Monthly Archives: November 2004

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Well, just over a week here in my new home! Everything is going fairly well, expectedly so as life ebbs & flows as it does anywhere else. Today, “Thanksgiving Day” for all of my North American friends, is just another normal day here on the island. I’ve been meaning to write earlier, as well as post some new photos, but so it goes that last Friday my computer fell off of my new nightstand as I was taking the plastic off of my new mattress (maybe the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever owned), and Praise the Lord that everything in the hard drive is still working, but the screen is broken, so there’s slight hassle & inconvenience now for me to have to connect to another screen & work that way so I can see what I’m doing.

I’m realizing as I’m here, a completely different world in which I lay down everynight tired, satisfied & with aching cheek muscles from all the laughing we do (no one would ever be correct in saying Dominicans don’t know how to have fun & laugh), that it truly is beyond me why I’m here. What truly do I have to offer or bring? I’m a sinner saved by grace like any other!

I’m reading a great book right now, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. In the second chapter Miller includes a poem written by C.S. Lewis:

All this flashy rhetoric about loving you.I never had a selfless thought since I was born.I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;I talk of love–a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Miller writes two pages following:

I know now, from experience, that the path to joy winds through this dark valley. I think every well-adjusted human being has dealt squarely with his or her own depravity. I realize this sounds very Christian, very fundamentalist and browbeating, but I want to tell you this part of what the Christians are saying is true. I think Jesus feels strongly about communicating the idea of our brokenness, and I think it is worth reflection. Nothing is going to change in the Congo [or the Dominican Republic or anywhere] until you and I figure out what is wrong with the person in the mirror.

If I may be so bold, I’m in the middle of a battle that each of us has to choose to face or forever run away from. Our purpose, rather, God’s purpose for us, is to be changed by Him, we’re just the broken vessel that by His grace & mercy, as He changes us, the world around us sees Him at work, and so He can touch the world (Congo, Dominican Republic, or USA)! For this I give thanks; if the Lord will change me more into His likeness here in the DR, it’s worth the discomforts of coming & going electricity as the government dictates, a day or two without water & showers, frustration with language as Dominican Spanish is something to adjust to & continue learning, a broken computer screen, and all else that lies ahead to test my patience & character. By His grace may we seek to be faithful to that which the Lord calls us!


The last 24 hours Stateside

It’s quite a surreal place knowing that the majority of the last 24 hours in the States before moving to the Dominican Republic, will actually be spent in the air looking over the United States of America (or maybe more like sleeping in a plane while flying between the numerous airports I’ll be visiting). This past weekend was an incredible time. There’s a worship song by Charlie Hall which my a dear friend from MTI blessed us all with at training, and the last few weeks here in Denison, sharing with different churches, being comissioned & blessed by my home church in Kiron, Iowa yesterday, and the time spent with family & friends in person, on the phone & via other modern telecommunication has been a blessing in abundance of ‘sending off’! The lyrics to the song are:

lay down all riches for the pearl of great cost
count it as nothing for the sake of the cross
pour out an offering of our lives for the lost, send us out
channel our passions into pleasing Your heart
come consecrate us, come and set us apart
hope of the nations, we lift high the cross, send us out

It’s about three hours from when we need to leave for the airport… nice & early! I really am fairly close to ready to go, but even if I laid down to sleep, I don’t know that my body would allow it.

One incredible thing about today, 11.16.04, is that exactly one year ago today, in the middle of a somewhat despairing point with doors all around me recently slammed shut, the God of the Universe reached down & His Holy Spririt spoke clearly into my life as I was crowd control in 3rd Grade Sunday School, reminding me who I was created to be, and in the service at Park Ave spoke to me again sending me to Urbana 03. Here I am, a year later. I’m overwhelmed at the Lord’s faithfulness as I look back at the whirlwind of this last year! Humbled & amazed that the Lord of Heaven & Earth loves each of us, His creations, so much that He desires to have relationship with us broken sinners that He sent His Son to die for us & then everyday is faithful to be the lifter of our heads! Praise the Lord & may we learn a little something about true faithfulness from our heavenly Abba Father whose name is Faithful.

One week from today…

Holy guacamole! One week from today I’ll be waking up in the Dominican Republic! I just received the schedule for my first week of orientation in Jarabacoa. Let’s stay focused on the present though… Many of you may have heard be use the analogy of the perverbial carrot out in front of me. That ‘carrot’ so to speak which has had a date on it for the last two weeks is now about to hit me smack between the eyes. Such a crazy reality! Such a paradoxical reality! I’m so excited, and altogether at the same time mourning all that I’m leaving for at least the next two years, and then there are the moments when I ask God & myself, “WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I DOING?”

All that said, it has been blessing after blessing as details have been falling into place. My insurance was accepted & coverage began yesterday. Time with family & friends in the area has been falling into place to be able to see them. There has been an incredible support network made up of you my friends & family around me who have encouraged me & prayed for me, more faithfully than I’ll probably ever know or be able to thank you for. Jesus has been real & alive to me as everyday, in grace, He’s been showing me how He desires to draw me close in His love. Thank you dear fellow journers in this world that is not our home for lifting me up in your prayers & encouragement! The emails which have filled my mailbox faster than I can reply, the few calls I’ve received, & the simple knowledge that there is such a willing network out there if needed has blessed and strengthened me to press on through this time of transition into so much unknown.

Truly, as my hours Stateside continue to dwindle, I realize that I’m to the point that even with my long list of things I’d like to get done, as long as I get things in a suitcase & get on my plane next Tuesday morning, the rest is not composed of life or death things which can’t be done from the DR or are simply frivolous anyway. With that I’d ask for your continued prayers in the rest of this time & below include my flight schedule. (May all my luggage neede make it along with me through all the flight changes…)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 
Delta 606 
7.00am Omaha – 10.11am Atlanta 
Delta 206 
11.32am Atlanta – 12.14pm St Louis 
Delta 5651 
12.50pm St Louis – 4.15pm New York JFK 
Jet Blue 425 
9.10pm New York JFK – 1.45am (November 17) Santiago, DR