and in that process- i search the internet, i cry, i throw things, i yell, i get excited, and i drink a lot of coffee. and wine. red wine.
and i don't blog. for like years. but i don't shut down the blog, either- because you never know- maybe someday i will write another post.
so...why not today?
as i scan my computer screen, read CIFs for Presbyterian churches, sift through camping ministry/ counseling ministry jobs and hope against hope that I'll see Jesus settled between the lines of some job description- I forget. I forget the beauty of the church, the breath Christ sends us out into the world with, and the constancy of air-flow provided.
Despite my forgetfulness, God reminds. This reminds. And I am invited once again to remember that I am a response to God's unceasing call. My prayer is that I may not start 'something new' next year, but that I'll be Spirit-swept into the movement of God's mission.
WELL WELL. Here we are and I haven't posted for a darn long time! I'm sorry to my frequent readers (I know there are vast amounts of you- please note the sarcasm) who have been waiting to hear about the service project and what youth ministry has been up to in Lausanne- do let me share!
First off, as you most likely noted from the title, I did not run the Geneva marathon (tear) due to some issues with my knees that I hope to resolve upon my return to the states. It was actually quite hard to give up this goal, and I didn't go down easy- there were several times I probably should've called it quits before I finally stopped running. I've taken a hiatus from running for nearly two months- but I hope to be making a few running attempts in the near future. I miss experiencing the breadth of emotions that Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) inspires and expresses while I stomp by. As Al Green would say, "take me to the river...wash me down...won't you cleanse my soul...put my feet on the ground".
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who prayed for our team from Scots Kirk as we headed down to Ponticelli, Italy for the service project. It was an absolutely amazing and priceless experience. Some highlights of the week: Hearing phrases like "Gosh, I just feel like I have a second family with you guys", "When we come back next year...", "I wish we could stay longer and do more" and questions of discovery/wrestling like "Why do people have to live like this?", "How is the best way to help?", "Will what we do make a difference?"
Throughout our week in Ponticelli, we worked with a mission by the name of Centro Sociale Casa Mia E. Nitti. This mission houses an after school program for younger children who live in the area. Each day, about 40 kids gather after school for help with their homework and then a fun time of fellowship and laughter that usually includes games or crafts (with the occasional yummy treat). The program is run and owned by the Methodist church, and there are two deacons that are employed to facilitate the programming, find volunteers to help, etc... We were able to spend three days interacting with the kids in the afternoon (we brought some of our own fun game and craft ideas along with us), and we spent the mornings of our trip helping to restore murals that were painted on one of the program building's outside walls. The mural had been graffitied in a few spots, and had suffered through some weather damage. I never thought I'd be assigning people jobs like "Okay, you two work on Piglet this afternoon, and if I could have a team of three volunteer to put some touch-ups on Pinnochio, that'd be great. Oh, and someone needs to do something about Snow White's face." In addition to the mural, we cleaned up some trash in the area, and painted doors/ planters that had graffiti on them as well.
Of course, there are always questions that pop up on trips like this that sound like "Can we sleep in until lunch tomorrow?", "What's so great about an old city with freaky plastered people in it?" and "Why do I have to paint Dumbo's ears?" It all comes with the experience. I hope to have more about the service trip (and some pictures) up soon. But as you've witnessed, I work from a unique definition of "soon" in the blogging world.*
Lastly, I wanted to reference the Emergent conference that recently occurred over in these parts. A lively group from various perspectives and backgrounds gathered for two days in Geneva with intentions of exploring the following theme: "Priests, Prophets and Theologians: A divergent conversation on the future of the Church". There was much shared and discussed, and there were several speakers/ panelists, including names like Andrew Perriman, Jason Clark, Brian McLaren, Andrew Jones, Peter Rollins, Jamie Smith, Dave Fleming and more...
I myself have divergent perceptions and understandings of the "emergent" conversation, and it was a treat to get a chance to meet some of the above thinkers as well as all the others who participated in the conference. I enjoyed taking in many good conversations, questions and opinions that surround the un-definable movement/ body/ concept that is Emergent. I hope to bring up some more specifics in another post..."soon"*. Though, I don't want to risk taking my blog out of the "purely informative" realm just yet... :)
*(Maybe I'm just a "post-soon" kind of person. The concept of soon simply doesn't apply to me anymore. I'm comfortably beyond it...)
Woah indeed. What an amazing time this is for the youth and families in Lausanne, and merci, mon Pere for blessing me with this experience!
Things have been trucking along with the church communities here. A group of 17 leaves in exactly 17 days for a service trip to Casa Mia in Ponticelli, Italy. We have had two bake sales, a Breakfast Bash, a Talent Night, and we have an upcoming Pasta "Dinner and a Movie" night...all for fundraising. And all in the span of three months...can you say INTENSE. But it has also been awesome.
Our talent night was this past Saturday. Some of the highlights, in my opinion, were watching four of my 'tweens do a mime to "The Coloring Song" by Petra (any of the older youth from FGPC might remember this from the good ole days of Kirkwood...and if Debee reads my blog she might shed a tear...we also did the heart skit...PS-I miss you), about 10 kids singing "Lord I Lift Your Name On High", hearing the beautiful voice of one of my teen girls, and watching my teen boys have a blast as the backstage crew. It was an amazing experience for everyone- so much bonding, laughter, and of course good wine from the Bouvin family.
Putting together this service trip has been like no other experience in my life. I wouldn't dare try to put it into words.
As part of a general update for my time in ministry here...
Things that I love: Sitting by the Lake and listening to wisdom that only 84 years on this earth can grant, watching my kids take hold of their gifts and name them, making and eating fondue with new friends, catching up with old ones, being reminded of God's grace, patience and brilliance, French Bibles, and moms with video cameras.
Things that are beautiful: Lazy mist that blankets the mountains and lake, fairies that clean church kitchens late at night, 8 teenagers holding hands in prayer, tear-filled phone conversations, the combination of cheap food and budding faith, dark chocolate, wrinkles, and graphic designers named Jayni.
Things that are/were hard: Learning how to open drinks in a box without using scissors (okay not "hard" per say, but I did spill iced tea all over my kitchen and shoe today), practicing patience, wednesday nights without the doylestown starbucks and someone i love dearly, drinking coffee without my mom, March 10th and 11th, trying to transport 17 people to another country, walking around in others' souls, and balancing relationships.
Look for more updates just before and after our service project, and please hold our group in your prayers! We will be gone from April 7th-15th. Much Love to all!
Every Saturday I go on a long run with two members of the Scots Kirk. This Saturday, I did something I never thought I'd be able to do- I ran for 2hrs and 15min...with one short bathroom break about half-way through. Confession: I am training for the Geneva marathon. Goal: to come in last (this means that I will finish...which is really my goal). This Saturday was a particularly big deal to me because we spent the entire first hour running UPHILL. I ran uphill for an hour. I didn't think that was possible, and I'm pretty pumped about it! The run down consisted partially of trying not to slip and break our necks as we trampled down through a snow-covered forest on the side of a mountain. Once again, something I never thought I would do. I really can't complain- it was awesome.
One thing that we noticed on our run down was that buds and singing birds are beginning to dot the towns along the lake. Spring is indeed in the air- and it feels early to me, but I am so excited! I decided that with spring in the air and a busy schedule taking over as I prepare for the Service Trip in April and lent beginning on Wednesday- a dose of Spring Cleaning is in order for my apartment...so I made a nice playlist on my iTunes to get me through the deep-cleaning of the apartment. I always seem to make my playlists in alphabetical or semi-alphabetical order because it's easier to choose as I scroll down on my artists. This doesn't seem to bother me, and it always makes for an interesting conglomeration of songs. Here's what my song mix looks like:
The Beatles- Ticket to Ride
Billy Joel- Only The Good Die Young
Al Green- Let's Stay Together
Bruce Springsteen- Hungry Heart
Dean Martin- Mambo Italiano
Gavin DeGraw- Chemical Party
Indigo Girls- Shame On You
James Taylor- Sweet Potato Pie
John Mayer- Clarity
Justin Guarini & Kelly Clarkson- Timeless
Les Nubians- Embrasse-Moi
Maroon 5- Sunday Morning
Marvin Gaye- Ain't That Peculiar
The Monkees- Last Train To Clarksville
REO Speedwagon- Take It On The Run
Outkast- Rosa Parks
Stevie Wonder- Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Train- Drops of Jupiter
Van Morrison- Bright Side of the Road
The White Stripes- Hotel Yorba (thanks Bruner)
Neil Diamond- Cherry Cherry
The length should give an indication of how much cleaning there is to be done...and I love that REO and Outkast next to each other makes total sense to me.
Hey PTS kids...remember when a slew of us jumped into a neon, sped to the train station and spent an afternoon running through the streets of Brooklyn to see a U2 concert?? Yeah- I'd call that a carpe diem moment...and last thursday I lived another one of those moments...
How often do the Olympics happen in the old-country, when you are located just a short train ride away? Not too often, as one might imagine...so I again hopped on a train and ran through the streets- but this time it was the streets of Torino.
(I am missing a few accents and may have written the french incorrectly- any corrections are welcome)
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." I John 1:1
I should've written the first 4 verses out. The beginning of 1 John is so beautiful to me...I read it over and over again and am unfailingly grasped by the words.
Above is a photo from an alternative worship service that was done with the confirmation class a little while back- we have one for all youth this Saturday. These types of services emphasize the five senses in experiences of prayer and contemplation. I am looking forward to it.
Also-17 youth and adults will be participating in a service trip to Casa Mia in Ponticelli, Italy this spring. We are preparing to do some fixing/ painting of their after-school facility, and will also get substantial contact with the 50 or so kids that show up every day. We will live and work together for a week- actually Holy Week to be exact- and will then return back to Lausanne, (hopefully tired and changed). This is the first time that Scots Kirk and Christ Church have ever done something like this...it's kind-of interesting to watch Swiss efficiency meet Italian...(ahem)...unpredictability, shall we say.
My time in Lausanne has continued to be blessed with new sights, sounds and feels. The half-way mark is here. There are moments when I feel like the time is slipping through my fingers like sand...and moments where I can't help but throw my arms up and be thankful for the amazing little graces of each day. Thanks for continued prayer and support from friends and family back home- and here as well.
Even though the official day is technically over here in la Suisse, let us also remember these words of I John 4:7, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God."
After doing more research- I've discovered that I am late in the trend! Read more about knorks here, order your own here and check out a Knork company here. I know, I'm officially ridiculous. That kinda makes me happy.
Okay, so after a blogging hiatus perhaps this is not the most riveting thing to blog about- but I simply HAD to. Now, there are some things that plenty of people are certainly tuned into and celebrate- like the amazing and fabulous invention of the spork. I've always known that sporks exist, but I've never seen something that completely leaves out the spoon and goes strictly for the knife/ fork combination- thus producing the knork.
Today as I traversed through the streets of Lausanne- I stopped quickly to curb my hunger with a ham and cheese crepe at a stand in the middle of our main square. Lo and behold- there I encountered the knork.
If you look closely, you can see the serrated edge of the plastic knork. I actually have no idea if this is what they are called, but I really like the sound of the work "knork". Based on my research (which consisted of barely skimming some random websites about "sporks") it seems that all objects of this sort are referred to as sporks, but I don't see any "sp" here at all. I would argue for the new name of knork to take the world by storm, boldly pronouncing the initial "K", and claiming glory among communities of average utensils. Plus, they're pretty sweet for eating crepes with.
Keep an eye out for more "serious" updates on my time in Lausanne soon...