Call me crazy…but call me!

It is so reassuring to be among my peers.  No, we’re not the same age…my classmates range in age from 23 to 50-something.  But, we’re all on this journey together and most of us with our sights on similar goals.  As I am getting to know these people I am so comforted to know that I’m not the only one who feels a little crazy now and then. 

I keep reminding myself that every time I plan…guess what?  God Laughs!  And by the sound of it, our M-Div class is full of comedians because God has laughed at many of our plans!  What an unlikely lot!  Don’t take that the wrong way…it’s just that God’s timing is obviously not on the same timeline as we are.  I guess if we waited until the time was right, we would NEVER get around to responding to our calls.  But despite the obstacles….. one classmate and friend has 4 young children at home and 2 disabled in-laws living with her and she’s going for it!  Amazing!  Another has had every door shut in her face because she is a woman, but now that she’s at LTSG the door is open and she’s going for it too!  We have young families, a couple retired military, and some newlyweds too.  All responding to calls that no one can fully explain.  Yes, many would say we are crazy….

But my sacrifices don’t seem so painful now.  My challenges not so daunting.  And my world seems less insane.  The timing might seem crazy but as least I am not alone!

So call us crazy…. but remember, everyone is called!

August 29, 2009 at 5:57 am 1 comment

The end of Summer Greek

It’s over.  

I think summer greek was possibly one of the more challenging feats I’ve accomplished in the last couple of years (or decade).  But it certainly was fun.   Not only did it feel good to use my brain again, but I really did find it fascinating and truly enjoyed the class.  I’m sure our instructor VH1 had a lot to do with that, as did my classmates.  I am looking forward to experiencing the trials and tribulations of seminary with these fine people.

We took our finals this morning and I think we all passed.  It was a challenging test, so much so that I never noticed the questions at the bottom of the translation pages so I left them blank.  I was just so wrapped up in getting the translations done!  Oh well, at least I used my book on the “open-book” part this time.   

The intro to NT Greek semester begins (for real?  weren’t the past 2 weeks for real?) next Friday.  I’m going for the omega class which moves at a slightly quicker pace and we may have our final before Thanksgiving….which would be cool because we would then work on some readings.  THAT’s what I really want to do…read scripture!! 

I can’t wait for school to start!  (never thought I’d say that).

August 28, 2009 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

Open book? Oh SNAP!

I am, undeniably the biggest Summer Greek Dork in my class.  I keep my notes in a spiral notebook writing with a real old fashioned wooden pencil.  Did you know that classrooms don’t have pencil sharpeners on the wall anymore?  And they don’t sell wooden pencils or shapeners in the bookstore either.  Can you say “Ticonderoga?”  So I have my little pencil sharpener (held together with a produce rubber band so the shavings don’t fall out) sitting on my desk with my back-up-pencil.  And yes, I have my name on everything.  That’s just how I play school.

Yesterday was the mid-term.  All I can say is Oh My!  I had all my declension charts memorized, and my 24 versions of the word “the.” I was ready alright.  The first 2 pages of the test were closed book, after we turned those in we could take the “open book” part anywhere in the building we wanted so we could concentrate on the translations.  So I gathered my notes and my book and headed to a quiet room.  I sat down and had a huge brain-fart.  I was so wrapped up in the unrecognizable words on the page before me, that I totally forgot that I could look them up in the book.  So I struggled through the whole thing on memory.  Only after I turned it in and went outside and started talking to the other students, did I realize what an idiot I am. SNAP! I felt sooo stupid, but it is what it is.  So I went to the gym and beat myself up on the cross-trainer and swam laps for a while.  By the time we had chapel and lunch I was chuckling about my boo boo. 

But all was not lost.  I had worked through enough of it to get a decent grade on the mid-term.  Only 1 week of summer greek left!   

Today was the funeral of a saint and a dear friend from my church.  She was 89 years young and quite possibly the happiest person I ever knew.  She will be so missed, however, heaven is a much happier place with their head cheerleader home.  When I think of the people I look forward to spending eternity with I will always think of my happy friend Doris Watson…..just because!

Love you Doris!

August 22, 2009 at 3:04 pm 2 comments

I am believing that I am knowing….

Summer Greek:  A whole semester of New Testament Greek in 2 weeks. FUN!

Okay…I have to say that this is absolutely the most mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done in MY LIFE!  On Monday I was so mentally exhausted that at 3pm my brain “bucket” was full and not one more drop of information was going in!  I went home and slept.  Wednesday was the same thing…concentrating so hard that I don’t get a headache, but my brain is exhausted and I just have to shut down for a while. 

Yesterday I thought that there are just some things in Greek that I might not get…ie: predicates and syntax of demonstatives and the first declension…didn’t get it in English or Spanish either…(but I did learn the 24 different ways to say “the”).  And my translations have been off just enough to change the meaning of the sentence as a whole.. ..

BUT, yesterday I had the afternoon off to study for the mid-term so and went to work, and prayed a lot, and drank a beer, and took a nap.  Then started on my sentences and suddenly…

WHOA! I GOT IT. 

It was like I gave it up to God and said “If I really need this….I mean….REALLY NEED THIS…you will give me what I need.  Otherwise, I’m not going to make myself sick over it.”  And WHAM I got it!  Praise be to GOD!  Or in greek I would say ” I am raising glory to God.”  or maybe I am raising the God to glory….or I am belieiving that I am knowing that God is hearing my cry.  Oh help me if I start talking like this…no wonder no one speaks this language anymore!  But anyway…

Today is the mid-term, and I AM READY!

Praise be to God!

August 21, 2009 at 1:50 am Leave a comment

I saw God today….

This mission experience comes from a first-time adult missionary.

Mission Story Part 5

      In the evenings we gathered together with our partner team from Mt. Olive Presbyterian for games, music and worship. On Saturday evening after we returned from the water-park, we all held hands to form a long human chain. We began at our condo and we walked, as a long 28-person chain, the 2 blocks to the beach. During our walk in the moonlight, we were to silently consider our personal relationships with God. We walked out onto the beach and made a line along the surf. After a few moments of silent prayer we formed a large circle that spiraled inward, pulling us closer and closer together, until we were a tightly wrapped coil of human bodies. Standing there, together as one, we praised God with the hymn “You are My All in All”. Afterwards, our coil unraveled and we dispersed for some free time on the moonlit beach.

moonlit beach    

  My experience on the beach that night is hard to describe in words. But imagine, if you will, that you had just spent 2 days working with families in dire need of basic housing. You had learned from each other, helped one another, laughed together and cried together. Imagine, you are standing alone in the wet sand with the surf lapping rhythmically at your feet. It is night and the stars and clouds are beautiful in the moonlight. You no longer notice the others around you, although you know they are there. You look toward heaven and you feel the power of the ocean in the constant roar of the surf. You close your eyes and ask God to work through you, and you thank him for your many blessings.

      Imagine that when you open your eyes again, everything seems more beautiful than before; you feel more attuned to the sights and sounds around you. There seem to be more stars, brighter stars. The moonlight makes the surf glow against the black sea. The laughter of the youth playing in the surf sounds sweeter. You are seeing the world with new eyes. The tune from the hymn “You are My All in All” is lingering in your mind and you find yourself humming as you watch the waves…. rolling in and out….in and out.

      You are suddenly aware of the majesty of God’s great creation. The waves remind you of God’s generous love and grace; Strong, Constant, and Always coming to you. You feel “at peace” with your creator.

      Maybe you had to be there, But I SAW GOD TODAY!

August 19, 2009 at 5:02 am Leave a comment

A must-read.

this part of the story is written by a first-time adult missionary.  a very fresh perspective!

Mission Story Part 4

            It was my first mission trip. Would I be a good leader? How would I handle a difficult situation if one should arise? I knew from years of managing people and projects that I had a good knowledge base and years of experience to pull from. But I was here to serve the Lord. What would I do if I was called on?

            And then it happened. I stood at the top of the abyss and to my left stood one of the young people I had been asked to teach and protect. He was staring into a black hole. I could see in face the concern, no it was fright, or maybe just the anticipation of what lay ahead. He looked at me for guidance. I stared into the black hole and then back at the young man.  What do I do?

            Come on Mike focus. You’ve worked with the president of the United States. Surely you can handle this!  Then a voice yelled “GO!” And before I knew it we both were tumbling – falling – screaming! But I couldn’t see him, I couldn’t reach him!  If anything happens to him, what would I tell his parents? I had to trust the Lord to protect us.

            It’s black in the middle of the day, anguish in not knowing what is around the next corner. Then light…is it the light? Yes…yes it is. I’ll make it but what about the youth? A final turn – a huge splash of water!  get my bearings…look to my left and hear him yell “Let’s do it again Mr. Mike!  That was fun!” Ahh the Myrtle Beach water park; what a perfect reward for a job well done!

            Just like the twists and turns of that waterslide, my first mission trip was exhilarating, memorable and most of all a pleasure. You know, life has a way of doing that when serving the Lord.

August 18, 2009 at 5:40 am Leave a comment

…was he an angel?

This part of the mission story comes from a combination of experiences from several middle school boys on our team.

Mission Story Part 3

      When we got to the job-site at Keykey’s house, all we could say was “WOW.”  There was trash everywhere, even under the house.  But Keykey and her family were very sweet. They welcomed us right in.  David told us his favorite quote from the book  Three Cups of Tea. “With the first cup of tea you are a stranger; the second up of tea you are a friend; with the third cup of tea you are family.”  But on the very first day Keykey treated us like family.

      I know that the house looked like no one else had been helping, but 3 groups had been there before us and had made a huge difference.  One of our jobs was to pick up anything that looked hazerdous to the little kids, like nails, glass, and sharp metal.  Then later we got to paint. 

FPC Mission 2009 174FPC Mission 2009 063    

  After lunch we ran out of supplies and things to do, so we sat outside at the picnic table when some boys our age came over and sat down  As we got to know each other we discovered that we liked a lot of the same things.  I thought it was cool to know that kids from such different lifestyles could like the same things we liked.  I guess people are people where ever you go and we aren’t so different after all.

             On the second day at Keykey’s, some of us had to help put insulation on the pipes under the house.  Since they pulled the floor out, we could hop right down under the house.  Tom was painting up around the roof and there were holes so some paint dropped on Jonathan’s  head.  And then we found a dog under the house, he looked dirty and hungry and we felt sorry for him.  Some of the pipes were further under the house which meant we had to crawl into areas that were crawling with bugs.  There were also a lot of bee nests under there.  It was scary,  but we kept thinking that since we were doing good work to help people, that God would keep us safe.   Being scared of something isn’t that scary when you keep in mind that God is with you.

             It was so hot that second day.  There was a small window air conditioner in the kitchen, but it couldn’t cool the whole house.  We were arranging a make-shift table out of plywood and paintbuckets so we could eat lunch indoors where it was only slightly cooler than outdoors.  Then in the distance we heard faint but familiar music.  “Is that an ice cream truck?” someone shouted.  We all ran outside and there in the lane sat a Sno-Cone truck!  He had a row of brightly colored syups lined up across the back of the truck.    What a sight for weary eyes!  He scooped the icy treat into cups and squirted on lots of super sweet flavors.  I can’t remember when anything tasted so good!  I wonder, was he really the Sno-Cone Man or was he an angel?  I think we’d all agree that on that day, he was an angel. 

Sno-Cones!

Sno-Cones!

FPC Mission 2009 178

August 17, 2009 at 5:30 am Leave a comment

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