Friday, July 27, 2012

5 Second Rule

I gave a too-skinny mother (that I’m quite in love with despite her never smiling) some hot food. She put the container on her head only to have it spill over as she walked away.

I then watched her start picking each individual pea and chopped carrot out of the dirt to put it back in her bowl. I didn’t really know what to do and started helping her while offering more. I think she thought I was going to take it because she kept repeating 'I have water to wash it' while trying to bat me away.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the 5 second rule, but watching yet another person need food that desperately was quite painful. Being THAT hungry is something I will never fully understand.

Made me realize how my heart aches against poverty, in a place of people that aren't truly aware of how poor they are, as they sift through the dirt and trash for their daily needs...but how it doesn’t ache against materialism, in my own culture as I don’t realize how materialistic I am, while I sift through the shopping aisles for my daily wants.

I don’t really know how to battle against the self-indulgence raging within me (unfortunately, if we're not fighting it, it probably means we're giving into it)…one of my main ideas for combat is to close my eyes and repeat “live simply, live simply, live simply”…How effective will that be?…I‘m being serious, how effective?

But thank You, Father, for being a God that commands and reminds me not to “hoard wealth in the last days” AND a God that promises to be a “defense for the needy” as He loves and cares for both me and for the woman picking peas out of the dust for dinner.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

still have all my limbs!

Going to sleep last night, I realized I had one leg hanging off the side of the bed. DEATH WISH!…that is so against the cardinal rule I created when I was three years old and have stuck to ever since…never let any limbs hang off the side of the bed or they will get eaten by the monster that is under your bed. It‘s untaught life knowledge. But when you’re already sleeping with no sheets and your mattress is radiating heat, you have to get a limb off the mattress for some sweet air.

What other random things have changed you ask?

…Now that I have seen the success of saving wrapping paper and reusing it, expect to see your wrapping paper again on Christmas and birthdays. Think of how much money I’ll save! Enough to pay off my debt?

…When I first came I thought NesCafe tasted like hot dirt, but now I think it’s one of life’s little morning miracles. I would rather see NesCafe in the morning than a sunrise, a beautiful dove, or that my shower has water. Judge me for that, I don’t care, we’re in love.

… Seeing snakes puts a damper on my night walk.

… I no longer want to steal children as I have been offered too many. I’d rather moms want their children (okay, I still want to steal them but I’m working on wanting moms to want them)...(and okay, I may have taken a little girl for the whole day without asking but AT LEAST I RETURNED HER!)

… Grace is a way deeper pool than I thought.

… Judgement is a way trickier trap than I thought.

… Normal is the new fat…as far as children go. I see a skinny-normal-ish kid…and I’m screaming with joy…THIS HUMAN IS SUCH A MASSIVE CHUNK OF LIFE, HURRAY!!!

… I don’t like cooking from scratch…oh wait, not a change. I can recall many moons ago flopping myself on the floor in front of Spicy Swiss Nurse and shrieking “I will never cook again!”…that was October, people.

… There is no longer a Wednesday in my weekly calendar. It’s Monday, Tuesday, Cinnamon Bun Day, Thursday, Friday….(the team eats cinnamon buns together on Wednesdays…I would recommend this to anyone anywhere on the world…eat something AWESOME on Wednesday).

… I no longer have to pay $60 to sign up for one of those awesome 5k mud runs because I have done many a mud obstacle course trying to get around since rainy season started.

… Perseverance. This should be talked about all the time in every church at every corner. Accepting that easier ways to live exist but Jesus didn't live those and I wasn’t asked to either.

… I thought the Coca Cola commercial where the guy sings and hands out coke to people was cheesy until I received a Diet Coke from a visitor and I swear it feels exactly like that commercial.

… “Confidence in Christ” is usually one of those terms you tell teenager girls when they think they’re hair isn’t straight enough but I’ve come to discover  is it much deeper, more powerful, and more exciting than that.

… I have never been so aware of my left hand or my knees, even behind closed doors.

… When God said keep a tight rein on your tongue, that pretty much changed any and every conversation I have ever wanted to or will have with people. Stilllllllllll workin’ on it.

… If you had told me last year that I’d be wearing the same three skirts and few shirts for a year, I’d be like BAHAHAHAHHA…what? But now…who is “make-up“?…when is “hair dryer”?

… I swear my hairline is receding from the pull back from all these headbands, head wraps, and pony tails. SERIOUSLY, CAN THAT HAPPEN?!

… Yes, even when the deep suffering of the world a few steps away from you, it is still possible to think about your hair…so no matter how disconnected or distant you feel from the poor and sick..pray anyway, give anyway, “spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed”anyway. Because the best way to combat complacent living is with obedient, radical living…doesn’t happen on accident.

… My sister would go in search of her real sister if I told her how much more I shower now.

…I now can understand Irish accents. Tis a wee miracle. Lovely.

Okay, I’m getting a little carried away. What was this list about again? This is why you don’t blog after drinking coffee...and by coffee, I mean NesCafe!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Biki Brilliance

I want you all to know that you are invited to a “biki” upon the arrival of my first child. Here you are officially invited if you get handed chewing gum but I might not take the time to do that for mine.

For those of you who don’t know what this brilliant idea is: it is a baby naming ceremony! So if you innocently forget about ’bikis’ and so considerately ask moms in the hospital what their child’s name is and they looks at you like you’re a dud, it’s because duh, Jenny! There hasn’t been a biki yet!

I think it’s a magnificent because it happens after the baby is born, which means you won’t get everyone and their mother’s opinion about the name you picked for your child. Like “really, you want to name him Tumnus?!! I knew a Tumnus once and he was a weirdy….”.

You just announce it and BAM, child‘s name is accepted into society.

You also add some mystery into people's lives for a few days or so after the birth and just call your child some really fun pet name that’s associates him/her with smallness, like “cricket” or “chicken pock” or “skittle” or something (I don‘t know if they do this but I would).

And the couple dresses in all bright yellow (okay, just at this biki...but I figure any color to get more noticed, ya know?).

And afterwards, everyone goes outside and eats with just their right hands out of big bowls (which is more challenging than it sounds!).

And then the women can visit the mother in her room as she holds the baby and probably breast feeds….cute! And you give money...yay (please take note of this for when you attend my baby's biki).

My dad always tells me when I talk about babies that I have a few steps to go before I can pop out my own child…like man then marriage then pregnancy? What’s the order again? Whatever…boring minor details! But anyway, you’re invited.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Gets Me Pumped.

 If I was a better blogger, I would flood you with stories from bus tripping around to different villages and cities these past couple weeks….

…But can‘t do everythin’, ya know??  Instead, I will say that if you are one of those people who can’t help but mumble that this world is sooo getting worse (usually after reading the news, watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or after having to chop onions) like I am…take heart! Because even all the way over here in the Land of "Niger? Do you mean Nigeria?” and in the midst of extreme poverty and suffering, we DO NOT serve an insecure God.

And hott lanta, He is using His children’s lives to change lives in crevices ALL OVER.

After visiting an orphanage, an orthopedic clinic, a leprosy hospital, a fistula surgery center, and different ministries with even more people who are caring for and evangelizing to orphans, widows, strangers, prisoners, the sick, the naked, and the distressed…I can truly report to you that:

The blind receive sight, 
the lame walk, 
those who have leprosy are cured, 
the deaf hear, 
the dead are raised, 
and the good news is preached to the poor. 
Matthew 11:4. 

I have met many servants who are persevering through one sometimes-sucky-sometimes-awesome day at a time to live in a way that proves they believe Jesus has done and is doing everything He said He would do.

They are being obedient, self-controlled, alert, seeking God, picking up their crosses and choosing Him, breathing Life into people with their words and actions, and along the way, they are encouraging their brothers and sisters in Christ to keep their butts in gear.

They are doing the real thang for the real God!!…in Galmi, in Niger, in Africa, in America, for both new and familiar cultures around the world, as we speak!

I love that. Let’s get in on that.

Hanging out in one of the leprosy wards.
(And by "get in on that" I don't mean sprawl across the floor at the last second 
to get into the photo like this man did....though I salute his enthusiasm)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fear the Blade

I watched many wide eyed children with club feet get carried into a hospital in the big cit-AY of Niamey (land with lettuce and an air conditioned restaurant!) this week.

I was given The Job of helping hold down the shrieking child.  Easier to do when there's not a vibrating saw (that apparently only cuts the cast and doesn't amputate off the limb) coming at their legs! I don’t blame any of the cuties for their attempts to flee because I too would have feared the blade. But dang, kids are fiesty!...and show hulk-ulous strength when they're trying to run for their lives.

Except for one little guy. He hopped right on that bed and started talking to the assistant. I’m assuming he said something like “what up, doc, looks scary…bring it”…but I know like five words in French so just a guess. I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open as he not only didn’t scream but sat up, wanting to watch that roaring saw-devil cut off his cast. Who says having a club foot stops you from carrying a cargo full of courage?!  Break me off a piece of that. Thank you Lord that it’s not always our circumstances but our reactions to them that make people’s jaws drop. 


I also turned the corner to find faces full of repaired cleft lips! Best smiles I've ever hung out with.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lots of servant warriors have been going home these past couple weeks...
(Don’t ask if I’ve been emotional about it…we all know the answer to that already).

Remember when you see a missionary coming home broken in body and weary in soul, it isn’t the privations or dangers or things he’s done that leave a deep hurt; it’s the things he couldn’t do that break his heart. 
-“World Shapers”

Only Jesus has all the answers for this culture and my own culture...Don’t forget to listen, encourage, and intercede for all the missionaries right next to you and all the ones overseas, ya saints!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The jelly is out of the doughnut...

...The chickadees have left the nest. We came. We taught. We conquered. ...The students have started summer break.

I’m kind of sad my schoolhouse season is over (at least until God pulls something else out of His sleeve).

When else will I get to say ‘take out a piece of paper and pencil and do whatever I tell you‘ and have someone listen??  I just don't see other schools allowing “Love Bites” or “Joke Pokes”. No more hearing squeals just because I pulled out the paint or watching a kid do the robot over to get his pencil. No more stifling my laughter when the answer to the question of “what are the main dishes of Antartica? is “you know, plates and forks and knives and stuff"?

And kids keep you in check! They ask how to spell “lanta” as in ‘oh my lanta’, and then you try to convince yourself they must know someone else in the world that says that and they're not just repeating you.  Another time, I slid across the floor in my matted flip flops and screamed THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED (I know, I’m five) and lost the next ten minutes trying to pull the kindergarteners back into their chairs. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to live in a way that's worthy of imitation anywhere, but kids are good at showing you the horrifying reality of influence.

There are some things you only get from students. I’ll probably go off the deep end or catch the crazy train without them.

But hey, WE MADE ITTTTT!! Students fluttered away and Auntie Barb and I were left with a triumphant one room school house high-five.