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).