Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mbabane and Bruchko

Andrew and I are in an internet cafe in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland. A few of us have come here today to buy foods that we couldn't have brought across the border (meat/dairy: they are somewhat overly protective against things like Bird Flu). Plus we get to experience the city, which is quite a bit different than the hill country where Bulembu is, where we are staying and working normally. We went into a store in the mall that sold suits, and Andrew and I talked to a young man who was working there, and he was very interested in what we were doing. He showed a lot of appreciation for our coming here to help out at the school and the orphanages and the other ministries in Bulembu. He went on a lot about the poverty in Swaziland that the rest of the world doesn't always recognize. The wealth in this country tends to be a bit centralized with rich areas. One walks around Mbabane and imagines it's not so bad, or even in Bulembu it seems pretty nice, but most of the rural areas, people live in shacks and starve to death. And it is really all over Swaziland.

Anyway, that was a good time. I am really enjoying reading a book called Bruchko, about a missionary from Minnesota to the Motilone Indians in Venezuela/Columbia. I am challenged over and over again to turn over all my direction and all my way of life to the Spirit and let him lead me to the place where he wants me. I wish that I had the kind of direction that Bruce Olson had (Bruchko). I do not really care for the kind of suffering he went through, but he knew his purpose. I have searched for that kind of purpose in the way of Jesus for most of my life. And I know I have felt the same strength of spiritual conviction that I have purpose, but I have never felt such great direction about what it is. Nor have I had the wherewithal to obey the Spirit's promptings all the time, though arguably I do not have the kind of awareness that tells me which promptings are really from the spirit, nor the ability to foster such awareness. But I long for it, and I have been praying for it, especially since reading this book.

Not much else to speak on right now. I'm writing on my own blog right now, and not the cooperative blog with my brother, which is at brotherstoafrica.blogspot.com, because I felt my blog was feeling lonely, and I did not want to disappoint those who are paying attention to it. I do not miss much about my way of life in the States. I am living simply, no tv, rarely internet (my time is almost up for this one), and not even a radio. We make our own meals, we go to bed at 8:30 and get up at 6:00. And I really like it. So that's how things are right now. Please keep praying for me, as I really want to find direction in my life, not just for when I return, but for myself now. I want to live in the Spirit and establish the habit and the practice of God's presence. I want to be a blessing in the world. Pray for me, please. Thanks to all of you who are and who have been. Pray for Swaziland, and if the Spirit leads you, do not hesitate to get involved in his ministry here. I just want to thank everyone very much. I have to go now, because my time is almost up. I'll write more later, I guess.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Tomorrow I leave for Africa. I will be gone for over two months. I have quit everything and I am leaving everything behind. I've cut all ties to jobs and living spaces, and I begin a new stage in my life. My greatest fear is that it might somehow be the same as the last one. But I do not believe it will be. I do not know what it will be like, but I believe that it will be... stormy. I don't know why I say that, but... it is just the impression that came to my head just now, and I'm in one of those moods, like my mind is reaching into the depths of the unknown. I have no way of knowing if it is true or not. But after some time of dreariness, I believe that soon is coming the storms and floods of spring, after which will burst forth the bright beauty of summer.

Do not get me wrong when I say this: I do not believe that the coming era of my life will be extremely unpleasant and tremendously painful. It will be difficult, rocky, and challenging, but I love storms. I love to experience the waves and the winds and the torrents, because they are not all about suffering or hard times. They are turbulent, shake-you-up times, and I find them exciting and inspiring. It is the time out of which comes the best poetry and the greatest beauty and the deepest joys of a person's life. I begin my journey now, and I like to think that it is a spiritual journey that will last much longer than my two-month trip, but will take me places I never imagined and teach me things I never dreamed. If you have never read "Hind's Feet On High Places," I would highly recommend it. It wasn't the type of book that changes your life in an instant, but it has stuck with me over several years, and its unique perspective has instilled in me a hope and a confidence that I perhaps might have lost otherwise.

I am not ready for the road ahead, I am pretty sure. But I am willing to face it and to travel it. Truly, I am dying to do so. May the Spirit of the sovereign God rest on me as I go. May he rest on all of you as well. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us for all of our days.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lucky Number Sle7en

Lucky Number Sle7en was really cool. I'm not really big on the theme of killing people, and the movie didn't "speak to me" or make me evaluate my life. But I don't look to find that in every movie I go to. It was just a really cool movie. It was fun to try and figure out what was going on almost the whole time. And they pulled off everything with really great timing. They always said just enough to keep you interested, while veiling just enough to keep you wondering. And it was surprisingly funny at times. Josh Hartnett actually did a really good job. I haven't seen much of him at all, truthfully, but I was impressed with his acting in this one. Bruce Willis was his usual stoic self, and I find it entertaining, so it's alright. Lucy Liu was actually a surprise in this film. I've never seen her in that kind of character. She was funny, care-free, exiciting, vivacious. I usually see her in the more serious role of the dignified asian beauty. In this she was the "girl next door," literally as well as archetypally, and she pulled it off wonderfully. All-in-all, a movie worth seeing. I enjoyed it a lot.