Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I wonder if reconciliation is not our number two task this side of life. Most of my life I think I've been trying to define what I am not, who I'm not associated with, what I don't do, etc...

This is what Wikipedia has to say...

Reconciliation may mean the following:

  • Reconciliation may be seen as part of a process of restoring a relationship gone wrong, typically as the result of one party causing a rift, by putting an end a relationship of enmity and by substituting for one of peace and good will. This may be the relationship between individuals or between nations or between God and human beings.
  • Reconciliation is a Roman Catholic sacrament in which a priest proclaims forgivness of confessed sin.
  • Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday, considered by Jews to be the holiest and most solemn day of the year; its central theme is atonement and reconciliation.
  • The Southern Truth and Reconciliation group is formed by individuals in Atlanta, Georgia, to assist local communities in the South where racial violence had made racial separation a fact of daily life.
  • Reconciliation is the process of healing cultural divisions between non-indigenous and indigenous Australians.
As the number two task in life I think instead of trying to separate myself from people I should be working to restore commanality with all people.
There has been enmity between people and other people and with God. I want to be intentional about not building more walls of separation but to tear down those walls that we all build up to draw nearer to each other and to God. Our number one task will come later. I'm sure you already know where I'm going with this one anyway.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (this whole paragraph is awesome really)
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

And the cat is finally out of the bag, I can share my secret that many of you already know but I didn't want to make it public until I at least talked with my mom. That has been done with the most positive results so here is the news: I'm applying for Word Made Flesh. The last of my paperwork will get mailed out tomorrow then hopefully I'll have a phone interview Wednesday the 7th that you could be praying about. I emailed the servant team leader in Kolkata today that one of my Wheaton friends knows. Her name is Beth, you can pray for her also. I was greatly encouraged reading her newsletter from the begining of this month. It was sprinkled throughout with such bold love. God has been leading me by the hand in this direction and I've been shocked at how simple it has been to follow this leading. God has paved the way thus far. Road blocks are inevitable at some point but currently I just have such peace. Peace that passes understanding. peace...I like to meditate on that. With this peace I must walk boldly into the unknown knowing I will not go alone. Praise God!

And lastly, I ATE TIM-TAMS TODAY!!!!! They were so ooey-gooey delicious. Reminded me of my first experience with Tim-Tams just after returning from China while I was still recovering from the time change and realizing the impact of it all. Wow. Once again, all the events of life are pointing towards the call and I feel peace. Amen

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Moments of Conversion: the forgotten episode

Wilderness Trek

This morning I was sitting in the dungeon (basement) working on my thesis for a paper that is now due in less than 12 hours when a song came on my iTunes that I had not heard in several years. This song took me back to a week at the end of July 2001. It was the summer between jr. and sr. high school. So this week in July I had fought tooth and nail for. It was a backpacking expedition headquartered in Salida, CO. A Christian organization and my youth group was giving it a try. My family was against me going off and doing this thing. I was determined to raise all my own money so they wouldn't have any right (when does a parent of a 15 year old not have any "right" to say what the child can and cannot do?) to tell me I couldn't go. So anyway, I fought and went. This was probably the darkest most down and miserable I have ever been. Call it depression or whatever you want but I was bad. I had friends getting me into things I didn't need to be into and the works. So when we got to Salida and breathed in the mountain air, slept by the stream, picked up our packs and set ourselves determined to summit in the course of a few days I was really hopeful that God would speak into the desolateness of my heart and mind.
We couldn't take along cd players which was torture for me. Absolute torture. I was the youngest one on the trip and one of only four women. I was not in perfect shape. I was small and my pack was heavy. The mountain was substantial and more defined elevation gain valley to peak then even Elbert (so I was told). We set out to climb Mt. Arkansas near Leadville, Co.
A song was in my mind the whole time I was climbing. It was a great encouragement as well as a bit annoying. Why was it this song? The day before the summit climb we spent half the day in total solitude. Some spent it praying, some reading scripture, some resting, some walking through nature, I wrote out the words to the song and cried out to God from my dark situation and asked why.
As I was talking with someone today I realized that I am still asking why. There is so much I don't know. But I am not content sitting around waiting for the answers. I don't think they are as important as the action of trying to correct the mess we have made. I want to be contemplative and patient. I want to wait on God. But my heart breaks because there are concrete steps we can take to make life better for someone all the time. Why the suffering? Why the despair? Lord I want to be content spending half my day crying out to you on behalf of the oppressed and the other half actively fighting for their liberation.
The trek was awesome. Shortly after we summited at 13, 795' and signed the register a cloud rolled over and we had to skri down before the storm hit. Just after we made it back to high camp we turned to see a rainbow over the peak we just hit and were able to actually see both ends of the rainbow. It was beautiful. Then it rained until night. Such an incredible week of climbing. Read on to discover the song that haunted me during this week of heavy spiritual warfare in my life.

"Love Song" Third Day
I've heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
I've never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of Calvary

Just to be with you, I'll do anything
There's no price I would not pay
Just to be with you, I'll give anything
I would give my life away.

I've heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one he loves
All of those dreams are an empty emotion
It can never be done
I've never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea

Just to be with you, I'll do anything
There's no price I would not pay
Just to be with you, I'd give everything
I would give my life away.

(Bridge) I know that you don't understand
the fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don't realize
how much that I'd give you
But I promise, I would do it all again.

Just to be with you, I've done everything
There's no price I did not pay
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.


"When people are starving, it is not food that is in short supply, it's justice." -Eduardo Galeano

"We who are not poor, not hungry, cannot by fasting share the lot of those who are. But we can turn the attention and energy that hunger gives us to what Galeano says....The difference between the fasting of the wealthy and the constant hunger of those who are poor: "For those who eat well, Lent is a call to austerity, a call to give away in order to share with those in need. But in poor lands, in homes where there is hunger, Lent should be observed in order to give to the sacrifice that is everday life the meaning of the cross....Feeling in one's own flesh the consequences of sin and injustice, one is stimulated to work for social justice and a genuine love for the poor."

"The fasting we do in Lent is about this love for the poor and thus the hunger for justice to be done."

Quotes taken from "Get Hungry for Lent" and article in U.S. Catholic from February 2005 pg. 24-27. Written by Gabe Huck

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sad night, we had an incident of a kamucasi wine bottle in the kitchen as we were sitting down for supper. It was tragic. I'm certain it was the best wine I'd ever bought but I was saving it for a special occation. I don't know what that special occation would have been but now our house smells like wine. Oh well. As I was falling asleep in class tonight I decided to write out my plan/goal/sacrifice for lent. I'm glad it's no longer just maybe I should do this or that but a concrete decision. Can't tell you what it is but I'm excited for it to begin. I don't plan on participating in fat tuesday, I think just now I indulged for the last time (for the next 40 days at least). Exciting posts to come, I promise but for now I'm busy reading, writing research papers and application essays. If you get a letter to write a reference letter I hope you will have nice things to say. We watched The Constant Gardner tonight after the death of the Llano wine. Wow, talk about sinceless death and corruption. that's all.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Book Reports

So I've considered also using this blog for writing book reports because I eat books for breakfast. Seriously. I just finished eating "A Hunger for God" and it's only 11am. (I just made a funny, ha)

So this past week I read "Through Painted Deserts" by Donald Miller, "3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare" by Clinton E. Arnold, "The Shaping of Things to Come" by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, "The New Friars" by Scott A. Bessenecker, and "A Hunger for God" by John Piper.

I promise that's more than I typically read, but it made me feel productive to write them all out.

Miller's book was about his journey in a VW van from Houston, TX to Cascade Mountains in Oregon. He has a traveling companion, the hippie from Oregon who actually owns the van and keeps suggesting that Miller is on a spiritual pilgrimage. This is the third Miller book I've read (haven't read "To Own a Dragon" yet) and it wasn't as good as the others possibly because it reflects his youth and earlier stages of the spiritual journey. However, I love all things dealing with road trips and hippies and I believe life is a journey and the metaphor here cannot be ignored.

Arnolds book is an overview of evangelical understanding (or lack thereof) of spiritual warfare. The Three questions are "What is Spiritual Warfare?" "Can a Christian be Demon-Possessed?" and "Are We Called to Engage Territorial Spirits?" If you have never taken seriously the claim that we are not in a war of flesh and blood then you need to look into the matter. I've been reading several books on the issue (because I'm in a spiritual warfare class) and several are written or edited by one of my professors, Scott Moreau, the Chair of the ICS dept. at Wheaton. He has a quote on the back cover of this book, here's what he says about reading it. "This work integrates readability, through biblicism, and awareness of contemporary trends....I place it at the top of the 'must read' list for anyone grappling with these issues."

Frost and Hirsch's book is about the needed 'evolution' of the church. Unfortunately too many of our churches haven't changed in the last 50-100 years (or more). Why is this bad? Well culture has evolved (for better or worse) and our churches are still 'preaching' to those in their 60 and above (or even a generation that had passed on). All the while many are deciding that church just isn't relevant any more and looking elsewhere for spirituality. We now live in a post-christian pluralistic culture and churches needed to re-invent themselves aware of culture and without altering the gospel message. So it's a pretty good book that addresses these hot issues. If you are passionate about these things like I am then maybe you will enjoy the book. My dad enjoyed it more than I did. I'm unfortunately about fed up with it all whereas he wants to the current church model to be redeemed. I think he has the right approach. Anyway, read the book tell me what you think. We started a blog for this one even. I don't remember what it's called but I'll look it up and link it to my site.

Bessenecker's book was my favorite in this stack because it addressed an order of Christians who have left their life of luxury to follow Jesus, be in Jesus midst, be Jesus, and help Jesus. What? Have you ever been in the presence of a homeless person and rather than seeing that person seen Jesus? This book describes ministry not from a position of power but of serving along side the world's poor. This goes along with my interest in New Monasticism but here is a global version of it that brought me to tears at times with the stories of ordinary men and women telling the stories of extraordinary people who live in some of the most inhospitable corners of this world. READ IT, it may just change your life and then I'll have a teammate!!!

Piper writes in a way that's biblical and easy to follow. How about that? The topic is fasting. The first half is about internal issues the second is about external/outward. So there is a whole chapter devoted to Isaiah 58. I love Isaiah. I'm reading this one for a research paper due Thursday on how fasting should be used in spiritual warfare and so far I don't think there is a connection. But if you are in the habit of fasting or would like to understand it's intended purpose along with the history of fasting this has been a very enlightening book.

So that's all. More books to read now for the research paper(s). Enjoy and share what you've been reading with me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Missions' Moment

This is for a class assignment that I'm suppose to find a way to use and/or share the information I found in the BGC archieves with others. So I hope some of you find this information useful or encouraging or maybe as a reminder of the "good ole days."

This past week I spent some time in the Billy Graham Center Archives. I spent a few hours digging through a box of letters from a couple young missionaries in their early years to the Masai Tribe in Kenya. John W. Stauffacher lived from 1878-1944 and his wife Florence Minch Stauffacher from 1881-1859. They went with the African Inland Mission (AIM) agency serving in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. They compiled a dictionary of the Masai language and a Bible translation.

John worked under Charles Hurlburt whom he spoke well of as a father. Charles Hurlburt lived and worked at the missions station among the Kikuyu in Kijah. John spent the first part of his first term working in Kijah as well, learning from Hurlburt and learning the language and culture of the Masai whom he had come to minister among.

In his correspondence to Florence on 11 June 1903 he talked about his joy in God, the darkness in Africa, and his desire for Florence to join him there. In the following letter, 29 August 1903, John wrote about his surprise at the beauty and joy of Africa and the people at the station in the mountains (Kijah). John spent his time in the early days teaching English and learning their language in preparation to be the first missionary among the Masai.

On the 10 of October 1903 John wrote about slipping away to a serene place to pray and to study the language by the cliffs among the trees and a stream. At least that is what his superior Hurlburt thought. John secretly hid away to read the letters from his love Florence.

In these early letters I got the feeling that John polarized the world. He saw Africa as dark and God as the light that needed to be taken to them. This made him very sure in his task and without hesitation in going and giving up all so that some may be saved. The urgency he spoke of in the early letters convicted me on some letter. John was taking his call seriously. Then I read the letter from October which displays the youthful humanity of this man of God. The fact that he would slip away to dream of how it will be when his lover joins him on the field shows that maybe those of us in this room 100 years later studying to be missionaries are not that much different. Do we take the call that seriously? Do we understand the urgentcy? Do we see in black and white? And should we?

This letter from 30 of March 1904 stood out to me. I will quote from it directly for you to see how John really spoke and thought.
"Now about yourself. I almost wish you had not asked me for advice. Not that I do not come to advise you, but because there is only one advice that I can honestly give and that may seem to be for my own selfish interest. Before I say anything else I will say full well to do whatever you think best regardless of me. Try as far as possible to know what the will of your Master is and the rest will take care of itself. Let me give you a few facts however which may help you decide what to do. Your work here would no doubt be exclusively among the Masai. European settlers are coming in rapidly nearly all of them looking for their own selfish interest. The government giving land grants, is gradually crowding down the Masai to a narrow territory and if this continues and there is no reason why it should not they may finally be crowded out entirely. There are a people quite different from others, in that they will not cultivate, nor do the work of other natives. They simply watch their sheep and cattle. So they are of no use to the white man unless taught. Then if their feeding grounds are taken away from them what will become of them." paraphrase-Half have been reduced already. "So your life and mine worth while to be spent in rescuing some of this generation for our Master. It may seem like uselessly throwing our lives away." paraphrase-John will waste his life if some are rescued. He feels heaven would be a disappointment after the work he's done if some aren't there. She is faced with either continuing education or joining him. He says you don't need more training to compel the Mosai to Christ. All they need is love. They need pure love by someone willing to come live among them. "They are dirty, deceitful, wretched. Only a touch of love will brighten them. Your education will come to nothing except that it may enlarge your life. But unless you are certain that God wishes you to stay don't waste a minute longer than is really necessary. We don't know how much time he will give us and especially in this country one can never know which day will be his last."

John seems to have an understanding of the greatest command. As far as I know he also went through higher education but he is a couple years older than Florence so he finished before her. I have wondered about what John is saying many times myself. Do I really need this degree in order to do the work of God? Would I have been equally prepared for service if I had just gone out after college, or even high school? At the end of high school I didn't want to do missions and at the end of College I didn't know where God was calling me to serve. But Florence knows where God is calling her or at least where John is calling and she must decided if school is necessary for service and love.

In another letter from 29 April 1904 John writes that he has now moved to the Mosai tribe (described as a dangerous warring people). They have asked him to be their friend. He describes them as also being intelligent because they listened to the story he brought them about Christ and told them about the work (mission) he is doing. The Mosai boy, Mulungit, who taught him the Mosai language at the mission station in Kijah is now zealously preaching among the Mosai. John has discipled him since moving to Africa and Mulungit also studied with Hurlburt.

John writes many more letters to Florence trying to persuade her to join him. John tells her she would be teaching the women and children at home and cooking while he would travel to the ten nearby villages to preach. Florence finally arrived around the 8th of October 1905. They married sometime before the 8th of May 1906. Their first furlough was in 1909. Following that to led expeditions into Uganda and Tanania. They led the first group to Zaire in 1912. Then they served in Uganda until their second furlough in 1914. They returned to Africa in 1918 after WWI to Kenya until 1940.

As many terrible things we say about the missionaries that went before us and had some terrible practices, they also made some tremendous strides to spread the gospel. God has been working throughout the centuries. I wonder if the bible translation John made is still in use. I wonder if there are still Christians among the Mosai that he went to, generations later. I wonder if the Mosai still have land and cattle and sheep. Or maybe they have been moved to another land. If any readers know some follow up on the work the Stauffachers did I would love to know about it.

This information was gathered from letter from John W. Stauffacher to Florence Minch Stauffacher, between June 1903 and May 1906. Folders 1-4, Box 1, Collection 281, Papers: 1902-1973, n.d.. Archives of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, Illinois.

Quasi Blizzard

Today it snowed.
They didn't plow or salt and the drifts actually drifted.
This weekend I went cross-country skiing.

I'm been doing that thing where you can take a step back from your life (just in the mind) and I'm living a dream for real. Who really gets to do this stuff? Who gets to work a job they actually like? I chose to go to work today three and a half hours early today. Who gets to travel every weekend at least as far as another time zone? Who gets to play as much as I do? Tonight we put on the snow pants and did somersaults off the road into the ditch. Who has a master's degree at such a young age?

My life is not anything I would have picked on my own volition, it's so much better.

Why did God give me these parents? Why did he chose for me to be born in Lubbock? Why did God put me in a situation where I could (almost) afford higher education? All these things we either take for granted or never consider the alternative. Part of me wants to reject the privilege I've been born into but that would be like rejecting God's sovereignty. Why, why, why?

Enough wondering for one night. It's late. Past my bedtime.
Oh, update on health. No signs of malnutrition in four days. I'm eating fatty sugary things for a little while and taking a vitamin. A little science and a lot of prayer seems to be taking care of the physical issues while I still wrestle through the spiritual issues that were brought to surface in this experience.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Day of Prayer and deep meditation

So the past two days were near miserable for many reasons but today had a completely different feel to it. I've been waking up before my alarm all week (maybe I adjusted to EST while on the East Coast the past two weeks) and have spent that time in prayer and reading to slowly center my day in the Lord. I have to confess this is a practice that I have always desired but have never made any effort to maintain. So today I went from waking up slowly in prayer and reading (while cooking sticky rice) to going up to school to sit around in the lounge and reading for another hour about spiritual warfare. After that with was 45 minutes of intimate prayer time with 5 of my closest peer in the ICS program. Then we went to the spiritual conflicts class. After that two of these friends pulled me aside to lay hands on me and pray over me. Why all this prayer today? God has definitely been speaking to me.
I've been pouring my thoughts into studying about folks like Francis and Claire, Patrick and Brigid, and the lives of other dedicated preacher/missionary/servant types that had a special calling to the poorest of the poor. Jesus was born amongst the poorest through the detestable unwed teenage child. His friends were smelly fishers, disgusting leapers, and worthless disabled. (these adjectives are not my opinion but the common perception of people by the general society at the time)
So I'm praying. I'm about to go to work. It is a place where I can relax and shut down on what I'm doing to enter the routine of the task all the while process these things that are weighing heavy on my heart.
Please join me in prayer at this time. I'm confused. I am broken and being made more and more aware of this all the time. I'm not okay and you're not okay so what are we going to do about it?
Oh but I don't want to end on a sad note, today I rejoice in the grace we have. I rejoice that there are options for us. I rejoice that I'm here in Wheaton surrounded but information from people, books, experiences that keep drawing me nearer and nearer to the Lord. Now I hunger and thirst for a season in life where I will no longer feel pressured to find meaning through studies and find fullness in life in living as the least, as only a servant, and rejoicing in that lowly position. Praise God!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So I just read this blog and it was pretty cool. This week I'm still tired from travel so that's my excuse for not starting research on what globally accessable food is and also because I'm still suffering from the effects of malnutrition. I'm confident that it will pass within a couple more days and then I'll be able to start eating like my friends at the orphanage in Mexica by Monday. What will that mean? Rice, beans, corn tortillas, and goat cheese. I'm excited. Until then, I think I'll make a frozen salmon filet. That will be good for my recovery. And maybe served on a bed of fine sticky rice. That sounds awsome to me at least. Read the whole blog that I linked to above. It's fairly short and some of the stuff he wrote about coincided with what I experienced.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Experimentation with World Hunger revisited

So the nature of the experiment is needing to change because I am/was having some complications due to malnutrition. But the good news is I've still got tons of soup and ideas to implement to facilitate understanding of other ways of life.

My newest idea (I'll begin just as soon as I recover the complications of malnutrition) is to eat only those things that are globablly available. So far I only have three ideas but I'll begin researching and then I'll know much more. I have the soup for one possibility, rice and beans for another, and Chinese noodles/rice as another. That's not much of a well balanced diet so I like bananas and oranges and apples. I don't know that anything but bananas and cocconut are globally available but that's what I'm starting with.

As far as eating out with church or friends, I'll only order the most simple thing on the menu like soup or salad. No fried stuff and mostly vegitarian friendly stuff. This is still a work in progress but I feel like my perception of food has already drastically been altered. Everything I eat now I think about where it came from, who would have access to it, how it effects my body, and a variety of other factors.

More to come later as I research common meals among social classes world wide!