Last night I ate Chinese food with my friends Jason and Kris. When I cracked open my fortune cookie, the fortune read: You will be surrounded by luxury.
Well, predictably, we had a good chuckle over that, but it also made me think of the luxury of friends and family I have, and ones to come. Not that having them is a luxury, but that being a part of their lives and them in mine gives me much richness in life. Sounds a bit trite, maybe, and also sentamental, but sometimes those things are true. And in this case it is.
They also asked me to come to their 3-D sonogram...which was so great. A privilege to be one of the first to meet the little Bauernfiend. She is proof of faith and hope. More to add to the riches in my life.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Last night I ate Chinese food with my friends Jason and Kris. When I cracked open my fortune cookie, the fortune read: You will be surrounded by luxury.
Posted by April at 11:24 AM
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's raining in Portland
a soft cool mist-falling gently,
it unlocks the chains
of a mid-July heat wave.
Such heavy heated bondage
makes my body ache
and disturbs my sleep.
It lays heavy on my slumbering form
and thick in my soul,
so that even in slumber I attempt an escape.
But a woman can only get so far,
even when she is sleeping.
The rude reality of heavy head meeting hard wood,
(or is that hard head meeting heavy wood?)
the quick smack and fast yell of pain-
I am trying to run- help me run!
I call to no one in my inky, hot room.
Crawling back between sheets, I am soon sweaty again,
and peel back the layers
until my white skin lies stark in the dark
with no where to hide,
even when I am alone.
Posted by April at 2:00 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2008
i've been waking in the early morning hours,
frozen heart beating fast,
so little time left...so little to spare,
what with shelf-life and middle age approaching.
is it ethical to give away what has already expired,
just because it crowds the dusty shelves of my pantry?
even if the taste of it once sounded good,
even if it still does.
i wonder how it felt to stand
in the fullness of time,
where regret did not linger
and hope offered her light filled hand.
that apex of history, where nothing would ever be the same.
no wonder angels sang, it was like an 'aha' moment...
usually angels sing at those.
"Aha! the time has come...the fullness of it!"
clean off your dusty shelves,
it is time, to give away.
Give away, give away...
in early morning hours, when light peeks through streaked windows,
and scared hearts beat quickly,
in rhythm with the seconds,
the same seconds that lingered
over the fullness of time.
it is a moment that does not expire.
Posted by April at 7:16 PM
Last Saturday Sarah and I played mini-golf. We received these greenish-blue wristbands signifying our right to play as many rounds of golf as our greedy little selves desired, as long as it was on 2/16. After we played, Sarah proposed that we see who could keep the wristband on the longest. It's been a week, and we're both going strong! As they say, it's ON!
Posted by April at 7:11 PM
So, Sarah and I returned to Ford Park this Saturday, this time with Micah in tow, in order to play and feed the ducks. It was fun. I also introduced them to the DQ chocolate dipped ice cream cone. They said they'd forever be indebted to me. Their words.
Posted by April at 7:05 PM
This is my nephew Micah and I think he just may be the world's most photogenic kid. I could take pictures of him all day long. Even when he asks me to stop and I keep snapping and so he screws his face up, it's still a good picture.
Posted by April at 7:01 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Picture this: an unsuspecting family and a couple of friends venture out on a Friday night for a pizza. Suddenly they are srrounded by individuals wearing blinking crowns and blue feather boas. They've stepped into Diva Night.
So, downtown Redlands was celebrating diva's (I know...I know). Luckily for us, they were also serving free chocolate truffles and sparkling cider (too bad it wasn't the harder stuff). The best part was sharing the evening with Sarah and Makenna.
Mary and I tried holding the camera out and taking a self-portrait...we were laughing so hard because we kept catching these photos of our foreheads and at the time Mary had the largest zit ever...and she never gets zits. It was pretty funny. Tanner called it her war-mark.
As you can see, we caught Tanner and Mateo in their divalisciousness. Malaney was just plain tired of being a diva...and I think Travis was hiding.
Posted by April at 5:24 PM
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Sarah and I spent Saturday together. We started with lunch at Rubio's then had froyo (frozen yogurt), although we both decided the peanut butter flavor was weird. From their we drove to Fiesta Village for a couple rounds of all you can play miniature golf! Then to the park to feed the ducks and finally home. What a great day with my girl...and she can kick some booty at mini-golf. More than that, she's sweet and sassy, smart and silly and I wouldn't want to spend Saturday with anyone else.
Posted by April at 6:07 PM
Friday, February 15, 2008
Today I went to the memorial service of my friend Suzie. She was more than a friend, though, she was an aunt to my sisters and me. Her passing was sudden and it feels a bit surreal that she is gone. We used to camp with her family and even went on a month long road trip to Canada back in, you guessed it, 1986. She used to take care of us on weekends when my parents were away. We have great memories of her humor and her thoughtfulness. She made amazing tamales and collected everything from pigs to pansies. For years we spent holidays together. I told her daughter Kim, who was like a big sister to us, that there's something about losing someone you grow up with, because the memory of them lies so deep in who we are,that the loss leaves such an ache. My heart aches with her passing. We'll miss her.
And, on this same day, I bought my ticket to Romania. I leave on March 11. No more waiting!!! Talk about another surreal feeling. For so long the actual feeling of Romania has felt more like a cyber world than anything. But I'm excited to go and can't imagine doing anything else.
Posted by April at 6:04 PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I know people say time flies...I guess it does, because it feels just like it should still be 1986. I've known most of these people all my life. Denise since I was 7, the guys since about the summer of 1986. But, I hadn't seen Sam in almost 9 years! So, it was a sweet little reunion on the occasion of Mr. Brown's 40th birthday.
Posted by April at 7:48 AM
Posted by April at 7:43 AM
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Psalm 1:6 The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous.
Psalm 1 seems to be the perfect psalm for the beginning of a new month, because of v. 6, "The Lord knoweth the way," the way through this new month, the way through this new day.
I find from Young's Concordance that the word used for "way" here means "trodden path," but this new month, this new day, is an untrodden path for us. We have not passed this way heretofore. How then "trodden?"
The Bible is full of surprises. They belong to "the delightfulness of the Lord" that we see if we dwell in His house all the days of our life. This delight is a new one to me, and it is delight to share it. The word "trodden path" is the word used in the prayer, "Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path," a trodden path - a Leader always goes before, and so the path is trodden.
Edges of His Ways, February 1
Posted by April at 5:32 PM
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
When I was in Portland a couple weeks ago, my sister's kids were getting ready for church. I was too, but was not going to church with them. My nephew, Jonah (age 7), came up to me and said: Bepo, I have my tithe and I was going to bring it to church, but I wanted to tithe to a missionary this week and then I realized (he's shaking his head and smiling at this point) you are a missionary. So, I want to tithe to you. And he handed me his 4 quarters.
Posted by April at 9:04 AM
Sunday, February 03, 2008
I just have a few people who are on my heart...who need healing. Would you just take a second to pray? thanks...
My dad...his hip is really hurting him and there isn't much medication will do to help the pain. Please pray that all pain will be removed and be replaced with the hip of a much younger man. His name is Mel...not the hip's name, my dad's name. I'd just like for him to be able to do the things he loves to do again.
My friend Laura...she has some serious tremors in arms and other symptoms that are seen in those who have ALS, Parkinsons, or MS. We won't know for a few weeks what exactly the problem is, but her doctor, who is a Christian, told her to 'gather the troops' to pray for a healing.
Rebecca's parents...I won't go into many details, but please pray that her mom would know deliverance and freedom and her dad would be healed.
Posted by April at 4:28 PM
Dear Family and Friends,
A couple weeks ago I was talking with my friends Jason and Kris about the almost 2 years they spent ministering in Australia, this after more than 10 years of youth pastoring in the states. And now, after so many years of ministry, the future seems a bit uncertain for them. Then Jason said: It doesn’t really matter what we end up doing, we just want to serve the Lord.
My heart leapt at the simple longing of serving God and also at the act of service as vocation. In recent weeks I’ve experienced such a deepening of this longing that it can almost be described as an ache to serve. My heart and thoughts linger more and more over Galati, Romania and the little drop-in center called Casa la Valle where I hope to serve impoverished children and their families. For me, where I am right now, I have such great joy at the thought of being at the drop-in center, loving kids, and simply serving. I am recognizing this longing not only as a desire, but as the call to vocation.
I read some interesting thoughts on this in the magazine Modern Reformation (Our Calling and God’s Glory, Gene Edward Veith, volume 16, number 6, November/December 2007, p. 25),
“As contemporary theologian John Pless explains it, (Martin) Luther understood that the Christian is genuinely bi-vocational. He is called first through the Gospel to faith in Jesus Christ and he is called to occupy a particular station or place in life. The second sense of this calling embraces all that the Christian does in service to the neighbor not only in a particular occupation but also as a member of the church... here the Christian lives in love toward other human beings and is the instrument by which God does His work in the world.
“We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and the neighbor,” said Luther. “He lives in Christ through faith, and in his neighbor through love.””
I’ve been so grateful and humbled by those who have given to me as I seek to serve in Romania. I believe we are joining in faith in the service of giving to our neighbor as God does His work in the world through us. By the time you read this letter I will hopefully have a ticket and departure date set for the end of February and on my way to do that for which my heart aches. I am still in need of supporters and would ask that you’d consider becoming a monthly supporter.
Your prayers are needed. If you could remember me daily or as often as I come to mind, I’d be very grateful. Please pray that the children who come to Casa la Valle would live in Christ through faith and in their neighbors through love. Pray for those who work with these kids and love them. Pray for my heart and mind, that with all that I am I would love Jesus and glorify His Father. As I said in my last letter, I’d also appreciate your prayers in these areas:
• Adjusting to a new language and culture.
• Protection in travel and health.
• Housing accommodations, lack of privacy, differences in living standards, lack of accustomed conveniences.
• Loneliness and homesickness.
• Developing new relationships with Word Made Flesh community and those we serve.
• Need for wisdom, compassion, self-discipline, boldness, power, love, and to be filled with the Spirit of God.
• Future ministry opportunities in Moldova with Word Made Flesh
Many people ask me questions about Romania, so below I’m including a few notes on Romania from an article written last year by David Chronic, who also serves in Galati with WMF. I hope you find it helpful.
Thank you and my love to you,
• The massive structural aid of joining the European Union (EU) has stabilized the Romanian government, spurred investment and curbed corruption. But Romania is postured to give much more than it gets from the EU. Romania represents a large population (22 million consumers), cheap labor, and abundant natural resources that are already being bought up by the west.
• Romania ranks as the second most corrupt country in Europe – one out of five questioned persons declaring they had to pay a bribe recently. Globally, Romania ranks fourth in the top nine most perceived corrupt nations (Gallup Worldwide Corruption Index).
• As many as 120,000 preteens and teenagers from Eastern Europe are taken annually to Western Europe to steal, beg and engage in prostitution under the threat of beatings and rape (International Organization for Migration). In Romania in 2005, more than 2,500 victims of trafficking were officially registered, 366 victims were children (UNICEF). But Poupard, the UNICEF Representative to Romania, says these official figures are way off the mark and the actual number of women and children who are smuggled into other European countries and sold into prostitution is much higher. Poupard believes poverty is the main reason for child trafficking. A Geneva police official says that parents receive up to $6,000 or more per child for a three month leasing period – a sum that far exceeds the normal family income.
• In spite of a booming economy and EU integration, children continue to live on the streets. According to the Care Project of Romania, there are no accurate figures on the number of street children in Romania, but it is estimated that only in the capital of Bucharest alone, there are between 3,000 and 5,000 children living on the streets and over 9,000 in the entire Romania.
• As of 2006, there are 76,168 children in the care of the state (0-18 years old). 27,188 are in residential institutions while the rest are living in substitute families (National Authority for the Protection of Children's Rights). There are no skills training or job placement services for children in residential care, which creates a high probability that they will gravitate to the streets where they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and crime (U.S. State Department). At least 9,000 babies are abandoned every year in Romania (UNICEF). There are still reports of babies being purchased (for more than $9,000) and stolen from hospitals (Caritas).
• UNICEF says that 16 years after the revolution, about 20% of the country’s children live under the poverty line. Furthermore, it has been established that a little over 1,000,000 children lived in poverty in 2004, while some 360,000 lived in abject poverty, accounting for 24.4% and 8.2%, respectively, of the total number of children under the age of 18.
• Our hope is not in politics or economics or even in our ministry among the poor; our hope is in the Father who passionately loves this people and who is working by His Spirit to redeem and transform it. Informed with these statistics, I invite you to join our community in interceding before the Father on behalf of those who are suffering from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Pray with us that God’s will is done and that the Kingdom comes in Romania as it is in heaven.
Posted by April at 4:25 PM