Carmen

[excerpt from a piece written for the ACC Missions Handbook 2016-2017]

Carmen means ‘song’ in Latin. Carmen is dark-lit and wide-stretched. Her widely tapered eyes are luxuriant—her smile crinkles her whole face into something radiant, something nobler than happiness. Joy, maybe, at its most primal.

It leaks from her drawling hands, hands caressing the heads of the wonder-eyed chicos, who giggle then and run outside the church room, up and down the alley twice, and come back panting like furry little perros; from her hands on the chicos’ shoulders then, calming them to listen to Pastor Fernando instruct. Continue reading

Godspeed

Godspeed, sister, may the
constant God bless you and keep you
I always imagined Him like snow of perpetual melt, cuddling into the
corners of everything, soaking the dusts you’d
least expect Him to.

Godspeed, sister—I’m in no position to give advice, but maybe
I can offer lift. Continue reading

Day 6: Play ball! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Muy bonito!

That’s my Spanish phrase of the day. What? Look it up yourself! All the puppies here are muy bonito.

The schedule today was much like yesterday’s—breakfast/team meeting at 7:45am, leave for churches at 9am, morning session, lunch, afternoon session, tea, back to hotel around 7:30pm, dinner, bed.

This morning, we learned how to use the eBall—a soccer ball with different colors that represent different parts of the gospel. The idea is to play, show, and tell. More on that later. Then we practiced a different Bible story with each other: the Pharisee and tax collector who pray differently, and Jesus loving on the children brought to him.  Continue reading

Day 5: Eyeglasses, eyeglasses, eyeglasses! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Hola amigos!

(practicing my Español)

I can’t believe day 5 is over! It was an exhausting but rewarding day.

This morning we had a team meeting/devotional over breakfast. The passage was Ephesians 6:10-20 (if you’re following the prayer calendar on the Sucre page above, that’s the passage for today)—we talked about boldness in all we do, from knocking on doors to praying for our brothers/sisters to sharing the gospel even when we get home. Boldness ≠ obnoxiousness.

PG and I arrived at the church with our translators and Pastor Fernando like yesterday. We (and the nationals) spent some time going over the Bible story about the sinful woman who wipes Jesus’ feet and pours oil, etc. (Luke 7:36-50) and practicing sharing it with each other—the point of the morning was to go back to the houses we visited yesterday and follow up with new believers, by sharing ‘true stories from the word of God’, praying for/with them, etc. We also practiced with the Evangecube for the first time—it’s a folding cube that manipulates to show helpful pictures while you share the gospel.  Continue reading

Day 3: Church! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Hola everybody!

It’s the end of Day 3, our first full day of work with the local churches!

This morning, I ate breakfast (toast with jam) with Pastor Gaylord (PG), Justine, and Timothy. The latter two are a team, and they left together to help with a children’s program at their church. PG and I spent some time talking, working on ministry things (he prepared a sermon for the evening, I familiarized myself with our ministry materials and also helped PG), etc.  Continue reading

Days 1&2: Travels & Settling In [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Hi friends!

After 22 hours of travel, we finally arrived in Sucre at 8:40am this morning! Praise God for all of us (and our luggage!) arriving safely. There was a small issue at customs (confusion about the eyeglasses we brought for the clinic) but David was able to explain what they were for and we got cleared.

Fun fact: customs in Santa Cruz involves pushing a button—green light means you’re clear! Red light means pain and a thorough check through your luggage. It’s randomized.

At the international airport in Sucre, we met two of our translators, Andrea and Johan. Continue reading

Surrender

Surrender is a choice, I like to think
made in dusky rooms, with outstretched palms and crowded sweaty limbs.
Give it up.
Cede control—
I want to know, you, more.
I wonder if the ultimate denial of the self is handing it away, wrapped crisply, if only it were that easy. Which the purest of goals is freeing of want and jurisdiction
how then does the marionette feel: despair, or the freedom of constraint?

Raw knees, a sticky-pus epidermis, stinging with scraggles of red. Raw soul,
a different sort of corporal pain—a post-unbolt numbness, some hot fickleness still in trusting like a blind man.

Continue reading