Monday, December 22, 2008
as i find myself home for Christmas break, i can't believe how quickly my last first semester at school went. it seems like just yesterday i was packing up my room to head to school for RA training, but now i am faced with the hard reality that i only have four months left at the place i have come to call home over the last three and a half years. how is that even possible? and how can one even begin to explain the emotions that accompany that?
i'm excited to see what the Lord has in store, so incredibly excited, but at the same time not excited for all that i will be drastically changing. not only will the fact that the comfortability of being in the classroom compared to being in the work place no longer will hold true for my life, but also some of the most precious and most cherished relationships i've ever had in my life will be changing as well. no longer will i have the privilege of living in such close community with people who know me well, people to go to meals with, people to consistently hang out on the weekends, or people to stay up until the wee hours of the morning talking about the hard issues of life.
i don't think anyone can prepare you for this stage in life.
however, i am so thankful for the fact that the Lord has continued and will continue to give me the strength to love boldly. not only for the next four months, but also after graduation. sure, i am aware of the fact that things will look different, but that doesn't mean the value of the relationships will change nor does it mean that the blessing they have been to me will look any different.
it's kind of like what i have gone through with not being with my kids in India. some days the pain is intense and i can't express anything except through tears, and even though i always think of them, i know that i must continue entrusting them into the Lord's care. i hate that i am not there to laugh with them, to sing with them, to hold them, to play games with them, or any of that, but i am thankful that the Lord still is there giving them joy, protecting them, teaching them, holding them close, and loving them so deeply. i love that. and i love that he does that in all areas of life.
i love that the Lord meets us where we are at time and time again. i love that he takes me out of the miry clay and sets my feet upon the rock and reminds me of his love no matter how many times i seem to forget. i love that he knows me intricately; that he knows my weaknesses, my strengths, my thoughts, my failures, my successes, my dreams and desires, the things that make me laugh, the things that bring me to tears, the things i am struggling through, and the things that i am learning. what an honor it is to be his child.
this past week i read a book that had been sitting in my bookcase since the beginning of the semester: The Shack. unfortunately, i didn't have a pen in hand as i made my way through the pages, but it was one of the most amazing, ficitional books i have read in a long time. ranking right up there with Redeeming Love. as i turned page after page, i was taken on a journey with a man who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit met with. i was awed, almost brought to tears, and brought to a deeper understanding of how the Lord views me. how i truly am his beloved. how he understands so much more than i often will give him credit for and how patient he truly is.
even though i didn't have a pen in hand, there one small part that i made sure to remember where it was. it starts with the man talking to God saying, "I hate all of this--this crying and blubbering like an idiot, all of these tears." and God replied with, "Oh, child, don't ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak."
wow...i read that conversation once and then i had to reread it. it made me think of the last five months of my life and i felt like the conversation the main character of the book was having the God was one that God and i could have had. often times i find myself hating the fact that i have become more emotional, able to cry at the drop of the hat. but what a comfort it was to read those lines of the book. sometimes tears truly are the best words the heart can speak and how healing they truly often are. and how thankful i am the Lord has opened my eyes to that...it's taken time, and i'm not sure i've arrived at the desination yet, but do we ever truly arrive while we're here on earth?
oh life...there never seems to be a dull moment.
may i continue learning, growing, trusting blindly, loving boldly, making the most of each day, dreaming for the future but living in the present, living simply instead of simply living, and finding joy in the little things.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
some days i am so thankful for it; others i resent it.
how can you resent it one may ask? simple. how can i not? how can i not resent the fact that the unknown is scary? how can i not resent the fact that following the Lord often times is difficult and requires sacrifice?
maybe resent isn't the right word. but for tonight, that's what describes how i am feeling. that doesn't mean that i am not still trying to seek the Lord's will for my life, because i am, but i think sometimes we all need to be reminded that dangerous surrender is exactly that: dangerous.
i don't know what my future holds for me, but this week i have been reminded that just because i make plans doesn't mean that they are going to happen. i have been reminded of the importance of holding on loosely to the things that mean so much to me, and i have been reminded of the love the Lord has placed in my heart for people, a culture, and a country halfway around the world from me.
on tuesday afternoon, i convinced a few of my friends to watch born into brothels with me. the movie is set in calcutta, india and tells the story of children whose mothers work as prostitutes. i knew watching the movie would be hard, but i didn't know what i had gotten myself into. the tears started about five minutes into the movie, and they didn't stop until a good fifteen to twenty minutes after the movie was over.
i cried for the children in the movie, and i cried for the children whose stories still remain untold. i cried for the mothers who are stuck in prostitution, and i cried for the men who see nothing wrong with what they are doing. i cried for the poverty, i cried for the brokenness, and i cried for the caste system. i cried for my children at Hope Home, and i cried because i missed my Thatta. i cried because of the vivid memories that were brought back to life, and i cried because of what the future may hold for me.
after the movie ended, i clicked on the extra scene of "three years later". the lady who lived among these children traveled back to the place this movie took place and was able to catch up with the children she spent so much time with three years earlier. as i watched her walk into the entrance of the boarding school where some of the girls now lived, i saw them run to her. i saw them run into her arms and her hold them tight.
for a second, i felt like i was back in india. i felt like i had just returned from the hospital this summer when we had spent a week away from the children and they were dropping their school books and running into my arms. and then i imagined what it really will be like when i am able to return to 120 of the most beautiful children in the world...and more tears continued to fall.
like i said earlier, i'm not sure what my future holds for me, and while it's scary at times, i will continue to remember the importance of trusting blindly and entrusting others into His care. and in this process i know that i will continue learning what dangerous surrender truly looks like, and i am sure that my heart will continue to break for what breaks his. may i be obedient wherever He leads.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross
You were as I
Tempted and trialed
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen
rid me of myself, i belong to you...wow.
there simply are no words tonight.
may i let this song be my prayer.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
as i sat in chapel today, i can't even fully explain to you the things i was thinking, besides the fact that the God i serve is so big. and i can't comprehend him. my heart is burdened for the brokenness i have seen, for friends who are struggling, and for the simple fact that there are people all around this nation and world who don't know the loving power of Jesus.
but, i am thankful for that burden. as a matter of fact, i consider myself blessed with it.
i know that some days the road i am traveling on might be lonely, but i'm thankful that He walks with me hand in hand, that he sees the tears that fall, that he laughs when i laugh, and that He has the answers to all of life's questions.
i'm learning, i'm living, and i'm loving, and i wouldn't want it any other way.
may the Lord continue to teach me how to be present where He has me in the here and now and to rejoice in his divine appointments.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
i wouldn't change it for the world.
there are certain points during the day that i catch myself daydreaming, thinking about what the children are doing, what johnson is doing, or what i would be doing if i were there right then, but then i am quickly brought back to reality when i am hit in the face with the harsh reality that i am halfway around the world from them.
i wish i could click my heels three times and be there, laughing with johnson, playing with the children, joking with the staff, eating with my fingers, and sitting on the roof pouring our my heart to the Lord. if only it were that easy.
i think over the course of the last two weeks i have been completely and utterly overwhelmed with the brokenness i see all around me each and everyday. and i hate it and love it all at the same time. i hate it because i hurts but i love it because it truly is giving me a glimpse of what the Lord sees on a daily basis.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
i'm not going to be spending christmas with my children. i never thought of it before, but as soon as i realized it, my eyes welled with tears and they haven't stopped since. today, i feel like i did when i was on the airplane leaving the country. the pain is real and fresh despite the fact that it has been three and a half months. i can still close my eyes and picture each of the children, the staff members, and johnson. if only i could touch them...if only i could hold them...if only i could laugh with them.
may i learn what it means to embrace this pain rather than pretend like it isn't there, and as i am embracing it, may i also remind myself that i must continue to entrust them into his care.
Friday, October 31, 2008
i think this quote is a quite fitting summary of the week.
it's so interesting to me how the Lord continues to be faithful all the time despite my unfaithfulness. i know that i have by no means been making the Lord the first priority in my life, and as much as i hate it, i cannot change it. however, i'm thankful i finally woke up to that this week. i have been blessed beyond what words can describe this week through unexpected conversations with people, through laughter, through being spontaneous, through chicken curry in baldwin, and through simply being reminded of the fact that i am His beloved.
isn't that just like him to show up in the most unexpected ways?? sort of life in practicum this week...
as i rode in the car with my case manager and client, i couldn't help but laugh when the client called his neighbor an "ass hole" for not sharing his tomatoes with him even though he stole them in the middle of the night. but when i looked deeper at the client, my heart broke into thousands of pieces. i saw a man who was so paranoid he could barely function, i saw a man who wanted to support and love his family so well, but his illness often prevented him from doing so. what would it be like to live a life like his, in constant fear, constant confusion?
her hair was dyed and frizzy. she sat next to my case managers desk with her wrinkled hands folded nicely on her lap, and with her deep and raspy voice she began to explain her story. as i listened to her worries and her struggles, i began to question; why her? why not me? she doesn't deserve this, and how in the world am i going ever going to make a difference in her life; let alone in anyone else's life that i come in contact with in the field of social work?
and then it hit me.
it isn't my responsibility to relieve other people's pain nor could i if i even tried, but i love what i'm doing so much there is no reason i should even question whether or not i am making a difference, because the Lord's plans are far better than mine.
i love where i am at. i love what i am learning. i love being a girl on a journey to draw closer to the Lord each and every day. what a blessing, honor, and privilege it is to know i am His and His alone. who knows where he is going to lead me next...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
for a second, when i closed my eyes, i felt like i was back there.
the ache of missing the children and everyone else there has not changed. i suppose all i can do, though, is continue to pray that i will be able to go back there next summer or sometime soon. how sweet it is and will continue to be to trust in the One who is always faithful.
Friday, October 17, 2008
oh how i miss my children...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
since india, i have consistenty been praying that the Lord would give me a sense of wonder, and He has definitely done just that. as i sat in my social work class this morning at the awful hour of 7:50, i looked out the window and saw the contrast of the leaves changing color with the dark grey sky, and i was astounded. it was beauty at its finest and probably simplest as well, but breathtaking beauty to say the least. last year i may have noticed the colors and appreciated how it looked, but i don't think i would have had a second thought about how those vibrant, contrasting colors truly show the Lord's creativity and desire to woo us into a deeper relationship with him.
another prayer that i have consistenty been praying since india is that my heart would break for what breaks his. now, i am fully aware of the danger that comes with that prayer, but it is one that i have not been able to get out of my head or off my heart for quite some time now. and as i sat in an apartment this afternoon with my case manager, i think it is safe to say that i had another heartbreaking moment that gave me just a small glimpse of what the He goes through each and every second.
his walls were yellow, stained with smoke; the only white spots on the walls were where pictures must have once hung. his bookshelf was filled with bibles and commentaries with layers of dust covering them. his living room consisted of two chairs covered with sheets, a television, a makeshift desk and a stool with a rip in it. his black cat is the fattest cat i have ever seen, and more than likely his refrigerator was half empty due to him being more worried about paying his bills than eating, because after all, the last time he ran out of food for three days, he lost 11 pounds.
as i sat there, listening to him and my case manager discuss how he was going to handle his finances for the month of november, i saw him in agony as he was overcome by anxiety. i listened to him talk about being afraid of going down to the "club", because he knew he was going to either get shot or beat up. i listened to him say over and over again that he would never buy another thing because he had really screwed up this last time, but when you cope with your anxiety by buying things how else is one suppose to survive? when you are a paranoid schizophrenic who has severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder how do you function in a world that is not made for you and has little to no tolerance for people like you either?
it isn't fair.
he didn't ask for these illnesses, and although i may never understand why these things have had to happen to him or to any of the other clients i have interacted with over the last four weeks, i do know that the Lord has used them to impact my life; in these cases, He has used the clients to break my heart for what breaks his, to have empathy like never before, to become completely uncomfortable in homes that aren't the cleanest and with people who smoke, and to have strength to laugh so i don't cry when the days get rough.
and although i know my heart is only going to continue to break as i continue to embark on my journey to social work and in what the Lord has for me, i will praise him for the fact his power is made perfect in my weaknesses, and that although i might not be able to change the whole world, perhaps i can help change some individual's worlds and in turn leave the world a better place when i am gone.
may he continue giving me the strength to love boldy, to entrust people into his care, and to trust so very blindly.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
i think that once you catch the vision of the needs there are all around the world, your life is drastically changed for the rest of forever.
it's hard when most people would describe you as rather unemotional to know that when you see pictures of people in third-world countries that your eyes are almost guaranteed to well with tears and that you just want to be with them in order to know their stories and in order to be a support to them in a way that they may have never experienced before. it doesn't matter if you can or can't speak their language; you know you could communicate with them enough to hopefully make them feel special, unique, loved, and appreciated.
the three of us girls talked to our beloved Thatta this past week. thinking of hearing his laughter on the phone still brings a smile to my face; i hate, though, that we weren't there to see him throw his hands up above his head or his belly jiggle as we were talking and laughing. he told us that the children are now bathing in the canal that runs alongside the road of the orphanage. i can just imagine them playing in the water together, laughing and chattering the whole time.
i miss their joy. i miss the simplicity. i miss the warm nights, under the stars, sitting on the steps, waiting for the children to pile on my lap after they ate dinner.
i hate that i am becoming restless in the unknown of what next summer may hold. i need to be reminded of the importance of trusting blindly, and i need to remember how important confident hope is. may i never forget the lessons i learned this summer or the people who are truly my family living halfway around the world from me, but may i rest in the fact that his ways are far above mine.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
it's so interesting relearning the same lessons over and over again. sometimes it's annoying and frustrating, but i think i have realized that each and every time although the lessons may seem the same in the beginning there is always something different that goes into them. and when i walk away from the lessons i always seem to come away with something different.
as i flipped back through my journal from last week i found these two quotes that i had written during the last summit service:
"Take the fig leaf facade off and allow the Lord to use you--allow your fears and failures to be seen by the body of Christ in order to encourage others and spur them on their relationship with Christ. Stop being selfish and prideful, admit your weaknesses to yourself, the Lord and to those who can hold you accountable. Let the Lord teach you what it means to surrender, to do the things you are afraid of, and to be everything you are afraid of being. Draw near to Abba and He will draw near to you because the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."
"He's going to hold you when you come to him, but He wants ALL of you; not just what you're comfortable giving Him, but ALL that you are. Take his hand that He is offering to you and TRUST that a life surrendered to him will be far more glorious than anything we could possibly imagine doing on our own."
as i reread those quotes, i see so much truth in them; however, sometimes i think the truth is scarier than what any of us are willing to admit.
the three of us girls met with the american board of directors for the orphanage this sunday. when two of the board members talked about leaving for india in two and a half weeks, i didn't think i was going to be able to hold it together. my heart aches so much to be back there; so much that i can't even put words to it. i miss so much about the country and so much about the people and so much about their culture. but not just that, i miss the fact that the distractions there seem like nothing compared to the distractions here in the states.
Jesus is so real to them. not that He isn't to us, but it is in such a different way. it's in a way where regardless of what you are doing you feel His presence right beside you, where there is no hesitation to praise Him one minute and bring petitions to Him the next, where you see His image truly reflected in the children's eyes. Jesus became so real to me this summer, and I think part of me is afraid I am going to forget that.
it's hard to believe that i've been home longer than i was in India now, and it's even more difficult to realize that i'm no where near being done processing through everything i experienced or felt. i suppose, though, i need to continue reminding myself that not only do i need to continue entrusting people into his care, but i also need to be willing to entrust myself to him...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Being that 1 Peter is one of my favorite books of the Bible, i can't tell you how many times i have read those verses; however, tonight, they spoke to me in a way they never had before. and i think that most of that was due to the fact that i took the time to read what my application portion said about these two verses. it reads as follows:
One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up...When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for noursihment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God's Word and begin to find noursihment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature.
talk about the Lord speaking to and teaching me through two seemingly simple verses.
since going to india and growing more in my relationship with Christ in those six weeks than i ever have before, i've struggled so much since being home not feeling like i have been growing or learning anything at all. sure, i've been able to see the way the Lord still answers my prayers here in the states just as he did in india, but there's just been something different, and i never could quite put my finger on it.
i think those two verses have helped me understand more, though.
i had such a HUGE taste of the Lord's kindness this summer and i have continued to have tastes of his kindness in other areas of my life, but i wasn't crying out for the nourishment quite like i should have been after tasting how good, wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, and sovereign he truly is.
i have a long way to go, but i'm excited for the journey. i want to continue learning what it means to extend grace, trust blindly, and love boldly...but more than anything i want to have childlike faith and i want the nourishment He wants to give me in order to be made more and more into his image.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
today, i miss india and my children so much more than i ever thought possible. and i have a feeling it may continue to intensify over the next few months.
everyone from the orphanage has been on my heart and mind so much this week, and i long to hold the children in my arms and to have coffee with johnson so much more than ever. i've fought back tears like never before, and if someone would pay for me to fly there tomorrow, i would jump at the chance.
although i have loved being at school, it has not come without challenges. those challenges range from being overwhelmed with the abundance of food in baldwin to the discovery of US gold medalists in the states receiving $25,000 per medal, from seeing how full my closet is of clothes to walking around on a campus where a building is being constructed that i'm not even sure i want to know how much it costs, and from being able to engage in one on one conversations where i speak the same language as those all around me to driving down the road to the new sonic for dessert one night.
now, of course, none of those are bad things, culturally speaking, but it is through such instances that i have been able to better recognize that my worldview has truly, truly been altered. i'm not sure if it is going to last for the rest of my life, but i continue to pray that the Lord would etch the lessons from india deep in my heart. and i have to continually remind myself that my convictions are mine and not anyone else's.
i long to be back in a culture where the time spent in worship is irrelevant, and it is simply Spirit lead. i long to be back in a culture where it doesn't matter how good of a singer you are, but yet, everyone knows that it is a sweet song in the Father's ear. i long to be back in a culture where one egg can show how deep someone's faith is. i long to be back in a culture where people aren't simply living, but where people are living simply. i long to be back in a culture where the people take the time to stop every day for tea and coffee, where children call me sister, and where i can sing down the path to the home with my thatta.
i long to be back in india.
i am continually hoping, continually praying, and continually trusting that if it is the Lord's will for me to return; it will happen.
i received an email today from one of the men we worked with while we were in india. he said to me, "I would like to see you back in india in order to do the Lord's ministry." my heart leaped at his statement, and then my eyes filled with tears. and then my next hour proceeded to be filled with looking at pictures and sharing stories with a friend about my time there.
now i don't want you to think that i'm not finding joy in each day, because i am, and i am so thankful for the ways that the Lord has continued to show up since being home and the ways He has continually answered my prayers. i think, now, i am just learning what it means to truly be burdened for his people and to have a heart that breaks for what breaks his. i am so thankful he is willing to entrust me with a small part of that. and again, i am reminded of how great of a God we serve...what a blessing.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
i leave for school tomorrow, and how that is possible i am not sure either. i am reminded of the journey the Lord took me on last year in discovering that my dream of going back to India was going to become a reality, and i can only hope and pray that the journey He takes me on this year will be just as exciting. and who knows, maybe next summer, i'll again find myself back at the place where i left an even bigger part of my heart this time.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I keep your picture in my passport, but it's not the same.
Still there's joy in this sadness; in my heart and in this place.
In the hope of the longing, the tears cannot erase,
and I'm hoping that you're sleeping ok.
I miss you...I miss you...I miss you...
Some say joy in the sadness, others say bittersweet, I say buy me a one way ticket to go back.
No, but really, although I would love it more than anything to go back, to hold my children once again, to laugh with Johnson, to be laughed at for not being able to stomach the spices and not being able to eat with my hand very well, to hear Dihvya sing sweetly in my ear, to be called sister, and to be surrounded by the mountains, windmills, and coconut trees, I am trusting with all that I am that the Lord is taking better care of them than I ever could.
It's fair to say, though, that the tears have been abounding lately, and I have to admit every night when I go to bed I think about what the children are doing or what the staff is doing and I pray that the Lord would encourage them in a new way that day, that He would comfort those who are feeling lonely, and that He would give the staff strength and patient endurance as they love the children.
The hole in my heart that I have experienced in these past three and a half weeks is nothing I have ever experienced before. The way I am more aware of how present the Lord truly is in all of our lives each and every day is something I never have experienced here in the states quite like this. And on the opposite end of that, I am now so much more aware of darknesses that are present here in the states rather than just thinking the only places darknesses are truly prevalent is in third world countries where they aren't classified as "Christian" nations.
I don't think we really realize how privileged we are to be able to walk to our refrigerators or pantries and see an abundance of food staring back at us. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to be able to sleep on comfortable matresses with pillows and blankets. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to not be under constant persecution for our faith. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have money in our bank accounts. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have closets and dressers full of clothes. I don't think we realized how privileged we are to brush our teeth every morning and night with a toothbrush and toothpaste. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have love marriages. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have brothers and sisters in Christ living all around the world or right down the street. And I don't think we realize how privileged we are to be serving a God who doesn't need to use us to reach others for him, but yet He chooses to use us anyway.
As much as I would love to hear the voice again of the children, I am so thankful that the God who transcended all cultural and language barriers while I was in India is going to continue transcending the new barrier of distance between my sisters and brothers in Christ and myself.
And as my eyes well with tears, I pray that the Lord would continue teaching me what it means to entrust people into his care, to extend grace, to love boldly, for faith like a child, and to break my heart for what breaks his.
May we all be on the lookout for the ways He wants to use us even if it means stepping out of our comfort zones and for the divine appointments He has set up for us in advance. And may all of us not only be able to say, "Abba, I love you," but also, "Abba, I trust you with all that I am."
Thursday, July 31, 2008
today for lunch i had a butter and cheese sandwich. if only it would have been from cake world it would have been much more delicious. and although my beverage of choice was orange, it was far from mirinda. and the cashews weren't the same without the coffee and biscuits.
someday, i hope and pray with all that i am to be back with the people i absolutely love and adore not only sharing in their lives, but also sharing some of their typical foods that can't be found here in the states.
oh Lord, give me the strength to continue loving boldly and entrusting people into your care.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
i haven't really let myself think about the children, the staff, or johnson much besides what they are doing at different moments in time. (for example, right now, they are sleeping b/c it is almost 1:45 in the morning there...) and i know that if i think about them too much my heart will ache more than it already does, and that is something i don't think that i want to go through until i am at my house.
we will be leaving mexico tonight, and then flying out of california tomorrow. upon my arrival home, i promise to update more extensively as i know i have much to share. until then, may you continue resting in His truths and promises.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I don't have much time but I wanted to take the time to update this to let you all know that I am still alive and loving my time here in India.
I cannot believe that we are departing on Sunday, and it has been quite the challenge to fight back tears everyday so far this week. I have a feeling Sunday my eyes are going to be bloodshot and my face tear stained, but I am still so thankful for the opportunity I have been given to be here for a little over five weeks.
The children are still amazing, beautiful, and loving, but they, along with the staff, are not happy we are leaving. I had one girl tell me the other day as we sat under a coconut tree that I just needed to move to India and finish my studies here and live with them for the rest of my life. I wanted to tell her I would in a heartbeat, but at the same time, I know that isn't what the Lord has for me right now.
So, for now, I will just continue praying that the Lord would show up and give me his strength to get through the next few days, and I will also continue praying that the Lord will give strength to these people here who have truly become my family. I have so many stories, so many things I have learned to share with each and everyone of you. Although the transition back to America may be difficult, I am looking forward to how the Lord continues to use this trip to not only bless me, but bless others, and I will continue praying expectantly for the Lord to show up not only in my life in ways I have never experienced but in your life too.
Be blessed today, my friends.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
this week was spent in the hospital, and let me just tell you it wasn't my favorite time. actually, it has probably been the hardest four days of the trip thus far. not only am i not the biggest fan of hospitals in the states, but hospitals in foreign countries definitely are not my cup of tea, this hospital especially. i'm sure in other places in india there are more advanced hospitals, but this one was founded in 1838 and although i know the technology and equipment is not that old, a lot of it seems like it. i know i can't paint a good word picture for you as to what it looks like, but the best thing i can think to describe it is a hospital that you would have seen in movies from the 1950s or so where all the wards are separate and all the patients are in one big room on uncomfortable metal beds. the nurses all wear white saris and they still wear hats.
regardless, as challenging as it has been, it has also been a blessing. i was able to hold some adorable babies in the nicu, catch the very tale end of a mother giving birth, and pray for patients throughout the entire compound. it was humbling, challenging, frustrating, and an incredible growing and learning experience that is for sure.
i am quite excited to get back to the orphanage though, that is for sure. i can't tell you how excited i am for the children to be climbing up me for me to hold and for me to end up having two of them in my arms at once! nor can i tell you how excited i am for the older girls to teach us more tamil words, to eat chapattis, and spend time with our tattha (johnson), to continue encouraging the staff in their english, and to essentially be in the middle of a haven the Lord has created as the mountains and windmills surround us.
regardless, the Lord has continued to show up, and i cannot tell you how thankful i am to be here serving Him in the capacity He has deemed fit for the summer. while these last four days were a definite struggle, i began to truly learned what it meant to give thanks in all circumstances, and i was reminded of 1 Thess 5:24 (i believe) that says, "He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."
that verse has spoken to me on two specific different occassions as i have been on this trip; the first being when i was incredibly overwhelmed at the beginning of the trip when we were trying to figure out our programming for the staff at the orphanage and the second being the second morning before we headed to the hospital. i was so blessed by that verse each time i read it that i almost cried...
tomorrow morning i will be preaching at a church, and the remainder of our day will primarily be spent working with people from the congregation; sharing some of our stories with them and hopefully hearing some of theirs. we aren't completely sure what it is going to look like, but i have no doubt that the Lord is going to show up. He has in so many ways thus far, there is no need for me to doubt now.
i can't wait to share with you the ways He has answered my prayers for a sense of wonder nor can i wait to share with you about how the Lord used an egg to speak to me. i am amazed, astounded, blessed beyond all measure, and so thankful; yet, i know i am nothing without Him and continue singing praises to Him for the simple fact that His power is made perfect in my weaknesses. we are all inadequate, but we also must be grateful that he chooses to use us anyway.
i'm not sure when i will have access to the internet again, or if i will before we leave india, but please keep praying for us as we are here. and know that you are being lifted up in prayer as well. what a blessing it is to be halfway around the world from all of you and know that we are still serving the same Almighty Father. be blessed today, my friends.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
it is crazy to think that tomorrow our trip is officially half over...actually it has brought tears to my eyes many times just thinking about it. i can't imagine leaving the people i keep falling more and more in love with and i just keep praying that i will be able to live in the here and the now and soak up every available moment while continuing to love boldly.
this week was full of some ups and some downs. the three of us girls spent an absolutely amazing time out on the roof marveling at the lord's creation one night this week and the staff seems to be improving on their english. the children are always a joy to be around and seriously they are so beautiful. i can't wait to show you all pictures. they have completely captured my heart even though they can't have more than a two sentence conversation with me. it has been so encouraging though because the little girl (who isn't so little as she is in 7th grade now) my family sponsors finally has warmed up to me and i now call her my tangai (tan-guy) or little sister and she called me her akka or older sister. it's a blessing and i smile just thinking about her...
on a negative note...i somehow managed to get a little sick this week. i'm better now, but for a few days i was very thankful for the fact we had a western toilet in our bathroom. i only ran a fever for one day, praise the lord, and am not feeling much better. good enough actually to try and eat indian food again :)
this tuesday we leave for the hospital, and wednesday our work begins there. it will be quite challenging, but at the same time, i am looking forward to how the Lord is going to use us there and how He is going to move. please be praying for us--especially for me and jess as we are not too excited about having to leave the children and work in a hospital. and also, a week from sunday i will be preaching at a church, i definitely could use your prayers on that one!!!
there's so much more i wish i could tell you, but my time is limited. i want you to know that i appreciate all of your prayers so very much and know that this trip would not be possible without you. i mean that...
i'm not sure when we are going to be able to access the internet again, but know that all of you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers untill i can communicate with you again. may He bless you and keep you until i am able to talk with you again. i can't wait to share so many more stories and pictures with you when i return to the states!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
regardless...our first week of time with the staff and children went so well. it's hard to believe we've been here for nearly 10 days, but it's also hard to believe that we have another four weeks here. i am absolutely overwhelmed at that thought but know that i am going to be crying like a baby when the time comes for us to have to say goodbye to the children and the staff.
it's such a privilege to be here, and i have cried many tears while i am here. to some of you who know me, that will come as a surprise because you know i don't cry often, and let me tell you it's come as a surprise to me as well. however, i know that so much of me is overwhelmed at the fact that i am back at the place where i left my heart 3 years ago and where i know i am going to have to say good bye to again not knowing when the Lord will open up the door for me to return or if he ever will.
i do ask for your continued prayers; thankfully, i have not gotten sick since we've been here but that has not held true for stacey, jessica, or my dad. i am thanking the Lord currently that i don't like vegetables because jess and my dad are convinced that it was some vegetables they ate for dinner that made them sick.
terry and jeeva, the couple who runs the orphanage, have been such a blessing. although their english isn't very good, they still manage to make us feel more honored than anyone in america could ever imagine. it's difficult though, because we want to serve them, but in their culture they don't necessarily understand that and are so hospitable...and we don't want to be rude and tell them no. oh, cultural barriers.
i feel like i have so much to share, and actually, i know that i do, but words on a blog don't do what i am learning justice. the Lord is so faithful and i am so very, very blessed and honored that He has chosen me. His grace is far more sufficient than I ever realized and i cannot explain to you how freeing it has been to come to that understanding.
regardless. your prayers and thoughts are appreciated more than i can express. i ask that you would continue praying and that you would specifically be praying for me as i am to be writing a sermon to give at a church in two weeks. not necessarily my cup of tea, but we'll see in what ways the Lord moves on this one :)
i will be updating again hopefully next saturday, so until then, know you are all in my thoughts and prayers!
Monday, June 9, 2008
there have been multiple times where i have been overwhelmed, exhausted, completely drained, and have absolutely no confidence in myself, but how amazing is it that He meets us where we are at??
as soon as we set foot in the airport when we first arrived, i remembered why i fell in love with this country, and when we arrived at the home, i was reminded of that again in an even stronger way. the children have clearly captured my heart, again, and i love them each so much even though i cannot pronounce their names or speak any of their language. i wake up every morning thanking Him for the beauty that surrounds me; mountains, banana trees, palm trees, and windmills, and then i thank Him again for the fact that there is ALWAYS a breeze where we are and for the fact that when the power goes out it doesn't stay out for long. i could do without frogs in the toilet and scorpion looking thing in the sink though. but regardless, what a blessing it has been to be back here with the people i admire and have prayed for consistently for the past 3 years.
i am amazed at how He has moved and how He has worked...seriously. i never understood what it meant for Him to be made strong in our weaknesses until i have been here. i have cried out to Him on so many occassions and He has shown up. i know i am not doing this on my own strength and i cotinue hoping that He gets ALL the glory, honor, and praise.
i wish i had more time, but unfortunately i do not. next time though, i am sure there will be more. i cannot wait to share in person with each one of you about everything when i return home. until then, i will continue trusting blindly and loving boldly.
Monday, June 2, 2008
one thing i do want to share before i go to bed is that yesterday in the course of packing i happened to find my journal that i kept when i went to india my senior year of high school. it was amazing to read back on my experiences there and i am so thankful the Lord was able to use that to remind me why my heart is where it is and ignite the fire in my heart again for what us girls are going to be doing for the next six weeks.
to anyone who may be reading this, your prayers are appreciated more than you realize. you have no idea the difference it has made, and the difference it has the potential to make. please keep praying as we actually begin our travels. i will be updating as time allows.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
although i'm sitting quite comfortably in my living room as i write this, i know that back in my bedroom there are suitcases that need to be packed, dirty clothes that need to be washed, picture frames that need to be made, insurance that needs to be bought, devotions that need to be planned, phone calls that need to be made, and the list could go on and on. even though i am a planner and have tried my hardest to not to get behind on stuff, my to do list hasn't seemed to get any shorter these past few days. i guess that's just how life goes sometimes. i have no doubt, though, that everything will all get done in the next 48 hours.
in other news. life at the Fleck household is never dull, especially when my dad is either out of the country or preparing to go out of the country. and now that he's gone and i'm preparing to go, i guess i should probably breathe a sigh of relief that nothing too huge has happened or gone wrong--praise the Lord. take for example the tornadoes that were in wabash this week. yes, tornadoes are a big deal so that is huge, but the thing of it is there really wasn't much damage done at our house...a few pieces of our fence around the pool were blown out and a branch from the maple tree in our front yard was broken. but travel down the road to where my grandparents old house is less than 1/4 of a mile and you would find tops of huge pine trees were broken off, big branches from their maple trees completely snapped off, the old-school TV antennae laying flat on the ground that was taller than the house, and if you would travel another 1/2 mile to our other neighbors house around the corner you would find trees that had been uprooted in their yard that were bigger around than barrels and taller than a two story house. and although we were without power for 15 hours, at least it came back on; our church was cancelled this morning because of the fact there still was no power there and the telephone poles were still down. all that to say, i am very thankful i serve a very big God who is my protector.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
i'm still overwhelmed at how the Lord has brought the three of us girls together to work as a team, but i am also beyond thankful.
it's crazy to think back at how the Lord has answered so many of our prayers. from the other two girls having raised more than enough support to the Holy Spirit speaking to us about what the different focuses each of us girls are going to have while we are at the orphanage. and yet, even from the beginning the Lord heard my prayers about this summer and answered it in bigger ways than i could have ever imagined.
i've also found that it is so interesting how the Lord can use songs to speak to us, it seems that each week a different song has encouraged or spoken to me in some way or another, and yesterday, on the way to anderson, i heard and old camp favorite that at one part says, "...set apart for you my master, ready to do your will..." what a blessing it is that the Lord has set me apart and how exciting it is for me to continue discovering what his will for me is.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
in 17 days, i will be boarding the plane in indy to fly to chicago only then to board another plane to fly to mumbai, and 18 hours later, when we arrive in mumbai, we will board another plane to fly to another city where we will be met by my dad and someone else to drive us another 3 hours to the orphanage. and finally, we will arrive at the place we will call home for 6 weeks.
in the 17 days that are still remaining before my dream truly becomes a reality, i will continue praying that the Lord would open my eyes to what He has in store for us, and what He is going to do in and through us while we are gone. and not only that, but i will praise Him for the opportunity and for the fact that He trusts me with a task that seems far too large for me. and the only reason i am going with confidence is because i know that i am not alone, nor will i ever be.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I come into this place burning to receive your peace. I come with my own chains. From wars I've fought for my own selfish gain. You're my God and my Father. I've accepted your son. But my soul feels so empty now what have I become?
Lord come with your fires, burn my desires--refine me. Lord, my will has deceived me please come and free me. Refine me, refine me.
My heart can't see When I only look at me. My soul can hear. When I only think of my own fears. They are gone in a moment you're forever the same. Why did I look away from you. How can I speak your name?
Lord, come with your fire burn my desires refine me. Lord, my will has deceived me please come and free me. Come rescue this child for I long to be reconciled to you. Refine me..All I can do is lift my heart and soul to you. And pray oh I will pray...
what perfect timing it was for me to hear this song.
and i will continue praying, that is for sure.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
it's surreal that four weeks from today i am leaving. i truly can't wrap my mind around it. and as much of a roller coaster these past few months have seemed to be, i am beyond thankful for the fact that i have finally recognized the importance of hope, and i am learning what it means to be humbly willing on so many different levels. praise the Lord for his faithfulness.
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
1 Peter 2:24-25
Friday, May 2, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
time has been flying by lately. wednesday is the last day of the semester, and then i am officially a senior. where have these last three years gone?
regardless, as each day passes i continue getting more and more excited. the two girls and i had the opportunity to meet with the american board of directors two weekends or so ago. it was so comforting being in the presence of people who you know have been praying for you on a daily basis, and it was so encouraging for stacey and jess to meet these people and vice versa.
it still doesn't seem like it's really going to be happening, and it probably won't seem real until i'm at the airport on june 3 leaving behind everything i find comfort in and everything that i think is normal. but, until then i just keep praying that the Lord would be preparing my heart as well as the hearts of those i am going to encounter in India.
Monday, March 10, 2008
as i scroll through my pictures from India, periodically, my heart is warmed, and my excitement continues to grow day by day.
since my last post, i feel like quite a bit has happened. God has continued to show up, and He is putting everything exactly in place.
the first big thing is that stacey made the decision to go with us this summer. the second big thing is we now have a translator, nivya, and dad found stacey's preceptor for her nursing requirements. our tickets will be purchased within the next couple weeks; it seems unreal.
i am continually amazed, and i am so excited to continue learning and for the Lord to continue preparing my heart. and for now, i'm going to end with a quote that stuck out to me from Bill Hull's book The Disciple Making Church,
"I am not sure why evangelicals experience so much angst over God’s will: It always seems clearly communicated when needed. So many Christians want to know too much too soon; they would rather walk by sight, knowing what is going to take place beforehand. However, God requires us to walk by faith, not knowing the unnecessary. Part of resting in Christ and finding his contentment involves the willingness to live in a fog over future details."
i pray that i will continue learning what it truly looks like to walk by faith, and that i will find contentment while living in the fog.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
wow. how powerful and how true.
this excerpt came from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, and i couldn't have read it at a better time. i feel like i have finally realized this week that the distraction, doubt, and especially discouragement are the ways in which satan has been attacking me as of late. it's been so interesting, because, truly, being discouraged was draining me of all my hope, of all my visions, and of all my dreams.
everything is still up in the air in regards to this summer, and i've been reminded this week how much i hate the unknown. and i could give you all the sunday school answers in the world about trusting the Lord and about surrendering to him, and to an extent, i think i probably have done that--but i guess not completely because of how much not knowing frustrates me.
perhaps that is something to work on more this week.
oh what a journey it has been...and continues to be.
Monday, January 21, 2008
almost a week has passed since i wrote that in an email to the board of directors for the Hope Home in India. and it is exactly a week today that i found out that my dream is starting to become more of a reality. it's hard to explain in words the way i've felt over the course of this past week. overwhelmed, excited, anxious, joyful...and the list goes on.
it's hard to believe that seven months ago i began praying for the Lord to open doors for me to spend my summer overseas if that is where he wanted me. there were times when i was completely convinced he wanted me in India, and other times i was completely convinced he wanted me in Guyana, and other times i was completely convinced i was going to be in Indiana, still. and even though i knew the Lord was going to work this situation out according to his purpose, i still felt as if i had no guidance nor answers for such a long time. and now, thinking of the potential of three other girls joining me for six weeks this summer is far bigger than i could have ever even imagined.
praise the Lord that even when our prayers seem to go unanswered his ways are still far above and better than anything we could ever imagine. and now, i must continue praying and trusting that He is going to allow the rest of the details to fall into place.