Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teaching & Theology


I've recently (re)discovered a passion.  When I take one thing I really enjoy (theology) and combine it with another thing I thought I didn't enjoy (teaching), I realize that I've stepped into a new realm of excitement.  I thought I didn't like teaching.  But recently I've figured out that I was just teaching the wrong things (and perhaps to the wrong people).  When I have the opportunity to delve into something I really enjoy and try to share that joy with others, I am energized.  Who would've thought that something as simple a teaching Sunday School could be so much fun!  Right now, I can't seem to get enough of it.  It probably helps that I have amazing students, or at least they amazed me last week.  The interaction and discussion that we had was right on with what God had been teaching me that week. In fact, they went much deeper than what I had anticipated.  We've been wrestling with what it means to be revived as a church and the Sunday School lessons have been helping us look at where we are and where we want to go.  I don't know the answers, but when I see God working through our discussions, I can't help but be excited.  And facilitating these discussions brings me life.  The hour flew by way too fast, and I could've kept going for much longer.  Others are probably glad that we stopped, but I'm enjoying the energy that comes from combining two of my passions in a way I didn't think was possible.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Belle


She's my new favorite toy - a 250 with much more power than the 110s we ran in Cambodia. But then people here go a lot faster than most Cambodians can imagine. It does still scare me a bit, driving down the highway at 45mph with nothing between me and road except the clothes covering me. And yet, each nice day, I can't wait to bring Belle out of her spot and go touring together. I'm not usually one of these people who talks incessantly about motorized vehicles, but I had to introduce you to Belle and let you know that, even in odd ways, Cambodia is still impacting me.

Just in case you are wondering, here's some of the differences between driving a motorcycle in Cambodia and the US:
1. It gets cold riding in the US so the right clothing is a must. I was cold once, no, maybe twice, in Phnom Penh.
2. Wearing skirts to drive does not work too well in the USA.
3. Driving in flip-flops is frowned upon.
4. Dragging your flip-flops on the ground to stop is a definite no-no.
5. In PA, you must wear eye protection. And, you should be able to see through your eye protection. Scratched up or tinted shields just will not cut it.
6. Riding side-saddle or 5 to a motorcycle would be considered illegal - and the police will chase you down if you try to escape their outstreched hand.
7. Cars by far outnumber motorcyles in the US, even though most cars are occupied by only one person.
8. The US DOT has strict standards for helmets.
I'm sure there's many more differences, but this is a start.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stages

Life moves in stages. Some phases are faster than others. The tulips opened in 5 days. Unfortunately (or fortunately), God has not revealed anything about the next stage of my life in this amount of time time so my tulip analogy ends here. But I still really like my tulips.

Sixty-one

The one evening, I decided I would braid my hair. It took me that evening and the next (during our hymn sing) to put all 61 braids in my hair. And a friend did a few to save me several minutes. After a week, I took it out to reveal a head full of krimpy hair. But it was so easy so I'm sure I'll do it again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

25 Things to do before 25

This is a post I've been intending to make for a long time now - a year to be exact. It is inspired by a friend of mine who posted a list of 25 things she wanted to do before she turned 25. As I approached my 24th birthday (last year), I decided that was a good idea. Dreams and goals are always good for a person's life. So, here is my list. Some items are already completed. Some have been added along the way as the year progressed (like #20) and some have been deleted and replaced - that's the beauty of creating your own goals! With 5 months to go, I should have enough to keep me busy.

1. Visit all covered bridges in Lancaster County
2. Buy a car
3. Edit Simon Magus for publication
4. Learn the Khmer Alphabet and 100 new words (This may be replaced by learning new French words)
5. Acquire over 50% of the M*A*S*H TV series collection
6. Pass a motorcycle safety course and get license
7. Go waterskiing
8. Visit Virginia battlefields
9. Tour the Hans Herr House
10. Make "perfect" num ban chao
11. Finish and paint my bedroom
12. Sand and finish steps to my room (May be replaced by finishing the wooden floor in my grandparent's house)
13. Make a comforter of family (May be replaced by making a wedding present for my uncle)
14. Go to a show at the Fulton Theatre
15. Visit the Liberty Bell and one other museum in Philadelphia
16. Enroll in a college course
17. Learn how to clean, card, and spin wool
18. Share Jesus with someone
19. Plan a retreat
20. Visit Africa :-)
21. Learn basic phrases in Mandinka and Creole
22. Make a snow angel
23. Expand the herb garden
24. Finish a 1000 piece puzzle
25. Visit Boehm's chapel
Extra: Take more random photographs

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Owe the Lord

I Owe the Lord a morning song
of gratitude and praise
for the kind mercies He has shown
in lengthening out my days

He kept me safe another night
I see another day
And may His Spirit as the light
Direct me in His way

I'm a bit homesick. And I'm home. As much as I'd like to be in Africa, I know that God has called me to be here for right now. My mission is still in Salunga, PA for the time being. And when God lets me go, I'll be ready. But one thing I have learned on this trip is to praise God. The Lord owes us nothing, but we owe so much more than a song in the morning. This song is one we say nearly every day our second week in Guinea-Bissau. It's a good reminder of the simple ways God is faithful. So I will be faithful in the simple ways as well. And praise continually through songs, thoughts, and actions all day long. Thanks, God, for the opportunites you give me daily. You're pretty awesome.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Planting

The imagery of planting and harvesting has become very real to me recently, especially in light of the situation in West Africa. The day before I left, I planted some tomato and lettuce seeds. And then I left and forgot to tell someone to water the new seeds. Under normal circumstances, they would not have survived and grown. However, I have a wonderful mother who recognized what happened and faithfully watered the piles of dirt. And seeds began to grow! It brought to life the picture in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. That's a lot of what missions involves. One plants according to their gifts. Others water and disciple according to their gifts. But only God makes it grow. We are not responsible for the results, but we are responsible to be faithful. Not all of my seeds sprouted like the one above. Some will come up later and some will never come up, but I still plant in hopes that I will have tomatoes this summer.

1 Corinthians 3:6-8, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor."

The garden imagery continued when I returned to work. A small but wonderful group of co-workers got the above tulip for me. I think it perfectly represents how I feel right now. The flowers have not yet opened, and it's not clear what they will look like, but if cared for properly, I'll soon have beautiful tulips. I'm not sure exactly what God is preparing for me. I know God has planted a lot of desires within me, and they've been watered by experiences like the trip to West Africa. But the final result is not yet visible. God's flowers have not been revealed, and I'm just waiting to see what will open up before me. And I think I'm okay with that right now. Thank you, God, for the reminder that healthy plants take time to grow and there are many elements involved in the growth process.