(Here is a blog I wrote a year ago while still in Africa. I did not have the time to post it for Easter, so I decided to save it until this year. Here it is with only a few minor edits from it’s original form)
Well it’s officially Easter time everyone!!! And when Easter comes, we all have a tendency to think about Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. Those along with Jesus’ birth are, after all, His most common topics known to the world. I discussed three years ago on Easter the question that was pressing most on my mind at the time, which was very early in my new Christian life. The question, in all it’s simple complexity, was this: “What was the purpose of the Resurrection of Jesus?”
At the time, I just really didn’t understand it. I fully understood the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross three days earlier. His death meant that my sins had been erased – both past and future – because He had nullified them by being the perfect sacrifice. However for me, this event was what Easter had always been about for my whole life, so I really didn’t know what to think about the redemptive quality of the Resurrection. Obviously, I knew that God was smart (duh) and had a special reason for raising Jesus from the dead, but I couldn’t quite grasp that reason.
Upon investigating this in many different ways, I discovered something that kind of surprised me – Jesus’ Resurrection was the confirmation of the transaction that He had made for our lives. But now three years later, I wonder if I fully realized just how true that statement was. You see, Jesus’ sacrifice indeed has taken our wrongdoings away. He removed from our lives these sins by taking them on Himself and then taking the punishment for them – death – though He had lived a perfect life.
But His Resurrection from the dead conquered the punishment of death, permanently ensuring our ability to live eternally with God.
All this being said, I think there is still more about Jesus’ sacrifice that we may not yet see; and that is probably because we are looking in the wrong place. Around Easter time, we focus a lot on the Crucifixion and Resurrection, but not much on the life of Jesus. I think this is a partial mistake, because you can learn a lot more about a person through their life than in their death; for the obvious reason that their life is much longer in this world. Continue Reading
I recently went out to a shooting range with one of my best friends and my now-fiance. He had just gotten a new shotgun and wanted to try it out on some clay pigeons. She and I hadn’t had the opportunity to enjoy some fun shooting in a while, so we took him up on the offer.
Now I don’t know if you know this or not, but generally speaking, outdoor shotgun ranges are mostly made up of grass and trees and leaves, with a little bit of concrete and asphalt for the shooting stands and parking lots. I guess it’s meant to give off an impression of being out in actual nature and shooting at flying creatures. This impression is quickly lost though, as I am not familiar with any bird that imitates the neon orange, round-shape of a skeet disc.
But I digress; as we entered the small office to reserve our shooting stand, we heard someone come over the radio of one of the employees:
“Hey we just had a guy come and say that he lost his wallet a little while ago.”
Another person responded over the radio, “What does it look like?”
And without missing a beat, the responder replied, “Yeah, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to find that.”
We had a nice laugh about that; but I use the anecdote today to illustrate the difference in worlds that I have experienced in the past year. At the beginning of 2014, I found myself in a world full of neon orange, clay pigeons. But these days, I tend to find myself lost in a sea of camouflage wallets – to draw the very thin line between my story and my discussion point. Continue Reading
Me and the Moto Garage Crew
I tried to stand up.
The world swam before my eyes. I didn’t know which way was up and which way was down. Nausea swept through my body like a rushing storm over the plains of…somewhere. My head felt like a prison riot was breaking out just beneath my skull, and the ringing in my ears that kept me from hearing anything other than my own voice convinced me that these rioting prisoners had managed to get a hold of my security officers and disable contact with the outside world.
So I decided to give into the war raging within my body (as if I had a choice). I crumpled to the ground and crawled on my knees to where my water bottle was half-filled and hanging off the ground to keep it away from the ants. I drank as much as I could and leaned up in a half sitting/half laying down position with my back/neck against the wall, waiting and hoping that someone would come along sooner rather than later. Continue Reading
65. Sweat is normal. If you’re not sweating, something is probably wrong.
64. Carrying things on your head really is the easiest way of getting things from point A to point B.
63. Beaches exist where there is no water.
62. We hunt house cats here.
61. Always….always plan on your plans going wrong. And then plan on your plans for your plans going wrong to go wrong.
60. Kissing at someone is the equivalent of saying “Hey! You!”
59. Remember those glittery jeans you girls donated to Africa? Yeah…guys wear those now.
58. You can always find a way to fit more people in your car.
57. When there really, truly is no more room in your car, you can always hang off the sides or sit on the roof.
I want to get right down to things here, because I think this is an important lesson to learn, and I am desperately trying not to miss out on it. I am writing this blog just as much for you guys as I am for me.
The church building in Kong
When I first arrived in my host family in Kong, I really didn’t know what to think about church. Everything was in Dioula, nothing in French, so I really didn’t understand what was going on. I made efforts to learn Dioula, but it was just far too confusing for me, since I didn’t even have a good French foundation either. But as time went on, I began to see a pattern in my talks with the church pastor and the Scripture passages he used every Sunday morning. I took note of this pattern, and come January when I was headed to Niakara to be in my new host family, I compared my notes with my other teammates. They had gotten the same impression.
The two men stood there on the hill by their living quarters in the city. The one seemed a lot more confident than the other. This other man seemed to simply be doing everything he could to keep his legs from giving out while the first man – though smaller in stature – stood straight and tall. Before them lay an army that spread all the way to the horizon – in all directions. The confident man’s eyes spoke of war against this vast army, yet he had no army with him. After all, this was a surprise attack. The other man’s frightened demeanor spoke of the fear that anyone would have had when being attacked by such a powerful force.
Suddenly, the confident man’s eyes closed. He spoke something – seemingly to himself. Yet for some reason, as soon as he was done speaking, the other man jumped in shock and let out a small sound of frightened surprise as he gazed all around him. The way his head began snapping back and forth, looking all around, one would have thought flies were attacking him at all sides. And yet he didn’t swat them away.
In fact, as the scared man looked about, his motions slowly became less shock-filled and more awe-inspired. And his once-fearful countenance took on a mirror image of his confident companion.
Elisha’s servant’s eyes were open. He could see the LORD’s unseen work as thousands of invisible angels, dressed for battle, faced the evil army before them – ready to fight in his defense.
Once upon a time, there was a huge kingdom. This kingdom was nothing like you read about in fairy tales, though. There were no dragons, no evil witches, no knight-in-shining-armor or Prince Charming, and no girls with excessively long hair, strange sleeping behaviors, or habits of staying out a little too late past midnight.
No, this was a very special kingdom – but not in any way that you and I know kingdoms.
The kingdom was called Himmel, and it was ruled by a good and upright king – both righteous and loving. He lived in a breathtakingly and indescribably fantastic palace high upon a hill. From there, he ruled the people of his kingdom, dealing punishment when necessary, but showing mercy whenever possible. He was kind and compassionate toward his subjects while still implementing the laws that made his kingdom run.
However, there was one law throughout the kingdom that stood out among the others. You see, the king had just one son, Justin, who was just like his father. But this unique law stated that any man, woman, or child who could uphold the laws of the king as his son Justin did would be considered a son of the king. In essence, anyone who obeyed all of the kings laws would be an adopted son of the king, with almost as much privilege and inheritance as Justin himself! Continue Reading
Ecclesiastes 3:4: “a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance“
Stephan, Bekki and I decided to go for a walk around midnight. This wasn’t the best idea since we had all forgotten to bring our flashlights and there didn’t seem to be any electricity in this village at all. I can say that the walk wasn’t a good idea, because for the most part it was my idea.
After stumbling around and getting lost and laughing in our exhaustion, we returned, only to remember all too quickly why we had left in the first place.
Dust was everywhere. The noise was loud and harsh to the ears at times, making conversation difficult, I had tried to take pictures, but the dust was so thick in the air. In fact, that could have been why we were so tired. So much dust being breathed in means less oxygen to the brain, right? That and it was midnight. Continue Reading