Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Just moments ago, the news flashed onto CNN that Morgan Tsvangirai has formally withdrawn from Zimbabwe's race for President. The implications of this for the people of Zimbabwe cannot be fathomed. There will continue to be violence, especially towards the brave Zimbabweans who stuck out their necks to vote against current president Robert Mugabe's evil regime. There will continue to be hunger, with store shelves empty and inflation so out of control that residents remain unable to pay for anything that may be available. And I complain about the price of gas. Meanwhile, the rising price of oil affects so much more than those of us who are now forced to think twice about driving to Minneapolis for the weekend to do a little shopping (feeling sorry for me?). The world food shortage continues to increase, drastically affecting millions of lives. It is completely unacceptable that countless across the globe are starving. But what do I care? My stomach is pleasantly full.

Lately I have noticed the ease with which I can get swept up into materialism and the love of money. I see again and again that the cares of the world impact me at a much more alarming rate than the love of Christ in me seeks to impact the world. It's a simple thing for the radical love that blesses the poor, the meek, the merciful, and the peacemaker to be forgotten because it's completely unnatural apart from walking daily with Jesus. With a renewed understanding of my own selfishness and an intense desire for a holiness that sends this ugliness packing, I've been falling back down on my knees and asking God for ears that hear the cries of the hungry and the groans of the oppressed. I want to hear those voices more than the voices everywhere screaming that I "deserve" more... better... more... better... more... better. You get the idea. We all hear them.

So, I'm working on a new budgeting system that perhaps I could hold a little bit closer to Scripture without squirming as violently. I will soon be taking my first travel nursing position... destination currently unknown. Oh, and the Air Force? What was I thinking? As the date to sign the contract grew closer, the reservations began to well up in me to a boiling point. I was reminded by my wise dad what joining the Air Force would entail, and the gentle advice that even if the money looked good, perhaps this wasn't for me. He is so right. For one thing, how could I sign a contract that would own me completely for the next several years? There are more reasons, and ones closer to my heart... but I'll leave it at that. I'm excited to see how God will provide for graduate school. He will... I know it. And I also know that He will use those of us who have bread to provide it for others who need some. We are His hands and feet after all! I, for one, could stand to get a lot more concerned about feeding hungry crowds of 5000. Before performing a miracle, didn't Jesus first say to his disciples... "You give them something to eat." And what they had they gave to Him. Something to think about.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

No More...

"You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." Psalm 10:17-18

At this time last year I was getting ready to go back to South Africa after several days in Nigeria. I have often considered that trip over the past year, and it continues to hold my heart firmly. On four different occasions I sat in brothels and listened to the stories of the women who live and work there. It left me feeling an urgent desire to do something, and a deep frustration at my limitations. That trip was definitely more for my benefit than the benefit of anyone in Nigeria. It certainly got me reading... I've researched sex trafficking, been shocked by its thriving existence all over the world, read books on the subject (I highly recommend 'Terrify No More' by Gary Haugen), prayed for the young girls and young women who are forced either physically or out of necessity to sell their bodies. The horror of this business... the darkness... the evil... cannot be fathomed by my limited mind. But I want to know. I've read about blank looks on the faces of 5-year-olds as undercover investigators are offered their services for a small fee. HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!? The idea haunts me. It keeps me awake at night. It makes me cry, but not enough. This is the kind of evil that must not make us simply pause and comment that it is a shame. This is the kind of evil that must make us stop in our tracks, evaluate the present course of our lives, and ask God if there is a cause greater than our own success and comfort that He would have us live and fight for. There must be hope for the poor. There must be hope for the orphan, the slave, the widow, the sex worker. There IS hope. Jesus brought hope, and said that if we believe in Him we must follow His example. "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12
My friend, Andrew Ulasich, is currently living among the poor in Kathmandu, Nepal. I highly recommend his blog, http://www.andrewulasich.blogspot.com/
His writing is raw and real. Please pray for him.


Look closely at my Sarah-ki's left hand. Is that... could it be... maybe... YES!!!! This woman who I have shared incomparable amounts of time with... we have had our fingers up each other's noses (long story), shared wardrobes, slept side by side on a single mattress under a mosquito net, chased bugs with frying pans, laughed, cried, and everything in between. There are times when I think we share the same heart beat. And now, I have to give her to another!! Fortunately, Justin is amazing. He even took me ring shopping with him!!! Smart man. September 13th is the big day! I can't write too much about this one... it's such a strange mix of unbelievable joy and deep pain at needing to let Sarah take this next step without me. I can't experience this with her and that, for me, is hard. But I rejoice at this blessing from God! I have been praying for Sarah's future husband for a very long time, and am glad that he is (finally) here:).