Friday, February 27, 2009

That was February

So I've done a terrible job updating my blog this month. Ordinarily I update weekly, but as of today, the next to last day in the month, a solitary post stands (and a brief one at that). To make up for my negligence, I'll post a review of the month today, and some deeper thoughts about Haiti tomorrow. That should help out the ole average right?

Highlights from February 2009:

Feb 2: Ryan and I attempted to go to the Super Bowl. We had was 2 hours away, Springsteen was the halftime show, and oh beloved Steelers were playing for their record 6th title! Alas, we came upon a total of 6 tickets...none of which were cheaper than $2000. So, tails half tucked, we found a place serving all you can eat ribs, wings, queso dip, and other glorious things. We had a blast, and watched an incredible game (you all know I could devote an entire blog post to the SB). The Steelers hoisted their 6th Lombardi Trophy as I hoisted my 20th(or so) hot wing...I feel like I should shed a tear here...

Feb 4-10: I spent a week in Haiti...meaningful thoughts on this tomorrow. (Preview: God pretty well kicked me in the pants in a Haitian church)

Feb 10: I returned from Haiti to a glorious 1997 Saab sitting, not in a garage in need of a clutch replacement (as it had been for 3 months), but in the driveway, wheels on the ground ready to roll. Dave Fontana fixed her up for me while I was gone! I was/am so grateful. Over the previous 3 months I had driven several different minivans in various states of disrepair and it had gotten depressing. It's nice to no longer get the "check out that loser by himself in the minivan with no hubcaps look." The "what kind of car is that?" look, or the "that guy doesn't look like he should be driving a Saab" looks, fit much better.

Feb 12: I spent a day recruiting at Florida Christian College with Ty and Amy (my traveling buddies). The day went well, and as a bonus I got to see Emily (my sister)...who nearly tackled me and later swung a bat in my general direction...we're tight you know!

Feb 13-15: I burned up my 15 minutes of fame by having my ridiculous valentine's day video featured on Sports Illustrated's website. Yep, my video was sandwiched between Kurt Warner's and David Letterman's. So now, 7000 people have seen/heard me singing my heart out to a 19 inch TV. Aren't you proud mom and dad?

Feb 21-24: Ty, Amy, and I went on another recruiting trip, this time to Charlotte and Atlanta. In Charlotte, we went to UNCC and met some great people. I was also able to hang out with Awal, one of my best friends from college. Allen (his real name, but it's weird if I call him that) leads worship for Impact Campus Ministry at UNCC, and is truly gifted musically. We had some great times playing intramural football back in the day. Awal was a great defensive back, but I think my lumbering self had more receptions on offense.
As for the rest of the trip, our NMSI friend Katie met up with us at my sister's house in Atlanta, and we went recruiting at Atlanta Christian College. My niece and nephew greeted me with their usual excitement...I love those kids. While we were there, I was reminded of one of my favorite Will Brady quotes: "I don't like crabs...crabs don't have butts."

So that was February, I'm going to do a better job in March...potential profundity tomorrow....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Haiti Project

Every time I go on a short term mission project I leave with a heavy heart. Perhaps that is just the nature of such things…even so, I’ve been on my fair share, and foolishly suppose that those feelings would become increasingly fleeting with every project. Yet, as I walked the 200 yards across the tarmac to the American Airlines jet that would take me home, my stomach sank and my heart felt heavy. In front of me stood a not quite green but not quite brown hill as a visual appetizer to the collection of mountains behind. Alone, those hills were pristine and beautiful. However, the preceding week availed me to the hardship lying within those very hills. Haiti’s landscape is lavish and its people are kind and genuine, but the economy is dead and the situation dire. During the week I had a lengthy conversation with a man who is proficient in three languages and also possesses a degree in computer science. He is from the more rural areas, but moved to Port-au-Price in hopes of finding a job…any job. None are to be had.

Very easily, I could give the “what we all want to hear” update on our project. In fact, our short term project was a major success and blessing. We constructed a total of 130 church benches and led a revival at the local church in Bon Repos, Haiti. Those benches will be used in rural churches throughout the country…replacing dilapidated pews, splintered and rotten benches, and in some cases merely allow people to sit who previously had to stand. (not having a place to sit is something we’d never imagine in an American church) Also, Jude, pastor of the church in Bon Repos considered the revival such a great blessing that he wanted to know if he could count on us being back at the same time next year. I’m thankful that God used us how he did…and I’m glad that the project was a success, but walking away, my mind’s focus was elsewhere. My heart remained with the people who need clean water, nourishing food, a roof, education, and hope. When I go on a project I tend to want to change the world…then I remember that saving the world is not my job.

So I thank Jesus that he took that job. I thank Jesus that he is the hope for you, for me, for Haiti, and everyone else. I think Jesus that he is using me to be a part of his redemption. And I thank him for the opportunity to be a part of the process.