Friday, April 25, 2008

We Love Our New House...

...which is one reason why I'm not posting much lately :)

We moved out here on Saturday and some very sweet people we know surprised us with a big reception at our door and a whole troop of helping hands to unload our truck. This was a wonderful blessing and we were able to get everything into the house in very good time.

On Saturday night we were down by our pond, (which is more like a very small lake, by the way), watching the fish jump and I was inspired to suggest that we go buy some fishing poles and try fishing in the morning. It took some work to convince the older members of the family that this was actually a good idea, but we did it, and we've caught about thirty perch, a catfish and a bass so far. For us, that was a phenomonal thing. I'd only caught three fish in my entire life, none big enough to keep, and my littlest brother and sister had never been fishing before. Where we lived in Turkey, there was never a place to fish and the water was pretty polluted. Our uncle gave us some fishing poles once, but we couldn't really use them because we had no place to go. It's hard to believe that we can fish on our own property now!

There's a lot of work to be done at this new place and our internet situation is still shaky, but I'll try to update before too long.

While you're waiting, here's a hilarious video I found a long time ago and have been meaning to share with you guys for quite awhile...

Seize The Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Cross And The Switchblade - A Call To Anguish

Not too long ago, I stayed over at a friend's house with my brother and sisters while our parents were out of town. I was sleeping with my little sister, who was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, so to speak, but I always have troubles getting to sleep in strange houses, so I went over to the bookshelf, looking for something to read. The book that caught my attention was The Cross And The Switchblade, because I had just heard my Mom talking about it that week, and I wanted to read it. So I did. I started on the very first page, and I said, "I am going to read this book if it takes me all night." (We teenagers don't have any problems with staying up all night - we're very flexible about bedtimes:) That was one decision I will never regret - one night that was not wasted... I laughed, I cried, and over and over I set the book down and prayed, because you cannot read that book without praying. I should warn you, The Cross And The Switchblade is a hard book, and you will probably break your heart over it, but I'm learning every day that it's OK to break my heart. And it's OK to keep breaking it, over and over again. That way I keep a vision of The Perfect. I don't get so used to how it is that I forget how it SHOULD be.

The Cross And The Switchblade is the incredible story of how one young man got a call to do a hard thing - and did it. But it's also the story of the New York City street gangs and the teenagers like Nicky Cruz who were so lost that Wilkerson thought no love could reach them. David Wilkerson was a young, married preacher in Pennsylvania and his call to go to NYC came through a murder-trial picture in a magazine. The murderers were kids, all under 18. And Something told Wilkerson to "go to NYC and help those boys." He didn't want to go. He didn't know anything about violent, teenage street-kids. He didn't WANT to know anything about them. But he knew he was supposed to go, so he did it. What happened afterwards is a story that actually defies reality, but don't get me wrong here - this is not a book about David Wilkerson changing NYC. In fact, much of this book is about moments of absolute miserable desperation, moments of shock and that sickening feeling that comes with the realization of a nasty truth. Much of this book is about defeat and anguish.

Wilkerson says that everything in his life that ever mattered to God was born in anguish. I can testify to that fact, for I have found it to be true in my own life. If I am not anguished over something, I will not do anything about it. The only times in my life where I have committed to set my alarm for five in the morning and get up to pray, were those times I have been anguished over something and could not live with the hurt of it any more. And, to be honest with you, it is only this year that these moments are beginning to come regularly and I am starting to realize what all of this anguish means and how it all works together for good. If you feel up to hearing something that will bring you to your knees, I'd recommend that you listen to A Call To Anguish.

I'd say it is really passages like this one, detailing Wilkerson's first meeting with Nicky Cruz, that show the reader of The Cross And The Switchblade the anguish that birthed everything Wilkerson did for the NYC gangs:

'Go to H---, Preacher,' he said. He had an odd, strangled way of speaking and he stuttered badly over some of his sounds.

'You don't think much of me, Nicky,' I said, 'but I feel different about you. I love you, Nicky.' I took a step towards him.

'You come near me, Preacher,' he said, in that tortured way, 'I'll kill you.'

'You could do that,' I agreed. 'You could cut me in a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street and every piece would love you.' But as I said it, I was thinking: and it wouldn't do a bit of good - not with you, Nicky - there's no love on earth that could reach you."

That is tragedy. There's only one word for that last line: tragedy. It's surely a good thing it wasn't true. The Cross And The Switchblade testifies relentlessly to the Power of Prayer. It cries over and over again, "never, Never, NEVER underestimate the Power of Prayer." If you've read it, you probably know what I mean.

My favorite line from that book is Nicky Cruz' first prayer: "Dear God, I'm the dirtiest sinner in New York. I don't think You want me. If You do want me, You can have me. As bad as I was before - I want to be that good for Jesus." Anybody can say, "I am the dirtiest sinner" but in Nicky's situation, it was probably true. I think it would be hard to imagine a sinner worse than Nicky Cruz...and yet he fell to his knees in tears at the altar and gave it all up to Jesus. How can anbody refuse to believe in miracles?!

I recommend this book to everyone who isn't afraid to cry for the utterly lost kids in our country and to pray for them, not just today or this week or this year, but as long as we live. And I recommend this book to every teenager because we need to know these things.

Seize The Day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Awe And The Joy

Well folks, I've never linked you to another post by someone else and sent you on to read that, but I feel this one is worth your time. Anya has hit the nail on the head and I couldn't have done it any better than she did, even if I did trust myself to try explaining such an indescribable thing. Please stop by and read her beautiful post about the awe and the joy.

Seize The Day!