Good morning...but good evening to you.
Woke up early but I will go back to sleep. Thought while I was up I'd email everyone.
Today, being Friday, is our off day...R&R. Actually Diane, Carey, and myself along with a guide are driving 2 hours north to a ski resort today. We can rent skis, buy ski lift ticket and rent clothes, too, except that Diane brought her clothes. Chris and Carolyn are just going to chill out here.
We had supper last night with the Israel team. G was telling me about his wife. They met six months ago in Jordan, engaged for 4 months, married now for two. But because he is Israeli and she is a Palestinian from Jordan she is not allowed to come into Israel, nor is he allowed to live in Jordan so he travels back and forth to see her. They are not sure what they will do. They are praying for a plan. He knows he needs to stay in Israel. He lives in Jerusalem.
It's interesting in talking to them about the conflict with Lebanon. They just don't get paralyzed by all this. They continue to minister and go on with life. They just expect this, same with the Lebanon team.
We have not heard too much about any major persecution this year yet. But I do know now that they are trying to engage with Muslims in their countries not just the nominal Christians.
It was funny yesterday, Carolyn needed a place to process some photos she took of the kids so our guide here in the hotel told her what bus to take into the city. So Carey, Chris, and her went in to town during the lunch ,which is from 1pm to 3:30 pm, and went to a mall...lol. There they discovered civilization. What I mean by that is that they found McDonald's, Arby's, Taco Bell, etc. This is a modern mall so they were very happy.
Our schedule now for Saturday, Sunday and Monday is 8 am to 1 pm and then 3:30pm to 8:00 pm. Generally we play games in the morning, music time, go to the beach or playground, and some crafts. In the afternoon we start off with games, crafts, music, story time, movie, and general play time. We now have about 39 children ranging from toddler to 14 years old.
Have to tell you about Hope. Hope is a 13 year old teenage girl from Baghdad. To look at her and to know her would you think this girl is a typical teenage girl from the states. She dresses like them, talks like them, has same likes and dislikes, carries a laptop, mp3 player and does school just like any normal kid back at states. But here is where the similarities stop. Terrorists and the military, car bombs go off -- never know if your car, or house, or the store you are in, or if you are in a traffic jam or at a stop light, if the next bomb will go off with you near by. She showed me a picture on her laptop. Actually several pictures of what it looks like around her home. It'ss pretty devastating. Churches, businesses, homes, and etc, blown up either by terrorist, mainly...or by the military.
I would have to say, from their viewpoint, our military is not respected too much. Because things are not getting better. They will not from their view point get rid of these insurgents. If the insurgents or local are stealing, some of our troops, not all, are stealing from them, too.
Alot of what we hear from the Iraqi's here is quiet a different story painted in the news or by the government. Their view is that sending more trooops is not the answer, they believe the answer is that our troops need to learn how to be protectors...not destroyers.
We need to seriously pray for this. Even though they like American people they just don't like what they see. But yet...life goes on. They go to school, go to work, recreation, travel, and etc, just like we do, except it's a war zone. They have TV, internet, some modern abilities. So pray for the Iraqi's and their future, especially for the church.
Another interesting thing is that they are telling us that things were safer and more freer for the Christians when Sadam was in power. Sadam trusted the Christians and gave them free mobility to do what they wanted because he knew they were not there to take over the country. His problem was with the three main muslim groups who, like we see now wanted to tear up and wipe the other out of the country. So it's an interesting world. Things are not as sometimes what they seem or so cut and clear and neat like we would like for them to be. Regardless what polictical party or belief we have in the states, no matter what is being fed to us by the media or what the government wants leaked out, doesn't change the fact that whatever picture we paint this world to be there is an ever present evil here and at home that seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. But we do have one who is mightier, one who is our victor and His name is Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. One day every one of these nations and tongues and people of religion will bow before His throne and call Him Lord.
It was such an emotional thing for me yesterday while leading worship when we were singing "Come, Now is the time" I will never be ever to sing this song the way I did in the states again. The line...:"One day every tongue will confess..." took on new meaning for me when I looked out and saw the different tongues and her the different languages and people groups standing and worship the Lord. I got so excited and pumped up about that to the point of tears of joy. In all the evil that takes place in this world there is a part of heaven that God gives us to see and that is with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that there are times we approach our theology in areas with some differences but when you see these people who are trying there best to comprehend who Christ is and faithfully through persecution of life and death singing even when their language is not on the screen with their love and devotion to Christ it changes you.
What a mighty God we serve. One lesson out of all this that I am walking away with is that I seriously need to change my prayer pattern or stragedy. Perhap's we all need to do this.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Good morning...but good evening to you.