Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just a Conversation

We had spent a long morning filming and I was TIRED of it. So tired of it. The lake was beautiful, the weather was nice and I enjoyed breathing in the fresh air. However, after long hours of playing a filming violin, (which actually didn't play much) and smiling while the camera swept over the orchestra, I had ceased to find enjoyment. We were filming the orchestra and choir in nature settings for the newest DVD that FVA was putting out. I was sitting with WayAnne and Melissa on a short little overhang covered with moss. Little twigs poked up through the skirt and were quite annoying until hunger pains for lunch took over. Two hours later we were finally able to get off the the rock and go eat some lunch. I grabbed the sandwich and some extra pickles and sat down on a log, hardly noticing that I was sitting beside a lady that was visiting to watch the filming and check out the school for her kids. She was nice and tried to start up a conversation with me. Sadly, I was way to concerned with eating my food and hardly looked at her while I mumbled my one word answers. After a few attempts, she asked what I was going to major in and, after swallowing a bite, I answered and told my plans of taking theology. She was very surprised, since thats not the typical thing for a highschool girl to want to do, but she was very encouraging. We then started in a conversation that made me forget my food altogether. She started telling me that her husband was an atheist and that she had been persecuted for going to church and for keeping her faith. She sent her kids to church school and to church faithfully but she was disappointed because the church seemed more concerned with entertainment rather then the pure gospel. She then asked me very earnestly to be the spiritual leader that taught nothing but the pure gospel and to teach the youth the power in untainted religion. She kept persisting in this request and I kept agreeing and promising with my whole heart that I would do my very best through God to meet her request.
She was a blessing and an encouragement to me that day, like an affirmation from God that this was His plan for my life. I'm only glad that she kept persisting in conversation until I was smart enough to put down my food and actually listen. (note: don't ever be to busy with food that you can't take time to be polite and give people conversation.)

The way the Lord has been leading these past months I am beyond a shadow of a doubt of what I am supposed to do with my life and the conversation on the log at Seton Lake was just another small arrow of affirmation pointing me on my way.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Honduras Part 3 (At the Orphanage)

It was only my second day working at the orphanage. The sun was already high in the sky and it was hot. We had all the kids outside, attempting to keep them on the side walk, while they colored and put stickers on paper. It was a struggle to say the least. 

There was this one girl in particular, her name was Anna and she was probably the most misbehaved girl there. She was either five or six years old, ( I was never able to get it straight) so she was the second oldest girl there. She was loud and screamed and ran away. She wouldn't listen at all and she hit the other children and took their toys away whenever she wanted to. Since I didn't speak her language it was hard to communicate with her which let her get away with lots more than we all would have liked. 

Once she decided that she was done with her crayons she jumped up and took off to the unfinished building site. I jumped up and called out to her. She obviously didn't understand the words that were coming out but I knew that she understood the meaning and my hand motioning. She coked her head, with an evil gleam in her eye and pranced away. 
That was it, I took off after her at high speed. She started running too. I didn't want her over there because there were loose nails on the ground and sharp things everywhere and she was barefoot. I got to the building site and tried to keep up. Since she was way smaller and shorter she easily slid under things that I had to clumsily climb over because I was to tall to go under. 
Finally, I realized it was useless. I stopped. She stopped and turned to look back. She cocked her head to one side as a question as to why I had stopped chasing her. What could I do? I couldn't' catch her. Then I remembered a camera I had hanging around my head. It was a simple point and shoot camera but all the kids loved to hold it and try taking pictures. So I took the camera off and held it out to her. "Would you like it? come here." Once again, the meaning was clear even through the language barrier. She slowly inched her way over, eyes switching from the camera in my hand to me as if calculating my moves. You better believe I was calculating too. I wanted to wait until she was close enough to grab, but I didn't want to wait too long because I didn't want her to lose interest and start running again. The seconds that ticked by seemed like hours and she slowly inched over. I prayed that I could hold a straight face. Her hand reached out to take the camera and BAM. I grabbed it. I think it was an answer to prayer that I calculated right, because I'm usually not good at that sort of thing. She screamed and wiggled and fought and I hung on for dear life. I felt bad because I knew I must be hurting her wrist by grabbing so tight but at that point I couldn't hold with any less pressure because she would have started to hit me. We struggled all the way back to the orphanage house. It took a while to get back and by that time I was throughly frustrated. While all the other kids picked up their things and went back inside to have a watermelon piece to cool off. I told her a firm, "No, you are staying put with me for a while!" I sat down and leaned my back against the unfinished brick wall and pulled the still struggling child down on my lap. She was hot and sweaty and so was I and she continued to put up a fight as I firmly held her on my lap. Then she slowly settled down and sat still. Very still. Then she leaned back and rested her head on my shoulder and we stayed like that for a long time. 
I realized something. She just wanted to be held. Maybe thats why she was constantly mis-behaving, she wanted love and attention. Maybe thats why she was alwasy hitting people's back and legs, because she wanted them to pick her up. 

Well, I decided right then and there that I would hold her all she wanted!!! We sat there, in the hot honduras sun for a long time before I took her back in. The whole rest of the day she was my little helper and behaved beautifully. (I can't say the same for the next days) but it taught me a lot about how people hunger for love. Show love to to the people who are mis-behaving, because the mis-behaving is probably just a sign that they need your love. Thats what Jesus would do. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Honduras Part 2 (My First Cold Shower)

This is about the most memorial experience on my second day in Honduras, though not as serious as the last troubling experience with the car accident, it was still a first for me. I've always grown up in comfy homes with nice bathrooms that have comforting hot water. I can stay in the shower for ages just standing there and enjoying the warmth. Before I even left for Honduras, I knew that they didn't have hot water and considering the circumstances, we all should be happy that we had running water and showers at all. I whole heartedly agreed, but my mind lingered on the fact that there wouldnt' be hot water. Shame faced, I realized that I had never taken a cold shower before. I mean, it was to the point where I would wait to take a shower until I knew that water system had hot water. Ridiculous I know, but thats the honest truth.

The second day in Honduras, my dear friend WayAnne walked by, as I was gliding into my room, and asked if I was taking a shower right then and if I wanted to walk down with her. I hesitated but knew I could no longer avoid it. I NEEDED a shower, especially since I had sweated like crazy that day. (Honduras has a VERY different climate that my home state of Alaska, Im sure you all can imagine.)

I got my things together and walked what felt like a death march to the shower. I then stared at the faucet that invited me to turn it on. I could hear WayAnne's water already running with happy splashing sounds coming from that direction. I must have stood there for ten minutes, I even said a prayer.

Then, slowly, I turned the water on and promptly huddled away from the water against the wall. "Katie, you are such a wimp." I scolded myself. "Just go, just go." I encouraged myself. So I went, into the water, and let me tell you, the only reason I didn't scream was because I didn't want WayAnne to think I was ridiculous.

After I got used to it, a really cool thing happened. I STARTED to ENJOY it. The cool water was comforting and at the end I didn't want to get out. Thanks God!! I felt bad in a way because it showed me that I was so unused to any real sacrifice. But my first cold shower taught me a lot, in a way that I wouldn't have expected and I'm not sure I couldn't even explain it to you, but it did. I'm very thankful for my cold shower!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Honduras Part 1

I just got back from twenty something trip mission trip to Honduras. Since I didn't get to write anything while I was down there, I wanted to share some of my experiences while I was there.

We got a red-eye flight to Houston that landed in Houston at five in the morning. I grabbed subway for breakfast. I love subway at any time of the day. AFter a two hour lay over we got on our flight and landed in San Pedro Sula around 11 am sometime. As soon as I stepped off the plane into the breezeway I thought I was going to die. Of course, I knew that it would be hot there.. obviously, but I never dreamed that it would be that hot. Being an Alaskan and attending school in Canada, I'm not used to hot weather. I basically sweated so much that I could have supplied the perspiration equivalent to a quarter section of the rain forest. AFter going through a long customs line, we got on a bus and started traveling.

I wasn't even sure the bus would be able to make the drive. It looked like it was going to sputter and break apart as soon as we hit a pot hole. But that was all part of the adventure and I was happy to just be able to sit by the window and try to catch the breeze.

Then something sobering happened. We were driving down the road when we saw what looked like a terrible accident up ahead. The closer we came, I saw an over turned truck and stuff everywhere. It didn't dawn on me until we got a little closer that the things that were strewn everywhere were people. I stared in horror. There were at least three people laying on the road, in the hot sun. There was blood everywhere and the people were dismembered. Mrs. Hall said, "Oh know, look away." But of course we didn't. There was a lady in a fitted black T -shirt with her hair in a pony tail, she didn't have the bottom half of her anymore.

I'll never forget how they looked laying there. I asked why no one was helping them and hot the answer that they were dead, that there was nothing that anyone could do anymore. It was the first time that I had ever been exposed to that type of death and at that moment a lesson hit home for me. How could I have ever wanted to delay that second coming of Jesus, just so I could finish up some stuff that I wanted to do here. People die DAILY, whether we are exposed to it or not. There is so much suffering in the world. When people die, thats there last chance. Eternity has been decided, there is no going back. We need to reach them before that happens. I want to live a life of service, I want to reach them, to take the opportunities that God has given me everyday.

What if you knew it was someone's last chance? It would be easier to put fear aside. But we don't know what will happen to them or us tomorrow. So lets take the opportunities. I just wonder about the people laying in the road. Did someone take an opportunity to reach them before it was too late? I dont' know. The past cannot be changed but the future has a world of possibilities and opportunities for change. I'm not an alarmist, but I do believe in taking opportunities that God has given us to serve and reach out to people every day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wasabi Seeweed

A couple of weeks ago my good friends/hall-mates Kami and Kaylse Rose were cleaning out their food supplies in the Whistling Winds kitchen cabinet. My room-mate Bree and I had just finished coming back from a brisk walk outside. We came in and examined Kami and Kaylse and they were organizing. Off to the side, I eyed a bag full of seasoned seaweed. I know there are a lot of the population that think this is gross to eat, but I don't. In fact, I love to eat seasoned seeweed. ( I got it from my dad) Anyhow, Bree pointed it out to Kaylse and said, "Thats a lot of seaweed. She brightened up and said, "We are trying to get rid of it, would you like it?" "YES" I almost jumped for joy but then my heart plummeted in disappointment as she told me it was wasabi flavored seaweed. I don't really like wasabi flavoring, its not that its too spicy, i just don't like the flavor. I was sadly telling her this when Bree piped up and said that we would take it anyway because she sorta liked it. So we took the big bag of seaweed to our room. One day I decided to take a bite. "OH, it was awful." I stayed away for about a week, then decided to try it again. It wasn't that bad and if I folded it right, then I could minimize the wasabi flavor and still get the seaweed flavor. Needless to say, the more I tried it, the more I started to like it.
As of right now, I'm curled up on the couch in Whistling Winds house and am eating wasabi seaweed as I write this, and I'm actually enjoying it. Dad, you would be proud of me!! People are crazy creations at times.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Winter Camping at Stryne = Exhilarating

A couple of weeks ago I found myself tucked away in the majestic trees and boulder fields of a particular mountain in British Columbia. It is affectionally known to my friends and I as Stryne Cabin although I'm not sure the name that would be used on an official parks map. The reason the old cabin will forever be dubbed as Stryne Cabin is because its sits high above and up the Stryne Valley in British Columbia.

The hike takes about two hours, less on a good day at a fast pace. Its a very uphill type of hike. We cover a lot of uphill ground in those two hours. Near the end of the hike, we cross a small bubbling flowing stream on a log and then take a winding path by a still pool. The cabin is not visible until you are directly upon it. Suddenly its beautiful weather beaten logs and chimney rise to the side, and after walking up and ducking through the low door, you are inside. The cabin has two parts, an outer and an inner. Both have antique old stoves that we use to keep warm and cook on. Outside is a pile of wood that we keep stocked up. It was built almost a hundred years ago as a halfway to a mining camp far up Stryne Valley. Moss is growing in the cabin top and its so hidden away that while your there you feel very tucked away and disconnected from the confusion of life below. Everything is big there. The trees are HUGE and the boulders in the boulder field are even bigger. The stream is icey cold and the surrounding vista is so breathtaking that a person wishes they could just capture and hold the image forever.

I love being up at Stryne, I want to take my family there someday, but this last time I was up there was by far the most extreme. A group of eleven, including myself, were going up for the weekend. This was the first time that I was going up during winter. We sorta got a late start and dusk was falling as we were about half way up. It got colder the farther we went up and also more icey. The narrow trail was covered with a clear sheet of ice and since it was dark I couldn't see it. I would be walking, completely out of breath and then WHAM. I would be on the ground with the added weight of my back pressing me down farther into the ice. Rolling over, I would get back up only to have the person in front of me take a tumble. It slowed things down a bit. Soon it was completly dark, I'm almost glad it was. Otherwise I would have been frightened to see that the snow had narrowed the trail to a little under a foot. One slip on the ice and one would have a rocky slippery slide down the mountain, in the dark. We made it safely through this part, crossed the ice covered log and made it safely to the cabin.

The next day and a half were the highlight of February for me. We snowshoed, jumped off boulders into the snow, breathed the mountain fresh air and all crowded into the loft in the cabin and shared stories while we also read the notes from previous campers before in the guest book.

On Saturday evening, after supper, everyone went outside to make a fire and heat up some got coco. Soon a HUGE fire was roaring away. Dusk was falling as I climbed away from the group and climbed up into the snow covered boulder field. Glancing back over my shoulder I see the huge fire looking like a tiny glow somewhere from below and the mountains raise up so high in front that I have to crank my head back to take them all in. I have to say that I felt privileged. Just privileged to have an opportunity to see something as beautiful as I was seeing, to have absolute quiet and to lay on my back in the snow, breathing deeply as I watched the stars shyly appear on the horizon. Huge, blazing, powerful lights that only appeared small as they suddenly appeared to dance across the sky.

I only have one word for the hike down in the daytime. EXHILARATING. Even though I was frustrated at my lack of coordination going downhill, that was soon drowned out by being so high up. Seeing the mountain range spread out, hiking in the snow, taking in the beauty of it all. If you get as lucky as I did to take at trip up there during the winter. TAKE IT!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Passports and Seattle

Last Wednesday, a friend and I were in Seattle getting our passports renewed. Mine had almost expired and we both needed them renewed to take a trip to Honduras. We got to the agency at 9:30 and filled out the forms. We were told we couldn't get them until the next day and they were sorry for any inconvenience. The bad things about this, is that we weren't going to be in Seattle for another day. We had to leave for Las Vegas that evening. After a lot of prayer and working with the agency they informed us they could process the passports by three and we could get them then. Praise God. Now we just had five and half hours to wait around in Seattle so we decided to find a cafe and maybe some shops.

Now, one thing you should know about me, is that I am not a big fan of cities, and I have no idea how to get around in them. I've flown into Seattle more times than I can count but I've never been in the heart of the place. I'm sure if I actually spent some time there I could figure out the bus system pretty easily but as of yesterday we were all quite lost when it came to the bus system. After walking around in a big circle and asking semi-friendly looking Starbucks baristas for directions we finally made it down to a lovely little place called Pikes Market Place. Quite a popular fish and cute shop market, it dates back all the way to the early 1930's, and is full of a variety of shops. We saw book stores, jam shops, art venders tucked away in sleepy corners, asian booths, and so much more in the cacophony of shops. I was drawn into a particular polish or russian (I'm not sure which) pottery store, after seeing the beautiful painted art work on the pottery. The store lady cheerfully said hello with a heavy accent and continued singing away the love songs that hummed over the radio in Polish. (I'm assuming it was Polish, considering the shop)

Seeing all the fish markets reminded me of my home state of Alaska. It was comforting to smell the smell and see the sound with the barges as we ate in a little cafe for lunch. It was a really nice way to spend our five hours and soon after, we made it back to the agency and picked up our passports with no problem. Praise God!

Even though I enjoyed seeing the art work, the market place, and the tucked away coffee shops in Seattle, I still like the less crowed places in the world the best. Especially if there are mountains or water!