I hope to hear God's words of love instead of the words of fear in me.

So while I may not be bowing down to a golden calf like the Israelites I definitely need to work on not bowing down to other gods in my life.
Hebrews 10:23- This verse has come to me a lot in the last few weeks
*- I promise a lighter topic next time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting for one day

Dear Anne,

In my last letter I wrote about my obsessions and how I am obsessed with my niece and nephew. Over Christmas my step-mom told me that as much as I love H and E I will love my own kids a thousand times. I don't know how that is possible since I would give my life for them but I am sure I will love my kids more so. I am just so far away from having that in my life and sometimes it hurts. Lately me having a baby has been a trend. A couple of weeks ago I had a bad day at work and to get some peace I watched a video of H dancing around. I told my co-worker this and she said I just need to have a baby. Then I was talking to another co-worker and he said I would make such a good mom. As great as a compliment this is... it also hurts. I know I want to have a baby so bad but there are a few things I need first. The most important thing would be a husband and I am not even in a relationship. So I feel like having a baby is still leaps and bounds away from me. 

I know this might be kind of silly but sometimes when I see pregnant women I feel a little empty because I feel my body is not doing what it is suppose to. I know God's timing is perfect but this is the one area I doubt God. I feel God has put this desire in me to be a wife and mother but for some reason it is not happening to me. So I wonder if God really wants me to be a wife and mother and if He doesn't want me to fill this role what am I to do with my life? I know it is wrong for me to doubt God so I have to remind myself that God's will is perfect and I hope I am not clinging to my desires too much I am not letting Him have His way. 

I know I am in grad-school and it is silly for me to think about having family but I would seriously give it all up if it meant I could be a wife and mother. 

Just having a low a moment. Thanks for listening. 


Dear Anne,
Maybe someday

I wrote that top part when I was having a low moment but I didn't send it because it sounded like a "woe-is-me" letter so I am sorry for not writing sooner. After I had written the top part I have had some good quiet times. I am going to share parts of my prayers as I know you will be worried about my heart and I want to be completely honest with you. 

(from 2/7-2/9)
Dear Lord,
Oh Lord I am sorry for holding to this doubt I wrestle with. Lord I am your ways are better than my ways, I know your timing is perfect and complete. Lord I know all that but yet I question you. Lord I question if you really will provide me for me a husband and children. I know I look to that so much to much I let it define me too much. Lord I see that as my absolute fulfillment and you oh Lord are the only one who can truly fulfill me. Lord that I thank you for. 

Lord I know your will is perfect. I pray for patience. Lord I know as much as I want a relationship I am not ready for one. Lord I know I would put that first because I put that desire first. Lord I prepare my heart. Mold me to be what you desire. Lord I know your will is perfect and I know I hold on to the details too much. Lord help me let go of the details so I can cling to you...Lord I think what I need is a change of mindset. I feel if I submit to you, I think I won't get my family I have been longing for. And I see that as the ultimate fulfillment. The ultimate way to say "I am good enough". Lord you are the ultimate fulfillment help me to rely on you. Lord my God you have blessed me and I know letting go of this you will continue to bless me.

Lord my God help me submit to your ways. Help me be part of the change you desire. Lord my God I know your ways are perfect and I know your truths are abounding. I pray I keep steadfast in you. Lord mold me for how you long me to be. Oh Lord my God walk with me on this path.

I do not write this because I am strong I write this because I am weak and wrestling.

Yours faithfully,
Always the hopeful romantic

Monday, February 4, 2013

Starting over

Before you read this post read Note to Readers

My dear Anne,

So my dearest Anne, first of all let me tell you some things about myself. I am in grad-school and it is my last "traditional" semester of Grad school and in the fall I will be writing my thesis and doing a long internship. I am looking forward to doing research (as I actually find it fun) but I feel like I am trudging through this semester. It is like grad school senioritis. I'd rather be doing anything but my homework. Actually what I want to be doing is writing my own stories. I sometimes wished I had pursued creative writing instead... though maybe if I had pursued it in school I would not like it so much. Writing is my escape... but right now I feel like I want to escape a lot. Not that anything is seriously going on, I just don't want to be doing school work. I know school will soon be over and I will be able to write and read whatever I want (oh what a glorious day that will be).
Some other things about me that you should know are my obsessions. If you want to get close to me you should know I get very passionate and hold somethings close to my heart. I love being an aunt and probably might have a little unhealthy addicted to my niece and nephew. I don't think it is unhealthy but I am sure my friends/co-workers who I talk to do.
Some time being an auntie over Christmas
I am also a hopeful romantic. I not only love love stories but I have idealistic views of the ideas of chivalry and  men purely pursuing a woman. I think in that I have a deep love of historical fictions. I get very swept in the idealistic view I have of the past. As I mentioned in my post below I just love the idea of wearing fancy dresses, going to balls, and attending eloquent dinners. I think I want to crawl inside and live in a Jane Austen novel or Downton Abbey. Of course having read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict... I know it is not so glamorous as  I think. Also Mary Crawley talked about how women don't have a life and that they are just stuck in the waiting room for marriage. So maybe the past is not as great as I imagine it to be but I still hold this idealistic view of the ages gone by.

Sometimes I think if I were to be a character in a Jane Austen or Downton Abbey-ish story I would think I would be an Edith (but nicer) or an Anne Elliot from Persuasion (maybe that is where I got your name). I am the middle daughter with both sisters married and I the useful aunt. I feel that is a role I could do well... if I wasn't a 1,000 miles away from my niece and nephew. I have tried writing a story like that but it seemed "too woe is me" so I didn't want to continue it. I think I am Elinor but I want the passion of Marianne but heck if I could get a man like Dan Stevens to marry me that would be great.
Dan Stevens as Edward Ferras
in the A&E version of Sense and Sensibility
I do think it is quite obvious that I have a love for the idea of love. As Carrie Bradshaw once said "a deep consuming, can't live with out you love" and that is what I seek after. So I will probably fill my letters with my hopeful romantic ideals and all that is entailed in that.

Besides my niece/nephew, grad-school, and my romantic ideals I will also use this time to write about my faith. To fill you in lately I have felt somewhat of a void in my life with grad-school, going home for Christmas and then having my mom visiting I could cover it up but then when things slowed down a bit I felt empty. As much as I felt I was keeping God in my life somehow I had floated away from Him. I don't think I was letting Him in to the real stuff and keeping our relationship at a very surface level. I am also trying to keep remind myself that no matter how I feel He is here with me. To do this I am trying to memorize scripture I did not do so well last week so my verse is the same...
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
-Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV 1984).

I think this has been a pretty good letter so I will let you go. Thank you for reading my letter Anne. Please write and tell me how you are doing.


P.S. I will write more and share with how my writing is coming along. Sharing my writing with you on my last story kept me quite motivated in finishing it. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A little bit of my past

Hello lovely readers,

In my last post I talked about how I was going to talk more about my faith on this blog. I know I have already talked about my faith a little but I wanted to go back a bit in my story. I have not always  followed the Lord in my life but have had Christians always in my life and I have catch myself thinking about them "you must have it all together to be a Christian." I would say my dad and both my sisters are these super Christians in my life and I looked up to them as if they were perfect... well they aren't and neither am I.

I wanted to lay out a bit of my life story so no reader can accuse me of being "perfect" and "having it all together" when I don't. In this blog I am simply sharing my life and my faith is a HUGE part of that. So before you think I am standing on a soap box or hitting you over the head with a Bible, I wanted to share a pice of my story so hopefully you won't think I am doing those actions.

From my Baptism... May 20th 2007

When I was 5ish my parents got divorced. I know it is common for kids to think that "it is their fault", I never thought that. Looking back on it, I don't really remember a time they were together so it seems like a "natural" thing. Though I didn't think it was my fault through the divorce I got it into my head that I had to please everyone. I somehow thought that there was this bar of "perfection" that I could never measure up to. When I thought I was close to that bar, I would  discover that there was something else I had to do to make people happy. And if people weren't happy with me they wouldn't love me. This an aspect of my life I have lived with for nearly 21 years, while it is waining in strength, sometimes when I am low I still feel this bar above me. So for me it was very "natural" to think there were always conditions or hoops to jump through to earn love.
Skip ahead to my Junior year of High School. It was not a good time for me. I know I was stressed about my grades (I wasn't a stellar student) and I knew my grades that year were not good enough to get into a good college. I just remembering feeling as if I had failed. I know college wasn't the only thing that brought stress on me, I just like I had failed (I can't fully put it into words). For so long I had felt as if I was treading water keeping my head above float and all of the sudden I got tired of treading so I stopped and it felt as if I had drowned. Drowned to the bottom of the ocean and for awhile I walked around feeling no need to get up. I also felt no one around me could see how much pain I was in and I couldn't express because if I did they would know I had failed and then no one would love me.
Over this time I was taking over the counter sleeping medicine because I could never sleep at night. One night, I remember, I was emptying the dish washer and I thought about taking 5 or 6 pills that night and not waking up the next day. In reality I wanted my mom to come in try to wake me and when she realized I couldn't, she would rush me to the hospital, have my stomach pumped and then be fine. Also people would realize how much pain I was carrying around. Yeah not super logical but it is hard to be logical when you are sad. It is also hard to be logical when you are living inside your own head and not grasping on to reality.
I started going to therapy my senior year. I talked a lot about my emotions and how sick I felt but I still carried around shame and guilt over what I had thought and what I had almost done. I still sometimes think back at that time and think, if people knew that about me they wouldn't love me. I mean how can some one love somebody who thought about ending their life. Yeah also not super logical. That is probably the biggest bruise I carry around me and I still ask God to heal my heart from that.  
Boston in the fall..
the first time I came to Boston was in the fall
During my Junior year I would stare out my classroom window and look out over the San Fransisco Bay and dream of running away. I thought I would just leave school take BART to Oakland get on a Amtrak train and see where life would lead. Well I found a nice legitimate way to run away, college. I had a large book that listed every college in the US and I looked into all of them on the East Coast from Boston to Virginia. But on my first trip to Boston I felt at home and I never wanted to leave. 

Over the summer, between Senior year and college, I went back to visit my dad and per usual went to High School church camp. I always went to camp mostly because all my friends went and this year was no different. But something happened to me at camp. I had 2 wonderful camp leaders who showed me how they weren't perfect and still were Christians. I began to ponder that thought. Then over the week I realized I had tried to do everything on my own and I had failed. I realized I couldn't do it on my own anymore. So after camp I asked my dad to help me find a church in Boston, I remember he was driving on the high way but I am not sure why. I am sure if he had not been driving he would have had a heart attack over this question.

I found Park Street Church and through that found one of my best friends. She didn't let me hide behind my wall of shame, she got right to the heart of my life. She also didn't allow me to be a wall flower and she "dragged" to different bible studies where I got to meet a lot of people. While I had this great friends sometimes I felt completely alone as a Christian so I clung to my Bible and read all of Psalm that first semester. Through my friend I found Reunion Christian Church, my home church, and have found a great community there.
People might ask me "how do I know God exist?" I will answer "because He saved me." I know that is a classic Sunday school answer but I know it to be true. I was in the pit and I wanted to end it all because everything I had done had made me fail. With God I have never felt like a failure, though I continue to stumble. I make mistakes, I will make mistakes. I continue to walk around with scars on my heart for all the things that have happened in my life but God knows those scars, He know the dark spots inside me, and yet he created me and He loves me with no condition and no hoops to jump through. That is what I cling to because sometimes it is the only thing that makes sense.
As I have finished this up I realize the title is a little miss-leading as it is actually a long post. So as a treat... here is one song I have really loved for a long time and still gives me goose bumps.
"How he loves" by David Crowder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Journey to Honduras!

Aqua Viva Internacional =Living Water International
First of all Honduras is a beautiful country. 

We arrived late on Saturday morning in the town of San Pedro Sula. Then we had to drive four hours to the city La Ceiba. Our stop in Honduras is Burger King... I think they were trying to ease our way into the country. 
Some our gang at BK
After the four hour drive we got to stay in this beautiful hotel.
The hotel was right on the ocean, I loved standing in the warm water. It had lots of fresh pineapple and we were able to take hot showers there as well. We started and ended our week there which was a very nice treat. 

Our team in front of the church
On Sunday we went to this church. Some of the staff/members of this church work with Living Water so they prayed for us and as we left they all gave us hugs and kisses. It was a great encouragement to start off the week. 

Then after church we had to drive another hour and half to a town called Seda. 
Sunset from the roof of our 2nd hotel 
The town of Seda.

On Monday we drove to the sight. So one expectation I had was that we were going to be working in a village, and that it would be a town like you see in "feed the children" commercials. We were in at a school in the town Descrmbro, Honduras, a agricultural town and some of the people are "middle class". I put it in quotes because I don't want people to think of American middle class. It is middle class for Honduras which means they mostly don't have electricity and maybe running water. By running water I mean they have a tank of water in their back yard. The primary water source for this village of apox. 3,000 is a river that serves as a dishwasher, laundromat & waste removal service for the community. The people of Descombro know that the water is unclean but only half of the community can afford to buy purified water and a lot of the students buy soda.

The school
One day these student practiced the drums from the start to end of the day.
The red doors in the back ground the bathrooms.

The windows of the school were covered in wooden planks. 

Inside a classroom. 

The teachers of the school cooked our meals for us while we were a the school. 
I was on the hygiene team which is more like the teaching team. For each class we did two hygiene, one bible story and then a craft. A hygiene story talked about how to wash their hands properly, how to treat diarrhea, what food to eat properly, how to keep water clean and how to use the pump properly. On the first day we talked about germs and we used glitter to represent germs. When we came into lunch with the drilling team, my friend joked that  "the drilling team was covered in mud and the hygiene team was covered in glitter."

On Tuesday our machine was broken so while some of the Living Water staff went to get new equipment we were able to walk around one of the villages the school serves. The school served up to 5 to 6 local villages but this was the closest village.

While there some house like this one (above)... they would sit right next to the mud hut house (below). I will admit when I arrived in Honduras I thought all the houses were going to be like the one below.

The biggest take away I will take away from the walk through the village was just how generous people were.
We stopped by one house that had a few coconut trees. The guy, who owned the house came out and asked if we want some and would not let us pay for them. Then he began cutting them down and taking his machete to cut them apart so we could drink coconut milk. His wife was there holding this little baby and I was saying how cute he was, in my most broken Spanish. She just came and placed him in my arms so I could hold him. I thought "whoa, she doesn't know who I am but she gave me her son." I love little babies, so this was a great moment for me.
I just loved all the horses.
A shot of the main road in the village

 On Wednesday we did what is called a good news bracelet.
My good news bracelet.  

Black- represents the sin that separates us from God.
Red- represents the blood of Christ that was shed for the sacrifice of our sins.
White- when we accept Christ we become white as snow. 
Blue- represents baptism
Green- represents the new creation God makes us.
Yellow- represents the glory of heaven. 

The day we made the bracelets the kids acted like we were passing out candy when we were giving out the beads. Some kids tricked us to giving more beads to It was great to see how receptive to the story of Christ and what it all meant.

I can't talk much about the drilling project as I mostly stood on the side lines and watched. But next year I would love to be part of the drilling team and get my hands, t-shirt, and pants dirty. 

Here are some pictures from the drilling sight...
At the beginning there was just dirt.

LOTS of hard work being done.
Never leave home with out your duct tape
One guy on our team had broken his foot so every day he had to wrap his foot with tape to make sure his boot did not get wet. Well his tape did not always hold up so I told him I had duct tape, of course it was bright pink, but it worked to protect his foot. I must say it looked quite stylish. It was just lucky I had it because I just threw it into my luggage at the last minute.

I know there were a lot of challenges for the drilling team, with broken machine parts, and the fact they kept hitting rock, rock they couldn't get through. So out of faith on Wednesday they had to send down some pipe and then attempt to pump to see if they could get water. God blessed us and we had water! My friend put it best... "Looking back we see this as a blessing in disguise (sometimes God has to slow us down for our own good)."
This was a great relief to all of us!

On Wednesday we also had our intense moment of being stuck on the other side of the border. To read more about that read my Shove comes to Push post. When we finally left on Wednesday we didn't know at that moment if we were able to come back and finish/dedicate the well. I wasn't so concerned about that but I hated not knowing if I was going to come back and see my students. I was amazed even with the barrier of not speaking Spanish how much I loved them and how much they loved us. Fortunately we were able to come back and finish the work we started.

At the end of that was water. 

Both the drilling and hygiene team at the pump. 

At the dedication of the pump. 
Lots of the girls gathered around me and I tried to put my arm around them all.

I can't fully explain how wonderful it was to be on this trip. I knew I was going down to serve them but I felt so blessed by the people I met there. It was a wonderful and amazing journey. I highly recommend that every one go on a mission trip. The best thing to do is find a cause, country, or another area you are passionate about and see how you can serve there. I can't wait to go back to Honduras and if God wants me, I will go back next year. 

When I left Honduras, I told Emmillo (the boss) "I am not going to say Adiós but Hast Luego (see you later)."     

I know these aren't the best pictures... but I am going to miss the beauty of Honduras.