Thursday, February 24, 2011

back from camp!

If you ever wondered what jumping into a whole new culture and language is like, let me describe it to you in one short story:

First let me say that I've been learning a ton of Romanian, and it's really difficult but coming along quite quickly (and everyone has had lots of encouraging things to say about it!). That said, I'm still really limited in what I can say. So all the last two weeks at the ski camp I've felt a lot like a little baby who can't say much or understand much.

That in mind, on the first day of skiing when we left the slope, I had boots with me to change into while waiting for another bus to come get us. Now apparently I do not take ski boots off quickly enough, because one of our instructors and someone I work with in OSCER decided that it needed to be done for me. So they grabbed my boots, and here we are on an icy sidewalk on the side of a mountain in Romania and I'm getting dragged across the ice by my feet. Haha, whoops!

I can hardly communicate, people are dressing and undressing me! It's like being a baby all over again. It's been wonderful, though, and very challenging.

Something I realized a few days into the first camp: I was getting frustrated because in small group discussions I couldn't really contribute the way I normally would, couldn't have in-depth conversations. And it occurred to me how much I rely on that, how much I have in the past. It made me think of that quote by Francis Chan about trying to be the Holy Spirit to people. But of course I can contribute (ba da!). And perhaps more so than on my own: I've been praying for people like crazy these last weeks because there's really not much that I'd normally do that I can do yet, and it's been wonderful to see how God answers prayer, how he moves. And of course it's one of the most important things I can be doing. Thankful and certainly humbled.

So, more stories to come. And hopefully soon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

quick catch-up

Well, I have so much to write about and catch up on but I'm afraid I don't have regular internet access yet. It's been a blast so far though and I can't wait to tell all kinds of crazy stories. I have one involving a bloody ankle and shoe from the second day and even have pictures, but I'm wanting to wait until I can post the pictures to tell the story. But don't worry, it doesn't involve vampires or wild dogs.

Oh goodness, so much I want to say so far. And I could even tell some of it in Romanian--good thing it's easier to learn jumping in than from a book, oh man.

So I'll be gone again beginning tomorrow for a week and a half, but after that I hope to play catch up on here. But it's been wonderful, people and God. This city is beautiful--sometimes in the way you'd expect I mean, and in other ways too. Excited and thankful, and can't wait to write about it all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It's an hour and a half now till we leave for the airport, and I hardly know what to write. The last week has been non-stop, no time to write or process, just packing and errands. And spending time with people--the thing is I never thought it would be difficult to move to another country. I mean that in the sense of being nomadic. And while I can't rightly say exactly how I feel about it now because it's so many things, I do understand how much I'll miss everyone here, these people who became my family. I suppose that's normal, but it was a surprise to me.

But I'm excited, although what's more accurate to call it is disbelief. It took so long and then it went so quickly, and here we go. My best friend in the world is in the room next to me and we drove to her mother's yesterday, driving all around like we've always done. We went to a town I used to live in to visit my brother and I told him one day we'd ride trains together in Romania, and then I prayed with him for the first time ever. After that we drove around the town and saw the apartment I used to live in. From the road you could see the third-story balcony I fell from when I was twelve. And we drove by the place where she and her mother visited family on Saturdays for three years. It's funny to think how big a part one town played in our lives six or seven years before we met, not being from the same place or even, in some ways, the same continent (depending on whether you consider North and South America separate continents).

And this time last week, the girl whose family was my own came and picked me up and I saw the strange and familiar world I grew up in. Who knew people you haven't seen in years could love you so much? That's what I'm coming to, though. All these years separating us and lines crisscrossed in between and you begin to see how God planned things, how it was all being worked together. Not in order to be torn apart, but for good.

So it's only that those crisscrossing lines are reaching further and farther. And what family God has for me here he will also have for me there, lines that trace both ways.

We're about to eat now. Something really southern like lamb chop and butter cream potatoes. My itinerary has me connecting in Frankfurt, and then on to Bucuresti. And then we'll see.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

corinthians and fathers

Reading through 1 Corinthians today, I came across these verses (4:15-17): "Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church."

Been thinking about that all day, about how the Corinthians had a reputation for being wild, living immorally and without any shame. And among the many reasons for this, I wonder what effect not having 'many fathers' had, what part it played among the people in Corinth. I can think of no more apt example than my brother. Don Miller's Father Fiction is good. And then there's all of those with our varying degrees of absent fathers and as many stories as there are mouths to tell them, hands to write them.

This is still mostly a string of questions and thoughts, all of which I intend to be thinking through, but Paul seems to know the importance of fathers and their role in leading spiritually. I'm wondering what guardians in Christ is referring to--does anyone know? And how is it different than being one's father through the gospel and what Paul is to them?

However, it also seems clear that, while this absence of fathers is (and has been) a big problem, it's one that God is fully at work in in many ways, not least of which being that one of his persons is God the Father. I don't mean that who he is is a response to it, but that these things are deeply connected. Not to mention, he's using us! God sent Paul and Paul is sending Timothy. Interesting observation: just as God sent his son, Paul sends Timothy, "my son whom I love." Sounds familiar, no?

Hrmm. Definitely one to come back to.