Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yet Another Tale from the Nude Beach

I hate when I haven't posted in a while because I feel like I have so much to talk about and I must mention it all. This creates painfully long blog entries that maybe only Luke Sexson will read. So, I will try to hit the high points without a tremendous amount of detail.

Money Problems
YWAM Maui has been going through some lean financial times for the last few months. We've cut the budgets of all the departments and got rid of unnecessary expenditures. In the past, our base could afford to be forgiving if someone couldn't pay their tuition or outreach fees on time. This is no longer the case. Three of our students, Myles, Chris and Victoria do not have all the money they need for lecture phase. This Friday was the deadline for all the money for lecture phase to be in. Tomorrow there will be an announcement about whether they have to go home or not. This is a really big deal.

 We have two teams going to a large Asian country. If we lose some of these people, there is a good chance that we will only have one team going to Asia. This will greatly change the team dynamics we've been trying to create. Luckily it is a small school and I know all the students well. There are several other people who have paid for their lecture phase but still need significant amounts of money towards their outreach. If they don't get that money in, they will not get to go to Asia. The work we are doing in Asia needs as many students to go there as possible. Please pray that this all works out.

Nude Beach
In lighter news, I took four of the girl students to Big Beach on Saturday. This is one of my favorite beaches on the island even though it's pretty far away. It almost never rains and is beautiful with blue water and a long stretch of sandy beach. There is also a powerful shore break. This is when the waves crash really hard in a shallow area near where the ocean meets the sand. I like to watch unsuspecting tourists get pummeled by the shore break. (As long as they don't get hurt, of course.)

There is also a nude beach called Little Beach that is just on the other side of a large rocky cliff. Another thing I like to do is swim from Big Beach to Little Beach so I can see the nude people from a safe distance. I like to watch how weird they are but I don't want to see details. From about 100 yards out, you can do just that. People who hang out at nude beaches are weird and participate in some strange naked activities like yoga, sit-ups and abnormally wide-legged stances. This is all hilarious to watch from a safe detail-less distance. I decided that I wanted to swim over to Little Beach and I took two of the students, Grace and Johanna along with me. Our plan was to swim over, gawk at the nudes and swim back. It's a bit of a long swim and we were tired when we finally got in view of the nudes.

We treaded water and giggled at the nude people's antics for a while. When we were ready to leave, we were faced with a tough decision: swim back the long way to the non-nude Big Beach or make the easier swim to the shore of the detail-filled Little Beach and climb over the rocks to get back to the beach where people had some sense of decency. We decided we could try the shorter swim onto the nude-filled shore of Little Beach as long as we stayed close to the rock divider between the beaches and kept our eyes averted from potential details. We started swimming back and quickly came upon a guy surfer wearing a rash guard (ie: surfing shirt). Grace said, "At least he is wearing a shirt." Then I said, "There's no guarantee he is wearing pants." I was right, the dude was not wearing anything but the rash guard. What a weirdo? Why wear a top and no bottoms? Luckily the only detail I saw was his butt.

We tried to quickly swim in but the waves were a bit strong. At one point the surfer caught a wave and it looked like he might hit us. Luckily I didn't look directly at him. As we were getting out, Johanna cut her foot so we had to go to the lifeguard stand. They joked with us about going to the nude beach. They told us they'd had to rescue nude people before and even did CPR on a naked guy, who ended up dying. What a undignified way to die! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Team

We now have our teams for Asia. We are both going to the same large Asian country. We'll be in the same place some but not the entire time. My team has six students and two leaders. My co-leader is Joey Brunette, who I have known for about four years now. He was here during the last school I staffed so he knows a bit of my history. I also did my SBFM with his sister and was on staff with some of his cousins.
Me and Joey looking pumped

Our team has a married couple, Chris and Victoria who are from Louisiana/Florida, as well as Daniel from India, Johanna from Germany, Maddie from Washington and Sarah from Alberta, Canada. They are a really fun group. I am especially excited to go to Asia with a Sarah. Everyone knows how much I enjoy the company of a good Sarah, especially while traveling.

I am excited for all the God is going to do through us. We are going to rock Asia!

Beachin' It

I have been meaning to write this post for a few days now. I guess it is better late than never. The school is going well. I recently asked a friend why it seems so much easier this time and she reminded me how crazy and out of the ordinary my last school was. The students are so much fun and a joy to be around. They are growing so much in their faith and knowledge of the Lord and I am growing too.

Our school leaders have tried to create opportunities for fun outings on the weekends. There are so many amazing things to see on Maui but it's difficult for students when they don't have cars. Last weekend we went to Ka'anapali, which is the tourist side of the island. This is the place people think I live in Maui with fabulous beaches and resorts. This is not true. I definitely like going over there to play tourist. When I was on staff before, my friend, Amy and I would hitch all the way over there. It usually took about 3 hitches and 2 hours to get there but it was worth it to pretend we were on vacation.

This time most of the students and some of the staff went. When we got there, we saw a large cloud of black smoke and heard fire trucks. The outdoor restaurant at the Westin had caught on fire. All the grass canopies above the tables were burned up and still smoldering when we joined the gawkers.

We all hung out on the beach and had a great time. There is a part of the beach called Black Rock where you can jump off cliffs into the ocean. I didn't jump but I did get some good pictures of people jumping. Nick, one of the leaders, ended up splitting his board shorts when he jumped. Then he walked down the beach unashamed with his butt exposed to the world. It was pretty hilarious! Overall it was a lot of fun. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reliving the Crazy Past

I was planning on waking up at 5am tomorrow to go to a spin class at the gym. But since it is already technically tomorrow (midnight) and I can't fall asleep, I definitely won't be attending the spin class. I managed to get up and go to the class last week (small miracle if you know how much I hate getting up in the fives) After the class, I just felt exhausted so I decided I wouldn't go if I didn't get to sleep before 10.

Since I can't sleep, I decided to reread my blog from the last time I DTS staffed. You're welcome to do the same. It's archived on the left from May 2006-November 2006. I have been thinking about that time a lot since I am DTS staffing again right now. It was really interesting to read what I was thinking and feeling at the time. I wish I had my journal from that time but the blog is better than nothing. After reading over the whole thing, I realize how crazy hard that time was but also how sweet. Part of me wishes I could go back to that time. The most interesting post to me was when I already had Dengue fever but was trying to pretend it wasn't true. I wrote that Rachel and Matt had it and that I was feeling sick but it was probably a sinus infection. Then the next post is days later after I was able to get out of bed after being sick with Dengue.

This DTS is going well but it is almost too well. I don't feel stretched and pulled like I did before. I think my comfort makes me less reliant on God, which I don't like. I am trying not to do things in my own strength, but it is a struggle. In the last school I staffed, it was literally impossible for me to handle all that happened using my own strength. I need to learn to rely on God more in the every day and not just in crisis. I really am thankful that my students are less needy and high maintenance this time but I miss that feeling of "what's going to happen next?" that I felt almost daily back in 2006. Who knew I would ever say that? I guess I should be careful what I wish for.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Party at the Food Bank

This Saturday our whole DTS, students and staff volunteered at the Maui Food Bank. We got there around 5:30pm for the final shift of their annual food drive. There were tons of people there. Several groups consisted of teenagers and a trying to be hip, goatee-wearing adult which immediately identified them as church youth groups. It was pretty chaotic and we didn't really know where to go. We were quickly split up and my group was assigned to unload boxes and bags of food into shopping carts. I had never seen that much SPAM and Vienna sausages in my life!!! I am sure much of the food came from people's pantries and people in Hawaii LOVE SPAM! They even serve it at McDonald's.

Unloading boxes and bags of canned goods was kind of a random task but we tried to make it fun. We would race to try to grab the bags and then rip them open as fast as we could. The whole place was kind of like an organized chaos. Some guy shoved a shopping cart into me and I totally backed myself up into an elderly woman. The whole time we were working, we were cracking jokes, which made the time pass by quickly. My students are really fun and it was awesome to bond with them during the time.

After we finished one truckload of food, we got to take a snack break. It was kind of funny since we hadn't worked particularly hard or for particularly long. I enjoyed my gatorade and cheez-its, nonetheless. After our break, the second truck arrived and it was back to taking potted meat products out of bags and depositing them into our shopping cart.

The second truck was unloaded pretty quickly. Then some tall guy in a Christian T-shirt told us to go get pizza. Who doesn't love pizza? We started running towards the pizza, when some man with a bullhorn told us, "No pizza. You're not finished." What a letdown! We felt like gluttons but we'd only been running towards the pizza because Christian T-shirt man had gotten us all pumped up about it. So we walked back into the warehouse with our tails between our legs. We ended up cleaning up for about five minutes and then were told we could get pizza. It felt like a trick, so we slowly walked out to the tents where the pizza was. This time we did actually get to eat it. After working at the food bank, I went over to my friend's house to watch Betty White on SNL. A good end to a good day!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Bikes, Soccer and Rats, Oh My

I had an eventful Saturday. I went on a bike ride for the first time in about four months. I love to bike in Houston but I don’t like it as much in Maui. For one thing, it is always very windy and for those of you who’ve ever tried to bike in the wind, you know it is no fun. Also the roads are a bit dangerous, especially the ones near our base. There are several points where the shoulder is only a couple feet away from the edge of a cliff. With all these tourists driving their Jeeps, Sebrings and Mustang convertibles, one wrong move could bump me off the edge into the ocean far below. So, on Saturday I packed my bike in my car and drove to my friend, Kristy’s to start our bike ride. Her house is not on a windy cliff-filled road, so it’s a lot less dangerous area. Kristy dressed like she was going to the beach with casual clothes,flip flops and no helmet. I, trying to show off how hardcore I am about biking, wore a helmet, black spandex shorts (under my basketball shorts- I am not THAT hardcore) and my bike shoes. I have clip-in pedals that connect my fancy shoes to my fancy pedals.

Kristy and I rode to a nearby beach and sat and talked. It was fun to catch up and the ride there was a breeze. The ride back was not as we rode against the wind. We finally made it back to Kristy’s. Her house has a short but steep driveway. As I was riding up, I realized that I didn’t have the momentum to make it all the way to the top of the driveway. I realized that I needed to quickly unclip my feet from my pedals. I got my right foot out but there was no hope for my left. I made a strange high pitched sound and down I went, still attached to my bike. It took me a while to get untangled and once Kristy saw that I was okay she laughed at me the way my little stunt deserved. I felt pretty dumb but at least Kristy got a good laugh. I am a little sore and bruised but nothing permanently damaged except possibly my pride.

Later in the day, I decided to go play soccer. A bunch of people from YWAM go play soccer every Saturday and I had been meaning to go for a while. Just like the book, “Stuff White People Like” says, I like the idea of soccer. I am not particularly good at it but I would like to be. Basketball is more my game but there don’t seem to be as many opportunities to play basketball as there are to play soccer. Some of my students were playing so I figured it was a good idea to try to bond with them through athletic activity. I strategically placed myself on defense so I wouldn’t have to worry too much about my ball handling skills. I can kick but I don’t always know where it is going to go. Luckily our goalie was 6’9” so there was a large margin for error. It ended up being a lot of fun. I have such a low opinion of my soccer skills that whenever I mess up, I don’t really care and whenever I do well, I get so excited. I am no David Beckham, but at least I didn’t make a fool of myself.

Later that night, I watched a TV show with a friend until 11pm. Then I went into our kitchen to wash my dish. When I turned on the light, a big rat was staring at me as if I were the one trespassing in his kitchen and not the other way around. I didn’t want to scream and wake up the whole house but I definitely made a weird little yelp that was probably similar to the sound I made earlier that day when I fell with my bike. I didn’t know what to do. At that same time, I saw a giant cockroach. I tried to hit the less creepy enemy with a spoon but missed the roach and scared the rat. The vermin ran towards the front door, which was unfortunately where I was headed. I heard a little yelp and later figured out it was a housemate who’d been coming in the door at the wrong time. I didn’t feel safe walking out to my room in the direction the rat had gone. There were no boys around so I grabbed one of the DTS girls, Catie. She is like 5 feet tall but fearless. She checked the area for me and gave me the all clear to go outside to my room. It was hard to sleep after that as I continued to imagine the rat falling on my face during the night. Ewww! Please pray that we can end our rat problem. This is disgusting! The rat incident put a damper on an otherwise pretty good Saturday.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Radical Revelations

This week has been very intense. My friend/mentor, Maria Daughtry came and spoke for this first week of lecture on "Hearing the Voice of God." This is a pretty intense topic and God really did a lot in my heart during this week. I feel like it was like a jump start to my faith in a really good way. I can hear the Lord's voice louder than I have been able to in a really long time. It looks like many of the students felt the same way.

Even though I normally keep this blog more on the humorous side but with this post I would like to share some of what I feel God's been teaching me lately. I hope it convicts and blesses you as much as it has done for me.

I have also been reading the book, CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan. I highly recommend it! I feel that God's been speaking to me through this book, for sure. This week Maria prayed for all of us. The words she got for me were how I follow God but I always have to talk about all the pros and the cons and what I will need, etc. The picture she got was like I am scaling a cliff and I make it to the top just fine on my own strength. I am feeling good about myself and then God shows me a giant mountain He wants me to climb. I immediately tell Him why it's impossible and how I will need this and that. He just tells me to trust Him. For anyone who knows me well, this is totally me. I want to follow God but I get nervous and caught up in all the details and potential problems. God wants me to just say, "Yes" to him right away and trust that he will figure out all the details. Then today when I was reading Crazy Love, I was convicted about this all over again.

Francis Chan talks of the story in the 9th chapter of Luke where Jesus calls his twelve disciples together to go out and preach and heal people. He specifically tells them not to bring food, money, extra clothes, etc. He wants them to trust that He will provide all they need. I can totally picture myself as one of Jesus' disciples. I would be the one saying, "But Jesus, wouldn't it be easier to minister to people if I could just bring extra deodorant and a change of clothes?" "Wouldn't bringing my computer be nice so we could communicate with people back home?" I need to have the kind of faith that the disciples had to simply follow Jesus and trust that He will provide all I need.

Another part of the book that totally convicted me was based on 2 Corinthians 8:13-15. "Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

This passage totally convicted me! Everyone on our base raises support for their living expenses and staff fees. No one gets paid and all must rely on friends, family, churches and sometimes strangers for money to live on here. People do this to varying degrees of success. Some people have $1000 + in committed monthly support and others have less than $100. I think the prevailing attitude around here is that it is your right to live at the highest standard of living you can on your support. If you get a lot, you can spend a lot on clothes, coffee, etc. This is not all bad. But I think sometimes those of us who are a little more financially stable (and I mean a little bit), can forget the principle of sacrificial giving to those around us who we may eat with, minister with, or share a room with. I was getting pretty content with my giving. I tithe the support I get and then the rest goes to monthly expenses. I feel God calling me to give more sacrificially to my fellow missionaries. So what if it means I can't buy that frappaccino at Starbucks? What's more important, my comfort or the very basic needs of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?

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