Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Highs and Lows...

What an awesome, glorious, thrilled day we had! I ventured out with four awesome people who I had gotten to know at MTI, but not very well. We did the tourist climb up Pikes Peak (driving of course) and then back into the car for a trip to the Royal Gorge. I believe I can say I have been to the highest and lowest point of Colorado! It was an incredible day to see the handiwork of our God! How amazing it is to see how He has worked in each of these peoples lives, let alone the majesty of His creation! Pikes Peak was gorgeous, the Gorge was eerie, but incredible. We finished the day at in incredible Indian restaurant, but the best part of it all was getting to know these knew friends throughout it all, their passions, their dreams, what makes them tick, and celebrating them.

Thoughts that keep me awake...

I imagine just about everyone at MTI is asleep at this point, most of the gang is getting up early tomorrow to hit the slopes, I am boycotting as I don't like being cold or wet.

A thought keeps creeping into my mind, and I thought I would share it with you. It is more a question really, that lies unanswered...

We so often blame the bad things in our life on Satan, the Evil One, or the Enemy (unsure of your preference), but what if some of the bad things that happen are actually expressions of God's love for us? Can this be? hmmm...I cannot answer this one...but it sure has me thinking.

Praying you are getting a good nights rest...

an hour of captivity an hour of quiet...

It is hard to believe that I today marks the end of my fourth week of training at MTI. Time has gone quickly, but at the same time, it has been four whole weeks and I am ready to go home and start packing my bags for Tanzania.

A few things this week really impacted me. Each morning, except one, we have spent time in worship, this is something I look forward to each day, as it brings a quietness to my soul. In the middle of the week, MTI arranged a mock hostage event for us trainees. Of course we knew it wasn't real the entire time, but they did do a good job of causing us to experience some of the stress of being taken hostage by some radicals. It caused me to think of many things I have not considered before, the most impacting of which was am I ready to go to heaven? In our hostage situation, I found myself frustrated because our team wasn't working together to get out of the situation, people were talking at each other, and making decisions without really thinking them through. My planner side was definately showing through. I also became frustrated as people made decisions about my life without consulting me. Ohh...the things we are learning through this experience. Today was an entirely different day. Today was a day full of training on how to keep ourselves spiritually refreshed, my personal favorite, was a Lectio Divina, which I have done before, but not in a really long time. To end the day, we were challenged to go out into the wilderness around us and spend at least an hour in quiet. It was beautiful. Words cannot express this experience.

I find myself resorting to the excuse that I am an introvert more often these days. I never realized how much I value time with myself. I seem to be drained constantly, I assume it is because I am living in a building with 30+ people and we have been together for four weeks. I am ready to climb the mountains outside, yet cannot, both because my asthmatic lungs are still adjusting to the altitude and because no one else I know is in the mood for climbing.

Tomorrow is a promising day, Pikes peak, and the Royal Gorge. I have a feeling I will succumb to peer pressure and fight my fears of heights and falling for the giant swing. Pictures to come.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A matter of trust...

This past sunday I attended a worship service and a song was played that gripped me. The lyrics are as follows:

At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received
And You've won my heart
Yes You've won my heart
Now I can
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross
At the foot of the cross
Where I am made complete
You have given me life
Through the death You bore for me
I'm laying every burden down
I'm laying every burden down
Music and lyrics by Kathryn Scott© 2003 Vertical Worship SongsCCLI# 4157353

I think this song gripped me, as I this last month, I have been forced to rely more on my God, to carry my burdens, both of my sin, and of suffering. I am entering a stage of grieving as I prepare to leave home for 4 years. This is compounded by my stepdad being diagnosed with cancer over the holidays, and my mom requiring surgery on her neck because of constant pain. With all of this chaos going on, there was only one place to take my hurts, and my hopes, the foot of the cross, where Christ has won my heart, because of the gift of life He gave to me.

These thoughts have all be challenged and reinforced while I attend one of my last trainings before leaving for Tanzania. I have been challenged in how I look at the world, to take my western, US, lenses off, and view the world as God does. I have had to ask myself the hard questions as I participated in a mock hostage situation that caught all of us trainees by surprise. I have had to view the parts of my heart, that contain the fears that I have been afraid to vocalize, thinking they might become realities, and partly because I am ashamed to say I have fears in this adventure.

The reality that surfaces is that, God desires me to lay these grief stricken moments, and the fears I have at His feet, along with the joys of walking this pass with Him. It is part of the life He has given me, and to be honest, grief and fears included, He has still won my heart.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Helen with a view and Ice Angels

Learn to speak or learn to communicate...

I have spent the last two weeks attending a training course called PILAT. (Program In Language Acquisition Training) This course has opened my eyes in so many areas of communication. Repeatedly we have been asked what the goal of language learning is, and for those of you who haven't heard the answer before, the goal is:

1. Communication
2. Communication
3. Communication

As we talk about teaching our tongues and lips to make noises we don't normally use in the English language, I am reminded about teaching myself to communicate better on the whole.

When I think of my relationship with God, I realize that I often only communicate partially with Him, I give Him words, but not the groans of my heart, and fail miserably at being real with Him, the one who already knows everything.

Aside from all of this learning, we have managed to have some fun, with multiple trips to the local Safeway (there isn't much around here), Starbucks (I discovered a new drink for you non-coffee drinkers), and a few hikes out into the wilderness
and some ice angels (we were lacking in snow!).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I was reading in the Gospel of Mark the other day and something struck me. In Chapter 1, Jesus calls out to Simon and Andrew as they are fishing and says to them, "Come, Follow me." As you continue reading, you discover that "at once" they put down their nets and followed Him.

Next, He calls out to James and his brother John and called them. They left their father and started to follow Jesus.

The thing that strikes me most, is that without hesitation, these men followed a man, they had never met, without even knowing where He was going to lead them. What incredible faith.