Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Power of Two

I spend my Saturday mornings at Gateway House of Prayer. I had taken several weeks off ... had been off since my hospital stay earlier this summer until a few weeks ago. (I felt strongly that I needed to find some space on my schedule to not "be" anywhere in particular).

Today I was at Gateway for 4 hours because I was there for my normal 2 hour time block and then stood in for a friend. I have to admit leaving home this morning I wondered how I was going to do with 4 hours pretty much alone with God and my thoughts in an empty room. Though there are several times a week that there are worship teams and other people in the room ... usually Saturday mornings there are only a couple of us at most... many times I'm there alone or singing while my friend plays keyboard.

As expected, I got some CDs set up and headed straight for the wall map with my Bible and journal and began to pray. I knelt down and prayed and wept, was thankful and was pleading... tears, snot and all. After a while... I heard someone come in the room and come over to me. This guy asked if he could join me to agree together in prayer. I said of course and he asked me if I could verbalize what I was praying about ... so I told him I was praying for the nations, especially Ethiopia and Haiti because my heart has been broken for these countries. He admitted that his heart was inclined to pray for families this morning but that he'd follow my lead for a while then take a turn to lead the direction of our prayers. It was awesome. Praying out loud with Joe enabled me to verbalize and express more to God and also to convey what was on my heart to another human being. It was awesome to hear him pray with intensity and catch some passion to pray for Haiti and Ethiopia too. We prayed together at least an hour and a half. When he left, both of our hearts were expanded and we were energized. Not that this was anywhere near the first time for this for me... but this was a morning that I really saw how God used praying together to move us beyond our own agendas and open our eyes to other needs. It also helped fuel my prayers and time with God for the next couple of hours.

Matthew 18: 18-20 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Friday, October 22, 2010


So I decided that my blog name was ridiculous... so I changed it... from closer to fine to more than fine. It seems slightly more appropriate. I'm so much more than fine. Let's be honest. I'm blessed. Ridiculously and amazingly blessed... come what may.

I just got done google mapping and zooming in on Addis Ababa. I then went and looked at pics that my friends posted from their trip to pick up their beautiful adopted daughter in Ethiopia. I guess I wanted to see some familiar sights that weren't my own pictures. I then re-watched a video from my trip. Tonight I'm going to an Ethiopian restaurant.

My feelings right now are mixed. I saw the need and poverty side of the country. I also saw so much beauty, love, culture, green rolling hills, etc etc. A lot that I hadn't expected to see and connect with. I remember the varied smells of incense, bonfire, charcoal, exhaust, and other smells, sometimes yucky but mostly amazing. I remember that the traffic "patterns" seemed crazy and I couldn't imagine how anyone drove there. I remember being a little nervous every time I entered a different restroom not knowing what I'd find. I remember big brown eyes, high cheek bones, hugs and kisses... people being everywhere, it seemed. I remember feeling very safe because of the leaders of our team both from in and out of country. I remember loving every food I tried... though i admit I didn't try raw beef and probably won't.

I will continue to focus my attention on what Compassion is doing and with more fervor. I'm so so so excited about the opportunities they are giving to the people all over the world...especially my little friend Senait. I'm also taking some time now to think more about how I have been impacted personally by my trip. Now that my responsibility from the work angle is pretty much finished... I have a lot of thoughts to sift through. I still tear up at random times and look forward to opportunities to chat with others who have been or are going to Ethiopia. Confession: I applied for frequent flier miles on Ethiopian Airlines ... just in case. I also look at the people in my own city differently and wonder to myself where home was for them before living here.

I'm looking at the map differently now, too... having never been really anywhere before... the shapes mean something different now. There is a huge map of the world covering a wall at Gateway House of Prayer and I have headed straight for it the last few times I've been there to pray, focusing on Africa, Bangladesh, Haiti, and Albania specifically because of my connections to people there. Some of my prior thinking about giving, need, enough, aid, love, politics, grace, and more is being challenged in good ways.

Now I'm thinking about what's next... both in a day by day way and long term. We were challenged the other week at church to ask God for what we want... Not in the material way... but in the who do I want to be, what do I want to be defined by way. I thought in the direction of love. I want to love with all that I am in whatever way that means. I have a lot of learning and changing to do but I think there are a lot of exciting ways to walk this out. More to come....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ethiopia Adventures

I have been doing most of my blogging at my "work blog" but do plan to do some deeper thinking blogging here, too. For now, please visit this blog for pictures, stories, and more.