Friday, December 31, 2004

it is new year's eve!

on this last post of 2004, i rejoice that in my parents' Coshocton home, there are currently 14 of my best friends in my living room and kitchen. they are staying for several days, and life is very, very good.

this evening we will have a spontaneous dance party in the Beatles room, and rejoice that 2004 has been such a lovely year.

happy new year! and i pray your day is filled with pork, sauerkraut, and lots of football :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Praise the LORD!

I got an email from Hannah this morning, and she and Jon are fine! Hoorah! They were headed south towards Kerala, but fortunately, they did not make it that far. Also, praise the Lord, they did not spend the holiday in Sri Lanka or Thailand as they had originally brainstormed.

Whew. I feel relieved...but it's that difficult kind of relief, where you still have to realize that 22,000 people are dead, and that shouldn't be relieving at all.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Praying for Asia.

I'm a bit overwhelmed this morning as I read the news and read about the huge amounts of devastation. I'm thinking and praying about all of these peoples and countries that were wiped flat in a matter of moments.

And I am thinking about and praying for my friends Hannah and Jon, who were spending their Christmas holiday visiting beaches in Southwest India. By looking at the maps of India, it seems that they were probably out of harm's way, but at the same time, I don't know exactly what city they were in when the earthquake occurred, and I know that they intended to visit Kerala sometime during the next two weeks, which is one of the cities that already has a significant death toll. I also don't know, with downed phone lines and such, how long it could be before I hear from them.

So I'm praying for Sri Lanka, for Indonesia, for India, for Thailand, for Maldives, for Malaysia, for Bangladesh, for Burma, for Somalia...and I am praying for Hannah and Jon.

I do not know why things happen as they do....22,000 is such a big number to throw around.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A Very Merry Christmas.

and a Happy New Year.

I hope that you and your family have a very happy holiday. Also--peace on earth, goodwill to men, women, and all species of animals. May your days be filled with enough love and birdseed to make you feel truly blessed.

(Since I'm not with you to tell you a funny Christmas story, you must instead look here.)

Thursday, December 23, 2004


there is ice everywhere...apparently...i don't really know, because the only time i left the house today was to check the mail. i ran down the driveway in my bare feet, and the ice was very pointy and non-user friendly.

then i found out that many parts of ohio are without power because of the ice.

and then i found out that danara is stuck in new york city because there are no flights into columbus because of the ice.

then i lookied outside and saw the ice dangling off the ice-encrusted trees.

then i thought about how it's best not to drive in the ice, considering sean and i's vehicle is sporting a spare tire at the moment and will not maneuver well in the ice.

i'm still dreaming of a white christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

C-o-s-h-o-c-t-o-n !

Coshocton is cool for the following reasons:

#1--Last night, my best friend from High School, Havaleh, and my brother and his friend Nick got to see LeBron and the Cavaliers make a smashing showing against the T-wolves. I realize, though, that this does not inherently make Coshocton cool, since we drove to Cleveland, but Havaleh, Nick and Sean were the main reasons the evening was cool, and they are from Coshocton.

#2--The Serenity Tea House is open, and I have YET to return for my favorite chicken salad, which I have been missing since my last attempt in July. My chicken salad and I will be reunited very soon.

#3--Eastern Standard Time--when you don't adjust your body to a different time zone, it means that I wake up at 11:30a and go to bed at 3am. Apparently, if i keep this up for two weeks, I will have no jet lag.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Snow Days in Coshocton.

Two-thousand Coshocton Kids are rather upset that they only wiggled a 2-hour delay out of today. Even though there's about 3 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is only about ten degrees, they are having school. I laughed this morning when I realized that for the four Baker's, snow days are a moot point. None of us go to school anymore.

So I am in Ohio, and there is snow on the ground, and it IS beautiful. Yesterday when I shouted out, "It's COLD!" Mom reminded me that I asked for a white Christmas....and so, I will complain no longer and just rejoice that I have gotten my wish.

I spent last evening singing Christmas carols to shut-in's with my home church's Youth Group. A few of them really enjoyed Sean and I's rendition of "Carol of the Bells" sung entirely by bears, but other's referred to us as "Conversation Killers." Apparently one of the youth thinks that Sean and I both have the ability to bring up random pieces of information with no relevancy to anything that kill a conversation. I laughed pretty hard, because it's true.

It was good to spend time with kids in Ohio though, and laugh to realize that I really am hanging out with teenagers wherever I go...

Friday, December 17, 2004

I (Heart) E-tickets.

Can I tell you how much I love being able to print off my boarding pass from home?! I do! I love it so much! I just breeze in to the terminal in a reasonable amount of time, with very little waiting in line, and I step onto my flight. Lovely.

Tomorrow at 4:00am, I will roll out of bed and drive myself to Sea-Tac International Airport where I will board my 757 for Ohio.

I have not yet packed a single thing. But I did enjoy a wonderful dinner at Oui's Thai Cuisine with three of my highschool girls last night. Glorious.

One of my girls gave me a Christmas card which read, "You have made a major impact on my life, and I hope we are friends forever."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


This week, I have officially admitted to myself that I love John Mayer. Two years ago, I would have been embarrassed to profess a tendency to liking anything too conventional, but today, as I'm making a new mix cd, I really want to include songs by Train, Dido, John Mayer, 3 Doors Down, and Shania Twain. I realize that if I like the songs and insist on only selecting songs by Gillian Welch, Ben Kweller, and the Idiot Pilots only because they might be more independent and less pop...well, then, I'm lying to myself and slipping into non-conformist elitism.

So this morning, I am not an elitist, and I'm telling you that I think John Mayer's song "Daughters" is amazing. You can listen to it here.
The chorus is--
Fathers, be good to your daughters.
Daughters will love like you do.
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too.

On Monday at "The Mud Hut Christmas Party" I shared a testimony/sermonette, and I was joined by one of my female student leaders, who also shared the story of her faith journey. It was wonderful to share those moments with her, and afterwards, her mother embraced me and called me "Daughter." Sometimes I feel a bit like a more grown-up version of her daughter, and it was certainly affirming to be recognized by her.

And I thought about what John Mayer was saying--and really, I think that so many of the interactions I have with students have so little to do with me--and so much more to do with the families from which they come. For all of my girls, John's song makes me want to stand beneath the windows of their homes singing it up to their parents, as a prayer for them--that they will be powerfully reminded that they are stewards of God's kids. They have been entrusted! What a load of responsibility--shaping young people into who they will become...and parents have the ability to teach kids how to love well or how to love poorly.

I have had several moments of brokenness in the past weeks, and I think that so much of my ability to persevere through it is that I have been taught how to love well. By my parents, who have shown that love requires as much commitment and perseverence as it does respect and passion, by my friends, who always have the ability to speak to me in truth and are endlessly full of affirmation and comfort, and by my Lord, who is amazingly more than we could ever even want Him to be.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Silence is the loudest parting word you never say.

~Ben Harper, "Amen Omen," Diamonds on the Inside.

I talked to Sean last night, and I said "I'll see you Saturday," and I was just talking to Havaleh, and I said, "I'll see you Sunday."

How lovely.

I board a 757 bound for Ohio at 6:30am on Saturday morning, and my heart rejoices.

Kudos to Cinderella Styling!

I would like to give a shout-out to my stylist at the Cinderella Salon today. My highlights were completed in less then 75 minutes, which I think is a personal best for me.

This one time, I went to this salon, and I was there for 3 1/2 hours, and my hair looked exactly the same as it does right now. And it cost $30 more. And the stylist kept talking to my hair. That was a bad day.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Journey Through Orthodoxy.

Over the last few years, I've experienced a lot of restlessness in regards to the church. I'm someone who is very much a Christian and very much wanting to see a church of believers built up in unity, yet I constantly feel like I'm at odds with 'the church' because it never feels like it fits just right, and I want it to fit right. And I ask God if 'unity' means that it never fits quite right for each person, because we're all assimilating a bit, or if 'unity' means righting ourselves to Him so that we are all centered in Him together, or if 'unity' only happens in heaven?

So I'd at odds: there's the United Methodist tradition with which I was raised, the anti-establishment evangelicalism I experienced in college, the Spanglish Roman Catholicism I loved during a week at summer camp, the thinking spirtuality of a small group of friends in Kenya, and exposure to a hundred other different facets of 'the church' at-large to which I've been exposed over the ten year of my personal spiritual journey.

Today I sat down with the Priest of St. Andrew's Orthodox Church, which happens to be across the street from my apartment building. I listened to the spiritual journey of the Priest, whose personal spiritual journey eventually led him to direct his evangelical church towards Orthodoxy.

As I listened to his journey, I realized that so many of the questions he asked about his faith are questions that I, too, ask almost daily. "Lord, is this all there is? Are we settling? Or should we be asking for more? Should we be giving more? Should our worship be more?"

Derek Webb, probably my favorite songwriter, has as the last track on his album She Must and Shall Go Free, lyrics from Christ's perspective which say, "If you love me, then you'll love the church." And I've been challenged by his song to really examine my attitude towards the church in realizing that Christ died for the church--it is His bride--and I cannot truly love Christ without loving what He loved.

And so I'm out here--still searching for a church home on this earth--oh, I have many church homes. In fact, when I count up churches that I love, I count four, and I have appreciated and enjoyed many more than that. But I have yet to find in my whole life the church that 'fits' all these different pieces and facets of a complex self. Is it out there? Am I to create it? Am I to immerse myself in the church and unleash creativity in its context?

Oh, I don't know. I do know it's a journey. I do know that I am fascinated by liturgy and orthodoxy. I do know that I'm fascinated to read of the spiritual journeys of others...And I pray the Sinner's Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Je voudrais aider avec les etudiates dans la classe de francais.

I realize there maybe a few grammar mistakes in that title. Johnny P, pleeeease forgive me...

BUT, today I talked to Ms. Taylor at Arlington High School, and I will very soon begin tutoring students in French, free of charge, and they normally have to pay $10/hour for a tutor! Hooray! And I will finally be an official AHS volunteer after months of dragging my feet because I'm a scaredy-cat.

Mrs. Shurtz and Prof. Loy would be oh-so-proud of me if they could see me today!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Christmas Parties, Sleepovers, and very Long Meetings.

Now, in blogger world, apparently it's really best if you don't try to record every detail of your life. For instance, if I began this message with "today my alarm went off at 7:30, and I rolled around in bed for 47 minutes before finally standing up, getting a shower, changing my clothes, washing my face, applying my makeup, cleaning up the kitchen, making some coffee and heading into work," you might begin to question your interest in reading this webpage.

BUT, when 3 very exciting things happen in a period of two days, does it mean that I should only record ONE of them?? NO! Because they are exciting. So, against my desire to keep these entries concise, I will try to write briefly on all 3 events.

Event #1--The Annual YD Christmas Party.
On Thursday Night I joined with my 30 fellow YD Staffers for what I truly believe is the best of all possible Office Christmas Parties. We were gathered in this humongoid mansion at the top of a mountain, drinking spiced cider and singing worship songs. I was huddled a plush couch with a few of my YD friends thinking how awesome it is that I LOVE the people I work with and I am FRIENDS with them. I respect all of them, and I just love serving with them. It was an extremely wonderful realization.

Event #2--A Very Long Meeting
It's also great to realize that the morning after the office Christmas Party, I can spend EIGHT hours discussing 'operational definitions for core ministry competencies' with my co-workers and still love them. During a break in hour 4 of our meeting, I started climbing up a pole in the middle of the room, and trying to climb up the edge of the stairs. My co-workers were looking at me and saying, "Where do you get your energy?" I said, "I don't know. I'm usually pretty tired. Maybe not being around high schoolers for one day totally puts my batteries into overload because they aren't being sucked dry." and also--apparently my attention span has shrunk to high-school-sized, because I often doodle and giggle during eight hours of meetings.

Event #3--A Very Long Sleepover.
On Friday night (after the Party and the meeting), 6 teenage girls showed up on my doorstep for a sleepover. We made pizza from SCRATCH, watched VeggieTales, talked, journalled, and had an all-around stellar time. The highlight was certainly playing dressup with my prom dresses and my silly hat collection....having 6 wonderful girls to fellowship with at the end of a very fast-paced semester encouraged me that ministry is right where it should be.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The car is fine. and my girls are great.

$65.10 later, the diagnostic lady says, "your check engine light was malfunctioning." sigh. but, i am of course very glad to not be forking over hundreds of dollars for a new carbotransistoinjectionoid.

much y.d. stuff is happening currently, and i will write about it on monday.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

My poor car!

dear friends, please pray for my poor car! the engine light has turned on today, and i'm all in a worrisome tizzy, wondering if my lovely blue Sunfire will live to drive another day! tomorrow, i take it to the diagnostic man who may just charge me $60 to tell me the check engine light is broken. or he might tell me the car needs a new engine. oh dear.

Say a little prayer.

World AIDS Day is today. It was just over three years ago that I watched my Kenyan roommate Edith deal with the painful aftermath of losing her father to AIDS. Say a prayer for Africa and Asia today.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Know when to hold them.

Balancing Depth and Breadth seems to be a significant theme for me this year. It applies in relationships with the kids (Quality v. Quantity) as well as with other youth pastors and can I be everything to everybody in ministry? The obvious answer--I can't. The practical questions are 'how do I deal with not being able to build relationships with every student and Youth Pastor' and 'how do I decide which students and Youth Pastors to invest in?'

Today--for whatever reason, I have been singing Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" in my head. WHY!? WHY? I don't even remember having heard that song on the radio ever..."You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away and know when to run." So is being in ministry a bit like being a gambler? And how do I 'know' when to hold them, when to fold them, etc.? What if I fold a kid I was supposed to hold just because I wasn't willing to take a risk...or what if I hold onto a kid that I'm never going to reach?! And most importantly, WHY am I trying to glean wisdom from Kenny Rogers?

I really am a horrible gambler. And I feel like I'm really horrible at knowing when to hold and fold my kids...I don't want to fold them....but I also don't want to be playing my hand and look down to realize I'm holding 47 cards...It's too many.

So today, I'm not praying for any more cards in my hand. I have enough cards. In fact, I almost have too many cards...I don't need any more cards...But I do need to know my hand better...and I do need to know when to hold them and when to fold them...

Monday, November 29, 2004

Idaho: The Land Where Dreams Come True.

The top 5 most exciting highlights from my Thanksgiving weekend jaunt to Kennewick, WA and Nampa, ID with Mark, Cindy, Corrin, and Paula Spencer (in no particular order):

1. Holiday football games. Not that any of them were too exciting, with the Lions performing so poorly, Craig Krenzel getting injured, and the Seahawks making a rather pitiful Sunday showdown. BUT, I realize I really do love football, and for whatever reason, I find it very easy to get excited about.

2. Spending approximately 25 hours in the car with the Spencer family. By the drive home yesterday, I decided that if we were an episode of "Full House," Corrie could be D.J., Paula could be Stephanie, and I could be Kimmy Gibler. I really did feel like a long-lost cousin by the end of the trip. Mark laughingly told his mother that I had been officially initiated into the family and endured all the necessary hazing. I think it was I who actually initiated them...praise the Lord they were tolerant and receptive to five days worth of my stories and jokes.

3. Campus Life--our weekend in Idaho was spent at Homecoming 2004 of Northwest Nazarene University. We watched basketball games, saw a campus play and frolicked in the Idaho snow. It made me very nostalgic for the joys of college life and inspired me to continue praying about and learning about Graduate programs for some future time.

4. Thanksgiving Dinner--I had three Thanksgiving dinners in eight days, and I'm really overwhelmed with the gloriousness of Thanksgiving dinner. In a way, I think it really is my favorite holiday, because it's not nearly as overwhelming and material as Christmas, AND, it seems to be all about anticipation--because it finally means we can sing Christmas songs and watch Christmas movies and people won't think we're weird. (I have already watched Christmas with the Kranks, Home Alone, and Love Actually in honor of Christmas.)

5. Snow. We saw lots of snow this weekend in Idaho and drove through a lot of snow at the Meachem pass in Oregon. In Western Washington, there is very little snow...but to see snow in Idaho and Oregon--well, my heart rejoiced a bit...and it rejoiced even more knowing that my Christmas will be in the Midwest and I will not want for snow after that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Starbuck's Counseling.

I love taking my girls to Starbuck's for coffee--not that I love Starbuck's coffee, because I don't--but because I love that I can buy them a drink and we can pull up big overstuffed red chairs and talk about stuff.

I'm feeling really challenged lately to make Christ a more central topic of my relationships with these girls. We're just now getting to the point in three of my relationships that I can challenge them and hold them accountable and really challenge them to put Jesus first in their life. Yesterday, I was able to sit in Starbuck's with one of my girls and finally turn the conversation towards Christ in a manner that didn't seem oppressive, but genuinely seemed like I cared about her spiritual well-being. Because I do. It wasn't the right time to ask her directly to invite Jesus into her heart...but the Holy Spirit and I were communicating, and I know it will tell me when the right time is.

This afternoon, I leave for Idaho with my roommate and her family, and we'll return on I leave you for the joyous land of potatoes and Napoleon Dynamite, and for that, my heart rejoices!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The O.C. and ME!

Alright--I admit it. My roommate, Corrie, and I watch The O.C.. (Thursday Nights on FOX, 8pm PST). I thought it was a fun 20-something addiction, to have ONE silly TV show in your weekly lineup. And the only TV we watch at all is The O.C. and Seahawks football.

Anyways--today at a Youth Pastor's meeting, we discussed our January Ski Retreat that YD and a few local churches are planning together. We were discussing themes for an event such as this, and I laughed to say how funny it would be to spoof The O.C....and Pastor Nathan and Pastor Harv liked my idea a LOT, meaning that we're going to now shoot video footage of our own kids spoofing The O.C. to promote the Snow Retreat.

I'm rather embarrassed that an unhealthy addiction is going to result in a hundred kids being confronted with an O.C. spoof...but at the same time, if you want to seriously mock anything in pop culture right now, I think the O.C. is

Monday, November 22, 2004

Gregoire v. Rossi.

i live in a state where as of today, we still do not know who won the governor's race. How unnerving.

My kids like turkey.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Dinner at my church, meaning 200 of us or so had a glorious sit-down Thanksgiving Dinner together! They made REAL mashed potatoes, of which I ate too many and felt a bit TOO stuffed by the end of the evening. I am certainly excited to be in Ohio over break, but I just realized that being in Ohio means NOT being in I'm glad to share one holiday with one church family and the other holiday with my home church family.

The best part was many of my silly teenagers who were causing a ruckus in the back corner. I'm growing rather attached to them...and I'm also pretty excited, because I have finally officially volunteered as a youth leader with my church's Youth Group. Up until this point, I've just been showing up and hanging out with kids, and I finally decided, YES, I can commit. I am very excited to work with the Youth Pastor and all of the Youth Staff at the church, AND, with 60 kids showing up every week, I know they appreciate the extra help. I get to be a part of a bit of the planning for next year, AND, my roommate and I are perhaps going to start up some coffee chats in the Youth Center Cafe after the first of the year!

I am prepping to spend Thanksgiving Break with my roommate and her family in South Central Washington and then spend the weekend in IDAHO! I am very excited that my life is at the point where I am able to road trip to IDAHO, it being a seemingly disguised place to visit, like North Dakota or Delaware or New Mexico. I will be sure to mention any exciting Idaho adventures.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Praises in YD Land.

I received an staff email this morning from YD President, Mark Evans. Eight months ago, Youth Dynamics applied for a grant from the "Murdock Foundation" for funding to be used to hire two "Regional Campus Directors" for Youth Dynamics. These positions will take administrative pressure off of Mark as well as allow for lots of growth and development for YD Campus ministries over the next two years.

Mark received a call this morning and writes: "The trustees have approved our proposal. This means that they will help fund $262,620.00 over the next three years. I am so excited about what this could mean for our ministry in the next handful of years!"

Over a quarter of a million dollars to YD over the next three years?! Praise the Lord! LAAA!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

My brain is a big, fat, fried egg.

It's 7pm on the west coast...and I have not stopped going since 7am yesterday morning! The last 36 hours, minus the 7 hour pause for sleep, have been jam-packed with meetings and seminars, and my brain is fried!

We had a corporate-wide training seminar on support raising, along with a team meeting for our planning committee for "Tsunami," an event in Spring '05, which I will mention later. For now, I only ask that you look confidently at the computer screen and cry out in a pensive, whispered voice, "Tsunami!"

All of the 24 hours of meetings and seminars were helpful, informative, challenging, growing, etc...all of it will help me be a BETTER leader for my kids....

BUT after two days of meetings, I miss my girls, and I can't wait to catch up with a few of them tomorrow.

When I told Carrie that I wouldn't be at school for lunch on Tuesdays like I always am, she said, "but, you'll call me, right? or--I'll call you!" I said, "call me whenever you want." During my 20 hours of meetings, she called five times. I feel loved.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Be Exalted, O God.

Yesterday morning, I sat in my seat at Arlington Free Methodist Church, (my new church home,) and I cried out to God. The worship songs yesterday were just that--worship. We sang, "Be Exalted, O God among the heavens. Let Thy Glory Be Over All the Earth." We sang more. "Lord, I give you my Heart, I give You my soul. I live for You alone. Every breath that I take, every moment I'm awake. Lord, have Your way in me."

Lots of things about my job and my life have felt so confusing lately, and it's easy to ask God WHY it's all so hard. And I should not have been surprised that yesterday's sermon would include passages about Job. I remember the responses that Job received when he cried out, "why?" so instead of asking God WHY, I cried out with exalted....Lord, have Your way in me....

I hope that my praise will be a blessing to Him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

consumerism and the holidays.

Tomorrow, as a fun activity for my Monday Night Girls...we are spending the day at the biggest shopping mall in Washington State. I'm not sure if it serves a spiritual purpose at all, other than I will spend lots of time praying and fasting throughout the event as I squeamishly accompany four 15-17 year-olds around the mall.

Pray for us...for safe travel and a safe, fun time at the mall on the day when we're supposed to be honoring Veteran's....which we are, I guess, by exercising the freedom to purchase material goods.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Sty in My Eye Has Gone Awry.

I am very proud of that rhyming Title, you know., my eye is starting to swell shut because of this lovely sty..but I did get to use my Health Insurance for the first time today to have the very friendly Physician's Assistant say "Put a Warm Compress on your eye, and if it's not better in 2-3 days, call me." Oh my.

I really think it will be fine, and the whole process was rather entertaining because my roommate is the main office girl at the Doctor's Office, and her dad is one of two MD's in the practice. Therefore, the attending PA who checked me out referred to me as "practically related." It was all very friendly and fun.

Now, if only my eye will quickly return to its normal, pain-free size, then I will truly rejoice.

Scrapbooking Queens.

One of my girls showed up to Bible Study last night with ten more pages filled in her worship journal. It included sketches, quotes, clippings, a few brainstorming webs, and a paper mosaic rainbow....

The other girl made a pastel drawing of a cross with Jesus' name written across it....

My girls are AWESOME!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


"Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to You with an empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known You better, I'd have come running with a bucket." Nancy Spiegelberg.

Quote taken from an article by James Gottry, which you can read here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

"Worship is what we are--

living, breathing, walking arrows that are always pointing to Christ." --Jason Morant.

There's this poster hanging on the wall in my office with this quote on it from Christian musician Jason Morant...and I read it everyday wondering if I'm an arrow pointing to Christ.

Last night, the Monday night girls and I discussed worship again, and I was amazed to see two of the girls return with pages and pages filled in their worship journals with photos, candy wrappers, journal entries, and sketches! It was great.

We meditated on Psalm 95 while listening to Barber's Adagio, and I read a passage about the Incarnation from Madeleine L'Engle's Bright Evening Star. At the end, the girls said "Awesome." It was my fervent prayer that last night could be a time where we could draw together in the presence of God, and we really did. And the best part--is that the girls understand that it's not limited to my living room or Monday nights...they are beginning to understand they can meet God anytime and anywhere...and that's so encouraging.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A few of my favorite kids at The Mud Hut last Monday Night. Since costumes were optional, we turned out to be the brave few... Posted by Hello

The aftermath of cooking with the Monday Night Girls in my apartment a few weeks back. The scarier part was when all we walked into the grocery store fifteen minutes later covered in floury handprints. Posted by Hello

A Weekend of Small

I spent all day Friday and Saturday in Moses Lake, WA at the "Rural Youth Ministry Conference" designed as training for youth ministers working in non-urban areas.

Besides getting to fellowship with lots of other youth workers from Washington and Montana, I also got to spend time with some of my favorite YD/RE staff, which was certainly a blast (especially when it involves an extremely animated game of darts, in which i promise that i did not break any darts....okay, wait. i cannot make that promise.)

I was reminded of a few key points about my ministry work here in Arlington: #1--none of my work or programs will succeed if they are not birthed out of prayer and God's leading. #2--in order to discern which doors God is opening and which He is closing, it means you may need to actually walk through a few without knowing if it's going to open or close. #3--I am meeting more and more youth workers who have been doing this for 20+ years, and their wisdom is inspiring. It inspires me to not become an "average" youth worker, who bails after 2-3 years....because it seems like it takes at least 5 years just to get your feet on the ground anyways (I am still only committed to YD Arlington through June 2006, however. No long-term planning yet.)

Yesterday, I returned home to my own Small Ministry to take two of my unchurched girls to my church in the morning and go running with one in the afternoon. It is certainly a privilege to spend time with them and be a part of their lives...and I'm just very curious about where God is going to take them this year.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Roooooad Trip!

HEY! It has been over three months since I have taken a decent road trip! What is up with that?! I think it is a new personal record. Seriously.

So tomorrow, me and two Arlington youth volunteers are trekking it across the Cascades to Moses Lake, WA! Woohoo! Moses Lake, YEAH!

Okay, Moses Lake, WA is not exactly the hippest road trip destination.

So, I'll take it for what it is--seven hours in a car. My cd's...and the breeze. oh. and rain. and expensive gasoline. And two days of training in how to be a superbly better youth minister! Yeah, road trip!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Quest for Christian 20-somethings.

I suppose growing up in Coshocton, Ohio has allowed me to develop a lot of patience in building friendships with motivated Christians my own age. I understand that in small towns, there are often very few responsible Christian young people, making fellowship with other Christians often frustrating and fact, for most of my time at home, I had one other close Christian friend my own age.

My time at Taylor changed that, in that now, I have about 35 solid Christian friends my own age, but, as it just so happens, zero of them happen to live in Arlington, Washington...meaning it's starting from scratch again and praying for at least "one" Christian friend.

And I do have several Christian friends my own age in Washington--in fact, I'm lucky enough to share an apartment with one of them! However--it still falls short of being a "community" of friends, especially when my roommate happens to be the only one actually living within 30 miles of me.

Within the past few weeks--this prayer of mine--for Christian fellowship with other 20-somethings is gradually being answered:

(1) My young women's small group Bible study--It's mostly girls from my new home church. Last night was my second time visiting with this group of people, and we have had at least seven 20-something women currently attending. Last night, we had a great time of fellowship and study. After our first meeting last month, I was apprehensive about my ability to genuinely connect with these young women, but after meeting again last night, I am excited to be growing in relationship with them! We only meet once every 2-3 weeks, but the time of sharing and fellowship is definitely encouraging and sustaining--and it is definitely a group of women that I am comfortable with and excited to know better.

(2) This weekend, I will be attending a Seminar for Youth Ministers in Rural Areas, and I will be accompanied by another youth worker in town who happens to be a single 20-something Christian woman. We haven't yet met in person, but our phone conversation yesterday was enough to encourage me that she will also be a source for fellowship in Arlington! She is excited to get to know me too, and she's already involved in full-time children's ministry in Arlington and definitely looking for more 20-something Christian friends in town...

So, all of this to say that my best friends are still scattered across areas that are not called "Arlington, Washington" but the potential for that dynamic to shift is on the horizon. I am being patient, realizing that forming solid post-college relationships takes a lot of time and intentionality--and at the same time, I'm praising God for these small glimmers of potential friendships here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Chicken Cut-Off Running Head.

ACK! That's what yesterday felt like, like I was a chicken head, running around, only to realize I had left my body behind!

But--all for a good cause. We opened "The Mud Hut" for two hours last night, and 40 kids showed up to hang out, play pool, foosball, air hockey and X-box....and one of our volunteers shared his testimony....and it was a crazy, crazy evening, but still enjoyable.

I lost a horrible game of foosball to a 15-year-old, yet fared the evening well in my "super-crazy extroverted mode" which I really haven't unleashed since the days of Camp Aldersgate...I guess that means I'm getting comfortable with this place and these kids.

It was awesome to think that a year ago, when I visited "The Mud Hut" I knew zero kids, and last night, when the kids walked in, I could identify at least half of them by name. A marked improvement, certainly.

I invited three new girls to Monday Night Bible Study, and I will be praying, praying, praying that the Lord would work out their hearts to come--IF that be His will.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Girls at AHS

Over the course of the last few weeks, I've gotten to know several girls at lunch that I really like and really connect with. I look forward to talking with these three girls, and over the course of the last few weeks, I have also discovered that each of these three girls has significant areas of prayer. One is considering pursuing Wicca, one is a devout Mormon, and the other one is possibly going to be transferred to her third school system this year. Each time I talk with these girls, my heart breaks, and I wonder how the Lord wants to use me to reach them.

So I pray, and I ask you to pray.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

i have my halloween costume ready.

i am covered in specks of white paint. i had no idea how covered i was in paint until the chiropractor told me it looked like i'd done a 50/50 job, getting half the paint on the wall and half on myself. i can't really disagree.

i spent the afternoon in "the mud hut" painting the kitchen in preparation for our halloweeny-type harvest party next monday. we decided it would be fun just to open the old YD coffee shop just for one night. plus, the bible study boys miss the bible study girls. so. as a result, i am now, apparently, already dressed in my ghost costume.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"I'm a Child of the Living God"

So, I had an awesome weekend. For lots of reasons. One of them being--the amazing worship band at Hillcrest Chapel in Bellingham. I LOOOOVE this worship band, and I have had one of their songs stuck in my head for TWO whole days. In fact, you can go listen to the song at this link: Thank You. The chorus says, "I'm a child of the living God, and I know this life is not my own. I'm lifted up by the hand of grace, and I want this life to say thank you."

And so that's my prayer this week--Lord--this life is not my own...therefore, please conform my heart to your will and have my life be what you would want it to be.

Last night the Monday night girls and I started "Worship Journals," which I hope will be a spiritual exploration for all of us. I think the journals will help us find the way in which we connect best to God through personal worship--filling them with poems, lyrics, photos, or stories that really affect us, no matter whether or not they seem connected to God at all.

I'm beginning to realize how personal and creatively unique everyone's walk is--and--this week I'm going to be reading Sacred Pathways, written by Gary Thomas (of Hillcrest Chapel in Bellingham) which really explores one's spiritual journey and how one best relates to God....I'm excited to share with these girls how creative and diverse God is, and that they don't have to confine Him to ten minutes of devotionals a day and one Sunday morning worship service...these journals will be a start.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Wednesdays at AFM

My Wednesday evenings, for now, are spent most regularly at the Arlington Free Methodist Youth Group, called "E.G.P." (Experiencing God Project). I'm not a regular volunteer--I just show up to watch the 16-year-old girls (and one brave 12-year-old boy) play Dance Dance Revolution, and then I hang out with them during small group and worship time. I guess I go to Youth Group to continue meeting kids with whom I could eventually share the gospel--and that might seem odd--since it's in a church. BUT, out of the 70 or so kids in this youth group, maybe 10-20 of them are committed Christians. So for now, it's just another way for me to continue to meet and build relationships with kids in Arlington.

Last night, I ended up having three specifically good conversations with kids that I would title "fringe kids." It was very difficult to break through the shells of all three of these kids, but at the same time, they were three of the most amazingly rewarding conversations I've had with kids so far this year.

One of these kids, who had been ignoring me for the first five minutes of our "conversation" ended up talking to me a little about small stuff. After the main message, she all of a sudden turns to me and says, "You know, I don't think I'll really understand what it was like for God to sacrifice his only son until I'm a mother. Then I will really have a better idea of what it means to sacrifice something that means that much to you."

I told her what a great insight that was, and how that we probably will learn more about God's love after we have kids--and then I also added, "Please remember this all important order though: (1) husband, (2) kids." She laughed. I didn't laugh back--my list of "kids I work with who are significantly at-risk for being teen moms" is rapidly growing. Pray for them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Moldy Walls.

In an effort to effectively empathize with the entire state of Florida, Harrison County in Ohio, and my friend Hannah in India, I have decided to grow MOLD in my office.

Okay, I didn't decide this, but it just so happened that on Friday night, the basement of the office flooded, and my office is in the basement, meaning I arrived at work on Saturday morning to find soggy carpet. Apparently, when you have soggy carpet, you also have to rip off all the baseboard in order to not have mold grow up the walls. Unfortunately, the mold had already started, and I can see the mold even now from where I sit typing at my desk.

The carpet cleaner guy has hung strawberry air fresheners on my doorknobs to assuage the smell.

I'm certainly thankful that I lost exactly zero dollars of property and work materials in "The Flood: October 2004," and I laugh at the irony of spending two months cleaning and organizing an office that now has everything strewn about in boxes and is filled with dehumidifiers and carpet fans.

I'm not complaining. I actually find it to be rather adventurous. If the volcano were to spew lava my direction, I'd really feel loved.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Rock Day!

On Saturday, Bronco, YD Volunteer Greg, and I accompanied four Arlington youth to Mt. Erie in Anacortes, WA where we spent the day climbing up rock faces and rappeling down them. I'd never tried it before, and it turns out that I LOVE ROCK CLIMBING! and apparently, because 11 years of ballet gave me lots of flexibility and dexterity, I'm not too shabby at it either! Hoorah!

One of my students was really discouraged about her ability to make it all of the way to the top, and we kept encouraging her to stick with it. She didn't give up, and a half-hour later, she made it all the way to the top! Watching her overcome fear and uncertainly was definitely my highlight of the day.

Rock Day 10/09/04 Posted by Hello

Rock Day 10/09/04 Posted by Hello

Photos from Rock Day 10/09/04 at Mt. Erie in Anacortes, WA. It was my first time climbing and rappeling, and apparently all of those years of ballet paid off to make me an excellent climber! Woohoo! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Jesus loves yoga.

A few months ago, I clipped a photo out of "Backpacker" magazine. The photo showed a blonde-haired girl, standing on a yoga mat in front of her tent and all of her camping gear. Behind her were snow-capped mountains and tall evergreen trees. She was standing in "exalted warrior", a yoga pose in which she had her head and arms lifted towards the clouds.

I clipped the ad out of the magazine and pasted it in my journal, scribbling the caption, "My Prayer Life" underneath it. Because that's how I want my prayers to they're being exalted right up to God from this beautiful locale, while I'm isolated on a mountaintop with my camping gear. Just me, God, and yoga.

So last night, I had a brainstorm for my Monday Night Group. "We can do yoga!" I thought..."and...we can talk about prayer!" So we did talk about prayer, and we talk about how we can listen and speak to God, and how we should be reverent, and then, we did the P.M. Yoga video together, where, if our heart is in the right place, we could, really be listening to God and showing him reverence.

And I was thinking about how awesome it would be to spend these next few months with my girls exploring the variety of ways in which we should and could worship. This week we did yoga. Next week we're baking cookies. The week after that, maybe we'll paint something, and then go hiking, and then write poetry, and then sing, and then, and then, and then.

Brother Lawrence writes about how to "Practice the Presence of God," by making prayer a continual flow outward from our spirit--a continual flow from our day...and I'm curious to see--can these girls find and seek God just by practically understanding how He is a part of the miniscule pieces of their day and how something as simple as mopping their floor can glorify God? It's too early to say if it will become something really reverent and worshipful or if it's merely a good "hook" tactic to get girls to Bible Study.

I do know that three girls I talked to today who didn't make it to Bible Study last night said, "How did it go? I'm sorry I missed!" "It was awesome," I said, "We did yoga and talked about prayer. Next week, we're baking cookies!" "That's so fun!" they said, "I can't wait to come!"

Monday, October 04, 2004

Yeah, Volcanoes!

I got an email from Dad this morning saying, "Call your mother to reassure her and I that you are not about to be bowled over by lava!" (that's a paraphrase, by the ways...)

Anyways--if anyone happens to share Mom and Dad's concern that I could perhaps be in harm's way, be not discouraged! Mt. St. Helen's, for all its rumblings, is still 3-4 hours south of me. In 1980, they did get ash this far north, BUT, that was when 1/3rd of the Mountain was blown off, and I'm pretty sure that's not a risk.

It is a bit exciting to be contemplating a volcano exploding near me, making me feel very much like Pierce Brosnan or another disaster movie counterpart. Unfortunately, I don't know if my life is QUITE that interesting. At least, I hope it won't be.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Gospel of Sumo Suits.

Last night at the Arlington Free Methodist Youth Group was my first encounter with those pre-fab sumo suits. I took on a 15-year-old (a very energetic 15-year-old, mind you) who completely kicked my butt. Pastor Nathan told me it was not a very "dynamic" performance.

I did however, rock it out on on DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) on PlayStation2. I thought I was pretty good at the second level, only, I got a little behind and the game booed me off. That was discouraging.

I took one of my unchurched girls with me, and before we left, an AFM Youth Group girl ran up to her, gave her a big hug and asked, "You had fun, right?! So we'll see you next week!" That would be my prayer...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Spirit Week.

It's Homecoming Week at AHS. I forgot that today was Hawaiian Day (sorry, Janelle). Fortunately, the kind AHS secretary, Deana, allowed me to borrow a plastic lei, so I could blend in with all the cool kids.

Thursday is 80's day, and all the kids are pulling out their crimpers and leg warmers. Candace and Amy want me to go thrift store shopping with them tomorrow. I say, "well, like, totally!"

If you have a favorite 80's memory, you should post it, for the general populace to read and reflect. I think my favorite 80's toys were my Optimus Prime Transformer and my battery-powered Voltron.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Sundays at the Donnelson's.

Every Sunday night, there's a YD-sponsored home group Bible Study at the Donnelson's. There are about 30 kids who regularly attend, and I've been going the past few weeks just to meet more kids to network from. (Most of these kids attend the Donnelson's church and are already plugged in, but the Bible Study still has a very open/evangelistic feel.)

Last night, I stayed upstairs with the freshman/sophomore group and participated in the discussion led by a YD volunteer. It's definitely difficult for me to sit back and NOT lead, but I definitely don't want to be interfering with the integrity of an established group that doesn't need my interference.

I talked to four of the girls that were there last night, all of whom are Christians and all of whom have a church home. I encouraged them to come to Monday nights at my apartment as a ministry opportunity, since I have two girls right now who have no church home at all. The girls seemed excited about this, and it would be great to help them develop good leadership by building relationships with my Monday girls.

So, hopefully, we'll see one or two of them tonight! It think that would be just stellar. Kids reaching kids with the gospel.


insurance company just called. all is clear for chiropractic bills! Hurrah! Will not have to refinance mortgage to pay for curvy spine ( not have mortgage...)

Friday, September 24, 2004


Months ago, I asked everyone to pray for my nose, and suddenly all was well--and it wasn't broken.

Well, now my neck and back are KILLING me (all related to the same car wreck in June). I'm going to the chiropractor this afternoon, but I'm a bit worried about getting it all worked out with the insurance (having cancelled the insurance with the claim and now having a pre-existing claim for my new health insurance)...although at this point it doesn't matter, because I have to go to the Chiropractor or I will become a bed-ridden 23-year-old hunchback.

Please pray that I do not become a hunchback, and that the insurance companies are benevolent.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Students outside Arlington High School praying during "See You at the Pole." The AHS building opened in Fall 2003, and it's HUGE. Posted by Hello

Here's me in my most frequently visited spot--my desk in the office. Please take special note of my pretty fridge and the "brown sugar" paint on the walls. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Associate Director

I have an official job title: Associate Director for Youth Dynamics Arlington. Doesn't that sound important and official. There you go Mom. You can keep telling people I'm a Youth Pastor, OR, you can tell them I'm an Associate Director for a parachurch youth ministry. ooOOOoohhhh...

And by the way, one of the girls whom I took Bible shopping has already read and highlighted the first six chapters of John! She's hardcore.

Monday, September 20, 2004


I have just achieved an important Rite of Passage for any Youth Pastor--I have played Halo on X-Box. Saturday night, at a friend's birthday party, one of my YD friends networked three X-Boxes together so twelve us could play Halo, a horribly bloody, gruesome game. I think that in two hours, I died appx. 147 times, but I am now a real Youth Pastor, because I play X-Box. This is important. Legions of young people will now be drawn to Jesus because Heather, that cool blonde girl with Bronco, will play X-Box with them and then teach them about Jesus.

Since playing the game, however, I have felt the need to duck from snipers while walking outside. Overall, I do not think the game has improved my quality of life.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Home Football Game #2.

This time I knew ten kids. This is exactly ten times the amount of kids I knew at the last home game. I even learned the "Rock the Mullet" dance. Chelsea said I was "awesome."

Friday, September 17, 2004

Shopping for Bibles is FUN!

Yesterday, I took two Arlington YD girls shopping for their very own Bibles. These girls are my "inner circle" right now--they were on the Owyhee trip and they're in Monday Bible Study. Neither of them had their own Bibles! So Bronco gave me the checkbook and told me to go get them some.

We had a blast, leafing through the books and trying to make a decision. My deep thinker girl went with a small black leather trimline NIV with her name inscribed in silver, and my fun-loving girl went with Red and Gold two-tone leather NIV with her name inscribed in red!

We enjoyed coffee at Starbucks while we were waiting for the Bibles to be inscribed, and all they could talk about was how excited they were about their new Bibles and how they couldn't wait for the next Monday Night Bible Study so they could USE them!

When the saleslady finally handed them over, their jaws dropped, and one girl said, "I'm going to keep the box and the bag forever."

I'd like to give a shout out to Zondervan for publishing some high quality Bibles that my girls are proud to own! And I'd like to give a big shout out to my girls for being so excited about the Bible.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

have cold, will travel.

my annual fall cold has hit a bit early, i think because it started raining last week. i'm all sniffly and taking a few afternoons off work just to nap. feel very icky!

yesterday, i managed to drag myself out of bed at 6:30am (a real feat for me) to go up to the High School for "See You at the Pole" a nationwide day of prayer for students, where they gather around the school flagpole to pray before school starts. i never attended "See You at the Pole" when i was in High School, but it was great to watch the 40 students gather to pray and have some conversations with the kids who were watching.

one kid told me, "they're making me uncomfortable. so i don't think they should be allowed to do that. because that's the reason i'm not allowed to wear my confederate flag."

an interesting observation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Knightesses of the Round Table.

Last evening, four girls and I gathered around my kitchen table for coffee and caramel apples and popcorn and doritos and laughed hysterically about very funny things that girls never talk about in the presence of guys.

I was all prepared with my prompter questions, which sparked humorous outbursts like one girl's "I want to be reborn as a WHITE TIGER!" or "I wish I had an unlimited charge account at SAFEWAY!" I think the combination of the coffee, the caramel and the Pez pushed us a bit over the edge, but regardless, the five of us had a lot of fun, and we ended up not really needing the prompter questions.

We had a great conversation about beauty, our favorite passage we read in Scripture being Prov. 11:22: "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout/ So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion."

The best part of the whole conversation really, was that everyone recognized the middle ground--that beauty is part of WHO GOD IS, and we shouldn't be hiding our beautiful selves, because come on--God used Esther and all those OT beauties in powerful ways. But we talked about the motivations of our hearts as it relates to beauty--and how we can wield beauty as a power that can be for good (bringing Christ glory) or evil (dishonoring our bodies, or causing Christian brothers to stumble).

The girls had a fun, fun time, and they're all excited to come back next week, when two more would be joining us. The number of girls is solid, and for now I'm quite content to develop quality relationships with the six before working at expansion.

One of my girls gave me a BIG hug before she left and said, "Thank you so much for inviting me. Will I see you at school tomorrow?" Hooray!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Hotties for Jesus!

Girls' Bible Study/Fellowship begins toNIGHT at 7pm Pacific Time! I'm all excited and nervous, you know, like the first day of camp, when you KNOW it will be fun, but also know you have to work through the low ropes course and play 500 name games. We don't have a low ropes course in my apartment though, so we will skip that part of "Get to Know You."

I'm up to my elbows in articles about inner beauty and external beauty, because this may or may not be our topic for the first few weeks, depending on response and interest. My favorite article so far is all about Esther and how attractive she was and how God used her attractiveness for Him! I like to think that I could use my amazingly smashing good looks for God, or at least that I could help these girls give their outward appearances over to God. Then we could call ourselves "Hotties for Jesus" and tell other girls about the ULTIMATE fashion designer--Jesus! Woohoo! Okay--maybe that's a bit extreme, and taking me back to my days at Fashion Camp at Camp Aldersgate...and maybe I'll let the girls name the group themselves.

Pray for my girls! I'm excited!

Friday, September 10, 2004

A Shot of Mt. Baker from the top of Mt. Erie. I tell everyone that I own the mountain because my dad discovered it. Posted by Hello

A Nice photo of me atop Mt. Erie in Anacortes, Washington on Labor Day. In the background, you can faintly see the Olympic Mountains! Posted by Hello

A photo of the girls at our "Apartment Warming Party." L-R: YD friends Tina and Jade, Roommate Corrie, and Me. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Re-Directed Vision.

Our biggest prayer these last few weeks has been, "How, Lord, do you want us to go about having a drop-in center, and if it is not your will--then where do we go?"

Our first option was to reopen "The Mud Hut," an idea which both Bronco and I were hesitant about mostly for Risk Management reasons (the facility is located on the third floor of a smoky American Legion lounge, and it was neither a healthy environment nor an easy to monitor environment.) We were also at a lack for volunteer staff and needed to take a bit of time before reopening to recruit and train.

Our second option was to join up in partnership with a local church, which has a brand-new street-level facility available and ready to perform magical youth ministry. They are in the process of building an indoor skate park and a concert stage and are ready to bring unchurched kids in the doors. It seemed that partnering with them was a great option when we met last week because we share such similar vision and passion--only, we did not know at the time--that during our conversations there had been a huge miscommunication!

It was our assumption that we would help the church run a drop-in night on a night separate from their youth group, and it was the youth pastor's assumption that we would be participating in their scheduled Wednesday night program. After realizing this, it no longer falls within the vision of our ministry to be so heavily involved in one church youth group, and it does not fall within the vision of their ministry to use the youth center for anything beyond Wednesday night youth group.

So once again, we are back to the second half of our prayer--"if it is not your will for us to be directly involved in drop-in ministry, then where are we to go?" So Bronco and I are reexamining how we will go about our jobs and what our daily jobs will look like. Suddenly, in not being directly involved in a drop-in center, my key focuses become #1--meeting and interacting with kids at Arlington High School--and #2--discipling a small group of youth girls in a home group fellowship/Bible study.

It seems like my job will change now from working at a drop-in center to encouraging the kids I work with at #1 and #2 to go to existing programs at local churches, which can certainly include the one church's youth center. Bronco described it as, "When people ask us what we do, we'll say that we meet kids at the High School and drive them to church," which is certainly not a bad or unnecessary role for us to fill--it's just a bit of a re-directed role.

The Lord is certainly directing all of it, and it's not our intent to cling to drop-in ministry just because we love it so much...For now it feels like we're relinquishing our plastic pearl necklace back to God, waiting to see if He will choose to keep it or hand us back something more refined. Either way, we're definitely supposed to hand it back to Him.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Arlington Eagle Football...

As in most small towns, high school football in Arlington is a big deal. School doesn't start until tomorrow, but last Friday was the first home game. Bronco and I went, mostly just to go, and hopefully to meet up with any kids we might know.

I knew one kid!

So I enjoyed the game, enjoyed the roof over the heads of the spectators (evidently, it might rain for a few of these games!), and sat there a bit overwhelmed at how many students I don't know. I wasn't mentally ready to walk up to a group of high school girls and introduce myself, so I shied away from the kids for the most part...but I did spend a lot of time watching them and praying for them, and praying for God to show me how He's going to use me in the lives of these kids this year.

The next home game is in two weeks, and by then, school will be in session, I will have met a few more kids at the school, and maybe a few of the girls I know will want to accompany me to the game.

I am having a bit of an emotional struggle in buying my Arlington Eagle's gear--because their colors are veeery similar to this school up North that we Buckeyes grit our teeth at every November...I'm praying for the Lord to ease my hardened heart so that I can wear my Arlington Navy Blue and Gold with pride while saying to myself, "It's gold and blue, not maize and blue..that's very different."

Thursday, September 02, 2004

A prayer for a united vision.

A few weeks back I talked about the drop-in center YD helped run called "The Mud Hut."

Today, Bronco and I met two youth pastors from two different churches in the area. One church has an extremely nice facility available that they are seeking to expand into a very outreach-oriented facility specifically for youth. The other church is a stakeholder in "The Mud Hut" and would like to be a part of a drop-in center ministry while continuing to use "The Mud Hut's" current facility.

There are lots of details, but basically, the question and sentiment is, "Can Arlington churches gather together in cooperation for a community-wide drop-in center?" There is an amazing facility available which holes lots of potential, and is God calling us to gather together as the Body of Christ to work together as one group to operate an effective community-wide drop-in ministry?

I'm very excited about the potential that we have to work together across denominational lines, and even today I worry--will Satan attack us on these denominational boundaries and lines of church politics to keep the local churches divided...because the potential of this facility is amazing, and if we really could rally together our resources, hundreds of Arlington's teens would be impacted and integrated into the local churches.

I also think--if we could work together effectively--what an amazing model it would be for the kids--to see churches working together... The kids are often cynical, and they see the church as a place with walls. What if we could show them a functioning church without walls? What kind of a witness could this be?

I'm asking you to pray this week for the vision of a youth center in Arlington. A united vision with a united community behind it. Things are still very tentative, but right now it feels like the potential is huge and God's will is slowly being revealed.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Still Recovering

Last night my roommate was asleep by 9:00pm, and I was asleep by 9:30pm. Golf Marathon is still waging its toll on us! My roommate has a good excuse--she caddied for 100 holes and was up at 4:30am to start her Monday. This, however, does not make me feel untired for only having caddied for 40 holes. In fact, I believe I have met my golfing quota for 2004, and I will have to wait until 2005 before I am able to view another golf course again.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I am a great caddy!

I have successfully survived Golf Marathon--and the unofficial figure for $$$ raised yesterday was $65,000 for YD and Reachout, and $2500 of that will go towards my personal support! So praise the Lord for some great provision.

My duties for the day were fairly simple--to help with food prep--for lunch and snack! YUM! Although, I won't be eating any ham and cheese wraps for awhile!

But in the middle of the afternoon, it turned out that one of the Arlington Area Golfers was without a caddy! He still had forty holes to golf and only about three hours to do it! So I said, "I will be a caddy" and we embarked on the great adventure of running forty holes as fast as we possibly can...I felt like I was manning a getaway car! My golfer would grab his clubs while the cart was moving, jump out as I slowed down to the tee, and then would jump back in with a running start as we glided down the fairway at top speeds. BUT--he got his 100 holes in, and I helped caddy FORTY of them, and I was beat, so I have no IDEA how people honestly golf 100 holes! It's just crazy--that's like, a thousand swings. at least.

I got to spend time with some of my YD and Reachout coworkers yesterday too, which was great, because I have not seen most of them since I arrived in Washington. AND it was an encouraging reminder that I do have great friends in the Pacific Northwest--they just don't all happen to live in Arlington. Four of my coworker friends are even going to drive down for a party that my roommate and I are having on Saturday, which makes my heart happy that I have friends to invite to a party! hooray!

You're all invited too. It's Saturday at 7pm at my apartment. Be there!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Golf Marathon!

Please be praying this week and throughout this weekend as we prepare for Golf Marathon! On this next Monday (the 30th), Dr. Mark Spencer of Arlington will be golfing 100 Holes to raise money for my personal salary support! His goal is to raise $25 per hole--being $2500 for the day. 7 other golfers are also raising money just for Arlington Youth Dynamics. The day promises to be long, but exciting, since all of the money raised will directly be used for Arlington kids this year.

My responsibilities for the day will include helping with meals and perhaps caddying for a bit. So--I don't need too much prayer. BUT, the golfers definitely need prayers for energy and stamina, not only for Monday, but also as they are working to gather pledges this week and weekend. Be praying that God uses these eight men in a powerful way to raise resources to give kids Jesus!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Today, my first official missionary newsletter was put in the mail. I am certainly excited about that!

If--within several days of reading this entry, you have not received a wonderful newsletter in the mail, it may mean that I have incorrect information for you or that you have been mistakenly left off of the list. Please drop me an email if that happens, so I can make sure you're in the database for next newsletter.

My Monday Night Gang.

The boys at Monday Night Bible Study never leave me at a lack for interesting stories. Last week--it was the disco in heaven....this week--it's confronting our need to be in Christian community.

This was the first week I was the facilitator for our Bible lesson. As it turns out, this week, none of the girls showed up (meaning it was me, 2 male adult leaders, and six 8th-10th grade boys!) The theme of the lesson was "Fitting In" and the Scripture for study was Acts 9--Saul's conversion, and Paul's acceptance by the disciples.

These boys--everytime Bible discussion starts, it's a cacophony of conversations, none of which are focused on the lesson itself. There's also disco boy (who always has a tangential question) and the note-stealer boy (who stuffed my lesson notes in his hat and refused to return them.) We talked through Saul's conversion, which led to another tangent of "Can I be saved if I don't have a donkey to be knocked off of?"

After realizing that six different boys were going six different directions, I returned to the theme of "Fitting In" and asked, "So where do you guys fit in? Do you have a place?"


The conversation took on a new tone, still scattered, as everyone confessed that they have a group of friends that they fit with...but they don't necessarily fit in in their families or at school.

And finally--I was able to tie it back in with Saul and ask them how they would go about moving from one group of friends to the other, just like Saul moved from the Pharisees to the Apostles--like, what happens if you're a Boarder, and you wake up one morning and realize you want to be in the Choir. How do you switch groups and gain acceptance?

And eventually asking--what happens to you as a Christian? How do you make that transition to "Fit In" as a Christian?

Suddenly--the boys got focused and serious, and some amazing discussions followed. One of the boys shared that he does not talk about Christ in his current group of friends, and that he doesn't see a need to. Another boy shared that he is a Christian, but for the most part, he dislikes people in the church, and he knows that we do not have to go to church to go to heaven.

Four of the six boys confessed that the church is not a place where they fit in.

The hardest part of hearing them say that is knowing why they say it. All of them are craving something open and genuine and honest--where people openly confess their struggles and admit their wrongs and seek the Lord honestly. They feel like they can't fit in with a church because they don't act and look like a church kid--they might swear, they might wear an offensive shirt, or in a few cases, they smoke. They love Monday Night Bible Study because it's in someone's living room and they fit in--yet how am I to respond and to challenge them to move outside of this comfort zone because it is YD's goal to see them integrated into a local church? They are definitely already members of a Christian fellowship and a Christian community on Monday nights, but they have not yet bridged the gap into a local church...and how do I see that it happens?

This is Bronco and I's biggest area of prayer right now--asking, "Lord, give us your vision for integrating these kids into the body of Christ..."

We are involved in a very relational ministry, therefore we see relationships as the key bridge-builders. If kids and adults who are already integrated into local churches develop relationships with these disconnected Christian kids, there's huge potential. So how is that going to happen? There are ideas rolling around--but it will take prayer, and committed individuals with a shared vision...

Monday, August 23, 2004

*Rainy Days and Mondays*

For three days in a row now (and at least three more to come), it has been an overcast, rainy 60 degrees. I now feel like I am a true Northwesterner, and I am beginning to understand the need for espresso stands. In fact, I think I'm going to stop for a caramel latte this morning.

*Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down*

church yesterday.

Ashley (*name changed*) and I had a great time visiting the Lighthouse Fellowship yesterday. It happened to be a communion Sunday, and she had never even heard of communion before, but she was excited about it. I was praying for her all throughout the service, because here she was, a baby Christian, never really attended church, and we're singing worship songs together without an overhead projector (meaning that she didn't know the words and had to just sit there.) I was worried that she would be uncomfortable and nervous. As it turns out, she listened to everything the pastor said, followed along as he talked through the Scripture and commented on what a funny speaker he was!

So, silly me for worrying about her, because she had a great time. She even shared that her mom wants to start attending church regularly with her...

After church, we went out to lunch with our friends at "Faye's Diner" where Ashley ordered a pancake--and I swear to you that this pancake could set a world's record for size. It was about 2 square feet, and took up this humongous platter! She couldn't even finish it. In fact, the family we were having lunch with shared two pancakes between all three of their kids.

So--if you come to visit me in Washington, I promise that I will treat you to the world's most impressive pancake.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


tomorrow i'm taking one of my girls to church with me. we're going to be visiting the church home of our owyhee river guide and his family. she's never had a church home before (and i don't have a church home right now either) so we're going with his family. she seems to be looking forward to it, and i just pray that she feels comfortable and enjoys the service!

please pray for her! my #1 goal right now is to get her connected to a church home, because she accepted Jesus about a month ago and hasn't been to church yet....

Friday, August 20, 2004

The future of "The Mud Hut" hangs in the balance.

Yesterday, my supervisor (Bronco) and I had a meeting with a youth pastor and youth volunteer from one of the area churches to discuss the future of "The Mud Hut." For the past several years, Arlington YD has partnered with this church to open up a coffeehouse/drop-in ministry for kids ages 12-18. By last spring, it seemed that several problems had escalated:
1. inadequate staffing--full-time staff were burnt out and there was a high student/adult ratio.
2. difficulties monitoring what happened outside the building ("The Mud Hut" is on the 3rd floor of the American Legion building)
3. problems with loitering (kids hanging out on the 1st floor in front of the American Legion means that the American Legion is in violation of their liquor license)
4. vandalism (because of the first two problems, unmonitored kids punched a hole in the stairwell.)

So "The Mud Hut" was shut down for the summer, to repair the vandalism and to also take a break and evaluate the future of the center. All month, Bronco and I have been diligently praying about what to do with "The Mud Hut" whether to relocate it, to revise it, or just to abandon it...and since we're partnering with this specific church in keeping it open, it has to be a more community decision.

In my opinion--the youth center is a vital part of bringing kids into the ministry. Kids will show up at a drop-in center that would never show up at a church, and several kids are now integrated into the local churches and have given their lives to Christ as a result of being at "The Mud Hut." But--up to this point, "The Mud Hut" has been devoid of solid guidelines and adequate staffing. This has to be amended before we could re-open. We're going to continue to talk with other area pastors over the next few weeks and keep praying for direction. In two weeks, the four of us will meet together again to perhaps make some more clear-cut decisions. (because there's also an option of utilizing another local church's youth center for more open community activities, which we want to explore. it's a better location and a bigger facility).

It seems as this point that if God does not give us a go-ahead, or if we cannot recruit passionate, committed volunteers to invest in the lives of kids at "The Mud Hut" that we may just lay it to rest. Whatever decision is made though, Bronco and I are united in the fact that we can't just plan and go ahead with our plan and ask the Lord to bless our decision--we have to ask the Lord for His vision.

So for now, we wait and pray.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

i'm popular!

okay--maybe not popular, but yesterday we took a group of 18 kids up to a Water Park in Birch Bay, Washington. It was a fun day I suppose. Our group had 3 girls and 15 boys, and I'm definitely looking forward to building up the core group of girls YD is reaching this year.

Anyways. After we arrived back home, I was talking on my phone in the YD office parking lot, and there were still about 6 of the 15 boys hanging around. Since I was not paying attention to them and since they were bored, high school boys, they began pelting me with ice cubes from across the parking lot. The boys, overall, have been treating me like I'm a big idiot, but when they began pelting me with ice cubes, I thought, ha HA! I'm victorious! I'm popular! They want me to pay attention to them! So I yelled out "stop it!" which they of course did not, and I felt very happy to have received the official teenage boy stamp of approval--being worthy of their annoyances.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

"the disco part of heaven"

last night at the Monday Night Lifeline Group (Bible Study and Fellowship with about 8 kids) we were discussing the Proverbs referring to "taming the tongue," watching your words and such...

at one point one of the boys in the group said, "why do we have to do all of this work to get into heaven? I thought it was supposed to be easy--you ask Jesus into your heart, and that's it."

"Well, yes, that's true," the adult leaders respond in unison, "but there's also your opportunity to respond and decide to live well with your time on earth...because we are still here for now..."

"So," our young inquisitor asks, "Does that mean I don't have to have a job to get into heaven? I can just sit around and be lazy?"

" could..." we say..."But if you live well on earth, you're working towards a reward that you won't get until you get to heaven..."

"Yeah," he says, "maybe if you're lazy and don't work while you're on earth, you don't get to go to the cool part of heaven. You have to go to the lowest rung of heaven, that they reserve for all the bums--it's like--you have to go to the disco part of heaven."

apparently, to a 14-year old boy in 2004, eternity in a disco is on par with being a bare-minimum reward. i wonder how john travolta feels about that?

p.s. if you're wondering if eternity in a disco is for you, please follow this friendly link, which was provided by the blogmaster Nate Shorb: Disco Dance Lessons

Monday, August 16, 2004

3 Exciting Things

#1- Saturday, I became an official member of the Seattle Art Museum. I've never lived within driving distance of such a quality art museum, therefore it was mandatory I become a member (plus, if you're a member, you get 15% off all the books in the bookstore! Hooray!). The special exhibit at the art museum was a Dutch collection, featuring a lot of Van Gogh (also hooray!) Including: "Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum at midnight" and "The Garden of the Asylum at Saint Remy". My favorite piece, however, was by the Dutch Artist Johan Thorn Prikker. The painting, called "The Bride" was rich in Dutch and Christian symbolism (you can see the crucifix, the crown of thorns, and tulips in the painting) was one of those paintings that you gallavant around the whole gallery and find yourself still staring at an hour later...LOVELY.

#2- Arundhati Roy, whom I once wrote about on this blog, (as the author of The God of Small Things) will be coming to Seattle on Tuesday to speak, and I now have a ticket to see her! Hoorah! It is becoming quite apparent that I love being within driving distance of the city.

#3- I had a wonderful time in worship yesterday with the people of Arlington Free Methodist Church. I have not yet decided if this is to be my church home, but yesterday, when I walked in the doors and saw a few familiar faces, I thought--this is very nice. I actually know about ten people that attend this church, which is about as many people as I know everywhere else combined--so...we'll was a solid, Bible-based, dynamic service, and I liked it.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Post a comment!

If you are reading this blog and enjoy the things you read, or question the things you read, I want to hear from you! Under each posting I make is a little blue link that says "Comments." If you click on comments, you can write a response to something I write. If "Comments" has a number next to it, it means other people have posted comments that you can also read if you click on "Comments." It doesn't have to be anything flashy, but please know that however short, I would enjoy interacting with you about the subjects of these entries, and if you have questions or comments or additions, or reflections, it would be great to hear from you! It can also turn into a very funny way to interact with my friends/family/supporters.


The Transition and Its Distractions.

This week I am just beginning to realize how scattered I have felt ever since arriving. I may not have admitted that I was scattered, or even known I was scattered, but now that I finally have a phone line in my office and my computer hooked up to DSL, I know that I have been scattered.

There are lots of things to be distracted by, I suppose: new office, new apartment, new coworkers, new responsibilities, new driver's license, new grocery store, new personal budget, new side of the country, new roommate, new friends, new church, new license plates, new speed limit, new car insurance, new address, new post office, new schedule, blah, blah, blah, you get the point.

The main point is that within the last few days, a few of my close friends used the word "distracted" to define the events in my life right now, and I feel like I've just woken up out of a trance to realize, "Hey! Heather! You just raised support and moved to Washington State to do full-time youth ministry! Remember?!" and I think to myself--"oh....yeah...YEAH! Hey! I'm in Washington! I'm a youth pastor! Hey! I want to be here! Hey! Kids! Jesus! They're why I'm here!"

So, I feel like I have passed some first rite of passage of the cultural flow chart of "how to transition to a new place." I have finally recognized I'm in a new place, that there are things about the new place that are becoming familiar, and that a new place means a new lifestyle and new goals that are not yet routine--meaning: I need to be a bit more consciously aware of how I structure my daily life. So...beginning today, I'm telling the blog community: I set the goal to spend the next few weeks diligently focused on setting goals and gaining a clearer understanding of what it is I am to do here. I'm not saying the distractions are gone; I'm saying I want to stop being distracted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Jazzola Spaceship

So this afternoon, me and my Arlington kid--we'll call her Ashley for the sake of this public domain--we went to the "Hot Spot Coffee Shop" espresso stand by the highway (as I said we would)...and it was beyond even our wildest dreams of how wonderful it could be! First of all, the ten-foot tall stainless steel coffee pot really does look like it could sprout rockets and take off into really resembles one of those module pods that the astronauts are in when they land in the ocean...and it had a Washington State License Plate that read "Jazzola," which makes me think that secretly the "Hot Spot Coffee Shop" is supposed to be my new home.

And, to make it even better, the man who owns the "Hot Spot Coffee Shop" has a mohawk and was wearing red pajama pants. He not only made us our trendy blended fruity drinks, he brought us ice water and extra mints at our spot in the hot sun an hour later. Way to go mohawk pajama man! Our drinks were amazingly wonderful, complete with technicolor sprinkles.

And the point of this little meeting is that Ashley is really excited about doing a girl's Bible Study. She just accepted the Lord on the Owyhee River trip, and she's been reading her Bible since we returned and has lots of questions. Today we talked about geneologies, because she seems fascinated by the fact that Matthew starts out with a list of names, and she asked me what "Son of Judah" meant, so we had a basic lesson in Old Testament history. Finally, she asked, after I drew a family tree of the Patriarchs, "How do you know this stuff?!" I was like, "Um, I don't know...I guess I've just been learning about it my whole life, especially the last ten years." She seems overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she doesn't know, while I'm already overwhelmed with the amount of stuff she asks questions about.

She and I are going to try out a new church together next Sunday, and I'm excited that she wants to go to church. Today, she asked, "What do I wear?" And Monday, she and I and her cousin are going on a picnic to visit our River Guide friend...right now, I just so enjoy my time with these girls, and it's so awesome when she asks, "So what's your job?" as we're sipping our Raspberry Cream blended drinks, and I can say, "This is!"

Cooking out by the Stilly!

The Stillaguamish River, just a half a block from my apartment, was the site of the official "Owyhee River Kayaking Trip Reunion Cookout" Woohoo! I got to see seven of the eight kids who went on the trip and our three river guides again...we had a great time hanging out and talking (and eating), and I was just soooo glad to see my three girls again. I mean, we had an amazing week on the river together, and since then, I had only talked with one of them...So I was able to make plans to hang out with the other two this week and next week, which makes me very, very glad....because this follow-up thing is super hard! You get one week with them when they're focused, and then they come home and scatter, and it's a lot harder. I have to be like "So, which day are we hanging out? How about Wednesday? 2pm? Great. I'll pick you up. How about the espresso stand by the highway? Do you want to go there? Great." I feel like I'm selling knives or something, just trying to set up appointments with kids and not taking no for an answer.

So one of the girls and I are going to the espresso stand by the highway today. (Please make a mental note here the Washington countryside is littered with thousands of espresso stands. Every local business sells espresso or has an espresso stand in their parking lot. I think there are approximately 30 espresso stands in Arlington, with only 11,000 people. It's crazy.) We picked this one, because unlike most of the espresso stands (which are basically plywood boxes with a drive-thru window), this espresso stand has an outdoor sitting area, AND, it's shaped like a humongous stainless steel coffee pot! It deserves our business just for being pretty to look at. AND, yesterday, when I got a drink there, a man shouted out to me across the parking lot, "How's your drink?!" So, they're a friendly espresso stand too...

Monday, August 09, 2004


On Friday night, Bronco and I got together for a meeting with our volunteer advisory committee in Arlington. This is a group of people that helps us to make good decisions about the ministry of Youth Dynamics in Arlington. As it turned out, only one of our volunteers made it to the meeting, so the three ended up talking and sharing Arlington kids for a few hours.

Best of all--was that we spent about 45 minutes praying for the kids in the ministry and the direction of the ministry this year. It was great for me to see and experience a huge amount of prayer behind a ministry, because I'm very accustomed to shooting up a quick 5-minute prayer and then starting the planning session, and then praying at the end for God to bless it.

This time, we only prayed and talked and did NO definite planning, even though I had come to believe this was a planning meeting?! Meaning that the "plans" that were discussed will continue to be prayed and thought over for the next few weeks, and definite plans may not take shape for awhile, as we kind of sit back and wait for God to plant in us a definite direction. How exciting.

Something that I'm certainly praying over is an All Girl's Bible Study, headed up by me--which would potentially reach girls that would not be reached as easily through our existing two co-ed Bible Study groups. Right now I'm praying for vision for that group--and for God to show me which girls to approach about the group. I already have three solid ones in mind, and another two names have been shared with me since mentioning the'll see.

I'm not a failure!

Just so you know--on Saturday morning, I showed the Washington State Department of Licensing who's boss--I passed their silly exam, and therefore I received my very own Washington Driver's License. Not only did I pass their exam, I received 20 out of HA!

I would like to let you know that my final question was: "When riding a bicycle at night, for what length of distance should the front headlight be visible? 200ft, 300ft, 500ft, or 600ft." The correct answer is 500ft, and it's a good thing that I memorized the Driving Guide booklet, because just think of how many cyclists would have their lives endangered by me not knowing that the front bicycle headlight should be visible for 500ft instead of 600ft...

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Washington State Department of Licensing.

Do seven years of driving experience and no moving violations count for anything anymore?


In Washington, all that the Department of Licensing cares about is "Can you pass our ridiculously tricky computerized driving test?"

The point of this rant: I have failed my written exam for a Washington State Driver's License. Some of the tricky questions include the following:
1. When driving on a four-lane highway with a median separating the lanes, when you approach a school bus with flashing red lights, what should you do? (pass it unless children are crossing the road)
2. What is the fine for parking in a handicapped zone without a permit? ($250)
3. If you are the cause of an accident which results in injuries requiring hospitalization, death, or more than $700 damage to a vehicle, within how many days of the accident are you required to report the accident to the state highway patrol? (4 days--I said 2 days...don't you think that if you're in an accident where someone dies you should maybe call the police sooner than four days later?)

It is important to note that I read the entire State Driving Guide Booklet and read the fine print, and there were not very clear answers given throughout the book.

It was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I kept talking about how I would fail the test, and then this morning, I couldn't find the booklet to do some last minute cramming...I'm convinced this is all an elaborate scheme to keep me humble. I will go retake the test tomorrow.

P.S. you don't have to pass a test to get new license plates, which is good, because Mt. Rainier now graces the front end and back end of my vehicle. Whew.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

the local scoop

today i stopped to have ice cream with one of the girls who went on the Owyhee River Trip with us. we went to "The Local Scoop," Arlington's own local ice cream shoppe, and i was astounded to discover that you can purchase a double scoop waffle cone for $5.99! This thing was HUGE, and i was thinking that no one could eat that much ice cream--oh, but the petite teenager that i was with downed the whole thing. i was so impressed that anyone could consume that much ice cream in one sitting!

we had a great conversation, and best of all, she's excited about the idea of doing an all girls' bible study in Arlington this year (we currently facilitate two co-ed bible study groups)--which i would be excited to it's just in the brainstorming phase right now, but it has lots of potential--and it could be a great way to integrate some new female volunteers and new girls into the'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

email and an oil change

since when can you check your email at the texaco station while you're getting an oil change? oh! since today! because i'm doing it. amazing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

when does school start?!

HEY! When does school start? It needs to start soon! I have spent the last three days in the office by myself, and I am booooooored! Okay, that's not entirely true...I had a few fun hours painting the walls of my office, I rearranged the furniture, I hung pictures, I called the girls who went Kayaking with us, I wrote some articles for newsletters....

But it's officially been a week since I've seen any kids in the ministry, and I miss them! I want to talk to them...I want to see how they're doing...I want them to sing a really annoying song over and over or make monkey sounds for four hours straight, but the kids are not around...they are on vacation...they are swimming in the river...they need to come back and go to school, so that they will all be in the same place at the same time, and I can go there and hang out with them and listen to them complain about their homework. Come on school! Get started! Sooooon!