the crescendo


Back to Blogging
October 16, 2008, 3:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hi friends.  I’m definitely back to blogging here now!  I’ve got another blog for church stuff and a church website that I’ll be keeping up – but this will be my real blog.

So, I’ll start off with the political note I didn’t want to post on the church blog 🙂

During the debates tonight Obama mentioned that he does not want a free trade agreement with Columbia because union leaders are regularly assassinated with no prosecution.  Basically, the government there aids the murder of those who fight for the needs of workers.  And, essentially you can boil that down to enforced slavery.  This is why I don’t drink Coke products.  They are heavily involved in this practice in Columbia.

I’m not going to advocate for one candidate over another on my blog.  That’s not what this blog is meant to be about.  I just want to say, in the vein of the “crescendo,” I saw God’s grace in Obama mentioning that.  Even as our economy is crashing, here is one man who dared on national television to say that he will not sacrifice the lives of those who fight for workers in Columbia in the name of boosting our own economy.

Hearing a top American politician acknowledge the plight of the marginalized in the two-thirds world give me the courage to boycot Coke another day and hope that a difference can be made!

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rwanda update 4
May 27, 2008, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

hi friends.

once again, i am not feeling well.  i don’t understand why, but i’ve reached a point where african food – even the thought of it – makes me feel ill.  so please pray for health and for the ability to eat.  in order to take our malaria medication, we have to eat something and it has been a real battle for me to eat enough to take it the last three days.  but if you skip one day, apparently you’re vulnerable to malaria for the next 14 and i’ve been getting bit at least two or three times a day so…

today and yesterday we visited the hospital, spoke to the hospital ministry, and visited the sick.  yesterday when i was giving a homily, i almost started crying.  it is such an honor to be with the sick here.  they are truly the least of these and are close to God’s heart.

yesterday we gave men and women shirts.  there was one little girl there who looked like she couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10.  they had us put the shirts in paper bags so that people wouldn’t fight over their shirts.  when i gave a bag to this one little girl, she and her parents smiled.  as she opened the bag, her eyes lit up like on christmas morning.  it was really sweet. so thanks to all those that donated clothing.

sunday was a full day. i preached at a pentacostal church – for 40 minutes – that was rough.  then we went to see our new friend steven’s ministry.  tim played football (soccer) with his football team.  i think tim had a really good time.

but when it was over, i was exhausted…and now, i am exhausted again. hopefully i will update you again in a couple of days.



rwanda update 3
May 24, 2008, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hi friends.

Things, I think are turning a corner for us. A few nights ago, I was sort of at a breaking point with a number of things and felt like I wanted a mom. I happened to know that Brian and Grace McLaren were in town and have had a few chances to get to know Grace and decided I would go there for some oasis. That turned out to be a huge blessing. She sort of remembered me and then, while we were eating lunch, something clicked and she said “It’s you. I love you!” Honestly, that rocked. She really helped the whole team too. She decided to be Tim’s American mom for a day and really took care of us. In part, I really hate that I went to a Brian McLaren conference while in Rwanda, but I guess I also know that I really needed it. And, being Brian, as soon as I told him what we were doing, he connected us with three or four other people that were doing similar things.

One of the best parts of the conference was eucharist. In the room were South Africans – black and white, Americans, Germans, people fro Scotland and the Netherlands, Kenyans, Burundians, and people from all over the African continent. There were genocide perpetrators, victims, and reconciliation workers. There were prosperity Gospel preachers and emergent church dreamers. Liberals and conservatives. People in traditional dress, suits, and jeans and t-shirts. And we all took the Eucharist together.

As I looked around the room (we stood in a circle for the words of institution) I knew that this was possibly the most holy moment in my life. I knew it was a piece of heaven – all these people from all these tribes – enemies turned friends – all coming to one table to participate in Christ’s redemption.

I can’t put words to how beautiful, amazing, hopeful, real etc. etc. it was.

…and, Tim and Christina had different experiences. It is really amazing that we are all having different experiences of everything and that we are able to meet over them anyway – but sometimes it just feels lonely. I wished there was someone with me to share in that holy moment – to hold it the same as I did. But, this is how God has orchestrated this trip and I am also amazed at the stretching a beautiful opportunity for the three of us to be so very different and yet together. Screw practicum, everyone at mhgs needs a short term Rwanda trip with a small group of very different people 🙂

…and by the way, it is much less painful than practicum :

Today, we spent the day with my friend Noel and his beautiful family. It was very sweet. Tim really appreciated Noel’s story and how Noel’s generous heart is benefiting those around him.

We then went to Noel’s church where we shared a word with his choir and also sang them a song…poor them 🙂 Then they also sang us a song which was much more enjoyable 🙂

While we were at Noel’s house, I gave his three children, Jochin, Paul, and Jaspe (a girl) several gifts. They really enjoyed them. One was a book of very simple stories. The three of us stepped outside and when we looked in the window, the entire family was gathered together around the book. It was really beautiful.

Tomorrow – get this – I am preaching – are you ready? at a – seriously are you ready? PENTECOSTAL church.

seriously.

that will be interesting.

after that, we are going to go visit our new friend Steven. He has adopted 17 children and has four of his own making 21. We will bring him many gifts for them. I am both excited and a little nervous to see his home. What is most beautiful about this man is that he was an orphan himself. When he saw orphans on the street, he knew he could not leave them – so he adopted them. He told us “I know what it is like to have no one to say ‘I love you.'” And now, this man says “I love you,” more than anyone I know. He said it to us the second time we met him. What a redemption of story. And yet, what a great responsibility he has taken on. I hope that we can be a blessing to him.

And finally – drum roll – we have found a person who can tell us some stories! She has already told us 6 stories. She will be meeting with us again to tell us probably 6 more. It’s not exactly what we were looking for, but it is still very good.

Please pray and maybe share your thoughts with us about this – but she is a widow who has two sons and has adopted a daughter. She has no inheritance for them because her home was destroyed during the genocide. She is not destitute, but has lost much. So, I’m wondering if God has maybe sent us to her. Maybe we are meant to help her write a book with the stories she knows? Maybe we should only work with her in order to provide an inheritance for her children? God is very active here. It is hard not to believe that God has been leading us to her to bless her.

So, there’s a long update for you.

Thank you ever so much for your prayers and for checking in with our trip.



rwanda update
May 20, 2008, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

ok…so internet has been rough.

here’s a quick update:

i’m feeling mostly better.

tim’s getting sick.

christina rocks!

the story project is running into several problems.  our contact here has completely dropped us.  we’ve made some new contacts, but they are telling us that the project may not be possible because the language dramatically changed in 1959 with the first genocide – and many of the stories were lost then – and most translators don’t speak the old pre-genocide poetic language.  please be in prayer about this.  i can’t help but to be a little angry at our contact who did not mention this to us and then just dropped us once we did all this fundraising and gave up a month of our lives to come here and do this – – not to mention the debt we’ve incurred personally for this.

anyway, i do believe that God will bless the trip anyway.

yesterday we visited a hospital i previously visited.  i was greeted warmly and everyone remembered me.  they remarked that my sincere compassion for the sick was memorable and had touched them deeply.  this meant a lot to me.  we will go there two more times and will pray with the sick.

anyway, i must go.  i will update as i can – hopefully with pictures.

blessings friends.



rwanda update 1
May 15, 2008, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been almost a year since I posted.  Sorry friends.  It has been a full year.

I graduated from MHGS last Saturday then left for Rwanda on Monday.

It took us three days to get here…but we are finally here.

We almost had to leave my guitar in Ethiopia as they were asking for $200 to send it to Kigali…but team Rwanda triumphed against the demons of travel and Art Jr. (my guitar) is here safely with us.  Also, Ethiopian Airlines was kind enough to relieve us of the batteries we packed for our voice recorder – so the next order of action is to find triple a batteries in kigali – should be an adventure.

After we arrived yesterday afternoon, we ran some time-consuming errands and then went to bed.

I ended up getting sick burst the capilaries on my cheeks while…um…being sick.  so it looks like i have a lot of bright red freckles now.  I’ve been feeling ill all day and it’s possible that Tim has a cold as well. Please pray for our health.

Today we visited the genocide memorial.  My friend Anastase was kind enough to take us.  He is such an amazing an gentle man.  We are most thankful for him.  So as to avoid the possibility of losing my guitar in Ethiopia, I’ve decided to leave Art Jr. with Anastase’s son, who has been begging for a guitar apparently.

As for our mission:

we are here to collect indigenous stories in order to create children’s books based on the indigenous stories.  we hope to preserve Rwanda’s culture in this way and also to provide stories for a generation of children growing up without stories.

however, our contact here has not been responsive and things are not going well as far as that goes.  please be praying for opportunities to pan out – – and if you happen to have contacts in Rwanda that may be able to help us facilitate, please let me know.

the internet here is bad. so that’s it for now.



integrative project fiction
October 5, 2007, 5:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

so here’s a paper i turned in. the poem is by my brother. the fiction is a fiction based on the poem – it is not about my brother. it is completely fictional….but a good read i think. enjoy.

On a Sunday morning in earliy may

The Rhodendrons are blooming

and every bird is singing

as I walk the three blocks

from my house to Church

I have a view

it’s panaramic

Bellingham bay, San Juan Islands and Cascade mountains

I can see straight on into Canada

I sit in a pew as light filters in through stained glass

I sing to God

At the podium someone is telling us about orphans

In Uganda, with no food,

no shelter,

no money

Asking if we could help

lend our support,

money or prayer

It’s moving

On my way out

I walk past their booth

Look straight into the big eyes of a Young Black Boy in a picture

And keep walking

Go Home

Order some Little Ceasars

Scripture states that the only religion which God accepts

Is taking care of orphans and widows in their distress

If that’s the case

then it is time to quote REM

Because that is me in the corner

But this isn’t in the spotlight

in shadows and crowds

I’m performing my magic tricks

Apathy is my magic wand,

I’m pulling a rabbit out of my hat,

Turning reality into fantasy

Orphans turn into science fiction

People turn into statistics

something far away

something that can be ignored

like a parking ticket or library fine

people lose their humanity

In Christian theology we have a term for this

Bull Shit!

It’s a shift in focus

From changing to waiting

Christ taught us to pray

“Thy Kingdom come”

Instead of bringing it

I wait for it to come

In lethargy I have great patience

Heaven is supposed to come down

Descend to earth

Heaven is not someplace far away

Someplace to go when we die

Heaven is near,

it is knocking

It is availible

NOW

It will start to come in me

When I get off my ass

Fill out the damn card

send a fraction of my paycheck to buy vaccinations and education

For someone who wasn’t born on the right continent

With the right color of skin

Heaven will come

When I see people as what they are

Art

Created in the image of God

Each made with divinity dripping from every pour

Each the pinnacle of creation

Each made with more care

detail, attention,

and love

Than I can fathom

Each one the Creator took a step back from

To get a better look

Decided

With tears welling up

from the bottom of him

That it was good

it was very good

Heaven will come when every tear is dried from tired eyes

When every head is lifted

When pain and mourning cease

When hope dawns

When love finally conquers

once and for all

So, lord haste the day

when my faith shall be sight

the clouds be rolled back as a scroll

the trump shall resound

The lord descend

and the Dancers will dance upon injustice

-Bull Shit by Jake Tucker

Innocent

His name is Innocent – though he is not. At seven, the defiant boy dared to play in the luscious mango trees of Northern Uganda. The world was his and nothing would stop him from ingesting every inch of it. So, laughing, he ran into the forest his mother warned him about. Laughter quickly turned to fear. A gang of children, beaten and brainwashed by the LRA – a dying outfit initiated by an admittedly demon possessed woman and bent on overthrowing the Ugandan government – nabbed Innocent, dragging him to the LRA camp where he was trained to be a ruthless kidnapper, rapist, and murderer. From mangos to murder in a simple month’s time; Innocent’s innocence was lost.

Eight years later, Innocent defected. He found an abandoned souvenir shop that became his frantic hideout. He knew the LRA would hunt him down and kill him. He thought it would be better that way. But, that common though questionable urge to survive over-took him and he lived, paralyzed by fear, never leaving his hideout.

Carly

She walked across the stage, taking the diploma from her favorite professor as he whispered in her ear, “Well done! Go get ‘em!” The next morning, she woke-up and worked the same job barista. She made a double-chocolate-chip frappuccino for an over-privileged junior high girl who didn’t care that Carly graduated with honors from Western Washington University; in fact, this particular girl took a few sips and realized that this high-caloric drink might make her fat. She tossed it into the garbage and left.

Carly limply watched the sceen just long enough to see Charlie, the craziest of Bellingham’s crazy homeless, rescue the delectable refuse. He reclined for moment, imagining himself a welcomed customer. Carly smiled, basking in the joy her monotonous work brought Charlie, as Chips – a nickname earned by the amount chips he ate while drunk at parties – tapped her shoulder.

Chips was the Shift Supervisor – a position of modest power that he reveled in. “Since you aren’t doing anything productive,” he scolded, “go get rid of Charlie. He’ll lower our STAR points!” (STAR being an acronym thought up by an ex-youth pastor turned Starbucks executive who thought judging employees on four easy to remember categories would improve morale).

Carly turned to Chips, proclaimed “I quit!” and stormed out. As she sat in her car, breathing heavily with self-satisfaction, she realized that she was now amongst the multitude unemployed college graduates. She dreamt of making coffee for Charlie professionally – but realized this dream would lead to her own homelessness. So, she turned to the only thing she could think of: a mission trip.

Carly’s time in Uganda changed everything. Nothing was so haunting as a photo she took of one boy who refused to leave an old souvenir shop. She brought him a mango one day. He smiled as though he remembered a past-life. Before she could snap a shot of his smile, his eyes returned to classic World-Vision-sponsorship-ad emptiness. She couldn’t wait to go back! She sold everything she had to raise money – everything, that is, except for a pile of blankets and scarves she gave to Charlie over a Dolcé de Leché latte as Chips nervously watched the two lounging in the Starbucks lobby.

On Sunday, she spoke at church, sure that once she introduced the people to Innocent and to Charlie, they would be forever changed – that the knowledge of the world around them would prompt them to action. No one cared. One college boy seemed to pause long enough to see the depth of Innocent’s empty eyes – but he moved on, murmuring something about ordering from Little Caesars’, “No one makes crazy bread like that little cartoon Caesar dude,” he sarcastically joked as Carly’s hope withered.

Jack

When Carly spoke at church, Jack thought of his sister. They were alike. Somehow, for them the world was a different place – one Jack couldn’t quite see. He knew there was poverty and that he basked in the pleasure of white-male-privilege and, to some degree, he hated it. But he didn’t know what to do. A self-reliant twenty-year-old, he rarely made it to church, primarily worshiping the Seahawks. He didn’t know a pastor – other than his sister – who he rarely talked to for fear he’d get another unsolicited AIDS orphan rant. Christianity meant Jack and his Bible against the world! On the dark days when his Bible seemed silent, he blamed his lack of faith, cried himself to sleep, and moved on in the morning.

Tonight would be one of those nights; he’d looked into the eyes of an African boy and lost himself. He asked questions – questions he knew his Bible wouldn’t answer – and his sister would answer all too quickly. So he distracted himself with pizza and poetry. Picking up his pizza, he passed Charlie, who seemed crazier, sporting a pink scarf. Something about the girly scarf touched Jack. He handed off his coveted Crazy Bread to the crazy man and headed home to lose himself in pizza and the computer screen, as he typed his greatest poem yet.

What’s next? Maybe Jack will live among the poor. Or maybe he’ll teach immigrant children English and laugh with them for the few hours a day they are allowed to be children, or go on to be a youth pastor and teach hundreds of youth what it is to care for orphans and widows in their distress? And maybe, one day, youth ministry will get the better of him and he’ll become a Starbucks executive – only instead of an acronym to boost morale, he’ll transform Starbucks into an all-fair-trade organization, insisting on the education and protection of coffee-grower’s children – children like Innocent. Or, maybe he’ll go on, becoming evermore immune to and disillusioned by the reality of the world around him as his gorges on Little Caesars’ and writes sarcastic poetry.



September 10, 2007, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

so i’m home now.  there is so much more i could tell you…but i’m going through culture shock and don’t really have a blog post in me now.

also…i don’t have a job and that is worrying me…so if you have any ideas about a job that’s about 10 hours a week and $12 per hour…let me know.

thanks…i’ll update more when i’m feeling better