Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my Light.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King,
And Jesus, listening, can hear
The songs I cannot sing.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is springtime in my soul today,
For, when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart,
The flowers of grace appear.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is gladness in my soul today,
And hope and praise and love,
For blessings which He gives me now,
For joys “laid up” above.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with others when they rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom. Never try to get revenge: leave that, my dear friends, to the Retribution. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine—I will pay them back, the Lord promises. And more: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat, if thirsty, something to drink. By this you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good. Romans 12:14–21
True worth is doing each day some little good, not dreaming of great things to do by and by.    

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wedding Cake!

I made a wedding cake this week and I thought I'd share some pictures here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Light In The Darkness

Serving food at Casa Esperanza in El Salvador.  It's the Hope House in English and it's a homeless shelter/soup kitchen.

When we were in El Salvador, a lot of what we did was to visit what the Lutheran church is doing in that country.  One of the places we visited was Casa Esperanza, also known as the Hope House.  It's in a rough part of town and helps those who are homeless by giving them meals, medical care, teaching them skills and, when possible, giving them items to use for personal hygiene.

Maria Trinidad is a beautiful woman who has been through so much.  Two of her children were murdered, as was her husband.  Her husband and child were murdered by the government during the war and her one son was murdered by gangs about a year ago. 

She runs Casa Esperanza and also works at Casa Concordia (where the missionaries stay) and IS.  NOT.  PAID.  She is not paid for what she does running both houses (but this is a whole different blog post).  With her at Casa Esperanza are two German missionaries.  We sat down and spoke with them.  All three spoke about the hardships of keeping Casa Esperanza open and of the help of the churches that we all come from.

Helmut, the name of the German missionary said to us, "I would rather light a candle than complain about the darkness."

We had devotionals in the evening and, one of the first nights, the power went out and we had our devotional by candle light.  Our group decided to stick with the candles.  After Casa Esperanza, one of our members was talking about how hard it would be to be here and he felt at a loss about what he could do to help.

I know that feeling too.  How I feel like I should be there, how I feel that I am less loved because I live in America.  All the thoughts that I know aren't true, but that find their way into my thoughts anyway.

I thought about it for a moment and said, "Maybe it's not our job to light another candle, but maybe it's our job to help make their candle brighter."

I often find myself trapped by the idea that I am not doing enough.  In the end, none of us can ever do "enough."  And we are not saved by that "enough" either.  I always have liked the story of Zacchaeus.  Jesus loved Zacchaeus where he was and when Zacchaeus said that he would give half of his money to the poor, Jesus didn't say, "Come on, you know you could do better."  Jesus says that Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham.

We are one body in Christ and where would we be without all the parts?  I often forget these things and I find myself panicking, thinking that I am not worthy or worthwhile.  But generosity is a spiritual gift and that is something that I need to keep in mind.  In this time and this place, it is not my job to light another candle, but it is my job - and my honor - to help make someone else's candle burn brighter. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Universal Language - Live

Of course, there is always video of your most ridiculous moments.  And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't share?! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

El Salvador In 60 Seconds

On the last day of our trip to El Salvador, we went to the ocean to really think about what we had witnessed and to talk it through with everyone.

One of our co-leaders told us that, when most people ask us about our trip, they really just want to hear one to two minutes.  So I wrote for one to two minutes...but then I realized that everyone was still writing, so I went back and wrote a second testimony.  But I really liked the first one better, so I thought I'd share it with you.

El Salvador is like Iglesia El Rosario.

Here it is.

To the outsider, it is ugly, dirty and unwanted, especially since it is so close to the National Cathedral.

Here's the National Cathedral:

The National Cathedral is a clean building and it certainly looks like what a church should be, unlike the Iglesia El Rosario.

But if you decide to take a moment to step inside the Iglesia El Rosario, instead of just walking past, you will be amazed.

The inside is still rough and somewhat worn, but you will be surprised by the unexpected beauty and the faith found there.

It is unconventional.  And many will judge it before the inside is ever seen.  But those who have seen it know what they would have missed if they had chosen the National Cathedral instead.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Universal Language

Here's another post from El Salvador, while I'm in Hong Kong :)

Sure, I couldn´t entirely understand what they were saying, but actions (and hand motions) speak louder than words.  And their laughter was contagious.

It was a pizza party for over 40 people and I was sitting at the end of the table with Caesar (our driver), his sisters Mari and Alba, his mother Marie Trinidad (an astounding woman) as well as Alex and Jeff from Lord of Life, Rosie and Sarah from Advent and a few children.  Mari and Alba, to use a phrase, are hell on wheels and their mischeviousness is evident, even if you don´t speak Spanish.  They were screaming down the table, breaking up conversations, trying to get Edwin - one of the teenagers here - to break dance.  Edwin had turned them down multiple times and, in the spur of the moment, I volunteered with, ¨If he break dances, I´ll break dance.¨

Let´s take a minute and pause here.  I am the whitest white girl you´ll ever meet.  Though I did classical and broadway jazz for something like 8 years, the only grace I have is from God and it certainly doesn´t involve my feet.  What I´m getting myself into, I´m not sure.

After a few minutes with Pastor Matias and Pastor Martina, our small group headed over to an area behind the Lutheran synod office where a boom box had been set up.  Edwin sits with his beanie and one black glove - he is prepared for this.  Rosie helps translate and I pump myself up.  I tell her that I want him to go first because I´m going to make him look bad.  It takes a few moments and he gets it.  He looks so intense and it seems that he believes that I can actually break dance.

The music starts and he is KILLING it.  I work for MTV and I often watch the shows and he could be on America´s Next Best Dance Crew.  He´s doing flips and it´s impressive.  He finishes and points for me to go.  I bring out the attitude, because that´s about all I have and throw myself on the ground and flop around.

From what I´ve been told, Edwin´s face was priceless.  There is video and I´m sure it will be shared at both of our congregations. 

Then Julie was pulled up and then Bill and soon, we were all dancing.  Not just the Americans, but also the Salvadorean children and the students that stay at Casa Concordia.  Kelly learned to salsa.  We found that Bill is a really good square dancer.  Edwin astounded us with the meringue.

Salvadoreans are dancing with Americans.  There is laughter.  It no longer matters that we don´t speak the same language.  What could be better than that?

Friday, July 1, 2011


I was in El Salvador this past week on a mission trip and I updated that blog with a few posts and I wanted to share them with you!  So here's some of what I experienced in El Salvador

Let us have faith;
all this will pass away
like a national nightmare,
and we shall awake to the Lord´s great feast,
Let us be filled with this hope.
- Monsignor Oscar Romero
October 15, 1978


When the Carmelite nun stood in front of the altar where Oscar Romero was murdered - or as the glittering letters beside the large crucifix said, "where...Oscar Romero offered his life to God" - and asked us for one word that described Father Romero, that was the first word to pop into my head.  Faithful.

Faithful to a lot of things.  Faithful to his people and, most importantly, faithful to God and His word.  Faithful to the point of death.

The front of the chapel where he was murdered is covered in windows, where you can watch cars stream by.  The nun told us about how Romero had received death threats.  Descriptive death threats.  Death threats for that day.  She told us how, he probably watched as the car drove up and stopped at the door of the church, how Romero must have known what that car was there for.  But he was faithful and as he had to have watched as the car window rolled down, Romero had to have known wwhat was to come next.  And he remained faithful. 

The nun turned to us and said that the word that we had thought about Monsignor Romero was something that was also inside of us.  That the word we had imagined for this great martyr was also a seed contained inside of us.

As a delegation, we are faithful, probably more faithful than I first imagined.  We sat down with a pastor from the Lutheran church and Bill (a member of our delegation) asked what our presence did for the Salvadorean church.  He said we were angels and that we had listened to God´s call in our lives.  We were faithful.

It has been a hard day.  We have stared at bloodied clothing, cried over pictures of murdered men and women who suffered unspeakable torture and been humbled by the heart of a people who are bowed down so low.  And I think, what can I contribute?  With wounds so large, I stare and wonder, what can I do to heal them?  And honestly, there is nothing I can do, except offer to walk with them and share in the horror that they felt they were alone in.  You have to take each step in faith with the same faithfulness that Oscar Romero displayed in his life and his death.

I am no martyr, but I know that if I can keep the hope and the faith, like the Salvadoreans I have met, I can be assured of the Lord´s great feast, just like Romero was.