Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year In Review

So... I guess the world is going to end this year.

You know, I'm not really all that worried.

I am excited about the year twenty-twelve. The possibilities are endless. Too cliche? Well, that is alright. Right now, I don't want to talk about the new year. I want to talk about the year that just ended. Good ol' 2011.

The year contained some really high highs, and some pretty low lows. But it is over. And I learned. And I grew. And things changed. And we can never go back. Only forward. "Making the most of every opportunity."

I rang in the new year last year in Lima, Peru. It was loud. Because there were a ton of fireworks. Here are other highlights of the year:

January: I returned from Lima and began to work without my partner Ester. We were down to only four 40/40s on our team (Cailyn, Alex, Emily, and Kathy). I ate pig skin for the first time. And shared Christ with people. Life became routine.

February: We completed a full year in Peru. I was left in charge of church in San Jeronimo, preaching and leading the services while our pastor was away. I found out that my partner was not coming back to work with me. Alex got a new partner. God opened doors for us to begin working in a battered women's shelter.  

March: Carnavales.  I fell down a mountain. And became famous. We did the Daniel Fast as a team.  We visited Puno, too.  We did a movie in San Sebastian, and I preached afterward. 

April: We started church services in Coya at a contact's house. We celebrated Easter, and I preached at the mother church on Easter Sunday. We continued to work at the battered women's shelter.   

May: Church services in Coya. Battered women's shelter. Discipleship. Routine. Eating guinea pig. You know how it is.

June: I went HOME for vacation!! Yay! Then came back and kept working with my NEW PARTNER, Kathy.

July: We did Jesus Film showings (in Quechua) and prepared and served hot chocolate. We felt like we made a lot of progress. 

**Okay, here's the thing: the next several months, I became a little busy, or maybe a little lazy, and stopped blogging. So I am not even sure what happened each month. Lo siento...**

August through November (?): I worked. Kathy and I worked together. We made new contacts. We did discipleship lessons. We started and stopped church services. We started renting locales in Lamay and Coya. We spent more time than I can count on public transportation.

December: The busiest month of the year. Hot Chocolate nights. Advent. Christmas church services. Open-air preaching. Discipleship and evangelism. A visit from a few members of the Paraguay team. Christmas in the Queep (Arequipa).

And, to wrap up, just like last year, here is my "Best Of" list, my favorite blogs of 2011.

Fellowship of the Gospel

A Song Blog: Part 2

The Day I Became a Legend

Suffering and Grace

Really, Kid?

It Really Is Good News

BAM. Saved.

I'm In Love

God bless you all during 2012!

What Are You Doing New Years Eve? by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-L...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Missions Trip to Starbucks?

I am a missionary. But I am also currently hanging out at Starbucks.

Trust me, it is weird to me, too.

Technically, I am on vacation. I should be able to do what I want, right?

I saved up my money, so why shouldn't I spend it how I choose, right?

I can make all these perfectly logical arguments, but this still feels weird...

But hey, next week, it's back to work.

Nonstop work for six more months.

So I will try to enjoy this little break, and put the guilt aside.


Well, since I'm sitting here at Starbucks, I made a playlist of my favorite songs of 2011 (in alphabetical order by artist). There are eleven of them. Oh the irony.

1. Adele, "Set Fire to the Rain" from 21

2. All Sons and Daughters, "Spirit Speaks" from Live in Relevant Studios

3. The Civil Wars, "Poison and Wine" from Barton Hollow

4. Eisley, "Ambulance" from The Valley

5. Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues" from Helplessness Blues

6. Gungor, "When Death Dies" from Ghosts Upon the Earth

7. Hillsong United, "Take Heart" from Aftermath

8. John Mark McMillan, "Seen a Darkness" from Economy

9. NeedToBreathe, "Oohs and Ahhs" from The Reckoning

10. Switchfoot, "Vice Verses" from Vice Verses

11. Us and Our Daughters, "Remember When" from Songs About Us

Poison & Wine | The Civil Wars

GUNGOR "When Death Dies" Acoustic Performance Video

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Celebrate the Day by Relient K

"God bless us, everyone."

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might really live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seen a Darkness by John Mark McMillan

I am IN LOVE with John Mark McMillan's new album, Economy.

Fall in love with me, and enjoy these lyrics:

We have seen a darkness
But we have seen a light
We have felt the love 
Of a hope’s hot blood
In the machinery of night

We have seen a darkness
But we have seen the sun
We have come undone 
To a love’s hot song
In a symphony of blood

The valley of the shadow knows our name
We have seen a night 
But we have seen the day
Dressed in the blood of love’s hot veins 
We have overcome
Yeah, we have overcome

Born into the grave
But born a second time
We’ve been born again 
Into loves hot hands 
On someone else’s dime

The valley of the shadow knows our name
We have seen a night 
But we have seen the day
Dressed in the blood of loves hot veins 
We have overcome
Yeah, we have overcome

You have called us loved 
And you have called us wanted
One time we were bruised
We were bankrupt and haunted

© 2011 Integrity's Alleluia! Music/SESAC (adm at CCLI#5921894

Monday, December 19, 2011

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Here's an Advent Devotional about my favorite Christmas hymn:

Hymn Story:
With its haunting minor melody, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is a much-loved Advent hymn. Its lyrics come from the Advent events of the medieval Christian church. Each night, for seven days before Christmas, the church would sing one of the "Great O Antiphons"-anthems sung to a short verse.
The word "antiphon" implies that the lines of each anthem were sung alternately by two choirs sitting opposite each other in the chancel. Each antiphon featured a prayer beginning with "O Come" and including an Old Testament reference for the Messiah:

The Great O Antiphons
"O Sapientia, quae ex ore altissimi. . ." (O Wisdom from on high...)
"O Adonai et dux domus Israel. . ." (O Lord and leader of the house of Israel...)
"O Racix Jesse qui stas in signum populorum. . ." (O Root of Jesse who stood as a standard of the people)
"O Clavis David et sceptrum domus. . ." (O Key of David and scepter of our home...)
"O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae. . ." (O Dayspring, splendor of eternal light...)
"O Rex gentium et desideratus. . ." (O longed-for King of the nations...)
"O Emmanuel, rex et legiter noster. . ." (O Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver...)

Read backward as an acrostic, the first letters of these antiphons spell ero cras, which translates into a hopeful advent message: "tomorrow I shall be there."

About the twelfth century five antiphons were put together as verses of a single hymn and a chorus was added, creating the words for "O Come, O Come, Emmanual." John Mason Neale translated this hymn to English, originally beginning "Draw nigh, draw nigh, Emmanuel." A year later, he changed the opening lines to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," the well-known words we use today.

The hymn's five antiphons include five Old Testament references to the coming Messiah, including:
Emmanuel (God with us) Isa. 7:14
Lord of Might Ex. 19:16
Rod (Branch) of Jesse Isa. 11:1, Isa. 11:10
Dayspring (Morning Star) Num. 24:17
Key of David Isa. 22:22
The other two "O Great Antiphons," less commonly sung are: Wisdom Isa. 28:29 Desire of nation Hag. 2:7

The chorus echoes the desire of Zechariah 9:9, "See, your king comes to you" and Revelation 22:20, "Amen, Come Lord Jesus." We echo the glorious last plea of the New Testament as we meditate on the names and person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us.’ Matthew 1:23

The season of Advent is often a whirl of buying gifts, decorating the tree and a non-stop succession of programs and parties. It was, however, not that way for the Monks of the Middle Ages.

In the monastery, Advent was a time of meditation on serious subjects: death, judgment, heaven and hell. And the month in which we think of Christ’s first coming was used by monks to reflect on His second coming. In the same way, this should be true for Christians today. We glance backward to Bethlehem, but we look forward to the Great White Throne, that is, eternity with God.

Our hymn has its origin in seven prose Latin sentences which were sung during medieval monastic vespers leading up to Christmas. Its usage dates all the way back to the 9th century. Each stanza (originally, the stanzas were short sentences) salutes the returning Messiah by one of the many titles ascribed to Him in Scripture.

The ancient hymnwriter refers to Jesus as "Emmanuel" and "God with us". He implores Jesus to come and end the Christian’s separation from God. "Israel", used three times in the stanzas and each time in the refrain, signifies the waiting Church. While we can experience reconciliation and friendship with God right now, the hymn longs for that perfect, completed fellowship which will be enjoyed in eternity.

Jesus is also referred to as the "Dayspring" (or the "Rising Sun"—see Luke 1:78) and is asked to remove the gloom of spiritual night and the shadows of death. Whether writing in the 9th or 21st century, these words still address the yearning of Christians everywhere for Christ’s return.

Another name for Jesus is the "Rod of Jesse" (see Isaiah 11:1). It is a term found in the King James Version of the Bible and signifies Christ’s fight to free His people from Satan, hell and the grave. It hearkens back to the time when a rod, the club used by shepherds to fight wild animals, played a significant role in defending the sheep.
This hymn is one of the oldest to be found in any Christian hymnal. It is a treasure (see Matthew 13:52) and illustrates our great debt to our spiritual ancestors.

But it is also vital for today’s Christian, who with the seeming obsession for this present world, must be reminded to prepare for the world that is to come.
"And He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead" and He will announce "the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."
Nicene Creed, 325 AD

Lyricist: Latin Hymn Lyrics Date: 1710 Translator: John Mason Neale Translation Date: 1851 Key: e minor Theme: Christ's coming, Advent, Christmas Music: Plainsong Music Date: 13th Century Tune Title: VENI EMMANUEL Arranger: Thomas Helmore Arrange Date: 1856 Meter: L.M.ref
Scripture: Isaiah 7:14
Copyright © 2011 Center for Church Music

Monday, December 12, 2011

Love of the Liberating King

I recently read this in 2 Corinthians:

"You see, the controlling force in our lives is the love of the Liberating King."

When I begin to forget that, that's when I start to have issues."

Of course, now that I've been a volunteer missionary in Peru for not-quite two years, "issues" has taken on a whole new meaning. (Think bathroom.) But I don't mean those issues.

I mean, getting down, becoming discouraged, questioning everything. Those kinds of issues.

When I can remember that jesus Christ is all that matters, that he is the one who satisfies, that he sustains me and the work he has called me to do, things go just fine.


So, here is just a quick update on things in Cusco:

With church services in two of our places, plus youth services in two of our places, plus all the discipleship classes we do, Kathy and I stay pretty busy. We have seen people become really firm in Coya. I have learned that it is not about quantity, but quality of our contacts, and I believe in the ones in Coya. Lamay has struggled a bit, but I believe we are seeing it bounce back. Santiago is going well, but we still don't have a site to hold weekly church services, which can be somewhat limiting.



And since I am not posting very much, here are some pictures to tide you over!

 We went to Machu Picchu in October
 My 22nd Birthday
 Membership Conference

 Amy and I decorated our house for Christmas
This GIGANTIC spider was in the locale where we sleep on weekends