Sunday, February 26, 2012

You Know My Name?

As we have mentioned, the Lord has provided us an apartment for our 6 months here in Tacoma, WA. We spent a month adjusting to our home without wheels. That mainly involved spontaneous moments of jumping in circles just because we could. Then it was time to meet our neighbors! The plan of action- bring them red-velvet cake balls and introduce ourselves :)

We had never made cake balls before so it took a whole saturday for us to make over 100 (and of course sample many). We finally finished at 6:00 and set off to make besties! The first door we knocked on was opened by a short woman with wiry hair and a confused look on her face...probably thinking "what are these white teenagers doing at my door??" We jumped right into unrehearsed but enthusiastic introduction, "Hi! We're your new neighbors- Jenna and Stacie. We just wanted to meet you and bring you some cake balls!" (Visualize our cheesy smiles and an outstretch arm). She sternly responded, "Well I don't want to meet you" and slammed the door in our face. There we were....frozen in the overly excited/stunned split second rejection. Before we had time to snap out of our freeze frame, she slung the door open with a smile and let us in on her joke. Fewf! What a relief. Come to find out, her name is Missy and she is a ball of fun!! It was the prefect start to our awkward night :)

We went on to pass out cake balls to 22 of our neighbors. We got to chat with a few but mostly we briefly got their names and watched there initial creeped out faces turn to surprised flattered faces. We ended the night excited and encouraged. The huge praise was that the family beneath us came to our soup-er-bowl shindig and we found out they had already been connected with The Pathway. One of the little girls had accepted Jesus during a summer vbs put on in the courtyard of the complex. COOL! Unfortunately, they moved out less than a week later and we didn't get the chance to tell them goodbye...sad day.

Since then, we haven't made much progress in these new friendships. We've invited them to different things the church has done as well as attempted to invite them over for dinner to get to know them more. None of the above has succeeded but the cool thing is we know their names.

We were inviting those we had met to join us in one of our gatherings and after being rejected, we parted ways with a casual "bye Laurence." He looked a bit shocked and said, "You know my name?" He was genuinely uplifted by that simple intentional act. So although we haven't been able to deepen our friendships, we know their names.  We get to walk in and out of the apartment and greet our neighbors by name which often time leads to general conversations held in passing. This may not result in deeper relationships but it's a step closer.

We aren't slowing down in being intentional. Instead, we are pushing forward. We're fighting to put a crack in the reclusive walls people build up in order to barricade themselves into a "safe place". We're walking the line of freaking people out/showing them that we were created for fellowship routed in love. We're trying to flood our apartment complex with the aroma of Christ and praying that God will give the growth exactly as he sees fit. And indeed he will.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crazy Followers.

Screaching halts are scary. It seems like there are so many times when I feel like I am coasting down the road of life, knodding my head at everything around me, and then BOOM!...I'm dazed, confused, and holding my head feeling a severe case of whiplash. Why did it stop all of a sudden? And, its not like the road that I was traveling on was easy...not at all...I was just starting to get use to it. Everything was starting to look familiar and whether it was hard or easy didn't matter. The road was just starting to become home...literally.

We have been traveling for over a year now. Going just as we felt led by God. Then we got to Tacoma and it felt like all of a sudden, everything slowed down. One minute we are eating canned tuna out of the van and the next thing we know we have a stove in a short-term lease to an apartment. Is this still van, GO?

We think so. It may actually be the most beautiful part of going. Going, until he says stay..and staying until he says go. We are strangers on this planet, placed here for only a short amount of time. Our jobs are not to build our own little kingdoms on earth. Our job is to build a kingdom that lasts for eternity...and to invite the rest of this world to join us there. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal." (Matt 6:20). "For whoever will save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his life?" (Mark 8:36).

And that is basically what this whole trip feels like. Like we have "lost control," of our lives. We are going with no clue about what tomorrow brings. To the world we look like idiots as we walk refusing to take the blindfolds off.  It feels like a supernaturally controlled fall....if you could even imagine. We put our hands to the plow, and though it is tempting to look back we force ourselves to "Go" forward (Luke 9:62)...even if "Go" means something different every day. We are not going to a destination on this planet. We are not vanGO because we constantly have to be physically moving our van. We are going to an eternal heaven. Which means we have no clue what the route looks like on earth. So we literally can't be the navigators. We're just the crazy people who are following the seemingly crazy leader, Jesus.  Just when we thought we were starting to take a small grip on our lives, getting use to the road that we were on, God changed it all up on us again.

 Does the whiplash hurt sometimes? Yeah. It feels like we are never going to have another "normal" day. But it is those spirit led whiplashes that are such great reminders...we need to trust our driver.