Saturday, April 10, 2010


There is no one else like Jesus!

"Hakuna" must be Swahili for "nothing" or "none" some negative... I figured that out for myself. :) In Disney's "The Lion King," there is a song that means "No Worries," and in Swahili it is "Hakuna Matata." (Yes, I am well aware that I probably just caused most of you to get that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day!) But an even better song - with even more truth - is the one I heard today... one that I actually learned at the Urbana conference in December... one that says "Hakuna Mungu Kamuwewe": There is No One Like Jesus.

Today our church (with the organizational talents of Connie and Kevan Chandler) hosted the Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda. "Watoto" means "Children." It was amazing - lots of bright colors, strong voices, powerful testimonies, and energetic moves. The smiles on those kids' faces were enough to fill your heart with joy. If you want to know more about their ministry, go to their website:

They told about how God is their father and provider, even though they and many others are orphans on this earth. They spoke of their hope for life and the future because of Jesus. They worshipped him as they sang, and I could tell that they meant every word... that they love Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

They are ambassadors for the other orphans and victims of AIDS and violence in their country, being their voice in a clueless and ignorant world. But they are also ambassadors of the kingdom of the Lord, clearly and personally presenting the truth of the gospel, and the evidence of its power in their lives.

God, bless the Watoto of Uganda. Broaden their territory and amplify their message to the ends of the earth. Keep them safe and healthy as they travel, and use them to the glory of Your name.

There's no one, there's no one like Jesus -
There's no one, there's no one like Him!
I ran and ran all over, over
I turned and turned all over, over
I searched and searched all over, over -
There's no one, there's no one like Him!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The gift of forgiveness

How do you respond if someone asks you for forgiveness? Sometimes I blow it off, wave it away and make it casual: "Don't worry about it... It's no big deal... No problem... We're fine..." Even if the thing that needs forgiving really did hurt or offend, I feel this need to put the other person at ease by minimizing the issue. In fact, sometimes I feel like forgiveness should be more of a personal thing: I have to come to the point in my own heart that I forgive and release a thing to the Lord, not necessarily for the other person's sake, but my own.

But then I think about the times when I work up the humility and courage to ask someone for forgiveness - I ask because it plagues me so much that I need that resolution and release. I truly feel bad about it and want to make it right. And it is not satisfying or grace-filled when I do that and the response is casual. It doesn't make me feel better for someone to tell me it was "nothing" when it's been a very heavy "something" on my heart that is making me lose sleep or get sick. When I ask for forgiveness, it's because I need to know that I am forgiven.

So I was thinking of these things yesterday when someone very thoughtfully and humbly asked me for forgiveness. I tried to put myself in her position, and recognized that forgiving her would actually be more of a blessing to her than to me. And that was something I could do: I could bless her with a heartfelt, gracious statement of forgiveness that would put her soul at ease and truly restore and strengthen our relationship.

After all, isn't it beautiful and mind-blowing to know that's what Jesus did for us? He didn't just dismiss our confession of sin or minimize our realization of inadequacy and helplessness... he actually FORGIVES us when we ask him to! I am so thankful for that grace and mercy, for that strong and powerful and true statement of his forgiveness and restoration.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

really... everyone??

Today a student wrote in his research paper that everyone on earth has heard of Super Mario and has played a video game. Thinking that he had made a careless generalization, I pointed out to him the danger of using the word "everyone." Instead of taking my wise counsel, the kid actually argued with me about it! He insisted that he was correct, and that it was crazy to imagine that anyone in the world is so sheltered that they've never had access to a video game. He finally thought a fair compromise would be to say "most people." Wow... all I could say was, "You have a lot to learn."

I think the next research paper should be about the Congo, which has a GDP of about $300 per capita ( or maybe make it more personal, like looking at the lives of the garbage boys of Egypt, or the slumdogs of India, or the orphans in Uganda, or the victims in Haiti, or even the children in the poor corners of America... every country has people who suffer from a lot more than a lack of video games. There are kids who fight to have clean water and enough food each day. It's so important to be aware of these problems, so that we can start thinking of how we can be a part of the solution.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Catching the Teaching Bug... again.

I've got it again... the teaching bug!

Today was my first day back in the education-saddle, and it felt really good. I had all these anxieties about being prepared and knowing what to do, but as soon as the first class came in, all of that melted away and I was Miss Chandler again, loving every moment. I think my favorite thing is figuring out how to help the students care about what they are learning. That is easy for me to do this term because my subjects are English and US History, both of which I feel very passionate. And because of that, I feel like releasing my inner nerd and thinking of all sorts of fun and creative activities to do with the lessons. Of course, so far all I've had to do is plan and teach... the hard part for me is the testing, grading, and evaluating, so I'll let you know in a few days if I still love my job. :)

The Easter weekend flew by in a whirlwind of sugar, late nights, and a full house of crazy good people. My dear friend, Leigh Ann, stayed with me while my parents were in Hawaii, and we had a great time together. She is such a wonderful friend to have around, and I think part of it is because she is so full of patience and grace and genuinely puts Christ's love into action.

Amazingly for April here, the past week has been nothing but sunshine and 80-degree weather. Leigh Ann and I took full advantage of it: we walked all over downtown Winston-Salem on Friday and got fabulously sun-kissed, had a picnic with the church on Saturday, and wore our pretty summer dresses on Easter Sunday.

It was also a weekend of finishing touches... Thursday night I had a pizza dinner with my teen girls Bible study group as our last night together (for now). It was exciting to see how each of them learned such personal applications from the first four chapters of John, and how they are all growing in their relationships with the Lord. I look forward to seeing the amazing ways he is going to continue to work in their lives in the future!

My other finishing touch was on my blanket! Yes, it is finished - four months work is complete! I don't know if I have ever felt so proud of myself in my life.

Well my class break is almost over, my healthy snack is eaten, and my last class is about to begin. Have a beautiful day!