Monday, August 15, 2011

Going places: mission boards, African church, international pastries, and endless summers

Today's million dollar question: How does one "briefly" state their view on "the need and nature for Atonement"? Ministry related applications can be mind-bloggling sometimes... At first, this question made me stare blankly at the screen, feeling completely overwhelmed. Then I just wanted to write "it is absolutely needed. it's nature is amazing. the end." And when I actually started writing, the "need for Atonement" bit took up two pages... *delete, delete, delete* and try again. Briefly... really? It took God the entire Bible - Old and New Testament - to express this to us! Oh, silly mission board...

Actually, tonight I got to have a delightful dinner with a member of a local mission board, and I decided I have a new aspiration: I want to be the director of a church mission board when I grow up. Do you know why? It's because these people get to talk with people in ministry all the time - hear exciting stories about how God is at work all over the world, in urban centers and remote jungles and everything in between. They get to see pictures of people and places and things they may never get to see personally, they get to check out pottery and silk screens and fans and spices from every continent and country, and they get to see the smiles on the faces of God's servants that are so big and bright that they just know those world travellers are living life in one of the biggest, most exciting, most fulfilling ways possible. Granted, mission boards do a lot more than just listen to stories, but I would think that is the coolest part of their jobs!

Yesterday, Tall Hannah and I attended an African church service. Of course, we got hopelessly lost and arrived an hour late... but in the process, we found a little international bakery shop, which we decided to visit after the service. The second half of the service was wonderful... we sang familiar songs like "Shout to the Lord" and "Above All," but with the beautiful African accent infused, and a flair of African rhythm. The pastor spoke in English and had a translator (not sure which language, though - Swahili? Lingala?). And I think everyone in the room gave us hugs and greeted us warmly with huge smile and an enthusiastic "God bless you, my sister!" Every church should greet that way, in my opinion.

We returned to that little bakery after church, and were amazed at the variety - there must have been a pastry for every language in the world! We started out with the intention of getting two pastries... after all, they looked delicious, but they may have been dry and stale, right? And there were no price tags, so we couldn't risk spending too much. But the varieties were too amazing, so two became four pastries, with two spontaneously added tea cookies, and Hannah valiently offered to cover it if the cost was outrageous. We were even  more blown away when the total came up as $4.10! Wow... we went home and had a delightful Mad Hatter Tea party, and made a glorious sugary mess, and deliriously declared at the end of it all that we would definitely be going back to that international bakery. And bring more friends. Fort Wayne must know about this place.

For our Saturday night adventure, Hannah and I watched "The Endless Summer," and ate pineapple and rice. It's been a weird dream of mine to do this for some time now, as I read about this ritual in one of my favorite books, A Delirious Summer, by Ray Blackston. The movie was a surfing documentary from 1966, in which these two California surfers decided to chase the summertime around the world so they could surf year-round. That is all I will tell you about the movie, except that it is on Netflix Instant Play. If you have any imagination and since of wanderlust (both of which I have in bushels), you should watch it. With pineapple.

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