Friday, February 09, 2007

near... far...

(if you know what childhood show the title is from, you win.)

Who is your neighbor?

That's what has been asked lately, along with some insight on the good Samaritian story. Jeramie and Jeff have both had really good things to say. And there have been some cool discussions as a result.

Lately, I've been torn between being here in the States or being in sub-Saharan Africa.

Either way, I have a pretty rough idea of what God will have me doing. I'm not real worried about that. It's just a question of where.

[As a side note, I don't often like people to know that I went to NC State. It has nothing to do with sports. In fact, I don't want people to know that I have too much education. I'd much rather be seen as a godly woman rather than a career woman. Long story short, God has long since been leading me to meet people's needs. I have the ability to create spaces and built environments that can help other people help people. I don't do relational ministry. I'm not a teacher. I'm not a doctor or a nurse. But I can help those people change the world.]

Seeing poverty here in the US is hard because it's in stark contrast to most of the rest of us. How can the richest, most powerful country in the whole world have people who are going hungry? It's hard to see people go to work and struggle to keep their families fed and warm. But I'm not sure how I fit into making a difference. I don't do politics or policy. I'm not good at relational things, which is what I'm finding is a huge need here: some people to take the time to invest in a person's life and help teach them and encourage them toward some good decisions. Are there plenty of ways that I can help those people do that? Probably. But thus far, I haven't had the opportunity to do so. (Maybe not entirely true. The project I designed just needs funding. And is held up in city policy limbo.)

I don't know if it's frustration with the way poverty is handled here or if God is leading my heart in a different direction.

Here's where the confusion sets in: I leave for Africa in a few weeks. And I am more excited than I can possibly handle. I get to do what I've been talking about for so long. The more I read about Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan, the more I know that I cannot possibly stay here. I wish I could explain it better. Maybe God will explain it to me while I'm there.

Because that's almost a total 180 from what I've been up to the past few years. A while back, some of us started hanging out around Chavis Park near downtown. We've had a few cookouts, done some daycamp, mostly painted a house, and adopted a few families we met. All really great stuff. I guess I kind of started alot of it. I worry that people see me as the local outreach girl. And lately, I haven't been comfortable with that. So I've been real excited to see at least one home group at Visio Dei really jump on getting involved down there. Perhaps all I had to do was get the ball rolling and now other people can take it on without me.

Regardless, I'm here full time for the next few years. I should at least finish my internship hours. (A few more years of experience is probably a good idea. We don't want things falling down on people.) And if I got that far, I should maybe just go ahead and take my AREs. If I'm legal in the US, I should be legit pretty much anywhere.

Ideally, I'd never have to choose. I'd spend part of my year here and part in Africa (and maybe other places.) If poverty is a global problem, why can't I approach it from different angles? Logistically, I have no clue as to how that might actually happen. I think that's the part I'm looking forward to: seeing how God has it all planned out. Because part of that definitely involves some huge life decisions. And that's exciting.

I'm ready for some serious revolution in my life. I think this is a good start.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

cell phones

Generally, in order to get a new cell phone, you have to sign a two year contract.

You have a phone. It probably doesn't work very well. You'd like one that works better. You realize that you could have a better one. You know there are better ones out there.

Instead, you settle.