Friday, December 12, 2008

The Flipside: Bouncing Back

I think people get uneasy when they hear me express problems or negative emotions because i naturally a more positive person. The last few posts have been more emotionally driven and i hope people realize that. In the world around me there is so much more going on:

I have friends and a community at cession|community that i know support me and have my back. That has been really nice to know. Even last night i just came from a BBQ at the Jones' new place. (this is an old picture, since i don't have my camera, but a few of us in this picture were there.)
-Although i do not accept everything since i want people to give generously but rationally, it has been encouraging to have had more than enough offers of people wanting to help in whatever way possible in trying to replace items including teens wanting to put money together for an ipod and share their unused PlayStation 2, to Paul buying me the backpack, to a friend offering to help with a camera, to family offering to help with the computer, etc.
-It is not about money or even replacing everything i had, but the generosity and support has been amazing.

-I have also had a lot of people asking if i am okay. When you get comments like this you hope it is not because your face is so forlorn or because you look terrible, but it is good to know so many people are concerned and praying.

This week has also been very positive. People have been very understanding in giving me my space and allowing me to work and put things back into place. There will always be new problems, but i do feel back in step with life. It has also been interesting that i have been studying and prepping for a message on joy this Sunday!

Three things that have come out of this:
1. Insight: Talking to Rod Mackay last night, he made two insightful comments into my life. He asked, "When Satan attacks, you seem to be brought down quickly so what is your backup plan for these times?" He also said, "I have this vision of you starting fires. You are a fire starter." Very interesting and good insight.
I also got switched phones a few days prior and randomly decided to write:
"God is My Help"

on the background of my screen. It is amazing how God can lead our thoughts and hands even without us knowing it.

2. Schedule: I have been praying for a more steady schedule and although the robbery set me back initially, it has also allowed me to get a lot more into place in my life as a whole.

3. Scripture: God usually speaks in times like this:
John 16:33 has been close to my heart
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

A friend just shared with me: 1 Timothy 6:17
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Also Psalm 3 has meant a lot to me.

Thanks for your prayers and concern.
God has been good in this time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Answer to Prayer

If you get a chance check out this video. It is shaky, it is not a high quality video, and nothing special, but it was a critical moment. I was at a low point here in New Zealand. During my last trip to New Zealand there was a time where everything went wrong. I was worn out to the point of wanting to quit, when i attended church at Shoregrace that Sunday night and received the encouragement and reaffirmation from my family in Christ. God was faithful.

This video above was last Saturday, after a week of being mentally and physically exhausted after trying to get things back into place after the robbery. I was exhausted after a full day of activities and planned to go home and crash Saturday night. For some reason i was prompted to invite Heidi, Rachel, and the teens over to the place. In a moment when i couldn't take much more for the week, the family of Christ pulled through again. We turned on Christmas music, decorated a little bit, ate snacks, and just hung out, much like my family Christmases back home. It was just what i needed and had been praying for, so i picked up Heidi's camera and recorded this! God is still faithful

One Cultural Observations: Eye Contact

I naturally tend to want to acknowledge the presence of anyone around me guy or girl , so if i ever pass someone walking in the mall or drive up next to them at a light, i will usally look over and do a small "whatsup" nod and smile if we make eye contact. People don't like that here in general!
I don't think you are expected to make eye contact with strangers.
When i usally look around in my car when i come to a red light, most people here seem to just look forward.

When i do acknowledge strangers here, people's body language or response usually says:
"What do you want?"
"What are you looking at?" or
"Who do you think you are?" lol

When i was in the US it seemed accepted as more normal or just being cordial, but here i have cars trying to race me, guys staring me down, and girls thinking i am a creep!

I need to work on that.

It's weird when i believe in who i am, and the pure intent behind my actions
but i have to withhold natural responses at times because they will be accepted differently by a different culture.
It is not a matter of being untrue to myself, but sacrificing for the better good...
Helping people here...
and not getting beat up!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Got Robbed Followup

The police fingerprint crew came and didn't find anything, so the burglars must've worn gloves
We reported all the details of the stolen items, but the chances are slim that we will see them again.
Graeme and I both were pretty tired at the end of this week, probably because of the robbery among other things.
People have been very generous and supportive in offering temporary solutions: laptops, mp3 players, a playstation 2, etc.
The Negatives
I wouldn't call me spacey normally, but i have left more people hanging, missed people right in front of my face, and forgotten to do things way more than usual. My brain has just been out of it.
Sad Expectation:
Graeme and i both have less than fun feeling that it will happen again. Not realistically, but everytime i walk out to my car or walk up to the house it is almost like i just expect a window to be smashed in.
Mentally tired:
I was just tired, man! I have had people concerned because i have seemd "tired" and wornout the past week. On Saturday i was asked to go two different places for lunch. I was literally so drained i didn't want to have to choose, so i went home and took a nap instead.
Guard Down:
Usually you can process things in perspective, but when you are tired your guards are down and there were a few comments made towards me that i could normally brush off, but just sat longer simply because i didn't have the ability to bounce back.
Low Point:
Exhaustion, strain, stress, responsibilities, guards down, and lack of my calendaring tools in my life accumulated this week and left me pretty low. I finished a youth rally Saturday night ready to go home alone. Instead i felt inclined to invite Heidi, Rachel, & the teens from the last youth group i worked with at Shoregrace over....

The Positives
Family & Christmas:
Inviting the teens over, putting on Christmas music, and just hanging out was so therapeudic for me! It was just what i needed and was the closest i felt to it getting close to Christmas with the ambiance and people i enjoy just hanging out together.

Mom and Jen, I put your gifts to use.... i decided to use the rings as decoration and the calendar as the countdown. Love you family and miss you guys.
The Church Body:
Both this time and when i hit a HUGE low the last time in New Zealand, it has been a group of Christian family that have brought me back up. It was encouraging words at a church service at night the first time and this time it was just having a glimpse of home and family.
A Backpack:
My friend Paul, bought me a nice backpack to replace the one stolen. It may have been a small thing, but it meant a lot and is probably the nicest backpack i have ever had!
I have to admit i am not good at being helped. I tend to try and fix my own life, so it has been good for me to have people from Cession, GP, and even Shoregrace come beside and ask for ways to help. It is good to not feel alone. Also it is helping me to learn how to let others help instead of trying to fix it on my own which is hard to do at times.

The verse i have been quoting constantly has been John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Did I miss Chatter Rings in the US?

I will update you a little more on the robbery tomorrow, but tonight i was introduced to chatter rings

You spin the small rings and then keep them spinning while doing tricks with the bigger ring.
Here is a Quick Clip on YouTube if you are interested

Apparently it was big here in New Zealand in the 90's. Did this go through the US and i miss it or was it not big there?

Monday, December 01, 2008

My New Zealand Complaints

This blog may make me look like a spoiled American, but
I don't like the telecom vodafone war... and the way they rip you off
I don't like that calling people is not cheaper
I don't like the fact that there you have to pay for internet by the Gig
I don't like the right of way rule when driving.

Those are my complaints. That is what i would change if i could.