Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight home. The time is Cambodia was life changing. New friendships were made, lives were changed and there is no turning back. Thanks for your prayers. Here are a few pics from some of the team to show you a bit more of what it was like.

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catIn early November 2013, the Philippines was hit by one of the strongest tropical typhoons in history. At least 6300 people were killed as a result of the storm and around 4 million displaced. I remember watching this happen from my living room in the USA thinking “What can I possibly do to help?” A few weeks later I got my answer, I felt the Lord say “Go.’ So 6 weeks later I found myself along with 10 others on a plane headed to Tacloban, Philippines, the hardest hit area of the Typhoon.

 

We arrived in Cebu, Philippines at 5:15pm and headed to the station to purchase our boat tickets to Tacloban. We ran into a man who told us that because of the recent storms, the boats were experiencing lots of delays and cancelations. To make sure we got there we bought the earliest tickets we could, which meant we had to leave for the boat at 5am the next morning.

 

After a few hours sleep, we got up and left for the boat, which was named “The Super Cat.” One thing to realize is that at this point we were all total strangers to each other, minus a few of us who knew each other from previous trips. 30 minutes later we got to the boat along with what seamed like a million other people, mostly local Philippinos. trying to catch the same ride to Tacloban.

 

The boat ride was about 3 hours long. People had been warning us that the chances of seasickness on the boat were high, but in our excitement and pride we blew it off and believed for the best. You can see where this is going I’m sure.

 

The first hour of the ride kept us all in good spirits. We were all sitting in the first 3 rows and singing along to bad Karaoke music videos. It was a great time of bonding and getting to know each other. We were those Americans that everyone warns you about, loud and obnoxious. Then, about an hour into the ride, things got interesting.

We got into open waters and the boat began to roll back and forth and side to side. After 15 minutes or so of this, the cabin crew started handing out puke bags to everyone, this was not a good sign. I sat there beside my friend Adam laughing at the thought of people puking, because I was definitely not going to puke.

 

A few minutes after the bags were handed out the Pukefest started. One by one, you could hear people throwing up on the boat. They were all making different sounds, but my favorite was “The Gurgler”. This dude sounded like he was dying a violent death as he gurgled his vomit into the bag. It was around this point where the ride became a lot more quiet. Everyone on the boat was focussing on keeping the contents of their stomach inside, but it was a lost cause. My friend Wayne started throwing up behind me, and then Chris who was sitting beside Wayne started. Two other girls on the trip were laid out on the upper deck, one laying on the soaking wet floor of the boat and the other in the bathroom, hugging the toilet will all the love she had to give.

 

By this point, my friend Adam and I are crying out of intense laughter, that is until Adam quickly grabbed his puke bag and started filling it. Unfortunately Adams bag also had a hole in it, thankfully he had his water bottle with him. Needless to say, I never drank from his water bottle again. I was still going strong until I looked at Chris sitting behind me. He was complaining that his bag had a hole in it, so I turned around to see vomit dripping out of the bag and all over Chris’s pants and another girls luggage. It was at this point that I lost it. I think I could have filled two bags, I was so sick. The boat was so loud by this point, people puking all over the place. It was like a horror film, but we were all living it. [If you’re not laughing by this time, you should be.] We were still in tears, it was the funniest things I have ever been through, and the absolute worst at the same time.

 

Eventually the boat calmed down and we made it to Tacloban. By this point, after only knowing each other for 18 hours, we were all best friends. It was the best bonding time you could ask for and as a result we came together and had one of the most epic outreaches ever. Our lives were changed, we saw destruction and brokenness like we have never seen, but we also saw hope and life. This trip has eternally marked us all and if we could do it all over again we would, we would just take a bus next time and not the boat.

 

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Today is the 1st day of Advent. I remember as a kid going to church during the advent season, my favorite part was the lighting of the candle. It meant Christmas was coming. It meant each Sunday was in preparation for Jesus birth. There was high anticipation, excitement and life. The advent season for me as a kid meant lots of family get togethers, winter break, by birthday, Christmas and more. I am not sure if I truly understood the meaning of it, but the culture and practice of it made a huge mark on my life.

This season press into what advent is all about, looking to Jesus and His coming into the world. Take time each night to light a candle and pray this benediction. This benediction is from Celtic Daily Prayer, and is one that I have repeatedly prayed during the advent season.

God of the watching ones,
give us Your benediction.

God of the waiting ones,
give us Your good word for our souls.

God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and suffering ones,
give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls,
that we might rest.

God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and suffering ones,

and of the angels in heaven,

and of the child in the womb,

give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls,
that we might rest and rise
in the kindness of Your company.

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Today protesters in Ferguson, St. Louis, Chicago and other cities protested Black Friday and the shopping craze that it has become. Some protested against people shopping like mad immediately following the trial of Darren Wilson, while others protested against the commercialism that this day brings, and only a day after Thanksgiving.

Man, I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have laid down on the shopping mall floor or stood outside with a sign peacefully sharing against commercialism. We have a voice, and we need to use it. We cannot just sit idly by as injustice goes on around us. We have to speak up, regardless of what others around us are doing.

I wish I could have been there during the civil rights marches. I wish I could have stood on that bus next to Rosa Parks as she refused to move to the back. I wish I could have marched with Dr. King as he peacefully demonstrated agains racism. We have the freedom and the right to stand for what we believe is true and just, what are we doing with that freedom?

I am not dogging shopping, nor am I against shopping the day after thanksgiving for a sale, but at what cost? Lets not live out lives based on sales, bargains and culture, lets live our lives based on the word of truth, Gods word. Lets live our lives out of a conviction to make the world a better place and set the example for the generation coming up after us.

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churchToday I went to worship at Birch Hills Lutheran Church. When I got into the building there were only 7 people there, including the pastor. Needless to say I was a bit nervous and anxious to get out of there as I thought it was going to be super awkward and boring. This church is my wife’s mom and dads home church, so we come here each time we are back in Canada. A few minutes before the service began 3 more people walked in, so with our family there was a total of 15 people there.

To clarify, I am writing this post because my anxiety about the service being boring was way off. Actually, I was super moved by this small group of Christ followers who gathered together for 1 hour today. I was moved because they didn’t care that there were only 15 people, they were there because they were committed to the church and to Jesus.

At one point during the service, I believe it was just before communion, I felt fully overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed as Jesus showed me that It doesn’t matter how many people come to your service, it doesn’t matter how flashy it is, it only matters that Jesus is worshiped. This my friends is life changing. I am thankful for my time this morning with the few. God really did use it to change my life.

Cheers.

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