Your Real Life is Hidden

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No worries, I found my CD player and the earbuds to go with it! Thanks, God! And the best part was, it wasn't somewhere I had already looked, so I didn't feel foolish when I finally found it. Still on the lookout for my book, though. Packing is happening, albeit slowly.

T minus two days and counting

Tomorrow is my last day at home! In the afternoon Jason & I are heading to Toronto for an early dinner and a Raptors game. We've decided to stay there overnight rather than drive home late and then drive back to TO early in the morning to make the flight. So I'm packing now--or at least I should be packing now!

Just wanted to extend a thanks to everyone who has contributed to my trip. You rock! It looks like we have all the funds we need--hooray! God's so faithful, and so are our friends & family! Thanks all. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement as well.

Oh yes, and if anyone knows where I last left my CD player--it's purple with a lovely glittery Canadian flag on it--please let me know because I can't seem to find it. Also, if I lent anyone my book, Re-Entry, could you let me know that, too? I remember I took it to Australia with me, but whether or not it came home with me remains to be seen. Crickey.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Some interesting flicks

Last night while Jason was at work I watched a movie I've had for about a year and hadn't seen as yet. I noticed something interesting when I pulled it off the shelf.....
Something familiar about the cover........
There's a resemblance to another movie I have.... My Big Fat Greek Wedding!
Despite the cover similarities, there's really nothing alike in these movies (well, they both end with a wedding). In Hulchul, both bride & groom have big families that are sort of mafia-esque--they run their villages and have some sort of blood fued between them. The beginning of the movie is a bit confusing, because both families have four or five sons, and they're all wearing white, so when the scenes are switching back and forth between them, at first I thought it was the same family. Anyway, it all gets righted soon enough, and the story takes over. It's slightly Romeo & Juliet, except no one dies (that's very Bollywood of them). Hulchul had fewer songs in it than I was expecting, which was slightly disappointing, because songs are almost my favourite part of the movie. But for this very reason, it's easier for the average non-Indian to follow the plotline. Anyway, the female star is Kareena Kapoor, who is just about my all-time favourite Bollywood actress. She's done everything from psycho cold-blooded killer (Fida) to historical warrior princess (Asoka). This is very middle-of-the-road for her, because she's playing a college student and bride. The movie was very well done, sans typical cheesiness (except a few punches in a fight scene). A must-see--you can even borrow my copy if you like. :)

One of the best movies ever is Bride & Prejudice. Based on Jane Austen's classic (P&P), it brings historical England's class-system more accessability as we see class distinction in a cultural light. Especially for us in North America who really have no concept of the old classes. Really well done, and all in English (besides one song which is subtitled).

If you liked it quite well, check out Chupke Se. It's harder to follow, but has one of the same actresses in it (B&P's little sister Lucky). The only warning I would give is don't get caught up in the seriousness of it, because it makes fun of itself often enough. It's sort of a combo of Miss Congeniality and the Sopranos.

Aishwarya Rai is one of the biggest names in Bollywood at the moment. She's the star of Bride & Prejudice, and also recently got engaged to some other famous actor (I've never heard of)--it was in the paper last week, I think. Here's another of her movies that I've seen--Dil Ka Rishta (ties of the heart). The plotline is slightly unbelievable, but good nonetheless.

As always, the key to finding a good Hindi movie is to like the genre for what it is. Hindi films aren't for everyone. But if you find one you like, look for others that star the same actor/actress who you liked best. Then you'll find some good ones, and also some that you'd never watch again. In the process you'll discover what you like best about the movies and the actors, and be able to choose some just based on a cute cover (that's how I found Chupke Se). A great website to buy these DVDs is There's films in all price ranges, and every few weeks (if you sign up for the mailing list) they'll offer free shipping. So there's my plug for international entertainment. More to come, I'm sure.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Four days before departure

Had another dream last night that I was in Tanzania--this time talking to a Tanzanian girl. It was really cool, and very real. I couldn't believe the time had passed so quickly and I had already arrived! Crazyness.

It's been a good week for me, even though I haven't blogged much. I've been fighting some sort of illness, so I've done a lot of sleeping (intentional and unintentional) and some inhalation therapy (aka Vicks Vaporub). They've both helped lots, but I'm still fighting off the last of it.

Yesterday we went out to see Mum & Dad & our favourite little brothers. :) We had a short but sweet visit, complete with Olympics, pizza, and gory flesh wounds. Actually, it wasn't as gory as I had hoped. Darren had orthoscopic surgery on Wednesday, and when he told us there was a hole in his arm still, I was hoping for something really exciting. Instead it looks like he was stabbed by the tip of the world's smallest knife. As I expressed my disappointment, Dad turns to me and says, "Well, you weren't expecting an episiotomy were you?" No, I wasn't. Just something cool and maybe slightly bloody. After lunch & leisure with the family, we headed into London for Jason's best friend's wedding (Jesse). Jason played the piano for one of the songs, and it was a really beautiful ceremony. Jesse's bride, Karen, & I have gotten together a few times, and it was really good to connect with her at the reception and meet all her nephews & niece (seven all told!) as well as Jesse's family. It was a really intimate reception, too, in the minister's home. Karen's sister made cheesecake (a woman after my own heart--she also had two of her four kids at home with a midwife), and Jesse's sister made the wedding cake. They had some punch and also tons of apple cider. I love apple cider! It's so good. You don't have to dress it up at all to serve it at a to-do, either. It's just plain goodness. I drank a lot of it, too. One of the highlights of our evening (besides talking to a woman who knew what a doula was and being introduced by Karen "this is Judy, she's from New Mexico and is a midwife") was holding Karen's littlest nephew, Dawson, who is almost eight months. I'd been eyeing him all day (the arrived at the church the same time we did to practise Jason's song with the other musicians), and finally I went over and asked if I could steal their child for a while. He was a very happy baby, alert and cute and content to be passed around. I held him until Jason made me leave. :( I love weddings. It's such a blessing to share in someone else's happiness, especially when you know both people. Then you know that they're with someone really good for them. I feel that way about Karen & Jesse. Way to go!

I realized this week that my friends Jenn & Jon have been married for four years as of Thursday. FOUR YEARS! I was in their wedding, and the reason it really came to mind was because we were about to go over to Dana's to watch some Olympic short-track speed-skating, and I was thinking how that was one of the only sports I got to see of the Salt Lake games because I was at Jenn's house. Then I was like, wait, they only do this every four years--oh my goodness, it's been four years! I'm so old! She was the first of my close friends to get married. So happy anniversary to you two, and happy first birthday to your son this week, also!

Today at church was awesome for several reasons. The first of which, Pastor Scott preached about astronomy. I love astronomy. I took it my first semester in University, and I wish I had taken it every day since. It was more spiritually uplifting and awe-inspiring in me than any religion class could ever be. To see and study the wonder and vastness of God's creation blew my mind every day. Every day. The first day of that class, the first five minutes, and I knew I would never be the same. Anyway, that wasn't really what Scott preached about. But he was trying to get us to grasp a tiny itty bitty portion of how great our God is, how Powerful and Wonderful and altogether Able He is.

Second thing that struck me this morning was when we sang "Your Love O Lord" and I started thinking about the words (this is the second service, so I'd already heard the sermon once--I really love going to both services!). "Your Righteousness is like the mighty mountains." People here don't really know what mountains are. And mountains are the reason I'm always lost here. In Albuquerque, you always know where you are and what direction you're going (mostly) because of the mountains. They're huge--they overshadow the eastern half of the city; they serve as a landmark from anywhere within fifty miles or so; they're always there. Like God's righteousness--showing us His unchanging nature, pointing the right direction to us, guiding us back to where we are familiar. The mountains are almost impossible to scale--like attaining righteousness on our own. We might make it to the top, but we'll probably collapse from lack of oxygen after such exertion. Our righteousness is filthy rags. "Your Justice flows like the ocean's tide." I lived on the Pacific ocean for six beautiful, wonderful months in Mexico. The tide flows in and out, day and night, never ceasing. God's Justice stands forever--is a constant of His character. There is also a sharp undertow (especially in the Pacific)--and if you're foolish you'll go out too far, or lose you're footing, and you'll be dragged out to sea and possibly drown. Justice is harsh to fools, and wisdom causes us to stay near the beach, dip our toes in but to know that the depths of justice put us rightfully in hell. Drink the ocean, drink deeply of it, and you'll realize your folly. We cry out for justice, and it's good, but it will never satisfy your thirst, and will likely make you sick if you have too much. Justice reminds us more and more how much in need we are of God's grace, for without it none of us will stand in His presence.

Another cool thing from church this morning was getting prayed for before going to Tanzania. Several people gave me words of encouragement. One was a the sense of my being in God's hands. Another was protection for Jason's & my relationship, for communication between us and an uninterrupted spiritual connection. Another was the anointing of my hands, and a sense that I was going to proclaim life--not just newborn baby life, but spiritual life and hope in darkness. One prayed that I would not be overwhelmed by all the poverty and need and darkness of Africa; but that I'd be filled with compassion and God would lead my heart how to give to people. One woman had the words "unfinished business"--that God was taking me there to finish work He's started. This really touched me. It is a finishing not only of (for the present) my time with YWAM, but finishing some of the work that Delphine and Dagmar started--in Africa, with women, as a midwife, as a bringer of hope. I'm reminded that I have no idea what God's plan is--the wisdom or depth or scope of it--but that out of all tragedy and sorrow and despair and evil, He intends good. Like what happened in Genesis to Joseph when he was sold by his brothers into slavery--the devil intended it to destroy him and all their family and their father's faith. But God used him to save entire nations from starvation, and for the ultimate saving of the very family satan wanted to tear to shreds. I feel like that with Delphine and Dagmar--that the initial result was a breaking up of the midwife team, the death of Delphine, and the hospitalization of Dagmar. But God has such a good plan still--sending others to Africa, taking up where things have left off (albeit in another country), healing the girls to bring glory to His Name, showing us His favour and His grace and His comfort in this and all things. You know what? God was putting this into motion (for me) back in November, before the accident, before any of this had happened, preparing me for Tanzania--preparing my husband and my heart and my obedience before sorrow struck. And I know in part that the familiar bitterness of sorrow has again birthed more compassion in my heart--more desperation because our time on earth is so short.

Something else that has come about this week is an email I received from Ulani, who I'll be staying with breifly in England on my way to Tanzania. She's in her 28th week of pregnancy, and has been sick with various things the entire time. Now she's been to the doctor and has high blood pressure and proteinuria--some warning signs that bode unwell for her. She's been put on bedrest, and that's difficult on them because she's had to quit her job which was a major source of income for her & her husband. Again, I see this (and feel free to disagree with me if you like, but this is my blog and my opinion ;) as somewhere the devil is again coming in to steal and kill and destroy, and God wants to bring life, and life overflowing and abundant to them. I like to think I'm a small part of that--that the little time we get to spend together will be some encouragement for her, and an opportunity to lay hands on her in prayer and faith that God will do something. It is my experience that God loves to intervene on behalf of His children, and even on behalf of those who are not yet His own. He is good, and He is faithful, and He is unchanging and full of mercy and grace and longs for us to ask Him for every good and perfect gift, not just the gifts we think we want (see below with George MacDonald for more on asking).

Thanks all for reading, and partnering with me, and praying and encouraging. I'll keep you posted, but for now a few prayer points:
For open lines of communication between here and Tanzania.
For the five women from my church who are in Haiti--safe travel there and home on the 3rd.
Safe travel for me as I fly on the 2nd and again on the 4th.
For my dear husband in my absence.
For Ulani, that all symptoms will leave and she will be healthy for the remainder of her pregnancy.
For the Tanzanian women and babies (and the occasional man, too) who I'll be ministering to in body and spirit--that God will prepare the way to their hearts and make Himself known to them.
For Dagmar's continued healing in Germany, that she will regain full consciousness.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Special delivery

Just arrived by this morning's express post: my Tanzanian visa! Yay! And also my passport, which it was stamped in. Things are coming together.....divinely!

How aptly now these quotes have come to me

I picked up an anthology of George MacDonald's writings at the library a week ago. I was interested in him because CS Lewis liked him, and in fact it was Lewis who compiled the anthology I'm reading. Anyway, it consists of quotes from various sermons, and they are almost all insightful, and some even heart-rending and convicting. I thought I'd share a few, because my toes were stepped on last night, and I was inspired nonetheless.

In the higher aspect of this first temptation, arising from the fact that a man cannot feel the things he believes except under certain conditions of physical well-being dependent upon food, the answer is the same: A man does not live by his feelings any more than by bread.
from The Temptation in the Wilderness
And when he can no longer feel the truth, he shall not therefore die. He lives because God is true; and he is able to know that he lives because he knows, having once understood the word, that God is truth. He believes in the God of former vision, lives by that word therefore, when all is dark and there is no vision.
from The Temptation in the Wilderness
It may be an infinitely less evil to murder a man than to refuse to forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion: the latter is the heart's choice. It is spiritual murder, the worst, to hate, to brood over the feeling that excludes, that, in our microcosm, kills the image, the idea of the hated.
from It shall not be forgiven
That which cannot be shaken shall remain. That which is immortal in God shall remain in man. The death that is in them shall be consumed. It is the law of Nature--that is, the law of God--that all that is destructible shall be destroyed.
from The Consuming Fire
(Revelation 2:17)
The giving of the white stone with the new name is the communication of what God thinks about the man to the man. It is the divine judgment, the solemn holy doom of the righteous man, the "Come, thou blessed," spoken to the individual...the true name is one which expresses the character, the nature, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man's own symbol--his soul's picture, in a word--the sign which belongs to him and to no one else. Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone.
from The New Name
It is with the holiest fear that we should approach the terrible fact of the sufferings of Our Lord. Let no one think that these were less because He was more. The more delicate the nature, the more alive to all that is lovely and true, lauwful and right, the more does it feel the antagonism of pain, the inroad of death upon life; the more dreadful is that breach of the harmony of things whose sound is torture.
from The Eloi
The highest condition of the human will is in sight...I say not the highest condition of the Human Being; that surely lies in the Beatific Vision, in the sight of God. But the highest condition of the Human Will, as distinct, not as separated from God, is when, not seeing God, not seeming to itself to grasp Him at all, it yet holds Him fast.
from The Eloi
A man must not choose his neighbour: he must take the neighbour that God sends him.... The neighbour is just the man who is next to you at the moment, the man with whom any business has brought you into contact.
from Love Thy Neighbour
"I cannot be perfect; it is hopeless; and He does not expect it." It would be more honest if he said, "I do not want to be perfect: I am content to be saved."
from The Hardness of the Way
(Mark 10)
Does this comfort you? then alas for you!...Your relief is to know that the Lord has no need of you--does not require you to part with your money, does not offer you Himself instead. You do not indeed sell Him for thirty pieces of silver, but you are glad not to buy Him with all that you have.
from The Hardness of the Way
Because we easily imagine ourselves in want, we imagine God ready to forsake us.
from The Cause of Spiritual Stupidity
When I trouble myself over a trifle, even a trifle confessed--the loss of some little article, say--spurring my memory, and hunting the house, not from immediate need, but from dislike of loss; when a book has been borrowed of me and not returned, and I have forgotten the borrower, and fret over the missing it not time I lost a few things when I care for them so unreasonably? This losing of things is of the mercy of God: it comes to teach us to let them go.
from The Cause of Spiritual Stupidity
"But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?" I answer, What if He knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God's idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need--the need of Himself? ...So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive: but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God's end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that: to bring His child to his knee, God withholds that man may ask.
from The Word of Jesus on Prayer
Why should the good of anyone depend on the prayer of another? I can only answer with the return question, "Why should my love be powerless to help another?"
from Man's Difficulty concerning Prayer
He who seeks the Father more than anything He can give, is likely to have what he asks, for he is not likely to ask amiss.
from Man's Difficulty concerning Prayer
Even such as ask amiss may sometimes have their prayers answered. The Father will never give the child a stone that asks for bread; but I am not sure that He will never give the child a stone that asks for a stone. If the Father say, "My child, that is a stone; it is no bread," and the child answer, "I am sure it is bread; I want it," may it not be well that he should try his 'bread'?
from Man's Difficulty concerning Prayer

Out of Africa--Dagmar update

I woke up to this update from Perth in my inbox. I had no idea they were going to move Dagmar so it is

On Sunday the 19th February, Dagmar Sippel was taken to Germany to be with her family and commence rehabilitation in Germany. Dagmar still remains in great need of our prayer. She has regained movement in her legs and left arm but still remains in a state of lack of recognition of family and friends at this point and is unable to obey commands. Doctors have indicated that her rehabilitation will assist in this process but will take at least six months before we really know the extent of permanent damage if any. Please pray for complete healing. Thank you for standing with Dagmar, her family and YWAM Perth family.

Sarah White has been released from hospital on the 9th February and is preparing to return to Australia on the 24th February with her mother. Sarah will need ongoing rehabilitation but is doing very well and looking forward to her return home.

Erin Cothran has been released from hospital on the 17th February, she will need extensive rehabilitation and faces the prospect of a hip replacement over the next year or two – Erin is preparing to return to the USA around the 24th of February with her mother for a long awaited reunion with family and friends

Monday, February 20, 2006

Everywhere I look

I see Tanzania!

So my month-long quest for herbal antimalarial was at last requited this week. Thank you, Lord! I had just arrived at that place of desperation where I said, "Okay, if the next store I go to doesn't sell it, I'll just buy some botanical mosquito repellant and use that faithfully while I'm there." I had been to about ten health stores and organic stores and pharmacies to no avail. Finally, at try number ten, the guy tells me to check out a store he knows "Run by a sweet little Indian lady" not far from my house. I go looking for it, and it isn't there. I stop by a near-by community centre to ask if they know where there's an herbal store in the area, and they point me right to it. (It was in fact in a different shopping centre than I was originally directed to, so this time I can't blame my not finding it on Kitchener's winding streets; it was a mistake by the guy who told me about it.) At last I pull into the proper shopping centre, and there is this little health food store looking at me. I go inside expecting a 'sweet little Indian lady', but there's only a man behind the counter. Oh well. I ask him if he carries neem (that's the herbal antimalarial that I learned about from the girls who went to East Timor with me--it doesn't have all the nasty side effects of taking perscription antimalarials and is just as effective and even good for you--it's been used for hundreds of years in south India, I learned from the label!), and he says right away, "Of course. But it's at my other store." All the other times I asked for it, people looked at me like I'd been eating crazy pills. One store occasionally carried neem toothpaste, and another neem shampoo (don't know what that's supposed to do for you!), and the last guy, when I explained it's a blood purifier that's used as an antimalarial and the oil from the tree as a pesticide, looked at me like I drank rat poison on a regular basis.

Anyway, the guy calls up his other store, and tells me it will be sent over the next day (Saturday) so I can pick it up then. When I get back on Saturday, he gives me the neem, and I ask about maybe getting a second bottle if possible. He wonders why I want it, and I tell him that I'm going to Tanzania.

"Tanzania?! I'm from Tanzania!" He told me proudly. I was taken a bit aback, because he didn't look African. He had an accent, but we had talked on Friday about moving to Canada from the States, because he used to live in LA. But he's from Tanzania! Then he said a few things in Swahili, which I understood but didn't know how to reply to! Truly amazing, eh? So I asked if I could bring him back anything, and he says, "let me call my wife. She's from Kenya, she'll want something." And we talked and talked about Tanzania and Dar es Salaam, and who's the president now, and what will you be doing, and all that. It was such a wonderful time! So I'll be bringing a few things back for he and his wife, and they'll hook me up with all the herbal goodness I need to take with me, and God will continue to weave all things together for the good of those who love Him.

I'm so excited. Just Wednesday my friend Dana (she inspires me to do a lot of things!) asked me if I was seeing Tanzania everywhere. I was kinda like, I don't know, I guess? It's like when you learn a new word, you suddenly hear everyone use it from the newscasters to your pastor the next Sunday in church. And I was hoping for that, but it just wasn't there yet for Tanzania. Then that very night I had my first dream about Tanzania, and two days later I meet someone from Tanzania, and I hear from my friend Nicola who is there now, and it's so good and beautiful! Soon I'll be standing there, on the shore looking out over the ocean to Zanzibar, or on a street corner looking at the city of Dar es Salaam, or at the beside of a woman, encouraging her as she brings the next generation of Tanzanians into the world. I'm on my way!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Nigerian Update from Perth

I've just recieved the latest update about the three BAS team members (midwives involved in the crash in Nigeria) in South Africa--things are improving!

Dagmar has recently been moved out of ICU and into a high care unit and is being sat up more often. The hospital staff have begun the rehabilitation process with her which includes exercising her arms and legs for her which will hopefully stimulate her and help with bringing her to full consciousness. We have workers there who are caring, praying, reading, singing, and talking to her. It will still be a long recovery process but we are trusting and believing that God will continue to heal her completely.

Sarah was recently released from hospital and she will be returning to Australia when a flight can be arranged and will undergo continued rehabilitation.

Erin is still in hospital but is due to be released soon and will return to the USA shortly after. She will continue with rehabilitation there and is looking at a hip replacement in a year’s time.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A dream about Tanzania

Last night I had my first dream of Tanzania. It was really cool, although nothing like what I'll actually be doing. I dreamed I was out in the serenghetti with a bunch of people from here, and even though it was my first day there, I was telling them all about Tanzania and the wildlife and everything. We were setting up tents that were much like tepees, and cooking in huge caldrons over fires. The grass was dry and brown, up past our knees, and the sky was clear and the sun hot. It was lovely! And I told everyone about how Tanzania is the safest country as far as wildlife goes, because nothing there will attack a human. One of the guys from my DTS was there, too (no names, in order to protect the innocent), and we were sitting talking on top of some sort of hilly/bank sort of thing. As we talked, some sort of wildcat walked right beneath our feet--it was spotted like a cheetah but only slightly bigger than a bobcat. It just looked at us, and kept walking along. There was a pair of "wild oxen" grazing behind us (not sure what wild oxen are, but that's what I called them). Then someone accidentally set fire inside their tepee, and we all helped to put it out--the smoke billowing out of the door flap. I don't remember much else, because I didn't think about it much after I woke up. Oh well. I have an incredible amount of peace now that I've dreamed about Tanzania. And I don't know why that is. I usually have very vivid dreams about places I've been or places I'm going, or whatever, but this is the first for a little while. There was a lot of peace in my dream. It was very nearly a "the lion will lay down with the lamb" feeling.

Naturally upon waking I realized what crazyness that was, because there are of course elephants that could trample you to death and not even know it, and there are lions and cheetahs and hyenas and hippos and rhinos which all pose their own threat, not to mention all the giraffes and zebras and wildebeasts who could catch people in a stampede. Anyway, I won't be out in the bush. I'll be in the city. But it was interesting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Something Small

Each time we love,
We turn a nearer and a broader mark
To that keen archer, Sorrow, and he strikes.
--Alexander Smith

I just finished reading another good book by an authoress who is new to me: Liz Curtis Higgs. If you know the biblical story of Isaac & Rebekah, Jacob & Esau, Leah & Rachel, you know how this story goes. It is unabashedly based on the biblical account. So if you know the Bible story really well, it can be annoying at first because you can see where it's going, eh? But even so, by about half-way through, I was quite convinced that I liked it. It was really hard to tell whether or not it was going to end well, though. There are a few more books in this series as well. They take place in eighteenth century Scotland, and use a lot of Scottish words (no worries, there's a glossery in back), which has helped my accent not a whit. They're quite well done. If you like Christian historical romances, check it out. If you don't, go ahead and pass it up because you won't like it, unless you're enamoured of Scottish lore or something. I knew from the first page that I would love it, because it started out in the house of a midwife. Hee hee. The cool bonus part of this book is that at the start of every chapter, there are short poems or sayings from various authors & poets of the time, like the one above.

Last year at Valentine's there was a group of students at my university who all had signs reading "Happy Singlehood Awareness Day!" and "Free Hugs". And they would actually give you a genuine, platonic hug if you went up to them. It was pretty cool (and slightly creepy). I think we hype the holiday too much for 'lovers' and we lose sight of the fact that it's actally the day a martyr was killed for refusing to deny Christ.

I asked Jason just a few days ago while we were at the Kitchener Market "we're not getting each other stuff for Valentine's, are we?" and he said no, and I was relieved. I guess I've just never felt like it was that important of a day to be gifted by the beloved, you know? Like, that was what high school was about. But what made this a great Valentine's for me/us was that Jason had the day off work, and we got to spend the day together. We went to a cello concert at Laurier, then ice skating at Kitchener city hall, picked up a few items from the chinese supermarket, then we made dinner together and went to small group. And had his day off been today instead of yesterday, we probably would have done the same thing. (Apart from the concert, because that's not something that can be rescheduled on a whim by two audience members.) But then for both of us, one of our main love languages is quality time, so that's likely a contributing factor to how we prefer to celebrate anything. :) It was such a fantastic day! I love any day I can spend with him.

Ah yes, so our (inadvertant) culinary adventure this week was Bang Bang Chicken from the Szechuwan region of China. We made it last night, because we wanted something new, and it was already 5 o'clock, so the recipe also had to be made up of things we already had on hand. Bang Bang Chicken fit the bill. It was very good--moist chicken breast on a bed of cucumber slices, drizzled with sauce made from spring onions & garlic & wine vinegar & soy sauce & sesame paste, and chili oil. We'd definately make it again, but it was weird to have the steaming hot chicken over cold cucumbers. It made for a lukewarm dish. But I don't think I'd like the cucumbers heated up, either. Maybe skip the cu's and serve it on a bed of pan-fried noodles next time.

Anyway, there you go. My friend Laura (from my small group) is going to Haiti next Tuesday! Please pray for her if you think of it. Haiti is quite a tumultuous place, with the elections just having occured and lots of poverty. She's going with a group of women from our church to work at a hospital/orphanage with sick babies and children--to love and hold them when they don't get any one on one time or affection otherwise (because of limited staffing). Thanks all for your prayers, etc.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Books, books.....

Most of you know that books are one of my few obsessions in life (besides babies, midwifery, cooking, baking, singing, dancing, traveling, Jesus, languages, etc). Anyway, I've been a library junkie for the past few months, since I was working in Waterloo right next to the main branch. I've discovered so many new authors that I really like just by browsing the fiction section, taking a few home, returning the books I didn't like and checking out everything a particular author has written if I did like it.

One of my great finds, which I shared a few months ago, was Ted Dekker's Thunder of Heaven. I've since read the rest of the "Martyr's Song" series, and I liked that one by far the best. The others were okay, they just didn't strike the same chord with me Thunder did. Ted Dekker has another set of books that I really liked: Blessed Child and A Man Called Blessed. Both quite good for different reasons.

The newest find from the past few weeks is Karen Hancock's Arena. The first few pages I thought this was going to be some typical cheesyness, but it actually got really good really quickly. And then again, about half-way through, I thought it was going to be very cliche, but I was wrong again! It turned out really well, and the action was quite incredible and the characters believable. Way to go! She has another series out as well, but the library doesn't have it, so I'm going to ask them to get it. Check out Karen Hancock. She's cool.

Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series is fantastic so far! It's about the kings of Judah, starting with Ahaz and his son Hezekiah. Really engrossing. It portrays ancient Israel really well--the temple of the Lord, the idolatry, corruption, redemption, love & betrayal. Don't get me wrong, it's not a love story, even though there's love in it. I think men would like it too, just like Arena. In fact, while I was reading the first (I've just barely started the second), I was reminded so much of India that I nearly cried. I suppose the whole idol worship thing touches me because I lived among it for so long, that I understand what drives parents to do cruel things to their children and how sure they are that the gods will reward them for it. It was good. Couldn't put it down. Apparently there are five in this series, but the library only has three. I'm going to ask them to get the other two. Really, really good. I should have put this book at the top. :)

Ah yes, and finally, this posting celebrates the fact that I finally figured out how to post pictures. Aren't you proud of me? It's only taken me since November.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gearing up......

Monday we sent out our support letters at last! Hooray! That was a big relief for us. Jason wrote the letter, and I'm so blessed to have a husband so understanding, supportive, and down-right hot, who loves me so much and wants to be a part of everything God has for me. I'm really floored, constantly, by God, by Jason's love, by the emotional support from all my friends and family as we embark on this adventure. It really IS a 'we' who is going. One of my favourite passages in Romans (10:9-15) says:

For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed." Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

or as in the Message version:
Say the welcoming word to God--"Jesus is my Master"--embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!"
Scripture reassures us, "No one who trusts God like this--heart and soul--will ever regret it." It's exactly the same no matter what a person's religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. "Everyone who calls, "Help, God!' gets help."
But how can people call for help if they don't know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven't heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That's why Scripture exclaims,
A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
telling all the good things of God!

So, that's sort of my vision for Tanzania. People crying out for help, and God hears. God asked me, and I said yes. My church and friends and family standing behind me, sending me. And God working in the hearts of all the people I meet: Christians, Muslims, those of any religion or language, telling them that He loves them and desperately wants a relationship wtih them. I'm a small part. I'm delivering the babies and Jesus is delivering souls from bondage.

Anyway, last week I was able to study quite a bit of Swahili, and I'm getting more confident. It would be great if I had someone to practise with! I was mentioning to someone the other day that this is the first time I've learned a language (or at least started learning the language) BEFORE arriving in a country. I suppose there's a first for everything, even YWAMers. :)

Tuesday we received our first support--from my parents & grandma. Thank you so much! What a great blessing!

Midwives, mothers, women, doulas, friends--unite!

Just received an email from the doula group I'm a part of.....

It seems that midwives in Orangeville (Ontario, for all of you not from here) are trying to gain hospital privilege for births. It seems they are making headway, but still any signatures they can get on their petition will go a long way. I just signed today; didn't know about it before. Anyway, the link to that is:

Thanks all, especially Ontario residents, if you feel that you can sign it. If not, no worries. But you know, inroads for midwives anywhere (and it HAS been legalized, funded, and regulated in Ontario) are ultimately helpful to all midwives here (even me!), and for the rest of Canadian midwives trying to get things legalized, regulated, and/or funded in their provinces. Let's not be stuck in the 30's where a woman's only option is once again a hospital birth with no choice but a doctor in attendance!


Something that Dana started

Okay, so maybe it's not Dana but Tina who started this personality test craze.....but here're my results:

You Are an Iced Coffee

At your best, you are: hyper, modern, and athletic

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you're out with friends

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.

You Are Socks!

Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.

This last one was the funniest, for all of you who have seen my sock puppet routine. For those of you who haven't, keep hoping that won't change.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dagmar and the girls

All three YWAMers still remain in Millpark Hospital, South Africa.

Dagmar still remains in ICU. She has made slow improvements and is currently stable. Her orthopedic surgeon has said that her breaks are healing. However, at this point she has no motor response to pain, and still remains in an unconscious state. After two months Dagmar will commence rehabilitation if she is still in a stable condition; this is critical to maintain muscle and bone density. Many patients have begun to regain memory during rehabilitation—we are encouraged by this report. Could you please intercede for Dagmar at this critical time.

Sarah has just undergone her third operation on her badly injured leg, and this seems to be healing up. She is undergoing rehabilitation, and if she continues to improve could be ready to return to Australia within the next couple of weeks. Sarah is getting stronger each day.

Erin is improving slowly, and is also undergoing rehabilitation. She is still experiencing quite a lot of pain due to the extent of the damage on her hips. She is hoping to return to the USA by the end of the month. Erin will need to undergo a hip replacement within the next year or two.

YWAM Perth staff are still with the injured in J'burg, as well as their parents.

That's the first news I've received from Perth in ages. Sorry for the short update--I'm working in Toronto all week and wanted people who have been asking to know about Daggie. More maybe tomorrow or next week for sure. Happy February all!