Saturday, July 31, 2010


Last night was a going away dessert. It was so SO great to see people from my church there and then friends from other areas of life. Leaving is hard. Not when I'm surrounded by people, but when I'm alone shopping in WalMart for random things like bug repellant, I get a little teary. It's overwhelming. No cold feet... It's just the overwhelmed feeling that anyone gets when there is a, HUGE.... change coming up. The unknown can look so big and scary. You leave behind people you love, people you're getting to know, crushes, your church, your family, friends, acquaintances, familiarity... It's hard to envision something you've never seen before....

Yet I can, somehow, see myself there. I can almost feel the humidity and sticky heat, see the dirty streets, smell the litter... See people's smiles, their stares, experience their incredible hospitality, buy beautiful salwar kamises, eat strange food, count foreign money, try not to stare at the beggars, try not to gag at the smell, try not to buy every gorgeous scarf I see....
It's all in my head though, and I know that real life is always better than the imagination, because real life is just that- real. It's happening. Nothing is hazy or made up... all the senses are engaged and overwhelmed. I like that part of life. That we can hope for things or anticipate them but they're always amplified in their consuming-ness and their extremes when they happen. I dont think I'm explaining myself well. Imagination, anticipation, hope, is awesome, but I like having all my senses engaged and I appreciate reality.

I'm slowly packing my bag. Went to walmart today and bought hiking boots and cosmetics. And a for sale sign for my car :( It's not selling as fast as my dad said it would.
I also bought crocs. Shoes are the hardest thing to decide on when packing. I decided to invest in crocs because I needed shoes that are good for walking, that are comfortable, that are plastic, and that can be nice/semi-profesh looking. I bought some that are slip ons and look like normal flats but with little teardrop holes near the toes. If you know me you know I would never go for the original crocs and it was hard to decide to get these. But I'll be very glad to have them in the end, I believe. So other than these silver crocs, my flip flops, my tivas, my hiking shoes, and my tennis shoes... I think I wont take any more shoes. :)

Got my immunizations yesterday and today I have the sorest throat and a constant head ache. :( WORST thing about traveling- those stinkin shots.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts and preparations

I got back from Portugal today and other than a complete inability to remember that it is Saturday, I feel like I'm adjusted to the time. Everyone else is napping but my brain is going 150 mph with eveything I need to get done in the the next 12 days. I'm so glad to not be working at the real estate agency during these days.. I'll need all the time I can get to see people, gorge myself on all the food I won't be able to eat in Asia, get forms filled out, clean my room out, sell my car, make art, and pack my bag. Oh, and buy all those weird travel things like those flash lights you charge by spinning the handle and those weird plug adaptors. I'm a list person and my favorite thing is to make a list and put little boxes next to the item and check them off once their done. Ah, it feels sooooo good.

Right now I'm sitting on the only free surface in my room- a corner of my unmade bed. My room is an embarrassing disaster and I can't think where to start. Leaving is hard but not as hard as the preparations that come before the leaving. Thing about goodbyes is they're more hard to think about than do, because once you actually come to the point of saying goodbye to people you are so freaking tired of packing and preparing and losing stuff and finding stuff and packing and re-packing that you just want to get the heck out of there.
I'm not there. I'm still in the excited, making lists mode.

But, saying goodbye in Portugal was very hard. I miss that place more and more and saying goodbye gets harder and harder because the lapses of time between visits are getting longer and longer. I have no idea when I'll be back there. That hurts.
It's so strange, so paradoxical- I LOVE that island and I consider it my favorite place on earth, yet I rarely entertain the thought of moving back there. People ask me if I'll end up there living there again and I always automatically say no. I dont know why. I guess I feel like I am not called to live there again, but at the same time I know God doesn't work against our desires. Maybe it's that there are places I know I will love more but I need to find them first. Does that make sense? Maybe I just need to live a little first and then I'll be back there. If I become a writer maybe I'll do that. It's a very inspiring place and our house has big windows and just screams relaxation. The muse is always active there, particularly in the bathroom. What?! You're going to tell me some of your best thoughts weren't originated sitting thinking on the toilet??!

This is what my current Bangladesh prep activities look like:
Printing all necessary MCC emails and docs.
Getting all my medical docs signed.
Cleaning the car and putting it up on...... all the places where people sell cars online (
Completing reading a Vishal Mangalwadi essay on corruption and development and the book "The Open Secret" by Lesslie Newbigin. They're both good cultural prep books.
Also like I said before, eating US food like.....
- NYPD's buffalo chicken salad,
-bacon everything,
-cheese everything,
-coffee shop drinks,
-In and Out burgers, fries and shakes,
-ice cream, specifically cake batter and pistachio
-Blue Moon with an orange slice and sangria
-Munchies in Tempe
-home made brigadeiro
-Olive Garden

And I really can't think of anything else but I'm sure I'll think of more to add.

Other than that I'm in contact with SALTers that were in Bangladesh who are now in orientation back in Akron and getting some tips from them.

My mind is overwhelmed but my heart is at peace and my spirit is so content.
I am b l e s s e d .

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Article - Can the words of men be the words of God?

This article was written by the Vishal Mangalwadi and goes through different arguments for why the Old and New Testaments can be accepted as God's word. I have to say it's the best piece I've read on the subject so far.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


A break through of sorts.
I am sitting on my bed in Portugal, it's 4am and I'm not one bit tired. The time difference kicks my butt every time.
I can honestly say I am ready to be ready to go. It has been an incredibly difficult week and one that I will look back on and see God's grace walked me through it all, just like the weeks after my sister's accident. I haven't had time to think much about Bangladesh but today for some reason I have been able to meditate on my purpose in going and on the people I will leave behind and the journey ahead and God in his sovereign mercy has comforted my heart and I can honestly say I am ready to be ready to go. That means if I were leaving tomorrow, I would not be ready. But I am ready to cut some roots and begin preparing my mind and thoughts fully to leave in August. I had a lot of hours to think through things during my trip over from the US, and then all day today as the family was out and I was home alone resting from the 16 hour trip. Being away from AZ has helped me clear my mind and I just feel less influenced and distracted in my thinking. The reality of Bangladesh is setting in, and I am oh so happy for this next step.

Portugal for 10 days

I'm in Portugal for 10 days!
I got in this morning. Flew from Phoenix to Boston, then from Boston to Ponta Delgada.

I left the house a semi mess, sorry Chris and Carly. I've learned that working a 9-5 and then having 3 crazy dogs and a 5 bedroom house to take care of takes way too much time and leaves little time for socializing. Consequently, the house was a mess for most all of the time I was left there taking care of it.

Instead of packing on Monday like I was supposed to, after picking up my car from the auto body place I went to Cali Pizza Kitchen with Charith, and then went and watched Eclipse. (First movie I had seen in the theater in like, 5 months. Super silly movie, but hey....) Then I went home and watched Anderson Cooper 360. Re-mourned Haiti's earth quake. Looking forward to reading more about Haiti though. It's an interesting case in post relief development.

When do you go from relief to development? What do you do when people are moving out of their houses that weren't effected in the earth quake into the relief tents, because they're better quality? The whole country needs developed, and every sector of it too. Education, sanitation, governmental, transportation, housing, agriculture, the justice system. Where do you even start? But I truly believe in holistic development, development not just focused on one of those areas I mentioned, but a central development that organizes them all. Is this to be done by outsiders coming in through an NGO, or the people themselves? And can you take relief money and invest it into development?

So it was definitely 3:30am when I went to bed. Flight left at 9am. I am a really good flyer- sleep the whole way most of the time. I had a lot of thinking to do so I journaled the first two hours of the flight. I decided to journal without music. I love music, but I realize it has an influence on me that can then influence my thoughts and journaling and sometimes I just need me, my thoughts, my journal, and God. No more influences. Need objectiveness.

Once in Boston it was like I was in a different country already. Boston means so much to me.. I've flown through there literally dozens of times, and it's always to get to Portugal, or coming from Portugal so there is a ton of excitement associated with Logan International airport.

There are also traditions. Like getting frustrated TO DEATH trying to get from terminal B to terminal E, the international departures terminal. Like walking a MILE to get there and of course we have super heavy suitcases because we're taking American things back with us. When we travel in a group this is always the most stressful time relationships wise. We all know the best way to get to terminal E, and whoever wins always gets crap for whatever set-back that route they chose has.
Good thing terminal E is spacious because we usually need some time apart once we get there. Oh family. :)
But when it's just you and you there's no one to blame for long journey to terminal E so you just do it and hate yourself for a while. Then you get there and buy a donut from dunkin donuts, of course. Because it's Boston. And because I usually take donuts back to Portugal for the expats there who miss American food.

In Terminal E you begin experiencing foreign culture. Ridiculously long lines, a bit of pushing and shoving, complete lack of organization, people trying to walk through security with their shoes on.. Then when they call boarding for families with children EVERYONE gets in line. There's no order what so ever. lol
The flight to Portugal is long- 5 hours. I slept through it all. Except when the food cart came along and knocked my elbow. The curse of the aisle seat.
I got here and had to wait for mum to pick me up- don't blame her for being late. I got in at 7:30am.

Man, I can't explain this place. I love it. I love that I have memories here, but no daily life stresses. I can enjoy things in a different way than I enjoyed them when I lived here.
Maybe the new earth will be like that- we are able to enjoy the things we couldn't while we were here when it was the old world, because we were so focused on battling/ healing the brokenness of the world. But then when we don't have to watch Anderson Cooper talk about Haiti, we can actually go to Haiti and enjoy their unique culture without thinking about "What can I do to help these people?"
I cannot fathom an unbroken world. But I think we're supposed to, and we're supposed to work towards it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Repentance and Grace

Lately I've had to beg God's grace and forgiveness like I've never had to before. Life has broken me and my weakness has been IN MY FACE. You know like when people are all up in your grill about something or other? LIFE is all up in my grill about my weaknesses and there is no running from the reality that I need GRACE and forgiveness like no other. Sometimes we get to points in our life where our sin is so raw and deep that the only thing we can see of worth in ourselves is the image of God that he graciously incorporated into us upon conception and the worth he sees in us, and if it weren't for the knowledge of our worth in his eyes it would be hard to keep living.
Yeah, this is a downer post. It's not an exciting "Oh my gosh I'm going to Bangladesh" post. It's a - wow, I am very human, I am very broken, and I am in need a savior and messiah like no other.

If any good ever comes from my life it will because God was beautiful enough to continue using me despite and through my incredible weakness and sin. I don't understand God's view of redemption but I embrace it and I NEED it for him to work through me. What I mean by that, is that God takes badness, dirtiness, unworthiness, and filth and uses it for his purposes so that good can come not only despite the sin, but THROUGH the sin. I'm not justifying sin. I'm glorifying God's ability to REDEEM us. To reconcile our sin with his purpose and

m a k e

s o m e t h i n g

b e a u t i f u l.

Sin is sin, but God is sovereign EVEN OVER OUR BAD CHOICES.

He does not abandon his children when they fall.
He provided a way on the cross so that when his children fall, there is still peace through his blood.
He is still jealous for our love and for us to come running back to him after our sin.
I know this through reading David's story. David's sin was a little "more severe" than my recent sin. God convicts, redeems, and forgives and truly desires us to come back to him.
I'm going through that process now.
I am blown away by his forgiveness.

It does take all I am to believe in the mercy that covers me. Especially when our pride was the basis of our good works before, after we fail and fall, to not ignore God and give up completely but leave our pride broken at the door and realize that mercy is all that will get me through now, is the only way to go.
There is a reason for everything and God can redeem everyone and every situation, even though it will be a painful process my heart is ready for the new growth God will do in me and through my tripping up.

I'm not sure repentance is regret are the same thing. Regret is wishing we hadn't acted a certain way. Repentance is wishing our hearts had not been in the condition to have let that act happen. I don't need regret right now, but I do need repentance. We all need repentance. A repentance that goes back not to right before we sinned, but to before our hearts were in the place to let that sin happen. Sin is not an act, but it's a lack of loving God, I truly believe. The acts that God prohibits in the Bible are not in themselves wrong, they are wrong because they reflect a heart that does not love God. So repentance, I think, needs to be focused on setting our hearts back on God and loving him stronger.

I realize I'm a bit raw in this blog. Not just in this post, but in my whole blog. I'm a verbal processor and I'm also a pretty honest person, so what you read it what you get with me. I'm not afraid of you judging me. Because sorry to offend you, but you're as sick as I am. And thank God, because Jesus came to heal the sick. Not the healthy.
I'm honest and raw in this blog because I have seen in the past that people are often encouraged and refreshed and can identify with honesty. I am covered by blood whose purity can not be denied, so as I struggle and engage in a world that is not my home and strive for the ministry of reconciliation, I will fall and fail but my confidence is not in whatever clean life I am able to live.
I get back up because I KNOW whose blood I claim.
My being able to say that is the essence of the grace of God.

If you only knew what I was gonna be, After the storm you wouldn't have even bothered me

I want it all back

You may have thought, you won that last round
You may have laughed (cuz) I almost fell down
Maybe you think I give up easy
But its not ovah, I got more in me

You thought I stopped, you thought I sat down
But I am standin', you made me mad now!
You got some things, I think you owe me
I've come to get back everything that you stole

I want it all back

You hit me hard, I should be knocked out
Things I've been through, don't even wanna talk about
You crossed the line (this time) you violated me
I want revenge (I want everything back from) A to Z
The battle's not mine, the battle is the Lords
In the name of JESUS, I'm takin it by force

I want it all back

If you only knew what I was gonna be
After the storm you wouldn't have even bothered me

(And now I'm) stronger
(And I got more) power
(I'm a little bit) wiser
(And I got more) strength
(I got thee) anointing
(Got Gods) favor
(And we're still) standing
I want it all back

Give me my stuff back, give me my stuff, give me my stuff back
I want it all
I want that,
What about your family and all your self-esteem, even your destiny?
What about the joy you tasted and the time you wasted, do you want it back?
What about your place in God and all your faith in God, even the ways of God?
What about your hopes and dreams and your communities, even your kids and teens?
I want that want that want that want that
I want it all back

Tye Tibbett

Saturday, July 03, 2010

One Month

One month till I leave for Pennsylvania.

One month 20 days till I leave for Bangladesh.

I scared myself a little today with these numbers and I just had to sit back and breath.

I've been caught up with sending the Bangladesh postcards, working, taking care of the house while my family is gone, painting, finishing my website, being the body to my church, investing in relationships here.... It's a double edged sword, this living in the present and being where you are when you are there. I've really tried not to detach myself from people here even knowing I am leaving soon, but it makes it hard to think about going not because I don't want to go, but because my mind is so much on the present that I have little time to put down the thoughts of today and really delve into planing for a year in a very, very different country.
I need to do that though, starting with today. I'll be sorting out my different documents and making a packing list and hopefully watching Slumdog Millionaire or City of Joy.
Sometimes I just google image Bangladesh and look at pictures. It's hard for me to picture myself there. But then when I do picture myself there, it's feels very right. Like it's where I am supposed to be.

How do I prepare for such fast and deep immersion into a culture I know nothing about?
All I can think of is read as much about it as I can, and PRAY like CRAZY for God's grace to be strong in the transition.