29 July 2008


A strange day--ironic, this was the day about repentance (or forgiveness...)

It started with me shutting off the alarm and laying there for a minute (or ten)... I took a shower, tried to study my Bible (outside), but came inside because I could not concentrate. I think I must have tried at least four different spots, trying to settle my mind. I was overanalyzing once again...
And Gene and I were asked to lead the Ukrainian Bible study for our team...an honor, but frustrating...for the previous lessons hadn't been translated into English, so we had little idea about how to lead. I asked to go for a run in the forest during some free time...I got a bit angry/frustrated with some things and later apologized to my team...

Let's just say, "holy" "sanctified" and "humble" were not descriptive words I would have used for myself...by the end of that day, I felt first-hand repentance and forgiveness...

A wacked out day? Indeed. 
Yet the Lord allowed several more things to happen.

During evening chapel, David C. began to be quite sick. He had a spreading numbness in his legs and feet, along with a headache. That was a bit scary.

And for small group that night, I was the only American there. I believe it was a complete God-working (not that other things are not) for the girls opened up for the first time. I was able to (with my weak musical ability) teach them the first verse of "Beautiful Scandalous Night" and tell them the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her forgiveness of the Nazi guard...I was also able to share with them my own sin that day and how I needed forgiveness. And I asked if they had any questions. And they spoke, asking how to evangelize to a friend angry with Christianity.  I asked a blunt question, "Are you all Christians?" Two kids said no. 

23 July 2008

the American Team

My 5:30 AM thoughts, sitting outside the chapel

Been working on memorizing Psalm 86. It seems very very applicable. 

"Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
 Preserve my life, for I am godly. Save your servant, who trusts in you--you are my God. 
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you do I lift up my soul. 
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who cal
l upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer, listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble, I call upon you, for you answer me...."

I was thinking about it. How strange, the first verse recognizes my poorness, my need. O Lord, pay attention, because I am weak and helpless. It is a recognition of the Lord's mercy and my dependence. Yet the next verse, "Preserve my life, for I am godly"--the only way I can be godly is because in the previous verse, he answered me. I am poor and needy, and I am godly because of God--"you are my God"

"I call upon you, for you answer me..."--I am poor and needy. You are good and forgiving. Here is my soul. Gladden it once again.

July 15th

So yesterday, we had a finely ground porridge for breakfast, potatoes (boiled) and chicken broth soup for lunch, and noodles with some form of meat-like substance for dinner.

we were kinda tired.
we all went to the river.

we did a talent show-
david f.--double jointed or something
team americanski-a skit making fun of morning excercises

my hip was hurting quite a bit for unknown reasons. 

July 13th

Just woke up, took a shower. It's 6:05. Well, okay, I've been up for nearly an hour. When the sun rises at 4:30 and roosters crow even earlier...

It seems to be going well. Emma and I talked to Alina the other day...she stayed after chapel because she "wants to become closer to God".

Some of the kids know "hello" and "my name is"
Some are very eager to introduce us to this culture. One boy, Dima, is a mess. He's wonderful. He pulls us in and teaches us the song/motto of he camp, gets into mischief, you know.

Food equals: kashi, soup (chicken broth), rice, and salad. Yesterday we got sausage/hot dog/unknown substance on top of the rice!! Maybe that's because for breakfast, we had a tye of porridge--warm milk and about 20-25 grains of rice...hot sweet tea the staple drink.

Went to the river two days ago. We didn't know what to expect--not many of our team wore swim stuff, but the camp needed help watching the kids--80-90 kids on a public beach! There was that incident with Josh...

Last night a group of the American team went downstairs to the chapel and talked and listened to Reid play guitar and played Super Scrabble...until 1 AM.
A group of girls went around pointing at things with Emma and I--they'd say it in Russian and/or Ukrainian and we'd teach it to them in English.

21 July 2008

The Other Longest Day

July 11th

The longest day of my life, for real. We lost 8 hours over the Atlantic and other areas...pretty much awake for 32 hours...if you don't count that few hours of "sleep" on the plane.

We ate a fruit salad/coleslaw/green onion thing on the flight from 
the Netherlands to Kiev. I tried very hard to eat it. (mayo and onions and mandarin oranges and apple...)

I cannot believe that we are here. The people seem wonderful, sweet, and patient...

Me, Mrs. Kestner, Cammie, and Brit are in rooms above the chapel. The other girls are in the colorful building across the 
way. The guys are in a 3rd room above the chapel...

                                                     One bathroom.

We had a layover in Amsterdam. Got to see some airport stuff. Saw rabbits in the airport field.

Dinner at camp was rice sprinkled with corn, bread, and salad from cabbage. Snack was a welcome banana.

The Longest Day

July 10th
Flight is boarding for Amsterdam. It's kinda crazy. I'm on the trip. 

I was thinking about Icarus today, that picture I have of unmistakeable beauty, a sunset with a man who, standing at the water's edge, has wings of exquisite fabric. He will not fly, this is certain. There exists a passionate tragedy, a grievous desperation. One cannot be certain that foolishness lacks wonder, but one knows the fate of Icarus. And one cannot be happy. 

still pre-Ukraine

July 6th

There's a great fear in my heart. the trip is in 3 1/2 days. I feel more aware than I've been for the other trips. This one I know I must exhaust myself, must leave it all there, hold nothing back. And I cannot help but already fear "mission trip withdrawal" that most certainly will come when we return.

Dear Lord, I am afraid of failure. I have not trusted Your ways.

Psalm 86:11b "...unite my heart to fear Your name."

A Time to Plant...


July 4th

Does everyone commemorate their 4th of July experience by tearing up because of Gilmore Girls: Season 1? I'm assuming not, and as I seem one of the last people in the world who would do so...
It's the tragedy of their lives, the worlds' lives. 
It's grief over ideals held as truth, but that being no greater than trash, so much talk.
It's seeing the love as portrayed on the screen and then being horrified that I could want any part of it.
It's hearing the "I love you" but no seeing it.
It's hearing the question "Why would you spend your life serving someone?" and getting the same answer-- "You wouldn't. That's crazy"

The Poet with His Face in His Hands
"You want to cry aloud for your mistakes, but to tell the truth,
the world doesn't need any more of that sound..."

because it has enough of its own to last awhile. 

Ps. 143:8 "Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."

03 July 2008

sweetly broken and united

Psalm 86:11 

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

No, we cannot serve both God and Mammon. 
But even choosing God, oh how divided, distracted we are, swayed by temptation, shaken by sin. 

"At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered."

-"Sweetly Broken"