Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Note to self: sunburn and second-degree burns should not be mixed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thoughts from atop the stove

Over my past almost-two-weeks here in Australia, I've noticed quite a few things. I figured I'd share the joy.

Cross the road at your own peril. Pedestrians don't have the right-of-way, and cars take a sadistic delight in accelerating toward unsuspecting teenage girls.

When living, breathing, sleeping, eating, and hanging out with 22 girls, one definitely starts to collect some ... Interesting dance moves.

I didn't expect to end up clambering on top of two industrial gas stoves to cerulean the ceiling and vents, but it is surprisingly fun. Especially when there is music playing.

New dance moves and stove climbing should never be combined.

All the Australian stereotypes are true. Don't ask me how, but they manage to be very nice and also very not at the same time.

If an Australian offers you a spoonful of what looks to be thick molasses, I hope you have a strong stomach. Alternatively, find a waste basket before eating. But definitely eat it.

Late night waffle runs are an opportunity not to be missed, as are early morning exercises, Saturday and Sunday dinners, and bubble tea.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lake Leschenualtia (pronounced with a sneeze)

I write this from the shore of a lake an hour outside of Perth. Two soulful Christian guitarists are serenading each other behind me, an Australian is threatening, in a cheerful and nigh-unintelligible mumble to up-end a bucket of water over me if I don't get in the lake, and I am eating bacon-flavored crisps. Since the Aussie -I think his name is Johnny- has already emptied two water guns at me, I'm inclined to take him at his word.

This week we've been working on hearing God's voice. Lessons involved long quiet times with specific questions to ask God, and during this extra quiet time, I've become certain of some things.

This past week I've been hit with a lot of homesickness. I remember one day when I got back to the house, I had it all to myself. Seizing the opportunity, I had a nice long cry until my housemates returned. See, YWAM operates under the belief that all work should be done in community, all meals should be taken in community, all down time should be spent in community, and that it is in the shelter of other people we live.

Honestly, these are great truths to live by. But imagine for a second that you're an introvert who had recently uprooted herself and has now jumped headlong into a community of over 300 strangers. After a few days of trying to remember all those names of the totally groovy people, you'd be worn out as well.

But even as I deal with the fading effects of jet-lag and try to carve out a niche for myself on base, God keeps reminding me that He called me here for a reason. The funny thing about God's callings is that while they are meant for our ultimate good, following them is rarely comfortable.

I'm reminded of a passage from Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. You'll have to bear with me, as I didn't bring my copy with me - a choice I am already regretting. Essentially, Chesterton compares Christianity to a balancing rock held in place by its many extremities.

I think it's the same here. God has some perfect good planned for me, but in the process He needed to challenge me. Yes, I miss my family. I miss the people who love me as I am, my friends and compatriots, the ones never satisfied with the now. But it seems that God is calling me further up the mountain pass, and in order to follow Him, I must set aside my comforts for a time. That this challenge is mine to carry, that in the fullness of time, I will return but not before then.

If anything, the thing I've heard overwhelmingly is that for now, God's presence is enough, that He wants to teach me how to be still in His presence alone. It has been such a comfort during my homesickness.

Anyways, I just wanted to pop in with a quick update. In other news, despite my almost religious application of Australian sunscreen, I have stared to brown like a roasting turkey. Ah, sunshine. It's good to feel you on my skin once again.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Strange as it may sound, it seems that I have found a little bit of home here on the other side of the world. The people here on the base are truly incredible!

Every Monday morning the entire base gathers for worship, so yesterday we all filled into a hot, humid, brightly lit concrete room for a couple hours just to seek out God's face. It was a noisy, sweaty, definitely chaotic time. Over in one corner were some people dancing in response to the worship. They had to be careful not to trip over people kneeling and laying face down on the floor, though, and it became hard to hear the worship music over the sounds of people yelling out prayers in multiple languages. If I understand correctly, all these diverse responses are planned on when the worship leaders prepare a set.

I begin to understand Paul's injunction to the Corinthians about having orderly services.

Not that this was unruly in a distracting manner. Rather, the heat and the sweat and the nose and the movement and the humidity and the shear enthusiasm was one of the most tangible examples of joy I've ever seen. Oh. The music itself was also spot on.

Given that the service was a couple hours long, you'll understand why I had time to observe all this. As I stood listening to one I was unfamiliar with, I stared looking at the other people in the room.

For better or worse, these siblings-in-Christ will be my community through the upcoming months. They may not be what I expected or wanted, but for whatever reason, God has assembled more than 300 people from every continent and religious background for some purpose.

There truly is nothing quite like standing in the assembly to see Koreans rubbing shoulders with Brazilians, Irish, Mongolians, Egyptians, and many others, all united by the desire to serve God.

I'm excited to see what's going to happen while I'm here!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Well, I'm starting to settle in here in Perth. The training starts tonight, and while I cannot claim that my body is ready for days at what is apparently called "the Nazi base," I am very excited to see what God has in store for me here.

Tonight is the first official meeting, and I must confess to mixed motives in my anticipation. As it turns out, it is entirely possible to survive 90-100° weather without air conditioning. Whether such survival is comfortable is an entirely different matter.

The house I'm staying in is built in what I'm told is the typical Australian fashion - high ceilings and brick walls to drawer the hot air up and insulate yet inside by a few degrees. It is beautiful, but very obviously an old house. There are cracks running through the walls that make me think of Doctor Who. ;)

The cockroach situation here is plentiful. I have a strange fascination with the little bugs. I am reminded of WALL-E every time I see one.

Let's see, other news. I feel bad for not recording any spiritual experiences, but as the program hasn't officially begun, there is not much to report on that front. In other news, the mosquitos down by the river are just as bad as at home in the northwest. Apparently, the river is full of dolphins and jellyfish, but I didn't see any when I went down last night.

The beaches are shut gotten for jellyfish and shark infestations at times, but that hasn't stopped one of my house mates from being stung on the lip. I'm going to think long and hard about swimming here. ;)

Actually, who am I kidding? We all know I'll end up swimming in jellyfish-infested waters. Think of the bragging rights!

Overall, I like the people I'll be around for the next six months. Never fear, I've yet to meet anyone who could possibly replace all my mates back home. I'm beginning to think it's impossible. I have too many quirky, unique and gorgeous friends in the states. Not to say that people here aren't gorgeous or extremely cool... I'm just going to readjust to being the strangest person in the group. Woot!

I'll get some photos of three holiday up soon.

Until then, stay cool!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


This was actually written in Dubai, but didn't upload properly.

Well, I'm here, and mostly intact. Apart from a fourteen hour plane ride I'm the middle of upset children central, it was quite pleasant. I got to see the sun rise over Greenland and the Atlantic, and turkey was quite beautiful by air.

In other need, Dubai international airport is quite possibly the largest airport I've ever traveled through.

There is a giant spice market near my gate, with this lovely gigantic brass camel.

There's a charity money bin with at least five different currencies.

It took me almost give minutes to find my flight on their departures board.

I accidentally found the women's prayer rooms too.
I'm about to board the plane to Australia now, so peace off!