Friday, January 29, 2010


My Hebrew instructor always starts class with an opening prayer. Funny how all the instructors here at seminary manage to pray such impacting prayers. This one from today touched me especially, so I asked if he would share it with us. I want to share it with you:

Another week's end before us and,

with it, another month's end and

nonetheless you continue, paying no attention.

Your continuing interrupts

our constant glances at clock and calendar.

The choppiness and hustle bustle

of our scheduled and compartmentalized lives

is interrupted not by another part

begging for our attention

but by a foreignness through which we think

we sense a whole.

By the grace of your abiding presence

may our parts be counted also as your whole.

In the name of that part which we confess whole,

Jesus of Nazareth, alpha and omega, Amen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

a face from the crisis

(the following is an email I received from a lay leader at my church in Charlotte):

I Have been involved with a mission in Bayonnais Haiti, OFCB ministries, for the past 11 years. The ministry is located about 90 miles NE from Port Au Prince. The mission compound is safe.
13 students from OFCB ministries were sponsored to college in Port Au Prince from OFCB ministries. When I learned on Wednesday that 2 students were missing, I knew Actionnel, the pastor of OFCB, would take the 5 hr trip to PAP. After all his name is Actionnel.

Additionally, yesterday, he used a OFCB school bus to take people from Charlotte NC visiting Bayonnais to the airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The trip took Actionnel 10 hours. Thank God the Charlotte people will arrive home tonight.

Following is a brief email from Actionnel. He is exhausted and overwhelmed. I can't imagine being a pastor in Haiti. What a burden he is carrying.

Please keep Actionnel in your prayers.

We got home,Bayonnais, at 10:11 last night. It was truly a miracle. We had no access to any fuel from the border to Bayonnais, going through Gonaives.
News keep coming into Bayonnais about death cases. Our two Journalist students are still missing, Jodes Milliacin and Madecene Alcius. We have been told of at least 6 others who have been dead in four different families. Please read Jeremiah 31: 14-17. It is exactly what is going on for the whole country, as well as for Bayonnais. Right now at 10:26 am here in Bayonnais, there are lots of cries for news telling about a young woman,a cousin of ours,who died with her daughter.

Jeremiah 31:14-17 NIV
I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the LORD.
This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.”
This is what the LORD says:“Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD.“They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your future,” declares the LORD.“Your children will return to their own land."

Gas stations are empty. Means of transportation or distribution is impossible. Food is getting more and more scarce at the market places. Prices for everything have gone up rapidly.
We have heard that 50,000 or 100,000 have died in PAP. But, from what I saw on Wednesday, 200,000 death cases in PAP only will not surprise me.

Please, Kevin,Eddy,Jame Blane, Allen Smith, Eyleen make yourselves heard.

--Actionnel from Bayonnais hearing people crying everywhere.

Friday, January 15, 2010

kicking off 2010

in lieu of actually trying to string together coherent paragraphs and witticisms today (as much as i want to, i've just felt a bit dry lately), here's a top ten of life so far in oh-ten:

10) it was SO cold here last week and finally snowed on friday. my snow-day experience: listening to the wind howl like a banshee while a woman shouted directions to a man in a car stuck over an ice patch on the road outside my window. i was curled up under my electric blanket for most of the day, though i did venture out once. first i had the extremely gratifying feeling of crawling back into bed after checking my email at 7am and learning that Emory had called for a two-hour delay in light of the snow--didn't have to be there until eleven. naturally, i decided to leave the hourse a little earlier than usual so i could drive slowly and carefully. i make it to school in plenty of time, despite a traumatizing near-wreck on one of the side roads near the University. thankfully, I was able to dig back nearly 10 years to driver's ed, and something inside me screamed out "turn into the skid, turn into the skid!" I did, and came to a soft rest at the end of someone's driveway, grateful that I didn't land a few feet forward (against a giant rock) or a few feet back (into a couple walking down the sidewalk). Of course, after I slowly navigated the rest of my route and starte walking towards the theology building, I was informed by a fellow Candler student that Emory decided to close for the day. Apparently, an email with this pertinent information was sent out about 10:30, by which time most of us had already left to make it to campus. So we missed our test and went out to breakfast instead.

9) Summer is approaching rapidly--at least, the deadlines for things to do this summer are approaching rapidly. I've got most of the work done for a fellowship program I'm applying to with the Beatitude Society. There's one internship in DC and one in Cali (!) that I am interested in--both would involve writing for social justice-based organizations. That's definitely on the top of my list for how to spend my summer. But I've been somewhat preoccupied with searching out back-up plans; I have no idea how competitive the fellowship program is. I've spent some time online looking for other opportunities and have come up blank so far. I thought about reapplying to YouthWorks, but have finally decided against it only because it runs so far into August. But I've realized that I'm blindly searching for these other elusive opportunities really to just build my resume--I don't feel like I can fairly spend a summer just doing "nothing" when I'll be on the job market in another couple of years. I'm caught up in the train of thought that tells me I have to do something impressive and skill-building and prestigious and practical. Those aren't bad things, but I may be searching for them for the wrong reasons. So I've started to gain some contentment with the idea of staying in ATL this summer. I could take a summer school course, earn some money, maybe do a little travel or family vacation time, attend a retreat with church, possibly attend the Western NC UMC conference in June, and just 'be' in this community--make it even more of my home. And I've decided that unless something else amazing just falls into my lap, I won't apply for anything else--I won't go seeking it out. It might be nice to look for some church work in ATL if I end up here--even if it's just volunteer-based.

8) I've been sucked into the world of Lost. It started over Christmas break--which actually was nice because I had a good bit of down-time in Arkansas to just hang out and be lazy. But the show is unrelenting--it sucks you in. Plus, the final season airs in just a couple more weeks and that puts a good deal of pressure on trying to get caught up in order to watch it live. I've slacked off a bit this week--just needed to take a night to watch some basketball, something else :) I'm not quite halfway through season 3. I've got some work to do. Of course, I now also have reading. It's going to get ugly when I have to make the decision between reading the Bible for class the next day and watching another Lost episode ;)

7) I'm planning a trip to Chicago for spring break & I think it's actually going to happen! I haven't seen K-Wood in way too long and I've never been to Chicago. Plus, a mini YouthWorks staff reunion may be in the works and I would give just about anything to see those three (or any combination therein) again.

6) Since I last wrote, I started and finished my J-term class on the history of Methodism. We had class for 3 hours a day for 8 days--and it was an absolute breeze. Even after the snow day, we got out of class early most days and I actually made a 100 on the midterm. Some in the class (namely someone who actually watched Lost in closed caption during one of our class sessions) questioned the integrity of the course--I mean we did learn but it wasn't very challenging. Many others of us were fine with that :) I think theology of Methodism will be what really matters anyway.

5) i started back at work this week and it's been going really well. the woman who was my immediate supervisor last semester has transferred offices, so now i'm working directly for the VP of Emory! i really like him a lot and felt very productive this week. one thing i've been doing is putting together an email list for the distribution of an upcoming university report, and administration officials at other universities will be receiving it. so today i made it to UNC on the list of schools, and got sappy and nostalgic looking at the website and all the beautiful sunny quad pictures of Chapel Hill. will I ever not miss it? (though after this week's ugly loss to Clemson, i was almost ready to disavow my affiliation...)

4) I'm still enjoying my new-found running hobby, though a few friends were unable to convince me to sign up for a half-marathon with them this spring. Blair & I did try to register for a 5k, but the website kept declining my credit card :( I don't know if that's a sign from God or what, but I'm still determined to run one this spring.

3) the Boy. oh, the Boy.

2) Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:13 that people were calling the early Christians "out of their minds," but that he was cool with it because he was out of his mind for God. I meditated a lot on that verse this past summer. And now I am back to it as I begin a course in lexical Hebrew! Ok, sure, plenty of people know biblical Hebrew and study and do just fine, and I've always done well in language study. But there is something that feels vaguely insane about studying it--especially since it was more of a choice than an explicit requirement. I am both nervous and eager to dig in. There are only six people in my class, so I think that will make for a pretty good learning environment. And Arden felt during her time studying Hebrew at UNC that it was strangely satisfying, different work--much like working simple math problems or diagramming sentences. We'll see...keep this one on your prayer rotation :)

1) many candler students will be attending a luau tonight. yes, a january luau. that should make for some interesting stories for next time!