Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

Yesterday Christians around the world celebrated the single most important day in the Christian calendar: the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. His death on the cross on Good Friday served as the payment for the sins of the whole world who would believe in Him, and His return to life the following Sunday, Easter, grants eternal life to those same believers. Since this day was THE pivotal day in human history, I am more passionately against the commercialization of this holy day than I am against the commercialization of the birth of this same Lord, which is celebrated on Christmas. Christmas is a very important day to Christians, to be sure, but it's rightful place is #2, not number one. So why do we treat Christmas with so much more... joy and preparation? Granted, Advent is a much more fun season of preparation than Lent is, to be sure. But it is still a travesty that the world thinks that Easter is about celebrating the return of warm weather and of spring, that it's about bunnies and chicks and jelly beans, malted milk balls and pastel colors. Jesus is the reason for this season, too.

Exciting adventures in the past week:
Tuesday I went to the Joslyn Art Museum and to the Old Market in Omaha with friend Liz Makowski. That was a good time. I got to see some really neat art and spend some time having a wonderful, map-less adventure in downtown Omaha with Liz. It was a delight.

Wednesday, my brother, sister-in-law, and I went to the Husker baseball game against Arkansas. The Huskers lost, but it was a great day out, and a great evening in. We spent part of the evening hanging out with friends of theirs from Concordia who had just returned to Seward after their spring break choir tour.

Saturday I went shopping with my sister-in-law, Stephanie. We found almost nothing that we really had to have, that we had to spend our money on. But, again, we got to spend some good, quality time together.

Sunday I played my trumpet with the hymns at church, just as I have every year for the past 9 years (with the exception of Easter 2006 when I was in Mexico). I really enjoy playing for church, but I think that the people at church enjoy it more than I do. That might be the last time that I ever play for the Easter service at St. John's- Cordova. That is a sad thought. One of the church ladies thanked me for playing, and said that she thought that I didn't have my visa yet so that I could play for Easter. I made a joke that on Monday I would receive my visa in the mail. Well, I didn't get my visa in the mail today, so I'm still around for now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Desert Trial

I would like to take the time to be honest with you about how I'm doing. I won't be brutally honest, because I think it would be immensely foolish of me to put that much of myself out for the entire universe to read.

Many people have been asking me how I'm doing. My answer has generally been "alright" or "okay." But really, my spirits, on a scale from one to ten, are at about one and a half. There is something about sitting around with nothing to do for three months that really saps a person. I really tried, really, to be productive and to teach myself Czech and to practice my trumpet and to steep myself in Lutheran and Reformed theology. I really did. But there comes a point, after being delayed time and again, when there is no accountability, no sense of purpose, no motivation, no one to talk to, nothing to talk to my parents about... One can only read so much, one can only go jogging so much, one can only watch so much tv or play so much spider solitaire or play with the cat so much, one can only sleep so much. It begins to really erode one's stamina.

I have been characterizing my lack of productive activity to the inquirers as laziness. This is not true. I am not lazy. I simply have no desire, no motivation, no reason to do all the things that I so meant to do.

Today I had a wonderful opportunity to escape the house for a reason today, and had the chance to speak with a friend of mine. He expressed his deep sympathy and called this period in my life a "desert trial." I took this to be an allusion to Christ's 40 days in the desert following His baptism (appropriate, since we are in the season of Lent). Something about that really resonated with me. I experience long stretches of this dry, dusty, cracked style of living that I am going through, and then occasional oasis pops up-- a weekend away with my family, a visit to a friend, the rare "beautiful day"-- and I drink deeply at it, but I must press on.

So, please pray for me. Please give me words of encouragement. If you see me and I tell you that I'm fine, don't believe me; I'm probably actually miserable. Please pray that my visa comes soon and that I can go fulfill the plans God has been preparing me for. Be an oasis.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On Hold

Another five weeks have passed since I spent any time blogging. I suppose that I would prefer to only write on the blog when I have something noteworthy, something that people would actually like to read, something that speaks about actual mission work or about some sort of spiritual progress or epiphany on my part, occurs. I have decided that I should abandon the hope of only writing about thrilling or inspiring subjects because my life isn't all that exciting right now, and I don't want this to be a stagnant, neglected blog, no matter how boring. After all, I don't want you to give up reading now while my life is steeped in ennui and end up missing out on all of the things I will write about God's amazing work while I'm in the Czech Republic.

The most noteworthy things in my life lately: I've read some C.S. Lewis. That maybe doesn't sound too noteworthy, but for me, Lewis has a refreshing way of writing about God that reminds me of just how Big and Wonderful He is. It was good for me to read The Great Divorce. I highly recommend it. It was only about 150 pages and I read it in about three hours.
I have been getting fairly regular exercise, something I find vital to my sanity. It is so wonderful to go running through town, jogging to TobyMac, and just burning off all my pent-up energy. I also have spent time traveling on the weekends: a weekend in Ames, IA with my best friend Sandi, last weekend in Kearney with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law watching the cranes, and this coming weekend a trip to St. Paul, MN for the wedding of my dear, dear friend Elise.

I finally sent out my first missionary newsletter last week. Most of the information contained therein can also be found in this blog. However, if you would like to receive my newsletter, please email me at indicating as much.