Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Asbestos 'Arama

Yesterday I got to go to lovely Orange, Texas (yes it is part of Orange County.) This Orange County is a very different OC. I had been back on Maui about one month when Hurricane Katrina hit. I felt torn, wanting to go back and help this area of the country I loved and knowing how far away I was from it. Yesterday, I got the chance to help with some hurricane relief in Orange. I had no idea that so many people's houses were still in shambles after over a year. I think Orange was really impacted by the second hurricane, Rita.

I helped with students from the Wesley Foundation, which I was involved in when I was in college. Rusty, my college pastor, asked me to come speak to the students. So, Katie H and I drove out to Orange. Actually we accidentally ended up in Lousiana. We weren't paying attention to the signs and passed Orange. Luckily we only went about ten miles or so before we figured it out. It was the "Welcome to Louisiana" sign that clued us in that we'd gone too far.

We got to help clean up the pieces of a battered roof. Some of the house had been made with asbestos. We had to collect all the asbestos and set it aside for disposal. No one knew much about asbestos other than that it can cause some crazy health problems. Some people were so paranoid that it seemed they thought they would get cancer after even looking at the asbestos. There were masks for people to wear but not enough to go around. I am not too scared. After Bangladesh, very little scares me. I have had dengue fever, after all.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hot and Cold in Houston

I know I am back in Houston because it is December and in the last week I have worn everything from shorts and a t-shirt to a sweater and wool coat. Almost everyday I use both the heater and the air conditioner in the Saturn. I like the cold weather sometimes but it will be nice to get back to Maui. I saw today that MTV has a new show that comes out on my birthday. It is some sort of Maui reality show. What a perfect birthday gift to me! A reality show about a place I love. Hopefully it will be a Temptation Island 3, but I doubt it.

College football is so much fun! The good bowl games are about to begin and I am excited. My dad has a big tv with cable and HD tv so the set-up is pretty sweet. I have also recently become a Tennessee Titans fan. I have always loved Vince Young and I figure he is a good enough reason to love a whole team. A lot of Houstonians like the Texans but I am not into them. I think their name is stupid and so are they for passing on my man, Vince.

I have decided to train for a triathlon. It is a shortened version- 3 miles running, 15 miles biking, and 1/3 mile swimming. It seems hard but not too hard and I will have 3 months to train. I like to have an athletic goal to work towards. I can practice swimming in the ocean in Maui. Pretty sweet.

I have been able to see a lot of quality people although most visits have been painfully short. I got to see: Sarah Musselman and baby Madeline, Erin and Zach Morrow and baby Joe, Sarah Morgan and Devin O'Bryan, Katie H, Emily and Van HArdin, David and Suzie Ray, Mike and Susie Ray, Jane Kim and James Chastant, Sarah McGregor and more. I still have a lot more people to see. Tomorrow I am going to Orange, TX to help my college pastor, Rusty and his students do hurricane relief. Rusty wants me to speak to his students and get them pumped about missions. It should be cool.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Missing Andrew

I miss my brother. It is very weird not to have him here at X-Mas. I have been visiting some very quality friends but I usually have my brother to hang out with whenever I am not hanging out with other people. I am happy that next year he will be back. It is just not the same without him at all.

He called his wife so we heard a bit of how he's doing. He apparently got 24 packages when he came back. Way more than anyone else. I don't think I have gotten 24 packages in the last year. I guess Iraq seems a bit more package-worthy than Maui. I can't complain. Afterall, they don't have Wal-Mart in Iraq.

Please continue to pray for my brother.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Back in the Lone Star State

I have been on the mainland for almost two days now. Today was cold and there was even hail. I definitely know I am not in Maui anymore. It is nice to rediscover my winter clothes and watch cable television. I am trying to figure out how to schedule my time in such a way that I get to see all my favorite people and get some restful alone time. I thought three weeks would be a long time at home but my schedule is filling up rather quickly. I am excited about all the people who are around at Christmas time. I am going on a bit of a baby-seeing tour. I have already seen Madeline Musselman and I get to see Joe Morrow this weekend. In Maui, I have been spending a lot of time with my friend, Maria and her baby, Kieva so I am more comfortable around the little guys than I used to be. It is really fun to see how God combines my friends' features to make a new person that looks like both of them.

I am officially going to have a different job when I go back to Maui. I am glad. I am sure the other YWAMers will be happy as well since I am really not very gifted in culinary exploits. I have always planned to really get into cooking after I get married. That will be a lot different than working in the kitchen and trying to feed 100 people for $.60. I went to the grocery store and it was amazing! There were so many fun things to choose from and it is all so much less expensive than Maui.

Overall it is really nice to be home, though I do miss some of my Maui friends. If only I were rich and famous and could afford to pay my favorite people to travel around with me as my entourage....Wouldn't that be nice?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Reindeer games

Tomorrow I leave for home. The flight is not too bad since I only have to fly to Honolulu and then straight to Houston. It is an overnight flight so I am praying that I can sleep on the plane. I am also praying for empty seats next to me. We'll see. I am a bit nervous about going home and how I am going to juggle my time. I have been wary of making firm plans but I think that might cause problems. As of now, I have written down all the various windows of hangout opportunities with various friends but I haven't gotten firm dates. I think I want the hanging out to happen naturally, which seems virtually impossible given the time constraints. We'll see. I am sure it will all work out.

Christmas will be strange without my brother around. I have been away from my family at Christmas twice but I have never been with my family minus my brother. I will definitely miss him. My favorite game at Christmas is something we call reindeer games. This game involves repositioning those white, metal, lighted reindeer lawn ornaments into sexual positions. It is not gross just hilarious! There is also the element of suspense as you try not to get caught. My brother, Andrew, has some sort of God-given gift for it. He can look at a lawn and know exactly how to position the deer for maximum laughs. He once made a train with four. It was incredible. So, I don't know if I will play this year. It's just not the same without Andrew. I wonder if they have these fake reindeer in Iraq. I sure hope so.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I get to come back to Texas soon! I am excited but I feel like I have so much to get done before I leave. I only work in the kitchen about four hours a day but I have been trying to make the most of my time in Maui by spending time at the beaches. My YWAM best friend, Amy is in town with the guys she has been traveling the world with. They are from Canada so it is even more important for them to look tan when they go home. I too want to look bronzed to dazzle my friends. Bangladesh made me pretty white so I have some work to do.

Tanning aside, things are going pretty well. Amy is back and I have a car to use. There are not very many people on base so working in the kitchen is not as much work. There are a lot less dishes to do. I finally feel pretty at home being back in Maui. It is comforting to know that I will being living in a fun house in Paia when I get back and not a crowded sunroom in Haiku. I am going to try to be at the base a lot, though so I don't lose that community feel.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Escaping from Haiku

I am sitting on my bed, which is covered in a random assortment of my belongings. I have yet to feel like I am settled in my current living space. The fact is that I have too much stuff for the amount of space I have been allotted. This means I am frequently cleaning and organizing my life and that very often I end up sleeping in a bed with mail, clean laundry, pictures, my computer and anything else I might not have a place for. I know this is all teaching me some sort of valuable life lesson but I am not quite sure what it is.

I relayed my unfortunate scooter misfortune in an earlier post. I felt that the Lord was asking me to wait on getting a vehicle. I tend to be impatient/impulsive but I decided to wait. A girl on base is going home for a few months. She didn't want to sell her car but wanted someone to rent it for a few months. This is perfect for me since I didn't want to have to actually buy something after the Explorer fiasco. So, waiting on the Lord paid off. The girl leaves on Thursday so I will have wheels then. This freedom will be so nice. I am lucky to have several friends with cars as well as several friends that live off base. This means I have not felt too trapped up here in Haiku. But now I can escape this place without having to rely on an accomplice.

I spent this past weekend in Paia. It was lots of fun. My friend, Abbey's boyfriend, Wil, shares a house with my friend, Maria and her husband and baby. Wil was gone for the weekend so Abbey and I slept in his room. Abbey leaves for Nepal in two days so it was good to spend so much time with her. All the students leave at 5am on Wednesday and I am driving them to the airport. Those of you who really know me, know that I am no good early in the morning. I hope they aren't expecting me to talk. Things should become much less crazy when they leave.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Still discombobulated-is that how you spell it?

I have yet to fully feel at home on base here. It is still weird. I can't seem to figure out the weekly schedule and never know what is going on. The DTS leaves in a week, so things should be less crazy then when I will only live with 30 girls instead of 50.

I started working in the kitchen and I am no Emeril yet. I thought I would get to learn how to cool properly but so far it seems everyone just does what they think is best. I asked how to chop something and was told to just go for it. I know how to chop, but I wanted to learn some cool chef way. Maybe I will have to check the internet. I know how to follow instructions in the kitchen but I am hoping to come away from this experience knowing how to freestyle a bit. No matter what, it seems like I will come away with dishpan hands. The kitchen schedule is pretty laid back and there is lots of opportunity to talk with the other people who work in the kitchen. It's also nice to not have so much responsibility all the time. And it doesn't take much brain power to do the dishes.

I have not been a good communicator lately and I hate that. I have had a hard time returning people's phone calls, which is something I normally pride myself at being good at. The main problem is that my cell phone only works on my bed so I can't bring it anywhere else to talk or even just answer the phone. This won't be the case when I am back in Paia, so I just need to be patient for the next month.

Right now I need to go make the millionth effort to clean my room. It seems I am fighting a never-ending battle.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Sad day for Longhorn fans

So, today I got to watch my first Longhorn football game of the year and it was a sad, sad event. We lost our second game in a row and this was to A&M. How humiliating! Before I came back to the country, we had only lost to Ohio State, who have one of the best teams in the country. Apparently I am bad luck. Oh well, I think I am going to buy the DVD of the Longhorns' championship win last year. I can watch it when I need to relive the glory days.

I am currently on the big island of Hawaii, where I am spending my Thanksgiving break. My cousin and his family moved here a few months ago and generously paid for me to come out here. Unfortunately I am still trying to process the last crazy six months of my life so I haven't been the most enjoyable house guest. Yesterday I pretty much watched tv all day. It was pretty nice. I get my own room here, which is an awesome change from my room on base with eight roommates. That place doesn't feel like home yet, which is hard.

It seems pretty likely that I will move in with a friend in Paia after I come back from my Christmas break. In order to do that, I will need transportation to and from the base. I am considering a scooter for a couple reasons: the comical factor, high gas mileage and no obligation to take others along. I want to be nice but now that our base is isolated, people with cars get exploited. Riding behind me on the scooter is by nature, only for the closest companions. I am talking with a guy about buying one on Sunday when I get back. I will keep you posted. I know you will all be desperate to see pics of me on a scooter. I am sure it will be sweet!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chaos like you couldn't believe

My life is hectic to say the least right now. I am torn between hanging out with my students, my staff friends, and being by myself. And on top of that, two of my favorite people- Sarah and John McGregor are in town. I have not had much time to see them but they seem to be enjoying all Maui has to offer. This week has been filled with meetings, trying to spend as much time as possible with my students and lots of different events. The time is flying by quickly but I have not had enough time to talk to all the people from home that I want to. It will get easier once the students leave. Most of them will be gone by tonight and a few leave tomorrow night. Tomorrow we have a debriefing meeting all day.

Being so busy is annoying but my big problem right now is that my living situation stinks. Our new base is good for students who live here for 3 months but for staff who live here year-round, it is very difficult. Living in a single-family sized home with 40 people means very little privacy. We are also very isolated instead of located in a town. I am sure I will be less frustrated when I find somewhere to put all my stuff.

I am fairly sure that I will move off base to the town we used to live in. An ex-Ywamer needs a roommate and will only charge me a little bit more than I have to pay now. It is an awesome set-up but I will need to get some transportation. I am considering a scooter after my Ford fiasco. We'll see.

Onto better topics, last night was graduation. It was so good! I totally bawled. After all the crazy incidents and hard work, they actually made it. So amazing! I cried the most for Kelli. She is my girl from Louisiana with the crazy testimony. This graduation was the first time she had ever graduated anything in her life. It was so special. After grad, me and Matt and the Nepal leaders-Ashley and Josh hung out on the beach together basking in our lack of responsibility. I am going to miss my students a lot but I won't miss being responsible for them.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Back in the States!

I made it! I am back in the United States. My time in Bangladesh was good, but hard. I learned so much but I am feeling pretty tired and burned out. Our base moved to another town while we were away and Ashley (the leader of the Nepal team) and I are having a pretty hard time adjusting. This change along with the stress of being responsible for others for so long and jet lag has made us pretty weepy today. I have yet to cry but I have come close and the tears probably will fall soon.

The new base is pretty cool but far away from everything. I am contemplating getting a scooter. We'll see. I am a bit wary after my Ford fiasco.

I want to leave you with a funny/scary story-
My Ywam best friend, Amy was with my team for the last two weeks of outreach. It was nice to have her around and she and her team flew to Thailand with us. Amy and I got to hang out the night before we left in Thailand and it was good times with a binging session at Pizza Hut. She gave me a bag of stuff to take back to Maui for her. It was mainly clothes and gifts for her family. I didn't even see what she packed.

So, I was going through the security checkpoint at the Japan airport and I got stopped. This was nothing new especially since I was more than frisked by a female security guard in Dhaka. The security guard in Japan, opened my bag and took out some spoons that he thought were setting off the detector. He sent it back through and it still went off. He dug further into the bag and pulled out something wrapped in newspaper. It looked like a knife and when he pulled off the paper, I saw that it was some dagger-type device from Nepal. My face turned bright red and I started freaking out internally. Then five security guards appeared and all spoke in Japanese. They measured the knife as I feared the worst. I had no idea if you can be punished for such things as this in Japan. In Tapei, there is a big sign that says Drug Traffickers will be punished by death. So, these Japanese security guards continue to gather info on me. They got my passport, boarding pass and pertinent info. The whole process was an excruciating 30 minutes of uncertainty. It ended with them checking the knife so I could pick it up in Honolulu. So crazy. I was willing to leave the knife. It is funny now but it would not have been if I had missed my plane.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's not over yet

Tomorrow we are going back to Gazipur but this time it is to meet with the students of the Windows DTS. This is a DTS being held here in Bangladesh. About half the students are Bangladeshi and half from places like Fiji and Papua New Guinea. We spent some time with them before they left for outreach. My friend, Lindsay led the team that went to Sri Lanka but unfortunately she has had to stay in Sri Lanka to help her student who lost his passport. I am bummed that I will not get to see her.

Anyway, we will be staying at some sort of compound and have prayer and fellowship with these Windows DTS students. It should be good. Some of my students are whining about having to go. I think they would be happiest if they were allowed to sit and watch movies at our house until it was time to leave. I pray that they will realize how little time we have left and how they can watch movies at home.

Unfortunately Kera is still in the hospital. We are hoping she will get out tomorrow but we have no guarantees. Luckily the nice New Zealand couple we are staying with is going to stay with her and nurse her back to health so that the whole team can go to Gazipur. Please pray for her to get better. She was looking forward to Maui so much and I would hate for her to still be sick when she is back there for a week.

I still can't believe how soon I will be on the mainland. I have much to look forward to. Sarah and John McG come and visit soon after I get back. Then, I get to go spend Thanksgiving with my cousin and his family on the Big Island. Then I will be in Texas for three weeks at Christmas. I am so excited about all of this but I am trying hard to be "all here" as I spend my last few days in Bangladesh.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Short Update

I don't have much time to write but I wanted to give a brief update. Everyone on the team is well except for Kera, who had to spend the night in the hospital. She has good ole' Dengue fever. Everyone's symptoms have been different in severity. Kera has had a lot of vomitting, which has made her feel terrible. Rachel has been with her at the hospital, which is a role reversal after Kera helped Rachel in the hospital. Please pray that Kera will get better and be able to enjoy her last days in Bangladesh.

We finished our ministry with Prodip, the pastor we've been helping. WE were treated to a great dinner by a family from the church. It was good but they kinda shoved the food in our faces. I don't like noodles so Kelli ate my third and fourth helpings and I ate her share of these flaky white sugar block things. My stomach did not appreciate it much. They also gave us bracelets that were far too small for our fat American hands. They had to cram them on and I fear mine may never come off.

We don't know exactly what we'll do for the rest of the week. We are supposed to meet up with the DTS going on here and maybe go to the amusement park. We'll see. I will be back in Maui in a week! YAY!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I am alive

I can't believe how long it has been since I wrote in my blog. I am slipping technologically. So sad. I cannot believe I only have a little over a week until I get back to the United States. Technically we leave the Bang (Bangladesh) on November 10th and stay in the Bang (Bangkok, Thailand) overnight and then arrive in Maui on November 11th. I am hoping this will be in time for me to watch some college football. However, I might be too busy relishing in my reunion with all my long-lost belongings, wardrobe and friends. I can't wait to wear regular clothes and to go to the beach and get rid of my Bangladesh paleness.

The last couple weeks have been intense as both Matt and I were struck down with Dengue Fever. Most of our students got it as well and it is no fun at all. The main symptoms include: a rash, itchiness, high fevers, headache, nausea, vomiting, diareah (no one really knows how to spell that), muscle pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and probably some I cannot remember. Now I am well but still feeling weak. We only have two more official ministry days left so I am just going to push through my fatigue.

You may heard about all the political unrest here. I watched it on the news and it seemed far worse than what we actually experienced. We basically restricted ourselves to a safe part of the city and rode it out. Now, things are more stable and the rioting seems to have stopped. I know some people were worried but we were never in danger.

I want to publically apologize for being a slack friend while in Bangladesh. Several quality people had birthdays that I did not even acknowledge remembering. Know that I prayed for all of you on your big days. Here are those I remembered: In August- John McG and David Ray, September- Lindsay Ray and Thama McG, October- Erin Morrow, Emily Ray and Sarah McG. So, know that you are loved and remembered.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Hard times

Things are not too easy here right now. Rachel, one of my students, is in the hospital and so is my co-leader, Matt. They have both had high fevers, muscle pains and delerium. It has been intense. The doctors think they have Dengue fever.

Unfortunately they are in different hospitals so I have been going back and forth a lot. I currently feel sick as well but I don't think it is Dengue fever. I think my haried schedule and lack of sleep has caused my sinus infection to come back. This just complicates matters. Please pray that we will get better and that Rachel and Matt can come home from the hospital.

I don't like being the only leader. Seeing Matt in the hospital brought tears to my eyes. He is a big tough man and it is so hard to see him weak. My healthy students have been a big help.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Glorious guests and glorious rests

We have guests from Maui with us right now. They are Maria, who is my boss-type person and her best friend, Holly. It has been so good for me to have them here. I am definitely emotionally exhausted. Having older but not too old, Christian women that I know here to talk to and process with has given me a feeling of relief.

Kelli has another infection and had to stay overnight in the hospital. It would have been so much harder without Maria and Holly here. I am sick with a sinus infection. Fortunately I feel a lot better than I sound. I sound like a frog going through puberty. I also have one of those coughs that startle people. I had been feeling slightly sick for almost a month and I think it was becuase my head was filling up with all the stuff I am blowing out and coughing up. That's enough bodily function talk, but I think once I am over this I will be better than I was before. The best part of the voice malfunction is that I won't be able to teach English. I like doing it but the other day I had to teach three classes with no lesson plans and one was after one minute's notice. I need an English teaching break.

Maria and Holly are treating me to a night at the Sheraton Hotel. It is very fancy and does not feel like Bangladesh. It is so nice to get away from my responsibilities for a little while. My brother left for Iraq but I haven't had much time to think about it. That is probably a good and a bad thing. Please pray for his wife. I fear I will get rambly if I continue so I am out.

Continue to pray for Kelli whose bilological mom died and Rachel whose cousin died last week.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Who needs personal space?

I just want to give you guys a glimpse into my Bangladesh life. Lately we do ministry in a town outside Dhaka. This means a bus ride that can last from half an hour to 3 hours depending on a variety of factors.

The daily bus rides are sometimes a welcome chance for me to relax and just think without having to be very responsible. Other days they are quite hellish and sometimes like today, you simply have to laugh.

In the mornings, the bus is late or crowded and often both. Today was no exception. My team crammed into every last inch of space on the bus. This is quite awkward with narrow aisles and cultural taboos about male/female contact. There two employees on the bus are the driver and a guy I like to call "the banger." The banger literally hangs halfway outside the bus and taps on the side of the bus to alert the driver when he is about to hit another bus, a random beggar or meandering water buffalo. (Those are all true sights here, even the water buffalo.) Today our banger failed and our bus sideswiped another bus. This resulted in our banger punching the driver of the other bus in the face. The crazy thing is that these buses are so battered that I would be shocked if anyone could see any new scrapes or scratches.

Back to the overcrowding- The bus today was hot, as usual and standing cheek to cheek (not talking about our faces) with a random petite Bangladeshi guy doesn't help the awkward factor. No one usually gets off until about ten minutes into the ride. Then all the fun begins! The aisle is about 3 feet wide so getting out of a departing passenger's way usually involves being in another passenger's lap for a few minutes. It is not as cool as it sounds. Then if you are lucky, within the first half hour, a seat will open up. Then, you get to be the one with someone on your lap. Today it was an unusually large Bangladeshi lady for me. I was reading a book but had to stop when her girth enveloped my entire lap. That was a fun five minutes as my students laughed at my predicament. At the same time the little Bangladeshi guy next to me kept doing the falling asleep head bob almost on my shoulder. This also provided a good show for the students seated behind me.

Instead of being annoyed and frustrated today, I chose to laugh. This made it so much better. Laughing is the correct response anyway when you have a large foreign lady all up in your personal space. These are the things I will miss when I am back in America.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sports glory

We are back in Dhaka after our week in Cox's Bazar. It was a good week for us all though we may have watched too many movies. I am a bit of a tv junkie but my students' addiction to movies on cable was astounding! I caught Katrina watching some cheesy movie called "Shark Attack" as well as "Scooby Doo2." The worst was when the boys were watching "To Kelly From Justin With Love." Fortunately, the power went out due to what I believe was divine intervention and the boys did not get to finish their cheesy American Idol film.

We started playing soccer or football as they say, with the local people in the afternoons. It was a great chance to get to know them and it was fun to see them around town and say hi. I am not particularly skilled at soccer but I like sports and I am very competitive. We played barefoot on the beach. It kills the feet but it is a lot of fun. Our team of whities played pretty well. One of the guys on the brown team had a shirt that said "Horny Devil" so that is obviously what I called him. I wonder if he knew what it meant. The best part of the experience was when I scored a goal. It felt amazing! It was so freeing! It was very much like how I felt when I was working with kids in an after-school program. I played kickball with the fourth graders and scored a homerun. It felt amazing as well!

Bangladesh feels more normal than it used to. I am definitely more comfortable here than I have been up to this point. I still miss home and people back home but I have a new sense of contentment with my circumstances. It feels good.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Best day ever for rickshaw pullers

Yesterday was a great day. I felt lighter than I have for the past month. I was able to fully concentrate on what I was doing and not on all the stuff back home or my difficulties with students.

We did a prayer walk by rickshaw. We wanted everyone to go their own ways and tour Cox's Bazar but the rickshaw pullers seemed to think we needed to stay together. Katrina and I had a young spry puller but we were stuck going one mile an hour behind Matt and Francis's old geezer. When our little guy tried to pass, he got yelled at.

The drivers took us to a Budhist temple. There are several here for refugees from Myanmar. We thought we were just getting a tour but then they tried to make us give them donations every five minutes. In one room, there were all these idols and photos of monks. The room was creepy and not well-lit. Then this super-onery looking monk came out of the shadows looking like he hated us. Spooky!

Then on our way back to the hotel, Katrina convinced our guy to break away from the pack. I was nervous since he got yelled at the last time. He took us down a nice tree-lined street and then met back up with the others. Matt and Francis's driver got really pissed at ours and came after him and pretended to punch him. It was intense. Then someone got the idea for us to pull the rickshaws. Katrina pulled mine while I road with the little driver man. Kera, Jorgen, and Drea raced back to the hotel. Jorgen won but Katrina made a valiant effort. We hope to get ten rickshaws one day so we can all race. This is a good place to do it because there is more open space and less people.

In the afternoon, we went out to the beach and played soccer with the locals. It was so much fun. We always want to do stuff with the kids on the streets but there isn't enough room in the big cities. This was ideal. Afterwards, Matt, Eric, Francis and I went into the ocean. Some people were afraid to go in but the water looks just like the water in Galveston to me so I was unafraid. The waves were fairly big but not scary like in Maui. I had to wear my complete outfit including my orna, which is like a scarf. Pretty hilarious! I had never swam in so many clothes before.

It was great to be in the ocean because that is always a place I feel close to the Big Guy. There is just something about the seemingly nerver-ending expanse of water that makes me think of eternity. It is always cathartic for me. I need to take advantage of this close proximity to the ocean as much as I can.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Luxurious Living

We are now in Cox's Bazar. This place is the pride of Bangladesh as it boasts the world's longest sea beach. It is far from beautiful by Hawaii standards but the chocolate milk colored water reminds me a lot of the Gulf of Mexico. Some people think it looks gross but for me it is like home.

Right now Matt and I are in the business center of a fancy hotel. We came here to see what it is like and check out the ammenities. It is far nicer than the hotel we are staying at. We got a full tour by the management here and I can't wait to come back and use the gym and pool!

Our trip here was originally planned as a morale booster/chill time for the team but now it will be also used to scout out possibilities for a new base here. Tonight we are starting 24 hours of prayer as we want this time to also be a time to reignite a passion for prayer as a team.

The drive here was interesting. We rode in this fancy bus called a ShoHawg. It was very nice with lots of leg room and a massage function in the chairs. I was not very impressed by the massaging as it was more like vibrating. I think I have just been spoiled by the massage chairs at Sharper Image. They had a movie on the bus but I don't speak Bengali so I didn't get too much out of it. We also got some snacks.

Our hotel here is funny. We got a really good deal. It is like $2 American per night. They gave us roses when we arrived and gave us fruit at night. The rooms have cable and the students have been glued to the movie channel. The rooms have hot water and air conditioning so there is really not much more we could ask for. This is the first time we have had either of these things.

The students were very sad to leave Chittagong but I was ready to move on. I like seeing as much of the country as possible. It was sad to leave the fun people we'd met there but I have had to say good-bye to so many cool people in the last two years that I have become somewhat calloused to it.

One random thing- Our last night in Chittagong, we were at our favorite hang-out, a fast food restaurant called Sugar Bun. As we were leaving, we saw two transvestites at one of the large windows at the front of the restaurant. One looked mad and the other looked very high on something and was wildly dancing. It was surreal to say the least since they were dressed as we were in our salwar kameez. These are the long dress like shirts, baggy pants and scarves. I have seen many trannies in my life, especially living in Montrose, but these were the strangest. I can't properly explain it but so weird!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sucks to Hartals

Before I write this I want to say that I have edited some of my previous posts for safety purposes. We are not in any big danger but I don't want to compromise the work being done here. I will try to be more vague about certain things even though that is not at all my style.

Today we were going to go talk to the Big Guy on a local lake but the government called a hartal. This is a politically motivated city-wide strike. On these days it is not safe to travel in a motorized vehicle. People will throw rocks at your windows and slash your tires. It lasts from 6am-5pm and most of the city is closed. With elections looming in the near future, we will not be taking any chances and are forcing our students to comply with the restrictions. It definitely sounds much scarier than it is. Please don't worry.

I want to list a few of the things I have seen as I have walked down the street here: a fully naked man (thankfully only from behind), cows walking in the streets, men carrying stacks of bricks on their heads, rickshaw drivers in their long skirts, people in wheelchairs rolling down the middle of the street and so much more.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Guests of Honor at a Puberty Party

Right now I am sweating profusely at an internet cafe because the power is out and apparently the generators only supply power to the computers and not the air conditioner. Oh well, power outages and sweating have become a normal part of my life these days. Whenever I feel annoyed by how much I sweat, I just look at my student, Jorgen. The poor guy becomes a human faucet pretty much everytime he steps foot outside or inside for that matter.

Last night, the girls on my team had quite the adventure. Part of our job here is to meet students at the colleges and universities and invite them to an English program where they can converse and practice with native English speakers. Whenever we go to these colleges, we are mobbed by curious, usually well-meaning students. At one college, Kera and I were given a tour by a girl named Sumona. Her English wasn't that good but she tried her best to show us around. Truthfully we only spent about 15 minutes with her.

She started calling us and texting us to come to her house for a "family program." I decided it would be good for all the girls to go. It was pretty interesting. Just getting there was nerve-racking since it was in a part of the city we had never been. I prayed a lot and we all made it there with no problem. Sumona's oldest brother spoke the best English so he met us at the street and took us to their house. The power was out so they used cell phones to light the way.

The oldest brother was able to speak English pretty well but some things weren't that clear. From what we could gather, this was some sort of Muslim puberty party for the youngest son. Instead, we were the ones treated like guests of honor. They fed us some traditional fruits-some that were terribly bitter and yogurt, which I have come to love here. It does well at taking away some of the less desirable tastes.

The family took pics of us, asked us questions, brought all their extended family and neighbors to see us, played music for us, fanned us by hand and did henna tattoos on some of our hands. It was intense. They were so nice and hospitable. They served us an incredible amount of food for dinner and we ate until we almost exploded. As we were eating, the table was surrounded by the family and their friends who were just watching us eat. I try to control my negative facial expressions as I ate a fish that looked just like it did when it was in the ocean-head and all. I hate fish and it was only by the grace of God that I got it down with a smile. The fish had tiny bones, which I swallowed as well. It was intense.

Afterwards, they presented us with a book written in Bengali that was by the composer of the India and Bangladesh National anthems. They were very proud. It was a great night though funny and awkward.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chillin' in Chittagong

We have been in Chittagong about a week and a half. Things were slow at first but they are starting to pick up more. We have been helping at an English-learning center that lets us get to know local people. The usual teacher was out of town so I taught the classes. It wasn't hard at all because they give you pretty detailed lesson plans.

The last day was hard because we woke up early and passed out flyers for the classes at Chittagong University. It was pretty hot and getting there involved an hour long hot as hell train ride. I was squished between Katrina and a random Bangladeshi girl on a seat clearly built for two. I was not looking forward to teaching but it actually turned out very well.

The students at the english center are all male and it is pretty funny to watch them "partner" with our girls in conversation. They are completely harmless but come up with some pretty funny pick-up lines. One guy told Kera that he liked how her smile made her outfit look better. Another said he didn't need to meet any celebrities because he had met Kera. One told Drea she looked like an American movie star. ANd we have had several offers to be "shown around" Bangladesh. And autograph requests.

Today we felt the team needed some bonding time. We went to an amusement park and the zoo. It was pretty funny/interesting. For less than one US dollar we entered the park and for less than one US dollar we got passes to ride all the rides. There were bumper cars, a ferris wheel, mini-rollercoaster and dry slides that were not very dry at all. They were just water slides with less water than usual. The park workers did not want to let Matt go down it because he is a big guy. He is definitely the only guy I have seen here over 300 pounds and the Bangladeshis don't know what to do with him. He and Eric argued with the workers for twenty minutes to be allowed to go on a thirty second slide. Then they got kind of stuck and traveled about 1 mile an hour while making a loud farting noise. It was hilarious!

The zoo was a treat as well. As white people, we were also a sightseeing attraction ourselves. My favorite exhibit was the terrior dog. Admist the tigers, lions, monkeys, emus, alligators and pythons was a small white dog that looked like your average house pet. How exciting! The zoo was quite ghetto and the animals looked sad and malnourished. It was quite the experience.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Speaking with the locals

I bought a book on how to speak Bengali and it has some very amusing phrases that I cannot forsee myself ever using. Some of them are:

-There are many proofs that the earth is round.
-Small boys like to eat raw mangoes
-The barber began to shave the donkey.
-Where did I put my spectacles?
-They say that stale bread is tasty.
-They beat him with sticks.
-Mix manure and earth and put it on the garden.
-Unless he gets a knife, he can't work.

I don't see how the author of the book thought these phrases would be useful. I want to learn a really random one to tell the beggars and confuse them a bit. Maybe I will say, "The barber began to shave the donkey." That one sounds nice.

We will be here during Ramadan and the political elections. It should be exciting times. I don't really know what to expect. The strikes we have seen so far have not been violent and I hope that continues to be the case.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chittagongin' It

We survived our long train ride to Chittagong from Dhaka. After much prayer, I successfully avoided using the squatty potty on the train. Squatting without a seat to go to the bathroom is bad enough without having the movements of a train, throw off your aim. No thanks.

The train station was a far more intense experience than I could possibly have imagined. We get stared at everywhere we go here because we are white and very few white people come here. This bothers the girls on my team far more than me. I think I have become good at being oblivious to my surroundings. If I concentrated on all the leering looks from men, I would probably go nuts. And when we go into the poorer yet high trafficked areas, our white skin turns into dollar signs. This is very difficult for me as I haven't figured out what I should do. Giving them money reinforces the white = money concept and sometimes giving one person food starts a riot with the twenty other beggars. I am praying about how I should be responding.

With that being said, the train station was the epitome of celebrity status for us. We had to take six mini-taxis to get all the people and stuff to the train station. We left really early to ensure getting to the train on time. We got there with about an hour and a half to spare. The place was swarming with people only interested in one thing- these fascinating people with pale skin- us!
We piled our luggage on the ground and stationed ourselves around it to thwart any would-be thieves. A crowd of at least one hundred people gathered around us very tightly. A few times security guards would push them back but after about two minutes, we were all back in our involuntary Bangladeshi group hug.

Some of the students tried to entertain them with guitar playing and basic English lessons but it was clear that this was not what the people came for. And they seemed more mob-like. The best strategy seemed to be to guard the stuff and pray that the train would come soon. It was crazy and I definitely felt like the situation was out of my control. This is an especially bad feeling when you are the one responsible for eight other people. For the first time I really felt like hitting anyone in sight. Thankfully I refrained. We got on the train and all was fine.

Chittagong seems nicer than Dhaka. There are more trees and the buildings seem a bit nicer. Matt and I were nervous about our inability to firm up some things with our contacts but things are turning out fine. We got hooked up with some rooms at this AOG church and the pastor has been super helpful. Things are falling into place.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Teaching English in the slums

I never seem to have enough internet time to get everything done. Here's what I have time to write:

We are spending a few more days in Dhaka before leaving for Chittagong on Sunday. We got to work with a ministry in the slum area here. The slums we went to in Thailand were like the AMerican suburbs compared to this place. Some people worked in the clinic there, others the day care and I taught six English classes.

I was always jealous of people who could lead worship and felt my own gifts were not as beneficial. Teaching comes so easy to me and I forget that it doesn't for many people. I need to not take that gift so lightly.

The power goes out here everyday. The worst time is a few hours before I go to sleep because it is too dark and hot to do anything but just be bored. It is usually out for around an hour. THe people across the street have a generator, which causes me to covet.

Yesterday I used my first squatty potty. in Thailand, many places gave you a choice of toilets. I don't know who would want to squat when they can sit. I had managed to hold it until I got to a western toilet all times before that. It was not as bad as I thought. I think this was a nice one. It was good to get my first one out of the way since there are surely more to come.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bangladesh is Pretty Nuts

I have arrived safely in Bangladesh. Matt told me the country was random and crazy and he was right.

It became real to me that we were actually going when they started serving the meal on the plane from Thailand to Bangladesh. It was a choice of chicken or lamb with curry and unidentifiable vegetables. We were also separated on the plane so I was only sitting with one of my students instead of the whole group as we had been.

We got to Dhaka and it was quite different than Thailand. Thailand is much more like America than Bangladesh is. I have been presently surprised by the amount of English writing on signs around town. It makes things easier. All the educated high society people seem to speak English, which is nice.

The place we are staying is very nice- a lot nicer than where I lived in Maui. We even have a tv. We had been quoting lines from Kindergarten Cop for the last two weeks and I was aching to see it. Today it came on tv. So sweet! I think it was no coincidence. The Lord knew I needed to hear the lines, "I don't want to be a policeman, I want to be a princess!" Priceless.

We have been here only a day and a half so we are just getting acclimated to our surroundings. We had to get clothes right away. We wear these things called- Sala Kameez. It is a long shirt/dress thing with matching pants. The most important part is a scarf that covers your boobs, called an ulna. Despite being fully covered, without an ulna, you are pretty much topless. It takes so getting used to for sure.

The culture here is very different and all of us are suffering from varying degrees of homesickness and culture shock. I am doing okay right now but I can forsee getting sad sometimes during the two and a half months. I did get to see Lindsay Lieser, one of my favorite students from the last team Matt took to Bangladesh. She is pretty much my hero as she has committed to being here in Bangladesh for a year.

It is so nice that Matt has already been here. It makes stuff so much easier. He makes sure the drivers of the mini-taxis and rickshaws don't rip us off. It is pretty obvious that they, along with the beggars, see dollar signs when they look at our white skin. People stare at us quite a bit. It really doesn't bother me too much but it is really getting to some of the students.

The traffic here is the craziest I have ever seen. We thought Thailand was bad but it was nothing. THe sides of all the buses are all banged up from being hit so much. There are lanes but no one seems to care. I pray a lot as we travel.

Overall, Bangladesh is weird but good. We meet with our contact tomorrow to discuss the overall outreach more. That should be good for all of us.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thai Massage

I had never had a professional massage until just the other day. I heard how cheap they are here and was determined to give it a go. There is a place right by the YWAM base that charged 200 bhat an hour (about five dollars). How could I pass this up? Matt took the boys on our team the day before so I decided to take the girls.

The ladies could not speak much English but they spoke enough to make us understand that our guys had made quite the impression on them. Apparently they had Matt take off his shirt and were quite amazed by his girth. The Thais are a small people. And they had giant crushes on Eric.

The massage was good but a bit odd. They do a lot with pressure points and use their elbows and feet to massage in addition to their hands. They also massaged my butt, which can't help but be awkward.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A little bit longer this time

I know I just wrote yesterday but my time got cut short and Matt and I had to come to the internet place to email our contacts in Bangladesh. My post yesterday was painful short and undescriptive and I hope to rectify the situation now.

Yesterday we went to this giant market for our day off. Ashley, who is leading the nepal team, had told me about this place from her previous visits to Thailand. It was much crazier than I could ever imagine. It is a giant maze of shops and booths. It is very hot and very crowded and very AWeSOme! We spent about six hours there and probably saw about one fourth of what it had to offer. There was a pet section that had to be seen to believe. My favorite things in that section were the chipmunks they had for sale. They were wearing little leashes and sitting on top of their cages. To be perfectly honest, they kind of scared me. i felt that they might leap onto me at any moment. My experience with squirrels and the like has been that they are skittish and unpredictable- not the best pet. My friend, Todd, was much braver than I and actually picked one up. He didn't get to hold the one he wanted. That one was wearing a little beret. That's right- one of those floppy french hats was perched on a chipmunk's tiny head. But much to Todd's dismay, the fancy chipmunk was tied down and could not be cuddled. Todd had to settle for holding a much less fashionable rodent.

I bought a decent amount of stuff but nothing above $15. If you like to shop, Thailand is a great place. Besides shopping, we have gotten to do some ministry in addition to hearing lectures. We went to the prostitute area of bangkok. It was so hard to feel compassion for all the older white guys there. We walked around and prayed for the girls and the guys who were using them. I wanted to talk with the girls but the translator we came with was really nervous and uncomfortable. She is a strikingly beautiful Thai girl and the lustful men look at her as a possible purchase. In order to protect her, I just treated her to Pizza Hut. Thai people love pizza. Little do they know that their pizza pales in comparison to the United States. it tasted like a slightly fishy tomato sauce with weird cheese and meat on a saltine cracker. And they serve ketchup on the table. Strange!

Things are going well but I am getting anxious to go to Bangladesh and get things started. i will definitely miss the nepal team while we are apart, though. I love those guys.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Experiencing Thailand

I have been in Thailand for almost a week now. The purpose of this time is to be a kind of "pre-outreach." The students have lectures and ministry times. They are getting used to a new culture and we as staff still have other YWAM Maui people to help us deal with stuff. Unlike a lot of leaders, we have already had to deal with a lot of CRAZY stuff on our own while our school leader was gone.

We went on a tour of the Budhist temples here. There are many really famous ones in Bangkok.
I thought it would be fun and I could take funny pics of me pretending to hug Budha statues but it was a lot harder than I thought. I found it interesting but also really sad to see all the ways people were trying to earn God's love when He wants to give it to them freely.

I am really bad at learning the language. My student, Kelli is really into it. But instead of saying How are you, she said May I fart. Haha.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I am in Thailand (How about that for an original title?)

I have now experienced Asia. After an abnormal amount of flying and chillin in chilly airports, I am finally here. The flying actually was not too bad. It sure beat the packing beforehand. I procrastinated so much that I only got two hours of sleep before we left. In fact, I am still quite tired. I slept on most of the flights. Each time I woke up it was like taking sleeping pills and waking up after only a few hours. I was in quite the fog. Most of my companions were in the same shape. We had a long layover in Taipei and almost all the students slept on ledges and the floor by the gate. When we first got to the gate, there was no one there but when they were waking up the area was brimming with Asians. It was quite fun to watch them emerge from their sleepy caves made from "borrowed" airline blankets. Their expressions were priceless.

Thailand is cool so far. It actually reminds me more of home than Maui. This is mainly because of the extensive freeway system. There are a decent number of things in English and we are all practicing our Thai. I am not very good at it. I like saying English words and adding the word, "kah" at the end. That is what you do if you are a woman. The guys say a word that sounds like crap at the end of everything they say. PRetty sweet. This place also reminds me a bit of Mexico. THe place we are staying is right across from the biggest university in the nation. I though UT was big with 50,000 but this one has about 600,000. I guess we should start saying Everything is bigger in Thailand!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Synopsis of Craziness

I haven't written in a little bit because things have been so crazy. I wasn't sure how to explain what has gone on. I tend to include too many details so I will try to consdense this as much as possible. I am also getting tired of talking about it.

Last Thursday started out with all but one of the girls being late to lecture. Not good. Then we had a prayer time and one student ran out after getting upset at another student. Definitely out of the ordinary! Later it became apparent that one of our student's had had a very serious mental break with reality. She had been sharing some strange "visions" with the other students throughout the DTS. They didn't tell us so we were clueless. Well, she essentially went crazy. I believe there may have been some spiritual aspect to it but there was definitely something psychological going on as well.

We questioned her through lunch about some rules she had broken but she was unresponsive except for yelling at another leader at one point. We had to involve our base director. To make a long story short, then she ran away. I was so afraid she was going to hurt herself. With such eratic behavior, I did not know what to expect. She ran down Hana Hwy and I chased her. It was so much like a movie. Unfortunately I was not dressed for the occasion. I would have killed for tennis shoes and a sports bra instead of sandals, my bathing suit, skirt and tank top. But alas, when chasing a student who has gone crazy, there is not much time for wardrobe changes. As I ran, I just prayed that I could catch her and that she would not run in front of a car. It must have looked hilarious to anyone driving by. There was a little Korean girl running from a girl dressed for the beach(me), followed by a giant red-headed guy(matt) and then followed by two small people, (Ashley and Josh- her leaders)

My working out paid off and I caught up to her as she tried to hide in a sugar cane field. As I was walking her back, she passed out and because of a lady who stopped to help, we ended up calling an ambulance to pick her up. The emergency room evaluated her and recommended that she see a psychiatrist the next day. Her behavior became stranger and stranger. We had to isolate her from the other students as her behavior might upset them. Someone had to "babysit" her at all times. It was pretty intense. She gave long diatribes about how she wasn't crazy. This is pretty scary. She at one point said she was "channeling" another student and tried to convince us that she was that student. So weird! We booked her on a flight home the night after her big chase. She actually escaped once more before getting to the airport but another student caught her.

Now she is back with her family, pastor and counselor. They are working with her and I pray that they can help her. It was too much for us to handle especially so close to leaving for outreach. So, now the Nepal team is down one member and actually we lost another member in the process. One of our students made some very poor choices in the midst of all this drama and proved himself less trustworthy and forthright than we had hoped. He will not be coming to Bangladesh but the base is letting him be a mission builder and then attend the next DTS. I am glad because he is an awesome guy but he is a new Christian and needs more discipleship before he can handle Bangladesh.

Our base director, Tom, was a saint throughout all of this. He is one of the most upright and godly men I have ever met. He brought us fried chicken when we were interrogating through lunch time. He even personally walked the student to her gate at the airport and made sure she got on the plane. Without his support, I don't know how we would have done it. I would give that man my first born.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Money, Money, Money

I realized today that I forgot to write about some fun and amazing things that happened on base with regards to the money students still need to go on outreach. So, here it goes:

On Thursday night Maria wrote the amounts that students still needed to go on outreach. Then she had all the students and staff pray about whether or not we were supposed to give money to one of the people and how much. It was cool to see the students step up and give about $6000 total. After each pledge was made, we changed the students' totals on the board. One student came to me because she had received a lot more than she needed and was trying to figure out who God wanted to give it to. I prayed with her and she came to a decision. The girl she had decided to give the money to was not in the room when we changed her amount owed. It went from about $1900 to $221! I was getting really anxious to see the girl come back. I watched her as she looked at her new total in disbelief. It was priceless!

There were still a lot of students who needed money even after so much was given. Maria initiated another giving time at base worship on Friday morning. Kelli needed over $2000 for her outreach and really doubted that God was going to make it happen. This time I got to be the one who read the little slips of paper with people's pledges on them. Someone gave Kelli $200 and then I read one that said- "I want to pay for Kelli's outreach." So awesome! It was with much excitement that I wrote PAID! next to Kelli's name. She totally started crying.

Another really cool thing happened. There is a hippie family in town with a five-year-old son and an infant son. They came to worship and during the giving time, the little boy (whose name is Collie Love), came up to me and put $6 in my hand. It totally reminded me of the story in the Bible about the widow who gave her last mite. $6 is a much bigger deal when it comes from a family whose only place of residence is the local beach. Powerful.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My weekend at a glance

This weekend has been very chill so far. Last night we finally had our team dinner, which was postponed when we had to take our "cook" to the emergensy room. For more details, see last posting. It was a very fun time with my team. Our team is random, loud and quite hilarious. Some of the students from the Nepal team told me that during their team meetings, they sometimes just sit and wonder what we might be doing. Our team's rambuctious, free-spirited nature is fun except when I am trying to maintain some kind of order. For the dinner, I didn't even try to make them settle down and just enjoyed the ride.

On Thursday, our team had a little photo shoot and Abbey followed us around and took pictures. I thought it was pretty fun but the students' reactions varied. Some could have posed all day and some were over it after the first 10 pictures. I wanted to take a lot because the odds of getting a picture where 12 people all look good are pretty slim. I have posted the shots on my website, if you want to check them out- www.ywamconnect.com/sites/hightower

Back to last night-after our team family dinner, I hung out with Abbey and Bethany. We created a MySpace for Abbey that is pretty stinkin' funny. Almost all of it is a big joke. And today she had all these messages from crazy weird men. The best included a picture of one of the crazy men stretching awkwardly in tight biker shorts. So funny! I don't see how a guy like tha can stay single.

I ended my evening watching the movie, Brokedown Palace. It is about two girls getting wrongly imprisoned in Thailand. It was cool to watch knowing I would be going there in only two weeks. My friends I watched it with had already been to Thailand so they told me which sights in the movie I would get to see in real life.

Then we watched this DVD that this random old guy, Jerry gave Matt. It was of him doing all these weird karate-like moves and using medieval weapons resembling pitch forks and giant butter knives. This stuff was PRICELESS!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Back to the Emergency Room

Well friends, in case the meaning behind this title eluded you, I visited the Emergency Room again today. The joys of being a leader! Actually it was not too bad. Francis, our Swiss team member, cut his foot and it got infected. It was looking pretty gruesome and was bloated like the foot of a 600=lb man, which he is not. For some reason, Maui is a breeding ground for staph infections. There are very few people on staff who have not had one or the boils that often accompany staph. Luckily my mom has told me that I am not boil people. I hope that holds true because these things get pretty gnarly.

Anyway, enough about boil people and back to Francis- so, he was supposed to cook dinner for our team tonight and we were going to have a bonding family-style dinner. His alarmingly swollen foot put a stop to that and Matt, our student-Eric, and I took him to the emergency room. It was not a dire emergency but since he is Swiss, his insurance only works at the emergency room.

The emergency room is painful and fascinating. I always wonder exactly why people are in there but you can't just ask everyone who comes in. We met a nice Christian college kid and his mom. The guy had some severely swollen tonsils. We also met a strange man who seemed high and homeless. He had clearly had a rough night and a rough life. He showed us scars from knife wounds and told us stories of being shot. He looked like he had been in a fight but said he cut his head after having a seizure.

Francis got treated, got a perscription and will need to go back in a few days. Apparently he has cellulitis, probably caused by staph. The whole process took four hours but it wasn't too bad with Eric and Matt to talk to. It was especially good for me to get more time to talk with Eric. I spend most of my time with the girls on my team so I haven't been able to get to know my guys as well.

Now I am about to go to sleep. When I came home, all the junk on my bed had been cleared away and there was an encouraging note on my pillow from my team. Not too shabby! It was a much better ending than when we brought poor Emily home with a broken ankle and she puked all over the place as Matt carried her into the living room.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Handful of Cheerios

This weekend has been really good. I have done stuff but also relaxed a bit. I went running and walking a few times. It is harder to motivate myself without Amy to take me to the gym. I am trying, though. On Friday night, I watched Dave Chappelle's Block Party with Bethany and my student, Kelli.

On Saturday I had coffee with Matt so we could talk about our team. Then Abbey and I went tanning in front of Mama's Fish House- this super-expensive restaurant I will probably never eat at. The beach there is really nice even though the weather wasn't. It would be cloudy and windy one minute and painfully scorching hot the next minute. Maui has a lot of this bipolar weather.

At night I went over to my friend, Kristy's place. She cooked me dinner and we hung out. It was nice to be in a non-YWAM house. After that we went down the street to her parents' house for ice cream. Kristy had been watching their dog, Rascal and when we brought her over, Kristy's mom asked, "Did you feed her?" Kristy told her that she had given her a handful of cheerios. Kristy's mom was appalled and asked, "And now you are giving her dessert?" It seemed weird to me that she would care so much about the dog eating dinner vs. dessert. Then we realized that Kristy's mom was talking about me and not the dog. She thought Kristy was talking about me and that Kristy had only given me a handful of cheerios for dinner. Pretty funny.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

And then there were 10

I definitely feel that there is never a dull moment here. Just about every day I have to confront someone on something or make a big decision about something. It is intense. Sometimes I wish all I had to do was disciple my girls. For you non-Christians, that is teaching and helping people to mature in their faith.

I have never really been discipled myself until now. Our school director, Maria, pushes us out all the time. She definitely makes me get out of my comfort zone. I really enjoy pouring into my girls. It is hard work but a lot of fun. This seems like something that comes natural to me, which makes it even better.

One of my girls will not be coming on outreach. She broke her ankle last Sunday at a hotel pool. This resulted in me and Matt staying in the emergency room until 2:30 am. It really felt like we were her parents. Some people say co-leading a DTS is like a marriage without the sex. THat is probably fairly accurate. So, we as a staff have decided that primarily because of the broken ankle but also for other reasons that she will not come to Bangladesh. It has been a hard decision but every day something seems to happen to confirm it. She flies home on Monday. I am going to miss her but I really think this is for the best.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Falling and Bawling

This week has been just plain crazy! There are so many things that happened that I won't be able to write them all down. I will try to hit some of the high and low points.

I, along with my fellow DTS staffers, decided to fast this week and pray together for the students at times we would normally be chowing down. I decided I would fast for a week. My friend, Abbey, advised against this since before this, my longest fast was 24 hours. I am stubborn and since I would be drinking juice in addition to water, I would be fine. The first two days weren't too bad. I had a constant headache and my sense of smell was heightened. Going to Costco was slightly painful with the smell of pizza permeating the entire store and samples at the end of each aisle.

Amy, my best friend here, left to go home for a wedding this past Sunday and I won't get to see her again until I see her in Bangladesh three months from now. She is so important to me and there were definitely some tears when she left. Little did I know, that was just the start of the large amount of crying I did this week.

On Monday, we had our staff meeting that we have every other Monday. These meetings have become hard for me to take. As DTS staff, we don't get much time to ourselves and one of our times off is Monday afternoons. The ending times of these meetings vary greatly and it is hard for me not to think of my free afternoon slipping away as the meeting goes longer and longer.

Before the meeting started, our fearless DTS school leader, Maria announced that we, along with our students would be reading through the New Testament on Wednesday into the night, therefore taking away the usual night off for staff and students. This was too much for my emotional, food-deprived body to handle. Also earlier that day we had a meeting to talk about who on our team would be going on outreach and who wouldn't. I really don't want to tell anyone that they're not ready and can't go. So, after my night off is stripped from me, my right eye starts tearing up. It is everything I have not to start bawling during our staff meeting. Unfortunately the seating for the meeting is a big circle of chairs so all my friends can see my very obvious "about to have a breakdown" look. Our base director had me and my fellow DTS staffers come in the middle and the rest of the staff prayed for us. It was so good. We really needed it and I bawled.

After the meeting, I just wanted to run to my room so I could finally cry in private for the two hours I had till I had to be at night lecture. But Maria stopped us and made us meet again. That fact alone almost made me lose it. I don't even remember what she was talking about and then she said a few magic words- "Liz, take the night off." This made me bawl the hardest. I was just so exhausted.

Then on Wednesday-Day 3 of my fasting, we were doing the dreaded all-day New Testament reading. It wasn't actually as bad as I thought. We only got through the gospels but it was cool to see the disciples' different points of view and how it all fit together. In the morning, I had drank plenty of juice and water but I felt weird. I went to the bathroom and as I was locking the door, I got a head rush. Then I felt like I had a full dream and I found myself sitting on the floor with my back against the door and my head hurt slightly like I had hit it. I didn't know how long I was out but none of the students said anything when I came out so it musn't have been too long or loud. I decided at that point to break my fast for health reasons. Pretty weird.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A summary of my time in Colorado

I have been back from visiting my brother in Colorado for about a week but I haven't had much blogging time. Here's what happened:

I had a few goals in mind:
-obviously to spend time with my brother and his wife
-to go shopping at a mall since we have such a limited selection of stores here
-play disc golf
-go to Sonic (for some unknown reason they do not exist here)
-watch cable tv

Thankfully I got to reach all of my goals and also got to play laser tag and ride go-karts. I also got to eat at Pei Wei, eat lots of fresh berries and have my sister-in-law's delicious homeade lasagna. I took pictures of me wearing Andrew's army gear. The army has changed their camo to this graph/ pixilated looking stuff. It is pretty cool. There was some good quality time with my brother. I thought I was going to get really upset since this was the last time I was going to see him for at least 14 months and he'll be in Iraq for a year of it.

When I left we hugged and told each other, "I love you." I took a set of his dog tags that I am going to keep with me as a reminder to pray for him and Shella. I feel like I am suppressing my emotions about this whole situation but I don't know how to fix this. Hopefully I don't freak out in Bangladesh.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mainland is Good

I am writing this from Colorado! Yay! I am hanging out with Andrew and Shella and watching cable. Does it get any better than this? We went to a mall and played disc golf already- two of my main goals. The flights went better than any I have been on in a long time.

My first flight was overnight to Phoenix. I was a bit nervous because I normally try to get a window seat so I can at least lean against the window and sleep. I even brought the pillow from my bed for maximum sleeping. Now that I had an aisle seat, I was afraid I'd have to lay my head down on a stranger's lap in order to get the much needed sleep. The plane was getting really full but the two seats next to me remained empty. I tried not to get my hopes up. Then they closed the door and I knew that my wildest dreams had come true. I had three seats to myself despite almost every other seat being occupied. And then I found a brand-new US magazine (trashy celebrity gossip) in the seat pocket in front of me. I thanked God for these wonderful blessings.

I slept until Phoenix and then then barely had to wait at all for my next flight to Denver, which I slept through as well. Sa-weet! Then we went to a mall in Denver. We were thinking of eating at Cheesecake Factory and I noticed a Toni and Guy salon across from it. After a double take, I realized that one of the hairdressers was Michael Berman, a guy I did my DTS with in Maui. I knew he lived in Colorado and did hair but I had no idea where. How random is that! I had a short convo with him and let him resume his haircut.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Amy Kirk Weight Loss Program

I have started trying to become more healthy/ get in better shape. Amy used to train for fitness shows with a personal trainer so she knows how to train me with weights at the gym. And lately I have decided to be more careful about what I eat. I try to make good eating decisions all week until Saturday, glorious Saturday when I get to eat whatever I want. How I love cheat day! No guilt. Yesterday I began my day with gummy bears and a doughnut.

People say I look like I have lost weight although the scale says the same thing it has for a while. That's why I hate scales. Anyway, I think the perceived change in my appearance is because I am exchanging fat for muscle. Either that or there is a base-wide conspiracy to butter me up for some reason.

Right now on base, there is a group of Amy followers. Amy is my best friend here so our relationship is different. But a bunch of people on base see her as this diet/ fitness guru. It's pretty funny. Currently Amy has gone back on her fitness show training meal plan in order to fit into an awkwardly styled blue bridesmaid dress she is wearing in her best friend's wedding. She believes losing weight will make the dress look less awkward. I happen to think the dress will look weird no matter what.

Anyway, several girls on base are following this meal plan now too. I personally can't handle it. It is a very planned and regimented diet with lots of cottage cheese, salads and tuna. I get slightly depressed when I have no say in what I eat. Anyone who has gone to a convience store with me on a road trip can attest to my unpredictable taste in snacks. For my own morale's sake, this strict choice-less plan is not for me. The other girls seem pretty into it and Amy is constantly fielding questions like "How many grapes can I have in my tuna?" or "Can I substitute oatmeal for the morning protein shake?" It is pretty amusing to me. Amy should start charging for the use of her diet consultation services. She could have her own line of pre-packaged mini-meals and create a line of lulu lemon workout gear. (A Canadian brand she constantly sports)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bye bye Katie

So, my life is hectic! I know I say that a lot but it is. Katie H can attest to that! I am sad that I didn't get to spend as much time with her as I would have liked. When we scheduled her visit, I hadn't started DTS staffing so I didn't know what my time would be like. I got to spend a little time with her but a majority of her time was spent with "babysitters." I hooked her up (not that kind of hook-up) with various friends of mine with less crazy schedules. She went with Abbey to Hana, the beach with Bethany and to the gym several times with Amy. Katie was so good and didn't make me feel guilty for not having a lot of time for her. She was super-flexible and made some new friends.

I got really stressed out when I wasn't allowed to take her to the airport because we had a coffee night with the returning teams. I even started crying. Amy took her for me, which was nice. Almost every night I have had something I have to do. Next week is New Hearts week. This is the most intense week, as the students deal with emotional issues. And right after that, I get to see Andrew for about 48 hours. That's better than nothing.

I think this post may have sounded negative but I am really happy. I know this is where God wants me. I just have to stop trying to do things myself and surrender myself to God. It is easier said than done.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Weekend Adventures

I feel like life is just going non-stop these days. I have had an ear infection for a week and a half and I think that may be contributing to my moodiness. Tomorrow I am going to try to get a doctor's appt. Despite my busyness, I did have fun this weekend. I got to talk to some of my favorite people from the mainland, which is always a bonus.

On Friday afternoon, I decided to take Katie hiking since I had sort of neglected her because of my busy schedule. I took her to the Bamboo Forest. I was concerned that I would not be able to find it since my memory of it was that the entrance was just a random opening in the brush on the side of the road. Well, I found the entrance just fine but my memory definitely failed me when I got on the trail. Looking back, I think we probably spent about five minutes on the actual trail before we got hideously lost. We joked around for a bit about our free-style hiking. We climbed over and under "jungle gyms" made of giant gnarled tree limbs. We could not find the trail again and after several hours of being lost but okay about it, we were no longer feeling so good. We could hear cars through the brush and decided we should head towards that noise even though we could not really see where we would be ending up. I did not realize that we were basically setting ourselves up to scale a cliff. In an example of amazing fortitude, I managed to reach the top and I ended up on the road. Katie was not blessed in the height department and did not make it to the top. So, I was next to the car without keys wondering if Katie was going to make it out alive. I finally decided to head to the river to see if I could find her. Luckily I found her and we made it out alive. Katie came out alive but covered in mosquito bites. Her legs look like she has a severe case of chicken pox. Amazing!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I love baptisms!

Yesterday we had baptisms at the beach for the students who wanted to. Some had been baptized as children or infants and wanted to recommit. A few were being baptized for the first time. I have recently started becoming emotional about spiritual experiences. An example is when our student's dad became a Christian and we were supposed to cheer. All I could do was cry.

Matt and I were supposed to go out in the water with the students from our team who wanted to be baptized. Our speaker for the week, Waxer, is a pastor and he did the actual baptizing. It was cool because he had the students tell how they know they are a Christian and then say a short prayer. I felt lucky to be a part of it. One of our students can be pretty stubborn at times. I, too, can be very stubborn so I can relate. Anyway, his prayer was so sweet and sincere that it made me cry.

Ashley and I went out in the water for Tammy, one of our mission builders. We came along with her husband. She only recently became a Christian. Even when we were walking out there, Ashley and I both started tearing up. Her prayer was so beautiful and sincere.

The funny part of the whole thing was that the waves kept getting bigger as we were out there. People were getting kind of "pre-baptized" by the waves. Overall, it was a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Now the students know I am going to Bangladesh with Matt

My free moments feel like gifts these days. I never know when to expect these free times and sometimes they are taken away from me when I do expect them. Last night, I had a long talk with a student, which is a great thing but it makes me tired the next day. Being DTS staff is more intense than I thought. I feel such a burden for these girls and I know it will be very hard for me if they don't succeed. God has given me a heart for them.

Today we announced who is on what team. I am excited that they finally know. It took longer to figure out teams than I thought it would. We had already tried to figure out between ourselves who we wanted on our team and I think that screwed me over. There was one girl I felt a connection with that I didn't get on my team. That was a bit disappointing. I know that I can still talk to her here and be there for her. I am excited to get to know my six girls and let them get to know me.

My friend, Katie, comes tonight. I am excited but I am nervous about finding enough time to spend with her. She is pretty laidback and she's renting a car so it should be good. She likes to work-out and so does Amy so they can be buddies.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Back to Civilization

I think this may be the longest blog drought in my blogging history. Part of this was the fact that I spent four days in the woods away from civilization and my computer. I have become very busy lately but that's no excuse for blog slacking.

The camping trip went well. It was much easier to be the staff that knew what was going on than being a student who had no clue or control over what was going on. I managed to not poop in a hole though my body was ready the moment I stepped foot in a place with a real toilet. I didn't smell as bad as I thought I would. Using men's deodorant before we left and swimming in the river helped, I think. We were not as organized as I would have liked and as staff, frequently found ourselves scrambling to get water for our endless meals of Ramen noodles. It all turned out okay and the students were in the dark anyway.

My favorite time of the trip was testimony time. Most of the students' applications didn't include all the crazy stuff they had done or that had been done to them. Between just the 12 girls; three had been raped, one had an abortion, one had a miscarriage, one smoked crack, another was forced by her mother to prostitute herself for drugs, two have been arrested, one used to be a lesbian, several had suffered from depression and a few attempted suicide, one of their moms is in jail for a few years and her dad is in for life, one suffers from an anxiety disorder, many had overused drugs and alcohol, and several had sex in high school with the guy they mistakenly thought was "the one." It is crazy that they have been through so much considering that most of them are eighteen and right out of high school. It is cool to see how the Lord has brought them through all that and redeemed them.

I am at a real place of contentment right now. I still miss people from home but I don't think about it very much at all. I am focused on my task at hand- discipling these girls and watching them grow in their relationship with the Lord. I can't wait to find out which ones are on my team.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Goodbye Deodorant. You'll be sorely missed.

So, all the students are here and life is HECTIC! It is good but crazy. We have been to the airport SO MANY times! Yesterday was the second day of our airport marathon. The first day was not as bad but the second day was intense. We picked up 18 of our students at the airport in just a few days. At YWAM Maui, we like to play pranks on some of our students when they get here. They are already feeling awkward and insecure about who is going to pick her up at the airport and about coming out here. We didn't do pranks on all of them. At the end, we were just over it but here are the ones we did:

Josh got a inflatable shamu/ free willy type whale and pretended to be an incoming student. He "arrived" with the whale perched under his arm. We decided it would be the most funny if no one mentioned the whale. The poor student was just confused and never asked about it.

Josh also dressed as a eighties-esque ping pong champ student. I think he just liked wearing the short shorts. Ashley and I pulled off a pretty good prank. I dressed like a skater and acted depressed. Ashley dressed fancy and acted snobby. We pretended to be students and I just bashed Ashley the whole way, asking her if she was going to take her Louis Vitton bag on outreach and saying pretty much everything she did or said during the ride home was stupid. Our real student totally fell for it and kept opening her mouth in shock at my rude comments.

We also had Amy and Jess pretend to be work-out obsessed students who demanded to be taken to the gym upon "arrival to Maui." They started doing a work-out routine in the van on the way to the gym as well. The poor student in the van was very confused. Then Matt, Ashley and I became delirious from too many air port pick-ups and started acting almost drunk. It was pretty funny.

I am so over the airport right now. We did manage to make a little money by returning those airport carts for a quarter a piece. hey, we are missionaries. We've got to make any money we can.

Tonight is our big opening night where the students get leied, get snacks and are properly welcomed to the base. Then the students get a cruel surprise when they learn that they must wake up early and go on an unexpected camping trip. It is four days and three nights out in the woods. They can't bring much and will be wearing the same clothes for four days. This includes me. My biggest issue is no deodorant. I hate B.O. and I especially hate it when it is me and not some random hippie who has it. I am going to smear it all over my shirt in the morning so maybe it will last. Not likely, though. I am excited because Amy is going. I am also excited to see how the students handle this. I won't have my cell phone again until Wed, so don't think I hate you when I don't return your calls.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The number of students is increasing and my free time is decreasing

Today we picked up our first students from the airport. We actually already had two guys here but we have known them from before so the students that came today made it really feel like it is all starting. A YWAM Maui tradition is to play pranks on our unsuspecting students. They are already confused and a bit insecure when they get here so we like to capitalize on that fact.

Today we picked up one guy and had Matt wait on the road by the airport to play a hippie hitchhiker. He said his name was Zerg and spouted New Age beliefs. I didn't think it was that believable but the kid we picked up thought his act was real. Sucker!

Then we picked up a girl today and had Josh at the airport pretending to be a student as well. He appeared holding a large inflatable Free Willy/Shamu style inflatable whale. He acted slightly odd but the best part was that he said nothing of this random whale he supposed brought (fully inflated, mind you) from home. We didn't mention the whale either even as he was cramming it into the back of the van. At the end of the ride, we revealed his identity to the girl student. She had been so wierded out by this "fellow student" that she hadn't said a word to him on the ride to the base.

Today I really wanted to work out and I thought I had an appropriate time window. The girl's plane was delayed and I had a meeting at night so I didn't get to go. I am going to have to get use to this extreme decrease in free time. I may have to get up earlier (I know you are making shocked faces or are gasping in disbelief) to get my work out in. I am pretty much addicted to working out these days and I have few other options.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ending the Blog Drought

Wow, I have been quite the blog slacker without even realizing it. Most of my time has been spent getting ready for the DTS students to come. I have been reading 1 Samuel lately. It is definitely one of my favorite books of the old Testament. I recently read the part where the Lord calls Saul to be king. Even though as far as physical stature goes, Saul, is the obvious choice, he is scared. When it comes time to announce the next king, Saul is nowhere to be found. It turns out he is hiding in the luggage. He is about to be named king and he is hiding.

I feel like that sometimes with responsibility. I get nervous or feel I am not up to the task. At those times, hiding in the luggage sounds like a great idea. I am excited about being a DTS leader but as the students start arriving (starting tomorrow), I am tempted to hide. I obviously won't and I think this experience will be great but it is a lot more responsibility than I have had in a long time. At least when I feel this weak, I know it can only be God getting the job done.

I got a three-day weekend this weekend. It was a nice little vacation before the chaos begins. There were some swiss people staying on base and we took them to Kihei. Our group was too big to hitch together so we split up. The other people got a normal ride from a French tourist while my group ended up with a car full of people drinking and smoking pot. What luck! Then we all got a ride together in a wind surfing van. In Kihei, I got to see Cherish and Laura, my friends from my DTS. It was good times. With DTS people, you can just pick up like no time has passed. It is the same way with camp friends and I just love those kind of friends.

On the way back from Kihei we all got a hitch back together in the back of a pick-up truck. It was great because we hadn't even really been trying to get picked up yet and then the guy took us all the way home. Pretty sweet!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Media Reprieve

I was under the impression that I would be starting a media fast today. It turns out that is not the case. We will be doing some form of media fast each week. This Wednesday and Thursday I can't listen to music or read books or magazines. Then another week, I have a two day computer fast and another couple day span I have to give up all media AND (longing sigh) my cell phone. This one will be the hardest for me. I love my cell phone. Luckily this one won't occur until next month. I will let you guys know when I have those particular days of mourning.

This lady donated a trampoline to our base and Amy and I have been trying to put it together. Unfortunately we are not as mechanically inclined or strong (despite obsessive working out) as boys so the process has come to a standstill until we find willing boys. We have to keep the whole operation on the down low since the leadership team will likely deem it a liability and try to take it away. BY being covert, we should get in at least a couple weeks of jumping. Although, our friends may rat us out when they keep seeing our heads appear above the hedge.

Everyday I have a new opinion about my car. I am back to the idea of fixing it but I am still not sure. We'll see.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bye Bye Media

Starting tomorrow my DTS school leader is making us have a three day media fast. This means we can't watch movies or tv, listen to music, read magazines or non-Christian books or use the computer/the internet. It is only for three days but I think it will be tough. I am sure it will be good for me to focus instead of distracting myself with my toys. So, I won't be answering emails for the next few days. Luckily I can still use my cell phone.

This weekend I went to another baby shower. This was for another one of the base wives, Libby. This will be their first, so it is really exciting. I won another shower game. I am getting the hang of the baby shower circuit. This game was where you divide into teams of two and write down a boy and girl name for each letter of the alphabet. The mom to be picks her favorite. Amy was obviously my partner and we spanked the competion. We were rewarded with earrings.

Amy and I have discovered that praying before hitching is beneficial. Since we started praying, we haven't gotten any pot smoking, alcohol drinking, acid dropping, leering, speeding, used to be incarcerated rides.

Last night I learned an important lesson. I drank an energy drink last night so I was afraid I wouldn't be able to fall asleep. I decided to counteract the effects of the caffeine by taking two benedryls. This was not smart. I went to bed around 1:30am and had to wake up at 8 for church. I woke up feeling dizzy and almost fell out of bed. I felt like I was still asleep. I was in a fog until some intense napping after church. I felt I could sleep forever.

Friday, May 19, 2006

So, I am definitely going to the big Bang!

I just realized that I haven't written in my blog in a while. There is no excuse for this.
I have been pretty busy lately. We have meetings for DTS staff every morning and every night. We get afternoons off but Monday we had a staff meeting most of the afternoon and Tuesday we had the dreaded base clean-up in the afternoon. This has made the week seem much more hectic.

We found out officially where we are going and who we are going to lead with. I am glad it turned out this way since I was already telling everyone where I was going and who I was going with. It will be good to lead with Matt since we were in DTS together and went on outreach to New Zealand. We have both seen each other at our worst. Also, we already know each other so we don't have to go through the awkward get to know you/ fake first date stage. Co-leaders always have to spend all this time together to get to know each other but Matt and I can forgo some of that. One annoying thing about co-leading with someone is that people try to match make the two of you. I am not interested in that at all.

The students are coming in two weeks. I am getting excited. I have talked to half the girls on the phone. It is hard to tell what they are actually like on the phone. I will be interested to see how accurate my first impressions are.

I have finally moved into my new room and got my stuff settled in. It is nice to be rooming with Ashley again as we were roommates for about two months before my visit home. We get along well as roommates. Our room is at the girl student house but it is set apart from the main house. The problem with that is that we have to go outside to go to the bathroom. This can be creepy late at night since we have had robberies at this house. Also we need to be careful early in the morning since the students will be eating breakfast in the car port, right outside our door. I need to make sure I am dressed appropriately.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I miss really sleeping in

I finished my first week of DTS staff training. It's mainly a lot of meetings but so far it hasn't been too bad. I looked some of the future students on Myspace to see if I could find out any dirt about them. No dirt yet, but still interesting. I can't wait to meet them! Maria told us to enjoy this weekend because it will probably be our last free one for awhile. I hope she is exaggerating. I do enjoy my free weekends.

I tried to sleep in today until 9am. Despite sleeping in Amy's room where the sun doesn't shine directly in my eye like in my room, I still woke up about 20 times before 9am. I refused to give up, though and get out of bed before 9. Here in Hawaii, the sun rises around 5:30 am and sets around 6:30pm. Because of this, it often feels earlier than it really is.

This morning we went to a baby shower for one of the wives on base- Jen. She will be the second of three YWAM wives to have a baby this year. We are definitely being blessed in the baby department. We played some baby shower games. This was only my second baby shower. I have been to a ton of wedding showers but not as many for babies. I won this game where you have to see how many clothes pins you can grab off the line with one hand. I don't know how this relates to babies but I won and that's all that matters, right? I got a lotion/body wash set.

Then this afternoon, I laid out at the beach. I have been trying to get more beach time since I won't live in paradise forever. Unless you count Texas as paradise.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I told you so

My roommate here bought a car and kept putting off getting insurance. Amy and I think this is wrong and we have told her this but she won't get it. The other day she was driving down the street and someone hit her from behind. Since Jacki was driving illegally with no insurance and the other lady was here on an expired visa, they decided to each pay for their own damages. Pretty crappy, if you ask me. I want to say, "I told you so," but that's nice but I really did tell her so. And now despite the costly accident, she has still not gotten insurance. Not smart!

I have started DTS staff training. I really like it so far. It is me, Matt Laskey, Ashley Bacchara and Josh Cordy. Maria is our school leader. So far, it just feels like talking with friends. We are trying to get to know each other better. We are also beginning to pray for our students. We have been calling them to see how they are doing as well. I am very excited and I am expecting big things.

On a really sad note, my friend, Jane's dad died of a heart attack yesterday. That just hurts my heart. I found out shortly before my DTS leader meeting and I had to show up late because I couldn't stop crying. I looked at pics from Jane's wedding this summer and I have one of her parents and one of Jane and her dad. Looking at these did not help with the trying not to cry game. I definitely prefer a short illness, then death to sudden death. Sudden death is just so hard because of the shock value. Jane's dad was a strong Christian man so I know he's in heaven but this is still really sad. It hurts my heart. Please pray for her family.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

About to get busy... not that kind of "get busy"

I can be a sporadic blogger at times. I will write everyday and then I forget for a few days. That's probably good because no one wants to read my thoughts everyday.

I had another celebrity sighting. The other day, Amy and I were walking down the hill in our town and spied Kelly Osborne. I recognized her right away even though she has lost a lot of weight. After I saw Owen Wilson, I had come up with this plan where I would just say, "Hey, (insert celebrity name here) as I walked by to show that I knew who they were but I wasn't going to pee my pants in excitement. Well, Kelly should have been my first chance but she looked pissed and I lost my nerve. Next time, though, I will do it. I adapted this celebrity greeting idea after hearing about my friend, Sam, who saw Ice Cube and said, "sup, Ice?" Classy!

Today it has rained all day. Usually in Maui it rains and then sunshine appears, rain and then sunshine. Not today, though. It is the kind of day where you want to stay inside and watch a movie. We watched the old John Candy movie, The Great Outdoors. Good times!

I am supposed to be moving soon. I have lived in the cooler of the two girls' staff houses for the last eight months but now that I am going to be DTS staff, I am moving into the girl students' house. But the DTS students aren't here yet so the only people in the house are the three School of Worship girls. My old/new roommate, Ashley got back from Thailand yesterday. We were roommates for a couple months before I went home and will be again since we are both DTS leaders. She has moved into our little dungeon-like room at the girl DTS house but I am taking my time. The room is small and she found a giant spider in there last night. Also my main friends live in the house I am in now. I do need to just move my stuff to my new place. I figure I will just sleep there and still hang out at my old house. It is right next door. Also, when the students come, I will hang out with them but that's not for another month.

I am starting training on Monday. It will be weird to start being busy since I have been a slacker lately. I will mainly be busy in the mornings and nights and have the afternoons off. I would rather have nights off but I will survive. I still get weekends off. Also my friend, Katie H, just made a plane ticket to come visit me in the middle of June. Hooray! I am pumped!
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