So I realize that I've been in this country for almost two years now and "settling in" should be complete. But lets face it...things don't always happen as quickly as we hoped or in the way we'd hope. I mean, don't we always have one thing on our list of things we'd like to do to make our places feel more homey?
Well today I got one step closer. I finally got a bookshelf to display all my books and framed pictures that have made it to this side of the ocean. Not only is it nice to actually see all the books I own and the photos of my wonderful family and friends, but I don't have to worry about knocking it all off the shelf of the closet as
Over the past year or so, there has been a push for the West to understand that their "problems" aren't such big problems in the scheme of things. I'm not saying the problems we face aren't real, but when you look at what the majority of the world is facing, we have it really easy. I'm not totally sure when it all started, but the video below seemed to give fuel to the conversations.
I live in a weird paradox most of the time. While I live in a third world country and work for a ministry that helps people in a similar situation (or at least a similar level), I really don't face their problems. I am still very much in the first world problem mindset. My friends and I talk about it often. As frustrated as we can be about things that don't work how we want and that we don't have the ease and access we would in the West, we are still very blessed.
Having said that, sometimes we have to laugh at the "problems" we face. This is not to ignore the truth about the problems that are faced around the world. Not at all. In a weird way, it reminds us of how blessed we are and how our "problem" really isn't a problem. So my friends and I started tweeting amongst ourselves. 140 characters to describe first world problems in third world countries. #FWPTWC
I'm not sure if some of these will make sense if you've never lived outside of the US or if they'll even be funny (hopefully not offensive), but I thought I'd share them anyway. And really...it's more so that I don't have to dig through my twitter in the future if I want to remember them. :) (I apologize for the volume. Don't feel you have to read them all.)
Note: I apologize that you're just getting this story now because it really was a great day, but somehow it got into the drafts folder and just never quite got out. Until now.
A few weeks ago (ok so a couple months ago), I told you about the amazing impact our Good Friday service had on me. Two days later, we had an Easter service I'll never forget.
This country has been implementing rolling blackouts for the last couple months. It rotates hour by hour which part of the grid gets shut off. We never know when or for how long, but we know our turn is always coming. Around Easter, it was being fairly consistent. One hour a night from somewhere between 6-8 PM.
Because the church I attend rents space at another church and because this country works on Sundays, our Easter service was scheduled for 7:00 PM. Being the good Westerners we are, we started the service right on time. The band was a little bigger this night because of the special day and they were clearly ready to lead a great worship service. We started off with a peppy "HE'S RISEN!" type of song and half way through the first song...
No lights. No sound. No video projector. Darkness.
Interesting timing, huh? Here we are. A couple hundred people are ready to celebrate the resurrected King Jesus. We are excited. We've prepared ourselves for a joyous celebration. And here we sit in darkness.
That moment sunk in deep that day. How often do we break through the darkness of Good Friday in our lives, ready to celebrate the joy of Easter, only to be thrown back into darkness? The evil one wants us to wallow in darkness. He wants us to feel alone and without hope. He wants us to give up and say, "well...I guess I'll try again another day."
But there's hope in the darkness. There is joy amidst the darkness. There is a greater story to be told when you have to fight through the darkness.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who
called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
- 1 Peter 2:9
"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
- 1 John 1:5b
The thing I love about Christian community is that we don't let things like darkness get us down. When we stand together in truth, focused on the King of kings, darkness doesn't stop us from praising our God.
When the darkness hit on Easter Sunday, we had two choices: pack up and leave or sing louder. Without having to say a word, we sang louder. We found cell phones, flashlights, and headlamps to illuminate the guitarist's music. We worshiped. We danced. We rejoiced in knowing He's alive.
And I kind of wonder if those in the neighborhood could hear the truth of Jesus all the more clearly because the power was out. Windows were opened to let the cool air in. Air conditioners, televisions and computers weren't drowning out the sounds from outside. Maybe...just maybe...what we thought was the evil one trying to stop us was actually Jesus trying to make sure a few more people heard the truth.
"...even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."
- Psalm 139:12
"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
- John 1:5
"For God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in
our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.'"
- 2 Corinthians 4:6
I keep getting great ideas for blogs. They seem like I could go on forever on various topics. Unfortunately, these ideas seem to surface as I'm crawling into bed much later than I should have. (Perfect example? Tonight. It's 12:54 AM and I'm still awake. Dumb.)
Not wanting to forget these great ideas, I start draft pages. You know. Topic...quick thoughts so I remember later...and "SAVE!"
Later never seems to come, though. My draft box is filling up quicker than my inbox and that, my friends, is a problem.
I'm making it my goal to empty out the draft folder by the end of the weekend. That's Saturday night here, by the way. So in the words of my dad, "hold your horses." The blogs will be coming soon.
You know you've lived in this country for a while when:
a simple girl on a