22 September 2011

Blessed is the one...

"They will be like a tree planted by the water 
   that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes; 
   its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought 
   and never fails to bear fruit.”
-Jeremiah 17:8

21 September 2011

Home is where...

I know I've said it before, but I just can't get over it: I have awesome friends. Like, really really awesome. My friends back in the states send me mail, encourage me, skype me into Bible studies and football-watching parties, and even endure the expenses and hassles of international travel to come visit me for a few days (I can't wait to see you, Cat!). They remind me why I am where I am and encourage me to keep going, while simultaneously plotting to get me fired so that I'll have to come back to the states. 

Carolyn sent me this video that she helped Jeremy (one of my favorite people!) make the other evening. On the bookshelf by my desk here I have a Jeremy wall with a drawing of a passing lane, along with a sign he made: "Please pray for Lyndsey at Peru." He told me he would pray for me every day while I was gone. I know it's probably not theologically accurate, but I like to think that Jeremy's prayers count double. I'm taking lots of pictures of South American road construction to show Jeremy (a.k.a. The Ultimate Chick Magnet). 

(I don't have to come back to get a visa, but Jeremy has known many other workers who have had to come to the states occasionally to straighten out visa issues. I really wish my visa required a stateside visit!)

Doesn't that bless your heart? I sure miss that kid, and a lot of people back in Daytona. But I have people I miss all over the place. I have best friends in Georgia and Texas, family in Arkansas and Tennessee, and countless other friends and loved ones scattered across the globe. I've always liked the quote from Thoreau, "Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes." And it's true, often down here, the earth seems very spacious. When I can't get a Jeremy hug, when I can't sing and sway after the 3rd quarter with my friends, when I can't kiss my parents, or hold a hurting friend close. Yes, then the earth seems very spacious indeed. 

We had a great time working and visiting in Chile* last week, but I was looking forward to getting back to Lima. I missed it. I missed our team and my friends here. I missed "home." No, I'm not from here, I don't feel 100% comfortable here, and I have no intention of settling here for years to come. It actually hurts me a little to actually use the word "home" to describe it because it feels like I'm being unfaithful to my beloved home in the States. But I guess home isn't so much a dot on a map as it is the place where the people you miss are. Of course, if all my "homes" could just get together in one physical location it sure would make life a lot easier. ;-) 

*More on Chile later, but I came back with lots of work to do and a souvenir cold/allergy attack that has me under the weather right now. Please pray for health, focus for work, and a quick arrival of Spring in Lima!

13 September 2011

Red Hot Chile Peppers

That's right, time to travel! 
Today we are heading to Chile. 
Yes, Chile.
 Just to be clear, I'm not talking about this:

(Although, thankfully we do have them in Lima.) 
Nor am I referring to this:

Or this:

Nope. Not quite. 
I mean THIS Chile:

There ya go. Peru's neighbor to the south. 
Looking forward to our first excursion out of Peru! 
(And also, I hope that someone has had the brilliant idea to open a 
restaurant down there that serves nothing but chili. 
I'll let you know if I find it.)

Please pray for us as we travel this week!

11 September 2011

10 Years

There’s really not much to be said about September 11th that hasn’t been said before. I was almost 16 years old when our nation was attacked; it is the day that defined my generation. It was the day that redefined our world.

Like everyone I remember where I was 10 years ago. I was sitting next to Della in Mr. Hoag’s 10th-grade geometry class in a portable at Spruce Creek. I remember the announcement made over the P.A. system that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, inviting teachers to turn on the news. I remember the confusion, wondering why they were telling us about an accident like that. And then the moment, the gut-wrenching moment, when the second tower was struck and the reality of the situation washed over each of us. I remember walking through the rest of the day like a zombie, wanting to cry but not yet able to grieve. The non-stop news coverage with conflicting reports, rumors of other threats, and confused reporters all melded into a constant background noise of tragedy. I had a French test that day, and I was really annoyed that Madame Dorinson still made us take it. It’s hard to think about the conditional verb tense when the world is crashing down around you. We gathered with friends in the cafeteria during lunch to pray, but I didn’t have any words. There were no words. I still don’t know that there are, and that was 10 years ago.

Ten years.

In the grand scheme of things, a decade isn’t much.

But then again, it really is much.

For me it was homework, IB tests, majorette practices, youth group events, senior prom, high school graduation, UF, saying goodbye to my grandfather, moving to Paris, summer internships, football games, FCA, four Gator National Championships, moving to Paris again, graduating from college, moving home, working at First Baptist, going to Haiti, and embarking on this J-man adventure. And those are just some of the big things. That doesn’t include all the real memories from the last 10 years, the everyday moments with friends and family. It glosses over the tears of sorrow and moments of blissful happiness. It doesn’t reflect the relationships forged or the walk with God grown. It skips over most of the things that are the truer measure of a person’s life.  When I start to consider just how full of life those last 10 years have been, it gives me a greater appreciation of how much 10 years really is.

Me and Della 10 years ago- Homecoming 2001
My 16th birthday party- October 2001
I had no idea what those 10 years would hold. I certainly never would have imagined that I would be living in Peru on the 10th anniversary of that tragedy. Hey, I wouldn’t even have believed you if you had told me I would attend UF! This wasn’t how I thought my life would unfold. Yet, while I may be surprised, but God never is. And how awesome to think that we serve a God who is not bound by time. He does not need to mark anniversaries. He WAS, and IS, and WILL BE. And I find that especially comforting when I think about where I might be when the 20th anniversary of September 11th rolls around. I don’t have a clue what my life will look like then, or even if I’ll be blessed with that many more years on this earth. But my God does. And while I don’t know life will go in the next year, much less 10, times like these are always good to look down the road and consider what you hope your life will look like, what you hope to have accomplished. Tragedies like September 11th can make us angry, fearful, and bitter. Or they can remind us of our blessings, help us appreciate the brevity of life and the urgency of the work, and help us put our priorities into perspective.

I consider it a blessing to work for an organization that does not allow danger, fear, or anger to stand in the way of sharing the Gospel. “Eight Southern Baptist workers have died in terror-related attacks since 9/11. They all knew the risks of their work, yet chose to serve anyway. God’s call is unconditional; they answered it unconditionally.” (Quote from this article.) Some have paid a high price, but the need is too great and the time is too short to sit on the sidelines.  Jesus said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” (Luke 10:2) I would hate to find myself at the end of another decade and look back to realize how much time I wasted or how selfishly I lived. I pray I will be a good steward of the time that He gives me. How about you? I know you remember where you were 10 years ago, but where will you be 10 years from now?

(P.S. Check out this website. The stories and prayer guide are excellent: Loving Muslims
And if you only have time to read one story, I just love this one! Especially the ending.) 

06 September 2011

The Gator Nation is everywhere!

I hope you all got to enjoy the holiday. No, I don't mean Labor Day (although, if that holiday was celebrated today in the country where you reside I do hope you enjoyed it). I'm talking about a much more exciting and important holiday: kick-off of the college football season! 

Finally! It's football time! I know Christmas somehow shanghaied that whole "most wonderful time of the year" title (I blame Andy Williams), but if you're a college football fan perhaps you will agree with me that football season might be even more wonderful. It certainly gets me excited! Before us lay four glorious months of gridiron competition with powerhouse programs and underdog teams, fight songs and ref whistles, hail-marys and double reverses, blowouts and nail-biters. It's like the gift that keeps on giving (hopefully Ws in your team's column). 

As a proud alumna of the University of Florida and lover of all things football and all things Gator...it's a big deal. Being out of the South, much less out of the country, for an entire football season is something akin to torture. But if you're a missionary you can call it "sacrifice" and feel very noble for enduring such hardship for the cause of the Gospel. I like to think that there's a special reward in heaven for those who miss football season for Jesus. (That was a joke. Please no angry theological rants!) 

I'm happy to report that there are several other Gator and SEC fans working down here, so I felt in good company getting excited for the big day. 

Gator toes!

I painted my nails, made a countdown, watched all my football movies and stocked up on Dr. Pepper. Like I said, I think I get more excited than Christmas and I may have gotten a little silly with my football preparations. (On a side note, I think that when I have kids there might be a football fairy that comes on kick-off eve to leave good little football fans team gear in exchange for Dr. Pepper and 7-layer dip. Just a thought.) Here was my poetic musings the night before game day:

Gator PJs!

'Twas the night before kickoff and all through my room, 
The Gator d├ęcor was proudly festooned. 
My jersey was hung in the closet with care, 
With my orange and blue it was ready to wear. 

Dr. Pepper was nestled ice cold in the fridge, 
Of chips, popcorn, and chocolate there was more than a smidge. 
"Remember the Titans" played on the screen, 
While I browsed through stats and clips of my team. 

In my Florida PJs I snuggled in bed, 
As "We are the Boys" ran through my head.
I updated my status 'ere I turned out the light. 
"Go Gator football! And to all a good night!"

Thanks to the wonder of the internet I was able to get up Saturday morning and watch my favorite show, College GameDay, and then many hours of delightful football. Sure the screen froze many times and I couldn't watch every game I would have liked, but I got my fill of college football, complete with the first Gator victory of the Muschamp era over FAU. And since I was excited and didn't have anyone around to share in my Gator enthusiasm (and also, I'm a dork) I took a few ridiculous photos to celebrate. Keep in mind that this is just the Gator items that actually made the cut to get packed down to Peru. 

So don't worry, my fellow Gator fans, the Gator Nation is alive and well in Lima. Come on down and join me for a swing and sway:

We are the boys from old Florida, 
Where the girls are the fairest, 
the boys are the squarest
of any old state down our way. (Hey!)

We are all strong for old Florida,
down where the old Gators play (Go Gators!)
Through all kinds of weather,
we'll all stick togetheeeeeeeeeeeeer...
for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!