Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Well it was my last night at the families house (before I moved into my own apartment) and I was getting ready for the night just brushing my teeth. It was a little late in the evening and I was tired from the day, so I took my right arm and rested on the wall next to the mirror. Now I had always seen two exposed wires coming out of an empty outlet box in the wall, but I figured ¨those have been there awhile, more than likely just dead wires¨, and then I suddenly lowered my arm from the wall... lets just say I wasn´t as tired as before. That same night I woke up suddenly from my sleep at around 4:00am (usually from the rooster, but this time it was my own fault). Fifteen minutes later, my friend the rooster started to sing to me. Normally, it takes him about 4-5 tries before he figures out that he doesn´t sound that good and shuts up for about another hour and a half to try again, oh no... this night he was tone deaf. He goes off in his groupings of 4-5 crows, in fifteen minute intervals, for about 45 minutes or so. Thinking to myself ¨sleep is probably a good thing¨, I get up out of bed, grab a water bottle from the trash and start to fill it with water to the brim from the bathroom. Next, I open my window and reach my arm through the iron bars to get ready to drench this guy. As I bring my arm back and fling the water forward out of the bottle (I was so tired that I didn´t think to fill the bottle less) water comes right out of the opening, and all over me. At this moment I was now tired, frustrated, and covered in water. Finally I go into the kitchen, fill a large bowl with water and go to the back door which is never deadbolted... tonight it was. So I go out the front door, down the steps, around to the back, and with every desire to drown this bird with two gallons of water, I throw all the water directly on the bird in the cage, and getting a couple of his girlfriends wet as well. I then went back in the house to sleep in peace and quite believing it was a job well done. As I crawl back into bed and role over, I bet you can´t guess what happened next!

Friday, March 6, 2009

5 miles up, and 2 to get back down…

At least that was how my grandfather would state it, when he had to hike up a mountain; and that was exactly how it felt on the last camping trip. We started the day by taking a taxi for about an hour to get to a town called Vilcabamba. We then took another ride to the base of the mountains.

Starting off wasn’t really that terrible actually, we were all in good spirits, and full of energy. The hike was amazing, and at many times I was reminded of when I was back in Vail, Colorado backpacking the “back country” (as the Coloradoans call it). Unfortunately we didn’t see much wildlife except for an amazing view of a hawk riding the winds of the updraft on the mountains, soaring effortlessly, though other than that maybe a few cows, a couple donkeys, and an ankle biting mutt (that talked a lot of talk, and had the worst case of Napoleon complex).

About midway through the hike, was when I started to feel it. The never ending UP over the many mountains, the weight of the bag, and the constant sun all took its toll some. There were many times when a few of us had to stop and take a breather at the end of a switch back. (Ps: For those of you who may not know, a switch back is a trail going side to side up a mountain, instead of having to go straight up.) Fortunately we brought quite a bit of water for the day… unfortunately water weighs a lot! A necessary trade-off though.

5 hours later, a little bruised, burned, but for the most part in good shape we made it to the cabin. It was quite the sight for sore eyes, and much better than any of us expected. The cabin had a full sized living room, a kitchen with a dining area, and a second floor with enough rooms to fit 10 people comfortably. The cabin also had electricity, and a propane stove (the only thing it was missing was running water, which we took care of by going to a nearby stream fed by a hidden waterfall). As we were all getting settled in, it happened, the few storm clouds that had taunted us towards the end of the hike hit without warning, drenching everything for almost the entire night. We missed getting soaked by 30 minutes. I would say it rained like cats and dogs, but you never see cats around Ecuador… so it rained like dogs for hours.

The next morning we all got up and had breakfast and coffee, spent some time together, and started to clean up for the hike back down to the base of the mountains. We left around 12:30pm, and started the slippery trail back home.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I was told that it was the worst snow storm in over ten years, and it hit the month I came. It all started on Monday January 25, and the school let the kids out at 1:00pm as a snow day. All day long the light rain fell covering the tree tops and everything else, and the 30 degree weather froze it in place, repeating this cycle over and over. This happened all day and even through the night. The next morning my sister and I were watching a movie when we heard a crash in our front yard. The pear tree out front had just lost one of it's main branches, an hour later the rest came crashing down. That entire day if you just stood still and listened, you could hear trees losing limbs off in the far distance, and sometimes just a street over.

The next night I took a walk around to see what damage had been caused so far. There were trees that were two feet in diameter that had fallen on fences, roads, and one house that I saw that had a corner of the roof taken off, with another branch coming into a bedroom from the roof above. Every tree that hadn't broken under the great weight of the ice, seemed to be bowing down to the one who make them. As I kept on walking I also saw electrical transformers blowing up, and lighting the sky a dark green. Getting home I had found that we had too, had lost our power.

The first night without power wasn't too bad, the house did a good job of trapping in most of the heat. The next day wasn't too bad either, but the house was getting colder. When the second night without power came along, I was wrapped up in a sleeping bag on the floor with multiple blankets to keep warm, the house was sitting at 45 degrees. Good thing it was a warm sleeping bag! We went a total of 2 days without power, though some are still without even as I write this.

Though moments like these are never desired, it is very encouraging to see what take place during and after the tough times. Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, and total strangers, who are God sent angels, coming along when you least expect it to lend a helping hand, and asking for nothing in return. In looking back I am reminded of the good samaritan who saw the man who was beat and robbed laying on the side of the road looking upon him in love and mercy. Unlike the ones before who probably felt sorry for the victim and kept walking, he stopped and took action. This is how we were called to live.

James 2:14-16 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (NIV biblegateway.com)

What an amazing call we have on us as believers!

1 Peter 4:11 says "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Headline News

Well the other night I decided my hair was getting a little long. I got tired of looking into the mirror and seeing an over grown rats nest on my head, so I had the great idea to take matters into my own hands. Now in the past I had a good friend Richard Powell cut my hair, who does a great job, but unfortunately he wasn't anywhere near Arkansas last night... so I set up and put a sheet on the floor next to the mirror, pull out the electric clippers, and get to work. Putting the #8 guard on the clippers I start on the top of my head and everything was running smoothly. I then put on the 1/2" guard to work on the lower neck and sides (I'm thinking to myself I can do this!) and then it happens... the guard falls off the clippers right before I go in for a third run and all I hear is BZZZ. Yes that's right... I gave myself a bald spot. Fortunately, it was close to the neck line. Well mom and dad, glad you got a good laugh out of it. I call it the "stair step". Just watch, I might have started a trend.

It's Interesting how God works. As much as I was ready to hit the ground running in Ecuador doing "God's work" on January 5, 2009, I now see that He had a lot for me to do right here in Harrison, Arkansas. I needed to spend some quality time with my family. Which raises the question, what is God's work? What does God need us to do? I would like to answer that question with, nothing. He doesn't need us at all because he is God... but I do truly believe he wants something "with" us. Beginning with Adam in the Garden, to God's children in the Bible, to modern day, I find a common theme, God wants a relationship with his creation. He wants us to be with him, and he wants us to work alongside him. What an honor, that we would be used in his service.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who would have known? Not me!

Go figure!

You go to school, go to college, and get a business degree. what would you expect next? Well I would have guessed that Corporate America was my next step, and... well it was for a time.
It all started 9 months ago, when I was not quite sure if where I was in my current job was where God wanted me. Everything seemed to fit except for one thing - the passion. I had a great start in a start-up company with management that believed in me. I figured this is where I was going to make my roots. Only one problem, it just didn't fit, I felt like I was missing out on something.

I will soon be leaving for Loja, Ecuador to be working at a coffee. Why a coffee shop you ask? Well to be honest that is where the need was most. I smile when I say this because it wasn't really my first choice, but here is where God knows us better than we know ourselves. This opportunity gives me the chance to do what I have always enjoyed doing - Getting to know people!
Besides working at the coffee shop, I will also be teaching ESL (English as a Second Language), another opportunity to get into the lives of people.

At this time I am now in Harrison Arkansas blessed to be able to spend some time with my family before I leave. Will you please pray alongside, that God provides me with the tools and the means to get there. Currently I am trying to catch up on my Spanish, but have some ways to go. Also, I ask for your prayers that God would raise up a few more donors to contribute to this cause. I am currently around 3/4th of my total financial needs before a ticket will be purchased.
Thank you all for your support and prayers so far. I know that God has already done some amazing things to pave the way to Ecuador, lets pray that He keeps up the pace!
By His love and grace!
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