Saturday, May 28, 2011

happy birthday to me...

Hello all!
I know it's been quite a while since I posted here. To be honest, I've had a rough few weeks. Why? you ask. Well, basically through the course of a few events, and a few people, the Lord showed me just how little I trust Him. So we had a bit of a wrestling match over the past few weeks and I bet you can guess who won.
But this past week has been much calmer. I still feel like my trust is much more "head" trust than "heart" trust, but it's okay because I have seen the Lord's faithfulness in this time and I know He won't let me go.
So tonight is my last night as a 27 year old. I had an asado (bbq) last week for my birthday. Honestly, I don't really like to celebrate my birthday. It has nothing to do with getting older. Actually, in some weird way I like the fact that I am getting older. I don't feel like Im as mature as I should be at this age, but I like to think that with age comes wisdom and I really want that. So bring on the years!
No, I don't like to celebrate my birthday because I am uncomfortable with all the attention on me. I know most of you don't believe me since I am generally a very social person, but it's true. And actually, I am not as socially driven as I used to be. I find that I really need a lot more alone time these days. Tonight I'm home alone. My friends invited me to go out and I was just too tired to make it happen. No, my perfect Saturday night was staying home, in my pjs, and listening to music on youtube. (And no, Im not depressed, I'm honestly very happy, I just want to spend more time alone!)
Tomorrow is Sunday, my birthday. My friends are planning a lunch for me. Which is really sweet, and totally unexpected. In fact, it is slightly unwanted. I dont like the attention and the thought of a group of people all singing happy birthday to me makes me blush even now! But I realize that this isn't even really about me. My friends want to do this, and I need to get over myself and let them. I need to let them love me in this way. So I'll spend the morning alone and then head over to my friend Mauro's house where the festivities will be held.
Maybe it hasn't hit me yet, but it doesn't quite feel like a birthday. I'm not sad or excited for tomorrow. Weird eh? Well, in any case, I'll be 28 tomorrow (or in 15 minutes at midnight!!!) So wish me happy birthday, send me cards, and watch me get wiser by the day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 Reasons I love living in "downtown"

10. the noise
9. the constant movement
8. awesome access to public transit
7. better shopping opportunites
6. working close to where you live
5. having neighbors from all over the world
4. having the police close by pretty consistently (although, its sucks needing the police to be close by consistently
3. sitting at my windowsill and watching my neighborhood in action
2. you can't avoid the reality of life (the homeless, prostitutes, general breakdown of society)
1. God loves the city!!!

One reason I DON'T like the city:
having to deal with my completely rational fear of pigeons!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

speaking of children....

An awesome post from Justin Taylor that I just had to repost. Of course, he is quoting Kevin DeYoung... so this is a re-repost!


Parent-Child Conversations on the Gospel
Kevin DeYoung gives a fairly typical example of what gospel-centered attempts at parenting can look like in action:

Me: What’s the matter son?
Child: I want that toy and he won’t give it to me!
Me: Why do you want the toy?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: What’s going on in your heart when you desire that toy?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: Think about it son. Use your brain. Don’t you know something?
Child: I guess I just want the toy.
Me: Obviously. But why?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: Fine. [Mental note: abandon "why" questions and skip straight to leading questions.] Do you think he is having fun playing with the toy right now?
Child: No.
Me: Really?! He’s not having fun? Then why does he want that toy in the first place?
Child: Because he’s mean.
Me: Have you ever considered that maybe you are being mean by trying to rip the toy from his quivering little hands?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: What do you know?
Child: I don’t know!
Me: Nevermind. [I wonder how my brilliant child can know absolutely nothing at this moment.] Well, I think taking the toy from him will make your brother sad. Do you like to make him sad?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: [Audible sigh.]
Child: He makes me sad all the time!
Me: Well, I’m getting sad right now with your attitude! [Pause, think, what would Paul Tripp do? Thinking . . . thinking . . . Man, I can't stop thinking of that mustache. This isn't working. Let's just go right to the Jesus part.] You know, Jesus wants us to love each other.
Child: I don’t know.
Me: I didn’t ask you a question!
Child: [Pause.] Can I have some fruit snacks?
Me: No, you can’t have fruit snacks. We are talking about the gospel. Jesus loves us and died for us. He wants you to love your brother too.
Child: So?
Me: So give him the toy back!

Then I lunge for the toy and the child runs away. I tell him to come back here this instant and threaten to throw the toy in the trash. I recommit myself to turning down speaking engagements on parenting.


This blog is dedicated to Ale and Pao for going against their own culture to serve their families. You are inspirational to me!

In light of this week's celebration of mothers, I want to share some thoughts I've been working through while living here. You see, being a mom is a HUGE dream of mine. And when I say huge, I mean gigantic. I have wanted to be a mom since I was 3 and my brother and sister were born. I think tends to be a somewhat natural desire among women across cultures. But how motherhood looks, what is expected of mothers is quite different from one culture to another.

One of the benefits of living in another culture is being able to judge more clearly your own. One of the big differences between chilean and gringo culture is the role of the family. Here, families spend a lot of time together. I mean, seriously, even my adult students will spend all day saturday at their parents house. Just hanging out. No particular purpose. I think this is great. I love that families know how to relate to each other and that they like to just spend time together.

Recently though, I've been noticing that women in chile really value working. I assume this is strongly related to their desire for financial independence which is a fairly new concept here. So women study hard in university, and work hard in their jobs to get ahead. Now, in the states, we do to. But there is a growing trend, or at least I think there is, among both religious and non religious women to value their place at home. Now, before you go and call me antiquated and sexist, let me explain. There is a growing trend among women to find satisfaction in doing things that deal with the home. I have girlfriends (and some guy friends for that matter!) who like to knit. A lot of my girlfriends are interested in making their home a lovely welcoming place, cooking healthy and delicious meals, and when the time comes that they have kids, a lot of my friends are choosing to stay at home. Having the "freedom to stay home with your kids" is becoming a value in our society.

So where does Chile stand on this matter? Well, today in one of my classes I mentioned staying home with kids and the two women in my class literally cringed. One even declared "that's insane". In their opinion it is absolutely ridiculous to want to stay home and focus on keeping your house and raising your kids. I think the two women (one is actually already a mother) in my class are fairly representative of chilean women's feelings toward being a "homemaker". Why clean your house if you can hire a maid? Why cook if you can hire a peruvian maid who can cook even better than you can! Why stay home and care for your child all day when you can hire a peruvian maid who takes care of children. It is very common here to have this situation. I have a one bedroom +livingroom apartment and I have students all the time telling me to get a maid.

But I value being a woman who can "keep house". I want to be a good wife and mom someday and to me that means I want to know how to keep my house clean, how to cook well, how to fix things in my house, and how to give up some of my independence for the sake of my family. I am wary of judging cultures as good or bad. But I do think we can see cultures that fit more or less what the bible teaches. In this case, I refuse to adapt to chilean culture. I refuse to find my value in how independent I can be. It's strange since at this point in life, I am SO independent. I think it will be a challenge to give this up, especially when the culture around me is telling me that it's foolish to give up your job for your family.
But I want this. I want to honor God as a wife. Honor Him as a mom. So I will fight for it. And its encouraging along the way to see that there are some, although very few, women here who are also fighting for this "freedom". Our church is very blessed that the two moms in our church have both given up their jobs to stay at home with their kids. Ale and Pao, you are such an encouragement and model to all of us. Thank you for your service not just to your family, but to the whole church.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Feliz Dia de la Madre!

Each year, on Mother's Day I post a note about my mom. Often I am far far across the world and can't wish her happy mother's day to her face, so the blog has to suffice. This year, we are even further away. She and my brother are travelling around India for a month. I know, adventurism runs in the family. (Mom, don't fight me on the word "adventurism", I'm an English teacher!) Anyways, here is a photo of my mom in India:

Isn't she absolutely beautiful? Happy Mother's Day mom. I love you mucho and I'm so proud of you for all that you have accomplished!

A note about my grandma:

I can't celebrate Mother's Day without a special shout out to my wonderful grandma. She is truly one of my favorite people in the whole world and I am so blessed to have her in my life. What other grandmas buy and learn how to use computers, video cameras, and skype so they can stay in touch with their grandaughters? My grandma Phyllis is a gem! Love you grandma!!!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

adventures when living in a sketchy building

Warning: grandma (and all other Jewish mothers), please be forwarned that this post is very honest about my life and you may or may not want to read it.

So as I have mentioned before, I live in a building that is generally occupied by prostitutes. Most of the apartments are used as places of "business" for my neighbors. This means that certain awkward situations arise at times. Like when a guy goes through the building knocking on random doors waiting for one to open with a girl ready to go. When these guys knock on my door, usually they knock once, realize I'm not a prostitute and then move on. But last week, this guy kept knocking at my door. Don't worry, I don't EVER open my door for a stranger, but this one took a firm declaration to LEAVE MY DOOR! And he did. Now, usually my awkward moments are more like riding in the tiny elevator that only fits 3 people, with a neighbor and her client. Awkward, but okay. But this morning my building sank to a new all low. The elevator wasn't working so I took the stairs. On my way down the stairs I passed by a, what? what's that? oh yeah, it's a used condom. Yep. Goodness gracious. All new low, even for my building. But you know what, I wouldn't trade it for anything. This honestly is kinda a dream come true. Not the condom part, but the getting to do ministry in the middle of the broken and downtrodden. (And grandma, to make you feel better, at least I'm not trying to minister to the prostitutes in southeast asia! It's MUCH safer for me to be here in Chile.)

time for a change... but not yet!

I have a friend here, I'll all her Mary. She's going through an interesting phase in her life, getting ready for marriage, learning through some interesting trials what God wants to teach her. And as she is sharing with me all that the Lord is teaching her, I feel the Lord preparing me for a change. I started reading "I kissed dating goodbye" by Joshua Harris. And before you go and get all worked up about how you don't like the book, let me just say that I don't agree with everything, but I sure do agree with a lot. It's making me feel even more resolute in a lot of my convictions concerning dating.
Here in Chile, it's really common to have a palolo (boyfriend). It's NOT common to be single for a purpose. It's really common to make out in public. Seriously, ask anyone who has lived here and we have plenty of stories of couples rubbing up against us as they make out on the bus. Gross, right? And before you go thinking that this kind of behavior is just non-christians, oh no, physical boundaries aren't so strict even among christians. Now, this will be fun once I'm married. The whole getting to sit on a bench in a park and just kiss your heart out. But for now, it's just a challenge to navigate the life I want to live here.
And yet it has also strengthened my faith that God will bring the right guy at the right time. The odds seem against me that a guy who loves Jesus and wants to live a life for Him would end up in my life here. But as my friend Derek reminded me last night, the more against the odds my situation seems, the more it forces me to trust Jesus.
And I feel like this change is around the corner. That might mean in a few weeks, or a few years. But it feels like it's coming. In any case it's so nice to be here, in this country where I want to be, living a life that is more awesome that I could ever have imagined. So when that time comes, I'll gladly take it. But for now... it's all good.

What a season!

Life is moving pretty fast these days. I find the days moving pretty quickly and the weeks are just flying. The time between each weekend seems so long when I am facing Monday morning, but come tonight, a Thursday night, I can't believe I'm only one day away from Saturday! Part of the reason the time flies is that there is just so much to do! I have my "real" job, teaching English at the Central Depository of the Stock Exchange (or at least that's how I translate it). And I like my job. I like most of my students, I have a pretty good schedule, and they pay decently. But this isn't my life or at least not all of it.
When I think about my life, I think about my church, my sweet community that I have there and all the work there is to do in our tiny church plant. There are these three girls that I have started to teach how to read the Bible. They are all fairly new to their christian walks and its so exciting to get to study the Bible with them!One of them who I feel particularly close to has asked me to disciple her and I am just amazed each week at how the Lord is being so faithful to teach her more about Him.
THen I have my building. As many of you know, I live in a building full of prostitutes. Most of the apartments in my building are used by prostitutes for their... "business". This has been such a HUGE blessing. I know, you're thinking I'm crazy. But I've always had this desire to be one of those missionaries like Amy Carmichael who work with prostitutes in south east asia. And now, check it out! I'm in my country, Chile, AND I get this chance to live with and hopefully minister to these ladies!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

My Michelle and her Ernest

Today is the day! My dear friend Michelle and her beloved Ernest tie the knot. I met Michelle at Westminster, in fact we met on the first day and it didn't take us long to realize we were gonna be lifers. Over the course of our friendship, now almost 4 years, we have seen each other through soooo much. Especially in terms of relationships. Both of us have had our heart broken, have loved foolish men who didn't know how to treat a daughter of the King, and have longed for a man who would love us for who we were. Michelle met Ernest through our friend Julie. Because Ernest lived in D.C and Michelle in Philly, they didn't actually meet face to face until they had already talked quite a bit through email and phone. They spent their first day together in New York (which in my opinion is just a magical place!) and from there decided to pursue the relationship even though the distance would be challenging.

Then, last year, Michelle moved to Chicago where Ernest had been relocated. It's been a steady road for them and I have been sooo blessed to be their biggest cheerleader along the way. Michelle is one of those women who have too much passion for her own good. She dreams big and fights hard. As she enters into marriage with Ernest, I am praying with great expectation that the Lord is going to use their marriage for great and wonderful things. Michelle and Ernest- have a wonderful wedding, full of joy, and expect a visit from me soon!

Sarah and Glyn

The last few months have been FULL of weddings: Sam and Peggy, JungMi and Will, Stacy and Chris, Liz and Daniel, and of course The Royal Wedding. But this weekend in particular, two of my dearest girl friends are getting hitched. First, let me tell you about my dear friend Sarah.

Sarah works at Jews for Jesus, where my dad works and where I worked for a few months in 2007. In those few months, Sarah and I met, started hanging out and quickly developed a deep friendship. She is one of those people who I know I was supposed to be lifetime friends with and it was just a matter of meeting. After those 3 months, I left town, in fact I left the country. But that didnt stop our friendship. Over the last four years we've kept a long distance friendship and I've been so blessed to share life with her. When we met, we were both single. Four years has seen us both through a few relationships and we talked through each one, encouraging, counseling, rejoicing, and when they ended, crying. But last night, that season of Sarah's life ended. Last night, Sarah and Glyn married. I remember when Sarah met Glyn. He had made some comment about unabashedly liking romantic movies, and he had confidently pursued her. I remember that she wasn't sure where this was going, but she liked what she had heard thusfar.

Way to go Glyn! Sarah is one of those women who truly needs to be a wife. She is so creative and thoughtful. She loves to bake and is often volunteering to serve people who may or may not thank her. She is seriously one of the most lovely women I have ever met in my life. She is steady in her faith and kind. Oh, and did I mention she is just plain out beautiful? Glyn, you've scored big in winning over Sarah's heart. I am so happy for you guys and am praying for you.