Returning to a New Life

Europe was fun, as those of you who’ve seen the Europe 2004 blog know, but now the real work begins — putting lessons learned into application and mobilizing this generation to the very real European mission field.

Before we left the US, our team prayed for an answer to one question: “How do we hear God’s voice?” All of us face life-changing decisions within the next few months, and we all believe that God has a better plan for us than we could ever prepare for ourselves. I think God answered our question in spades:

1. Surrender - Be willing to give up all of your possessions, your dreams, your talents, even your relationships to God and He will be faithful to give you back only what you need.
2. Submission - Obey the simple everyday convictions of the Holy Spirit and you will gain a spiritual discipline that alllows God to use you when you don’t even realize it.
3. Stewardship - Realize that you are not the owner of anything you have, even your physical body, but that God is; we often neglect and abuse things which we feel entitled to have.

God can use someone who is willing to be used, but only if we give up any expection of what that might be, obey in detail the commands He gives us, and refuse to take ownership over that which He gives us to accomplish His will.

Prepped, Packed, and Pumped to go!

Less than 48 hours from now, I and seven others will be off on our overseas adventure, spanning three weeks and five countries with just the packs on our backs. Why? To pray for, connect to, and serve the mission base established throughout Europe. One of our main projects is documenting the current outreaches on film for the rest of us in America to witness what’s happening; this is definitely where my passion lies but also the most precarious element of the trip, so please pray!

Though updates here will likely be nonexistent, I’ve set up a photoblog to be used anytime we have access to the internet: Europe 2004. (It’s still being built, so you may experience some trouble at first)

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

You never realize how far you’ve traveled until someone actually shows you a map. Where’ve you been?

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Crazy Times

Whew… I have never been so busy in my entire life. Over the course of the past 2 weeks, I have: taken a trip to New York City, directed a short film, gone to a staff retreat, visited Hershey Park, taken my college finals, and even sent away for my passport for an upcoming trip to Europe.

Not bad… not too bad at all.

Urban Spelunking

I’m obsessed with exploring almost anything. Seriously.

(Hat tip: Coudal)

Strange, But True

Apparently there’s a Giant Japanese Worm On The Rampage

A Day in the Life

Photo circa 1994

There was a time I didn’t care about the next day, if it didn’t hold some special event or luxury. Disneyland, I looked forward to. School, I didn’t. There was no fear of what would happen a year or two from now. I was young, happy, and didn’t know better.

I didn’t care when Mommy came out and told us to pick our favorite toys and books, pack them up in the little brown boxes she had. I gave Dad a big hug when he got home from work, eager to tell us about a new place we were visiting, and a new job. I didn’t understand the empty spaces in the living room, or why our dinner table was gone from under the old, bolted chandelier.

When the big yellow truck showed up at our front doorstep, I knew something exciting was going to happen. I helped my Dad and brother load it up, with all our stuff; it was like playing with my Lego blocks, only on a larger scale. I wondered why, but dismissed the thought as unimportant.

I remember the first tinge of fear, when I told my friends about the new place my family was visiting. The looks on their faces bothered me. They asked questions I hadn’t thought of, made comments that were uncomfortable. I said I didn’t know. I said that I’d be back.

. . .

We started the trip across country on a Saturday, early, my parents, brother, sister and I. I sang as we went, from Virginia to Kentucky, and on throughout each state. We didn’t stop often, only once or twice for our dog, a little poodle we affectionately called Winnie. A year later we’d find out that Winnie was epileptic, but she was fine in Kentucky. We all worried about puppy motion sickness, and my brother and sister took turns holding her. I stayed up in the front seat.

I got excited each time we stopped at tourist traps: Mt. Rushmore, Wall Drug, the Badlands. I would run a little ways, then run back, always bouncing with energy and wondering what took my parents so long to catch up. I’d point out the weird or funny things I saw, insist that they take pictures, and asked Winnie’s opinion of everything. She never really answered.

. . .

It took a week to get to our destination, but I didn’t notice at first, still bothered by leaving my glasses in the hotel a few days back. We had arrived at our home; I only noticed another hotel. Dad booked a room, while mommy read us more of Hank the Cowdog’s adventures. I watched out the window, waiting for Dad to come back.

Our room held two beds, a TV, and a bathroom with a flickering light. It flickered when my hand was on the switch, at least. Mommy wasn’t impressed; my brother just laid back on the bed, and informed us all that it was his alone. All three of us kids slept in his bed that night.

The hotel became our home for the next fourteen days; my brother and I quickly learned where the vending machines were, and made our camp there. My sister practiced ballet in the ‘living room’ — the small space between our door and the bathroom. Mommy and Dad went to visit houses, with realtor books in hands. If one of them thought they had found the perfect home, they would bring us kids along. I learned quickly that the perfect home would eventually be whatever our parents picked, hopefully soon. I wanted the big houses with their fancy gates; they decided on a more modest home in a bigger neighborhood.

. . .

We moved in on a weekday; I remember not having school, and being glad. That ended a week later, when Mommy brought out A Beka’s books. I didn’t know Mr. Abeka personally, but already had a grudge against him. When the boxes were first being unpacked, I was a little worried about what had made it from the old house. I had two good friends who made the move with me: Tiger and Shoney Bear. We ate together, slept together, but they were big movie stars while I did homework. I was jealous.

Time went by quickly, Mommy busy with decorating the house, Dad already off to work at the new job. I started my old game of make-believe, turning our new house into a spaceship with a Trekkie bridge and a Star Wars holographic display. My old imaginary characters filled the new ship, and seemed to praise me for giving them a new home. I then thought about my real friends, and reality hit.

I cried that night, and a few after, thinking about Jonathan and our secret club with a not-so-secret handshake, Allison and Kristen who both insisted that they liked me and were still friends, and Zach, my bestest friend who had helped create my whole imaginary world. I would remember the times we all used to sit in class, writing down what the teacher wrote, and writing a lot of other stuff that we probably shouldn’t have. I remembered dancing on Zach’s coffee table, and being too afraid to kiss Kristen under the watchful gaze of our Christian school. Memories passed through my head, refusing to let me go, let me move on.

Seven years later, we moved again.

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