Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I read this quote in an article and they are quoting Mortimer Arias, who says,
“How, then, can we announce the kingdom of God as hope? By hoping. By living and sharing hope. By working with hope. By dying with hope! To be an evangelist is to be a sign of hope, a servant of hope, a minister of hope”
(Mortimer Arias, Announcing the Reign of God, p. 89.)
Also, in yesterday's post I didn't mean to imply that all the buildings were empty, only some of them.
Posted by April at 3:32 AM
Monday, September 28, 2009
I thought I'd post some pictures of our city...most are of pretty old buildings that are deserted. I also included a picture of our apartment building...tried to make it the last picture, but for some reason it came up in the middle...
Most of the city is like our apartment building...big rectangles, one after another, that were built during communism (I think). So, as you can imagine, I like looking at the old buildings...imagining what they must have been.
Here's a link to a website: "Houses that Weep". It shows more houses in Galati that are no longer what they once were (and thus the title of the blog, Houses that Weep. It's in Romanian, but the pictures are still great to look at. You'll also see on this blog a similar site for Bucarest.
Posted by April at 12:06 AM
Friday, September 25, 2009
I thought this was a really great article and a good point.
IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.
Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.
One place to observe this alchemy of gender is in the muddy back alleys of Pakistan. In a slum outside the grand old city of Lahore, a woman named Saima Muhammad used to dissolve into tears every evening. A round-faced woman with thick black hair tucked into a head scarf, Saima had barely a rupee, and her deadbeat husband was unemployed and not particularly employable. He was frustrated and angry, and he coped by beating Saima each afternoon. Their house was falling apart, and Saima had to send her young daughter to live with an aunt, because there wasn’t enough food to go around.
“My sister-in-law made fun of me, saying, ‘You can’t even feed your children,’ ” recalled Saima when Nick met her two years ago on a trip to Pakistan. “My husband beat me up. My brother-in-law beat me up. I had an awful life.” Saima’s husband accumulated a debt of more than $3,000, and it seemed that these loans would hang over the family for generations. Then when Saima’s second child was born and turned out to be a girl as well, her mother-in-law, a harsh, blunt woman named Sharifa Bibi, raised the stakes.
“She’s not going to have a son,” Sharifa told Saima’s husband, in front of her. “So you should marry again. Take a second wife.” Saima was shattered and ran off sobbing. Another wife would leave even less money to feed and educate the children. And Saima herself would be marginalized in the household, cast off like an old sock. For days Saima walked around in a daze, her eyes red; the slightest incident would send her collapsing into hysterical tears.
It was at that point that Saima signed up with the Kashf Foundation, a Pakistani microfinance organization that lends tiny amounts of money to poor women to start businesses. Kashf is typical of microfinance institutions, in that it lends almost exclusively to women, in groups of 25. The women guarantee one another’s debts and meet every two weeks to make payments and discuss a social issue, like family planning or schooling for girls. A Pakistani woman is often forbidden to leave the house without her husband’s permission, but husbands tolerate these meetings because the women return with cash and investment ideas.
Saima took out a $65 loan and used the money to buy beads and cloth, which she transformed into beautiful embroidery that she then sold to merchants in the markets of Lahore. She used the profit to buy more beads and cloth, and soon she had an embroidery business and was earning a solid income — the only one in her household to do so. Saima took her elder daughter back from the aunt and began paying off her husband’s debt.
When merchants requested more embroidery than Saima could produce, she paid neighbors to assist her. Eventually 30 families were working for her, and she put her husband to work as well — “under my direction,” she explained with a twinkle in her eye. Saima became the tycoon of the neighborhood, and she was able to pay off her husband’s entire debt, keep her daughters in school, renovate the house, connect running water and buy a television.
“Now everyone comes to me to borrow money, the same ones who used to criticize me,” Saima said, beaming in satisfaction. “And the children of those who used to criticize me now come to my house to watch TV.”
Today, Saima is a bit plump and displays a gold nose ring as well as several other rings and bracelets on each wrist. She exudes self-confidence as she offers a grand tour of her home and work area, ostentatiously showing off the television and the new plumbing. She doesn’t even pretend to be subordinate to her husband. He spends his days mostly loafing around, occasionally helping with the work but always having to accept orders from his wife. He has become more impressed with females in general: Saima had a third child, also a girl, but now that’s not a problem. “Girls are just as good as boys,” he explained.
Posted by April at 12:36 AM
Thursday, September 24, 2009
So, I'm trying to be more faithful about posting to the blog...even maybe posting something every day...so stay on the look out!
Today in chapel I led devotions. It's something I don't mind doing, but is really difficult when it comes to doing it in Romanian. We started with 10 minutes of centering prayer, and during that time my heart was rushing and my mind was flying, making it very difficult to 'center my prayer.' I was basically a nervous wreck, when I was reminded of the presence of God. No manner of words whether English or Romanian can substitute for His presence. And I prayed: this day, Father, may Your praise be what spills from my lips.
I thought I'd share the scriptures and the short piece from Practicing the Presence of People by Mike Mason which were read this morning.
Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
The name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations;
His glory is above the Heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who is enthroned on high.
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes,
With the princes of His people.
He makes the barren woman abide in the house
As a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
And it shall be said,
"Build up, build up, prepare the way,
Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people."
For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
"I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.
And so when He had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?"
"God expressed His spirituality by entering into human relationships, by living and dying as one of us. He practiced the presence of people by becoming one Himself. So too each one of us must find a way to join the human race, casting off our separateness and throwing in our lot with others.
By worshipping an incarnate God, we learn to humble ourselves before one another. We sense that the quality of our spiritual life is no better than the quality of our human relationships, and that the way we connect with other people is an accurate picture of our connection with God. Jesus returned to heaven because we do not need Him to be physically present in order to experience the humanity of God. For He lives in you and in me. Most especially, He lives in us; wherever two or three are gathered.
One night in 1997, I drove with my family to a dark place in the country to view comet Hale-Bopp, the most impressive comet of my lifetime. As it happened, that same night was a partial eclipse of the moon. So there we stood, on a deserted road, gazing up at the heavens in wonder. What a phenomenal display! Even so, I found the real show was here on earth. We ourselves are the comets. We are the moon and the stars. We are the fireworks in a darkened universe.
To be in the presence of even the meanest, lowest, most repulsive specimen of humanity is still to be closer to God than when looking up into a starry sky or at a beautiful sunset. For we cannot really love a sunset; we can love only a person. God is love, and in coming to Him, we cannot escape coming through people. There is no separation between the spiritual and the social. The way we feel about people is the way we feel about God, and the way we treat people is the way we treat God." p.14-15
Posted by April at 1:05 AM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Posted by April at 12:50 AM
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Before I tell my playlist for the summer, I want to post what I think is the raddest photo I've ever taken. I used some setting on my camera that I don't remember, but it turned out so great! I think it would be beautiful blown up really big and set on a canvas type paper...make sure to click on the photo to get the full detail.
And now, here are the songs I loved this summer (and the reasons why they made my list):
Mighty to Save.....Hillsong (for the Sanchez family...because He conquered the grave)
Save us All.....Tracy Chapman (I just like this song...a lot)
Sweetest Thing.....U2 (because they always make the list, and ain't love the sweetest thing?)
Forever.....Chris Brown (Who wouldn't want to dance down the aisle? Double your pleasure...Double your fun)
Bad Day.....Daniel Power (for Grace because you had a bad day, you made a bad choice)
Tell me.....Sharon Jones (I just like a little disco to get my groove on)
She's like the wind.....Patrick Swayze (for Patrick Swayze)
Because You Loved Me.....Celine Dion (for Kris Bauernfiend...that girl can SING it)
The Way You Make Me Feel.....Michael Jackson (for the King of Pop)
Love You 'Till the End.....The Pogues (we danced to this song at our wedding...love never ends)
Stomp!.....The Brothers Johnson (a little more disco)
Boy Like Me/Man Like You.....Rich Mullins (for the 5 boys who I told the story of Moses to at summer camp)
Romanian Folk Dances.....(because we do them around the house...jk)
Sing for You.....Tracy Chapman (because I just really like her this summer)
Shine Your Light On Us.....Robbie Seay Band (because i like this band and this song is great)
How Great is our God.....Chris Tomlin (Because He is)
Posted by April at 1:27 AM