Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trip to Guatemala

Hey there, do you ever find yourself saying "where did this last week go?" not because you didn't do anything but rather because you did so much and it all just flew by? Yah, that is kinda what this last week was like; and I enjoyed ever minute of it!

Two Fridays ago, the 19th, I headed out to Guatemala where I got to lead worship for a missions trip that a group of kids from Camden, Alabama were going on. I cannot possibly recount everything that happened, it would take a years worth of blogs, but I figured I would summarize the week and throw up some pics and video for you to check out.

The trip started with an early morning haul out to the Detroit airport thanks to my good friends Moses, Stefan, and Amanda. Oh, and I can't forget Nichole for letting us borrow her car! (In retrospect that is kinda funny, apparently it takes four GBC students to drive a car... hmm... lol) It was around 10:00 that night when I finally landed in Guatemala City where I met up with Gary, the project leader for the trip. the two of us crashed at a hotel in town and got up to meet the group of hicks from Alabama the next day. After picking up the group, we loaded everybody into a couple vans and drove through the mountains for a good four hours to Lake Atitlan. This a beautiful lake that is in a crater/valley between several volcanoes (one of which I got to see go off while we were there!) We stayed in one of the many towns on the edge of the lake, this one was called San Pedro.

The group from Alabama had come down to share the love of Jesus with some of the kids in Guatemala, but I think they would all agree with me in saying that we came back receiving just as much from the experience as we could dish out. Most of the days were filled with doing kids programs at schools, churches, and other random places in the towns surrounding the Lake. It was a blessing to watch the group from Alabama getting more and more involved and engaged with the kids as the week went by. You could just see that God was at work in their own lives. At one point during the week we split off and just spent a part of the morning on our own in prayer reflecting on the week and asking God what he wanted to do through us. It was neat to hear some of the kids responses like "I think I need to become more bold in my faith" and "I think I'm supposed to give away a bunch of my clothes to people here that need them." The events that followed were truly some moments of faith in action.

Aside from doing the kids programs throughout the week, we got to spend a little time just enjoying the culture of Guatemala. This brought on a lot of neat experiences, like whizzing around corners of mountain roads while standing in the back of a pickup, drinking some roasted-that-day coffee at a cafe in town, eating the best ice cream I've ever had, racing in "tut-tuts" (a taxi that is kind of more like a four-wheeler with a canopy on it), learning some Spanish, and a host of other things. I edited together the video below from a bunch of clips I recorded throughout the week. I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movies with elemenatry kids, tight-rope walkers, and deep-fried goodness!

             Ahh... a relaxing Sunday evening at Lemonjello's... :) Its been a pretty good week, not too much to complain about! Right now I'm working on finding a ride to the Detroit airport this friday, I'm heading way down south to Guatemala for a missions trip I get to lead worship for and be a part of. I'm starting to get really excited for that! I actually met a guy at a church I visited today whose dad used to live right by the main area we will be at for a while. Pretty sweet stuff! I'll have to throw some pictures up when I get back.

             This last Friday I got to hang out with a bunch of kids from the tutoring program to just have some fun! We usually do an activity night once a month as a "good behavior reward night" for the kids who have been doing their homework and staying out of trouble. So, this time around we had a movie night. There isn't much quite like lumping together twenty-something elementary and jr. high kids with a ton of popcorn and a couple animated flicks. We watched "Space Chimps" and "Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs" (If you are thinking about checking out either of them, I would definitely go for the meatballs...) Other than the fact that I think we will be picking popcorn out of the couch cushions for a month or so, it was a blast!

              Last night I was out at my church, the Edge Urban Fellowship, I had a couple guys from the mission come along with me. Pastor Troy was talking about dealing with doubt. It was a great reminder of God's faithfulness and how we need to just step out and move when God is calling us to do something, even if we cant see Him moving at the present moment. Sometimes we let our 'thinking' get in the way of what God wants to do with us. 
              I heard an analogy recently on that subject that really struck home with me. It was about a tight-rope walker who set his rope up in the middle of town and did a bunch of awesome tricks as he walked back and forth; striking awe into everyone's eyes as they watched the death-defying miraculous feats he was able to perform. As the tight rope walker continued, his crowd of followers grew. Eventually, the tight-roper looked out over the crowd and asked: "How many of you believe I can walk across this tight rope while pushing a wheelbarrow?" the crowd of people excitedly cheered and yelled "We believe you can do it!" After the roaring crowd quieted down, the man then asked, "Since you all believe I can do it, then I need one of you to volunteer to get in the wheelbarrow" As you can probably imagine, no one volunteered...

The question to be asked is how often do we see this happen in our own lives? We hear stories of awesome things that God has done. We read about them in the Bible, send them in email forwards; we even sing songs at the top of our lungs about how great God is and how he can do the impossible. But; when it comes time for us to take some risk and get in the wheelbarrow, we don't tend to be so excited... I challenge you to think of what areas in your life God may be asking you to hop in His wheelbarrow... He's promised to take care and push us across; all we need to do is hop in for the ride. Will you step out in faith and embrace the awesome potential of what might lie ahead? or will you quietly dissipate and shroud away in the backdrop of the crowd?
              On the way back from the Edge we found this sweet little convenience store/deep fried joint and got some spicy garlic perch! That place was awesome, they had just about everything you would want to fry sitting out in a deli window, all battered up, just waiting for someone to come along and eat it! Fortunately, last night that someone was me :) I'm a little bummed I'm gonna have to miss the next five Saturday nights of church, my weekend schedule is pretty packed with music stuff for the next month, which IS a good thing :) it just means I will be missing all my people at the Edge for a bit :(

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ridiculous weekend of music and speaking dates; topped off by a dodgeball tournament!

What a relaxing Monday!!! And it has been much needed after a BUSY weekend! I had a total of six events I had scheduled in the three short days of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! It all started Friday morning when I was at Grace Bible College to lead worship for their chapel, then that night I was playing Guitars for my boy Beacon Light (Christian Rap artist out of Grand Rapids, MI). We were opening up for D-Maub, Everyday Process, and R-swift on the "Hand Of God Tour" at the Edge Urban Fellowship in Grand Rapids (The hip-hop church I attend on Sat. nights) After the show, I didn't get back to my room at the mission till about 2:00 in the morning, and I had an engagement at one of the supporting churches of my youth ministry at 8:00 am... So I went and hung out with some of the good people at Parkside Bible Church and when that was done it was back to the Edge to play guitar for our weekly Sat. night "session" (or church service). The next morning, Sunday, It was back to Parkside again where I got the awesome priveledge to share with their high school and jr. high Sunday school classes, as well as speak in their morning service about Rock Youth Ministries. After things wrapped up at Parkside; I drove out to Grand Rapids to pick up Beacon Light and our drummer Alvin so we could head out to Lansing, MI where we again did a set as part of the "Hand Of God Tour" I got back in the wee hours of the morning and collapsed thankfully on my bed.... oh what an amazing feeling that was!

I slept in this morning for a bit before heading over to my office and getting caught up on some things, and then this evening I got to hang out with one of the fith graders from my youth program. They were having a big town-wide dodgeball tournament at Holland High School! They put together teams from the different elementary schools, and threw down! It was quite epic to watch two herds of elementary school students swarm at each other like a stampeding herd and the chaos that soon erupted as a result! Afterwards, I went and got some Mickey D's with the student I had brought with me and got a chance to catch up with him a bit.

But now my coffee shop I get internet from is closing and they are about to kick me out... So, until next time, keep it real!