Tuesday, October 28, 2008

if i only dwell in thee.

If to distant lands I scatter
If I sail to farthest seas
Would you find and firm and gather 'til I only dwell in Thee?
If I flee from greenest pastures
Would you leave to look for me?
Forfeit glory to come after
'Til I only dwell in Thee

If my heart has one ambition
If my soul one goal to seek
This my solitary vision 'til I only dwell in Thee
That I only dwell in Thee
'Til I only dwell in Thee

brooke fraser.

Friday, October 24, 2008

different, but the same.

I love the Bridge. I love being a part of it. I love spending my weekend nights there. I love the friendships i'm making. I love the kids i'm meeting. And i especially love it because in a sense, these messed up youth are exactly like my african orphans.

When i came back to Canada i had this complex like somehow every issue in the world paled in comparison to Africa and that NO ONE in the WORLD could understand me, what i saw, what i did etc.

Then as we are praying in debrief tonight, i was struck by this realization.

These youth and my orphans are different, but exactly the same.

Although the youth i'm friends with may not live in institutions, their hearts do. They are desperate and alone and lonely and unloved. And as such, they don't know HOW to love. So we are there to love them, to teach them boundaries, to guide them, to laugh with them, to cry with them, and sometimes just to BE with them.

My heart broke tonight. I thought my heart only broke for african orphans. But what i realize right now is that my heart breaks for orphans in general. These kids that come to The Bridge may not be true orphans, but they are in such desperate dire situations that they may as well be. And maybe that's almost worse, because at least being an orphan affords you the option of being rescued.

I did a silly thing a while ago. I prayed "Lord break my heart with the things that break your heart"...and what do you know, he's come through.

Lord- take these kids. take their families and their situations and hold them. comfort them like only you can. show these kids that their worth doesn't come from relationships on earth or any external force but only from YOU. give us volunteers the wisdom and courage to pour into these kids lives. Give us your love. We need you Lord. Oh how we need you.

Can they see him in you?

I’m sitting outside. The coldness from the sidewalk quickly creeps into my jeans and sets up house under my skin. I rub my hands together and blow air from my lungs between my palms, but even the air fro m my insides is just as cold as the air from my outsides.

The coffee cup that sits in front of me mocks me. Its purpose is to hold heat and give heat, yet it is empty, save for a few coins.

I look across the street to a beautiful old church. It is lit from the inside and its warmth radiates through the old stone that it scares away the frost that is covering most things around it. I can see people coming in and out. It is Sunday morning and sometimes, if I’m up to it, I’ll sit near the church and watch.

Families get out of their sleek cars in their Sunday best. Mothers hold the hands of their children as they cross the street from the parking lot to the church. They walk the steps directly in front of me. Yet they do not see me.

Today is not the day for helping the poor. Today is the day to worship the Lord. A little boy is hurrying to keep up with his mother and father, rushing so as not to be late. He is curious about me and my coffee cup. He slows as he nears me and intuitively, his mother turns around and yanks him away from me. She whispers in his ear as they continue on and the boy looks back and catches my eye.

I lean against the building I’m sitting by and try to rest my mind. It is full and always working. Sleep is hard to catch because my body is constantly cold. Sometimes i dream that my sleeping bag has a heater and i can actually feel warmth creeping into my worn tennis shoes.

The service is over and as people file out of the church. They are laughing and happy and talking about a great sermon. “Pastor really out did himself today” they say. I hear that often and i wonder if people really mean it or if they are just being kind.

As they cross the street, i am in their way. I am between the church and their cars and I can see the gears in their heads turning, looking for alternate routes around me. Some take the long way around, some try not to look down at me as they pass, some just wouldn’t even see me if they looked me dead in the eyes.

I see a man walking by me. I recognize him. He stopped to talk to me once when I was sitting in a bus shelter. He told me about a man named Jesus. He told me that his man came to save my soul. To love my unconditionally. And that the people coming out of the church in front me are his people.

But i wonder.....If these people are his, and if this man Jesus, really loves unconditionally like i was told, why don’t they see me.

I can see Jesus around them. The sad thing is that I don’t see Jesus IN them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thats MY king!


watch this. its sweet.


when the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
when the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
when time and space are through
I'll be found in you
- brooke fraser, shadowfeet

Care, www.twietconfetti.blogspot.com, has been posting about a little boy, Z. Sometimes my heart is so heavy its hard to put one foot in front of the other. But then i think of when Jesus tells us to cast our cares upon him.

This Saturday was my first real night as "staff" at The Bridge. It was awesome. I was so pumped to go and really looking forward to it. I prayed before hand for the kids that i would be meeting. This one youth R and I had a great talk. He's this incredible grafitti artist and brought this book out with all his drawings and art work and i was floored. Then i thought about the potential this guy has for greatness. He told me about his life and his girlfriend and his dreams for his future.

During debrief after we closed up, we talk about what happened during the night and good talks we had and prayer requests for kids and stuff like that. I talked about R and our talk and his artbook and stuff. Then everyone told me how that was amazing because he rarely does that. He has this one guy he talks to at The Bridge and thats it really. And i thought how cool it was that God would use me, this girl who has had about the most opposite life experience possible as this kid, to pour into this guys life. We spent a long time in prayer for the center and the kids and while i was praying i was overcome with this sense of gratitude like i've never felt before. It's actually mind boggling to me how my year has been so far. So easy the transition from home to away from home has been. How incredible my roommates are. And now this youth center.

I would NEVER have actively sought something like the bridge to volunteer at when i was at home.

I love how i'm changing. I love how i'm growing.

I love how its all God and none of me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A love that just be.

This note came to me via my bestie cousin Mollie. She is friends with this guy (yes a GUY wrote this beauty) Josh Z and on his facebook was the note below that he wrote. So i emailed him randomly and asked if i could put it on my blog because i think its AWESOME! So here it is! For your viewing pleasure!

I want a love that can just be. A love that doesn't need to be anywhere else, that doesn't need to be entertained. A contented love. My heart is saddened by the many hearts I meet that are still chasing, never longing for rest, for slow love. If the lights and addictions please you so... my simple, deep longings will never do. Continue on your journey into the lustful night; I will continue on my slow walk with the ever-burning sunset in my eyes.

Let us glory in beauty, not in selfish desire! Let us revel in this light, not in what we have to keep hidden! What Life there is when two become One; when the simple and the Divine become One. Can you see all the beauty that I see everyday, or are you blind like all the others! What glories there are far from the parties and egos; my happiness is not dependent on a crowd of pride and lust. Why are so many so content with what never satisfies? Why do you fill your life with the shallow, the superficial, the mundane? Is this all just a daily sedative, a daily drag to fill the nodes of happiness, contentment, and belonging? Have your fill, everyone drink in deep! Dear, I am sorry I am not filled by all of this, I am sorry that I am cynical of all that tranquilizes so many. I am not like all the others, or I don't want to be. I can't turn a blind eye at what I see. I will walk alone before I live a lie; I can't live in opposition to what I know brings true Joy, Life, and Love. Will you discern these words? Will you wait for love in time?

You are so impatient; bound by fear, young girls. You will never be happy. Only in the slow, the soft, the sound, the spiritual will you, will we find solace. In this we will find peaceful sleep and joy. Yet, in all your yearning you will give yourself away without ever living or truly loving. All you are feeling is to get what you think you want. Do you really want to put out all your chips so quickly? Are you so sure you'll find what you are looking for here?

Real love is not simple. Surely, your love is nothing more than emotion and sex; but you won't realize it or you won't care. You'll go on, blind to the fact that nothing can compare to Love. All the vices and compromises can't fill your heart, not even the ring on your finger.

I am content in all of this. I have no need to chase down what doesn't want to be caught. The restless have no desire for rest. I have no desire to watch my heart die, to yearn for what will bring more pain. Your joys bring me sorrow, and everything I hope for will only weigh you down. I am alone in Love, but that Love will grow when you see it with your spirit. Entering in, leaving behind the grey world, the Sun will flood in such glorious, warm light. Let this world and it's empty desires be a fading memory in the presence of the Life we are in.

"She was made for him, and him for her..." A resonating love that builds in time; let our hearts be something that is welded by a Love that is beyond this world not bearing on all the nature of fickle, broken man. Do you know what depth Love can take?

a note for my nana, a note for my mom.

Dear Nana,

I love you. I admire you. You are never afraid to call me on things even when it might be ackward or you think i'll get offended or mad. I appreciate that. I hope you will always do that for me. I look at your life and how you raised my mom and my aunts and uncles and i'm so thankful that God gave me grandparents like you and Buppa.

At your house this weekend, I woke up early and as i was going past the downstairs door, i heard buppa praying. I stopped at put my ear to the door and listened to you guys praying. It made my heart so happy to know and realize what leaders i have in my family. It makes me so thankful to know that I have grandparents who love me so much. Much more than i'll ever know. It makes me want to live a good life. It makes me want to make you proud of me. You are an inspiriation to me nana. I want to be old and wise and kind like you. I want to sit at the breakfast table with my husband and pray for my family. I want to pray for my grandkids before they drive home like you and buppa. I want to care so much about my grandkids that I'd do anything for them. I want to know my bible inside and out like you do. I want to love my husband and be the best wife for him. I want to love Jesus as much as you do. I want my grandkids to love me as much as yours love you.

I love you nana!

Dear Momma Bear.
Today at my interview for the bridge I had to say who is the most influential person in my life. I said you. I told them how proud i was that you are my mom. How you live a life that makes people want to know whats different about you. How you sit at your desk at night and do you bible studies. How you desire to know more and how you desire for me to know more. How you've stuck by dad through thick and thin. How you fight for what is right. How you hate injustice. How you've taught me how to take correction. How you've taught me about unconditional love. How you've taught me to learn from my mistakes. How you've taught me to be kind. How you've given me a love for bible memory. How you've supported me and listened to me and prayed for me. How you let me talk about africa till i'm blue in the face. How you love sophie like i love sophie. How i could come to you with anything and you will love me and accept me. How you sit with me when i'm panicking and you are quiet and you pray for me. How you read books that important to me just because they are important to me.
I love you marmie!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An overdue breakdown.

I write in a journal for Sophie sometimes. It helps me to get my feelings down on paper and to write through what i'm feeling. Yesterday my roommate and awesome pal bea, got an apology she'd be waiting and wanting to hear for a long time and after hearing and seeing how happy she was, i just broke down.

We were both sitting on the couch and she was emailing and iw as reading my bible and writing in my journal (s) and i was just so happy for her but as soon as that happy feeling came, i got extrememly sad and burst out sobbing for sophie.

May 28,2008
Do you know how long i've loved you? Since september 9th, 2006. 605 days. I was terrified and overwhelmed and you made it worse because in the moment when i looked in your eyes, you stole me. Its been 605 days and with every day that passes i think about you.......

How do i explain you? Do i tell people that yes, i do have a daughter. She is 4 with the biggest brown eyes and a deep laugh. She loves clothes and greasy chicken and doesn't really like tv. She doesn't look like me but she sure acts like me. Do i tell people, No i don't have a daughter. I"m 23, a stduent, with debt and i'm being rational? That i need more education, more money, more time befor eyou are mine? Maybe you are only supposed to be mine for those 10 months.....

Inside your body i imagine a struggle. Outside you are calm. You are quiet. Inside you are loud and messy and sore. OUtside you are simple. Inside my body is simple and clean and quiet. I would trade you........

I imagine for you a lot. Many times i dream for you. i don't want a white life for you. You are African and Uganda and i want you to grow up eating matoke and fetching water and taking tea. You will have few clothes and few shoes but you will have enough. You will have a simple life and you will be happy. You will grow up knowing your neighbors. You will know your pastor and he will rebuke you when you do wrong. YOu will have many to teach you and much to learn.....

I told God i wouldn't leave you. He said he wouldn't either. He said suubi. He said hope. for you. for me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

explosions in the sky

Yesterday night was probably one of the funnest i've had in a long time. And funny thing is....it hasn't really ended yet. let me explain.

last night at around 8ish i went to the bridge to get a feel for the place, hang out with the youth and just kinda chill. I played a lot of guitar hero with little luck at breaking the 40,000 dollar barrier and a ton of mario kart which i'm a pro at. Except that i got 8th place almost ever race.

So after everyone debriefed and stuff we headed over the this resturant type place called "the night kitchen". aptly named since its open till super late (or early) at night (or morning). I got these pizza that had sweet potato and regular potato on it and thats it. weird i know. but magic with creamy garlic dipping sauce. ok so anyway.

we got out of the night kitchen and headed back to our house around 12:30am. We started playing Wii and doing fitness tests and were having a ton of fun. around 3am we started watching you tube videos of people breaking their bones. then steve had the great idea of checking out the abandonded school thats like 5 houses down from us. long story short (bethany- start laughing now) i fell through a window thing and broke both my knees as i graced the cement floor below me. i'm not even kidding you- if there is something to fall into, to trip over, i will trip/fall into/over it.

at 4 am i was running on empty and jenn steve and jordan heading downtown to get coffee and roof hop. they watched the sunrise from the roof of the brant building and had a sweet prayer session as the sun was rising (can i say that i love my friends?).

10am this morning i get woken up by the 3 of them jumping onto me in bed and then we went to church together!

ok let me tell you about this church. its called the third space, and its really non traditional, and really chill, and really cool. Its in this old church but there are no pews and no "worship" in the shout to the Lord type song, hands raised eyes closed kind of worship but worship in the fellowship and communion and learning worship something. we sat around tables and i propped my feet up and drank my coffee and soaked it in. the "pastor" stood at the front while we ate breakfast and coffee and we actually said prayer requests and then prayed for them on the spot. they are going through this book called "the irresistable revoluntion- living as an ordinary radical" by Shane Claiborne (erin- this is a book for YOU!) and we kinda just chatted about the chapter that everyone had read sweet stuff. it was cool.

right now jordan and brad are playing baseball on Wii and steve is sleeping on the couch. Jenn is making lamb roast for our dinner party tonight, bea is doing homework and i'm doing my chem assignment.

i love my life.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

hows THIS for providence!

Ok so i moved to this new province and city right? And all along the way God's been kinda giving me these sweet little taps on my shoulder just to let me know he's got it all under control. He knows i'm a worrier and that i have anxiety about a million things and will often be up at night going over something random and insignifcant from the day making sure i did the right thing. So sometimes he just gives me these little treats and says "hey ames, right here beside here, just hanging out keeping you safe and on track".

Today me and roomie Bea went to The Bridge where she volunteers and where I will too after my sweet volunteer training night tonight. So my house decided that since its right down the road from us, like a 3 minute walk, that we would cook dinner and just have the staff over to hang out and appreciate them for all they're doing for the youth of P-town. We go this afternoon and no one is really there are first but there's this guy and he's wearing OBVIOSULY african material on his shirt (all you africa lovers know exactly what i'm talking about). Its the kind of shirt you'd spot a mile away. So of course i asked him where he got it and all that good stuff.

Turns out he got it in west africa, just got back from South Africa and is the head guy or something for Youth For Christ and a big part of his job is finding workers from HERE to go work for YFC THERE. HOW COOL!!!!!!!! He gave me his card and we talked for a long time and i told him about UG and all that good stuff.

I said "do you really have use for nurses though?" and he said "the awesome thing abotu YFC is that we don't try to fit you into our box. We look at your skill set and see where YOU'd best fit with us! We have tons of Aids programs all over the world that many nurses and working with....." and it just went on and on.

And I said "Alright Lord! I get it. You want me here. This is where i'm supposed to be! Also your so cool!"

and imagine.....what if i hadn't dated that guy waaaay back in bible school for so long and got to know his family? What if i hadn't met his uncle who is the DIRECTOR of YFC in Ptown where i live?

Gods got this whole "taking care of business" thing DOWN!