Sunday, March 26, 2006

blessing of the month

I drove home today, goodbye spring break, hello life! Did you miss me? yea, I didn't miss you either.. I just have to say, I accomplished one of my lifelong goals today. I saw where the bushes turn to pine trees on the way from Phoenix to Flag. You think I'm ridiculous, but, it's always eluded me. You're driving along and all of a sudden you're in the forest.. Actually, it's kinda disappointing. hmm.. I was actually going to say something here, and now I've forgotten what is was.... kinda funny, the guy who teaches my sunday school class at my family's church was talking this morning and mid-sentence says Oh I just lost it! he forgot what he was going to say while he was saying it. Well, I thought it was pretty funny anyways... I still can't remember... shoot this is gonna bug me... Ha! I remembered.. ok During high school I was a leader/teacher for Teamkids at our church. I did it for quite a while actually, and I loved it. It was a huge outreach for a lot of kids in our town who needed it a lot. We always hoped it would be for the parents too. There was one family with three kids that came for a while, then moved to Flag. These children were pretty little, I think the oldest was 7. The two younger boys were.. they made me smile. a lot. Dey taltet lite dis, and every week when we'd pick them up on the van one of them would be in raptures with this bright green car we'd pass. he called it the "too fast too fuwious tar. it's so tool Miss Hannah!" They also reeked of marijuana every time they got on. I went to a service at a church I don't normally go to tonight with a few of my friends (yea I finally went. I've been telling my friend Mike I'd go for a few months now... but now I have so it's alright.) Well, I was sitting there talking to someone, and guess who comes in? The kids AND their mom! I almost started to cry I was so excited to see them in church. I talked to the pastor afterwards and found out they'd been coming for a while, and their mom had been baptized that morning.. their dad has even come a few times.. and the kids remembered me!! Praise God, their mom knows Jesus now! What a party in heaven. Well, it made me very happy. Just another reminder that God knows how to take care of people, and I can trust Him with them.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buff for mayor!!

So, I have more news about the one and only crazy town of Williams... Apparently in the recent mayoral? election, there were two candidates. One was a dog. Yep, that's right. Anyone who's ever been in Williams and walked around main street has more than likely met our canine politician. Buff is her name, and she is the much beloved dog of Scott the cameraman. He is the official photographer in town.. I know he and his dog quite well, they were daily customers at the coffee shop when I worked there (yes, both of them). Anyways, after much publicity (consisting of posters around town), Buff had 70 voters. Her platform was on honesty and friendliness. What I want to know is, what would they have done if she'd won?? hmm...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

thinking out loud again

Being Christ-like is all about loving God, and letting that love show through loving people: all people, not just other Christians, not just the rich and not only the poor. A religion which sparks true humanitarianism, altruism.. We as Christians try to make ourselves different by the way we live, but all too often that turns into a set of rules that aren’t about God at all. They’re about who’s right and who’s wrong. I’m better than you because I follow these rules we made up better than you do. Yet this is how life becomes miserable; eventually the list of rules that’ve been nailed to your forehead—thrust in front of your eyes day and night, traps you in a web of guilt. It places the focus on sin rather than on God. What if Christians really were known by their love? What if we were more concerned about people, meeting them where they’re at and giving them what they need: physically and spiritually. Instead of trying to sell Jesus, we introduce Him as a friend by becoming a friend. Rather than attempting to convince people of God’s love we become that love for them. Why is it a sacrifice to become love? I’m reading a book right now, and in it the author tells about an event that happened at his college. In the middle of some mardi gras-ish event at the college, he and a few other students set up a booth. It was a confession booth. It wasn’t for the students to come in and confess to some priest though. A student would come in expecting to be confessing to someone, but instead a fellow student, a Christian, would confess to them and ask for forgiveness. These Christians asked forgiveness for hiding Christ and being ashamed to talk about Him. They asked forgiveness for the atrocities committed around the world by so-called Christians. What happened? Several students’ eyes were opened to the real love of God, and they told the Christians confessing to them that they truly appreciated this. I need to ask the world’s apology. I have not been love for people. So here is my apology: I am sorry for being so selfish. I’m sorry for hiding God, for not allowing Him to be my life. I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten about everyone else’s eternity because I am so secure in mine. I’m sorry for not wanting to see what’s really going on behind the Oh I’m fines. I’m sorry for even now not wanting to be uncomfortable for the sake of my Father. I have to admit that I’ve never had an unselfish thought. It’s only by grace that I am able to know Jesus. I have a hard time with grace. It’s too easy. I am constantly trying to win my way to God. I have been building my own little tower of babel, but each stone I lay crumbles right away and when I step back to survey my work I only see a pile of dust. I’m such an American too. I have everything in the world and all I see is what I think I don’t have. Do I see what other people don’t have? Once in a blue moon, maybe. But then, those impressions never last more than a little while. Like dreams, they go away and I forget about them almost as soon as they’re gone. I have a hard time thinking about other people too. When I go to Walmart, I don’t think about the sweat shop workers who labored over the stuff I’m buying. And if I do, they seem like fictional people, an idea in the back of my head that is no more real to me than… I don’t know. I’m out of comparisons.. but you get the point. I just painted a rather grim picture didn’t I? but the truth is, that only half of the picture. The truth is, there is a beauty surrounding us. There is grace, there is a mercy, and there is love. All these things are in that picture that at first looks sordid and bleak. Even in the most desolate of places there is God, and He is always trying to show us Himself. Why do you think the earth is so beautiful? There are beautiful people too, all of them. Jesus saw them. God help me to be brave enough to see them too. Goodnight.. may the Lord bless you and keep you, and may he cause His face to shine upon you all the days of your life.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Como te llamo?

I was listening to a song earlier by Caedmon's Call, the chorus was A perfect love is a world without hunger. This band just made a cd by traveling around the world and living in different cultures. They wrote songs about the people they met, in the style of the country, and often had the people sing with them. It's an incredible cd.. It's spring break, and I just got back from Nogales, Mexico on a mission trip. I went with my family's new church, and we got to paint a church building that the men had already built the week before. I'd only been in mexico once before, and it was only about 2 miles inside the border for a few hours at an orphanage. We were driving on Sunday and ust as we got to Tucson, it started snowing. mmhmm, that's right folks. And it did not stop, it snowed in Mexico.. and it was cold. We stayed in a church just across the border, and there was no heat; we drank hot chocolate. Anyways, we got to the church where we were staying and then headed out again to try to find the church where they wer having the service that night... well we tried. The streets in that city are... amazing. But not in a good way. We stopped twice to ask for directions before finally giving up and going to dinner. We ate at a restaurant there, and the tacos were incredible! Near the end of dinner a clown came out and, seeing a big table of Americanos, he came over and proceeded to make balloons for almost every person at the table. He was extremely good at making them, he blew them up with his mouth (wow) and he made penguins, tweety bird, I got a flower, but my dad's was best of all... a teenage mutant ninja turtle! We woke up to a nice clear sky, and headed out to the church we were to work on. The church was, I think, four miles away, and it took half an hour to get there. With 4 wheel drive. RPBC has been sort of sponsoring this church for a couple of years. They built the foundation and the walls last year? and then this year put on the roof and painted it. The church started with three adults, including the pastor, and 20 some odd children. Let the little children come! they have been meeting faithfully in that little building with no roof for a year. Now it's the best building in five miles. I kept complaining in my head about the cold. I did. Then I saw the houses these people live in. Bits of cardboard and metal pieced together to form some sort of shelter. I did notice though, that these people are much different from the "poor people" in America. They are clean, their clothes, their houses, and their yards are clean. And they make it cheerful with color, and little gardens, and with their smiles. Something to think about So by mid morning the sun was warming us up, and the bano arrived (the best bathroom there, I mean better than where we were staying..), and lunch was on the way so all was right in the world. When the pastor arrived the games began... I have never seen an adult have so much fun playing with a bunch of kids. It gave me so much joy just watching them play. It was quite a game of futbol, I tell you what. He loves those little kids so much, I can't even begin to describe.. it was jesus. It was Jesus coming through Santiago playing in that dirty street. I have more to say, but I have to think about it for a while before it'll come out coherently haha. I'll leave you with something I heard one time... ~We have been called to right the wrongs that have been called the way things are.~

Saturday, March 11, 2006

more on snow

And it's still snowing! We have at least a foot now, and it hasn't stopped since thursday night. We went for a walk in it tonight, and it was absolutely beautiful. The sky was orange (it does that when it snows) and I felt like I was in a snow globe with these big fluffy snowflakes falling all around me. God is beauty, and snow is yet another reminder of that. Seeing this side of Him always makes me want to live a beautiful life for Him. I'm glad He can help me set my life straight, or I'd always be... me. The snow always makes the world quiet. It's almost like an awed silence, an act of reverence for the purity and wonder falling from the sky. In silence the world is being transformed, all of the loud noises are cleared away. In life we need to be silent and allow God to act, to renew us. Quiet our minds, those ever thinking, ever analyzing minds of ours; be still and know that I am God. Be still, rest a while, let me do the work. When I quiet my mind, I see others around me. When I allow God to clear away the clutter I pile up, I see through to the eyes of people around me. God shows me the ones who don't know Him, He shows me how compassion is lacking in my life because I only see myself. Then, He gives me that compassion, and it's my choice of what to do with it.. I've begun to see people. It's easy for me not to, I prefer to keep to myself--protect the walls I work so hard to build. And then it snows, I start going to a prayer group focused on compassion for the people who don't know Jesus, so many little things all working towards changing me. Amazing.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Christmas in March

It snowed today.. snow is beautiful for all the inconveniences it causes. And so I am listening to christmas music. Everyone needs a little christmas every once in a while. It is everything good combined; the warm fire where you can relax and dream about the future, it's the excitement of the parties with punch and friends and getting dressed up, it's being with family and celebrating traditions, and it's remembering Christ: the beauty of God as a helpless baby in a stable. Christmas is memories mixed with new experiences. It's too bad that we only do it once a year, we need it so much more often. Aesthetic beauty. It does exist, and christmas is one of the best examples of it. So I am celebrating christmas in March. I need a christmas right now, so thank you Father for the snow!