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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sugaring

Have any of you brave, crafty, or "I hate hair" people out there tried sugaring? A friend in my small group raved about it, so my roommate and I courageously prepared it and tried it. Here's a tidbit of our conversation as we endured the pain: "This makes me want to swear!" ~Mari. "Go right ahead." ~Brooke.

For those who might be wondering if this a sport, a method of medicating, or a way to get in touch with  God, look at this website, our resource for this (new to me) treatment: http://hairremoval.about.com/od/sugarwaxing/ss/sugar-hair-removal-recipe.htm

I sure hope the lady in the picture is not doing to this to her lips. Weird if there was a need to do that there....hmmm....

Only a small patch worked for each of us. I have my thoughts about why. We do know that for some reason the mixture didn't get hard enough. Youtube videos of the process helped us figure that out. And the videos made it look pretty much pain-free (and our friend claimed that too. She has yet to answer our emails with questions). We haven't given up hope yet, though. We and our hair will not admit defeat. A tupperware of the sugar mixture awaits in our fridge for the day we have the chutzpah and skill to endure it again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Savor the Season Silent Stroll

I know, its been awhile....Since I do live in Seattle, I probably should post something about it here. Fall is my favorite season here. I recently realized I have not been here for a full fall season in 4 years.


Back on Veterans Day, my creative roommate planned a walk at Discovery Park, which is, according to its website: "a 534 acre natural area park operated by the Seattle Parks and Recreation. It is the largest city park in Seattle, and occupies most of the former Fort Lawton site. The site is one of breathtaking majesty. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular views of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams."

     We were instructed not to talk while we were walking, to just absorb nature, to reflect on it and pay attention to its characteristics that we might not otherwise notice if we were engaged in conversation. It was relaxing and really did cause me to take notice of God's beauty surrounding me.






 Such crazy cool trees in that park






*All photos taken with my phone

Monday, August 20, 2012

Read with me

For Love's Sake: One young woman's trek with the world's poor and your open door to a life of experiential love, by Jessica Davis
 (this woman works with or has worked for (I'm not sure if she still does because I haven't read for enough in the book to know for sure) Rolland and Heidi Baker, who started Iris Ministries, in Mozambique.)

"This journey is for the hungry because it is about the hungry. It is about what can happen when the hungry go after that which their soul longs for. Two things can happen to a hungry man- he can starve or he can eat. This, too, is our choice. A place where hunger is married to fullness is where we can now reside."



What does your soul long for? What or Who are you passionate about? Tell me please. Share with me your experiences, readers.




Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Exploits

Maybe this is why I am always looking for adventure, for more, for something I can't quite put my finger on. More of Him in me, to not be satisfied with the "normal," to do and be more. I don't recall reading this verse ever before, but I am loving it:

Daniel 11:32b- "But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."

This is my prayer for today. Dream, people. Dream big, because He says He will do more than we can ask or imagine. What exploits does God want to carry out through you

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Haiti and Radical

I just left Haiti last week. And yesterday I decided to start reading Radical by David Platt (so now I start missing Haiti and forgetting all the reasons I thought I was supposed to leave). And tonight I read this post from Anne Voskamp, reflecting on her trip to Haiti: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/07/the-1-thing-you-really-have-to-know-about-your-family/

Excuse me while I go have an ugly cry then pray, "What do I do with these? What do You want me to do, Lord? Show me my mission field here, Lord."

Best Quotes from the blog post:





She puts a grass woven hat on my head and all I can think of is Job saying “justice was my robe and turban” (Job 29:14). In the family of Christ, we wear justice for the poor. In the Body of Christ, our lives should be clothed in caring like our bodies are covered in clothing.
You can turn a blind eye to the poor all you want but it could have turned out that you were the poor.


               You don’t stay in the palace if you want anybody to find  
               deliverance
 – especially yourself.


Are we entangled in Christ and loving His family or are we entangled in culture and its pressures to have all of its stuff?
You don’t forget who your brother is — when you know Who your Father  
               is.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Linking you to "A House Call in Haiti"

http://www.pjstar.com/haiti_ugc_blog/x23411756/A-House-Call-in-Haiti

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sweets!

I've never been much of a baker. Let's just be honest, I'll eat chocolate or sweets any day of the week, I just never cared to make that stuff myself. But since moving in with Jocie and watching and helping her cook delectable treats and dinners (tea, as these Aussie's call it), I've decided I must be able to make these things on my own for when I leave here and because it is actually fun. So, in addition to making different meals I've now made four different homemade cakes and I'm loving it. 





Number 1:

Apple cake for Chabine's birthday

Number 2:

Banana upside-down cake for one of John and Jocie's dinner guests. Jocie found a Haitian cookbook at a bookstore/coffee shop (eat your heart out, Barnes and Noble) that we've been using. But no pics. Whoops.

Number 3:

Coconut cake with custard filling and meringue frosting to welcome our new interns (also from the Haitian cookbook). Whoops again...no pictures.



Number 4:

Hot fudge cake for my bible study girls

Let me know if ya'll have any that I should try out...especially when I get back to Washington next week and need a reason for people to want to catch up (oh, p.s. I am moving back there- one day I'll post about that).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Junior


Hi friends,

We're doing a fundraiser to help one of our kids to continue attending an English-speaking school. This includes raising money for this month, June 2012, through next June 2013. See below for details and a link.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Junior is a seventeen-year-old young man with a heart of gold.  Most who have had the privilege of meeting him know within a few minutes that God has placed a special calling on his life.  His heart for the Lord inspires both his peers and the spiritually mature.  Many of the kids nicknamed him "Pastor Junior" because of his dedication and diligence to studying and preaching God's Word. 

Although it is difficult to imagine, Junior used to beg on the streets of Delmas Blvd. in Port-au-Prince with many other young kids. He was ushered from the streets into living in the MDL Boys' Home through a friend’s street ministry.  Shortly after coming into the safely of MDL, his mother was murdered in Cite Soleil and then his father later passed away in the countryside. Today, Junior, this once timid child, boldly preaches the Gospel, having put his faith and hope in Christ more than four years ago.  He often teaches at devotionals and even partnered with other children from MDL two summers ago in doing an evangelistic outreach for their extended family members and community in the village where they grew up.     

Junior has long expressed his hope of becoming an evangelist.  Ranch Church in Santa Ynez, California has expressed a desire to come alongside Junior’s calling and financially support him at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, California.  Needing an American high-school equivalent education to apply, Junior is currently enrolled in an American school in Haiti called Morning Star Christian Academy. We are praying that more people would come alongside to support his tuition fees until he finishes in 2014. To help Junior to continue to prepare for the work God is calling him to do we need to raise $475.00 a month for tuition and lunch money. Please prayerfully consider whether you would like to become involved in helping Junior by committing to financially sponsor him for half a month's tuition, one month, or multiple months of school. 

      Please pray for Junior, that he would continue to thrive in every aspect of his life, and that he'd keep Christ at the center of everything he does.  If you'd like to sponsor school for Junior, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for payment options. 

                       Mesi Anpil! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

There is a lovely woman who lives near our ministry named named Dieula (it means "God is here" in Creole). This year she began working for John and Jocie, the couple with whom I live. Every morning that she works, when I leave the house, she sweetly calls out, "Bonjou Dokte (Good morning Doctor) Brooke! Bonjou Dokte! Mesi Dokte!" I've had the conversation with her, repeatedly, where I explain that I am, contrary to her high opinion of me, not a doctor. I am a nurse. Being called a doctor scares me, to tell you the truth. This carries with it too many expectations of my ability and skill level. Unfortunately, sometimes in the Third World, lay people can sometimes be mistaken for medical professionals and are fine with letting that assumption prevail and trying out their "skills" on unsuspecting patients. You're a white missionary? Now those in your community treat you like you are a nurse, doctor, pastor, banker, and soup kitchen, all rolled into a neat package. John and Jocie find it exceptionally funny that Dieula insists on calling me a dokte. She used to give Ashley, my nurse co-worker at Child Hope (she moved back to the states last month- boo :( ), the same title. Last week, Asher, my friend Brittany's two year old son, stuck his tongue out at me when I greeted him "Good Morning". John scolded him, saying, "Asher, that's not how you should treat Brooke. She's a doctor, you know? She can cut that tongue out if you keep doing that." Fortunately Asher has not remembered that comment and does not run from "the dokte" when he sees her. John, Jocie, their daughter Kelly, who was visiting from Australia, and I were discussing my new title one night. Kelly is a social worker in Aussie land, where she works with refugees. For some reason the clients she works with sometimes refer to her as "Officer Kelly." I'm sure this is one of those incidences where You Had to Be There, because we thought this was hysterically funny. Here John revealed that he has told Dieula that I am a surgeon. Makes sense why I could cut off Asher's tongue then. Next I shall be performing surgery on someone's brain, probably in our kitchen. 







Here is Dieula on her birthday. She dressed up very fancy to come to work that day. Jocie took some pictures of her with my camera. She came back the next day, dressed up again, to take more pictures with Brittany, Jocie, Susette, and I. I don't have those pictures yet because they are on Jocie's camera. So many Haitians LOVE to pose- not just smile- but POSE for the camera. Dieula ran and grabbed an apple for these shots. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Few Recent Pics





 All of the above are children from our feeding program for children in the community, held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

       
 The quality is terrible on this last one (its from a phone) but here is how we spent Good Friday- praying on a hillside with the kids. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Heart of the Father for His Children: An Incredible Love and Pursuit

I read this story out of the book Enjoying God (and promptly burst into tears):


During the Korean war, a pastor in a small rural village awoke one morning to find that his young son, his only child, had been killed. Apparently some soldiers had slipped in during the night and randomly excited a number of villagers in a brutal act of terrorism.

The pastor was beside himself with grief. He had looked forward to his son someday following in his footsteps and becoming a pastor. Now his friends feared for his emotional stability, so severe was the grief he experienced over the boy's senseless death. It seemed so cruel, so unjust. His son was not in the army; he posed no threat to anyone. Why should he have been singled out like this?

Finally the Korean pastor decided what he must do in return for this act of violence. He announced that he would hunt down the men who had killed his son and would not give up until he had found them. No obstacle would stand in his way, no hardship would deter him. This grief-stricken father resolved to do whatever it took.

Amazingly, he was able to learn the identities of the two terrorists, slip behind enemy lines, and find out where they lived. One early morning he stole into their house and confronted them. The pastor told them who he was, and that he knew they had murdered his son. "You owe me a debt," he said to them. "I have come to collect it."

The two men were obviously expecting to be killed in retaliation. But the pastor's next words astonished them. "You have taken my son," he said, "and now I want you to become my sons in his place."

The pastor stayed with them for several days, until he was able to persuade them to come with him. In time he adopted them as his legal sons. He loved them and cared for them. They became Christians, went to seminary, and were ordained. Today, these two men are pastors in Korea- all because a father who was willing to do whatever it took to win them, whose love was utterly unstoppable.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Right now I'm spending a lovely couple of weeks with my friends and family in Washington and getting to play auntie to my gorgeous niece and nephew, as well as one of my best friends' kids. She had her second baby, Juliet, just a few weeks ago.

Before coming back here I moved in with our church's new pastor, John, and his wife, Jocie. They are from Australia, hilarious, kind, wise, and also my friend Brittany's parents-in-law. A great perk to living here: Brittany and her family, as well as my nurse friend, Ashley, all live next door to us. John and Jocie have begun ministering to a couple of boys from a tent city in a really beautiful way. A couple of days a week the boys come over to their house and they work a bit around the house (teaching them a skill that they can use in future years and giving them dignity, as well), then John and Jocie provide a meal for them while they all talk. Then, they play soccer, basketball, or other games with the boys. The love, guidance, prayers, and wisdom they are giving these boys is very beautiful to watch.

A few Sundays ago, after church, we found that one of the boys, Dupren, was throwing up in the bathroom. We were also told by another boy, Edly, that Dupren's bike had been stolen at church. Jocie and I talked to Edly and a third boy (I don't recall his name) who had witnessed the bike-steaing incident. This third boy knew where to find the kid who stole the bike. Jocie fetched a nice English and Creole-speaking man from church who could help us and we loaded up the kids in her car. Pastor John had a church meeting to attend to, so he wasn't able to assist. I looked at Jocie and asked, "Is it wrong that I am excited about going to find this bike?" "Oh no, I am just as excited as you!" This was our first adventure as Nancy Drew wanna-be's.

The third kid took us to the thief's neighborhood, then some of us walked the rest of the way in. Jocie stayed behind with her car and a few of her friends who were passengers in the car, but I was instructed to remember every detail of the encounter. When we approached the suspect's house, we all saw the bike "hidden" behind some cardboard. Our Haitian translator/muscle spoke with the kid's father, who said he had suspected something amiss when the kid brought it home, saying he found it in the trash. I chewed out the kid a bit when he told me that he just found it at church, thinking no one wanted it (Dupren didn't have a way to lock it up). "Do you take everything you just see you want?" We left, with the bike, with no struggle or arguments. When we returned to the Meadth's house, Jocie and I told John we will be opening our own detective agency. Apparently I need to watch the show or read the books The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency. Let me know if you live in Haiti, preferably the Delmas area of Port au Prince, and need some crafty, smart detectives to solve your crimes. All this adventure and more, you'll find in Haiti, people.


Friday, February 3, 2012

A Scandalous God

To be honest, I've never spent much time thinking about war. I've never had an opinion one way or the other. My brain has never engaged in much thought about how it affects those living daily amongst bombings, battles, and death. Until now. I'm still devouring Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution. See my last post. I'm not going to comment on what he wrote. Read it for yourself. I pray you are as affected by these words as I was.

"....and I headed to Iraq, where I ended up living through the most beautiful and horrible month of my life. I was there during the bombing of Baghdad, visiting homes, hospitals, and families- and going to worship services with the hunders of Iraqi Christians there. Essentially, I went to Iraq because I believe in a God of scandalous grace. I have pledged allegiance to a King who loved evildoers so much he died for them, teaching us that there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for. I went to Iraq in the footsteps of an executed and risen God. The Jesus of the margins suffered an imperial execution by an oppressive regime of wealthy and pious elites. And now he dares me and woos me to come and follow, to take up my cross, to lose my life to find it, with the promises that life is more powerful than death and that it is more courageous to love our enemies than to kill them. May we stand by those who face the impending wrath of the empire and whisper, "God loves you, I love you, and if my country bombs your country, I will be right here with you.

One of the things that became painfully clear to me in Iraq is that what's at stake today is the reputation not just of America but of Christianity, and that's what keeps me up at night. I heard people in Iraq call leaders in the US "Christian extremists," just as leaders here speak of "Muslim extremists." Everyone is declaring war in the name of God and asking for God's blessing. One beautiful Iraqi mother threw her hands in the air and said, "Your country is declaring war in the name of God and asking God's blessing, and that is the same thing my country is doing. What kind of God is this? What has happened to the God of love, to the Prince of Peace?

Revolutionary subordination exposes the evils of power and violence without mirroring them, by gently allowing them to destroy themselves and then rising above the ruins. This approach, of course, is exemplified by Jesus, who was led like "a lamb to slaughter"; it was with revolutionary subordination that Jesus "disarmed the powers and authorities" and made a "public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Col 2:15). His was a humble redemptive suffering that flew in the face of the arrogant myth of redemptive violence.

We know all too well that we have a God who shows mercy on evildoers, for if he didn't, we'd all be in big trouble, and for that, this evildoer is very glad.

As we drove into the town, were were deeply disturbed to see that it was devastated by bombing. Before we could get out of the car, doctors greeted us, and the town began to gather. When they learned that several of us were from the US, the head doctor asked loudly, "Why this? Why? Why is your government doing this?" With tears in his eyes, he explained that only a couple of days earlier, one of the bombs had hit the hospital, the children's ward. So they could not take us to the hospital. He added with a dignified smile, "But you are our brothers, and we will take care of you. We take care of everyone- Christian, Muslim, Iraqi, American...it doesn't matter. We are all human beings. We are all sisters and brothers." And they set up a little clinic with four beds and saved my friend's life, apologizing for the scarcity of supplies due to the sanctions. The townspeople began to bring blankets and water...they smiled and invited us to live in Rutba. We offered the doctors money, but they insisted that they were caring for us as family. They did have one request: "Tell the world about Rutba." And we have."

Rather than separating ourselves from everyone we consider impure, maybe we are better off just beating our chests and praying that God would be merciful enough to save us from this present ugliness and to make our lives so beautiful that people cannot resist that mercy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Convicted

From Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution:

"When we get to heaven, we will be separated into those sheep and goats Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 based on how we cared for the least among us. I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say 'When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me', or,  'When I was naked, you donated clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me.' Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: "you fed me...you visited me in prison...you welcomed me into your home...you clothed me."

"It is much more comfortable to depersonalize the poor so we don't feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that results in someone sleeping on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes."

"And Jesus did not set up a program but modeled a way of living that incarnated the reign of God, a community in which people are reconciled and our debts are forgiven just as we forgive our debtors (all economic words). That reign did not spread through organizational establishments or structural systems. It spread like disease- through touch, through breath, through life. It spread through people infected by love."