Elastic Basket for my Peaches

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving: Korean and Regular

This was a good Thanksgiving holiday. I ate an abnormal amount of food, watched an abnormal amount of football and slept an abnormal amount of hours. It was awesome! On Wednesday we had our last lecture for the week, which was on church history. Then, that night our base had its Thanksgiving. This is so the families on the base can have theirs on the actual day. This was my third Thanksgiving on the base and it was really nice. There were about 60 people, many who were from other countries. I love sharing Thanksgiving with people who've never experienced it before. I made sure to sit by Deborah from China to see what she thought of it all.

The staff had set up a beautiful spread outside under tents. There were Christmas lights, table cloths and tons of delicious food. Unfortunately there was also tons of wind and rain, which meant we all got wet. There was a turkey carving contest between the older men of the base. One of the guys, Fritz began his carving with a huge Samurai knife. It was pretty funny. They were also all wearing chef hats, which made me laugh. After the turkey carving, the rain was getting too many people wet so we took half the tables inside so that the other tables could reap the full benefit of the tent.

Despite the change of venue, we managed to enjoy our meal. Even though the head cook was Canadian, she managed to pull off an excellent American Thanksgiving. The sweet potato casserole was the best I've ever eaten. I heard it was made by some Swiss people who'd never even heard of it before. The food was very good and there was plenty of it. I tried to convince Deborah that we ate the gourd table decorations as a tradition but she was on to my schemes.

After the meal, one of the staff girls gave a marvelous rendition of the pilgrim story. I don't think I could properly describe its hilarity in this blog. Then we sang the National anthem. After that, the Swedish guys got up and sang their national anthem. They were followed by the Swiss guys who sang and then passed out Swiss chocolate. Then everyone tried to goad the Ingrids from Norway to sing their national anthem. One Ingrid claimed they didn't have one. In the end, they did come up and represent with their song. I tried to get the dozen or so Canadians to get up and sing, "Oh, Canada," but they were all unpatriotic wusses. All in all I had good company, good food and several national anthems. A good Thanksgiving for sure.

The next day, I went to another Thanksgiving celebration at a local Korean church where some of my fellow students help with the Sunday school class. It was a sort of thank you for the volunteers but they encouraged them to bring friends. I like Koreans and I like free food so clearly I was down. We socialized for a bit and then ate...a lot. There was a mix of Korean and American food. I was afraid they would stuff the turkey with kimchi (fermented cabbage) but thankfully the two items were served separately. I passed on the kimchi. The food was good and the hosts were very gracious.

After lunch, we went into a large empty room. A woman performed a traditional Korean dance with full make-up and costume. It was really neat. Then a couple of our boys sang a song in English and Korean. It was pretty funny to watch them stumble over the Korean words. The people of the church were super appreciative and almost moved to tears by the fact that they sang Korean. Then they had a lady do some sort of traditional drum routine. That lady had some serious talent and some serious rhythm. It was really impressive. Then one of our girls, Michelle did a dance and another girl, Chelsea sang. It was also really nice.

I made it home in time to watch my Texas Longhorns beat a surprisingly good A&M team. Now if only Alabama or Florida had lost! That would have made it the best Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Testimony Night

Tuesday night was Testimony Night. This is when our returning DTS students share with the base about their outreaches. I always love testimony nights because they give us all a chance to hear what God is doing in other parts of the world. When you are on staff at the base and not going overseas, it is easy to lose sight of why we do all that we do. All the people who work on the base help to facilitate the sending of teams to other countries and are extremely necessary. Testimony nights help us to remember that.

For this DTS, we sent teams to Borneo and Bangladesh. A couple students from each team told a little about what they did in their respective countries. The Bangladesh team had a hard time. I understand this since I have been there and know it can be a very difficult place. Many of the team members got sick and several developed severe food allergies to things that had never given them problems before. Thankfully no one got Dengue this time. In Bangladesh it used to take 10 years+ for someone to become a Christian, but now they are seeing people come to the Lord in less than five. This is a big deal because in order to become a Christian in Bangladesh, one often has to sacrifice their relationship with their friends and family and sometimes can lead to their death. Often they become an outcast. It's hard to fathom here in the United States where change of religion doesn't often result in those sorts of consequences.

The Borneo team seemed to have a little more fun. They got to be a part of a healing of a woman who had had a stroke. The members of both teams clearly grew a lot and were so inspiring to those of us listening to what they had to say. I was really blessed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Missing Houston?

Lately I have been feeling homesick for Houston. I understand that this may seem crazy since I happen to live in a popular vacation destination, but I still miss Houston. I think this is because I had really established a life there before I left. I had a good job, a car, good roommates, awesome friends, family nearby and I was getting deeper with my Young Life kids.

I feel confident that I am where I am supposed to be right now but it's still hard to be away from home. I'm also trying to figure out what's next for me. I have some ideas about what I want to do but I want to make sure I'm doing what God wants me to do. And so, I keep praying.

I also just found out some sad news about one of my former students, "D". He is a fifth grader now and he was caught with drugs at school. I don't have all the details but I think he's been sent to some sort of juvenile hall type place. The whole thing just breaks my heart. I truly care about all my students and hate to see anything bad happen to them. And D really isn't a bad kid but he does come from a rough area and I'm sure he has plenty of bad influences. Some of his family members are a bit rough but they genuinely love their kids. He has family that loves him and he still made this bad choice. What hope is there for my former students who don't have loving adults in their lives? I can only pray.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A family of color

I have been super busy lately. Last weekend I went to Oahu to celebrate my friends' birthdays. Both Rachel Snyder and Maria Daughtry have the same birthday so we had to do something fun to celebrate. I have also been working really hard on my Buddhism project that was due on Monday. I am actually doing my presentation on it tonight. So with my trip and all my studying, I have slacked off on my blog. I want to write about some things that stuck out to me in our lectures last week.

Our speaker was a guy named Ray, who used to be a college professor and who's traveled all over. He had a lot of wisdom to share as he taught us about Cross-Cultural Communications. One point he made was that Christians are so quick to tell people not to get abortions, but what are they doing to help those babies? He told stories of working in inner-city Chicago and how people would have given up their babies for adoption to good Christian people, if there had been some willing to adopt them. He said often Christians want to adopt from other countries but not our country. This is especially true of minority children. Christians need to stand up and give these kids good homes.

Ray definitely has an authority in this area since he has 7 adopted kids of his own. He has also placed about 24 kids into homes without going through an agency. One really cool thing about Ray's family is that it's multi-ethnic. He calls it a "family of color." I may not get them all right but he has a daughter from Eastern Europe, a son from the Philippines, a child from Ecuador, 3 African American kids and one native American kid. It's really inspiring. One really cool thing is that his two oldest kids now have adopted families of their own. They too, chose not to have biological children and instead adopted kids of varying nationalities as well. This shows that they believed in what their parents did in raising them and wanted to give that to other kids in need. So cool!

It's also pretty cool that Ray never had to go through an expensive adoption agency. Adoptions, especially overseas, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. People would often just give him kids. I would like to adopt someday and would definitely prefer that someone give me a kid instead of paying thousands for one. I am so inspired by Ray's story.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Feelin' Halloweeny

I have recently emerged from a media fast, which gives me a valid excuse for not writing blog entries. Our whole school did a media fast for a week, which meant we were not allowed to go on the internet for anything other than research for a project we're doing. We couldn't listen to music, watch movies or watch TV. It was pretty tough. I've decided I just love media! Even though it was painful at times, it's always good to take a break from things that have become habitual for you.

There's a lot I could write about in this blog entry but I will try to stick to one topic- Halloween. Living with a bunch of Christians from different backgrounds reminds me of how different we can all be. I have loved Halloween since I was a kid. My parents always let me and my brother trick or treat around our neighborhood. I loved dressing up and I loved candy so it pretty much seemed like a win/win situation. Let's be honest, I still like dressing up and eating candy. I know that some people use Halloween as some sort of demonic holiday but I'm just in it for the candy and the costumes.

Some of the people here were not allowed to participate in Halloween as a child and see the holiday as evil. They try to pretend it's not happening and hide indoors from the festivities. I like to do something fun and Halloweeny on the big day. When I lived here before I ran into the same problem of many people around me saying that Halloween was evil and implying that I'm sinful for wanting to celebrate it. In those days, our town, Paia did nothing and the crazy Halloween fun was on the other side of the island. What a difference three years has made!

Now Paia is the party town and I could hear people partying late into the night. Some of my friends and I walked around our town in the early evening. There were little kids everywhere trick-or-treating at the local businesses. It was pretty adorable. A lot of the people in our town are hippies so it was interesting to see what their kids were dressed up as. I expected a lot of nature-inspired homemade costumes, but surprisingly enough, most were standard store-bought super heroes and princesses. Their parents' wore a variety of costumes with giant exposed pregnant bellies seeming to be a trend.

We went to some friends' house to watch Dark Knight and hang out. This was a good movie choice because it was suspenseful but not too scary. After the movie, we had to walk through town to get home. The atmosphere had definitely changed. There were few families around and a lot of rowdy adults. Music was blaring from various businesses and people were dancing in the streets. There were some interesting costumes:Little Bo Peep and her sheep, Jesus Christ on a cross (which I found offensive), a duo dressed as gold and a digger (pretty clever), a lot of fairy type creatures and women in slutty gear. We even saw a fake cop frisking someone. Awkward! We were even offered a free tarot card reading as we walked by a shop. It was interesting to say the least.

I had fun and it felt pretty Halloweeny so I was satisfied. It was a shame I didn't get to showcase my creativity this year. I definitely missed competing at the costume contest at school. I enjoyed looking at my friends' facebook pictures of their Halloween costumes. My favorite was my friend Carrie who dressed her toddler daughter up as Nacho Libre, complete with mustache. It was priceless. I can't wait until I have my own kids so I can dress them up.
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