31 August, 2006

Faithfully freaking out and anxiously trusting...

My faith is being stretched, tested, and otherwise challenged quite a bit right now with support raising. I've been doing all I can, but of course, all I can do is never enough. I still have around 40% to go, which is pretty daunting at this point, since it has to be in before I leave in 2 weeks. Being done well before then would be great, too.

I have some friends coming into town for a couple of days this weekend and it would be amazing to be able to hang out with them without worry, distraction, guilt, or more calls to make. And to have some time that is peaceful (rather than frantic) to rest, spend time with people, pack, and prepare before flying out on the 13th. Those are not things that I absolutely need, just things I want. In the end, the Lord my God knows best and I will trust Him.

Please pray that I would be diligent in my efforts and wise with my time, that God would grant me perseverence and unnatural faith as I wait for Him to provide, and that He would provide miraculously and quickly.

29 August, 2006

Good Bye.

Sadly, my eyebrow ring had to go. It was starting to gradually grow out (i.e. closer to the surface) which is apparently pretty common. My mom hated it, anyway, so she’s probably relieved, along with my dad, grandparents, etc. I liked it, but it was time to let go. RIP, my little icon of delayed parental defiance, my outdated symbol of edginess, my favorite Croatian souvenir. You will be missed.

Hooded sweatshirts are my favorite.

Really. They are my favorite thing to wear, and my favorite thing to see other people wear. Whether it’s a zip-up (my preference for personal use) or pullover, old or new, sort of dressed-up and sweaterish or very casual and well-worn, they're always a good idea and almost always sexy.

*This post was brought to you by the letter ‘H,’ the number 9.5, and (mostly) the aftermath of me spending several minutes evaluating my wardrobe and starting to think about maybe making a tentative packing list someday soon.*

From the man himself:

John tells his story here.

24 August, 2006

Pictures from Colorado

These are all from Allison- thanks for sending them!

Here is a lego car we made during a team-building exercise. Another thing we got to do was try to put together a Precious Moments puzzle with half the people blindfolded. What will they think of next...

Here's the new team (clockwise from left): Allison, Sunny, Taylor, me, John, & Andy

This is us with the Hrvatskan/Croatish flag.

And one final scenic shot...

21 August, 2006

According to tradition...

...the week in Colorado did not fail to produce injuries. Yesterday our fearless leader followed in Tim Sery's footsteps and visited the emergency room. John and Andy were headed down the mountain on these scooter things and John decided to go off of some huge jump. He took it like a man, and ended up smashing his face, loosening his teeth, and requiring 9 stitches.
Meanwhile, our friend Bryon endured a bicycle mishap that involved a tire blowout at full speed, resulting in a grisly crash and broken helmet. Bryon and John met up at the hospital where Bryon accepted Vicodin, but John declined. Generally I highly respect and endorse John's decisions, but this one I question. It just doesn't seem like Advil would do the trick.

Anyway, it may be just another (fairly effective) ploy to gain recognition for the Greater Northwest sending region, but it's totally worth it. Again, sorry I have no pictures at the moment. Maybe soon, though, because other people took a lot.

18 August, 2006

Happy Birthday

It's Emily Preston's birthday today. We're friends. Just so you know, she's single, she's hilarious, and she's hot.

We're winning!

Every time I go to a new conference with Campus Crusade, I notice more and more Macintosh computers. Victory will soon be ours...

Copper Mountain, Colorado

This week I’m in Colorado with el team at the global STINT briefing conference. So far it’s going well, but there hasn’t been much time for frivolous things like blogging.

-Getting to know new teammates Allison, Sunny, and Andy. I’ve decided I like them and we should keep them around.
-Reuniting with John and Taylor. I’ve already spent time with both of them here in the states, but now we’re all together and starting to get a sense of what next year’s family will be like.
-Walking around outside and seeing enormous, beautiful mountains and lovely alpine flowers and streams everywhere. And always feeling a little “high” due to the thin air at this elevation.
-The chance to hear from and talk to and hang out with some of the people I admire most in the world- two of whom are Carolyn Culbertson and Matt Mikalatos. Every time I see them it’s a terrific reminder of how fortunate we are to be able to work, learn, and grow under them.
-Reconnecting with friends from all over that I’ve gotten to know at various conferences, training sessions, briefings, etc. Rad people like: Francine, Drew, Emily, Bryon, Peter, Jennifer, Randall, ‘Jamin, Emily, Melissa, Ashley, Graham, Phil, Zach, Dan, Lauren, and the list goes on…
-Quietly observing the unavoidably fascinating presence of a large group of Hassidic Jews here on a kind of family-oriented retreat type thing.

-I’m feeling a bit exhausted and over-stimulated.
-I still have a lot of support left to raise. I am confident that God wants me back in Croatia next year, and am also confident that He’s able to get me there and provide all that I need. My prayer is that the finances would miraculously appear a.s.a.p so that the remaining time can be spent packing, preparing, resting, focusing on the team, and spending quality time with family and friends here that I won’t see for another year. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Overall impressions:
It’s been incredibly humbling to be surrounded by so many amazing and Godly men and women here. My problems and reservations and complaints have been put into perspective after being reminded of why we’re here and what we’re about and what that is worth. So I feel small, and so do my worries, in comparison with the greatness of our God. And I feel tired, but also excited and freshly motivated, knowing that none of this can be done on my own strength anyway.

P.S. Sorry no pictures. I don’t have my camera here.

09 August, 2006

Some Pictures From The Archives...

Here are some girls...

...and some boys.

Take note.

It's cold in the wintertime in Sarajevo, so this little girl threw some snowballs.

And I nearly killed myself trying to learn how to snowboard.

Tim just never ceases to amaze and entertain.

Pete and John really got into the whole tiger thing.


Zoran sent us off on our trip down south.


Here's Taylor, demonstrating her love for the sea.

We really did love our poor language teacher, Dragana, who was forced to put up with our disastrous study habits.

08 August, 2006

Just be yourself!

I recently took part in a conversation about how people naturally try to put themselves in the best possible light, and how difficult it is to really reach a point of authenticity in life where you're not driven by pride or fear of rejection and can really just relax and be who you are, rough edges and all. This is a topic that's actually been on my mind for quite some time now, and just last night I ran across an example of what we should perhaps all be shooting for... How's this for honest self-representation?

Feeling reluctant.

I’ve had kind of a poor attitude recently about going back to Croatia and all. I know that it is the right thing to do for many reasons, and it would be harder in some ways to not be going back. But right now it’s not appealing. Way back in February when I was making the decision, it was clear that there would be some sacrifice involved. I felt it then to some degree, but now it’s much more of a reality.

Going back means saying no to living life with family and friends that are here, being a physically present and involved member at my church, and living in a city/country/culture that I miss and feel at home in. In my mind, I half expect Tim, Sara, Andy, Marni, Pete, and Michelle to be back in Rijeka waiting for me. But they won’t be. It also means that a good part of my time here has been and will continue to be spent re-raising support. This is sometimes fun because my supporters are also my friends, so it’s cool to reconnect with them. But it's also draining, and time is running short.

My mom and grandma have asked me why I don’t just decide not to go back, or why I don’t just come home a few months in if I feel like it. One answer is simply, “I don’t know. That actually sounds very tempting.”

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed those three paragraphs worth of whining because now I get to lay the smack down on myself. Taylor posted these quotes the other day:

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” Jesus

“The sheer joy of it all comes back. I would gladly do it all over again.” Samuel Zwemer, pioneer missionary to Bahrain. After great family loss because of his choice to be in Bahrain.

“In the pursuit of joy through suffering, we magnify the all-satisfying worth of the Source of our joy… Christ is gain! Oh world, wake up and see, Christ is gain!” John Piper

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot, missionary martyr

“I have never made a sacrifice.” David Livingstone, a pioneer missionary in Africa

My suffering has not been physical or very great. My sacrifices are comparatively small. Even so, for me they have felt significant, and even more so because right now I'm blind to the reason and benefit of it all. Today it's difficult to see the point in going back and it's hard to believe that it will actually matter in any real way. But in and through everything, the Lord is gracious and good and patient with me. And I know that staying on the path in order to follow Him obediently is worth every doubt and hour of darkness and difficult choice, because following Him means living and walking with Him, and I can’t imagine existing without that.