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Showing posts from March, 2011

Hospital Ministry and Naming Babies

Today has been a very special day for me. I got to go do hospital ministry with Love More, Chad, and Zhenya. We went on foot because the hospital is not very far from here. Love More wanted to take some bananas to the hospital patients, so we walked through the village and down to the market to buy them. Walking through a Mozambican village is certainly an experience! The kids all got really excited about seeing white people, and followed after us yelling "muzunga!" and "good afternoon!" in Portuguese. Muzunga comes from a Swahili word that means (I think) 'the restless people'. That fits Americans pretty well, doesn't it? We also passed a mother sitting beside her house with a newborn baby. Love More stopped to talk to her for a moment, then turned to us with an unexpected request. "She wants you to help her name her baby." He said. Well, baby naming was about the last thing I'd been expecting to do, but Chad, Zhenya, and I put our heads…

Night Flight: Musings and Poetry

3/14/'11

Here I am, on the last leg of the flight. All is dark and quiet. Most people are asleep. The only sounds are the steady roar of the plane engine and the strains of Arabic pop coming through my earphones. I can look out the window and see pricks of light. I am suspended between the stars above and the scattered gleam of city lights below. The German kid behind me is probably wondering why I have my head pressed against the window, staring out at the night. Even if I really wanted to, I could not explain to him the magic I find in being between. Between earth and sky. Between stages in my life. Or, as I experienced at the Abu Dhabi airport, between Eastern and Western cultures.

The experience of being caught between two cultures is an awkward one. Where do I really fit in, anyway? Do I fit in at all? Am I the obnoxious, overbearing American tourist? Do I fit better with the scarf-swaddled, subservient Arab women? Am I with the dark-skinned, brightly clothed Africans? My bl…

Rain Clouds, Quotes, and Musings

Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path... One that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it.

Pippin: What, Gandalf? See what?

Gandalf: White shores... And beyond. A far green country, under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: Well... That isn't so bad.

Gandalf: No. No, it isn't.

-The Return of the King

I happen to be very fond of this quote. Taken alone, it is, quite simply, utterly beautiful. Viewed from my Christian mindset, it is a lovely picture of the way I should be living my life: fearlessly, knowing something far better is in store.

I was reminded of this quote last Friday. It was a grey, rainy day. Dark clouds overhung the sky, casting gloom on everything. The sun had disappeared...or had it? There came a break in the grey rain clouds, and through it I could see a bright blue sky. A single shaft of sun fell thro…

And Now it's Time for Silly Songs With Janie...

It's spring! The sky is blue, the air smells like growing things, the birds are singing...and mud is squelching underfoot. Every single spring, without fail, the farm turns into a sea of mud. Six-inch deep, slimy, sticky clay. Everything gets coated with the pestilential stuff: the animals, the floors, me. I simply must find humor in the situation. I go out and work in the mud twice a day, and without laughter, I would go insane...or perhaps I already am insane, and that's why I can laugh...Anyroad, I rewrote the hymn He Arose to suit my muddy plight. I hope no-one finds this too sacreligious.

Low in the mud she lay, writhing and squirming,
Coated with slimy clay, yelling 'oh crumbs!'

Then up from the mud she arose,
All slimed and smeared from head to toes.
She arose a victor from the slimy depths,
And now she's more careful to watch her steps.
She arose! She arose! Hallelujah! She arose!

Mozambique

Well, a lot has changed in the few weeks since I last posted. My plans have shifted from possibly not going to Ivory Coast, to possibly going to Mexico, to leaving for Mozambique in 11 days. God has, indeed, kept His promise to give me direction. In the midst of scurrying around to get vaccinations, a visa, and safe malaria medicine, God has taught me some valuable lessons.

There was a point when it looked like my visa was not going to work out. I was faced with the possibility that I wasn't going to make it to Mozambique, after all. I started doubting and questioning. What if I hadn't done everything I was supposed to do? Should I have pursued my visa more aggressively? Was this all my fault? I brought all my concerns before God, and He patiently gave me answers, which I recorded in my journal.

Feb. 23
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up…