Saturday, December 31, 2005

gelukkig nieuwe jaar!

My second new year with oliebollen! My first experience with it was pleasant, but this time was better due to the fact that I'm not feeling sick. And also, I'm actually in the Netherlands.
So, now that I've feasted on some oliebollen, and given Elke (the Dutch one) a new haircut for the new year, I'm going to venture out in the "war zone" (aka fireworks) to the Shelters and Dam Square and all that other new yearsish stuff. Also, I work morning shift tomorrow again...so it should be fun...

Friday, December 30, 2005

het sneeuwt!

Hey ya'll. k, so there are some Texans currently staying with us. There has also been some visiting snow! Hooray! and of course, some snowball fights (the Canadian is ashamedly not so great. got showed up by some Dutchies) and the adventure of scraping off bikes before cycling...interesting (but much faster than scraping a car). Unfortunately, on the subject of fiets (bikes) mine is currently malfunctioning. Freek's fix didn't really fix, and now he's in Spain. BUT Harmen has graciously offered to fix my bike, and he's using part of Dreamy (Rala's old bike) to do it. So that will be fun.
Last night we had a birthday/goodbye party for Marco. It was an 80s theme. Good times dancing...haha. Dave and I were King and Queen and had one of those hilarious stiff-armed jr high slow dances with awkward conversation and such. Tina thinks I should go back to the 80s (scary thought!) because of my totally tubular outfit and dance moves. Don't worry, I will be posting pictures very soon on my other blog. We also played games (sorry, no twister) like four on a couch (the guys won) and watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off. So it was good fun, and thanks to Marco for having a birthday!
Tonight Tina and I (and probably others) are going to the Awaken conference at De Poort so that should be great. Ricardo can't go, but there is a possibility he'll be getting a really good job soon! So that's cool at least...meets the physical needs if not the spiritual ones. But if he gets the job he'll be in Amsterdam and should be able to get to Zolder more and such. So...keep him in your prayers!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas?

It does not feel like Christmas.
Last night Tina and I were talking about the unchristmasy feel this season seems to have this year, and she said, "well, a stable with animals pooping isn't very please. I don't think that was a very 'comfortable' Christmas. Our traditional Christmas celebrations are all manmade." And you know, she's right. It doesn't matter if there's no snow and it doesn't feel like Christmas time at all. We can still be in awe and celebrate the miraculous birth of our Saviour!

The YWAM group from Canada (and Barbados) has been such an encouragement to me...they are fun to be around (freestyle!) and they reach out to the guests. I appreciate their welcoming, outgoing attitudes...it seems like they're fitting in as part of the staff almost. It is also encouraging for me to hear that they find me bubbly and shining because lately I haven't been feeling myself, and it is good to know that God is still working through me even when I'm tired and don't always feel up to it. Praise the Lord for his mercy and grace and strength and power! Oh man, I am in awe. We serve an amazing God!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas rush

So my dear sis has been getting after me for not blogging, but she has not commented on my blog even once. I'd just like to point that out before continuing with the rest of my blog.
Ok, moving on.
These last few days have been so busy, but I don't quite know why. Craziness...
Today I got up and thought, "Hey, I'll finally do my Christmas cards!" (sorry everyone, you probably won't get anything until January with the mail system and my tardiness) and as I was gathering my supplies together there was a knock at my door. Nynke and Katja came to remind me of small group. Oops! but it's ok, everyone was late this morning, and we had a fun small group anyways. I'm not sure why, but we seemed to laugh quite a bit.
Also, I forgot that tonight is the White Elephant Gift Exchange and have yet to buy my gift. This is bad, because I'm the one organizing it. Thankfully, Tina will be getting something for me to give.
So far this afternoon I have done one Christmas card. I think there may be a lot of people this year going without a card from me. HAPPY CHRISTMAS IN GENERAL TO EVERYONE. There, that oughta do it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

snow

So it snowed the other day. Actually two days. Didn't stay on the ground though. But that's ok, it was still snow. So Freek...look out, my prayers might beat yours this Christmas. Also, it was Ryan's first time to see it snow...but his reaction wasn't as fun as I'd expected. Nicole, on the other hand, was awesome! She was dancing around, hopping out the window (but not falling to the street below, thankfully) and it was very fun.
A group came today that's with YWAM and they're staying for about 5 weeks and they're from Canada! And guess what else? One of them was like, "Hey, are you from Owen Sound?" which is the most random question ever, and I was like, "yeah"and he's like, "Danny Blank says hi." Dang! Totally made my day. So fun...so that's really cool that we have a mutual friend...the family of God makes the world so small. Cool beans. Also, Nora and I disovered that I know her pastor in Indonesia. And a while ago Marco and I discovered that he went to school and Korea with Dave Marshall.
Now I'm going to cut Elke's, Nynke's, and Cecilia's hairs. (teehee, I love how they say hairs instead of hair here!)

Today Ewout said some really wise things I needed to hear. Thanks for saying them Ewout!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's officially Christmas soon!

So a while ago we discussed that it wouldn't really feel like Christmas time until we heard the song that goes, "Last Christmas I gave you my heart and the very next day you gave it away..." and today after my shower I turned on the radio to a non-Christmas station and that song was playing! 10 more days...wow!
I did a little Christmas shopping today...but discovered that the gift I'd picked out for my sister was a different colour than the one I had pointed to, but I was not paying attention to what they actually put in the bag so they gave me the wrong one...I'm going to see if they let you exhange items at a market...otherwise...sorry Meil!
I'm at my first evening reception shift. Peet wants me to play the top part of "heart and soul" on the piano with him and I'm working really hard (aka blogging, haha) instead. Mean, perhaps, but the bass part doesn't even really sound like it's supposed to and I don't feel like encouraging this noise and making the others in the cafe suffer more than they already are...
Already in this shift the stupid computer in the cafe has stopped working and previously a guest yelled at me for not giving her adequate warning of her time being up (which is counted down on her computer screen) and losing her email. Perhaps it would be helpful if we put a sign there.
Well, it's still early and I'm feeling slightly drowsy...probably from just sitting here after walking and cycling all afternoon...oh yeah! I had the sweetest sandwich this evening at Dwaze Zaken...so lekker. and it was huge too! I was so proud of myself for finishing it (Tina was proud too) and then I ate a few of her tortillas. and now that I'm talking about food again...maybe I'll eat the cookie from Guido.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Handel's Messiah

so tonight Ryan and I went to see Handel's Messiah at the Concertgebouw.
Before leaving I checked the website and calledonly to discover that the show was sold out.
We decided to go anyways, praying for a miracle.
After hopping off our tram one stop too late, we ran to the concertgebouw (and surprisingly did not get lost!) and got in line for tickets...
there were some women there with two extra tickets they were trying to sell because their friends couldn't make it. But they wanted full price for them (27 something euros). We waited in line to see if there were any 7 euro 50 tickets left. There were two together...behind a pillar. So I asked if there were any separate not behind pillars, which there were.
Ryan took the balcony seat and I took the ground level seat for the first half of the concert. I was sort of behind a pillar, but it didn't restrict my view too much and I greatly enjoyed the first half. Ryan was seated in the front row of the balcony dead centre...the "Queen's seat" as he called it. Really, it was certainly one of the best seats in the house.
So I got to be in the great seat or the second half, which included the Hallelujah chorus. And, I admit, it brought me to tears...man, the whole thing is so powerful! (and they did the whole thing...not just parts of it! three hours long)
I am so excited that God worked a miracle for us to be able to go!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I love Tina

So God knew what He was doing when he put Tina Ermke and Meghan Thomson together as roommates.
Short version of the story: Tina and I are going through a lot of the same things spiritually, and it's been so good to be able to talk to and share with and encourage each other. Such a blessing.
Today during her morning shift, Tina was reading "My Utmost for His Highest" and when she returned to the room she read it for me. The first line of it is "Personality is the unique, limitless part of our life that makes us distinct from everyone else. It is too vast for us even to comprehend." That's about as far as she got before I interrupted through my laughter saying "Just let me laugh for a minute, and then you can keep going." After a few minutes of laughing so hard I cried, I was finally able to explain to her that her pronounciation of "unique" was Eunuch, and I then proceeded to explain to her what that was...oh my. Laughter is good for the soul.
ps, the devo for today was really good. You should read it.

random moment

the phone just rang and Pauline answered it. It was for Marco, so she started calling "Marco!" and I couldn't resist...I called back "Polo!" and she was like "oh, is Marco here?" and I said "no" and then realized that no one understands the Marco Polo game. the end.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

grossness

so the last day or two have been super crazy...
Well, the other day Adrian (one of our cleaners) quit, but God provided with a new cleaner to start the next day. and that was actually a blessing because it saved us from having to fire Adrian, and the new cleaner is such a hard worker and cheery and all that good jazz.
Then last night Dezso, another cleaner, and the new cleaner, Barry, were caught smoking pot in their dorm. First of all there are signs everywehre that say no smoking except in the garden, and second of all it is well known that we are a drug free hostel. Also, Dezso had been caught smoking pot the day before and had been warned not to do it again or he'd be kicked out. So that lovely task fell to...me. Yup, I had to kick him out and he and Barry made excuses for at least 15 minutes...I had to call Marco in for backup. And also I had to call Ewout at home (which I really didn't want to do because he has a baby and it was late) and then once I told him that the manager said he had to leave, he decided he should talk to Ewout personally and plead his case. I did not allow this, but Rala and I looked up a bunch of homeless shelters and gave him their phone numbers and addresses. About an hour after the pot smoking took place, Dezso finally left.
This morning he came back apparently...because I had to kick him out of "his" bed. He didn't go, so Rose had to do it. This is not a fun aspect of the job. I hate it.
Also today...George (our other cleaner) quit. So we're currently down to one cleaner. absolutely nuts. so please pray that we get new cleaners who will work hard and abide by the rules because it's very unpleasant to force them to leave...yeah.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm the man

yup, it's true. According to Ian. Harald thought I'd be offended at the title. au contraire! I am proud to have been given the name "The Man" and beat out all those males vying for the title. all because I have slender hands, wrists, and arms and was able to squeeze them into a small hole and pull through a light. quite the feat, I know.
so ok...last night I did Melissa's hair in rags and it turned out super curly. I like it. It got a little bigger than expected, but it's calming down.
lalala. I'm just about finished my gift for the suprisen sinterklaas gift exchange (sorry for my horrible dutch spelling) and I'm quite pleased with it. Especially considering I am not artistic or creative...so woohoo! My poem is ok...I might revamp it a bit. we shall see.
Ok, that's all for now folks. check out my other blog for pics and such.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

christmas time!

So we've just passed Sinterklaas and gotten mouse traps and pepernoten in our shoes, and today I embarked on the shortbread adventure. Ok, it wasn't much of an adventure, but they turned out really well (thanks to conversion charts online) I think.
The only Christmas cd we had around here was the relient k one, so it kinda works and helps get me in the mood.
and you know what else gets me excited about Christmas?
the fact that today I received in the mail a HUGE package from my family full of Christmas presents (which are still wrapped and will stay that way until Christmas day...hopefully) which is super exciting!
Thanks everyone! and ps, I still haven't sent yours so you'll probably get it in February seeing as I got yours today and you sent it in October. sorry bout that.
so everyone...enjoying a Christmasy day and pray that we get snow on the 25th!
oh yeah, happy birthday Ian!

Friday, December 02, 2005

joy

it's so interesting how Satan tries to get you down in any way possible.
one thing happens and you're feeling kinda bummed, yet determined not to let it spoil your day. Then little frustrations begin popping up because he knows you're already a little down or annoyed or whatever. That happened to me today, but sometimes I found myself laughing at his attempts. I chose joy today, and God has blessed me.
I can laugh (and I would anyways probably) at the recycling lid falling on my head. I can smile at the cleaners who do not do what they're told and do an inadequate job. I can encourage them to do better, and praise them for their hard work. I can look past petty things.
Today had potential to be a kinda blah day. Instead, I am enjoying it and praising God.
Praise Him for never giving up on me and working in my heart to continue to make me a new creation!
He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Amen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

adventure after adventure...

So Thursday night I embarked on an adventure...which involved travelling and Amy.
When we left early Friday morning (by early I mean 5 something) we had our arms full of bags. Amy slipped on black ice and was down, flat on her back, hair spraying out around her head. At first she was concerned about her ankles, but upon rotation it was discovered that they were fine and we continued on our journey to the bus stop. With a glance at her hand we realized that she had gouged out a chunk of skin on her palm while attempting to break her fall, and we had no bandaids with us, or time to go get them. Thankfully a lady at the bus stop assured us that we had not missed our bus and we got out the fare in preparation of getting on the bus. It was supposed to drop us off at the train station but it didn't, so we hopped off and lugged up a hill to the train station.
Our train was supposed to leave at 5:55 or something, which was a few minutes away. the station didn't open until 6:05 and the ticket machine was refusing our bills. Praise the Lord, there was man who just happened to be hanging around who showed us how we could get a permit for travel and then pay the rest upon arrival at our destination, and we made it to the platform with a few minutes to spare. the mysterious man came down and subsequently disappeared. guardian angel number one.
We reached our stop, paid the attendant, hopped on the shuttle bus, and made it to the airport and checked in. We were also able to buy a first aid kit for Amy's hand. We did a quick clean job in the bathroom, and then took off. Our flight was uneventful, but when we landed in Edinburgh I noticed that it began to snow! right after I pointed it out to Amy they made an announcement. I was so excited to see snow! A little of it actually stuck to the ground, but only near the airport...it pretty much melted instantly in Edinburgh. Although, we did see one snowman...
anyway, there was a kind lady who gave us a little map and showed us which bus we should get on to find our hostel. so we did...but we must have missed our stop or something...because we did not see our hostel. A lady on the bus overheard us talking, and she told us to get off at the next stop. We did, and so did she, and she took the time to show us where to go and then pointed out a person who would be more likely able to help us. guardian angel number two.
It turns out that this guy didn't know anything about where we were trying to go (no one had heard of our hostel, but we weren't too worried) so we decided to set out on foot...still carrying our bags around an unknown city. we found what we thought was our street at began looking for 55. 193, 93, 40. what? It was so random. we went into a store and asked the man for directions and he tried to help us. we followed his directions a little ways and realized it wasn't helping. I had Amy look at the address one more time...and we discovered that it was the wrong street! so we walked for a looooooooooong time and finally found our street and the building number 55.
There was no sign out front indicating that this was Ocean Hostel. We went up to the door only to discover it was locked. We knocked and banged on the door. Peeked through the mailbox hole to see someone vacuuming. More banging and knocking and shouting. ten minutes later he finally answered the door. We paid him and wrote down our names...he didn't ask for our passports or any ID or anything...then he showed us to our room. We got to pick our bunks, and there were no lockers for our stuff...it was a co-ed dorm, but the bathrooms were still separate, so that was nice. Unfortunately, there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. so I asked the manager/staff/cleaner James if he had any. He scrounged around and found 2 rolls. apparently his assistant was out buying some. Ok. The bathroom was pretty dirty, but life goes on. It was better than some public bathrooms I've encountered. The kitchen could have been nice, if people cleaned up after themselves. isn't that always the story?
So anyways, Amy and I eventually made it out into the city, found a bus that we thought would take us to the castle, and set off exploring. The castle was closed due to bad weather. at this point it was already raining again. So we meandered down the streets.
A monk stopped us telling us how they were trying to raise money for books for children or something and so they made a monk rock cd. yes, a monk rock cd. how can you resist buying one of those for a couple pounds when the money goes to kids reading and no one you know has a cd of monks rocking out and he's also wearing a canadian flag? c'mon...so Ames and I bought one. we totally got played. oh, he also gave us a book of wisdom or something. we thought since we both gave a few pounds we'd each get a cd, but he only have us one. there were 3 to choose from. blues, hard rock, and an in between. I wanted the hard rock, and Ames wanted the blues, so we got the middle one. He told us we could burn it and give copies to people because he wants the world to know monks are rocking. or something. The next day we were approached by two different nuns selling the cds. are we easy targets or what?
so anyways, we didn't really look at the book or listen to the cd until we were back in London Sunday night...and I think they were Hindu. I didn't know white people were Hindu, but there's something about holy cows and stuff and so I was really bummed cuz we totally missed an opportunity to witness to them because we didn't ask enough questions. poopsen.
Anyways, Friday afternoon we did the touristy shop thing (judging by the tartans, I need to marry someone with the last name Galloway) and had tea in this cute cafe. We had sandwiches and shortbread and scones and cakes and tea...but the shortbread left much to be desired. I guess I've been spoiled my whole life with excellent shortbread, and this was from a box. sadness...we had been looking forward to the real thing!
Friday evening we went to a cute Christmas market and watched people skating downtown...it reminded me of home with the lights and Harrison Park and oh, those are two things I miss. Anyways, everything closes at 5 except for pubs so we didn't know what to do...so we went to a movie (thanks to nice guys working in a cafe who gave us a newspaper and showed us where to go even though we didn't buy anything) and it was so cute! We laughed and cried...it was so fun to watch a chick flick with Ames again.
Saturday I set my internal alarm clock (because we'd both forgotten to bring one) and we got up on time. We were sidetracked (or lost, depending on how you look at it) on the way to the castle and went for a hike up this hill that overlooks the city which would have been beautiful if it wasn't pouring rain, but it was still really nice. We decided that it qualified as our hike, even though we had planned on going on a real one, because the weather was not so nice.
I also bought an alarm clock at a catalogue store...quite the fun experience!
The castle is supposed to take two hours to visit...it took us about three and a half. It was so cool...and we even got to see a reenactment of a red coat soldier. It was very informative. I felt much smarter after, but I forgot most of the things I learned. Except for sideburns. I'm sure the other things will come back to me eventually. OH! I learned why the book of James in the Bible is James. Because in every other language it's Jacob, and so I wondered if it was James in English because of King James but apparently it's because of the Latin. so that's cool to know. The Jacobites up in northern Scotland were James' originally. Or something.
Anyway, the castle was cool, but we still hadn't had any haggis neeps and tatties, so we ventured down the Royal Mile to look for a pub with the cheapest haggis. we found it, but they were out of haggis, so our search continued. We found another pub and tried the delectable meal. It was so good! but the portion was really small. good thing we brought food along with us to cut down on expenses!
Sunday we got up early (partially due to the alarm clock, but mainly due to the snoring men) to catch a bus to catch our train, but the buses don't run very often on Sunday mornings and we had to take a taxi...the first time I was in a car in almost three months! When we got to the train station we were delighted to discover that we had first class tickets! We were served tea and coffee and good shortbread and chocolate cookies and peanuts and wine and sandwiches and crisps every fifteen minutes. well, not all of them every fifteen minutes. but something. It was incredible! and the scenery was great...we went through Dunbar which was cool (Amy's last name is Dunbar). Then we got slowed and stopped due to flooding. 10 minutes they estimated. no problem. that turned into 30...then 45...we went back to the last station and everyone unloaded as we were to be bussed around the flooded area and onto a train at the next station. Somehow Amy and I got on the first bus, and just as it was pulling out the rest of the people had a mass exodus back into the train station and onto the train...we were not allowed off the bus. After we'd been driving down the road for about 15 minutes we looked out the window and saw our train going by...one man on the bus was talking to his friend on the train. bummer! the bus ride took about an hour and a half...by the time we got onto a train we were very behind schedule.
We arrived in London 3 hours after we were supposed to. Long day! and also...it made us miss our Delirious concert. We got there as it was starting, but the line up (queue if you will) was down the block and around the corner with hundreds of people still trying to get in the already full theatre. I e-mailed Eran, and then we had Burger King. When we finally returned to Amy's room I had an email waiting from Eran and so I was able to call him and we chatted for a bit which was really nice. Pray that he finds a job soon (and that he takes one, even if he doesn't think it pays well enough). It was so good to talk with him though.
Monday was uneventful as I returned home...it was a lovely vacation though, and it was so nice to see Ames again.
cheers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

off to the UK

The ballet was amazing for those of you who were wondering. I'll have to go to another one again sometime. We had really bad seats at first, but then we noticed where people hadn't sat and went and sat where we could see the whole stage, and that made the experience much more delightful. and less painful (from not having to sit in an awkward position).
Last night I cut Magda's hair with an audience. I only took about half an hour, but it turned out ok I think. I like it at least.
After my shift today I'm going to London to visit Ames and then we're going to Edinburgh for a few days, which I'm really excited about. It's not the highlands, but it's Scotland, so I'll be satisfied with that (for now). Then on Sunday we're returning to London to go to a free Delirious? concert at her church (Hillsong) and hopefully *please pray!* I'll see Eran there. So it should be a great weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

training

so currently I am being trained as a receptionist by Rala. it's been fun. I (we) booked three people for 6 nights and had to rearrange dorms and all that fun stuff that I see receptionists doing all the time but have never done myself. It's like a puzzle game...and we solved it. woohoo!
Yesterday was a fun day...I was making meatballs, and so I was chopping onions and Jimmy sneaked in and scared me and I told him to never shock me again when I had a knife in hand. Yeah, so anyways, we had a cool conversation about how God has been blessing him. He has a job, within his trade, is going to make an excellent wage, has an apartment, is going to celebrate Christmas for the first time in 6 years (he'll have a Christmas tree), and apparently he's going to give up alcohol (but not pot) because it is destroying him (and he's been smoking pot since he was 15 and it's never done him any harm). So there is much to praise God for! amen! Let's pray that he really does give up alcohol because it's a very unhealthy addiction, and he's tried to give it up many times before...yeah
Oh! funny story (I thought at least). Yesterday I tied the top half of my hair back cuz it was falling in my face and I was cooking. Panos looked at me and said, "You should wear those glasses everyday." and I said, "I do wear them everyday." and he didn't believe me and I tried to convince him that I've worn them every day except maybe one that he's seen me and he probably just noticed that my hair was different. He adamantly disagreed with me, and continued to say I look really nice in these glasses and I should continue to wear them, and he notices what girls look like and he knows for sure that it's the glasses that are different. So I asked Martin if he remembered if I wore these glasses often or not and he couldn't recall, and Panos said that's cuz he has a girlfriend so he doesn't look at girls, and then a little while later Panos admitted to me, "you're right. You do always wear glasses during those Bible Discussions every morning." haha. ok, maybe it's not that funny, but it was at the time.
Last night Susana, Rala, Ryan and I watched 7 Felicity episodes...Ryan is so hooked! I think we've created a monster. It was hilarious to watch with him, though. He even teared up in parts (when none of us girls did). Wow. Neal is seriously questioning Ryan's manhood. Also, after we stopped watching them he had his arms full with his computer and speakers so I offered to open the door for him. He said "Oh, this is my room right here!" and so I opened the door...to Zac and Courtenay's room. haha. except then I let it shut and forgot that he'd have to come back out and wouldn't be able to open it, but when he finally did come out the three of us girls were in the hall incapacitated by laughter.
Well, my shift is over and I'm going to eat and then go to a Ballet! with Rala, Nynke, and Rose. good times. I'm excited.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

last few days

well, our network has been down for a few days, so there's probably a lot of catching up I have to do, and likely many things I'll forget to share.
Thursday was staff day, so after a lovely lunch together we cycled to the rink, which took a lot longer than it should have, but it was still fun. Once there Ryan commented, "I've never seen anyone ski outdoors before!" so I asked him what kind of skiing he had seen before, but it seems strange to me to think of indoor skiing, but that's what he said he was used to. I figured they must just do weird things in the desert. Then I looked where he was looking and said "Ryan, they're skating, not skiing!" oh my. and then I discovered that they only have unsharpened hockey skates and speed skates here. And so first I tried the hockey skates, which was not disastrous (I could still spin a wee bit, but two footed not one), but was definitely not what I'm used to. And also due to the wet ice and unsharp blades it was difficult to skate. So I switched to speed skates which is weird because there's and extra decimeter sticking out the front and that took a little getting used to but they were definitely much easier to skate in than the hockey skates. and to walk in them it's good to march. Anyways, it was a lot of fun, and I only fell once, and that was on top of Rala and it's on video. And Marco got to hold girls' hands. So I think overall it was a success. Then we warmed up over hot chocolate which was quite delightful, and then we had pizza and then I went home to bed. The only sad thing was I didn't get to say goodbye to Shanka, and now my twin is back in Georgia (the state, not the country).
Friday...was the hostel night. We did a hunger banquet. The turnout was not as great as we'd hoped and expected, but I think it went really well. It had a good impact on those who were there. I had a fun conversation with a girl from Liverpool, and she and her friend came to Zolder with us tonight, so that was cool. Oh, Nathalie came with me to De Poort this morning and when we left the bridge was up because of Sinterklaas coming, and there were Zwarte Pete's everywhere, and so many people, children, adults everywhere! It took us about half an hour to get through to the other side, haha. But we stopped for a few minutes to see if we could see Sinterklaas, but one of the Zwarte Pete's informed me that he wouldn't be appearing for another 15 (or was it 50?) minutes still and we didn't feel like waiting any longer cuz it was cold!
Ok well, I know this is a short summary, but I'm going to bed now cuz I have a full day tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

daily happenings

so today began as a gloomy sort of day...pouring rain and cold wind...so instead of going to the market in the morning with Rala to buy those 10 euro red shoes I knew she'd regret not buying, we stayed in my gezellig room and chatted and played cards and did other warm cozy rainy day type activities until it was time for her to go to work. And then I decided to brave the weather (ok, truthfully, I could see blue sky) and go shopping. Once outside I ditched the idea of cycling due to the fact that it's easier to window shop while walking and I took off in the direction of Dam Square.
ps, Rala just said something funny while I'm writing this so obviously I have to put it in: referring to her pants which are too big for her; I said she could get pregnant and then they'd fit to which she replied: "they're more like birth control pants. I won't get pregnant because I look fat in them." and also, Shanka can get pregnant while wearing "nothing." and Rala says "your own drool is what makes great hair days" These are the sort of random conversations that occur while living in a community for 30 international people...
Ok, back to my day. I went to a Christian bookstore and bought some books for the hostel *Thank you to those at my church who donated money so I can bless others with it!* and then I ventured to H & M and bought gloves (cuz I'm sick of my hands freezing while riding my bicycle and my mittens are too thick for this early in the season) and then I went to Hema and bought a pair of socks which are tall and will help keep my legs warm (oh, I am so thoughtful) and they are also cute, which is a must when buying socks. Oh, speaking of socks, everyone was commenting on mine tonight at Alpha, haha. but they're my cool frog ones, so obviously how could anyone not compliment them? And then on my way back I noticed a sign on a little shop that said "Tulip Museum" so I ventured in to the shop full of tulips and tulip related articles and in the basement is the musuem. It's very well done considering it's only one room. I feel very educated in the history of the tulip, and especially of it's role in the Netherlands. Of course I was previously aware of the tulip rage, but for 3 tulip bulbs to be sold for 30 000 guilders when the most expensive houses of the day cost 10 000 guilders is, well, crazy.
Ok, well, I'm going to play a game with Shanka to help repress her disappointment in the fact that she missed the worship time by a couple hours.
Also, I'm am super excited about staff day tomorrow because we are going skating! (ice skating or regular skating? That's what Ryan said. oh, frame of reference. Ice skating for sure.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

...

My twin (Shanka) and I spoke three sentences in a row at the exact same time (and the exact same words) when initiating a conversation with Benedict from France and England. So it becomes more obvious daily how much we really are twins. As if there was ever any doubt...
Welp, on that note, I'm signing off...probably to watch good ol' Napoleon Dynamite...never really imagined myself succumbing to it in Europe...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

dirty showers

so I was talking with Rala yesterday and I mentioned how when I went to take a shower they were all plugged up with puddles sitting around the drains *grossness!* and so I had to clear the drains before my shower and whoever had showers as her chore should really do it because they're disgusting. and then she's like "um, it's my chore. I haven't done it yet." and we had a lovely laugh about it and she said I should write about it in my blog. So I did, cuz I can't think of anything more interesting to say.
Also, Rala threw a tube of toothpaste at me and it hit my cheek and now there's a lovely bump. Which is really funny that I got a goosegg from toothpaste.
I'm going to church tomorrow morning which is exciting cuz it's been way too long since I've had a Sunday morning off...so woohoo!
welp, that's all folks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

wax figures

Rala, Tina and I went to Madame Tussaud's today. (Marco didn't join cuz he'd rather go with sweet Polish Magda, which is understandable.) We had fun, laughed a lot, took a bunch of pictures, and were extremely thankful to have gone for free because none of us would have paid the full amount to go there. hmm lalala. I think I'm going to go to work soon...but probably I'll write more later because I might be up all night. but probably not. I have nothing exciting to say.
Oh wait! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

fun times

tonight all the jordan staff except Adeleida and Katya were chilling in the cafe (along with about zero guests and a cleaner or two) playing Dutch Blitz. thanks to my sis for sending it to me. except it's a faulty deck...sadness. But it was really fun, even if Marco hates me now.
Last night Ryan, Dave and I went to a concert...dang. Harpists amaze me. Also, we were probably the only ones under the age of 65.
Oh, the other night Ryan, Dave, Maurice, and Joost toilet papered our room...they did a really good job and it was funny. We took some quality pics, but I can't put them on here due to technical difficulties. Sorry bout that.
Oh! Freek fixed my bike *Thanks Freek!* so I'm back on the road again with style...or something...but my handle brake actually works for the first time since I've had the bike. woot woot! haha.
Oh, we took some fun pics last night at the Iamsterdam sign. hmm, I say Oh a lot I think.
so...there's much for me to say. and I don't feel like saying it. Although I am a soothsayer. Ask Rala. Alright, time for this girl to head bedwards due to the morning cafe shift which will be here sooner than she'd like. Let's hope that the electricity doesn't go out midshower tomorrow morning like it did today...that was a wonderful start to my day, haha.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

look out canal!

so I rode Rala to the Shelter tonight on my bike in the wind...and it went very well. A car even passed on the narrow road and it was fine. but then later there was another car coming and a parked car on the other side of the road was sticking out and there was no room and my brakes are really sketchy and I steered away from the coming car towards the parked car and to avoid hitting it I steered right for the canal which was about a foot in front of me. but thankfully Rala hopped off and helped stop it (the whole drag feet thing isn't super effective) and the canal stayed the way it was...bikeless (at least mine) and meghanless. haha.
Rala lead Bible Discussion tonight on prayer. A girl, Grace, from Malaysia came which was super cool cuz she told me before she decided to go that it has been 10 years since she last went to a Bible study. And she added a lot to the conversation...it was really good. Eran asked a lot of good questions (of course). I never quite know if I should take him seriously or not...I always answer him as though he really means what he says. He loves the role of devil's advocate, but I really think it's at least partially serious. He said tonight he doesn't mean the questions for himself, he's just curious and wants to find out more what we believe and if he was talking to an athiest or a person of different beliefs he'd simply change his questions to challenge their beliefs. but I think on some level at least he really means his questions. and I like that. he asked us to pray that he'll hear God's voice, so please pray along with us that it will happen and be unmistakeable. Haha, the other day another guest, Richard, was eating lunch with us and he found out that Eran is from Israel. He proceeded to ask Eran something about the conflict, and Eran oh-so-innocently asked "what conflict?" and so Richard said "Between Jews and non-Jews" and Eran said "I don't know about this conflict. I'm interested. Tell me about it" and this went on for about five minutes with Richard getting extremely frustrated and loud, and Eran quietly egging him on. It was really amusing, but it made me wonder how often Eran is playing me like that. oh well, I'm happy to answer his queries anyways.
Oh! I got my first Christmas present today! from my dear sis. Dutch Blitz. oh yeah baby! haha...I'll teach these Dutchies how to play...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

postmodernism

So I think I'm discovering more and more flaws in modern thinking (especially as applied to Christianity) and I'm embracing postmodern thinking more...not that I think it's perfect either. Because I don't. But I like that we're going back to the Bible and beginning to rethink traditions and realize that while they are not necessarily wrong or contradictory to God's word, they don't really fit anymore. For instance: "the Sinner's prayer." I hate that phrase. But modern Christianity makes it into a formula or a checklist...I do this and this and this and poof, I'm saved! or I pray a prayer so I have my ticket into heaven. The Bible doesn't mention anywhere about praying a prayer and *poof* being saved. It's all about a relationship...yes, choosing to believe in Jesus, that he is who he says he is. And building a relationship with God through Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit. It's such an ongoing thing, a process, and I like that postmodern thinking has brought us back to what the Bible says in this regard.
Today in class we were talking about apologetics regarding the Word of God. I think everyone's expectations were that it would be a modern sort of discussion...here are the facts that prove the Bible is true, blah blah blah. Personally, I'm glad it wasn't that...I like the fact that personal testimony about the Bible is a better way to "prove" the Bible is true in postmodern culture, even though there is still a need to give facts to some people. I think there's no way we can ever "prove"God or Jesus or the Bible or whatever...people will always find some argument. But they can't argue with personal experience...well, they can, but then they're just calling you a liar. and people seem to be more open to feelings and experiences than facts. from what I've observed at least.

complete side note from postmodernism: I rode Rala on my bike yesterday, which was my first experience with riding someone on the back before. there were no disasters, no crashes, nothing like that. But I can say with confidence that I defined the term "zig zag" and if there was a video dictionary, I would be that term cycling Rala. But I did improve when I got going faster. and when I wasn't laughing. In this case, laughter is a dangerous activity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

snapshots

The other day Rala and I were walking to the Jordan and on our way we passed a little boy in the doorway shouting "Hallo!" at everyone walking by. His father was lying down behind him to make sure he didn't run away, but was clearly enjoying the pleasure it brought his son to greet passersby. I think that's like God...He's right there watching out for us, and enjoying our joy at the same time. It's a beautiful thing...I don't know if my words are making sense, but it's such a beautiful picture in my mind.

Yesterday Shanka (my twin) and I went out for Chinese...and it was delicious and I ate with chopsticks...but the way too efficient waitress took them away from me! I was going to keep them (and they were nice ones, not your typical wooden break apart restaurant ones) and so I am disappointed, but Neal says I can use his whenever, so it's all good. You can't eat oriental food without chopsticks...it just doesn't feel right.

I wish you could experience the smells and tastes and sights here...mmm, so delicious! perhaps they are not always positive, but it's such a full sensory experience. I love it! with that being said...come visit!!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

2 months flown by!

So today is officially the end of my second month here. already. my how time flies!
work was crazy insanely busy today. 88 beds. 3 cleaners. and we got it done. I love my team! they are so awesome...and it's sad that Sasha is leaving, but an answer to prayer at the same time. I'm glad he'll still be around so we can continue to have good conversations. Martin and Eran both went to Zolder tonight, so that was way cool...I'm so excited to see all that God is doing. His love for us is incredible...and his blessings are infinite. Praise the Lord!
I'm going to the market tomorrow morning with Dave. Hopefully I'll find a new alarm clock since mine doesn't always like to go off. (don't worry, I've never been late for work. I'm just paranoid that it won't go off and so I don't sleep well.) Then I'm going to spend some time with my dear Shankalinguist because she's going back to Georgia soon. But she'll get lots of "Shanka squeezes" before then. haha. What's love without pain?
Oh, on the way back from Zolder tonight Zac rode Rala and me...but he has a girls bike so we both had to sit on the back. PAIN! and laughter. oh man, the dying seal totally came back for a prolonged visit. If my butt is bruised tomorrow I will not be surprised. But it was a fun experience, and it's a good thing I'm good friends with Rala cuz otherwise that experience would have been really awkward, haha. good times...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oliver Twist!

so we went to see Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist tonight...and it wasn't playing at the first 2 theatres we went to, but it was at the third. and the only seats left with five in a row was the very front row...and it was 9 euros. But it was totally worth it. Because Oliver is my favourite musical, even though it has quite a bit of freedom from the original text. and Polanski's Oliver Twist was much closer to Dicken's story. So good. I love the innocence and goodness in Oliver...and his offer of redemption to Fagin. *sigh* sad stuff too though. So, go watch it if you don't know what I'm talking about!
I made moukolo for supper tonight...sort of. Most people don't like moukolo to begin with...and then there was no meat to cover it up and make it taste good...so Gepke and I sort of improvised to make it ok...but it really wasn't ok. I felt bad that people had to eat it. Sorry everyone! At least the salad and vla was good! haha.
Man, God is doing some amazing things here...it's so exciting to be a part of it and watch it happen! Ryan was just talking with a girl tonight (he'd talked with her and a friend for a long time a couple nights ago) and she decided to not do the coffee shop thing with her friend and stuck around the hostel instead, and she told Ryan when she gets home she's gonna start reading her Bible and she'll e-mail him with questions she has. and they're looking forward to seeing each other in heaven and telling each other about their adventures serving Jesus on earth. I love seeing changes like that take place! Amen! our God is awesome.
Tomorrow is Sasha's last day cleaning with us...already. But that is because God blessed him with a job! and he had to admit that everything has been falling into place so quickly here that he feels something must want him here. So God is blessing him, and it cannot be ignored and he knows it. I'm excited. Dude, I sound like Ryan, haha...but I didn't almost just die.
Ok well, that's all for now...Happy Graduation to my bro! and woohoo I just talked to him! Love you Bubba.
don't forget to change your clocks folks.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

alpha

so yesterday I went to Alpha and their computer repair guy stuck around for alpha. i thought that was very fun. Sadly, Mark and Nathalie couldn't make it this week due to work and exams. bummer. well, i was going to write more, but I'm going to watch a movie instead. bye!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mozart and Schoenberg

Well, today I worked two shifts...morning cafe and CS. which actually worked out really well, suprisingly. I was very disappointed to discover that it was eggs for breakfast and not pancakes, because I knew that since Harald was nightman the pancakes would already be made which would make my life easier. but alas, it was eggs, and I am not a good egg person but they turned out really nicely today if I do say so myself. so thank you Jesus!
the cleaners today were awesome...such a blessing to have these guys. We had some fun together, and they worked hard and got everything cleaned well and quickly. cool beans.
Tonight Ryan and I went to a concert and Tina and I bought his ticket cuz it's his birthday. *Happy Birthday Rybo!* It was Mozart and Schoenberg, which is quite the interesting combination. As Marco put it "what the gehena were they thinking putting those two together?" haha. But it was incredible. Our seats were behind the orchestra, but the sound was still really good. Normally I like to watch the pianist's hands, but this time I got to watch her face and it was so amazing...She was so into the music (she was conducting as well as playing piano) that she had to wipe away tears a couple times. Excellent evening, and I'm so glad that the 45 euro tickets are only 7 euro 50 for young'uns.
Ooh, tomorrow is my day off! Perhaps I will finally visit the Rijks museum...

Monday, October 24, 2005

God at work

So tonight I was supposed to attend Melissa's Bible Discussion, but Adeleida switched with her so Adeleida would be tonight and Melissa tomorrow...and then Adeleida got burned (pretty badly, aww) this afternoon in the kitchen *grabbing hot pans is a bad idea* and so she asked me to lead it. So I looked at Ryan, and said "Ok, we're leading it together" haha, because I thought something like this would happen and had told him that on our bike ride to the Shelter. and it was true. So ok, we had Bible discussion in half and hour and nothing planned, but that's ok, cuz we're both in the Word every day and God is good, so we're not worried. In fact, we're playing Sudoku (it's addicting!). and as we were sitting there playing Sudoku and eating a really good dinner and chatting with the guests, one of the guests (Gwen) asked me if I wanted to go for a walk with her because supper was so filling. so I said "that's a great idea! we'll do Bible discussion outside!" and so we did. Also Martin, our new cleaner from Slovakia, came and so he and Ryan started chatting and Gwen and I did and we decided to do some street evangelism in Amsterdam. So we walk up to this store owner who was standing in his door and Gwen asked him if he knew anything about church or God or Jesus and we started a conversation. Good thing she speaks Dutch, because his English wasn't too good so it was nice to have a translator. We found out that he believes in God and God lives in his heart, but it doesn't change the way he lives, and he doesn't want to be religious. I asked him if he was hurt by the church, and he told a story about getting in trouble (smacked) as a 12 year old for not sitting perfectly still in a really boring church service. That's so sad that the imperfect church is clouding people's vision of who God really is. Hopefully some of that was cleared up tonight. He says that he doesn't have time for God, but I'm praying that the seeds that were planted tonight will take root and grow into a curiosity for and about God and he won't rest until he's filled. Amen.
Then we saw a man about to get on his bicycle and ride away, and Gwen told me I should talk to him, so I did. He thinks he's a Christian because he believes in God and tries to do good things and was brought up that way. I asked him what about the bad things he does sometimes? and he said they are good learning experiences, and he tries to be good. I hope he was able to understand that being a Christian is more than being a good person. we told him anyone can try to be good and live a good life, but it's Jesus' forgiving you that makes the difference. Anyways, we had a good conversation (and his mom called his cell in the middle, but we kept talking after) and I pray that he will actively seek God and not try to make it on his own strength.
I talked with Martin for a while on the way back and Ryan and Gwen talked with some other people. Martin was a Christian as a child and then fell away when he was about 12 and four years ago he came back to the Lord! He says he's here in Amsterdam because he wants to make God his number one priority and not be distracted by the busyness of life (he worked really long hours at home). Also he doesn't always feel the Holy Spirit and wants to be filled. Amen!
God is at work!
We talked to a man at a stop light and he was really uncomfortable...he says he doesn't believe anything and he doesn't want to. he took off as soon as the light was green.
Then we talked to some young teen girls. We asked them if they knew of a good church for us to go to. They pointed us to Westerkirk, and Ryan thought that that meant that they go there regularly (umm, Ryan, it's a huge tourist church...haha) and they said they had been before (as in to tour) and they went to church a couple times but it was really boring, so we told them about Zolder and said if they wanted to go to a church that was fun and wouldn't put them to sleep they could check it out because God is doing big things in Amsterdam. And there's so little hope in the world nowadays (haha, i just said nowadays!) and everything you try to fulfill you crumbles away and destroys you, but God will heal you and make you whole again and fill you up. So hopefully they'll think about that and Satan won't steal away the seeds that were planted.
Thank you Jesus for an awesome "Bible Discussion"!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm so Dutch

Ok, nee, but I have become quite adept at riding on the back of bicycles lately. Last night we (Freek, Shanka, Katya, Ryan, and myself) went bowling, and on the way there Katya was stopped by some men and then right after her tire was flat. suspicious? I think so. So anyways, we still had to get to the bowling place, so we did a bike swap deal and Katya rode Ryan's bike and Ryan rode Freek's bike, and Freek rode my bike with me on the back while holding Katya's bike. Please note that my bike technically isn't supposed to be able to carry a second person. So yeah, it's obvious who the real Dutchie was, but I was still proud of myself for sitting sidesaddle on the back with no hands.
Bowling was fun also...Thank you Freek for paying for us all! So nice. I have some cool videos. I love fun bowling! as in, I make up weird moves and don't really worry about hitting the pins. my score at the end of the 9th frame was 20. So I thought "hey, why not bowl normally for the 10th frame?" and I got a spare and then 9 pins down. Way to go me! So I proved to certain skeptics that I really do know how to bowl, it's just more fun not to do it properly. Also, the bowling shoes were so sweet! VELCRO, oh yeah!
Anyways, the way back was fun also because Katya rode my bike with me on the back (because Freek went home cuz it was closer for him) and decided it would be fun to bowl posts with my legs (especially my knees) and also garbage cans with me head (which I narrowly avoided with my quick reflexes). But it was good fun, and I am thankful to her for cycling me home.
Tonight Adeleida cycled me home from Harald's after Thanksgiving. Which was really good, great amount of food and people and everything. minus the fact that I was (and still am) feeling sick (most likely due to that raw beef sandwich Harald convinced me to eat the other day). But we had such a fun time, and laughed so much, it was good stuff. Thank you Harald for your generosity and hospitality!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Does God Exist?

This morning was our first class on apologetics dealing with the idea of God's existence. Basically we ignored (well, put aside would be a better way to put it) the old apologetics' ideas, because really you can't "prove" God. anyway...we looked atRomans 1:16-19 and I was like "whoa, totally was diving into that yesterday!" so it was a cool connection...but the whole idea of people not simply rejecting God, but suppressing their longings for Him, and maybe they don't even know what they're suppressing...it's interesting. I feel like I learned a lot, and probably I'm not putting it into words very well right now...but it's cool to see the connection between the subjective and objective longings of the head and heart. We don't need to focus on one and suppress the other, even if they seem to be contradictory, because in God, they come together and He affirms both longings as good, and encourages both. Maybe this post is a little unclear...sorry! I'll try to clarify later if you want.

ps. happy birthday Joost and all my October cousins (Jessica, Heather, Ashleigh, and Joanne)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

romans 1:16-2:16

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done."To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

offensive? to some. true? amen!

adventurous challenges

So today started of a little...strangely...there were men here working, I guess on the roof doing something, but I don't know what. Anyway, when I came back from my shower I heard voices and lo and behold there are men looking in my window! So I quickly scurried behind my closet door and Tina draped her duvet by me so I could change, but that was a little, well, disturbing. We've never closed the blinds on our windows (I'm not even sure how) because we're on the top storey, and the windows are in the roof so no one can see in. Unless they are on our roof. Which is obviously an unusual occurance. random.
Harald and I went shopping for Thanksgiving...we have SO MUCH FOOD; I really hope EVERYONE shows up. *hint hint* hehe. Yeah, but it was quite the adventure getting four boxes and two hiker backpacks carried back with just the two of us and our bikes. Now I think I will bake some cookies with Shanka! (after I go out and buy some key ingredients) and then later tonight I think Ryan and I are going to a Mendelssohn concert, and then I'll go to the jazz cafe with Rala. but I doubt she'll feel like singing, because her grandpa just died. sadness. so remember to pray for her, and her family.

Monday, October 17, 2005

mmm, culture!

so Ryan and I just went to a sweet concert for 7 euro 50 at the concertgebouw. the Chinees Nationaal Symfonie Orkest (haha, I love Dutch!) played and it was oh so lovely...excellent couple hours of my life spent. I'm so excited for all the coming concerts I'll have to try to attend! And hooray for less than half price for people under the age of 27!!!

mirrors reveal ugliness

Analogy of the day:
If you have a huge zit on your face but are unaware of it (despite the fact that it could very possibly be painful...you've ignored it up to this point) and someone shoves a mirror into your face and you see this zit you have a decision to make. Deal with the zit, or shove the mirror away.
Well, Andy shoved the mirror away when he was confronted by the gospel today. I am brokenhearted by the fact that he refuses to see the truth, or accept it at least. He is so "tolerant" of everyone else's opinion, but completely intolerant of what the Bible says. All these accusations and words he says...don't even hurt. They seem quite ridiculous, because I know that behind it all he is fighting a battle and struggling so hard against the truth of the Bible. And yes, the gospel is offensive, and convicting! So I just pray for him all the more that he will stop pushing the mirror away and lashing out, trying to prove (unsuccessfully) that the mirror is wrong.
It's cool, because I do consider this pure joy, to be facing this trial. I'm excited because I know that God is at work. Amen!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Japanese Bob Marley

highlight of yesterday:
I was serving this Japanese guest breakfast and utilizing my very limited, yet quite appropriate Japanese with him (which always brings a smile to my face) and after breakfast he left and then came back with a gift. It was a flag, and he told me I need to plant it where I am now, and then if I ever go back to Japan I need to plant it there. And with a few more of my exquisitly pronounced Japanese phrases, he was gone. (by the way, thanks to Gale Lynch for teaching me the limited Japanese that I know) So I looked at this little flag, and did not recognize it...it was not the Japanese flag (white with red circle in the middle) but still looked Japanesesque with a red dot, and red lines streaming out like rays. Ian says it's a communist flag. so I don't plan on planting it anywhere, but it was fun to speak Japanese to a Bob Marley type of guy.
the end.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Good God

I found out today
That things aren't the same
As they've always been.
Sun gives way to rain
Cuz good things change
And it's gonna hurt again.
Was it something I said
Something I didn't say to you?
Was it something I did
Something I didn't do to bring this on myself?

Good God, why'd you let this happen?
What I'm going through
And good God I'm trying not to blame
But could you end it all
If you wanted to?
Help me please to understand this
Good God.

They gave him a crown
And knocked him down
As they laughed at Him.
They pierced his side
And still He died
To save them.
It was nothing He said
No nothing to deserve to be the One.
It was nothing we did
No nothing but a love for us that He would give His Son

Good God, why'd you let it happen?
What they put Him through
And good God He didn't earn the blame
Yet he took it all
Cuz you told him to
Help me please to understand this
Good God
Good God

~Scott Phillips

I'm doing my Bible discussion tomorrow based on this song...prayers welcome!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

lovely day

I did not wake up because of the phone this morning! but that could be because I slept on the roof *shh* and that was so great! The sky was cloudless...lots of stars last night and so blue this morning! There were streaky clouds (from airplanes) all over the sky so I took pictures. but the camera could only take in such a small piece of the sky not the whole thing that it was still beautiful but not nearly as nice as the full effect. There's a sermon in there somewhere.
Today I went to the Bible Museum with Katya and Ryan...it was interesting. Parts of it were really cool, parts were a little creepy...the basement was sweet, haha. I killed Goliath with David's slingshot...kinda...haha. Oh man, on our way back the sky was filled with black smoke so we followed it and saw a house on fire :( that's really unfortunate. and causes me to yet again praise God that the fire in our hostel was put out before anything else caught fire!! We also stopped by a Christian bookstore because Ryan had promised the cleaners copies of "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. So I picked up a bunch of Dutch postcards to send to everyone...only to discover (after I got back) that they say things like "get well soon" and "heartfelt congratulations" and "dear God do you think he's lonely?"and "dear God, I gave my heart away, can You fill it?" so oops! haha, it's funny tho.
I think we're going to go to Harald's tonight for pie. that sounds lovely.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

This could be one of the most non-thanksgivings I've had. Not that I haven't been thankful...I have given thanks many times today, it's just that no one is saying "happy thanksgiving" and there is no turkey or any of that good stuff. meh. My family called though, and I got to talk to Aunt Leona also! fun stuff.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

i sang the brown squirrel song

Ein u-boot landet in des w├╝ste und hut einen platten mit wie vielen kartoffein kann man es beladen? Mit gar keinen, denn tomaten haben keine greten.

"You know who else is Russian? Sean Connery" Yes, Ryan really said that, and he was dead serious. Why? "Well, he was in Red October!"

Yesterday was such a great day...Tina helped me with some cleaner stuff which was way cool, and the cleaners did and great job, and we just had a lot of fun hanging out listing Christmas movies and playing games and stuff. and then we watched Amadeus and had a discussion and it was so good!

Today cleaner time was really good...we talked about miracles and Andy questioned a lot and it was just a really good conversation...God is moving! Andy just doesn't want to admit it, haha...he's fighting, but prayer is a strong weapon cuz let's face it: God is way stronger than Andy's stubborness. and more patient. good stuff.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

phones eggs jazz and alpha

"there was no pasta, there was just ketchup"
my roomie just said that. regarding what we had for dinner yesterday.
newho...
the tradition of being awakened by the phone on my day off continued, but that's ok. It was a lovely day off...Tina, Maurice and I went to the Westerpark and took fun pictures and did devos together and sang songs together (the backpack guitar case has become a good friend) and in general had a lovely time. And Dave made us ham and cheese omlettes for supper and they were really good so I've discovered that my hatred for eggs is waning...I can handle omlettes. woohoo! And then we went to the Christian cafe for hot chocolate and free postcards. And we went to jazz improv night at this jazz cafe on the harbour...very sweet. Oh yeah! and I cut my hair. It looks pretty good, but if I had an extra hand or if I could take my head off and then cut it I would have done it a little differently. meh.
This morning I had to work at 6:30 because of the group of 60 who wanted breakfast at 7 (and we don't normally serve it 'til 8) but I got off earlier so I took a nap before school. Then tonight I went to home group with Nathalie and Mark where we did session 1 of the Alpha course. It was really good...and people asked really good questions. I'm so glad that Mark and Nathalie both came! And also Cati, one of the cleaners from the City who just became a Christian came with Melana, so that was really cool too.

Monday, October 03, 2005

adventures!

So I thought my next post would be about my lovely visit to Gepke's church and such, and then today there was a fire. so I will tell you about that, and then about church, not that one is more exciting than the other, but one definitely more dangerous and scary, haha.
Our dryer has been giving us trouble quite often lately by not drying things, so I usually just put a load in twice and don't put a second load in the washer until i'm sure the load in the dryer will be dry. So this morning the dryer was trudging away and seemed to be drying, so I put a load in the washer and then went to cleaner time. After that we were going to put up the extra bunk beds, but instead I checked on the laundry to see how much time was left. When I entered the laundry room the dryer had a little stream of smoke emitting from it, so i immediately turned it off and began taking items out of the dryer. Thankfully Michael and Alexi were right there, and there was a fire extinguisher but we weren't sure if it was water or that powder stuff cuz it's in Dutch so I ran down the two flights of stairs and exclaimed "The dryer is on fire!" just as the alarm began to go off. Rosemary, Harold and I raced back upstairs to put it out and all was saved (well, not all the towels and aprons, or the dryer itself, but it didn't spread to anywhere else) so it's all good. But it was such a blessing that I went there when I did and we were able to stop the fire! And this way we get a new dryer that actually works...not that this was the way we wanted to get it. But yeah, the washing machine was completely fine, not even warm. So that was my first (and hopefully last!!) experience with a fire in a building where it was not welcome. Praise God that no one was hurt (except for Harolds fingers...he got a little burnt) and that the huge group of people didn't arrive yet, and that it was put out quickly with as little damage as possible!
So ok, now I will tell you about church yesterday, haha. Tina, Ryan and I went to Gepke's church called "De Poort" (yes, it's right across from the harbour) in the basement of the YWAM building. It was a really great service, and the people were so friendly! I met two or three people before the service even began, and afterwards we were invited to one of the ladies' apartment for dinner. Which was really good. and the fellowship was great...I love how easily and naturally they make you feel at home and welcome. so yeah, that was such a blessing.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Meghawoman Strikes Again!

Yes, it's true, I got one strike at bowling today (backwards between the legs) and also I used the nickname Meghawoman (thanks Mister) even though Joost tried to change it to "that psycho from Canada" haha. I've got a few video clips of "piggy back bowling" but the GREATEST video happened right at the end of our hour there. The song "Oh Happy Day" just randomly came on and everyone started singing and dancing...it was like a movie, haha. Susana videotaped it too, so I look forward to seeing hers. I wish I could put pictures and videos on here...I might be able to if I get to the internet elsewhere. We shall see. But it was such a cool witness to the people there. As well as being really fun. But yeah, the gospel message was in that song, and we were all rejoicing! Good times.
And then, guess what's for dinner? Schnitzel. mm, so good, so unhealthy. I love it! It wasn't as good as Schnitzelhouse, but that's to be expected. So yeah, good day!
Tomorrow I'm going to Gepke's church in the afternoon and then to her apartment for dinner. And she lives in Noord Amsterdam which is beautiful (we cycled through it today...so incredibly lovely! God blessed us so much this day).

Friday, September 30, 2005

my house is chilly

It's beginning to be an unwelcome pattern...being awakened by phone calls on my day off.
But today was a nice day anyways. I did my chore and relaxed this morning...started reading The Count of Monte Cristo and took a nap. I missed the farewell party for Daniela, but that's ok. I wrote on her card and I'll have a better chance to talk to her before she leaves anyway.
This afternoon Rala and I were supposed to have a "date" like we used to back in college, but we ended up just running a few errands and not getting most of what was on our list, haha. But it was nice, if a little chilly, and she read me the greatest Dutch children's book ever! Well, there were two books. One had no words but the illustrations were excellent. And the other had words (in Dutch) and incredible illustrations to correspond...it was a book about dangerous things you should not do. Hysterical though.
This evening I went to the Van Gogh museum with Nathalie and Mark...quite the adventure getting there, haha. I knew how to get as far as Vondelpark, but not how to get to the museum although it seemed fairly straightforward on the map...Let's just say it took us a lot longer than it should have to get there, but that was in part due to the fact that Mark made his bike chain fall off. It was amusing when we got to the musuem, because the first thing they said to him was "toilets are that way" haha. There was live music (jazz mostly) and that made for and enjoyable experience. There were only a handful of paintings that I really liked, but it was interesting to read about the others and see how his style changed over time.
Right now there is a film discussion in the hostel (they're watching The Matrix and then discussing it...connecting it to Christianity) but I don't feel like simply catching the end of the discussion so here I sit.
Tomorrow we're going bowling! It'll be Daniela's (and possibly others'?) first experience. Such an unexpected thing to be doing over here, haha. Then tomorrow night I'll do my first sleeper shift...followed by a cleaner supervisor shift. Pray that I actually get sleep, haha! It'll be fun though, because Marco is the nightman.
Ok, enough about me. Leave me comments that let me know how you're doing!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

my awesome roomie

Tina makes me laugh.
This is an admirable quality in a roommate.
For instance, yesterday at school during break she said to me "you wake me up with your smell"
Background: I've had a lot of morning shifts lately, so I try to get ready really quietly so as to not wake her up. In that aspect, I've been successful...or so I thought. Now I discover that after my shower I smell so good that she wakes up. But not awake enough to tell me "you smell good" because she's still too tired for that. Haha, I'm glad I smell good though, because the way she said it at first made me think I smelled really bad in the mornings! haha.
Second story, also yesterday.
Last night we were playing Scrabble (and I did not win this time) and we were also answering trivial pursuit questions at the same time. Tina tried to read a question about hippopotamuses (or hippopotami?) except she did not pronounce hippoptamus at all. And with her cute accent...wow, it was hilarious. Dave and I made eye contact and just started laughing hysterically, and poor Tina didn't know why. She kept trying to pronounce it, with no success whatsoever and boy oh boy...I laughed so hard my chest hurt and I cried. Beautiful. Only I knew the answer but couldn't say it cuz I was laughing so hard, but that's alright. They're nocturnal by the way.
So thank You God for wonderful friends like Tina!

One more story that has nothing to do with her: I got a mosquito bite on my eye and it was super swollen this morning which is really funny and it reminded me of the time that it happened to Amelia and me at the same time and we told everyone we got in a fight. Do you remember that? Ok, story time is done.
Oh wait, one more thing. I got to speak Japanese the other day. That made me happy.

The End.

Monday, September 26, 2005

you have to remember to pretend to forget sometime

So as I've been running around eating and doing laundry and other mundane tasks of life, I remembered that I forgot to tell you how my Bible Discussion went!
I talked about light and darkness (1 John 1:5-2:2) and it went well. Tina attended, and Zuzana and Dave were there so we were all Christians, but we had a good discussion. So thank you for praying.
Zuzana and Ricardo left so we have two new cleaners. Which is good, but I'll miss them. Ricardo told me I look like I'm in the mafia. weird. and also he slapped my face in church and I have no idea why. Zuzana is going back to Slovakia though...sadness. I know she needs to go home, and she knows it too, so it's ok. But it's so cool to have gotten to know her. She became a Christian in the shower and Shelter City and it's so neat to see how much she's grown in her time here. But we'll keep in touch, so it's all good.
End of round two for the day.

Let us go then, you and I...

Well, it's been a few days, hasn't it! What has happened?
The other morning I was working a morning cafe shift with Harold (he's one of the nightmen...I think he's worked here for about 7 years?) and I meant to say "How are you" and said instead, "I love you" and so when he gave me a weird look I was like "oh no! what did I say?" and he translated and we had a good laugh. My dutch is not very good in the mornings shall we say. haha. Last night at Zolder we sang a dutch song. I'm not sure what I was saying but I caught a few words here and there and I could not pronounce the g's while singing. It'll come I suppose.
So anyways, back to morning cafe with Harold. We decided to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this year, so it'll be a good time I think. We started planning the menu and stuff. Sweet.
Our hostel night outreach went well. We served lasagna (not as good as mom's, but it was tasty) and Freek's traditional dutch cake (I don't remember what it's called, but it's SO good!) and Marco shared his testimony and we had good discussions about "the greatest gift" and the greatest Giver at our tables. I sat with a bunch of students from the states studying abroad in London for a semester and we had some neat conversations.
Also, completely different topic, I won Scrabble against self-pronounced Scrabble champions Freek and Michael! and Shenka came in at a close second (by one point, haha) but the boys were far behind. And the word "eh" got me a lot of point also, and I was very pleased. They didn't think it was an official word, but it was in their dictionary even. woohoo! Mom, when you come visit we'll have to play. And Stephen too. Also, they have Settlers.
For open mic night I did a poetry reading, hahaha! "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. So good. even if poetry readings are cheesy. That's the point of open mic night. And Tina and I sang a song she taught me, but she forgot the chords, so it was a fun experience...and it sounded better than Melana and Betty (and Tawni) "singing" Killing me Softly. Well, if it didn't sound better I'd be worried...
We visited Nathalie Saturday afternoon (after a morning of analysing jeans for the perfect pair for Christian to buy...he is such a girl!) and Ryan (he's new...from Las Vegas, along with 2 others. it's so good to have them here!) was playing guitar and Tina and I were catching up with Nathalie and Mark and it was just a lovely time in a flat away from our own. (Nathalie and I are going to do Alpha with a home group from Zolder on Wednesday evenings starting next week. Pray that Mark also joins!!!) And on the way back our neighbour was playing piano and singing with his window open so we stood under and listened to applaud when he was done. Unfortunately we were unable to be discreet because a friend came to visit him while we were conspicuously standing there. So we made a not so smooth exit, but it was still an enjoyable experience. Mmm! I love Amsterdam!
Yesterday morning we decided to do our own church, so Tina, Rala and I made tea and brought it onto our roof where we read verses and sang and prayed together. very cool.
Ok! I think that my life has been updated online. Minus all the parts I forgot. haha.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Your Faithfulness

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness
When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts and storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
~Brian Doerksen

Monday, September 19, 2005

day off

I had yesterday (Sunday) off work. Days off are intended for staff to sleep and relax. But I got up to cycle for 40 minutes to go to Crossroads International Church where Rala was singing. She had told me the songs that would be sung earlier, and I knew all of them, which surprised her. There was one song she hadn't heard before attending Crossroads and wondered how I knew it, but I didn't know. Until we were singing it in church and I saw that it was by Brian Doerksen and Matt Unruh and so I exclaimed "I know him!" and Neal started laughing at me, but it was such a revelation to me. Ok, perhaps it's not that funny, but it just hit me really suddenly I couldn't contain my excitement. So that was my first church experience of the day...
The "second" didn't really end up happening...we cycled to the Christian cafe (in the God Love You building, ownedybe YWAM) where we were to meet Gepke (one of our managers) to attend her church at 3:00. She was late (but called our house just after we'd left) so we asked the cafe workers if they knew of a church that started at 3 and they gave us directions to her church. And so we took off on our bikes, and did end up passing it, but it's not in a church building, it's in a basement, so we definitly did not find it. So we turned around and went back. Oh well, there's always next week.
And my last church experience of the day was Zolder, and Nathalie came again and I got to meet her boyfriend, Mark. It was cool that he came to the service because he openly admits he's not a believer, but we had a really good conversation after the sermon we attended and he asked some good questions. So he is in my prayers (and Nathalie's too, I am sure) and I think Nathalie wants to start attending an Alpha program with him, so that would be neat.

Today is cafe training day. We had all the theoretical information this morning, and we'll have practical training this afternoon. Plus I'm cook (and Tina will help) so it'll be good I think.
Thursday I lead my first Bible discussion and I have no idea what I want to discuss. Suggestions and prayers are both very welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

prayer request

Last night we had an outreach games night which was fun. After, we were talking with one of the guests (Dave, from Ohio) and he mentioned at one point how he wants to go into the army (specifically the air force) and fight for God...Now, earlier in the day I was in a discussion with Michael, one of the cleaners, from England, and we were talking about the story of Gideon and how God picked the "loser" and how God loves to use little people. We also talked about how God could show His power through winning the battle. But Michael really struggles with the fact that God used oppressors and war as a way of punishment, and why didn't He choose another way? So when Dave started talking about joining the army to serve God, Michael left the room shutting the door rather loudly. So please pray for him, and pray for me because I don't know how to answer some of his questions...Thanks!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Rain!

I am discovering that the beautiful weather that marked my first two weeks here was a rare occurance, so I'm glad that I took advantage of it at the time and enjoyed it. I am so wet! haha. It's fun cycling in the rain, though, and my rain jacket works well...it just doesn't keep my legs dry. My jeans were wet for much of the afternoon as I made supper for "30" people (but the group didn't show up, so there were leftovers). I have also discovered that it's a lot easier to make supper for 4ish people than 20 or 30 people. But Zuzana helped me out this afternoon which was really sweet of her, so everything was done and as Philip the German guest said "It tasted very very good" but, since he's German his very sounded like "wary" and that brings a smile to my face. hehe. Ok, well, I need to go clean mouse poop out of the cupboards, so that's all for now!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

the plane left with Leticia not on it

I have to write this one thing, because it's funny, even if it may be potentially embarrassing for Leticia, but she doesn't read this and none of you know her, so I am posting this story. The shortened version. Yesterday we took her to the airport so she could fly back to Bible school in England...but they couldn't find her name on the flight...and why not? because her flight was actually today! She was a day early for her flight. Ok, it was really funny, and it was super cool cuz she made us a Brazilian dinner and we had one more night of samba and salsa dancing and the guys were really good (Frank in particular) so it was fun. I will miss her a lot, but life is full of people who come and go, so it'll be ok.

Funny moment of the day:
This guest, Dave, while seeing me attaching my red tail light (which is necessary when riding your bike at night unless you feel like paying a €50 fine) to the back of my pants asked me "So this is what they mean by the red light district?" and I replied "I'm not open for business" and cycled away. Anyways, it made me laugh.

Today was a good day. The cleaners got done so early I had to keep thinking of specials for them to do. And I was also able to show that I was in authority and wouldn't let them get off easy, and we were able to have fun also. So it was good.

Daniela led a really good Bible Discussion tonight...and it was neat because a lot of it was about things I've been pondering lately. One comment, in particualar, corresponds with the "what if" statement I wrote on an earlier post. Dave said that everything we do is for God's glory...that is the goal. Our purpose is to bring glory to God, and then in heaven it is filled with God's glory, and so glory is what it's all about. Interesting thought to ponder.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Women's work

Haha, today was my first day as cleaner supervisor on my own. And was it ever busy! The cleaners had about 37 beds each, which is at least 10 more than usual, so I had to help make beds and mop floors with them on top of my regular chores, which wasn't a big deal. We got everything done, it just took us a bit longer than usual. Anways, Jimmy and Ricardo had to put away the extra bunk beds and I guess Ricardo didn't help Jimmy do something so he was steaming mad, spouting off at the mouth. so I said "Jimmy, calm down. Tell me what happened."and he's like "it's not your fault, it's that ****ing Ricardo who....blahblahblah. I'm not ****ing spiderman!" and so I said "okay Jimmy, I'll go do that with you, no problem" and he shouts "It's not women's work!" so I told him to go work on his next job, and then Ricardo and I put the beds in the attic, even though he doubted I had muscles enough to lift the frames. I had no problems thank you very much. But Jimmy still wasn't pleased that I had helped, but oh well. He has to get fired up at least twice a day over something, so it's very easy to shrug it off. I find it a little amusing, actually. Oh, but for cleaner time we meditated on Zeph. 3:17 today and I asked them what pictures it brings to mind (after some other discussion) and then shared the picture of God going forward into battle, mighty to save, as the piper with the bagpipes singing over us and I think Jimmy really liked that picture because he is SO Scottish, haha, so pray that that picture doesn't leave his mind but that he keeps thinking about it because I know that he's in a rough spot right now.
On an entirely different note, I cut Magda's hair last night and it looks really cute (and I know Josh is probably shuddering thinking *oh know, Meghs is cutting hair again!* but Magda really likes it and is not wearing a hat, so perhaps it's just your hair that I can't cut very well?).
And also, Leticia is back, well, only for today, but still! We had a lovely time last night (chocolate party and chilling on a dock on a canal) and the four of us (leticia, rala, tina and myself) had really good conversations and got to know each other really well, mostly because Leticia is an excellent question asker. And also, she said that we're double blessings in her life, and that's really sweet. We're all dropping her off at the airport tomorrow, so it will be sad, but we'll make it fun, because there can't not be laughter when we're together. Such as tonight: it will most likely be possible to hear us laughing down the street during our tea and dance parties.
Well, I'm going to go for now...I'm excited that Nathalie can join us for church tonight. That's all for now, folks.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Haartelijke Groeten van Amsterdam!

Tina and I have been working in the kitchen preparing dinner for the last two days with no disasters and much prayer. Also, we teach each other dutch phrases, even though neither of us really know the correct pronounciation. We pretend we do, and help each other out, then try the phrases on Dutch people. so tonight Freek asked me something and I wanted to say "I don't know" because that is one of my two phrases, the other being "I love you" so I thought long and hard before replying and what did I say? "I don't know" and I must say, I was very proud of myself for not saying "I love you" and probably none of you are impressed by that, but oh well.
If there were ever any doubts about my fitting in here (which there weren't) they are now completely erased. Why? you may ask. Well, perhaps it was because this morning the last half of Pride and Prejudice was playing and it was before 10am already. Yup, that'd be why. I am with girls who love my favourite movie.
We had our first staff meeting today...it went well...
I'm trying to think of something eventful to write about...tonight was my small group's outreach, but only Daniela was not working so she had to lead it by herself. It was a walk around the Jordaan district seeing different touristy places and historical places. I was unable to go, but my camera went along so I've got the experience on camera at least. After they came back for cake and hot chocolate and a little Bible discussion which went very well. So praise the Lord for the excellent turnout, even with the rain!
Tomorrow I am being trained for Cleaner Supervisor again and then Sunday I'm on my own, so please pray for me that I remember everything I need to do! Also, Sam is gone so Jimmy is replacing him for now, which is fine, but also sad. I'm glad I don't have to "fire" people yet...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What if...

Well, today was my first day in training for cleaner supervisor and it went well. It was nice to work with Melissa and chat with her and get to know her better. There are some aspects of the job I will not enjoy (having to correct the cleaners, having to confront the cleaners, having to tell the cleaners their time is not going to be extended due to shoddy work, having to tell people I can only put them on the waiting list, I can give them a job) but there are many others that will be so fulfilling (watching the cleaners draw closer to Christ and watch Him work miracles in their lives, encourage them to continue to do their best and that they are doing well, get to know them better personally and invest in their lives, etc.). So I am excited for this opportunity for God to use me.
I attended school for the first time this afternoon. We talked about unity and teamwork specifically in a cross-cultural setting (like our own) and it was very good and insightful and helpful. And also amusing, because we watched some clips from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and that's an amusing movie.
Well, on a completely different note I feel like posting something I wrote earlier this summer. I'm not sure the purpose of this, but I've been pondering some things lately. So here goes! (please note that perhaps some of the thoughts aren't yet completely developed, or maybe it's a bit confusing in parts. but that's because I wrote it right before falling asleep one night and haven't made changes yet)

What if..."becoming a Christian" is really crossing the starting line of the race. We haven't reached the finish line. And the end goal is not going to heaven, the end goal is becoming like Christ. We need to let go of the "I prayed the sinner's prayer, I have my ticket into heaven, I'm good to go" attitude and exchange it for the race picture Paul provides us. What a great image. Everyone has a different starting (and ending?) point in this race. It is an intense marathon, and it's not going to be easy. It will be a struggle to keep going when we're exhausted, but God provides us with food and water, and even resting stations when we need them. He encourages us to keep going, even if others around us aren't, and gives us strength, endurance, and wisdom. All our struggles and weaknesses along the way are preparation, training, and lessons to teach us to be like Jesus, our ultimate goal. Those road blocks and things that seem to slow us down actually aid us in finishing the race strong.
What if...we stop apologizing for our faith and actually start living what we say we believe. What if we stop worrying about what others might think and stop trying to make God "cool" and instead concern ourselves with what God thinks and wants for us. What if we stop being selfish and inwardly focused and look into God and His characteristics. How can we reach our goal if we are too busy looking at ourselves to see what we're supposed to become.
What if...we stopped being complacent and became radical.
What if...we really do what Jesus did.
What if...we fulfill our true calling, and what if we truly believe that we can because we believe God's promises (eg never give you more than you can handle) and He has called us to a reachable purpose and goal.
What if...we stop measuring our buzzwords and realize only God sees the heart.
What if...we let God do His job.
What if we really prayed.

What would the world think of us then? Would we be attractive or repulsive?

(P.S. Does it matter?)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's a beautiful day!

Mmmm, today is my first day off, and Tina has it off also. Yesterday we had training and weren't working in the hostel so it feels like two in a row almost and it's very nice. Yesterday morning we had informational meetings all morning and got to know each other and dutch food. The old blindfold someone and have them try something. I am so thankful I got vla (and I knew what it was too!) because pickled herring and droups (sp?) are not my favourite foods in the world...but we had fun and did a little mission impossible during our ten minute break. This organization (Tot Heil Des Volks-for the salvation of the people) has been around for 150 years this year, so this is a year of jubilee. There have been a number of celebrations already and will be more, so I am told. It was neat to find out about the ministries that were done at the beginning of this organization and the ones going on now. I already discovered the homeless ministry next door on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays because of the people hanging out near our door all day Wednesday that confused Tina and I because we would have thought they'd have something else to do. But Krista told me that they get a hot shower and some tea or coffee and food and they can relax there, maybe get clean clothes? stuff like that. very cool. There is also a ministry to the prostitutes and another to homosexuals. and Nora (our tour guide last night) leads "outreach tours" and so she was showing us all the main sights of Amsterdam and the history behind them and then how to tie that in to evangelism. Very helpful and interesting. So after our meetings we had lunch and Tina and I did our chores, and then went off exploring! We found Nathalie's apartment (a two minute bike ride from Willemsstraat) and then went to the harbour and then to Westerpark. We discovered that when it's a beautiful day people take advantage of the sunlight and go to the park to tan regardless of their shape or size. But it was a beautiful park, and we'll probably go to another one today for a picnic lunch once her small group is finished. We picked some flowers there and wrote a note for Nathalie which we left in her mailbox because it was her first day of classes (we think, hehe). Then Rala and Nora started our walking tour which included dinner at the Jordan and ended at the City (which has such a beautiful garden! Jordan was gipped in that area, but it is so much more gezellig that I don't even care that much). Upon our return to Willemsstraat we had a tea party in Leticia's room. While some of us tried to be ladies, others were still unable to handle it, so it was a time full of laughter, haha. but then again, any time Leticia is anywhere the room is full of laughter. Especially when Leticia and Rala are together. After our tea party we rearranged the living room and Leticia taught us how to salsa and samba dance. It was very fun, and good exercise, because we did it for a few hours...Leticia is amazing, but I suppose it just comes naturally with being Brazilian. We gathered an audience at some points and made some of them join in, so that was fun too. And Tina showed us her breakdance move. I'm going to stop talking now because it's not going to be amusing for you. Although if I put a video of it on here I'm sure you'd have a lovely laugh. Perhaps I'll do that if I can figure out how. Bye for now!