Wednesday, April 27, 2005

They Break My Heart

My heart is heavy this evening. We had some "interactions" with some students today. Over the past few weeks I have just learned more and more what it means to "get God" and to have a relationship with Him and what it means to not. So many students that I work with (I would argue even staff and faculty members, too, but that is an entirely different issue...or maybe not. Maybe they are learning it from us) just don't understand the freedom of true relationship with Christ. I remember being there. I remember how lost I felt all of the time. I even remember feeling angry and confused about my purpose in life. The world was screaming at me to do things it's way but it felt wrong. I tried to find happiness in worldly things and even when I knew there had to be a better way to live out this Christianity that my parents taught me, I didn't feel right. There was much soul searching and painful, self-inflicting lessons, that brought me to my faithful Father who so graciously welcomed me into His arms. I still don't get so much. I still know that it could be even better than I am choosing. I understand that He is the source of all that is good in my life and I am the one who has to decide how close I am willing to get to Him. He is so right there waiting for me, always has been, always will be.

Thank you God for always being there. I pray that you reveal yourself in such powerful ways to these students who think they have it all figured out. Please cast out all doubt that they may have. Please show them the peace that is found in knowing you and being with you. Please help me to be patient with them when I forget that I used to be there. Please give me words of wisdom and mercy when I interact with them. I want to be a window for those who are seeking and never a stumbling block. Please help my humanness and selfishness to not get in the way of them seeing you in me. I want them to see your love for me and for them. Thank you for holding me to your standards and not my own. Yours are so much better (and often harder). I may not always like them but I am always better for choosing to walk in Truth. God, I ask that you give me glimpses of hope when there will be no more battles with Satan, when I am Home with you and I will no longer struggle to make the right choices. May you be blessed when I do make the right choices!!! May I always give you glory for my successes, for they are not mine.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Here is another story from Venezuela. On Tuesday of the trip we were supposed to take a "jungle excursion". I put quotes around jungle excursion because that is not at all what we did! We went into the Andes Mountains (I would argue the foothills surrounding), and they didn't have any Andes Mints, I was sad about that. Anywho...we all piled into the bus and took a good hour and a half drive into the mountains. It was HOT and sticky. How the bus made it into the mountains I will never know. There were a couple of times when we thought for sure that we would have to get out and push the bus up the mountain roads. The scenery was gorgeous once we left town and got up into the mountains. GORGEOUS! We get to this outdoor "strip" that has 5 or 6 "huts" that are all connected (I don't really know how to describe them). We drove passed it and stopped at the end of the road. Everyone got out and we went over and looked at the horses. Well, you can pay to ride the horses. So, that is exactly what the students did. For $1 (I think), you can ride a horse around the track that they have set up. I think that I very well may have been the only one not to ride (why would I do that to some poor horse!). It was so much fun to watch everyone riding on the horses. You could tell who had been on a horse before and who hadn't. There were lots of funny visuals but the funniest of all is where the title of this post comes from. Lisa is one of our students and she is hysterical. She is a happy girl who loves everyone! Some of you know who I'm talking about, others have no idea and I don't know how to describe her to you. So, Lisa gets on a horse and takes off. The track goes around a kind of hill (a small hill but you can't see the backside of the track because of it). We got busy watching other people come and go. About 5 minutes later I realize that Lisa hasn't come around the track yet, which is a long time. "Where is Lisa?" about that time, you see her rounding the back turn. Her horse is the slowest thing ever!!!! Seriously, like pokey, I think my 96 year old great grandmother would have rounded the track quicker, if she was still alive. Lisa is just as content as can be. She gets closer and we see her with the whip gently tapping it. The only way that I can describe it is it looked like she was tickling the horse with the whip. When she got closer, you could also see that she was talking to the horse, like having a conversation with it. It really was the funniest thing that I have ever seen. Now, the running joke with the girls who witnessed it with me and Lisa, when we see each other, we give each other a little "tap-tap" like Lisa did with the horse.

There are pictures floating around. As soon as I get my hands on one, I will gladly post it! It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen! This experience would be one for the "Why I love my job" category.

P.S. At first, Lisa thought we were making fun of her. It was funny because it was her. It would have been funny if it had been anyone!!!! I wish you all could have been there to see it. You also may be wondering what took her so long to get around the track. She said that her horse stopped for lunch along the backside. He wanted to graze before finishing the trip. Poor horse was hungry.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Not for the faint of heart

I was at an Arbonne meeting last night and I learned about something that I had never heard of before. I was actually horrified and promptly decided that I was never going to eat again...seriously, if you get ill easily, do not read the article linked to this.

I really couldn't believe that the government is ok with allowing these sorts of things to happen. Where is the FDA and the EPA in this? As much as I am thankful for learning things, sometimes I truly believe that ignorance is bliss.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

what if...

you could just spend your day in relationship with people, never having to worry about making money and doing stuff? I feel like my best work is in relationship with people. I just got done chatting on IM with a friend who met someone for lunch. The gal she met with is searching. She wants to understand her place, why she is here. She was raised Christian but she was never taught to look at God or the Word for herself and find her very own personal place with God. So, now, she is desperately trying to figure out where she fits. She is currently evaluating Buddhism. Basically my point is, we had to stop talking because we both have jobs to do (now I realize that I am actually now typing on my blog but I had to say something). I know that ministry can get draining emotionally and it is difficult. But really, I just wanted to keep talking to my dear friend about the stuff that matters in eternal perspective.

Off to write letters of denial for students who want to live off campus next year but don't qualify. All these students will know of me is that I didn't give them what they wanted and so I will always be a jerk to them. I promise that there are days that I love my job...I love my job on the days that I get to have really hard conversations with students who are struggling in their own faith, wondering, questioning and searching for their own place with their Creator, pushing me to explain my own reasons for why I believe. Those are the days I love my job.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Why do you worship?

My boss, the Dean of Students, is teaching Personal Spiritual Development at Cascade this semester. I went and sat in on his class today. He was talking with them about worship. He threw out the question "Why do you worship?". The class was sitting in silence. It wasn't silence out of reverence for God or thinking about really good times of worship. He then through out the statement "I think you're silent right now because you don't have any idea why you worship". I think I have to agree with him. I think that I am starting to develop a list of reasons why I worship but I haven't always been in that can't answer with "because"...

Why do you worship?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Basically, she makes me happy!

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I just had to share this little piece of heaven with everybody! How could that not make you smile? It makes me giggle every time I look at it. I think she's up to something.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Mecada anyone?

One of the first nights we were out for dinner (which we averaged eating at about 10pm every night for dinner). We had gone to a strip of "keyosks" at the edge of town. There were probably 9 or 10 different places to choose from. Each place was set up with plastic patio chairs and tables. There were several of the church members who were either out with us or came and met us for dinner (and to pick up the students who were staying with them). I was with a couple of the girls, Anna and Shannon. They were low on funds this night so I was going to buy their dinner. We saw the preacher, Leo, and his family eating. His kids were eating what looked kind of like a gyro. They looked good so we decided to go for it. They were called Shawermas. The girls ordered pollo (chicken) because its safe and you know what it is. I felt more adventurous and so I asked what his youngest son was eating. It kind of looked like shredded beef. "Mecada", Leo said. So, being the brave one, I ordered it. I was munching away on my dinner and Anna decided she wanted to know what it was. Jose, one of the guys from Barquisimeto, was sitting at the table with us, eating his cheeseburger and fries, answered Anna's question with a "BAH" sound. "Lamb?" Anna asked. He shook his head no and promptly added horns to the top of his head and quickly changed the sound to me much more reminiscent of a goat sound. We all broke out into laughter...I was eating goat meat!!!! Anna turned to me and said "are you ok with it" to which I replied "How would you feel if you just found out you were eating goat?". She replied with laughter and then took a bite. Both of the girls tried it. It really tasted fine. It was a bit tougher than beef. We took a picture with our Shawermas and Goat horns. Hopefully, I will have a good picture soon to add to the site! So, one of Rebecca's great stories from Venezuela is my consumption of goat. First Spanish lesson for all of you...MECADA=GOAT.