Saturday, November 29, 2008

So as I said before, this was Randy Parizeau's week to speak. He has a special place in this base's heart because he was both Jamie and Kim's leader at YWAM Vancouver. He really didn't have a topic at first because he never stays on it anyway, but he came up with the title "Conversations about Jesus." I loved his teaching style - it was all conversation based. It was free and flexible to go wherever. Rock on.

We had started the week talking about who Jesus is - how the world sees Him and how we do. We followed that up on Wednesday with Gospel Road, a movie about Jesus' life from the perspective of Johnny Cash. I liked it at first - I got past how cheesy it was. But I think his way of portraying Jesus is little like how I view Jesus. I saw distance. Jesus was there, with His disciples and such, but he wasn't really there. There was a scene everyone liked where Jesus is playing with a bunch of kids. But I still felt like Jesus was distant! Oof.

And then there was disagreement on the crucifixion. I had a hard time with how clean Jesus was. I have very interest thoughts in that I believe Jesus took on not only our sins, but our illnesses too. The end of Isaiah 52 into Isaiah 53 describes what He took on and I can't help but ignore that He may have taken on cancer, leprosy, anything that ails us.

Isaiah 52:14 , 53:3-5, 10

New Living Translation:
14 But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
[Footnote for v. 4: Or Yet it was our sicknesses he carried; / it was our diseases.]
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

Amplified version:
14 [For many the Servant of God became an object of horror; many were astonished at Him.] His face and His whole appearance were marred more than any man's, and His form beyond that of the sons of men--but just as many were astonished at Him,
3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

What gets me is, why did He seem hardly human? I think if someone is beaten, even if beyond any other person in all of history, people would still recognize Him as a person, Maybe... there was more to it than flogging, ripping, nailing. Was His body marred also by the illnesses that we endure?

Especially since none of His bones were broken (Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20, Numbers 9:12, John 19:31-37).

And a few times, it speaks of sickness, illness, God made Him sick.

But then I'm thinking... what if it's just a metaphor?

Ok... temporarily moving on...

Get ready for a piece of my heart.

Two posts ago, I mentioned the Myers-Briggs results - INFJ. I've been gaining more insight into myself and getting to know and understand myself better. But when I looked forward and imagined getting to know myself, I thought it would be easier.

INFJ's tend to be very internalized. "[INFJ's] can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except for with those they feel closest to and safest with. They are highly private people, which an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that INFJ's are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them." GAH! So true but I hate it! And I'm finding that there are so many different factors contributing to it. (a) Whenever someone else is talking, I see it as their time to tell a story or just talk. I tend to only assert myself to elaborate what they're saying in order to show that I'm listening and fully understand. I value being heard, so I try to listen well to other people. (b) sometimes I have a hard time being honest with myself or understanding myself. I'll feel or react a certain way and then ask myself - why did I do that? Where did that come from? And then I feel I have to go away by myself to process it in my head. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, but Kim had a good point in telling me that she wants the raw emotion, not the neatly packaged and prepared version. Do I really need to be able to explain my emotions? What's wrong with saying "I'm angry" or "That makes me upset" without being able to explain why?

Basically? I've made a habit on internalizing - and now I'm going against the grain in what feels natural to me in order to come out of that a little bit. I don't think internalizing is a bad thing. But when it's all you do?

Friday was Kern Cookie Day. For those of you who don't know the Kern traditions, the day after Thanksgiving every year, we all head over to grandma's house to back a BUNCH of Christmas cookies - it gets up around 200 dozen! Cutouts, spritz, apple cinnamon cookies, kiss cookies, root beer cookies... mmm this must be what heaven is like. Since I missed Kern Cookie Day this year, a few of us baked Christmas cookies here!! We called it "Ginkerworth-Ricci Cookie Day." Ha - a lot of names to combine. We made kiss cookies and rolo cookies (mmm so good, I may have to bring that recipe back to Kern Cookie Day next year).

FYI - this week is Mission Adventures week. During the summer when YWAM Winnipeg has youth groups and such come for week-long mission trips, it's called the Mission Adventures program. So this week we'll be staying at a church in the West End and serving around the community. In other words, I won't be able to update this week - tune in next weekend! : )

Things you guys can pray for:

Fatigue! I'm pretty tired and I know I'm not the only one. It's really hard to find the balance between rest and play - I want to spend as much time as I can with everyone, but I also need sleep!!

Outreach. We are beginning to be overwhelmed by the things we have to do when we go to Uganda. They are all very good things, but we are already feeling very stretched even though we haven't gone yet. We may have to lead bible studies and church services. It's difficult because I've been setting myself up for humbly receiving the Ugandan culture. I don't know that I even understand how they worship. It seems a world away and I feel like an ignorant American. Pray that we gain confidence in how we know God and how we can share that with others. That God shows us how He wants to use us and what we're supposed to say!

Mission Adventures week. That we see and understand and are opened to more of the community. That we don't grow tired in it - it's a packed week. That we are ruined by it.

(Apologies if this post was too intense for you)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Missing Thanksgiving...

So I got a personal update since my last post. It's been four years since the Invisible Children movie has been made and conditions are better than what I thought. There are no more night commuters (kids walking to the city during the night in order to avoid abduction by the LRA). There has been a cease fire (AWESOME) for two years. A peace treaty may be signed by the rebel group very soon. Big things are being done - but continue to keep the [current and former] child soldiers in your thoughts and prayers. I'm sure life in the midst of and after abduction is not easy in the least.

I finished up The Irresistable Revolution this week. I feel that if I were to explain what I learned with my words, I would only feel discontent. So just get ready for some life changes. Let's see if I can show you some other way...

One thing YWAM Winnipeg recently started doing (a little before DTS) is community dinners. I LOVE them. Every Sunday, we invite people from the community into our home and feed them, talk with them, get to know tham. Friends. Family. Whoever. It's just a good time to meet with people. It's so simple, but so beneficial to me. (Mom!! Just a heads up - I want to do this!!)

Here are some pictures from this last Sunday:

Jas and me - yay dishes!!

Brennie (one of our staff) with his parents John and Delia.
I love it when they come - they are amazing people.
Plus, Delia will beat Brennie up if he picks on me. It's great.

Friends of friends, who brought friends,
who will probably bring friends next week...

Our speaker this week is Randy Parizeau. He came telling us the rumor he's heard (through the grapevine from Chris Whitler, our speaker two weeks ago) about our love for each other. Oh man, that brought us so much encouragement. We feel like a family, so it's affirming to have other people see it in us too!
Randy isn't a "linear speaker" as he says himself. They typically give him a topic which he deviates from. His speaking is just free to go wherever it wants to and I think that's really cool. We've had a lot of discussions that have little to do with what we originally wanted to talk about, but that are so beneficial to us as a group.
Basically, this week rocks. After it's over, I'll tell you more!
Oh and don't forget!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winterpeg is here!!

Last Saturday, we explored an unexcavated (to us) area of Winnipeg. We headed across the river to Osborne, which is full of little shops and restaurants. It was SUPER expensive, but still cute and fun. I bought a bead for 12 cents. Big spender! I have one hideable dreadlock on my head (depending upon whether or not Mike wants to do the upkeep - dreads are high maintenance!) and now it has a pretty little bead on it : )

Every Sunday, we get to choose which church we go to. This week I went to Elmwood Christian Fellowship with Carolyn and her friend, Mark. It's mostly Caribbean - so cool! I was immediately embraced by the congregation. Countless old ladies came up to hug and kiss me with a "God bless you" at the end. Wow. That's how church should be - open, welcoming, inclusive. I felt like I belonged there. The music was awesome. My favorite part of that had to be Mark's mom wailing next to me. Praise God! Now that brought me joy.

(Mark, Carolyn, and me after church on Sunday - eating peanut soup!)

On Monday, we played... sardines!! It was so fun! For those of you who've never played, it's pretty much hide and seek, but backwards. One person hides and if you find them, you have to hide with them. The last person to find the pile of people is it. Sardines is the perfect name - the time I hid I ended up in the bottom of a closet under pillows and people. Oof!

This week was staff teaching week, so it was pretty relaxed and laid back, which I think is what I needed. Thursday, we did a bunch of team building games, but they were VERY intense and made us realize some things - such as not all of us are heard equally. Really hard stuff to face, but good to understand. One of the games we played involved being together in a dark basement, some people not being able to move or speak (or both!), and one person controlling it all. Intense!

At the end of the week, we did the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator. We filled out a bunch of questions on what we would do in certain situations - our reactions or emotions. The results are expressed in four letters - I'm an INFJ. Introverted - not meaning antisocial or anything, but that I get my energy from being alone. I love being around people, but recharge with alone time. iNtuition - I take in information with my intuition as opposed to only my senses. Feeling - I make decisions through what I value and feel, not necessarily on facts. Judging - I like things to be organized, regulated. I'm sensitive about time. This isn't to put me in a box, make excuses for myself, or make myself predictable. Only to understand myself better.

This week, we also did something called Angels and Mortals. It's kind of like secret santa, but everyday of the week! Woohoo!! My angel was amazing. Monday, they made my bed and gave me a note with a Reese's (mmm my favorite). Tuesday, I got chai tea delivered to me at dinner (we eat at a restaurant every week night - Wednesday, I had to do a treasure hunt! I couldn't find clue 3 for the longest time, but it was still a lot of fun. I know now that my angel's intention for me to have to go up and down and up and down the stairs. Ha. Jerk. Thursday, I got a Jone's Soda and a gift certificate for breakfast with them. And Friday (the revealing day!), Jasmin revealed herself with a CD and card. We always sing Enrique Iglesias' "Hero" to each other - if we can hold a straight face, that is - so Jas wrote a song about Angel week:

Angel, by Jasmin Biddell

"Would you laugh, if I made your bed? Would you smile, if I sent you chai tea?

Would you search, till you found clue three? Would you go out for breakfast with me?

Would you tremble, if I grabbed your lip [referring to my flutter lip]? Would you burp, oh please tell me this?!

Now would you listen to the CD I made... Thanks for being my mortal this week.

I can be your angel baby... I can send you notes all week...

I won't stop just cause it's Friday... you can take my glue any day."

Ha! I hope you laughed as hard as I did.

Each week, we do an outreach prep night. This time around, we watched the Invisible Children video. It's a documentary three American guys put together after going to Uganda to learn about the Lord's Resistance Army (the LRA), a rebel group against the Ugandan government. Since few will fight with them (pssh, I sure wouldn't), they kipnap children and brainwash them into hostile soldiers. They're taught to kill and they're traumatized by violence and grusome killings of their peers.

Every night, some children in Uganda (and Sudan, Congo) leave their homes in order to sleep in the cities - bus stations, hostiles, or anywhere else they can find to hide away from being abducted.

Here's a chunk of the video. The whole thing is on YouTube (highly encourage), but this part is goooood (and devastating).

This has been going on since 1987 - before I was born.

All of us [minus Crystal : ( ]

L to R: Devon, Jasmin, Carolyn, Mike

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh hey! Here's what's goin' on.

Every Monday, we have what's called "mandatory fun night" (reminds me of forced fun from camp!) - the girls and guys break off and just... bond. Our leaders say that we are required to have fun. What a drag. Hang out with all the girls and have fun - ugh it's so difficult! Last week we went to the exchange district to have coffee at the Fyxx and this week we watched Pride & Prejudice and did henna tattoos! I'm falling in love with these girls more each and every Monday. They are fun, caring, geniune, hilarious. The guys "bro out" (none of us really know what that means), but the girls have something really amazing going on as well.

Our speaker last week was our very own Jamie Arpin-Ricci (one of our directors). We talked about Missional Community. Our world is so individualistic - we are expected to support ourselves, be able to do things ourselves, and go through struggles ourselves. But God designed life for community. Real, true community.

I was challenged and stretched last week. I've never been so painfully honest in my life!! It is definitely a hard thing to do - my natural tendency is to excuse away the way I feel and things that bother me. I'm learning. I'm learning.

We also did a "soul audit" last week. It basically embodies the question "If you were the most fulfilled you could possibly be, what would your life look like?" I sat in a room by myself for almost two hours and thought about this question - a lot of things came up like wanting to live in community and to be known and understood by people, a slower life that gives more time to know God and know myself, full self-satisfaction in whatever I end up doing while rejecting the things the world tells me are important. Then I realized that I have big dreams that I don't really allow myself to actually dream. Weird, right? I've been fooling myself with lies that they're too far-fetched or that I'm not cut out for it. These dreams have been floating around in my head like some sort of fantasy, and I've finally begun to actually think in terms of reality. I want to work with large cats. Not in zoos. In Africa. That's where I believe they should be. Vet school? Poaching injustices? Who knows. But this is a big step for me. Big.

And I'm even still learning to accept this as part of God's heart. I feel an obligation to have a heart for something that more evidently betters humanity. Invisible children. Rape victims. People impacted by war. Anything! But my heart is with those cats. Lies that tell me that that's insignificant or invaluable are being broken down.

I'm trying so hard to understand how I'm connected to creation and how my passion for lions and tigers (not so much bears, oh my!) is impactful.

Every week, part of our outreach is leading the kid's program. Every Tuesday and Thursday we entertain some kids that also live in the West End for an hour and a half. Three of us lead it on Tuesday and three of us lead it on Thursday. I'm not particularly passionate about playing around with kids, but I am VERY passionate about building relationships with kids. This week was the first time I felt like we were actually getting to know the kids that come and build their trust. Many of them are Native Canadian and because of that, are not expected to go far in life. It's a nasty cycle - much of the Native community is in the lower class. So education is hard to complete. But I am LOVING hanging out with them. We laugh. We play. It is awesome.

Our topic for this week was Evangelism and our speaker Chris Whitler from YWAM Madesto, California. Chris is SO hilarious. He was actually the director of Jamie's (our director's) DTS. We definitely had a week full of laughter - whether it was Chris doing his T rex impression (SO funny), him laughing for 20 minutes at something little, or us simply enjoying each other.

Before this week, the word evangelism made the think of crazy Christians on the street handing out tracts and trying to win souls. BLEH. Works for some people and God can use that - but somehow, it just doesn't make sense to me. Chris definitely broke that down this week. He's a story teller and told us so many about building relationships with people in Madesto - people who are homeless, alcoholics, etc. No pressure. No force. No manipulation. Just friendship. Now that sounds more like Jesus Christ as I know Him.

We also do book studies and right now we're working on The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I end each chapter by taking a deep breath and saying "Holy crap..." Shane is part of a community that has made decisions to live simple lives - they hang out with homeless people (I'm actually not sure they have very permanent homes themselves), make their own clothing, grow some of their own food, have communal funds... it's AWESOME. Extreme. Radical. But so awesome.

In the first part of the book, Shane is telling the story of how he came to choose this lifestyle. He started to hang out with the homeless community in his city as he was making his way through college. Aaaaand then he decided he wanted more - so he... called Mother Teresa. Ha. It sounds crazy, but that's what happened. He spent a summer in Calcutta working in the Home for the Destitute and Dying and living in a leper colony. I simply cannot tell you how amazing this story is - read the book for yourself. Chapter three. Wow.

But my point is that this book is SHAKING everything. I want it to ruin me. Mess up my comfort and wreck the way I live. Oof how beautiful. Don't you sometimes wonder when we ask God why there are poor and hungry and oppressed in the world, He asks us the same question? We pray for the war-torn and the lonely - but then... we do nothing. "Don't pray a prayer you're not willing to be the answer to." I'm growing so sick of the isolated church - to the point of being discontent when I sing in worship. Why are we in here? My words are empty if I don't do something, if I remain complacent. I think Isaiah 58 is starting to get pounded into my chest, into my being. I just want things to change so badly!

Things you guys can pray for:

Again, finances! We still have to pay for outreach fees. They're not due until the week before we go on outreach (so - the end of December) and we have seen how amazing it is when God provides. But it needs to come from somewhere and it needs to come eventually.

Community! Pray that we continue to grow in community and closer to each other - even when it's painful! Pray that we're bold in pursuing each other and getting to know each other.

The whole large cat thing. Part of me is so confused, part of me is so excited, and the rest really doesn't know what to do. Pray for God's guidance and my confidence.

Fun fact: Winnipeg is the slurpee capitol of the world! Woah!