Friday, October 30, 2009

Taking Out the Trash...

That title has many meanings. And i have actually have to take the trash out in ten minutes but i couldn't wait to tell everyone all the wonderful things God is doing and how He's helping me take out my own trash. This week my work duty has been to pick up trash and trash bags from buildings and all over the YWAM property. SO humbling. FIrst of all, i'm by myself...human accident, God's intention. One thing I have to say first is that trash is all over the place here. When you walk in the street you see bottles and bags and wrappers. Coming from having a smallest piece of trash contest at Eagle Lake to thinking i'm going to murder whoever it was that gave styrofoam to Chile is quite a big step. But i have to pick up trash from the dining hall which is is flimsy black trash bags that easily rip. And then don't have garbage disposals or dishwashers so EVERYTHING but water gets tossed into the cans. I have had goo flung at me. Then when i get to the dumpster, the trash guys came, a bag had been wripped accidentally, so instead of peacefully controlling the situation the trash guys leave it for the wind and dogs to spread out, all over the hill i spent the day before picking up trash. It's just a different mindset. and another gross piece of trash information...they can't flush toilet paper down the toilets, it'll clog the pipes. So you also have to pick up what i like to call poopy paper bags. Girls have their own mess, and guys only wipe for number two, so you can just imagine the horror i have been facing this week. and yes i did just talk about it on my blog. Then i empty other trash cans in different buildings. THere is no such thing as a vacuum here, no real carpets, so everything gets swept. And then that gets dumped into trashcans that don't have solid sides. so the piece fall through. and no one puts the trashbags back into it. SO it just makes a mess again. God has taught me lots through this: first, i made friends will all the stray dogs that live on the base. my favorite (ComeNunca-translated to eat's never) follows me around, and even let's me pet him after i pick up the poopy paper bags. Second, God's land is beautiful and we need to keep it that way, but with or without trash nothing compares to the beauty of Him and eternal life with Him. Third, I need to do things right the first time, take it easy, and have patience. I get stinky, I get sweaty, the sun is bright, but i've made lots of friends trying to find trashbags and gloves and wheelbarrows.
And on top of that, we've had Jesus boot camp for sports this week. Monday we learn dances and skits that we'll be doing on our outreach, and we'll actually be doing one this weekend in the Marcha de Jesus. Tuesday, James took us running through the greenbelt, then made us do 20 sets of stairs, jumping stuff, and sprints. THen we ran back, some people lifted weights, others danced, and some played ping pong. Ping pong is now our sport of choice, we're all getting pretty good! Then Wednesday, Carlos, one of the trainers here, made us run circuits on the side of a hill, then sprint up, run down, and then streeeeeeetched more than ever. Felt SO good. He also taught us about the importance of our attitude while we work out. Sports are another artistice expression, we need to let the Holy Spirit run with and for us. It's for physical abilities to increase in other areas of our lives as well. Yesterday, sports time became Tie Dye time, and I taught everyone how to tiedye, what to do, patterns, colors. And as i type my fingers are still slightly purple. SO I am sore and tired, but feeling GOOD!!
And through all the taking out the trash and Jesus boot camp, my classes have really been rocking my world. I am healing and overcoming and forgiving and releasing and repenting in so many areas of my life. Monday was about Pride and Humility. I have SO much pride...who made me queen of the world around me? Pride is what got Satan kicked out of heaven. I need to LIVE, not act my faith. Pride destroys you, wages war against your soul, it is an illness, it is selfish and individualistic, i'm not the target of any injustice. And humility is a CHOICE. All of the things I learned this week are something you step into out of CHOICE, sacrifice, submission, and when you do it is freeing and beautiful in ways that I can't even describe. It is a constant process of breaking yourself, of surrendering your rights. We live for GOD'S glory, not our own.
Tuesday, class was about Sin, and Repentance. Sin is not an accident, a sickness, a need, or a weakness, it is another CHOICE we make. You are breaking God's law. ANd that hurst HIM as well as you. Everytime you sin you put Christ back up on the cross. Repentence is not an emotion, it is a choice to change your attitude and your actions. You become transparent and are willing to give up whatever it is that is causing that. You recognize the sin, Confess, Abandon that sin, and then make restitution. Do you decide to walk into the sin before you? or walk with God? Christ is waiting on the cross for us to repent.
Wednesday, we talked about forgiveness. I had MANY things to forgive. There is a difference between wanting to seek vengeance from someone, and forgiving them, like Christ forgave us. Forgiveness is looking back on something and not feeling any pain. And that is HARD. But when you do that you are so freee! You put your selfishness aside, and we don't demand what we think people owe to us for hurting us. It redeems relationships.
In acts, a man name stephen died for his beliefs, in front of Saul. ANd because of His death Saul was saved, He came to know Christ, and became Paul, and saved SO many people after that. And Christ did that for us on the Cross. Forgive them father, for they know not what they do...
Thursday, the girl who sleeps on the bunk above me, gave the talk. It was about renouncing our rights and the humbling action of doing that. Jesus gave up a lot of things, and we need to too. He renounced a dignified birth, perfect love from the father and Holy Spirit (when he went into hell), His reputation, and His own life. We renounce to give total Lordship to Jesus (he is not just our savior), for personal benefit, and to evangelize to the world. As a missionary, you have to be willing to renounce: your food, your own home, your own land and culture, material things, your dreams, your reputation, money, freedom, and your own life. If the Lord is with you, then that is enough.
ANd today we talked about HOliness...You can't just contain a problem in your life, you have to get rid of it c0mpletely, eradicate it, so it doesn't come back. WE need to eradicate many things in our past so we can focus on and be useful to the Lord. Say to yourself, the blood of Christ sets me free.
There is just so much everyday, i am loving it here. I am redeeming relationships, and taking up walls that i've put up, and it is truly incredible. The Holy Spirit is MOVING!!!!
God is perfect, and figuring out how to dwell in His glory, like the temple that Ezekial forsaw, allows us to be holy, to walk towards Him, away from sin, and into LIFE!!
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let uis run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And the fruit of the Spirt is...

Hey all!! I know it's been a while since I last wrote, AND oh my GOODNESS lots has happened.

Last Sunday, Oct 11, I got to worship in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, all in the same service. I sat next to a lady named Vivi who brings so much light into this world and truly shows her love of Christ to others. I hung out all day with two guys from Peru and really got to practice my Spanish. That night we had sports DTS bonding and made spagetti and rice pudding (arroz con leche)...SO good. One of the guys in the group, david, is a chef in Lima and he makes the BEST food ever.

Monday was my birthday!! Feliz Cumpleanos! It was a great day. I got to breakfast and the whole group sang to me. Then we had quiet times and amazing prayer by the pool, and then they threw me in the pool, fully's tradition. Then right before lunch they brought me my favorite CHilean dessert, mil hojas, and it was amazing!! That afternoon i took a nap before cleaning the cabana, and then went to class and had a very relaxing day over all.

Tuesday, we went surfing for the first time as a group!! SO fun, but SO hard. we were paddling so hard and going nowhere fast, i caught a couple and stood up once, but fell of right away, and then a huge wave practically ate me alive, and made me tired, so i just played in the freeeezing cold water.

Then wednesday, Amy, from Michigan, taught kickboxing. SO funny. It was our whole sports DTS, and i have to say, kickboxing must be an art and you have to be very coordinated to do it. I also had a cold that started that day, and my nose was SO stuffed up. YUCK

This weekend was a big emotional roller coaster for pretty much everyone. We all were feeling very overwhelmed and attacked by Satan, so we all just did our own thing. I went to the beach both days, the first day we just hung out, chatted, and played guitar. And then me, a chilean, and the Spaniard went to eat Chorrillanas, a delicious Chilean food with french, beef, onions, and egg all piled together. MMMMMM. Sunday, church started 45 minutes late, welcome to South America, and lasted til 1.45 in the afternoon. Worship was wonderful though. ANd then i went to the beach, went surfing again, and played in the wave pools that rush back and forth and the only thing that keeps you in one place is holding on to the seaweed, yuck. Then sunday night, we had the worlds best barbeque. One of the Argentinian's cooked the meat, a Peruvian made the rice, and the chilean's made the salad. I was so stuffed, and we finished the night off with a big dance party around the bonfire we just randomly made in our dirt front yard. Great bonding.

The Lord is really teaching me a lot about LOTS of stuff. I'm learning better communication, especially boldness in speaking spanish. I have a friend teaching my RRRR now. I'm reading a book called "Is that realy you, God?" and it's making me see all the things i'm learning about in my classes actually applied to someone's life. The author is Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM. Also, having a strict schedule (that is followed sometimes) is very humbling after having been independent and accountable to no one for the last 4 years. I'm learning about discipline, and self-control in very random ways. In my quiet times i'm reading Ezekiel, and learning about obeying God. And my friend Mark is in awe a how many Bible verses i have memorized.
My classes have been about Knowing God, Hearing God's VOice, Quiet Times, Intercession prayer (which I love), Worship and Adoration, Biblical Evangelism, Fear of God, and Truth vs. Emotions. These are challenging and pushing me to new levels. My pride is being knocked down, my body is being pushed to new limits, and I'm learning how to LIVE and GROW with many different cultures playing into the picture.
Well i'm off to do my "chores" and then to class!!
May God bless your day!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Youth With A Mission at last...

So i made it here to Pichilemu safe and sound....long bus ride but i saw a lot of random stuff on the way. A rooster was picking on the hens, kids were playing futbol with a ball of trash, and the most beautiful country side EVER. green fields, yellow flowers, pine trees, palm trees. And waves crashing on the coast. I got dropped off and if it weren't for the 3 chilean girls waiting for me i would have had no idea where to go. The picked me up and we walked up the dirt road to where we'll be staying for the next 3 months. I live in a cabana with 5 other girls...3 chileans, 1 girl from Lima Peru, and one girl from Chicago who goes to school at North Carolina. They are so fabulous. There are 10 students in my sports DTS, and then about 60-70 other students at the YWAM base at Pichilemu. There are 7 guys in the sports DTS as well. One guy from Spain, one from Argentina, one from Peru, one (maybe two) from Chile (jorge still hasn't arrived), and two from the US (Texas and California). And everyone clicks. My classes are bilingual so we have a translator cuz not everyone speaks Spanish and not everyone speaks English. On Thursday we walked to Punto de Lobos (google it, it's sweet) along the beach, and then a bunch of us ran back. It was 6 km. Me and guy leader from Peru were in the middle and we talked in Spanish all the way back. It was great. I didn't think I was gonna make it that far cuz I haven't ran in a while, but did. Thanks to Gabriel, my ex army running buddy. He distracted me from my legs. Amy, the girl from Chicago, was a workout class instructor and a weight trainer, and she has made my arms and legs SO sore from workouts the last two days. Last night it poured down rain, and we had to walk (or slip) up the hill to our cabanas. It was so fun, and then me and the two other girls talked really late...good old fashioned female bonding. Today was SuperSabado. Kids from all over Pichilemu come to the base to play sports, do skits, and swim. We have a message for the kids at the end, but today we played volleyball, futbol, did some dancing and had skits. the overall message was God is always with us.
My time here I know is going to be amazing. God is already challenging me physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. We get up at 630 every morning and go go go in classes, doing sports, giong to meals, doing small group stuff, or quiet times, and bedtime is 1030. and after running 6km the other day, i embraced that bed and bedtime with big wide open arms. i think i'm hungry like 75% of the time, they don't feed us great, but I'v bought food and the market is a 15 minute walk.
I sit up in the cyber cafe, looking out towards the coast, and can hear horses, dogs, sheep, cars, waves, you name it. the other day i was sitting there wondering how loud the world is to God, with all of praying in our heads at the same time to him. He's pretty great and I'm excited to get to know him better.
Well that's all for now, it's lunch time and YO TENGO HAAAMBRE!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Weekend in Passing

So I spent the whole weeked in Valparaíso, going to my favorite places and bars and visiting old friends. I danced Salsa, and drank from a beer tower, and went to a birthday party. I spent Saturday all day sleeping and recovering from my travels and night out. Sunday I went to the church i went to a few times while i was here in 2007. However, in 2007 I only went a few times cuz I didn´t understand much and would prefer to rest or hang out with the familia. Then the house was filled with people and friends of the family. Hitomi, my 2007 roomy, came for lunch. We ate out on the patio and the weather was perfect and the people were awesome. The house brother from Chile, José, cooked an awesome pasta dinner, with mushrooms, yes, i ate mushrooms, much to my dismay. They made honeydew juice. SO GOOD! they just put frozen honeydew in the blender and it came out creamy and delicious. Some family were here from Santiago. There is an old lady, prbly about 60 (?), who has a mental disability. She is so sweet, but I woke up that morning to her standing in the corner of my bedroom staring at me. SO strange. Bu she doesn´t know any better and she´s so sweet just always holding her doll. I don´t understand a single word she says, but oh well!
Chile can, and will, show anything on TV. My house family loves TV. Soap operas, reality TV, you name it. We were watching the other night, and some people decided to sponser women´s boob jobs. SO, since the TV show and the public are paying for the boob jobs, they get to see everything. On TV, they show women before and after the surgery, bare-busted. They showed the whole surgery from removal of certain parts to stitches and cutting and inserting...and yuck. I was really grossed out and no longer support fake anything. That´s just a taste of the wacky chile. And I still love it.
Then yesterday afternoon a bunch of gringas went up to my favorite place in all of Valparaíso. 21 de mayo. It has an asensor (elevator from about 90 or so years ago, lol) that goes up the side of the hill to the top. Then there is an old blue Victorian house than hangs over the cliffs. There are little street vendors up there, and a cute little gazebo. The sun sets behind that hill, so you look out across the bay at sunset, the clouds turn bright orange and pink, and then reflect off the buildings across the bay. Then the sun goes down and the hills light up with street lamps. SO incredible.
Today i got a cell phone, so if anyone wants to call me i THINK you can at this number: 011-56-9-9 191 95 86.
Then i went to buy a bus ticket to pichilemu and got all nervous about what´s ahead, and, all pride aside, i cried. i have to carry my luggage, and i´m not totally sure of where i´m going or how long it´ll take to get there, but i have Chile On A Shoestring, and Jesus, so i can handle it. My house dad made me a comfort dessert. Manjar (mon-har) on a banana with sprinkles. It´s one of my favorites.
SO i know i´ll survive and i´ll have wonderful travel stories soon. Big waves here i come!
Tonight is my last night in Valpo so i´m off to hang out with my friends, and hopefully Amelie. Nap first, then dinner. So pray for me as I venture off!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Valparaíso Baby!!

So...after 26 hours of travelling, I arrived at my chilean family´s house. And might I say that the flights and airports here were quite the adventure. I got to Ft. Lauderdale with ease, but then ran into some complications. 3 people told me i didn´t have to get my bags and recheck them so i head on my merry way to the next terminal to go to Bogotá. However, i hear my name soon and they tell me I do in fact need to recheck my bags...shoot. I had left my nalgene in the first terminal, lamented its loss, and then went on to do what i had to. Sitting on the table is my nalgene..YAY!! i don´t have to buy plastic water bottles for the next 5 months. So i get on the plane having spent my 3 hour layover chasing water bottles and baggage, and realize that i´m seated in K 23. K. The seats went ABC I was already surrounded by beautiful latino men and women, and mullets, and got really excited that I knew the Lord was already taking care of so many things and distracting me with things like seat K and the best in the front, BIG CURLY party in the back. The men in the row next to me were playing some strange card game and between the 3 of them and a 4 hour plane ride had about 16 beers. Shnikes!
I finally get to Bogotá and was checked by security 2 times...once getting off the plane and then next getting back onto the same concourse that I just came off of. Wow. Colombia was interesting. Lots of duty free crap to buy in the airport and about 15 security gaurds wearing 4 or 5 different kinds of uniforms. The time passes quickly there because i had found a book in the seatback in front of me called More Sand in my Bra...hilarious stories. The first one about 2 women with big calves who can´t find boots that fit them...cheers to you Alex..they finally bought Pirate boots with big silver buckles.
I get on the plane and have a window seat, yay again, which allowed me to BE PART of the sunset. I was in it. It was bright orange and the clouds whipping by the ends of the wings were tinted pink and from 36,ooo feet the ocean was a deep musky red. SO incredible. The moon shone bright the entire time, I had my whole row to stretch out and sleep with my awesome travel hoody. By the time I had bent down to get my journal to write about the sunset, i look up and the colors are almost gone. I look to the west across the men playing cards, and see bright orange hues painting everything in the cabin. Aaron Strumpel´s song For Joy came on my ipod and I remembered how quickly the beauty of the Lord changes...I began to sing quietly the words of the song...May God be gracious to us and make His face shine down, On our hopes so bright...Let´s sing Let´s sing...La dum...For jo-oy... ¡Que Lindo! I look out the window again, look down and there is the first lighted town in South America. It´s -54 degrees outside the plane...I´m HERE!
Oh yeah, and as my complimentary drink I had a big glass of red wine...what a perfect way to start off.
I get to Santiago, the stares begin as my light skin and eyes stand out, i get hustled by a few taxi drivers, and head on my jolly way to all came back to me.
I get to Valpo and a nice cab driver offers to take me to my destination with the little money i have. I see Patricio and Mamá once again, we have coffee and bread, I shower, and the spent the whole day wandering around viña del mar and Valpo with Amalie and Hitomi. I made it!
I go out with some old friends who buy beers all night, we left the bars ´early´at 4:00 am, and I sleeeep soundly for 11 hours, recovering from my travels and my 3 beers.
Tonight I have a birthday party. I´m remembering how kind chileans are...they truly care about their friends and their friends friends...I love being back.
And I already smell like cigarette smoke. Ha.