Friday, April 22, 2011

Update to keep Smiley happy

Okay, this isn't a proper blog post because it's 10:54pm, I'm playing on the lap top in bed and I'm keen to watch "Coronation Street" on demand since I missed Thursday's episode. Christchurch wasn't nearly as terrifying as I'd anticipated. Remember that spiritual attack thing I mentioned a few blogs back? Let's just say that I'm glad I didn't chicken out and very glad that I went on this trip. It was intense. We worked hard with the kids program in the mornings and physical relief work in the afternoons. We smashed concrete, loaded trailers, weeded gardens, dug a trench, shoveled silt (the WORST job ever!), pitched tents and delivered chemical toilets. I got to know and respect the others on the team in a new and wonderful way. Sooooo happy that I went. It was a good growing experience for me and I hope we managed to do something useful along the way. I did cry on the plane during takeoff...both ways. And I probably broke all of K's fingers in the process.  But it's just not natural I tell ya! Good job God was holding the thing up.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Look out Christchurch, here we come

 Right first ever "Mission Trip" - in my own country. I leave with a fabulous small team first thing tomorrow morning. We're off to run a holiday program to give some stressed out kids (and parents) some time out from the earthquake and aftershocks in the mornings and could be doing anything in the afternoons,  from clearing silt from gardens to playing with chemical toilets. 6 y/o C is coming with me for the flight and being collected by Beloved who's staying at his Dad's house in Ashburton, about an hour's drive away from the Quake City.

Ummm...So God, When I signed up for this I was thinking, "Here I am. Available. I'll do it". It was so easy to be enthusiastic before the flights were booked. Now I'm thinking "What have I let myself in for???"

  • I'm scared of flying.
  • I'm going to miss my children.
  • I'll miss my chickens.
  • I'll miss my friends.
  • I'm missing the great Kiwi Road Trip with Smiley and Kish to visit Ant up in the far North (why is it they've all decided to head up into the opposite direction to where I'm going?)
  • I'll be staying with people I don't know.
  • I have serious "issues" with using other people's bathrooms.
  • I'm clumsy.
  • I can't seem to fit everything into my suitcase.
  • I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to be doing when I get there.
  • I have a sore pinky toe from where C decided to dance on me a few weeks ago (do you suppose she broke it?)
  • It hurts to wear shoes.
  • The ground is still shaking in Christchurch.
  • I have a restricted diet and don't know what I'm going to eat.

I suppose Christchurch isn't exactly deepest, darkest Africa, so if food ever should become an issue, it probably won't come to this:

No offense to Africa intended. Just couldn't find an interesting Bangladesh cartoon to amuse my favourite real-life missionary friend.
And I guess I should remember, God has promised to be with me. So...I'm available. I'm nervous, but I'm available...and God is with me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A little boulder

 Something's been happening at the K's house across the road from where I live. About a week and a half ago I noticed a lot of activity with loads of visitors turning up and somehow getting sucked up into that tiny brick house and never actually coming out. A few days later the garage door opened and revealed walls luxeriously draped with pink and white fabric. Some sort of celebration is definitely in the air. The Ks intrigue me. Every morning without fail, one of the older members of the household is up at the crack of a sparrow's fart offering prayers to their deity who seems to live in the front garden. And throughout the nights last weekend and, it would seem this weekend, we have been treated to some live entertainment emanating from the garage.
Dramatization. Not actual live entertainment.
Curiously enough, it seems to be only men participating in the festivities. I'm not sure what they've done to the women.

If you're familiar with Indian music you might agree that it fits somewhere between a Chinese opera and a cat strangulation. But hey, each to their own and besides, I've even caught myself humming along once or twice. One of the things I love about living in South Auckland is the diversity of cultures. There's always something interesting going on and heaps to learn about other people. Even so, I think I'd probably feel a little embarrassed to be quite so "out there" when it comes to public prayer without makeup and singing live in front of all my neighbours. It fascinates and challenges me that my neighbours are so faithful in their rituals and worship.

Meanwhile, I was out for a walk with my friend R the other day and we were getting some serious exercise because we are athletes in training for...ummm...whatever it is that middle-aged athletes like us train for. I'm not sure if that was the day we had walked to the dairy and bought iceblocks but it's possible because as serious athletes in training we need regular sustenance. Anyone can tell that we're athletes because R wears proper shoes (Nikes!) and I once had an isotonic drink whilst wearing a fanny pack and have even attended a couple of Zumba classes.
Dramatization of us walking (stolen from Google Images)

The picture above is clearly not actually R and myself out for our power walk. There are no Nike shoes or isotonic drinks in sight . However, we do occasionally need to hold each other up if there happens to be a slight incline in the rough terrain of P'toe or when one of us needs dragging across the road to avoid oncoming traffic. We do look similar though, in that I'm reasonably tall and R...isn't quite so tall. Well that was interesting, wasn't it? And I suppose you might be wondering where I'm going with all this walking and stuff. Hang on, I'll just get my train of thought to pull in...

Ah yes! R and I were out walking when we were approached by a nice, tidy, clean young man on a bicycle. He looked a little like these guys:

It would be really cool if one of these guys were called Norman.

Sadly for the nice, young, clean-shaven boy (let's just call him Norman), R and I were walking too quickly to discuss theology with him and he wasn't fit enough to keep up with us on his bike. Perhaps we shouldn't have taken it off him (get it? It sounds like WE were on HIS bike. Get it now? Huh? Huh? Ohhh, never mind)

So about Norman and my neighbours - they seem to be worlds apart from each other and from me. We believe in very different things and have very different lifestyles. But I wonder if my neighbours (and Norman) have something to teach me.

About being bold.
You want me to WHAT??
If God were to suggest I wake up an hour earlier to go out into my front garden and get on my knees to pray in in my pink stripey dressing gown, I'd probably worry about what the Ks would think of me. If God told me to get on my bike and go pull up alongside complete strangers, I'd probably be very selective about who I approached. So I'm just saying...some folk may have a completely different concept of faith to me but until I'm prepared to ride their bike or sing their music, I'm not in a position to criticize.

My challenge for the day? Maybe it's time for me to be a little bolder.
No, this isn't a "little bolder", it's quite a big boulder. Get it? Huh? :-p