A Few Random Thoughts

August 25, 2008 at 9:22 am (Random Thoughts, Real Life, Spiritual) (, , )

I’m sitting in my dorm with a cup of delicious (though mildly burnt) coffee and a huge chocolate muffin. Well, okay, the coffee leaves a little to be desired, but hey. My throat feels like I might have been eating steel wool last night, so any little bit, no matter how burnt. But, regardless, I have an hour until my next class and my blog is in sore need of updating.

I was going to write a back to school blog. But, ninety percent of the people reading this are back to school, so it would be pointless. I don’t want to waste your time writing about what you already know. Instead…well, I’m not really sure what will happen instead.

I’ve had a lot of really random thoughts floating around my head recently. Sorry if I’ve seemed distracted, but I kinda have been. The first few days of class always scare me. I’ve overcome it enough to finally be able to actually sleep the night before, but it still has me jittery all day. Fortunately at college I get two first days of school. Isn’t that considerate?

I read the Screwtape Letters and loved it! It was a nice, easy-reading book, but really pretty insightful. C.S. Lewis was a pretty bright guy, ya know? It had one concept that I thought was absolutely intriguing. A long life is a battle that only the strong survive, from a faith standpoint especially. To die young is to miss out on most of the hardships that wear and grate on the soul. To die young is to save the soul from a thousand attacks and stumbles. There’s no denying this; my life and faith were much simpler before I got out on my own. And I’d rather die young than fall away from the faith. From a purely calculating point of view, the odds simply increase the more times the soul is tried.

But to live a long life in the faith, now that is truly an achievement. To overcome and prevail in the end, despite Satan throwing everything at you.

It was an interesting idea. It got a hook into my thoughts and just kept coming back. I like things that won’t let you be, no matter how hard you try to shake them. Those are the things to reflect on, weigh, evaluate, and judge. I don’t know if I entirely accept the idea, but it is a novel one to think about. And, in the end, it’s all opinion anyways. As far as this is concerned.

Well, time for school. I have to make a sandwich and find all the eleventy hundred books I need. So, until later my friends.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Reflections on the Seasons

August 9, 2008 at 11:54 am (Random Thoughts) (, , , , , )

I walked outside yesterday and was shocked. Completely and totally at a standstill because of a hint of something in the air. It felt like autumn. It smelled like autumn. It was one of the most refreshing things I have experienced in a long while. Now, fall is still a good ways off here. We have to fight through the end of August and beginning of September to even begin to glimpse it, but it was there yesterday.

That got me thinking. Years ago, if you asked me my favorite season, I would say winter. Because then, obviously, I appeared more adult by saying so. It showed that I was wise and knew how cruel and cold winter was. It proved that I had seen and experienced enough to be jaded. Surely you had to take me seriously? I was dark and brooding, my eyes focused to the oh-so distant future, not distracted by the toil of everyday life.

Or, at time, I would answer spring. Because that answered showed me as happy and optimistic. You could trust me like you could trust anyone with a smiling face. I was your typical teenager, happy to be alive, excited about the fresh and new. I was content and pleased with the pretty things in life.

Or, I would say summer. I was a student, right? Of course summer was my favorite! No school, no responsibilities. Vacation, friends, late nights and later mornings. I was care-free and definitely not a nerd. Being out of school was my favorite thing! You could depend on me to be the fun one, up for anything, enjoying living life in the now.

But now…now I know that I like autumn. Not because of what it tells you about me, but because of how much I enjoy waiting for it to come. The color of the tress, the smell of bonfires and musty leaves. The way the air cools down into downright cold. And I still like winter–it’s a period of calm and patience. It clears my head and keeps me from worrying about things I cannot control. And I still like spring–there is rebirth after winter. The color returns, life comes back, and everything stretches into life after a good long sleep. It’s time to come back outside and enjoy the world. And I will always like summer–there is a bit of release and carefreeness. No school, no homework, no deadlines. There’s ample time for a friend or twelve. It gives the mind a rest before getting back to the grind.

But, I’ll always live for the fall. Everyone’s different. Every season means something different to every person. But, I’m happy now. Cause this time, my answer isn’t for anyone else. My answer’s for me, and I like it that way.

Permalink 1 Comment

Wait Wait Wait…You Mean I Don’t Have to Wake up at Six?

August 7, 2008 at 10:37 am (Real Life, Spiritual) (, , , )

How thankful am I for that! It’s 11 and I have yet to leave my room. I’ve been awake, organizing pictures and whatnot, but still in my pajamas. It’s wonderfully relaxing.

It’s hard to imagine that twenty-four hours ago I was still in San Salvador. It’s almost impossible to believe that a few hours on a plane can change everything that much. I miss them all so much. Every year, a little more of you stays behind. I wonder what happens when all of you is there?

Everyone met us at the airport, as usual. It was a little easier to say goodbye, still drained from last night. For the first time in two or three years, I actually got to say goodbye to everyone. Then it was through security and back to the life I had put on hold.

Honestly, it’s a different world down there. It’s almost impossible to think of it as a part of my everyday life. It almost seems like there are two me’s. There’s the one writing this now who gets fifty-one weeks a year for whatever, but takes a nice vacation for one. And then there’s this person who sleeps away most of the year, but wakes up for one week in order to work so hard so that she can sleep for another fifty-one. Because, while I know it doesn’t, it always feels like time stops for a while until we get back to El Salvador. The same people are there, we do the same things. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s hard to see both realities in one frame of consciousness.

It was nice to get home. Like I said, once you’ve said goodbye, I’m just ready to get back to everyone I miss. There weren’t any major problems, except for Darrin. He caught the little bug down there and spent the entire trip knocked out with medication. It’s better to sleep the whole way (and by sleep, I mean unconscious. He had a wheelchair everywhere we went) than to spend it throwing up everything you’ve ever thought of eating.

But, we made it back safe and sound.It was a good week and I feel like a lot of good was done. We’ve planted the seeds and will return in a year to see what God has done with them. He’s the best gardener I know, so I can’t wait to see the harvest. One year done. Now let’s start planning next year.

And if anyone is interested in the things I didn’t get to see, Waverly had a blog of their very own! So, for more information on some of their jobs and mnistries, go to http://missiontrip08-wavcoc.blogspot.com/

See you all later!

Permalink 1 Comment

Days 5-7: The Universal Language of Sweat

August 5, 2008 at 11:55 pm (Real Life, Spiritual) (, , , )

So, as you probably haven’t noticed, I’m a little behind in the blog. It’s been a long few days, and today has been just as exhausting, but I don’t have to be awake quite so early, so I’ll try to make up for lost time.

Sunday was church and sightseeing– a relatively easy day by all standards. We woke up and went to chruch at various places. Waverly’s group went to San Mauricio with Jorge and his congregation; most of the youth stayed at the hotel to hear Billy preach; the reast went to El Centro where Mo was the predicador. It was all in untranslated Spanish, but I did pretty well keeping up. Enough to get the gist of the lesson. There were four baptisms after worship, which was a beautiful thing of course! It was a lovely Sunday morning.

From there we went back to the hotel to pick up the rest of the Una group. Everyone was hungry and ready to do something, so we headed to the mall for lunch. I ate at some crazy Mexican place there. It was pretty good, but it’s really almost too hot to eat here. Anyways, the mall was a very short trip and we made our way to the ruins. I had never been to the Mayan ruins here- we had tried once or twice without success- but this year we suceeded. It was pretty incredible. Everything was pretty well-preserved, so I was shocked. There are, obviously, tons of pictures. At the ruins, there was a Mayan guy selling some trinkets and whatnot. He went on about the country’s heritage and the people’s heritage. It was pretty crazy. He kept switching between as Mayan dialect I won’t pretend to spell and English, so it was interesting. Occassionally, I couldn’t tell which was which.

We left as the park was closing (only around four. Weird), and traveled out to the artisans market fir a few minutes. We saw Waverly as they were pulling out of the parking lot. So, we shopped around there for about half an hour. I had seen everything many times before, so I just kinda wandered in and out of the stalls. It was all good, relaxing. Peaceful. After that (everyone was beginning to close up shop then), we went back to the hotel for dinner and devo. It was all good. After waiting and waiting to pay, the youth spent some time wandering around, looking for a good place to play cards. We finally found (and illuminated) a deserted ballroom, but quickly decided it was too hot and went to the lobby.

And that was Sunday, quickly and in a nutshell. From there, it was anearly seven a.m. departure to El Chaugiton. It is a small village only a few miles from the coast that we have dubbed “The Hottest Place on Earth.” It truly is scorching, even when it’s relatively cool elsewhere. We had the usual there- glasses, food, and VBS- and then loaded back up for the two hour trip back. There and back- and to the following location- was some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. It was utterly breathtaking. I took tons of pictures, but a still photograph can never induce the same awe and breathlessness that seeing it face to face did.

Everyone was alseep as we made the  long drive across the countryside. It was about a two-and-a-half to three-hour drive. About twenty to thirty minutes out from Zaragosa, right when I had nearly fallen asleep, the bus was declared to heavy and we all had to switch to the other bus. There wasn’t much room, so I ended up crammed on a seat with the Webbs. But, at least I had a seat. A few of the guys had to stand.

We survived with both buses intact to the second location and repeated the process from earlier. Zargosa and Chaugiton were only different in the amount of heat. Chaugiton is near the coast and hot; Zaragosa in towards the mountains and cool…er. So, we worked quickly, finished up, and began to get loaded. As we were getting ready to leave, we were informed that the church had made us dinner. They had made subs for all of us, washing eveyrthing in bottled water and taking special care. It was chicken ( I think), tomato, lettuce, mayonaise, and bread…obviously. I didn’t feel very risky, so I opted out. besides, I’m really not a lettuce, tomato, mayonaise kind of gal. I picked at the bread so it would look like i had eaten, and then we loaded up. Since there haven’t been too many deadly outbreaks today, I’d say the food was safe. Still, it wasn’t worth a miserable plane ride tomorrow for me.

We went to the mall for dinner, at least those of us who wanted to. Waverly hadn’t been yet, so they got to see that. It was fun. I hung out with most of their kids, shwoing them around and helping hem find some stores. Josh and Darrin had the great idea to by Alexito and Jorito a game for the PS2 bradley donated at some point. It was a lot of fun.

Joseph had devo. He spoke on blessings and it was really great. He said we should ask for blessings, but never take the most simple and everyday for granted. Though we wake up every morning, we should never overlook that first breath that gives us another day.

Today was another early morning, so I went to bed relatively early. I was pretty tired, hence no update. But, we woke up and loaded the last of the food bags onto the bus and prayed it wasn’t too heavy. But, with 300 twenty-pound bags loaded on, it was definitely a miracle that it made it the whole way. Yesterday, as mentioned, it didn’t. Sadly, Papa Don wasn’t quite as fortunate as the bus. He had to head back to the hotel with the stomach bug. But, we made it to Huizucar. The same old stuff was repeated again. VBS while someone preached, then food bags, and finally a glasses distribution.  It was over quicker than we expected, so we zipped into Camperos for some lunch. Which was nice since we never have lunch.

The last stop of the trip was at Santo Tomas, where Paz and family live. We skipped the VBS, instead having solely the food and glasses distribution. My arms were very thankful. Holding up those puppets for nearly an hour is definitely not appreciated by my body. While we were waiting to leave, four VERY drun guys wandered up to sing and entertain us. They were so far gone; it was absolutely hilarious. But, we got on our way back to the hotel. I’ve been feeling a little less than ideal all day. Not the nasty stomach junk, but a little heat exhaustion and annoyance at the constant changes in elevation. So, I tried to sleep on the way back. But didn’t. Of course.

We stopped at the Hotel to clean up and then went to Pizza Hut with everyone who had worked with us. It was a full house, but a blessing as always. I laughed until it hurt, which is kind of a great feeling. Of course, everyone knew what was coming. Well, the first-timers had no idea, but the veterans were ready with tissues. Okay, so I never carry tissues, but you get the idea.

We had the last night devo. The floor is simply opened to anyone who wants to speak about the trip. It is always very emtional, this year especially. With all the drama and tragedy going on, there were many things to say. It was insane. I haven’t cried like that in…a good while. So, I feel a little empty now. We hugged everyone, and then I came up to the room to rest and hopefully feel better before the plane trip. We’ll see.

We leave in the morning for a long day of travel, but 9:00 will find us right back in Nashville, the place we started this journey a week ago. It’s strange how a few hours in a plane and eveyrthing is different. Well, tomorrow is for tomorrow. Now is for goodnight. And so I say,

Buenas Noches.

Permalink 1 Comment

Day Three and Four: Con Dios, Nosotros Somos Uno.

August 2, 2008 at 10:35 pm (Real Life, Spiritual) (, , , )

So, I was wiped out last night and forgot to write until…I laid down to sleep. And by then, I was not getting back up to type. So, here’s two days worth!

Thursday morning, we had VBS at El Centro. It went really well with about 150 kids in attendance. I did my part for the puppet show and then wandered around downstairs while we waited for the extra beans to arrive and all the kids to clear out some. After that, Waverly went out to San Mauricio to work on their own, leaving on the Una team to pack the remaining bags. We finished up the last 600-700 in about half the time it took us the night before. Which was nice. I was baggng rice and tying up the bags. My fingers were a little sore afterwards, but it’s the price I pay. And it’s worth it!!

Well, then we had a chance to go to the Children’s Hospital. Those who have been on the trip know what an experience that is. We took bags with crayons, a coloring book, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a small toy. Mainly little stuffed animals in the hospital with a few toy cars for the little boys. It’s a lot of fun to hand it out and see the little kids pull out the coloring book or toy or whatever catches their eye. And then we have Bibles for the parents. It’s a good work, in my opinion. Who needs to know someone is thinking of them more than people sitting in the hospital with their sick children?

We had some more downtime after that. A few of us went to the store across the street and bought a papusa from the lady cooking them outside. It was tasty, and that’s all I have to say. We then returned to the hotel incredibly early to wait for Waverly to get back so we could go eat. After we waited for an hour or so, they called to say they would get dinner on their own. So, we went to Biggest, a fast food/burger place. It was, as always, delicious. i discovered these addicting ranch french fires. I could have eaten those forever…Then it was off to Jungle Snow. That is some of the best ice cream ever! I got some chocolate watermelon concoction that was delicious. We played Apples to Apples while we waited, and then went home for devo.

After devo, we decided we had to get to know the Waverly youth that was there with us. We all went up to the roof and sat there getting to know each other, Pretty much, we went around in a circle and told anything we wanted to about ourself, and then commented freely on whatever. It was a lot of fun. But, we eventually had to go to bed, what with such an early morning today. Sadly, I couldn’t sleep and only got about four hours for today.

Today, as I said,was early. We left the hotel at seven and headed to El Centro to pack up food bags and VBS bags for San Mauricio. We got that together and headed out. I distributed eye glasses during the VBS. We take reading glasses to hand out to everyone when we’re there. We test them using a primitive eye chart and then give them a strength that we think will work. Usually, that process is repeated many many times. It helps out a bit.

From there, it was back to Centro to hand out food and glasses at the Widows’ Day. All this little old women balacing food on their head and getting new glasses. One lady pushed the chart away and pulled out her Bible. That was what she was concerned about seeing. So, we made sure she could read the tiny print in there, and she was on her way. They are so sweet, so kind, and so grateful. But everyone knows we take away so much more than we give to them.

As soon as the widows had left, it was time for the youth rally. Bradley, Brant, and Joseph had the lessons for it and did an incredible job! We played a bunch of games, ate some pizza, and got to learn about Love, Faith, Cooperation, Communication, Respect, and many other concepts. That’s where this entry’s title comes from. They handed out bracelets with that phrase on it. Translated, it means “In God, we are one.” It was very well done, talking about how we are all a family, all one body. No matter what, we are one in Christ. That’s important. Something we have to remember, but is so easily forgotten.

Almost as soon as that was over, they started the Gospel Meeting. I opted to sit downstairs and play cards. It wasn’t translated, so i didn’t want to sit and try to think that much when I was so tired. We all played Spades and had some fun. It ended quicker than we were willing to believe and we all got to go and get Papusas. Waverly left again to do some work on their own and returned right after our devo tonight.

Brant had devo tonight and talked about hugs. It was short, simple, and to the point. Hugs are nice, but simple. And sometimes we all just need a hug from God. I had to smile.

Tomorrow is church and sightseeing. Sunday is always easy and laidback. But, Monday and Tuesday promise to be busy enough to make up for all the down time. Well, I’m going to bed shortly. So, goodnight!

 

🙂

Permalink Leave a Comment