Saturday, February 28, 2015

I am a Christian woman (poem) - "Tafadswa's Smile"

In 2010, while I was in college & while Kam was in Oman, I wrote & read a couple poems at a Poetry Slam. (The Old Factory Coffee Shop hosted monthly poetry slams that I was always in attendance and finally got the courage to enter.) I made it two rounds. The first poem I read was called "I am a Christian woman."

It's a bit angsty.

I wrote it during a time when I was craving more. I was seeking adventures in Christ (as I do today). I was feeling judged for wanting to act out God's love instead of study & debate it in class.

As this trip to Zim is approaching, I find myself thinking about this poem again.
Tafadswa's Smile

I am a Christian woman

I read the Bible – sometimes
Pray to Jesus and go to church
I don’t swear. I don’t smoke. I don’t disrespect my folks
I don’t have slave, sex, or an iphone

But on occasion
I drink alcohol
I eat too much
I kiss my boyfriend
and I listen to pop music
so what. Stone me.

I am a Christian woman
I have a calling from God.
And He has called me His child
He’s said “Child, I love you. Now Go. Love me”

And I went
Japan, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Denver, New Orleans, the DR, Orange City
and I’ve seen stuff
too much stuff. What have you seen?
The mini Eiffel tower? The Caribbean? Starfish in the sea?
the long neck of a giraffe? An elephant who thinks she’s a water buffalo – now that’s funny!
What about extreme wealth? What about extreme poverty?
the burns on a child’s bare foot
the tears from the eyes of a newly widowed mother of 9
the beating heart of a 2 pound baby, beating slower and slower until --- nothing
I’ve seen bloated starving toddlers; a retina blastoma the size of a melon and that can’t get surgery because his father doesn’t feel like getting blood tested
I’ve met a girl – 12 years old- who dropped out of school because a man of 40 took her as a wife
I’ve me a boy of 10 who looks like he’s 5 because he does get enough to eat
but his smile. Tafadswa’s smile. That smile can break your heart – break it into a million pieces and mend it back together. Because behind that smile is where Jesus lives.

--He lives behind the smiles of starving children
In the eyes of widowed women
In the feet of the man who hikes mountains every week to preach the gospel to the ears.
the ears where Jesus lives – screaming His love

But you.
You sit at home, breathing in Jesus like me
judging people like me
--Why? Because I think living the Word of God
is more important than studying it
because I love the homeless, the orphans, and the widows
because I am an independent Christian woman
and study evolution in Biology class, and will go to the ends of the earth to spread the love of God.
and why?

Love. Because Jesus loves.
he loves the orphan, the widow, the prostitute, and the demon possessed.
the ones who don’t deserved to be loved.
and you.
and me.
and in return I go. I see. I cry. I smile. I shout. I hurt.
and most of all I love.
Because I
am a Christian woman.

As you can see, Tafadswa's smile is something special.

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I am linking this post to Stories from a Missionary Link-Up over on the blog Mulling Over My Morning Coffee.
Mulling Over My Morning Coffee

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Top 3 Worship Songs

We've been in the car a lot lately, and these tunes have helped pass the time. Take a listen!

"Joy" by Rend Collective
...actually anything by them. Please do yourself a favor and listen to their music. We've also enjoyed their rendition of some traditional hymns.

"Everything I Own" by Jason Gray
We were introduced to this song just a couple of weeks ago at pre-departure orientation in Chicago by a lovely couple heading to Japan in order to encourage locals to create Christian worship music in modern Japanese styles.

"Sovereign Over Us" by Aaron Keyes
We learned this song again at TEAM orientation in Tennessee last summer. Learn the story of the song.

So that's it. 3 songs we've recently fallen in love with. Join the discussion. What are you listening to lately?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Northwestern College – revisited. (Dewitt Learning Commons)

On our road trip to Chicago for Pre-departure Orientation (PDO), we spent a weekend in Orange City, IA – home of Northwestern College, our alma mater. I lived there for five years, and Kameron for three. It is the town where we got married. Where we grew up. Where had the best & worst of times. Where we questioned & strengthened our faith. Where we learned the importance of getting uncomfortable for the glory of God. Where we lived in community for better or worse. Where we began to strive for something new.

It was great to be back.

We hadn’t been there for about 2.5 years, since our road trip to New Jersey back in summer 2012, right after our graduation. & you wouldn’t think much has changed in that small amount of time… but you’d be surprised!

We only spent an hour on campus giving ourselves a self-guided tour, but it was enough time to learn that it was a completely different place than when we had lived there only a few years before.

There was one new building. One dorm completely vanished. Another completely redesigned for another purpose. The cafeteria was remodeled. The student work-out gym was improved beyond any comparison. Plans were displayed for a new sports complex.

For most of my years at NWC, there was talk, preparations, & a lot of “hype” for the Dewitt Learning Commons. It would take the place of the library, tutor center, learning center, and some classrooms. It would have a coffee shop, plenty of study spaces, and be aesthetically pleasing. By the time we graduated, the Learning Commons was nothing but a big bit in the middle of campus.

*insert any Middle Earth/Mordor/Ork birthplace joke here*

But, oh my! What a building it is. Makes me a bit jealous that I am not a student using the space.

On the other hand.
The Learning Commons attracts a different kind of student than I or my classmates. It is fancy. We were not. It is clean. We were not. It is shiny. We were not. It is modern. We were not. – The drab aesthetic of the Ramaker Library fit the class of 2011 (& 2012) in a way that the Learning Commons does. I think we would have had the same reaction as we did with the RSC, the student center.

But it would be fun to send our kids there one day.

& come back for reunions and time of reminiscing.

And no trip back to NWC would be complete without a picture in front of Fern Fountain.

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