Sunday, June 11, 2006

like a soccer game...

Howdy ya'll! I'm just sitting here by the window in Ashley and Jordan's room, thankful that the internet connection is pretty stable and that from where I sit, I can't see a single cloud in the sky. Hooray! And yes, my feet are hanging out the third story window, so I hope somebody down below gets a good laugh from that...

Today's a pretty crazy day here in Leipzig. As I'm sure some of you know, the World Cup games started last Friday, and today is the day for the first Leipzig game. The Netherlands versus Serbia-Montenegro. Yep, that's just right down the street a couple of tram stops away from me. So we were riding back into town this morning after being out at the Perrys' house for worship services, and things were starting to get a little crazy with all the fans. Wigs, hats, shirts, jerseys, horns, all sorts of stuff. Craziness...

Last week as our group was all talking, feeling somewhat frustrated with the slowness we can experience in European missions, Corey made the statement that it seems like missions in Europe is much like a soccer game. We Americans come from a society that's much more into football, basketball, baseball - the games that are filled with action and where there always seems to be something going on. And in some ways our view of missions is like that. We want more Bible studies, more activities, more baptisms. More bang for our buck. And then we come to Europe. And that doesn't happen. Oh my, how it doesn't happen. Missions here is completely different than in many parts of the world. It's like the soccer game. There's a whole lot of kicking the ball around, down the field and then back to the other end, while it gets blocked and stolen along the way. Nothing ever seems to happen... and then BAM! Goal!!!! And it may be that there are only a few goals ever scored in that game, but man, are they exciting and worth every minute of the work! We're here in Leipzig (and in Tomsk) doing what we can. We're helping out with passing the ball down the field, trying to work our way towards a goal. It takes a whole lot of work. Many meetings... time spent talking over coffee about random things, just getting to know someone... a 7 1/2 hour bike trip... inviting people to activities and being so frustrated when they continue to make up excuses... inviting people to activities and being surprised when they actually say yes... trying so hard to get someone to read from the Bible, which in some cases can take years... seeing many reject the Savior and the faith that are so dear to us... seeing the light in the eyes of the few who begin to understand. Those goals don't come often, but they sure are worth it. Worth every second, every cent, every bit of discomfort and embarrassment. It's wonderful to see! I wish you were here to meet the people I've met, to experience the things I've been priveleged to experience, to dream the dreams I'm dreaming for people like Carolin, Michael, Ina, Diana, Ines, Elfi, Dina, Konrad, Jenny, Carsten, and many, many others. I thank you for your prayers, and I especially thank our Lord for his grace and goodness! What a mighty God we serve!

Friday, April 7, 2006

who am i??

An interesting new toy... Check it out: Tell me what you think I'm like. It'll be fun to see what people say about me...

Monday, April 3, 2006

dreaming God-sized dreams

Hey, guys. I've got a link for you: I just discovered this photo-journal today and thought some of you might like to see it, especially those of you who were down in New Orleans over spring break. It's heartbreaking for me to see this, to remember the week we spent down there, to think of the people we helped, and most especially to think of the people we weren't able to help because we didn't have enough time. I know that those of you who experienced the relief work know how I'm feeling. God is great, and He is caring for the people of the Gulf Coast, providing for them and drawing them closer to himself through tragedy and heartache. How, though, can God be using us? It was amazing to see the multitude of ways He was able to use us in one short week -- pulling up trees, clearing out sheds, tearing down drywall, talking to homeowners and church members, learning from Fred Franke and the other leaders of the relief efforts, encouraging other workers and being encouraged by seeing how God is working in their lives, building stronger relationships among those of us who went -- the list goes on and on.

My question for you is this: How can God use you to help in this situation? As a few of you know, Megan and KT and I have been doing some dreaming and some planning. (What's new there?) With a lot of prayer and thought, we've decided that God's leading us to do something more than just watch and pray about the situation. God has given us an opportunity to serve Him by serving others in a unique way, and we're taking this step in faith. The plan is to take the fall semester off from school in order to go back down to New Orleans and continue helping in the work there. There is so much to be done!! Our spring break group worked so hard for a week straight, and we accomplished some amazing things, but that was merely a drop in the bucket of there is that needs to be done.

So, back to the question. How can God use you? Will you pray for us? We will (and do) definitely need it. Will you encourage us? I know that we'll miss you guys a ton when we're gone, and it'd be such an encouragement to hear from you! Will you help support us financially? I know that's a hard one to ask college students (because I am one and I understand). Lodging and food will basically be provided for us while we're working there. But there will be other expenses, like gas to get down there and back when we need to. Can you support this mission financially, even if it's just a few dollars? (That might pay for a gallon of gas to help us on our way...) How can God use you? Will you join us? The people of New Orleans desperately need your help to rebuild. And I'm not just talking about houses here, either. It's amazing how God can use tragedy to draw people into a relationship with Him. New Orleans is seeing Jesus in an astounding way. The people are broken and in need of God, and they are coming to realize that. And they are seeing Him. They are seeing Him through the efforts of the churches and relief workers who are there, giving of themselves wholeheartedly. They are seeing Him in the joy and peace and faith that remains in the lives of the Christians, who are living there with them in the midst of destruction and turmoil. They are seeing Him as their lives are slowly rebuilt and hope is restored to them. How can God use you? Come with us! Whether it's for the whole semester (which we would love), or even just a week or two during the summer, come! I have not seen a field so ready for the harvest! It's just that the workers are few. Think about it. Dream big. We're only limited by what God can do, which is to say that we're not limited at all! Scholarships can often be deferred, degrees can be put off for another semester (or you can even think about doing an internship while we're there, like Megan might be doing, or taking some classes at one of New Orleans' many universities, like KT), jobs can wait for another few months. Don't rush through your life in such a hurry to get somewhere that you miss out on the journey. Put your "life" on hold for a while. Help others rebuild theirs. And in the meantime take ahold of the opportunity of a lifetime, one that will be gone before you know it. Take this opportunity to spread the blessing of Jesus to the world and at the same time receive a blessing you never would have thought possible. How can God use you? Just ask Him, and follow wherever He leads.