Friday, May 22, 2009


Chloe Joy is asleep beside me, moaning every now and again. She had the yellow fever and rabies shots this afternoon. Her fever is high, which is normal, and our quad family is helping us rotate between fever reducers through the night…

To keep all of our arms moving after all of our shots, we played a weak game of frisbee golf in the sunshiny-ness. By the fifth round, I laid in the grass at the top of a hill, enjoying the frisbee pillow. The strategist woke me from my reverie, "This is frisbee golf! Keep moving!" (That's the difference between me and him. He's squinting through the pine trees, positioning himself to go in for the victory...and I'm listening to the blue-winged, whirring insect dancing through the tall grass. He would never say an insect dances, or even that it whirs-- and especially not in the middle of a considerable competition.)

Once his frisbee-victory had been established, we followed the Strategist down a tractor-hewn trail. It took relentless convincing to maintain followers as we traipsed through the same pasture where my strategist and I had watched leaping deer on Tuesday. But eventually the trail ended, as they always do, and we were fixed on an enchanting, muddy river complete with a sturdy rope swing and miniature cabin. What deliciousness!

I’d desperately needed this diversion. The intensity of the training process has been staggering at times. Daily, I feel exposed and raw. Any hidden indulgence that I've unknowingly nursed lies open before me, screaming to be coddled. Each feeble attempt I've made to tell myself what is acceptable and what is not, is met with this obstinate battle-cry from my gut: "But I want to do things my way!"

Last night, burying my head in my hands I cried aloud, "I am weak! I thought I was strong, but I am desperately weak. I need help to do what I believe. I need help to live what I believe! My belief is bigger than I am, and I'm drowning in my smallness!"

It hit me. I cannot attack my thought life like I do the game of Frisbee golf: handing over the victory to another in contented oblivion, while I pursue personal peace and pleasure. The problem for me starts at the beginning of the day…

Mornings are hard for me. I like to sleep in. I enjoy late, lingering nights. I’ve often minimized this, but doing so has been too costly. I am realizing that my personal victories will be established in simple decisions. Personal losses will be obtained in these same, simple decisions. Simple decision: I must get to bed early enough to actually wake up and seek God. With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good…(Romans 12:1-2, Phillips).

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, and as a reasonable service to God, the mornings are an opportunity to present my body a living sacrifice To Him. To do so is to make a simple decision to fight for joy. Certainly, I may resign myself to cozy covers and a dull, sleepy daze, but my patterns lead to mediocrity, dissatisfaction and general, mild misery. The mild, mediocre misery is to me a slow, steady form of torture.

Today, a thought occurred to me: Perhaps I ought to challenge Michael to another game of Frisbee golf. This time, I will not lay down in sunshiny-ness during the heat of the battle. My temptation to relax, when I’m actually on the frontlines is met with this: Therefore, I cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses… for my very weakness makes me strong in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9a-10b, Phillips).

Look out, Michael Day. You have met your match, my strategist-in-residence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prayer Card

We just ordered our prayer cards from Hopefully they will arrive by the end of the week. Please keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cross-Cultural Worship

Central Asian worship at the International Learning Center looked something like this tonight: As we piled into the building, the lobby was lined with various shoes--men's, women's and children's. Barefoot men made their way to the front of the room. Women, clad in mostly floor length skirts, long sleeves and head coverings sat in the back with the children. My girls wore pillow cases covering their hair and shoulders. I loved sitting at the piano beholding a sea of sent-out ones: strong, jovial men, sons hanging on their backs and mothers bouncing little ones on their knees. Grandmothers sat with gauzy scarves draped over their heads and shoulders and 20-something singles with all of our children in their laps, too... Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1

Much of the music was in minor keys, and it was so powerful with steady percussion, driving guitar and the ethereal flute. My fingers followed the melody on ivory keys, and though I could not understand the words, I was experiencing the presence of our Most High God who did, and was delighted. I could feel His delight. There was an awesome Dari sermon, and a time of silent prayer for God to make Himself known to the people of Central Asia. Our children joined us in praying that the glory of the Lord would fill the hearts of these people...

"For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down... My name shall be great among the nations," says the Lord of Hosts. Malachi 1:11

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Perfect Moment

Faint traces of bleach fill our quad. We've been required to do routine wipe-downs due to a wave of Rotavirus sweeping through the Campus. Everywhere we turn, there have been posted signs coercing our hands to hot water, sudsy soap and friction to kill lingering germs. The worst is over for now.

And alas! It is Saturday! Michael took the troops adventuring down a road they had not yet explored. They ate Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes, followed by a trip to the playground, where they were squealing in the rain, trying to swing up into the clouds. Swinging was especially fun when the rain poured in torrents we don't see in California. Soon, coming down so hard, it felt like hail, making it nearly impossible to see ahead. Racing toward shelter at the quad, I thought the wind was threatening to drag Chloe and I away and we began laughing as hard as the rain was falling. Warm rain beating the asphalt paving, feeding wet grass...making us laugh... It was perfect. And then everything stopped. The rain, the wind, the laughter. The perfect moment was gone.

While Julia was gathering everyone's wet clothes in a heap, Abigail came into my room and began sobbing, "My heart was so full of so much love for you while we were running in the rain, it was so sweet!" She sobbed, "I loved being at the playground in the rain with you." She sobbed. She too thought it was a perfect moment.