Monday, February 27, 2006

Some recommendations

I finished reading "Exile" by Ann Ireland. Highly recommended for
those of us who are "helpers." I was really humbled. It's about a
Latin American writer who is exiled to Canada and how his life in
Canada represents exile in so many different ways.

I also just read "A million little pieces" by James Frey. I know, I
know.. it's highly controversial, but it's a really good insight into
the life of someone trying to recover from addiction. It's insane! It
made me want to shake every kid/teenager I know and just say "don't
start! Seriously don't start!"

Oh, and we watched an amazing movie - "Water." Again, highly
controversial, but really thought-provoking (and depressing). I felt
like castrating every man alive (except for John) after that movie.
Doesn't that totally make you want to watch it? :) Seriously, watch

Friday, February 24, 2006

No News!

Don't worry - you have not been left out of the loop. It's just that
we haven't heard anything from Zimbabwe. So... that means more

Before this whole experience, I never realized how painful faith and
hope can be. I mean, obviously they're very good, life-sustaining
things. But actually, if you have faith and hope too much for
something specific, it can lead to a lot of multiple disappointments.

I guess maybe the biggest thing I'm sick of is the self-centredness of
this whole process. I know (trust me, I know) that what we're going
through is not a big deal compared to crack addiction or abuse or
many, many other difficult life situations. Humanly, I'm just
exhausted. I want to move on with my life, but I'm not exactly sure
how to do that. How do you "carry on as usual" when you're always
being told - "no, really, it's going to happen soon. Get ready to
leave in the next week!" Constantly. What a roller coaster. And the
ride continues....

I shouldn't complain. God is good. Life is good. I'm blessed. It's
just my poor little heart...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Feb. 22nd

Well, our long to move to Zimbabwe MIGHT be drawing to a close. Our
case is going before the immigration board in Zimbabwe next Wednesday
(Feb. 22nd). So, if you have a few moments, please pray.

Other than that, things are good. I've been catching up on some family
blogs. People have always (and will always) fascinate me - what
interests them, what they get passionate about, how much time the
spend doing what...

My friend Alexiss is moving to Azerbaijan on Sunday. She's going there
for a year with Right to Play. She's a cool person.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Extra stuff

I've posted a few articles on prayer and spiritual formation on the sidebar. They may be of interest to some of you. I'll add some more in the next week.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I was struck in my devotions this morning by the Recabites. They're in the Bible, in Jeremiah 35. They're a people who follow a covenant that their ancestor Jehonadab made - so they don't drink wine, and they never build houses, sow seeds or plant vineyards; always living in tents. God compares them to the people of Judah, and commends the Recabites for being obedient and following, so He says that there will never fail to be one of their descendants to serve the Lord.
Hmmm... no wine, and not settling in one place or accumulating too much, but always being prepared to get up and move and just trust God in that. Sounds like my branch of the Church! Maybe if we stick true, there will never fail to be one of our descendants serving the Lord.


I just had an interesting conversation with 2 of the secretaries in my new department. They were asking questions about my work here, and then they both said that every time they see me pass by they think it's a young boy. One suggested that I get my ears pierced or wear a dress to work. I don't think I look THAT boyish! But maybe I should grow my hair out... :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You know Valentines is coming when...

Your husband brings you a hot Tim Hortons' English Toffee Cappucino - out of the blue! You gotta love a guy like that!
I'm working in the same building as John now. Yep - I'm working at THQ (Territorial Headquarters for The Salvation Army). I never thought I would find myself employed in this building, but life has its surprises, and I didn't feel (ethically) that I could work anywhere else with the hope that we'll be leaving for Africa within the month.
I'm doing policy work on Sexual Trafficking. Very interesting....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bono on Poverty and Justice

From a recent prayer breakfast in Washington…

Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives…

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. "If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places."

It's not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It's not an accident. That's a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. (You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.) 'As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me' (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.


It's not about charity, it's about justice. And that's too bad. Because you're good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can't afford it.

But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.

Sixty-five hundred Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about justice and equality.

Because there's no way we can look at what's happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn't accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the tsunami. 150,000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, "mother nature." In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it's a completely avoidable catastrophe.

It's annoying but justice and equality are mates. Aren't they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.


A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord's blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it. I have a family, please look after them. I have this crazy idea...

And this wise man said: stop. He said, stop asking God to bless what you're doing. Get involved in what God is doing - because it's already blessed.

Well, God, as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing. And that is what he's calling us to do.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Spiritual disciplines

Some thoughts from a recent holiness retreat led by Sandra Ryan…

God wants us to be free (Galatians 5:1). The goal of spiritual disciplines (eg. silence, fasting, fellowship) is to free us. But it will feel the opposite: a burden.

There are three things we need to do:
1. With the Holy Spirit’s help, to search our hearts for where we are weak (Psalm 139).
2. Identify a discipline(s) that will strengthen that area of our life.
3. Set clear, achievable goals.

The Spirit needs to do the searching or we will be overwhelmed with perceived failings and weaknesses. The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional knows his weaknesses and works to address them while an amateur focuses on what he is good at. Good is the enemy of the best. God calls us to be excellent.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Game of Life

Saturday I was helping out with one of our Squads for kids. This one kid (Taylor) was playing darts (magnetic darts, don't worry!) and he was really good. He's not the brightest kid on the block, so it was just really nice to see him being good at something and I was praising him a lot and stuff. Then he started playing against another kid (Jacob) who is a fascinating kid and very creative, but not very good at darts. They decided that it might be fun to put the dart board on ground and sort of drop the darts rather than throw them. Taylor was still good at this. Then Jacob started changing the rules - saying you got points for getting as far away from the bullseye as possible. And then he just kept adding rules. Basically whatever Jacob did got good points, and whatever Taylor did did not get points. And Jacob just kept adding new rules and after each "drop" he would say "Yes! I'm still in the lead!" And poor Taylor just kept trying and trying.
It was fascinating to watch, and (of course!) reminded me of international politics. Even when countries are good at their game, other (more powerful) countries will keep changing the rules on them to keep in the lead and to keep others down. So often when people think of justice, they think of how they can get their hands on whatever resource they're lacking (land, power, "points", money, etc.) rather than asking for a complete switch of game. Becoming the new exploiter of a new game is not justice, now is it?