Monday, December 29, 2008
As you all know, Christmas was this weekend, and it was my first Christmas away from home. In all honesty, it didn’t quite feel like Christmas, as it was almost uneventful. The biggest absence in the season was all of my family and friends, and it was just odd not seeing all of them. It was fun though, don’t get me wrong. On Christmas Eve, I slept until about 12 or 1 and then laid around until the time came to get the animal off of my face by shaving. It took me about 2 hours to shave, and a half of an hour to put on my suit. It was the longest I can remember taking to get ready in my life, but then again my beard was quite large. After taming the beast was the famous dinner, and it was delightful. We had good steak with some vegetables and for dessert were cream puffs. After dinner there was a worship service, in which we sang a lot of carols and Christmas music. After that was some movie watching, and then bed! All-in-all, I had a good time on my first Christmas Eve away from home.
Christmas Day was even less eventful, I slept in again and then woke up for breakfast and continued to do nothing all day. This was surprisingly welcome in my life, and enjoyed doing nothing pretty thoroughly. Other than that, this week I have been painting and took a trip on Sunday to play some basketball with a few people. It was fun, but still no football! I can’t believe the Lions went 0-16! What a shame. A new year is right around the corner, as is my next update, so in case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
One cannot write a more beautiful rhyme
An artist can’t paint a prettier picture
An inventor couldn’t dream higher
Nor could a commander inspire more
Just as I cannot express with these words
The love engrained into my very being
The concept is too high for me to know
Your face is woven with beauty
The same beauty you sent to earth
The exact beauty in every stroke
Every stroke of the brush used on my life
The beautiful tapestry you made me
Absence of you leaves a void
Beauty beyond measure
With no hope of true value
A precious stone cast into the sea
My mind can’t comprehend your ways
They are so foreign yet so lovely
One word is foremost in your creation
The world revolves around it
Men run after it like fools
It is our true desire
We can’t even dream of understanding it
But we feel hints of it
The love you pour into us is unmatched
On Sunday, I participated in the American booth and passed out candy canes to visitors passing through. This was cool, and I got to talk to a bunch of Danish people and catch funny looks all for a couple of hours. It may have been this animal growing on my face called a beard. Speaking of beards, mine is looking extra large the past couple of days, as I got my hair cut yesterday, and cant trim my beard for a week. I get a lot of laughs when people see my new short hair and my huge beard, it’s pretty cool.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This past week has been somewhat of a blur. The first memorable day to me was when I had a day off on Friday. I chose to do something instead of lying around the whole day, and went exploring. I got up and took off into the woods of Køge, and it was awesome. The woods here are not quite like woods at home. The woods here seem a little less wild, but all the more full of wonder. The density is not what it is back home, and less animals roam the forest, but this makes for more silence than one is used to. I felt like a kid again as my imagination went wild and I dreamt of the same things I did when I was a kid. I used to see myself as a ranger or rogue wandering the woods looking for artifacts or for evil to vanquish. This thought was furthered by a discovery for me; in the middle of the woods was a row of trees with a path splitting them. At the end of a path was a little round wall, and inside the wall were graves and a crypt. I think it was the coolest cemetery I have ever seen, and I wanted to get in and explore it, but it was locked.
Later on in my walk, I stumbled upon something stranger than I expected, even eerie. Beyond the crypt was an abandoned military compound, and a lot of the buildings were made like hills. The fence stood about 8 feet high and was barbed wired. I longed to climb the fence and explore the fort, but I was alone and had to get back.
The other notable thing that has happened this week is the development of the writing ministry and my role in it. Clayton and I are kind of heading it off, and we are meeting this Saturday to discuss our first project which is a publication of our talents, just to give the decision-makers ideas on how to best use our skills. Pray that the ministry will start and flourish, and for it to bring glory to God any way possible.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
This damned being that lives with me
I sleep next to a monster
I kiss the mouth of a demon
At times I do fight with it
And tell it to leave just to let it back in
But I love the feeling of having it around
I can escape and I see that now
Yet my feet won’t move forward
I beat it into submission one day
Then nurse its bloody face the next
A fist followed by a kiss
Where lies the victory for me?
It lies in my true love
I don’t often see her, but I often feel her
She comes and graces my eyes
At times, she is all I think about
Her beauty is unmatched
Yet I sleep with this ugly whore
She seems so pretty when I draw near
But when I step back I see her ugliness
It just reminds me of your beauty
If only I was strong
For I am a juggler in a kings world
Only when I am around you
I feel so ashamed yet so in awe
You couldn’t be more perfect
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Weekly Update for December 3, 2008
This week has marked a few things for the ship. The most notable event has been the opening of our Christmas program entitled “Christmas around the World”. Thursday was our official opening, and we had a “V.I.P.” event here on board. The people who attended the event were people of fairly high stature, including a few different ambassadors living in Denmark. There were other guests that attended, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to them very much. I was the first person to welcome them to the ship as I was involved in the parking of our visitor’s cars. I basically told them where to park, and then welcomed them. There were about 100 people on board for that event.
The weekend marked the public opening for the “Christmas around the World” and most of us on board were involved. Saturday was the day of my involvement, and I was again one of the first people that visitors would see when they came on board. I manned a booth that was made to show what life on the ship was like. Nobody was very interested in this booth, mainly from the live nativity mere feet away. This nativity even had a live goat and a live sheep. A lot of people were intrigued by this, and I got to see it all day. I even saw the sheep defecate on the floor in the middle of a busy time.
On Monday, the ship also got a few containers full of food for the next couple of months, and it took all day to unload these monsters. There was a ton of food, and even some steak! It was a good day as it was different from what I usually do. I have been painting the rest of the week, and one major project (called the Steering Gear Room) is getting close to done. This Friday will mark the end of the second side-room, leaving a few things in the main room left to be completed. A lot of us are excited to be done with this room.
Another program that has started this week is a daily lesson on how to memorize the events and people of the Old Testament. The only problem with this is that it just runs through everything without explaining anything. I will continue to read the Old Testament on my own, and then proceed on through the whole bible. I appreciate all of you guys back home that enable me to be here, and please keep praying for me and my family.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Is usually much more than you can see
A time symbolized by love and a tree
Always brings someone to their knees
The excitement of snow and love
Is sometimes shoved down from above
While the children’s faces shine bright
The abandoned try to slip out of sight
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As thanksgiving fever hits full force back home, and excitement builds for this time of year, things here in Denmark are much different. Thanksgiving is not a worldwide holiday if, you didn’t know that, and on the ship, celebrations are slim. There will be no football or rest for most of us Americans this Thursday (the football part is more important to me). With that said, Christmas time is in full swing here on board the ship and in the town surrounding us. There are decorations up all over as the hype that surrounds this time of year is in full effect.
A lot has been completed on the ship even since I have arrived, and it is very exciting! Today the ship celebrated the opening of the International Café that is opened on our Experience Deck. This is a place for crew and visitors alike to meet and buy things such as Ice Cream, pop, snacks, and others. Also, the book fair has been basically completed (to my knowledge) as the cash registers have been put in. This gives people the chance to use credit cards, and prepares us for ministry that much more. The coolest part about the experience deck right now is our program we are doing right now called “Christmas around the World”. This program involves many booths where different nationalities get to display what Christmas is like where they live. It is really cool to see all the differences in culture around the world. I plan on putting pictures of these up on my photobucket site at http://photobucket.com/ptownmissionary. Things on the ship are pretty exciting right now, and most are in a good mood.
This past weekend I participated in Fire Training which was both book learning and practical learning. On Saturday I spent half of the day in a room hearing things I thought I had already heard and watching videos on safety. The second half of the day was spent spraying fire hoses and putting on the fireman gear. Sunday wasn’t fire training, but it was very busy. I was involved in a guest church coming on board for our Sunday service. There were around 100 people, and I gave my first tour of the ship (with the help of KC). They were all very excited to see what was going on in this monstrous ship. Monday was yet another busy day (after a full week of watch) but was more fun than the prior two. I spent Monday at a compound used for training people how to fight fire. I got to see how fire spreads and how smoke rises to the top, and eventually even engage in combat versus a fire. It was fairly exciting, and I enjoyed the bonding time.
Yesterday marked my first day off in 10 days, but I can’t complain because many others had to work until the end of the week. I was graciously handed two days off in the light of recent events back home, and given time to work things out in my head and in prayer. Yesterday I went on a walk for three hours away from the ship, and I wish I would have taken a camera. I took a little path that seemed to be out of a dream, and eventually got to a highway which I took down past a couple of villages. The architecture here is so different and cool, that it caught me by surprise. I really enjoyed my walk just absorbing the beauty that God surrounds us with on all sides. Even the ugly things are full of beauty, and I need to start looking into the beauty of what God gives us, and not the ugliness we make it. What a week!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
You have already lost the big fight
Why should I add to your injury with slander?
All I have to say is useless banter
There are no puns ringing in my head
Only words that shall remain unsaid
One cannot tear down a razed village
One should not steal another army’s pillage
I shall not throw gasoline into a blazing fire
I shall not cast you out into the mire
One must learn to forgive as he has been
That means I must forgive all I can
I will lead your army into battle
We shall pillage all the gold and cattle
We will show no mercy to our foes
We will not be beaten by our woes
I have your sword and your shield
Now let us storm this barren field
We’ll storm the gates of Hades herself
And make the Devil a fearful whelp
There shall be no more victory in this place
Now I long to look upon your broken face
For I wish to rebuke you yet still care
I want to show you my love is fair
It never ceases in the midst of failure
It is stripped of formality and is barer
There is only one path you should find
Go and cast all the others from your mind
Toil with the dirt you have kicked up
In the end we shall be picked up
Never more will our hearts be torn
Never more will we deal with scorn
Our flesh will burn and our spirits rejoice
We will all sing aloud in a resonate voice
“Hallelujah” will fill the barren planes
It will drive the enemy of us all insane
We shall sing songs of victory and peace
All of us will sing; from greatest to least
Oh, how I long for the final rest!
But first we must fix this bloody mess
Redemption lies in every breath we receive
Distraction rests on all that we perceive
Where will two ends find a common ground?
When will a plan of attack be found?
That relies on the king of your own heart
For the heart is beautiful yet still tart
Life on board the Logos Hope has been great. I am working in the deck department, and for two weeks straight I was chipping rust off of a wall in a room that houses our Steering Gear units. This job was frustrating at first, but I eventually warmed up to it. I can’t say I’d be too disappointed if I never saw the room again, though. During these weeks I engaged in some training to prepare me for our launch into ministry in January 2009. I am learning to talk to people through life and through experiences. I also attended a church in Copenhagen (about a 30 minute drive) that was full of people from around the globe. One guy I met there even came by for a tour of the ship! Last weekend I was involved in the filming of a movie that one of the women on board is producing. It is called “The Calling” and is about a woman realizing what she is meant for. Once the video is complete, I will post a link to see it. I was an extra “shadow” in the movie and even got to dress up. We had a good time filming and the film looks good so far.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The mornings aren’t mornings unless you’re with me
You watch me sleep and I hear you speak
You’re in my dreams and in my mind
You’re in my second and in my week
You steal my heart every time
You are such a mystery and such an illusion
You are so beautiful and full of confusion
You read the book of my soul like a Sunday paper
We laugh and cry and share in all we feel
You heat my tears until they are naught but vapor
My heart is stamped and marked with your seal
I am yours and you are mine until the end of time
A more passionate sign one cannot find
You would give your life for me now I see
I see the brightness of me and what I could be
I see all of this in your name
I see naught money or fame
I see a life of solitude
I equip a new attitude
You stood at the door and knocked until I came
I cheated and cheated but you love me all the same
No gift could ever repay what you give me this day
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The most wonderful time of the year approaches yet again, and excitement build all around the world in anticipation for this event. Christmas really is a wonderful time, but it is also a very hard time for those who have lost much. I have always heard that the holidays were one of the biggest times for suicide, but I never really understood why. I think I have a small grasp on this concept now with the massive changes in my life. Thanksgiving is always a big day in my life, and I’m scared that here it won’t be very special. I don’t think football will happen on it, or anything like back home. I will probably think about the time I spend with my family and my baby nephew (who I miss like crazy) and the time I spend with friends as they are all home from college. Then in comes the Christmas season, and the closeness of family and friends along with it. I already feel sad when I think of not being able to be with my family. What makes it worse is that my brother head out to a new life in a few days, and my parents will be wrecked. I fear for them, and pray for their comfort a lot. One last thing I already miss from this season is snow! I have heard that it doesn’t snow too often here, and it is hard to imagine a Christmas without snow!
Christmas on the ship will still be magical and great, but it could never compare to the experiences I have had back home. On the ship there will be a lot of cheer and decorations for the season. One thing we are doing is a display for us and the community about Christmas around the globe. People will build displays of what Christmas is like in their home. We will open these displays to the public to come have a look at all the different traditions around the word. We will still be in Denmark for this, and a new schedule is put up in our prayers. We plan on leaving sometimes in January and to maybe stay around in Europe for a couple of weeks, after that we head to the UK for a tour around thanking some supporters and raising ship familiarity, while ministering to the millions of lost souls in the UK. After that we want to look east toward the Caribbean, but God would really have to do some miracles for that to be possible. The leadership here really believes it can happen as do I, but some are skeptical. It has been in God’s hands and will continue to be.
I’ll finish with a little wisdom from Dr. Patch Adams; look past the problem to the solution. I need to focus on my new life here and my new life in Christ more than I need to focus on my past and all the good memories. Of course, this is easier said than done!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Comfort is something that all people enjoy, even the people who love change. As a child I grew very comfortable of my surrounding that I called life. I was 11 years old, and summer was had finally arrived! I had close friends and an awesome family. Not to mention the vacation we go on every summer and roller hockey was about to start. I was almost a teenager, and didn’t feel like going anywhere but where I was. I also had a great new dog that kept me company whenever I was lonely and played with me whenever I had the energy to play. I had just finished the best school year of my life thus far, and planned on the summer following suit. I would soon attend YD (Young Disciples) at church and start to be able to actually fit in with the older guys. I loved to play sports with them, even though I did get shoved into a table once and had to go to the hospital for staples (that was by an older girl named Tina). Life was good and nothing could tear it down.
One problem with me when I was young (and still today) is my reliance on others. I have always trusted people too much, and still do, especially when I get close to them. It is there, at the point of love, in which I almost rely on their trustworthiness to get me along. This was true with my parents. I had always been dependant on them, and always relied on them for everything. I almost even held them to a superhero standard. I honestly saw them as near to perfect. I saw flaws every now and then, but they didn’t matter, I was too naïve to see deep into a few things. Looking back I can poke hole in some things that I now notice, but to me then their marriage and lives were impeccable.
I still remember the day I realized that the world is not all that it is cracked up to be, and the person I trusted most was not a superhero at all, but a man. I can’t remember the day or even month, but I do remember it was summer, and I was up late. I had spent the day sunning around hitting golf balls with a baseball bat and spending time at church (church was the only place I could go online). I went home before dinner, and I remember my dad sitting me down and telling me he loved me, which I thought was pretty weird. I knew he loved me, and he didn’t usually say it that way. There was something eerie in his voice, but I was too young to notice or even care. After dinner and some play on our home computer, I scooted off to bed.
I woke in the middle of the night and just felt crappy, I’m not sure if it was a bad dream, a loud noise, or just one of those times. First I checked my parent’s room to see if they were sleeping. I might have wanted to sleep in their bed with them, but I think I was past that stage. Either way, they were not in their bed and I was confused. Then I ventured down the stairs to the living room. I got to the bottom of the stairs, and that’s it. The look on my mother’s face was one I wish I had never seen and never want to see again. It was a look of despair and hopelessness. She possessed the look of a broken heart. I asked her “Mommy, what’s wrong?” I was then told immediately to go to bed and I would hear about it tomorrow. I shuffled off to bed in a state of disorder, and finally drifted off to sleep on a wet pillowcase.
I woke to an arm around me. This threw me further into a mental state of chaos. This was no regular arm, no random arm, and no mommy arm. It was the hairy arm of my father. Why was he sleeping in my bed? Why was he cuddling with me? When the heck did he get home?! I really can’t express the utter level of disarray I was in, and I am sure that you have had moments like this. It really was a terrible feeling. My stomach was turned upside down and my mind was totally blank. As I woke to this, I woke my dad and he didn’t tell me anything that was happening except he was either apologizing or saying he loved me. My mind was a little blurry, but he was doing something like that. I wandered downstairs into yet another scene of confusion. I am not so sure who was all downstairs but I do remember my mother. My mom had the same look from the night before, but deeper and more obvious.
The next thing I remember was going on a surprise trip up north later that afternoon. We went up to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for a couple of days with my Aunt and Uncle and not my parents. This was okay because they had Super Mario 3, so I would be satisfied. I was still unaware of what was really going on and the whole time my Aunt and Uncle just told me that my parents had some problems they needed to sort out. I probably had one of the most uncomfortable stays of my young life away from home those next long hours. I felt so confused for so long and couldn’t get my mind off of it.
When I went home I finally found out what was going on. I didn’t know the magnitude of the situation at the time, but I felt the consequences. My dad had to tell me what was going on and I’ll never forget it. His face was cast down with guilt and panic, and his voice resonated with weakness. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I remember what he communicated. First he apologized to us, but we didn’t know why. Then he started balling, that’s when we all started crying for no reason. The next things he told me shook the very foundations of my life. He told us that he had been having an affair on my mom. Ouch.
It still hurts to write this entire story and it pains me that you all read this, but it I one of the biggest part of my life, and life was so different after this little incident. I had found out what happened that night and what had been going on the past months. The man I trusted most had taken my world and tipped it upside down. He had been doing meetings with a woman form our church one-on-one (foolishly) and had gotten a crush on another woman. She returned the crush, and they started sneaking around. The woman also had a husband and children, but that didn’t stop them. I have never learned of the extent of this affair and still wonder about a lot of it. I did learn that on that night my dad was on a date with this woman and didn’t plan on coming home that night, if ever. I’m not sure about details on that night either but it doesn’t matter, it hurt. Somebody had caught my dad in the act with this woman (maybe at Denny’s) and he had a realization at some point of all that was going on.
I am glad my dad came back, but sometimes I’m not o sure my mom has always been. My fears of divorce were thrown in my face and it was as bad as I had dreamed. It felt like my soul was being torn in at least two places, and I can’t imagine the pain my mom felt. The family went through a ridiculously hard next couple of months of my mom yelling at my dad and my dad crying constantly. The one man she held responsible for her life had betrayed her. It brings tears to my eyes to this day to write this, and I’m sure the reading of it will reap tears as well.
My life was already changed. Soon the church knew, and my dad was forced into resigning before summer was over. This meant a lot of changes had to come. Thank God my dad made good friends because he was given a construction job after he was done at Faith, and I’m not so sure if he ever liked it as much as he could have. His whole attitude was changed for a while, and so were all of our attitudes toward him. We lived in a parsonage (home owned by the church) and since he wasn’t an employee of the church anymore, we had to go. Also, we received quite a hefty discount at the Lutheran school I went to (My brother and sister moved onto Public School) which meant I could no longer go there because of the cost. This, in turn, meant that I lost touch with a lot of my friends at the time. My world was flipped.
The end of the summer drew near and my thoughts turned elsewhere; Public School. I had never been out of my comfortable class of 10 friends. Soon I would be thrown into a world of people and things I had never known about. Seventh grade was probably the hardest year of my life, and a lot of bad things happened to me, most of which were my fault. I was forced into attending Holland Woods Middle School, and hated it. I still have a little resentment towards it to this day. I started my year by playing a game I loved more than most; tackle football. I had played flag football for a couple of years now, but never was loud enough to get attention. Tackle was no different. I was pretty small, and not as fast as a lot of the guys. I also didn’t try very hard because I was afraid of embarrassing myself or hurting someone else. I was shy beyond belief and barely said a word to anybody. I remember trying out for wide receiver and failing to impress anybody including myself. The whole year of football I think I started one or two games, and failed in all of them. I was the back-up center, and the only reason I ever played was because the guy in front of me had grade problems. This year set a trend for the rest of my football career, and it is a sad story. I will never know what I could have been.
School was terrible. I said about 10 words a day the first couple of weeks, and cried when I got home. I missed all of my friends and I missed my life. I missed my mommy too because she had changed (reasonably so) and I missed my dad who was home more but so full of guilt it was hard to catch him not crying. I missed a normal life of peace because we were hunting for a house. School, like I said, was just silly. I really wasn’t learning much except how to avoid people. My main friend was a guy named David Hammond, who was a little bit like me. We used to talk about little books called Redwall and then the conversation usually stopped or turned to video games for a few minutes. Looking back I realize that I could have made a lot of friends, but never talked. A lot of people would talk to me, and I would just shy away, and this trend still haunts me today. I remember my first crush of public school. Her name was Amanda, and I had never seen a girl like this. I wished I could talk to her, but I was way too shy for that. One day she even saw me in the hallway and tried talking to me but I blanked out. I was a mess! I did try to reach out once by trying out for basketball, but the coach told me I would be the sixteenth guy if he could have sixteen. I cried the whole way home (which was only a few minutes’ walk), and never tried out for a sport again.
Life moved on and we eventually got our house in the country and really far from my school. The really hard part of this process was that we had to clear the land and put our house on it. The land was mostly forest and the ground was mostly clay. I didn’t help much, but I know my father worked vigorously to get it done in time. These were hard times still, and I did go drag brush at times but it was still hard emotionally. I could tell that my mom didn’t love my dad like she used to and hadn’t forgiven him yet. I didn’t realize the depth of the pain in her heart, and the disappointment in her mind. I didn’t realize that although my dad apologized all of the time he could never make up for it to my mom. I was trying to move on, but it was hard with our future hung up in the rafters. By the time we moved I think it was sometime the later fall of 1999, and I was still at Holland woods. This meant that my mom now had to drive me to school before she went to work. This was weird and the first months were tiring because of my addiction to video games. Video games were (and still are) my escape from reality and my reality at the time was full of change and bad things.
I finished up my year at Holland Woods and was just excited to be done. I remember the last few days there were good, and we spent a lot of time outside running around. I only had about 1-2 friends, and I never went to anybody’s house or anything. I was my own best friend. The summer after that year had nothing memorable in my mind. I think I hibernated in my basement and played Dreamcast and computer games all summer. I’m sure my parents could tell you how bad it was, but I was full of self pity. I started gaining weight and didn’t really notice or care.
The next school year I had to go to yet another brand new school. This one was Central Middle School, and was even bigger than anything I had ever imagined. I felt lost on my first day there, and probably did actually get lost. I played football again, but this time had a little fun. I still wasn’t a starter, but I made a few friends with some of the guys on the team. I also knew a few people at the school form earlier in my life. I actually started to talk to people at Central but was still very shy. That year our football team won every game, and had a blast doing it. We were the best in Port Huron, and were very proud of it. One of the games that my family came to Jenni had Sampson on a leash, and somehow he got away from her and ran onto the field. That’s one of the few stories I remember from that year (although I have a lot of random memories). Of course throughout the year my parents started to get a long a little more and more, and life got better and better. I even got a basketball net at some point to play on. I was going to be the next Joe Dumars at some point in my life. We also spent more time with family and spent time up at my Grandma’s as much as possible, and those times will never be forgotten. Matt was always in trouble and making my parents pull their hair out, or being mean to me. Even when he had a girlfriend he picked on me, but she liked me. I remember she called me the caveman because I was always in my room playing video games.
The summer of that year was fairly different than before, and had an impact in my future. That summer my life was changed. My dad had started something great at Faith Lutheran Church in the form of a yearly Mexico trip. They kept it going for a couple of years after he left, then things got complicated. Anyways, I had a chance to go on this trip. I will never forget the ride down. I was a kid amongst teenagers and felt really out of place. I still didn’t say a whole lot to most people, and was more shy than usual. I knew a few people from the church, but they were all old and I was young so I didn’t fit in very well. This meant I felt pretty alone, but I was very used to being alone.
When we actually got to Mexico I was thrown into the real world. This was a world most people in America only fear or see on television in cheesy advertisements. I was cast into it for a week, and it was scary. The level of poverty upon first glance was so foreign to me all I could do was cry (I still had a big heart). I came to realize that although these people had very few possessions, they were rich beyond my wildest dreams. They had what the King had told us to have; faith like a child. They were recklessly in love with Jesus because their hope could not be in this world. I still wish I could live like this more, and I think a heart like the poor is something of a precious jewel. This week I saw God in numerous ways for the first time I can honestly remember. I finally had an almost tangible relationship with the one who kept my family together. I knew the one who had kept me safe through some tough times at school (there was a problem at Holland Woods the year before I went for those of you who remember) personally. I saw Jesus in the feet of the people who had little but loved more than anybody I had known. I have since been to Mexico 5-6 more times, and have a real heart for the people here; or do they have a real heart for me? I will never forget where I met God.
The next stage of my life posed a lot of problems for a lot of kids, especially in the spiritual realm. This next adventure was Port Huron High School, and my teenage years. I moved onto a new year of football and into the realm of swearing. My freshman year of football was short lived but was also a lot of fun. I started making a lot of friends here, and some of these friendships last to this day. It was here that I met Sean. The same Sean that I talk to as much as I can these days, and the same Sean that I plan on knowing my whole life. I did break my thumb pretty early in the season and had to sit out for 4 weeks. During those weeks I didn’t miss football honestly. Our coach was really hard and loud and loved to get in our faces. The injured people used to sit around and laugh at everything the team had to do for this guy, and when we came back it was really hard on us to get back in the swing of things. Our team was decent that year, but I enjoyed the fellowship of our team more than actually playing.
Other than football, school was intimidating, but I was slowly morphing into the real me (still haven’t finished the metamorphosis). I started to actually talk a decent amount, and even got a detention for talking. I used to be really goofy; actually I still am. I did develop a foul mouth somewhere along the line, and still have it at times. I hung out with a few people and traded football and hockey cards. My grades started to slip as I began to care less and less about homework. I think the problem actually was that homework mattered more and I couldn’t use decent writing skills to pull the wool over my teacher’s eyes as much; and I hate math. This year also marked the year my dad fell in love again. We went to the Cornerstone Church for the first time when it was in McMorran arena, and I remember being scared of people dancing and raising their hands. Most of my family didn’t like it much, but my Dad loved it! I remember my first time at youth group in the grove mall. I was wearing my football jersey and was so afraid. I think part of the problem was that I met Alexis first, who was a total extrovert, and I was very intimidated of her personality. I never could talk well to girls. My first official girlfriend was in ninth grade and her name was Ashley Bloink. She was a cool girl, but not what I thought she was, so instead of actually breaking it off, I just started to ignore her, which was bad. I have always been bad with ending relationships.
The next chapter of my life is yet to be written down, but I can promise that I will write it someday soon. On the horizon is the tenth grade, and some pretty significant changes and meetings in my life. Tenth grade was one of my favorite times in High School, and I will never forget the people I met, or the hearts I broke years later, or the heart revealed to me as life went on.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I can imagine what being born was like. I think that it was like being cast out from everything comfortable into a strange and unknown place. I can imagine the shock of moving from the isolation and quiet of the womb to what seems like calamity in the hands of a man you have never known. Not only do you not know him but you don’t know what the heck he is! Well, they day was August 10th 1987, and there I was at 3 in the morning. I was my parent’s final child, and a big one at that. I weighed 8 pounds and 10 ounces, and was a bundle of love.
My mother told me I never cried much as a baby and other sources have confirmed this to me. I like to think of myself as a content baby. The only thing I needed was to be cuddled. All of my family has told me at some point how cuddly I was, and still am. The truth is that I absolutely love the comfort I feel when I am in somebody I love’s arms. I could live with that feeling everyday, and it is one of my great excitements for my marriage. When I was a child, I used to let any of my close relatives hold me as long as I wanted, without hesitation.
I grew up early on in life in Hazel Park, Michigan. I had my small family of five, and my grandmothers played a huge part in my growing up. They used to take me out and spoil me rotten with food and toys. I used to love to go over to their houses and play with them and my cousins. Dodie (my mom’s mom) and Papa used to live somewhere nearby, and every Halloween (that I remember) we’d go there and Dodie would make us cool costumes. Then Christmas always reminded me of Nana (my dad’s mom) and Poppa’s house. We would go after church to their house on Christmas Eve and enjoy many snacks full of sugar and then came the presents! This tradition continues until today.
One of my earliest memories is of Christmas time when I was 3 or 4, and I’m sure my mother could tell this story better than me, but I will anyways. I went to a public school for preschool and it was Christmas time in “Detroit”. For me this always was exciting with the good food and snacks, and of course, presents. My class got to go on a field trip to see Santa Claus! I did believe in him, and was probably pretty excited to go see him. When we got there I got the shock of my life. It seemed as though Santa had underwent a transformation! What was wrong with this Santa? This particular Santa possible ruined the idea of Santa throughout the rest of my childhood (or my brother did that). He was black! I was so confused that my only response was to run away and cry! Keep in mind that I grew up in a pretty diverse area. Yet I still thought this was odd. Needless to say, I did get my present (a Goofy puzzle), but I am not sure if I ever sat on his lap.
In the winter of 1991 my dad got a new job. I’ll stop here to discuss how important my dad was to me. We always used to play. We did everything from Legos to wrestling to sports. All three of us kids used to take on our monster dad in wrestling, and we all looked up to him. Like I said, in 1991 my dad took a job in Port Huron (which is an hour or so away). I didn’t really know what was going on, and I didn’t care that we were leaving (in my memory) because I didn’t have many quality friends. We moved into our new house in Port Huron in January of that year, and I was as sick as a dog. I don’t remember a whole lot about the move or adapting to the new place, except that I loved the house.
I was very much attached to my mother, and this may come from the security of the cuddling, because my Mom has always been one to hold me as much as possible. One memory I have is going to either kindergarten or to preschool when I was a wee tyke. I was dropped off and when my mom left I stared balling! I couldn’t handle the separation, I had never been alone like that before, and I didn’t really know what to do. So I just cried and cried on my first day of school, until eventually the teacher gave me a Detroit Lions (our football team) stuffed animal. The teacher (Mrs. Rathje) still remembers that incident and tells me of it every time I see her. I also met my future best friend (Cody Tuttle) on my first day of school.
School to me was a blur of activity. I attended a Lutheran school called Trinity Lutheran. My class size was always tiny, and all of us were friends most of the time I was there. First grade was a challenge for me, but also a blessing. It was in first grade that Tim and I became good friends, and this friendship is still running strong. We used to run around his streets with Andy Smith and just play. I also was good friends with Cody Tuttle (who I met in kindergarten) and I would spend a ton of time at his house. We would run around the woods going on crazy adventures, or just wrestle in his house. I still remember the smell of his house, but I can’t describe it. I sometimes look back and miss the unhindered joy of childhood. I miss the lack of worry and fear in my life.
Although I had a lot of friends, I was always a little withdrawn. I was never the loud kid in school (that was Tim), but was always friendly. I remember my first “girlfriend” was in second grade. Her name was Ashley Lamping, and she said I was cute one day, so we used to run around and act like we were dating. This lasted for 2 or 3 years of an off and on “relationship”. I have since lost contact with Ashley, but will never forget her.
My brother was never interested in sports or anything like it, but I have always been in love with most of them. I started sports in first grade with tee ball. I played with Cody Tuttle and his sister, Danielle. I don’t recall much of this season, but I do remember that one game was ridiculously hot (close to 100°) and when the game was done we went swimming in the pond near by. After that I got involved in soccer in second grade until I discovered football in fifth grade (More to come on that later). I also played roller hockey off and on for a couple of years, but missed a lot of games from vacationing. My dad played a big part in my love for sports, and also in teaching me how to play.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, my family loved our vacations. It seemed like every summer we would go on a new vacation. The first one I remember was in either 1991 or 1992 and it was to the world famous Disneyland in Florida. As was the case for most of our vacations my mom’s sister (Aunt Diana or Nan) and her family (Uncle Bruce, Kyle, and Jess) would be our vacationing partners. Some of my memories are from the enormous amounts of video that my Uncle took, but some are genuine. It was a great time, and of course I enjoyed it. We went on all the rides, and saw everything there was to see. The funniest part of the trip was the “E.T.” ride. You told them your name when you got on the ride, and half way through E.T. would say your name. My sister nearly jumped out of the car when she heard it because the voice was so creepy and unexpected. I also got to see my favorite turtles (The Ninja Turtles) perform there, and even got a picture with Raphael.
Disney was a rare year for vacationing as we didn’t usually travel that far. Most summers were spent in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the Porcupine Mountains or on the Sand Dunes of western Michigan. We would go and have camp fires, swim, rollerblade, and do a ton of other fun things. These are some of my favorite times as a child. On my 8th birthday we were in the UP and I had just received a new pair of Rollerblades. I was skating, but wasn’t very good at it, and when I came to a hill I dared to venture down it: That was a bad idea. I fell about halfway down and got all scrapped up. I remember crying, and then my parents bought me ice cream from the Outpost which made it all better. I will always relish these times spent with my family.
I grew up as a pastor’s kid, and this meant added benefits with the church. I could use the gym whenever he was in his office, and even go on-line! This was a new thing to me, and I loved it. My dad ran a great youth group at Faith Lutheran Church, and I wish I was old enough to attend it. I was old enough to attend his VBS sessions at the same church which was very memorable. Every summer it seemed like I was just waiting to go to VBS. He did amazing programs, and a typical one was a sort of Old Testament lifestyle. We would have groups that lived in tents and got play money. In the morning we would always have bread and jams, then go play games and learn of Old Testament heroes such as Sampson and David. There was also one year when he did an Old western style VBS. This one was even more fun, and even thought I don’t remember why he did this theme, I can tell you that the amount of work that went into it was astounding. He made little building fronts out of wood that looked to a young boy very real. He even dressed up as the villain Black Bart to come haunt us.
Fall was always my least favorite time of year, as it meant another year of school. By the third grade, I had made a ton of friends (all that ere in my class) and had a lot of people to hang out with. I also started to break out of my shell a little bit and became sort of loud. My fourth grade teacher was the pastor’s wife; Mrs. Mann. She was one of the most loving teachers I have had, and would always hug all of us when we were sad. To this day I still get hugs whenever I see her. I would still hang out with Tim and Cody, and now I would even go to other peoples houses. I would also enjoy video games for myself, and I remember when we bought our Sega Genesis. It had a couple of games (Sonic 2 and Twin Cobras) and I spent countless hours trying to beat Sonic, but never could.
One distinct memory I have from boyhood was my sister’s boyfriends. She was a popular cheerleader in school, very pretty, and a little spoiled. This translated into many new boys coming home with her. I remember we called every two weeks “D-Day”, which meant dump day, because she would always break up with a new guy. One boyfriend I remember vividly is Nate. Looking back now on Nate just the thought of him dating my sister makes me cringe. He was a user and a complete jerk, but to a boy like me he was awesome. He would always play video games with me and play basketball and things like that. Once I beat him in a game of basketball and he went home because he was so angry. I remember that when they broke up I cried a lot, maybe more than Jenni, but I don’t remember the situation.
In 1994 or 1995 my dad started to lead Missions trips to Juarez, Mexico. He still leads these to this day, and I have enjoyed many of these trips. When I was young, my mother used to go on these trips as well, leaving me with my grandparents. I would spend a week at each set of Grandparents house, and these times were always a blessing to me. The first few years Matt went with me too, and that was a mess. We never really got a long until both of us had grown up. So back then we would always fight, and of course he would win, and I would cry. I remember one time we were at Nana and Papa’s cottage in Onaway, Michigan, and Matt was being particularly crazy that week. First he took me in the barn and had me start the riding lawnmower then we both ran, leaving it running. Needless to say, Papa was pretty ticked off, and we got a nice little spanking. After that, Matt and I got worse for some reason. We stood outside and kept using the tennis rackets to smash apples toward each other, and we got yelled at. This, of course, was followed with a little more mischief. Matt stood outside ringing the dinner bell mercilessly and then we ran. We tried to hide from Papa, but failed mightily. We got quite the spanking, and from that moment for a few years I was very much afraid of my grandfather.
At my other grandparents house I would spend a lot of time watching cartoons. I have always been a big fan of them, and still occasionally watch them. I also loved to be outside in the forest and on the lake. I would always go have adventures in the woods all by myself. My imagination was ridiculous, and still is. I would go on epic tales without moving a mile. I could even (and still can) get so wrapped up in my mind that I lost sense of time and reality. I loved to spend time with my Dodie, and she loved my very much. I never thought that Poppa loved me as much as her, but now that I understand people I see just how much he really loved me. He used to take me fishing on Lake Huron at least once every time I was up there. I liked to fish, but the problem was that we woke up at 5 in the morning to go out. This was crazy for a boy like me! I always wanted to sleep as long as possible. I’ll never forget my grandpa, who passed away a little while ago, but I will get to that in a later post.
As I grew older our vacations continued, but grew a little less frequent. One of the best times I have ever had was on our last big vacation when I was 8 or 9. The same two families piled into a couple of vehicles (ours was a station wagon pulling a Pop up camper, theirs was a RV) and driving all the way out to the Grand Canyon. This was only one stop in a three week adventure. We drove everywhere a boy like me could want to, and saw a ton of sights. We saw Mount Rushmore, went white water rafting, Climbed hills, saw REAL mountains (the Rockies), went into sand dunes that looked like something an artist though up, went to Yellowstone National Park and saw all sorts of wildlife (including Bison), and went to countless museums. It was a dream come true! As is normal for long road trips, some problems arose, and I remember a certain place my siblings and I nicknamed “Divorce Camp Ground”.
As a child I was deathly afraid of my parents separating. I think this was because I loved them both so much and couldn’t choose which one I would go with, or just because I knew the repercussions it could have on my life. Every time my parents would fight I would worry they would divorce. This never happened, but me and my whole family thought it would one night on this vacation. We were in Arizona or Utah or somewhere around there and we were either lost or running late. I don’t remember the drive much, probably because I was playing with my cousin Jess (we were great friends) or sleeping. I do remember our arrival to the camp ground. It was chaotic. We could barely find our camp site from the lack of lights, and to make matters worse, when we did find it we couldn’t find the electricity hook up for our pop up. There were also scorpions on the way to the bathroom, and dinner was burnt Macaroni and Cheese. My mom was furious, and my dad was exhausted. When we finally crawled in to our beds at night, I felt like I was caught in the middle of the invasion of Normandy. My parents shouted back and forth, and all three of us children cried and held each other. That was one of the worst nights of my life, and made me all the more afraid of divorce.
That was probably the best vacation I have ever had, and will never forget it. It is still a common theme every time we meet with my extended family. All of the fun and stupid things that happened will be held in my heart forever, you can’t pay for memories like that (even though it was a pretty hefty fee for the vacation). But as always I had to go back to school. The fifth and sixth grades were a highlight of my life, and where I really changed into who I am. I was involved in a lot of things during these years (cub scouts, soccer, flag football, roller hockey, etc.) and loved every minute of the sports and activities I was in. We would go to tournaments for soccer that lasted all day and even if I didn’t play much I loved it for the fun with friends and my coach (also known as my dad). I even branched out and met a couple public school kids in flag football, which was a blast even though I was too shy to try very hard. I also won a geography bee in fifth grade and still keep the medal in my room for some stupid reason. Also, in fifth grade I made a new friend. His name was Sampson, and he was the cutest thing I had ever seen. Little did I know that this dog would become one of my favorite pals! He used to chase me down and tackle me and nibble my ears!
At our old church we used to have outside services when it was nice on Monday, and I always liked these more because the music was from an acoustic guitar, and not an organ. At one of these services, all of my family went, and we left the dog in the yard. We lived in a parsonage on church property, and even though Sammy was young he was very wild and strong. He managed to climb up our log pile after breaking his chain only to run into the middle of the church service. My dad was so embarrassed, but all the rest of us kids thought it was hilarious.
The forging of my personality was under way, and I was loving life. I had amazing friends that I hung out with all the time, I was very successful in school, I was a starter on basketball and soccer teams, and my family was as tight as ever. Life was at a high for me when I was in sixth grade. Then my whole perspective was changed, and my world was turned upside down. I never expected these feelings that were to come in the dawning months, and they still affect me to this day.
Monday, October 6, 2008
The basic problem is that there was a “party” for a couple of girls’ birthday Monday night, and all we did was play music, dance (innocently), and talk. I thought it was an awesome bonding experience for all of us there. A lot of people were comfortable enough to dance including me, which says a lot if you know me. I felt like the whole night was innocent except a few songs. That (the songs) could change easily enough with a change of laptop or CD. Other than that we didn’t do much wrong that I saw, yet I heard that we can’t have these anymore. We were pretty far from any cabins, so that shouldn’t have been a problem. I heard that some people said we weren’t good examples to the community. How is that? Can us Christians ever be loud and have fun? What about some dancing ministries; are those wrong too? I have always struggled with conservative people who know they are right. I have always been one to try and meet in the middle, why can’t we strive for that?
Maybe I am being rash, maybe this whole thing is a rumor, but still. Apart from this problem, I love it here! I really am starting to settle in, and people know me. I’m kind of a big deal here. Not really, but the people here do love, some are just really uptight. I should have expected that. I am really comfortable here now. Work is starting next week for real! No more training! YES! Actually this past week doesn’t feel a whole lot like training. Most of the people in my department are pretty cool. Both of my bosses are great guys, who I have a lot in common with. I know I’m where I need to be. I can’t say how relieving that is, again. One can never receive enough confirmation. Thank you all so much for your prayers, without them I would not be here.
One thing I am scared about is America. I have heard about the deep financial problems that have come and even could come to pass, and I worry. I worry if the America I come back to won’t be the same. I worry that there won’t exist even, or if it will be divided. I worry about who will lead the country. Most of all I worry about the people. I worry that the population runs from god to chase idols. I feel like America may become like Sodom. The delusion of morality in my country frightens me. How can we exist with no purpose other than selfish gain? Many have tried this and failed in the long run. Please pray to put America back in God’s hands; I know I am.
I have finished reading the New Testament a week ago or something, and started back from the begging. Genesis is so hard to read because it sounds so odd. People marry cousins, have sex without marriage, and kill for God. It’s hard to imagine the times and how the Godly people acted. Like when men’s wives’ give the maidservant so they can have a kid, how is that Godly? People are strongly warned against sexual immorality, so why the heck do these guys get to sleep with all these girls, and are blessed beyond reason? Also, why is wealth so stressed in this book? I have been reading pretty often and am on the 32nd chapter. I get a little confused, but then I try to remember that I have no clue about the culture of the time, and that we are not under that covenant. We are under a new much better covenant. Praise God for that!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Who Am I?
I am a thief in the day
And a refugee by night
I am an endless sandbar
That goes beyond sight
I am a biased council
Fighting the whole of man
I am a poet of ages past
Dreaming in the sand
Who do I think I am?
I feel like a beggar in a foreign place
With no desire to look upon their face
I want more but look at less
I find no comfort in my dress
I am a man on his way to who knows where
I am an ambulance full of care
I am a rock cast into my own whirlpool
I am for you a stubborn fool
Who do people think I am (in my eyes)?
I wander the circus full of paint
A red nose and a white face
People come to see me for a price
But is it really me they see?
I am sometimes even a saint
I am a runner with no pace
Am I a pie that has one slice?
There is so much more to me
Who does God say I am?
I am a tornado on a paradise
A cheating heart but a faithful body
Sprinting out into the night
I break hearts and destroy temples
But I am beautiful beyond comprehension
My eyes are like the stars
And my smile resembles the sea
After all I’ve done you still love me
Monday, September 22, 2008
I’ve been trying to think of material to give all of you viewers the past couple of days, but my mind has blanked. Everything I want to write dissipates with every new thought that enters my head. That’s a lot! My mind either is empty or running in hyper mode. One thing I think that is holding me back from writing is the fact that nothing too exciting is happening. That’s not bad, trust me. Sometimes a lull in activities is a necessary tool to help one grow. I think it can sometimes display comfort and stability. For me this rings true; I am really familiarizing myself with my surroundings and absorbing. I am growing used to the ships life, which so far is good. I am becoming me to all of these people here, and becoming more confident in who I am. Someone tells me a lot that I am a decent writer, which makes me feel good. I am growing close to a few people, and starting relationships to loads of people. People actually know my name know; pretty crazy huh. I am officially a deck hand in training. We don’t seem to do a whole lot of important things until we set sail.
One thing that sucks, but seems to be normal, is the heartbreak of sailing. Nobody knows when it’s going to happen or even really where is next. The main rumor going around is now Belfast by January or so. Whatever, I guess I have to get used to Koge since we will be here forever. Everybody here has been through this for a while, so I feel bad complaining as I have been here for a very short time. I hope we leave port, but it’s all in God’s hands!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Today was a great day. We had our last day of Pre-Ship Training, which is amazing. The whole of PST was sitting around learning. I am ready to endeavor in some physical labor. The last session was good, as we were told to write goals and missions statements. A few of mine are to grow in God every day, to love people with all of my heart, to retain the knowledge and experiences I gain here to bring them home, and to seize the day. I was excited when I heard for sure that I was on deck department, and the guy who I think would bother me the most wasn’t. Although that sounds kind of mean, it’s true. He was so sure he’d be on the deck too; I almost felt bad for him. Anyways, next we had solitude time with God. We could do whatever we wanted. A lot of people chose to sleep or clean, but not me.
This is when my day was really made great. I decided to go explore Koge a little more all by myself. I walked away from the hope and had a lot to discuss with God. That I did. I walked one way toward where I thought the beach was just talking to God about my struggles and triumphs, and relishing on who I want to be in my future. Then I ran into a fellow Hoper who told me I was going the wrong way. I turned around to walk back toward the real beach. On the way I prayed my face off. I prayed for me, my family, my friends, Cornerstone Church, Michigan, the USA, Logos Hope, OM (who is really struggling with funds at the moment), and went back through. I got everything off of my chest; EVERYTHING! When I finally sat down I felt so relieved and at peace. I sat on a bench by the beach listening to some good music and reading my bible. I read through the last three letters of the gospel. Then, I rested. I delighted in where God has sent me and what He will do in me. I felt so comfortable. I knew that God had his arms wrapped around me with a giant hug. Then I slept for a few minutes.
After that I went back, and got an Ethernet cable so that I could use my laptop to get online. Then sat around online waiting for dinner to get prepared. I ate, and it was good; odd, but good. It was sort of like lasagna made with alfredo sauce and vegetables in it. After dinner, I put my laundry in the cans to be washed, and then I went to our last service as a PST. The speaker was good, but has a voice that put me right to sleep. The Russian girl next to me woke me up and told me to stay up, I tried and failed. I did wake up in time for worship, which was amazing. It was one of those worships where you feel comfortably uncomfortable. All of the hairs on my body were standing in worship. The ducts in my eyes were ready and willing to burst if called upon. My body felt weak, but my spirit has never felt stronger. I focused upon the cross, and saw sweet salvation. What a feeling!
Monday, September 15, 2008
A clean sheet lies in front of me. Just a sheet of paper. Not even that, it’s a screen, yet for some reason I have a hard time telling it all that’s on my heart. I can only tell God and myself all that’s on my mind. I feel like I have a lot to offer, but it’s all in the basement. I’m scared. I’m scared of being vulnerable, I’m scared of judgment on me, and I’m deathly afraid of rejection. I’m sure that this dang screen will not judge me, but why can’t I tell it my problems. I get red faced and nervous. Where did my trust in people go? I can’t really relate it to a single event; more like a chain of events in my life, most of which were minuscule. I go back to being betrayed in my subconscious every time I want to express my feelings. I’m not just this sarcastic and shallow guy. Really computer I promise that I’m not. I try to be deep. I try to open up, but why express feelings I try not to feel. I think my apathy is almost corrosive. When did I stop caring on the outside yet care more and more on the inside? I have something to offer to people, don’t I? I know I do, but I hold it down. I hold it down for fear of being disappointed again. We all have our disappointments, so why do I take them so hard?
The real core of this problem is in my confidence. Although at times I may seem somewhat sure of myself, I’m not. Flat out insecure. Where does this feeling of belittlement come from? I read constantly how beautiful and amazing I am from the only one that actually matters. Why does that mean so little right now? Although he is God, I am still me. I still struggle with the problems I have my whole life. I struggle with jealousy, I struggle with all the things men struggle with, and I even have my wrestling matches with pride. Why pride? I am insecure, where does this feeling of deep pride come from? My biggest problem lies in jealousy at times. I see people walking around with an aura of confidence and humility and I just wish I could have that. The fact is that I probably won’t. It has been engraved in my mind that I am not good enough. The funny thing is that all my life I have been told how handsome I was, or how athletic I am, or how smart I am, or how compassionate I am. Why don’t I see these things? Although I do see them in flashes, when somebody better comes around, I get really self conscious. I think that it is all pride. I wish I was the best, but somebody is always better, and if not they are training to be better. Man what a cycle. Even as I write this I struggle with idea of publishing it. I am incredibly vulnerable actually, and I realize this the more I think about it. I think everybody is vulnerable, but I fail to register this in the ol’ noggin. I could be better; better looking, more athletic, smarter, skinnier, faster, and funnier. But I’m not, that’s just a fact. Sure, some of those things I could work on, but would that make me feel better? Probably not. I wish I could tell myself that I am good enough through him and really feel it deep down in my belly. I have my moments, but not enough. Again, not spiritual enough. One day I will be perfect, for He tells me so. I can’t wait.
Believe it or not, I am really enjoying my time here. I am building friendships, but I think the standard of my homely friends is really hard to match. They are amazing, I couldn’t have better. I hope that one day we share the same intimate love with Christ, and I pray for it every day. Even if we don’t, they are my best friends, and they mean the world to me. I think this standard has kind of created a small wall for me into entering new friendships that I struggle with at the moment. I only write this down right now because I have nowhere comfortable to turn, and I realize you may not judge as harshly as others. Please don’t judge me by these entries alone, they are just my struggles. The life of a 21 year old going on a journey with his savior was never meant to be easy, and I didn’t expect it to be.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
To the dry well
Back to the desert
Forty years seems like a lifetime
One year seems like a breath
I get thirsty and drink
But forget my water
I drink from the earth
I drink the sand
The sand in this desert
It runs dry as bones
Maybe it is bones
The bones of those defeated
But not I
Beaten and bruised I wander on
My path narrows and straightens
What lies next is hard to see
All I see is in front of me
Sometimes I can’t even make that out
My eyes are weary
My legs scream for rest
My brain is empty
I’m too tired fight
But too tired to sleep
So on I wander
Hoping the next step is the end
The end of the desert
The beginning of something beautiful
A mountain and a waterfall
Appear from nowhere
It’s all within sight
Why can’t I get there?
Are my feet stuck?
My pace quickens and slows
I can’t decide if the mountain is closer
If it’s better to turn around
Go back to the desert and sleep
That’s what I have said for so long
But tomorrow has come many times
Yet I find myself timid
Maybe today I’ll be bold
I’ll walk to the mountain
I’ll be carried up it when I get there
I can’t wait for the grass
The feeling of sand is so superficial
Superficial and comfortable
The rock seems so troublesome
Why perch on a rock when there is sand
I look back again and again
Always too timid to move foreword
And too afraid to sprint back
But a sudden urge to sprint comes
I fight it all of the time
This time it is different
It calls to me from in front not behind
The mountain screams at me
Should I ignore it?
I rarely feel this tug
But this is no tug
It is a shove
The sand grips my feet
It grabs my heart
It hold is so strong
But its roots are shallow
I think it is time to move
I look back on my steps
I count them
They are numerous
But they go in circles
I have been running in circles
More like ovals
At times toward the mountain
At times toward the sand
Why can’t I decide?
What has gripped my heart with such force?
What will I give in to?
It’s too late
I’ve started to move onward
Toward the mountain
I can’t wait to rest
But a long journey awaits me
I can’t turn back
I won’t turn back
But like before I glance at the familiar home
I hope to be disgusted
I hope to fall in shame
But I don’t
I feel a certain fear
The fear that grabs your stomach
But I have already started to move
No turning back now
Not for a while
I have started moving and aim not to stop
Sure at times ill stop and maybe look back
I may even pace back a little
But I must remain strong
I find my water
Now to move on
Move past the sand
Onto something better
My stomach knots
My skin screams with pain
My ancestors stand in the way
My future leaps for joy
Whom then should I please
Let the dead bury the dead
Let the living love the living
I move onward
All around I am slowed
But I hurry
I rush to the mountain with a great fatigue
A great hunger
None will stop me
One will hold me
Oh to be in the river
It is what I dream of
It is why I came to this damned place
This cursed desert
All this sand
It is so comfortable
Just one look
One look back
I turn my head and see the desert home
Time to move on
I must remain ever vigilant
I will go home
Home to the mountain someday
To be tucked away safely
Once and for all time
Monday, September 8, 2008
I miss football. Today is opening day for the NFL, and that’s probably going to be on my mind all day. The previous few years today has been one of my favorite days. I would go to church all excited and get home and sprint to the T.V. and watch all of the pregame shows on Fox and CBS. I’d run through my fantasy team to make sure I have it all how I want it. Now I don’t even know who is playing on my team anymore because I can’t rally check it here. I am sadder that I can’t watch the Lions, who are getting a really exciting offense. I guess that at least I can’t really be disappointed most Sundays this year. That’s about the only good thing about not watching football.
Aside from that little ramble, I am doing very well. I started to open up to my PST team (PST means Pre-Ship Training). I have been more talkative every day and am starting to be me around these people. Although this is good, I find myself in a familiar position; I just can’t open up on a deep level. I feel like I am going to be judged every time I want to open up. I have had this problem for a long time, just ask a certain ex of mine, and I feel like I need to overcome it. I don’t want shallow relationships, but without opening up I know that is all I can have. I would love to listen to people’s problems and past, but when it comes to me telling them of mine I get nervous and shy. It’s quite odd.
My brain is fried. I think that they crammed enough new information in it to last for a while. We have basic safety training right now, which is training to know how to be safe on the ship, and it is the most boring thing I’ve done in years. I find myself always tired and looking for sleep in the classes. It reminds me of High School again, where I couldn’t stay awake if I wanted to. Basically I’m mentally exhausted and just waiting to get to the ship. A deep physical exhaustion is way better, because I find myself not wanting to think with a mental tiredness. I’d rather sit and think any day than just zone out all of the time. I can’t wait to get t the ship.
The food here sucks (well most of the time). I tried liver for the first time, and almost puked. Lunch is always some nasty form of meat, and dinner is usually decent. All of the trainers tell me that I will love this ships cooking compared to this stuff. Another reason to get there. I am enjoying my PST though the people here are mostly genuine. There is one particular person that I think I could have problems with in the future. He is just incredibly overbearing. His personality is opposite of mine and he just won’t stop talking to anybody to listen for a second. He is always trying to show himself better than people around girls. Whenever people talk about guys being jerks or stereotypical he has to make it a point that he isn’t like that. He even took the microphone at a meeting we had for SP (I’ll explain that in a second) that he is not the typical guy. That’s just silly.
Well, SP is something called social policy. This is the rules to how you relate to women, particularly if you have interest in a relationship with one. The rules here are that you can’t date the first year of your commitment but after that your free game, kind of. You have to go to an officer and request them to get SP with a person of the opposite sex then they proceed to ask a female advisor and find out if they like you back. THEN the advisors contact the families and see if it is ok of you to date, and if all goes well, you have yourself a girlfriend. No wonder people who date here get married so much, after going through all of that together. The whole process is pretty intimidating.
I just wanted to remind all of you guy how happy I am to be here and how glad I am to have your support and prayers. Prayers make my world revolve. I hope I can touch a few of you guys back home with my stories to make you fall in love with the Amazing God we have. I am reminded every day how huge his grace is. You can never use it up. He truly is a well that will never run dry, and I have to tell myself that all of the time. Sometimes I feel like I am not worthy to be here, but then I remember all of the broken people God called into his glory. All of the tax collectors, prostitutes, murderers, and thieves he loved with all his heart. I even would venture to say that it is easier for the broken to love Him, as the grace seems even more real. I also remember that I don’t love him like I should, and I try to improve that day by day. I know I have screwed up in the past but that just makes his love more real. The reality is that I am forgiven and that we have a Big God.
Friday, August 29, 2008
So the GO! Conference 2008 is officially over tomorrow. Usually at this point in a trip I am headed home, but not this time. It feels a little odd still that I won’t be seeing my forest home again soon or swimming in Lake Huron with my friends. But I won’t, and that means it is time for me to grow up. No more mommy to pack my bags and hold my hand. I talked to a man that had been on the Logos Hope for a few months setting stuff up, and he said “When people first arrive you think that they are all just a bunch of immature punks, but they grow up fast.” I can’t wait to get to the ship and start my work and get accustomed to life there. I can’t wait to go be introduced to the community of people that I will be a part of for the next two years at least. But I can wait to go to training; it is 70 or so of us that will be new to the Logos Hope crammed into a building. All the guys sleep in one room (which is a gym) and we train there in Denmark where everything is expensive. But it’ll be an experience. Most of my time here has been an experience, one that I will already never forget.
Also, I won’t have internet at training for 2 weeks, so this will probably be my last post for a while, but you never know, maybe they are wrong. I will still write blogs, but post them when I get to internet. I also am almost out of clean shirts, and laundry is full tonight. I’m not really sure what to do about that. I did go for a nice little stroll today since it was nice out for once and took some pictures. Those will be posted on my photobucket. That’s all I have to say about that.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I stand anew in your glory every day
I feel your soft touch when I wake
You are the well that quenches my thirst
I breathe you mercy when I’m hurt
You fill my lungs with thunderous love
My praises sound in the heavens above
You pick me up when I fall
A glorious hand comes at my call
Why am I so blessed?
After all I have stressed?
Your river never runs dry
A taste alone makes me cry
Although deaf I hear your voice
Although mute I cry my choice
It is you dear father
For your love is like no other
Monday, August 25, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
What can match the beauty of this place is the beauty of the people I am surrounded by constantly. These are good people. It is hard to find a place where people genuinely care about you, but I found a place where EVERYBODY cares about you. Genuine love is a truly gorgeous thing. Not to mention the beauty of the foreign women! Just kidding. I really know this is where I am called to be, the next part is getting over my past and moving forward into a new life that has been set before me. I do miss all of those I left behind sorely, yet I am filled with hope. I know I will see all you guys again soon. I am not sorry for leaving though, as I found a temporary home in this place. Just know I think of you all the time, and you are all in my prayers, and keep me in yours.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Today was the day; I am currently in Metro airport all alone. I just left my family and friends that accompanied me to the airport. The whole “good bye” thing is one of the worst parts of this. Leaving my friends as they grow up and go through college is so hard. I feel like I will miss out on so much over this span. My nephew is 1 ½ years old, so he will be 3 ½ when I get back. That’s two years I miss out on in his life. My parents will probably remain the same, but I have seen them almost every day for 21 years, now I won’t. Thinking of all of this brings tears to my eyes, as it did to some of the people who came with me; but I can’t look back.
It’s kind of strange to me that the fear still hasn’t set fully in yet, and I am almost there. I have had moments where I get nervous and scared, but they pass easier than a spelling test. I really am good at living in the moment, and always have been. My mind is thrown about so many different ways, and I think that right now it’s helping me accept my losses and count my blessings. How many people get the opportunity to see the world like this? How many get the chance to grow and mature outside of the starving land of America? This is where I need to be, and I know it. I’m ready to go. Please pray for courage!