Thursday, March 13, 2014

St. Bryce Missions

has a new web site! I'd love for you to stop by and visit. I think you'll learn so much more about our work and the vision behind what we are doing in the missions. Come back and let me know what you think!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Reading List For An Excessively Long Plane Ride

It is time to start seriously thinking through the minute logistics of our trip to Tanzania. You know what that means, right? Prioritize and attack from most important task on down. So, first things first. Time to make my picks for the books that will help me survive an excessively long plane ride, of course. We can figure out where the kids are going to stay tomorrow. (Just kidding. We know that. How exactly they are getting from place to place...well, that we can figure out tomorrow).

I am starting with a couple of books that have been hanging around on my Kindle half-read for too long now. Time to wrap it up.

Orphan Justice
Evangelical Catholicism

Then it'll be time to gain a little cultural knowledge about Tanzania and read some inspiring stories. There are a ton of great choices here, but I am going with these for this trip:

Tanzania: Culture Smart
Tanzanian Women in Their Own Words
Facing the Lion

I've got a running list of the stories of Jesus-loving world changers to read. This time the winner is

No Greater Love

I tend to keep a book about the issues of poverty, trafficking, or other global issues going at all times too. I read them rather slowly because, quite frankly, they usually break my heart. But it is important to dig in to the hard places if you are going to do the work of justice and loving the poor well, so I am committed to the discipline of learning. I am both excited and a little terrified to finally get to this one:

The Locust Effect

I was feeling a little guilty that I wasn't choosing a "harder" spiritual reading list since it is Lent. But then I realized three things:
1. I have no idea what that actually means.
2. It's part of my fear of not appearing knowledgeable and competent that Tanzania is helping me let go of.
3. I think facing my brothers and sisters in Tanzania will immerse me in Lent perfectly well.

So I am going with two books I have really been wanting to read:

Jesus Feminist
Girl at the End of the World

Of course, every traveler needs to load up on her favorite genre. I tend to vacillate a bit, but, generally speaking, I love a good memoir, so I am adding two of those to my list:

Bird By Bird
I Am Malala

And lately, I am have been devouring young adult fiction and not feeling the least bit guilty about it, so I am going with these two for my "fun", actual books in the hands reads:

The Book Thief

And since I hate linking a thousand links, and I like pretty little visuals, I just made a pretty little Pinterest board with all these titles. I like the idea of changing it out as I read one and add another and keeping a current list going, since sometimes I honestly forget what I had in mind to read next and miss getting to something I really wanted to read. So here it is, my Current Reading List board:

Follow Colleen Mitchell's board Current Reading List on Pinterest.

So what should go on my list for after Africa? What's on your reading list these days?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Letter Tanzania: On Not Knowing Anything

Dear Tanzania,
I am headed in your direction in less than two weeks, and I feel like I just want to write you ahead of time and set the record straight about something. I have no idea what I am doing.

Whew. I am so glad I can just say that. Because, you see, all these people keep asking me why. Why are you going to Africa again? What are you going to be doing there? And I feel this compulsion to have something good to say. A professional sounding answer that is certain and sure.

I talk about water wells and chapels and young priests with lots of new converts who need help. And I do hope to find out more about all those things. But I have no plans for you, Tanzania. You have been you for a very long time and I have had nothing to do with it. I hardly have the right to make a plan before I ever set foot on your soil, listen to your people, learn your ways and your wants and your hopes and your dreams.

And even then, it may turn out that I have nothing to do with it. And I am good with that.

So why I am coming? I am coming in obedience to the Spirit of the Holy One, who built a dream of you in my heart long ago, wove a contact, opened a window, blew through it and said, "Go."

I am coming because I need this time to drink in something new. Step away from my all my knowing and walk in knowing nothing for a while. Hold the hand of my beloved, cling to him, and be good with having nothing to offer.

You see, Tanzania, I think the Lord is sending me to you for something. I know He wants me to open my eyes to His glory that shines is in you, to the myriad ways He has been at work at you, to all you will have to teach me and show me about who He is.

I pray He has a little role for me to play in your story. I hope there are faces and places for me to love and feel forever linked with there in your wide open plains.

And yes, there is a little part of me that dreams of a community of faces having fresh water again and a zealous young missionary priest stepping into a newly constructed chapel for the first time.

But I have no guarantees. And I am coming anyway. And I don't want to have an answer yet.

Because God is teaching me something and using you to do it, dear Tanzania. You see, I fear not knowing. I fear feeling like God is calling me to something and then finding out that, well, no, not so much. I fear that maybe He is calling me and what He is calling me to is having no answers, no way to help, to just sit in the hard place.

I like being capable, having visions, seeing solutions, knowing who to plug in where to get things done. I like knowing. And I fear not knowing.

But you, Tanzania, you are worth stepping into my fear for. I have waited long for you and I will not mess this up with my presumption, my need to have a good answer, to appear professionally competent.

I'm coming on a dream and wind of the Spirit, Tanzania. You will be part of my story. Perhaps I will be a tiny dot in yours. Only our God knows. And I am good with that.

And I'm trusting you Tanzania. Because every time I step on a plane with my whole family, I am comforted by the thought that if we all go now, at least we were all together and we were going somewhere. But when I have to do that same thing without my children? Gripped. By. Fear. Anxiety. Barely breathing in the take off moments. Wondering what on earth I was thinking.

But I am going to fight through Tanzania, because God said go. And you. You are going to make it worth it, right? I know you are.

Linking up at The Grove at Velvet Ashes today.
Join us as we talk about fear.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Posted. Funniest Post.

I am so grateful for Sweet Sarah's awesomely simple link ups which always seem to come along when I have had trouble getting myself to the keyboard and need a quick easy post to get me going again.

This week in no exception. Brutal travel then finally arriving in the arms of family and enjoying their company has kept me away from my blog this week. So, realizing it was time for Posted. made me feel so relieved.

Then she had to go and pick funny. That was kind of hard. I mean, I think I am hilarious. But everyone else? Not so sure. But I was back and forth between two and this is my blog and I can do what I want and I think Sarah would be very patient with my inability to totally follow the script, so I am linking both.

Given our recent travel chaos, which I hope to tortureyouwith  entertain you with some time this week, I have had this post about our border crossing to Panama on my mind. I laugh every time I think about that trip.

And then as I visit with people in the States and try to explain what we are doing and why we are headed to Africa and realize all over again how the life that seems so normal to me does not appear that way to everyone else, I am reminded of this post about how people perceive us when we are trying to make new friends. And laughing at myself once again.

So go ahead, have a few laughs. And check out the other posts in the link up too. I am sure there is some fun to  be had.