Six World Vision Pakistan Employees Killed in Attack

11 03 2010

Please join me in prayer for my colleagues in Pakistan.  I am reminded during this Lenten season to prepare the way for our Lord’s coming again with prayers for peace, and to weep over the violence in our cities as Jesus wept over Jerusalem before his final entry.

New York Times article here.

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Kenna

26 01 2010

As an update to my recent post about personal interactions with the poor…

I’m so glad God gives us second, third and fourth chances.  Jesus showed up again to me on Saturday, in the Target parking lot, through a homeless woman named Kenna.

She was gutsy – asked me for bus money before I even got out of my car.  I asked her if she was hungry, and invited her into Target with me to get her some food.  While we walked, we talked – she surprised me with her openness.  And she was smart – well connected, with work experience and a giving heart, despite a struggle with mental illness.  We talked about her past battle with drugs and development work in Haiti.  She was up on current events and well-versed in news stories.

Kenna left Target with a sandwich, water, and some bus fare.  I left having a second chance to meet with Jesus.





A Simple Dream

21 01 2010

Driving home tonight, after a wonderful dance class where I got to jump and giggle and stretch this body that God has given me, where I got to breathe and create, I turned on some worship music and sang along.  And wouldn’t you know, as soon as the chorus rang out with a harmony of “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…” I pulled up to a stoplight with a homeless man begging for money.  He was young – it caused me to look twice, to look him in the eye – and for some reason, though I have sat at many stoplights next to homeless men before, this time I wanted to reach into my wallet and pull out everything I had.

My logic, and selfishness no doubt, kept me from doing it – I try to give actual material things or food rather than money, and this night I didn’t have any of those things.  But in the few seconds before the light changed, I couldn’t help but clearly sense the presence of Jesus standing next to me, in this young man’s body.  My mind immediately contemplated Matthew 25, as it has many times in the past: “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in…to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”  As I drove away I couldn’t sing “Hallelujah Jesus” anymore because I knew I had just driven away from him.

And every time these instances happen, when I miss the moment to minister to Jesus, I usually pray for God to help me get it right the next time, and to change my heart so that I can know how to respond in the moment, and be willing to do whatever that response requires.  This time I thought, should I have given him my $10 bill?  Should I have dug for my spare change?

And then the dream came back to me – the one I’ve had for years – the dream to someday have a home and a family where we can truly take in the stranger, clothe the naked and feed the hungry.  Because you see, if that really was Jesus standing on the side of the road, I don’t think I would have given him my dollar or even 10 or 20.  I think I would have invited him into my home and prepared for him a meal and given him my own bed, with the finest sheets.  I would have asked him to tell me stories and I would have wanted, more than anything, for his life to change my own…for the intersection of our journeys to matter to me.

Giving to the poor is not just about dropping off clothes at Goodwill or serving at a food bank, or freely giving away your spare change, though those are all good things.  But I think what Jesus was trying to say was that the interaction should be personal.  We would never give to Jesus in any other way.

I’m going to bed tonight reminded of the simple dream to live a life that’s personal with the poor…with Jesus.  Think of the mutual transformation that would take place if we allowed our schedules and our spaces to be interrupted by the hungry and the homeless?  If we took them all into our lives as if they were our King?

If there’s anything my life is to be about, I want it to be about that.





My Weekend

6 07 2009

Friday:

– Met with a Shiite Sheik for dialogue about his life and religion.

– Met with a Muslim follower of Christ about his experiences.

Saturday:

– Climbed a Crusader castle in Sidon.

– Learned how old school soap was made at the Soap Museum.

– Wandered the alleys of the ancient souq (market).

– Drank a LOT of water.

– Drove to Tyre and checked into our little hotel on the Mediterranean Coast (ie, sea right outside my window).

– Lounged on the rocky shore and watched the sun set over the sea.

– Counted UN vehicles scattered throughout the city.  Lost count.

– Dined at a Lebanese restaurant.  We arrived at 10pm.  The place was empty.  Party (and live Arabic music) started at 11.  The people, arak, and hookah started flowing by 12.  We left at about 12:30 and were apparently the only ones with such a silly idea.  Arrived back at our hotel by 1am to a loud and vibrant crowd at the beach hut below.  The reggae (which apparently goes with “beach” in every language) boomed loudly until at least 3am.  These people know how to party.

Sunday:

– Usual breakfast of labneh (really thick yogurt), pita, and fresh apricot jam.  Read how Jesus healed a persistent woman’s daughter in this same city (See Mark 7:24-30).

– Wandered the ancient port – the same one the Apostle Paul arrived to when he spent a week in Tyre (Acts 21:1-6).

– Strolled through ancient Roman ruins and skipped across the largest Roman hippodrome in the world.

– Entered the border region between Lebanon and Israel/Palestine.  Drove along the border, on what could barely be described as a road, through villages destroyed by the recent war.  Some being rebuilt.

– Met a Christian UN peacekeeper from Indonesia.  Looked inside a $6 million UN tanker.  Wore a UN peacekeeper’s helmet (it’s heavy).  Looked out across northern Israel/Palestine (the Valley of Kiryat Shmona).

– Climbed through the rubble of the notorious prison of Khiam, where Lebanese prisoners/civilians were tortured by Israeli soldiers.  Now a museum run by Hezbollah.  The Israeli Air Force destroyed it in the 2006 conflict.  We all pretty much wanted to throw up after seeing the consequences of hate, violence, conflict and revenge.  As I walked all I could say was “Lord, have mercy.”

Prayer Requests:

-After so many hours in the van on really rough roads, I woke up today with really bad vertigo and had to stay home.  Keep praying for my health.  Though I am seeing answers from my last health request.  thank you!

– Starting a new practicum placement this week.  Pray for God to guide me specifically for how I should spend my time at the Karaghuesian Center.  Will likely be spending time with teenage girls who have dropped out of school.  Pray for God to use me to influence their lives.

– Only two weeks to go – keep praying that God will draw near with his presence, and that I will keep learning for his kingdom!  I have been really encouraged and spurred on by each note, comment, email and prayer.  Seriously, thank you so very much!  I’m praying for you too!

ps: i’m having trouble now uploading pics to my blog for some reason.  not sure when i’ll have time to figure out how to fix it.  so sorry!  hopefully you can see my uploads on facebook!