kenya 2013 | greetings!

It’s been an incredibly long day.

But we made it.

Our journey began at 2:00 AM PST, heading to SFO to begin the first leg of our journey.

We landed in New York where we met up with the rest of our team, many meeting for the first time.

From there the next leg of out journey took us across the Pacific to land for a brief layover in Paris. Sadly, we weren’t able to leave the airport, and so had to view the city from afar.

After a nearly 4 hour layover we boarded Kenya Air for our 8 hour flight to Nairobi.

Landing in Nairobi, and after a short bus ride on the wrong side of the road, we arrived at the HEART compound at 10:45 PM local time, or 12:45 PM PST.

That makes our total travel time nearly 35 hours. Suffice it to say, we’re all a little tired, and hoping the jet lag doesn’t keep us from sleep tonight.

Tomorrow we kick off our time in Kenya with a church service with a Masai tribe.

I truly think we are starting this trip of right, worshipping together with some of the people we will be serving. The first thing we do being a reminder that we all serve the same God; the Jesus I know in America is the same as the Jesus they know in Kenya.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV)

As I’m sitting here in my room at the HEART lodge, I think of everything, and everyone, it took to get us here. To those that have supported us in this endeavor, I want to say thank you. We co ill not be here without you, and I cannot wait to share with you all the amazing things God does through us, because you are a part of it.

Asante sana!


Prayer
I just ask that you continue to be praying for us, that we are able to transition easily into being in this foreign country. Pray that our team continues to bind together in unity. Pray that we are open and attentive to the voice of God.

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a much needed break

So, the last few weeks have been rather insanely busy, if you couldn’t tell from the lack of posting going on here. Between working my 15 jobs (exaggeration), going through the job search/application process, fundraising for my Kenya mission trip, and turning 25 (yikes!), I’ve had little time for anything else. And while I’m happy to say I’ve managed to stay on track with my reading, I haven’t had the time to write about it or process much of anything.

I needed a break.

So I’ve taken one.

I took five days off this week, and have used them to make the trip down to southern California and spend some time at my alma mater connecting with friends and professors. I was looking for a break, but it’s actually been rather busy, trying to make time to connect with everyone I want to see. Even in the midst of that however, I’ve found time to sit by myself, catching up on my reading, and just processing everything that’s been going on in my head and heart. Because there’s a lot.

For a while now I’ve had a sense of discontent, the feeling that I’m no longer where I need to be.

I think God is telling me it’s time to move on.

It’s been difficult being back here, at the place where I developed such a distinct view of my future. I’m connecting with all these people who were a part of that time in my life, and they all ask, “so what are you doing now?”

What am I doing now?

Certainly not what I want to be doing.

I’ve known that for a while, but it’s difficult when you have to admit it over and over again. Because they know it’s not where I want to be. And the reactions show it.

“So, do you still want to…”

That’s a difficult question, because I do. And I don’t. And it’s complicated.

I’ve gone from having such a clear vision of direction, to not being sure of much of anything, and it sucks.

It’s hard knowing it’s time to leave. It’s even harder when you don’t know where you’re supposed to go.

As I was reading through the Exodus story, I found myself jealous of the clarity of direction the Israelites received.

God was with them, visibly, wherever they went. They were led by a cloud of smoke in the day, and by a pillar of fire at night. Talk about crystal clear direction.

Why can’t I have that kind of direction?

But as I’ve thought about it further, I think the Israelites were feeling a lot like I am.

It’s true God gave them clear direction, but he didn’t provide a roadmap. Rather, he took them step by step, and the Israelites had to follow in faith, not knowing exactly where they were being led. God had told the Israelites he was taking them to a Promised Land, but not how they would be getting there.

In the same way God has given us the hope of a Promised Land.  He has sworn to us an inheritance with Christ (Gal. 3:29, Eph.1:11), giving us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  However, he doesn’t say how we’ll get there, exactly what the path will hold.

We can never know exactly where God will direct our paths, what stops there may be on our journey.  I just had this conversation with my friend Andrew, as neither of us are where we hoped to be three years after graduation.

God can take our paths though some interesting and unexpected terrain.  But that’s what this journey is about.  It’s not solely about getting to the destination  but about the journey along the way.  After all, it’s the things that happen to us along the journey that shape us and prepare us for the destination.

And like the Israelites, God often illuminates just the next steps on our path.

I may be simply experiencing my quarter-life crisis, and I may be beating a dead horse with this topic (having already written something similar).

However, this is what I find on my heart throughout this week, needing to get my thoughts into writing and share them with others.

So, while I may not have a clear sense of ultimate direction, I know the step I need to be taking now.

One foot in front of the other.

One step at a time.

Stepping out in faith, that God will be there, ready to point out the next step.

I want to know it all, to see everything ahead of me.

Where’s the adventure in that?

How boring that predictable life would be.

So God, bring on the adventure.  Help me let go of my OCD tendencies to control and plan and want to know everything.  Lead me step by step, and I’ll trust in your plan for my life, even if I don’t know exactly what it is.

How has your journey so far differed from what you expected or planned?  In what ways has your journey led you into unexpected territory, and how has that helped you grow?  How do you follow God’s lead when you can’t see where you’re going?

[bible:365 2013] Numbers 5-24

How often have you prayed this prayer?

Lord Jesus, please take (insert circumstance here) from me…

Or:

Lord Jesus, please fix (insert problem here)…

I know this prayer well; I’ve said it all too frequently.  I’m sure most of you have as well.

When we find ourselves in a situation – often of our own creation – our response is to ask God to fix it, to take it away.

See the thing is, we don’t like pain.  Shocker, I know, but we don’t like experiencing those difficult times; we just want them to go away.

We are not alone in this: the Israelites prayed the same prayer.  When they sin by speaking against God, they are not happy with the consequences, and they ask God to take those consequences away. continue reading…

[bible:365 2013] Numbers 1-4

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Center – Charlie Hall

You’re the center of the universe
Everything was made in You Jesus
Breath of every living thing
Everyone was made for You

You hold everything together
You hold everything together

Christ be the center of our lives
Be the place we fix our eyes
Be the center of our lives

We lift our eyes to heaven
We wrap our lives around your life
We lift our eyes to heaven, to You

As I’m sitting here thinking of the second chapter of Numbers, this is the song that pops into my head.

continue reading…

god of angel armies

This song has been sticking with me since I heard it a few days ago reading this post at The Urban Resident.

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind…

Sometimes we really just need a reminder that the God of angel armies is on our side.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

Such a good song, give it a listen if you haven’t heard it.  Or if you have.

Be encouraged at the faithfulness of God.  I know I am.

[bible:365 2013] Leviticus and holiness

What does it mean to be holy?

This question is central to an accurate reading of the book of Leviticus, as holiness is the key theme of this book. Not only does God tell the people of Israel what places and things are holy, he charges them repeatedly to be holy themselves.

For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. –Leviticus 11:45

The Lord wants his people to emulate him in his holiness, a call which he puts forth relentlessly.

Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. – Leviticus 19:2

Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 20:7

You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine. – Leviticus 20:26

This focus on holiness reminds me of a thought I had while reading Exodus.  In the passages explicating the consecration of the priesthood, a particular phrase stood out to me. continue reading

losing track of why we started

So, it’s confession time, and it’s as much a confession to myself as it is to you.

I have been having difficulty with sitting down and writing for the blog.

It’s not that I haven’t been keeping up on my readings this year.  Surprisingly enough, I’m on schedule. Which I find remarkable, considering we just finished Leviticus today.

Actually, I have to give a lot of credit for my consistency to my friend Luna who writes over at My Jar of Rocks.  She has joined me in a journey through the Bible this year using bible:365, and the company has been greatly valued.  She has been my accountability in this journey, checking in regularly, asking where I am in my reading, if I’m on track with my goals. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever had accountability like this; any “accountability partner” I’ve had in the past has always started out with great intentions, but the execution was always lacking. So, as it turns out, real, consistent accountability does work!

But, back to my confession. continue reading

[bible:365 2013] Genesis 16-50

This chunk of reading is quite a lot to cover in one post, so I’m just going to highlight a few thoughts/observations.

22:6 – I proposed a connection in a previous post between the sacrifice of Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus, but didn’t include this passage in my comparison.  I find it interesting in seeing parallels between the two events, that both Isaac and Jesus carried on their backs the wood that was meant to be the instrument of their sacrifice.  How does this relate to Jesus telling us we must “take up our cross” and follow him (Luke 9:23)?

28:12 – Jacob’s ladder is a topic I honestly don’t think I’ve ever studied or heard anyone speak of.  Ever.  My entire life in church and 4 years getting a double degree in Biblical Studies and Youth Ministry, and not once was this passage expounded upon.  After some brief research, I found a common two-fold interpretation of this vision: that the ladder, with God’s presence at the top and the angels ascending and descending, is a comfort to Jacob as a representation of God’s providence and the ministering of the angels on earth, and in a post new-covenant reinterpretation, claims the ladder as representative of Christ, the one whom forms the bridge between God in heaven and man on earth. Some interesting thoughts, and something I would like to come back to study later. continue reading

bible:365 Genesis 11-15 [2013]

Terah died in Haran.

Terah left the land of Ur, heading for Canaan, but he never made it.

He settled in Haran, and died there. (Genesis 11:31-32)

How many times do we settle for Haran? How many times do we start out, only to settle partway there?  Be it a job, a hobby, a relationship, a project, or whatever, we often settle for less than we intended.

Why is that?

Why, when we start out with a goal in mind, do we often end up saying “good enough,” leaving it there, unfinished, unperfected. I know often for me it’s because I don’t think I can make it any further/better, and so live with what I have. Or, it doesn’t seem that important to put the effort in to making it better: it’s good enough the way it is.

I suppose I am continuing with the topics from my last two posts, wondering how I can remain steadfast in the goals I have set, to not settle for anything less than God’s best for my life. I don’t want to settle in Haran, but I feel like I’ve been camping there for the last few years. I’ve gotten sidetracked on the journey to Canaan, and have stayed longer than I wanted.  But how do I continue on? continue reading