Thursday, June 25, 2009

This Too Shall Be Made Right

I went to a Derek Webb concert a couple of years ago. The guy is talented, but for some reason when his songs come on my iPod, I seem to next them--except one. I heard this song awhile ago, and thought that the lyrics said it best. If you don't want to read them all, please read the last stanza. These words speak a lot of truth. Here are the lyrics to "This Too Shall Be Made Right"

"People love you the most for the things you hate
And hate you for loving the things that you cannot keep straight
People judge you on a curve
And tell you you’re getting what you deserve
This too shall be made right

Children cannot learn when children cannot eat
Stack them like lumber when children cannot sleep
Children dream of wishing wells
Whose waters quench all the fires of Hell
This too shall be made right

The earth and the sky and the sea are all holding their breath
Wars and abuses have nature groaning with death
We say we’re just trying to stay alive
But it looks so much more like a way to die
This too shall be made right

There’s a time for peace and there is a time for war
A time to forgive and a time to settle the score
A time for babies to lose their lives
A time for hunger and genocide
This too shall be made right

I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who I choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
And that’s not just murder it’s suicide
This too shall be made right."

I can no longer turn the other way. How am I any less blameless than the oppressors if I don't stand up for what is right?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm home? Really????

I'm home. Really, I am here. This is not a dream. This isn't some sort of alternate reality. I am actually here--in America, in my favorite state, with my family and friends, back to home. I've said that to myself over and over and over.... because I am trying to convince myself that this is real. To hug my mama and daddy, to laugh next to my sister, to sit around the table at Borders with my friends, to eat dinner with my family... all these things I have been aching to do, and now I have finally done them. No more of this virtual life. I don't have to see my friends and family through a video camera with skype. I don't have to find out about important, life-altering news through facebook or gmail. This is real!

I have been officially back in the states 24 hours now and have some (but not a lot, yet) time to think. It's hard to grasp the fact the day I've been longing for has come. My heart went home before me, so it's nice to be reunited. Some people ask me how it feels to be here. What emotions am I experiencing? My answer is simple: my utterly blissful joy outweighs any other emotion. Yes, I have plenty of emotions stirring under the surface. At the moment, they are all being held at bay because I want to enjoy every moment of this. I told my friend Nikki yesterday that I don't think I have ever been this happy in my life. Sounds a little extreme, right? Well, it's the truth. I can't believe I am here.

When "reverse culture shock" attacks, I'll be sure to write about it. For now, know that I am happy to be home! I love you America!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wrapping it up..

Well, I've returned safely and soundly from vacation. I have to admit--Bavaria and the little of Austria I saw are INSANELY beautiful. It was picture perfect. I really hope to go back again one day. I spent 5 full days traveling. We stayed in Munich all 4 nights of our trip and used it as a base to visit the surrounding area. We had 3 days of sight-seeing: Day 1--Dachau concentration camp and Regensburg, Day 2--Schwangau, location of Mad King Ludwig's castle and the Alps, and Day 3--Salzburg, Austria.

Dachau was one of the most sobering places I've ever visited. The videos, pictures, and stories of the camp make you wonder how humans, in their right mind, ever treated anyone like that. The camp was the first one built under the Nazi Regime, and it served as a model for the camps to come. Regensburg holds a bridge that dates back to around 1135, used by crusaders who wanted to cross the Danube and head to the Holy Land. Neuschwanstein castle was as magical as I expected it to be. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty would be right at home. The Alps were as breathtaking as I remembered them when I saw them on my previous visit to Europe... and Salzburg. If you've seen The Sound of Music then you've seen much of the city. Mozart was born here, and the city is full of culture and beauty. I definitely want to see more of Austria after visiting here.

On a completely different note, I'm now down to 3 full days left in Germany. Lord willing, I'll fly out to Paris early Friday morning, spend the weekend there for debriefing, and fly to the U.S. on Monday morning. It's hard to believe that my five month trip to Germany is coming to a close. It's been hard; it's been rough at times, but it's been worth it. God has taught me things about life that I would've never learned in the comfort of my life at home. He needed to remove me from everything I knew, from everyone I knew, and show me how much I need Him. It's been a life-changing experience.

As this long weekend approaches, I would like to ask for your prayers for safe travel. All the Hands-on teams located in Western Europe will be traveling to Paris on Friday, and either back to the U.S./back to their European locations on Monday. Please pray for our flights and trains. We really want to return back home safely! Can't wait to see you all.

pictures to come.