Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's like we're either crazy busy- or super bored.  There doesn't seem to be much of a 'happy medium' here...  and lately we've definitely been on the 'crazy busy' side of things. ;)
Let's see- last week I had my greatest fears realized when I got up one morning, started sweeping the living room, moved a chair and when I turned around there was a great big spider sitting there.  So I screamed for dad- and the darn thing (which moves ridiculously fast by the way) escaped.  Then we saw it again, and again- it escaped.  Then we lost sight of it for a long time and I had pretty much forgotten about it, until I was standing at the table peeling carrots, looked down and the thing was like 3 inches from my foot!  I seriously almost died!  Of course, I  screamed like a banchee, then I jumped up/back into the couch, did a back flip over the couch- with my knife in hand.  I guess I can be surprisingly ninja-like when I am fearful for my life.  The spider died after that.  Thank goodness.  But, I haven't been able to rest quite the same knowing that they are here... :-/
Then, another of my greatest fears happened when I managed to hit my ipod on the corner of a metal shelf and I basically destroyed it.  I can't even unlock it- 3/4 of the screen is white.  I have never wanted to cry of breaking something so badly.  All my books, devotionals, music, notes, videos, games and all that... gone.  Not to mention we have a trip coming to India so now I am basically going to be sitting there for 18 hours since it's impossible to read on such bumpy trips. Ugggghhhh.  I have a friend though who knows someone who may be able to fix it here though, so I am hopeful...  that would be AWESOME. Not sure if I can get it fixed before the trip though...
This week was also the Bengali New Year.  So Suranjit took us to some cultural program.  They had some terribly annoying music going, they were painting everyone's arms and faces... we got to try some of their snacks and stuff.  It was cool.  Then we went to the beach and all the kids started throwing paint on us.  So we were all splattered with blue.  Then we went out for Bangla food. That night we went out again.  We wanted to wear our saris because the bengalis love it when we do. So, with great effort we put them on.  Then our neighbor came over and we asked her if they were right.  Her response was "uuuhhh... a little.."  haha..  so she brought us over to her house and her relatives took our saris off of us, redid them- which, I must say, it's pretty weird having a complete stranger dress you.  They gave us bracelets and fake nose rings and the red dots they put on their heads and flowers for our hair.  It was really fun.  And we definitely appreciated them fixing our saris for us...haha...
Plus there is a YWAM group here that we had over for snacks and there's also a group of surfers from Hawaii visiting too- one girl from the surfer group brought me peanut butter and chocolate and coffee, so yeah- that's awesome.  We will hopefully be busy with them.
So yeah, that's a little of what's been going on here ...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I don't know why I keep on writing on here... I realize I am writing nothing interesting or relevant and probably nothing worth reading.  All the time I think I should just stop- I think I'm probably just talking to myself.  But, I dunno.. there's something sort of therapeutic about it..  It's sort of an outlet for me.  All the same- it does seem rather pointless. 
But then there are nights, like tonight,  when I can't sleep (again), and I really think it would be nice to write something...  I actually enjoy writing I guess, but then- there's not much to say.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately- a lot of self-examination. A lot of seeing where I'm at with God. Just kind of asking myself where I'm at, where I'm going and where I want to go.  I'm trying to gain some focus, some clarity and direction.  It's actually been really good for me I think.  
I am not at all big on being "self-focused", but it's so easy just to live life without purpose or intention, so I'm stepping back and just seeking God about what He has for me, what my purpose is, looking at how He has gifted me (having never considered myself as "gifted", it's a little strange...).
I started seeing some things about myself that I hadn't realized before.  As I have been thinking through all of this, I started noticing that I didn't really like what I was seeing about myself.  It just kind of seemed...inadequate.  I started thinking over my life and I realized how much I have always been driven by guilt.  I really feel like anything I've ever done never measured up, that I've never done well enough, never been good enough, never been "spiritual" enough. I guess it's one thing when that results in humility or conviction or God-given repentance- but when it results in fear and discouragement?  Not so much.  I don't think following Jesus should feel like a burden.  I don't think following Jesus makes His people feel like they are worthless or that they are condemned or that they are failures. I am not talking about when God convicts you of sin-  I'm talking about a constant weight of guilt that chokes out your joy and makes you feel constantly ashamed of yourself.
I've felt that way ever since I've come to Bangladesh-like what I'm doing is pathetic and that I must be sooo messed up inside.  I felt that way in the training program because I didn't like street evangelism or door-to-door.  I felt that way at the tent meetings with James Lucas.  And in other things before...
I think one of my biggest problems is that I have always had an idea in my mind of what I was supposed to be/do.   And I based it off of other people around me. And always felt guilty because I was not them.  
It's been interesting to kind of step back from all that and start seeing that God has made me different-and it's not less-than. It's okay-and it's even .... needed.  
My greatest desire is to do what God asks of me and to follow Him-and that is going to be different and unique and full of purpose and fulfilling and that's actually pretty exciting.
I don't know what's next for me or where I'm going.  For now though, I am here... and I believe I'm where God has placed me for right now and I want to be faithful to do the things He sent me to do- even though it may be very small.  And I want to really value and enjoy what time I have left here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"I cannot give an answer, I cannot find a word,
My heart is twisted, tangled-
Frozen, all locked up,
My words turn into ashes,
Like dust that I've choked up.
Why are the tears not falling?
Can't you see that you have lost?
Don't you feel the lonely?
Don't you grieve the cost?
I 'm walking down a pathway,
Not knowing where it leads.
I gaze ahead-I'm looking,
Darkness is all that I can see.
Why is the light not shining?
The empty not replaced?
I'm searching for an answer,
I'm holding onto grace,
Waiting for the sun upon my face.
Melt this icy coldness.
Sent the fear away.
Chase me into meadows watered by the rain.
Speak to me so softly,
Won't you tell me who I am?
Can't you give me a reason?
A solid place to stand? "

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life is finally getting back to normal- mom and dad finally got back from their trip.  We left the next day for the youth conference and got back..  and now we're enjoying a few days of things being normal before the guys leave for Chittagong for a few days this week.  And then we have our trip to India in a few weeks.
Wow. :-/  So, it's already time for our visa trip again.  This will actually be our last trip before our visas expire in May.  Sooo... it will be nice to get all that figured out.
I am having this sense that there are some big changes coming up, not exactly sure what- but just feeling like things are going to change soon.  That gives me a lot of incentive to really enjoy things here as they are today.
    Yesterday we ventured to the beach and suddenly started feeling these  electric shocks like a jellyfish...haha.. seriously.  I think there were jellyfish stinging us.  And, I think Dad got stung by a big one- he had a red line all across his side!  Ridiculous.  
     Today we had a young woman come to our door asking for money.  She had a 20 day old baby- and something didn't seem quite right with the baby.  She came in and we tried to communicate as best we could.  From what we could understand she was 24 or so with 3 children, the oldest being 7.  She has no husband, and she said that he was married to someone else.  She said the baby was sick.  Dad looked at the baby and told her she needed to take him to a doctor and get a prescription and that we would pay for the medicine. We tried to communicate that we would go with her to the doctor if she wanted.  We gave her some food to take home. It's really sad.  And really difficult to understand- to know what to do.  I think if I had heard a story like that before I would've thought it would be very obvious all the things you should do.  It is SO much more challenging than I ever could have imagined.  After some confusion, we figure out she could read and were able to give her some Bangla tracts.  Dad and Austin tried talking to her some- she either didn't understand or didn't want to hear.  I don't know.  She thought our dish rack was a stand for the Koran..haha... she nursed the baby very openly- which was a little awkward.  The baby didn't wear diapers and he peed on our couch.  No big deal...haha...  And we got to hold him a little bit  and pray for him, which was sweet. 
So yeah- all in a day.  It's crazy here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

We just got home this afternoon from a Christian Youth Camp we were invited to.  Our friend invited us and we felt like we should go- he was so excited about it and all...  but I was really regretting that I said I would go when I realized it was meetings ALL day and they were ALL in Bangla. :-/  
We had a very long / exhausting / hot trip out there. It's in a village and it's actually really beautiful out there. It's really nice getting out of the city every now and then.
It was pretty uncomfortable in about every way. New place, new people-that's always awkward. But add in language barriers, cultural differences and age differences and it's REALLY awkward.   
It definitely wasn't fun- but we were trying to just.. out ourselves out there I guess?
I was actually really discouraged by a comment made about us. Apparently a guy made a comment about how we brought water.  We weren't sure what the water would be like and we've only every drank bottled water since being here except when we've been in people's houses and they offer us water (which usually tastes/smells like pond water).  Anyways- we brought water with us because we didn't want to get sick and the guy thought that maybe we weren't actually missionaries because we should have enough faith to drink the water.  I was SO frustrated!  It probably wasn't that big a deal- but it was the sort of the thing that just finally breaks you.  I guess there was some expectation that the Bengali Christians would really appreciate the sacrifice we made to come here... and instead they judge as being unfaithful because we drank bottled water?  I was SO disappointed.  Considering that we sold everything we had, got on a plane with no return ticket, left our home, our jobs, our family, our friends, left everything that was comfortable and familiar to us and came here.  Considering we gave up things and hobbies and interests and comforts to come here... considering the expense it cost to come, not just on our part but for everyone that has supported us.  Considering the constant pressure of being watched, of trying not to offend, of trying to dress like them, talk like them, eat like them...  of feeling like a freak show everywhere you go, feeling uncomfortable, out of place and alone. Never being able to walk out your door without being asked for something or called a name or surrounded or yelled at or having your picture taken...  Of enduring heat and sickness and language barriers and bugs and the dirtiness...  I just cried.  I think I scared some of the Bengali girls pretty good!  haha...  But really, now that I write it it sounds kind of lame, I never could have understood how difficult it can be from the States - but seriously, sometimes it is beyond overwhelming.  It all adds up- and it's a lot of pressure.  And they just cannot understand- I know that.  They think we are vastly wealthy, they don't know where we came from, they don't know what we left.  Most of them have never been outside their own country- they don't know what that's like.  But, to already be feeling all of that and have people say you have no faith because you drank bottled water?  And, I might add- we did drink their water too.  I guess I expected something from the Christians- some appreciation or understanding...  But, what I realized is the important thing is being faithful to what God has called us to- regardless of people's responses, comments, reactions, judgments or misunderstandings. After I had thought through and realized that the only important thing is being faithful to what God calls us to do, even if His people don't understand it...  I realized that not everyone feels that way.. of course.  In fact, later a girl asked me what my favorite season here was.  I told her I liked winter best because we were from a really cold place and it was difficult for us being so hot.  And Suranjit said, "I know it has been very difficult for you all.. coming in here.  You have had many problems..  but I really appreciate that you all came."  So- in the end- I felt better about it all. ;)  
We ended up having a much better time than expected.  Although it was REALLY boring sitting through hours and hours of classes you can't really understand... :-/  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where He Leads

"I will take Your hand and follow
Trusting, though I cannot see,
Heart is aching, feet are throbbing,
Father, show me where you lead."

"While I'm waiting You are working,
For my pathway You have seen,
Content I'll be to follow,
There is safety where You lead. "

"Rest content all those who follow,
Have quiet hearts and be at peace,
Take each day as He has given,
Only follow where He leads. "

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It's starting to get really hot here.  Again.  Oh boy. :-/  It's starting to get to where we always HAVE to have the fans on, we are waking up at night cause it's so hot and turning on the oven is unbearable.  I do not like the hot season.
I ventured out to the vegetable market this afternoon. It was nice.  I have just kind of decided I've had enough of never being able to leave by myself.  Maybe I should rephrase that.  I need to be alone sometimes.  So now I just put on my headphones so I can't hear all the people yelling at me and just walk. ;)

The entire market was absolutely swarming in flies.  It sill hasn't rained in months and there is trash everywhere-also with a thousand flies.  The open sewage dishes have piles of filth heaped next to them..  I had an odd moment of feeling like, "Okay- I live here?  And this is supposed to be normal?"  today as I walked by... haha...
The fam all went to a cricket game today. I opted not to go-not a fan of watching sports in general but especially cricket. ;) I think it was a good of option. I crave moments of quiet.  Moments of drama free-ness.  We live so close together and we are literally together ALL the time, so I guess that's to be expected... but, even so, it is exhausting.
I keep thinking more and more that my time here is coming to an end.  I don't know, it's sort of odd. It's not really because I have anything necessarily planned next- but sometimes I just feel these..nudges.. like maybe I don't have much time here left.  As always, there's pros and cons...  but, more than anything- I want to finish well- however much time I have left.  And I do not want to leave without absolute confidence it's the right thing.  I don't like to be a quitter-  I like to finish whatever I start.  So,  I guess I just want to finish well.  And, who knows how everything will work out?  I find things you usually end up a lot different than how I expect them to go.  So, I guess I'll see with certainty at the right time... I'm trusting God for that.