Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts On Church

At HEART I journaled a whole lot. It seemed there was always something going on to be writing about and things to be learned. Grace strung itself through my days, always present and working. I miss HEART; the friends who were family, the ease of living, the daily encouragement, and actually feeling like I was the person I am supposed to be.

Even as I think about that place that I love, somehow I don't want to be there now. I would love to be there, but I don't feel like my place is there. My place is here, struggling to make real friends and find a job that fits me. Growing my own garden (literally and figuratively) with the soil I'm given. Getting to know my present neighbors.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits--
Who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you
With love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
So that your youth is renewed like the eagles.
-ps 103:2-5

What does that have to do with church?
Well I've been thinking about church a lot ever since going to HEART. I want a church that's not just on Sundays, but people that live with me (not literally in my house) throughout the week. Maybe that's just too much to ask because everyone's so busy, but at least someone who will take me up on my offers to spend time together and return the desire.

Honestly I don't need another boring Bible study. You probably don't either. (Don't get me wrong, the words of God are life-giving water). But I need someone to live life with and have fun with and through experiencing things side by side grow in Christ. That's what HEART was and that's why it was more of a church to me than anything I've ever experienced.

The point is....be the church for someone else. And don't invite me to a bible study (unless its really good). Invite me to eat pizza with you and laugh, or go on an adventure that will be remembered for the rest of our lives so that we can look back and say "Look at how awesome God is!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"How the Global Food Market Starves the Poor"

While "stumbling" one day I came across this simple video that explains a bit about how the food market in our country affects people in other countries. Thought it was well done, simple enough to follow, and gives alot of food for thought (pun not intended).




ps. This post and the following are not necessarily HEART related and HEART does not necessarily support the views or opinions mentioned.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The End

My HEART semester has been over for a couple weeks now. It's hard to explain how important HEART was to me or how much it changed me. When people ask me how it was, I could never share enough to really convey the experience. It's not enough to say it was the highlight of my life. I went feeling a vacuum, and left richly filled with friendships that made me want to live a good life for the Lord. I went hoping to learn about Community Development and left knowing what true community is. I went wanting to learn how to serve people and left having served and learned to love people a little better. I went afraid and left strengthened.

The words of Gungor, who's song we overplayed, really does describe our experience.
"You make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things out of us."

I feel like my garden is symbolic of my heart.

My Garden Before


My Garden After




Beautiful people

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Butcher a Chicken

Method #1
Kneel or step on the chicken's feet and wings.
Stretch the neck out.
Slit neck with sharp knife to drain blood.
Refrain from splattering blood all over you while the chicken spasms.

What not to do: cut the head completely off because the knife is freakishly sharp (blood will go everywhere)




Method #2
Place a pole on the chicken's neck.
Step on the pole while pulling up on the chicken's feet.

What not to do: Pull so hard the head pops off (its just gross)




Method #3
Swing chicken sharply around by the neck to break the spine.

What not to do: Be timid about it (you'll just have a poor flailing ALIVE chicken)







Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mama and the Children's Home

"Many a complaining life could be changed into one of joy and happiness by constantly making note of God's blessings" -Middleton

One very impacting place we visited in Belize was a children's home. There were about 45 children of all ages. Most of them come from abusive homes and a few are orphans. The lady who started and ran the home was called "Mama". She told us her story. When she was little she was abused by her father and became pregnant by him. When she grew up and got away from her family she desired to help other children who had been in her situation. She is a Christian and her faith in God has brought her through the years. She started the children's home in a small house with another young lady to help her. Soon her home grew and they moved to a bigger house. One problem they had was that the house had stairs. The children would fall down the stairs occasionally and get bruises, causing authorities and others to think they were being abused. The house they are in now thankfully does not have any stairs. They have architectural plans to add on and rebuild the building for the children. Mama told us that over 400 children had come through her house. She still worries daily about how she will have money to feed the children and pay for their doctor's bill, but her incredible faith shone all over her face and it was clear she was full of joy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Belize

We've been back from Belize for a couple weeks now. It was a wonderful trip. Our time was PACKED each day. We did not waste any time. We had breakfast at 7am every morning and then headed out for the day to do different things. We visited two farms. One was agricultural and had alot of citrus trees. The other was part of a school where they taught students how to grow food as well as raise animals like pigs and sheep.

Touring the first farm on a tractor.



Organic Cabbage.


Everyday we took a bus and a truck to all the locations we visited.


We visited a lumber yard, Mayan ruins


The national park (which was really cool and jungly and reminded me of home).
I feel like this photo should be named "Armor"





We also went to a chicken hatchery in the Mennonite community of Belize.


We visited a butterfly farm and toured a medicine trail.
The butterflies were Blue Morpho and we got to see their life cycle.



We also traveled to a refugee village where some missionaries had previously completed a water project, bringing water from the hills down to the village for them to have clean water. We were told that the community had been very involved in the project. They felt part of it, therefore they valued it and so the system was still function and being used correctly.

At the water tank.


Though mostly our trip was educational and we were able to see what the people of Belize were doing to build up their very young (only 30 years old) country, we also did some ministry while we were there. We prepared a fun night for children one night and later in the week we prepared a youth meeting filled with testimonies, games and worship for those in the church.

One of my favorite activities was painting the mission building that we were staying at. Our group painted the dorm rooms and I headed up a mural in the dining area. It was really fun for the creative people in the group to be involved and we all worked together to paint a tree with the scripture
"I am like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever I do prospers." -Ps. 1:3



The finished product








It was fun staying at the mission house and also kind of strange because it was an upgrade from the housing we've been living in. We had electricity and fans and real toilets and showers (although we were all too lazy to turn on the water heaters so we just took cold showers). We also ate really well, with an array of different food including lots of fruit (which we don't get at HEART).

There was alot of beautiful scenery. Belize is a small country with a slow pace of life. It only has a population of about 321,000. The official language is English but alot of the people speak Spanish or Creole. There is a big Caribbean influence as well as Hispanic from the surrounding countries but it is interesting that the money has Queen Elizabeth II on it.













Thankyou to all those who supported us!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Morning Prayer

We've been back from Belize for half a week now. It was a wonderful experience. Thankyou for all those who supported us. If you still want to you can still send money to help us cause we still need to raise funds for it.

One morning I woke up at 5am to help our wonderful Belizian and Guatemalan cooks make breakfast. We finished pretty quickly so I just sat on the steps of our building and watched the sun come up. The mission house we stayed at was up in the hilly regions of Belize and had a beautiful view out over the trees.



I looked at this sunrise while sipping instant coffee (hey, you're thankful for any coffee at 5 in the morning). I wrote this prayer that I decided to share just to give you an idea of the thoughts in my head.

Please Lord
Let me never become complacent.
Take me and shake my world up. Stretch and challenge me to see more of you, to root out all my sin.
Let grace rule over my life and let your mark of freedom be imprinted on all I do.
Let me not be bound by selfishness, by cultural prejudice.
Let me be broken.
Let crazy adventures come.
Take me to new places and new things but break my heart for the people I leave behind.
Let me never have an easy time leaving but let grace go with me to sooth and comfort.
Let no person be my guide but let Jesus take that position.
Let me fail in my weakness so that I'm reminded to pick up my strength in you.
Let me grasp possessions loosely and be willing to let them slip through my fingers.
Let me remember the worlds hurts and suffering but not be so overwhelmed that I have no joy.
Let me always be reminded of what you did when you died, proclaimed me righteous and set me free.
Let the hope and joy from that fill up my life.
Let me seek after truth and never stop.
Let me draw near to you and I'm told you'll draw near to me.
When I go through the Valley of Baca let me make it a place of streams.
Let me go from strength to strength (Ps. 84).