A Full Apartment and Broken Hot Water Heaters, with A Cold on the Side!

What a crazy whirlwind it has been since we landed! So we landed after the constant delays and missed flights.

So once we landed, we came home to the apartment and we had an out of country pastor and 3 of this friends and ministry partners staying with us for the weekend. Spending time with these brothers and sisters was wondering, and hearing their stories of coming to faith, as they were all once muslim. Hearing the success their ministry is having and the joy in which our Father has given them was a joy for us. Saturday we had two services where the Pastor was able to share the Gospel with our immigrant crowd on Saturday morning, and the church as whole for a special event Saturday night and as part of our normal service Sunday morning. It was amazing to see the Lord at work in all of these services and see evidences of salvation for an individual who I have known for 3 years and who others have been praying for salvation for over the past 7 years. It was an amazing blessing to be present for such an event.

However, having to hit the ground running after all the mishaps in with travel and with no time to rest and recover from jet lag was very difficult. Our guest stayed with us from Friday until Sunday after service. Sunday after service, Jennifer and I came back to the apartment, had lunch and I was heading for my room, when I hear a booming voice yell “MORGAN”! It was one of my friends and he and 3 other friends has come over to have some of the leftover lunch and hang out. I was excited to see them, but also very tired and ready for a nap. So I talked with them for a bit, then we went to the couches to hang out and I laid down on my half and one of the couches and tired to nap, while hanging with my friends.

That didn’t work too well… as you can imagine. So once my friend left, I slept for about an hour and a half and then we got up and prepared our English Lessons for the week.

Monday was a big day with 3 English Lessons and another hours and half nap for me. I started feeling a little rough that night, but assumed it was no big thing. Had a nice Skype chat that evening with my little brother and called it a night. I was BIG time looking forward to our Tuesday rest day.

Well… Tuesday I woke up feeling like death! I literally only got out of bed to make little bits of food, get medicine, and go to the bathroom. I literally slept for over 10 hours, when my usual is like 6 and I am good, and spent ALL day in bed. I had some evil sinus mess, and then in the evening, my old friend the migraine showed up (and yes I mean migraine – I know the difference between headache and migraine. I get both often… this was a migraine). Overnight, the sinus stuff began to subside some (A BIG Praise to the Lord and shout out to my Prayer Warriors) but that migraine was still rock in full force. 635578591322705516-124488261So my roommate helped me draw a hot bath this morning (yes – literally draw, because we have not had hot water since we got here. We totally did the whole boil water on the stove and fill the tub, then cool it down the cold water from the faucet – thing. It is hard work, and it definitely helps you treasure the value a nice hot bath or shower. I would have killed for a nice hot shower last night… seriously though. It would have helped so much). After my bath, I at least felt clean.

My migraine was able to vacate my mind by 2pm today so that I could teach a youth class, which had 15 students! They were very well behaved and picked up on stuff very quickly. I am kind of excited about this group! I was able to come home for the rest of the afternoon and relax. My headache is gone, and I am starting to feel so much better!

Tomorrow should be a good day! In theory, I will be feeling better, AND we should be getting out hot water heater fixed (that’s also in theory… but ya know… Here’s to hoping!)

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Some people just get you…

As we go through life there are always just a few people whom really get you. They get your humor, jokes, and nerdy tendencies (or in my case, put up with my full blown Nerdom). I have such a great group of these at home back stateside. I am not sure I have had shared before how some of my friends got together before I left to give my a note/letter everyday that I would be gone here to Belgium. That’s 89 letters they gave me. Some have been wonderful letters of encouragement, other just scripture to remember. Some are inside jokes and I even got an empty one on April Fools…  


Silly, and wonderful! I have just been so very thankful for these letters. They have been so helpful in remembered that I am not alone. I have people at home supporting me and praying for me, even if I don’t feel it. I have the best friends and such an amazing support system in them and my church. 

This was my card from today. It made me laugh out loud! A literal “LOL” y’all! Some people just get me… These girls do!  

 
If you have awesome people like this in your life, stop now, and Thank the Lord for them. Not everyone is this blessed. Do not take them for granted like I so often have. Love them, care for them, and pray for them! 

 

Settling In with Settlers – My New Normal

The beginning part of this week has been quite nice and a definite respite from the usually routine of pure chaos that has been my life this past year. I have enjoyed having the time to think and meditate on scripture. To savor my time with the Lord, rather than just try to cram it my busy day. I know this unique time where I have the ability to enjoy a more relaxed schedule, so I will take it.

I have be settling in well and I have made multiple trips across and about town solo at this point, so I am feeling capable and comfortable in my city. I know my metro and tram stops and even how to get to H&M [Go ahead, be jealous Okies!] I have my keys, metro card and even a SIM card for my an old iPhone so I can call and text my friends here. I am finally feeling here. It’s a nice feeling.

Yesterday I was able to grab a taste of familiar when I ventured into town to one of the few Starbucks in town. I know, I know. I am in Europe, Why would I go to Starbucks! Because the coffee I had I did not like, and I know that I can get some whole bean coffee I like at Starbucks. My next coffee can be more adventurous, but I didn’t know where else to get coffee except a grocery store, so Starbucks it is.

sbuxcoffee_FotorAnd Starbucks may have been tourist move, but sipping on my Flat White and looking over and seeing this view, I decided that I did not care.

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Today was nice as well. I was able to run into town to replace a couple of pairs of jeans that I had brought with me that ripped on the flight over and the other day while I was out. Yes, you read that right, two of the three pairs of jeans I brought with me ripped before my first week in Belgium was out. Functioning with only two pairs of jeans was gonna be a struggle, but only one… just not a battled I wanted to fight today. So instead, I went to H&M and replaced by ripped jeans.

Then I came home and made dinner for a dear friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met, and befriended, while in Belgium, and it has been wonderful maintaining that friendship over the past two years. I made dinner, which was great for my portions sizes, but I forgot I was feeding a 20-something man, so I did not make enough. Crepes_Fotor I saw some apples on top of my fridge and decided that we needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store. We returned with crêpes in hand and even I was impressed with how good my crêpes were. [Note: I did not make the crêpes themselves, just the filling. Thus we went to the store to buy the crêpes, because that is what you do in Belgium! Unless you are awesome and make your own, which I am obviously not.] I am telling you DELICIOUS! I want another one right now.

Anyway, then I introduced my friend to a wonderful game. Settlers of Catan. He loved it! Which is super fun for me to be able to teach him, and having some friends to be able to play board games with.

Catan_FotorAnd if you are wondering, he won the first games, and I won the second.

I am heading to bed, a busy couple of days coming up, so I need my rest.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail for the easier way to stay updates on my time here in Belgium! It’s up there to your right on the screen, level with the title of this post.

Day one!

Day one (or two… depending on how you are counting.)

I made it safely and easily with no mishaps and I was even able to sleep a little bit on the plane. I also watched When the Game Stands Tall and My Best Friends Wedding, one of my favorite movies.

[So… if you know me in real life, you know I have this crazy loud boisterous laugh that I can’t always control. Well, I figured out where it came from! Julia Roberts has that laugh and when I was younger I idolized her and wanted to be just like her. That’s what caused me to start wanting to dye my hair red. Just saying…]

Sorry, side tracked by talk of Julia Roberts… hate to say its really not that abnormal.

So, since landing and getting to the flat, I have unpacked, had breakfast, spent some time reading in 2 Timothy, started my Piyo DVD program and did some Cardio X from P90X, but mostly just the Kenpo X stuff. I also showered, did my hair even put make-up on. Now, I am writing a post. Pretty much anything to avoid going to sleep and to ward off jet lag.

Oh the dreaded jet lag. My first trip, it was SO BAD that I was falling asleep every time I sat down. Now, I have learned better how to handle it, and I know that I need to be active and sweat. Last year we went for a run that day and the difference it made was insane. So I wanted to run today, but it didn’t work out well so… DVD workouts in the flat.

Then, I had lunch with K and discussed what things would be looking like for the next few months. Finally, we went off to english class for the youth and I was able to help K and R with that portion of what I will be helping with.

God is doing a lot of big things here and I am so thrilled to be able to be a part of it.

Much Love

Be praying, please, for:

Language – French is HARD!

That I would long to spend ever more time in the Word

For the Lord to speak clearly and to hear clearly what He would have me to do.

[P.S. – Please don’t expect daily blog post… I cannot manage that – lets just be real. If you subscribe (over there to the right,) you will get an e-mail when I post then you can read it!]

[P.P.S. – The photo below is an example of why I have the best friends in the World!]

Morgan Letter

Oh, Broken Church!

There are times that I feel just angry. I don’t mean to, and I know that it’s wrong. I should be more patient, understanding, and encouraging. I just get mad though.

I should probably tell you why, haha!

I get really angry with American (or Western) Church mindsets, and how people can so easily get sucked into “Church Culture” rather than true and fruitful Faith in Christ. I can literally rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and RANT on this topic for hours, as those who know me in person can attest. This past week, at my church, i was thinking about this, and getting angry about this, and stated thinking about it.

I then began writing.

I was able to get out some of my anger in the poem below, and communicate how I was feeling, and call out those who I feel need to be called out (if they read it…)

It is long. I was going to apologize of it, but truly – Sorry, not sorry! I couldn’t stop… and I think it needs to be said. So take the time to read it please. So here it is.

Plunged deep in the world

Anchored by the Truth I know

Seeking a way to love the Tares,

Finding it easier than believed.

But as time progresses, love demands more.

My heart breaks as my treasured friends flail.

Trying to find happiness, joy and purpose.

Failing and left wondering Why.

How do I console and comfort

When my respite, my solace, is not what they want to hear.

Their deepest need and the completion of their desires,

They reject as archaic, narrow and just not for them.

“The hypocrites, the judgement, the culture that skewed,

The church doesn’t want them” They think and they cry.

And they’re not wrong.

The church is uncomfortable with friends like mine.

Their lives are messy and filled with grime.

Pain beyond measure, impossible choices,

Risky situations and problems we can’t solve.

How do we act with the lost in our way?

The Pharisees, that brood of vipers,

The religious “elite”, those Whitewashed tombs,

They judge, spurn and withdrawn in disgust.

The proclaim shallow praise for their “pious natures,”

While looking down on the broken with a sneer and a stare.

Rather,

Look to our leader, our ever Faithful Big Brother.

How does Jesus engage the lost?

Does He judge, spurn and withdraw,

Or does He love, move close and embrace?

Matthew and Mark both tell the tale,

Jesus was eating, living and loving,

The worst of the sinners, the tare, the lost.

THIS is our call, oh broken church!

To be a Christian, oh “Little-Christ.”

Our Lord would embrace, love and reach to meet needs.

Do you push them aside or cross the road,

or, God-forbid, attack and judge.

Do you assume you know their state?

Do you know their minds, their thoughts and their pains?

The lies they believe or the Truth they can’t see?

Christ came for the sick, the lost, the sinners to the core.

How quickly we forget that’s our state for sure.

Why do we think we can elevate our plight?

That we’re not “that bad” or never took it “that far”

But save the hand of our Lord reaching down

Our state would be sure and equal to theirs.

We’re indulgent, disobedient and seeking our own.

Sin breaks us all and drags us down deep,

Beyond what we think, beyond what we know.

Our desires, our lust, removes all our reason.

Don’t fool yourself, or think you’re above it.

Your state, you sin, without Christ is damning .

Not matter our sin, it removes us from God.

Separate from God, no goodness exist.

In order to love and serve the lost,

We must realize we’re not far from that heart.

Our culture, our nature, resist this approach.

We long freshen up, cover up, and boast.

To accept and speak of our weakness is shunned,

Hide the dirt and proclaim the good.

How funny, that sounds like the very attitude

The Good Lord rebuked the Pharisees for.

Hiding the truth of our sinful heart,

Claiming the glory for good in our lives.

Not realizing how hiding our sin just makes us look fake.

Promotes the idea that we are mere hypocrites.

Step beyond ourselves and how other see,

And be truthful and honest with those in view.

Don’t show off your “power” and “holiness.”

What good is that for struggling friend?

Rather boast in your weakness, and in your failings,

To show off the Glory, Power and Love,

Of the One who brings all Good to the world.

The One who saves all broken lost sinners,

Who cry out His name, and, oh, what a sweet name!

Live your life not to proclaim your goodness,

It’s worthless, filthy rags, as dear Isaiah calls it.

But look to the Good, with a capital “G”,

That comes from beyond ourselves,

Despite ourselves,

From our Glorious King.

We cannot fix and save the lost.

But we were never supposed to,

For that is not who we are.

Our purpose, our aim, no matter our pride,

Is to point the lost, the ones by our side,

Our friends and dear ones,

To the only one who can.

Jesus the Christ, the God-Man, the Savior of All.

Comments, questions and criticisms are welcomed.

Impromptu Adventures!

Today my dear friend Laura and I spent the day together. First off, we went to lunch, our fav, Pho. If you do not know what Pho is, it is a Vietnamese Noodle soup made from Beef Broth with noodles, the meat of your choice, onions, and your choice of how much sweet basil, jalapeño, sprouts, lime, and Sriracha you wish to include. It’s delightful, spicy and surprisingly light. Low calorie and full flavor.

Then we ran around down in Bricktown, OKC for a while. We walked up and down the riverwalk and over to the Centennial Land Run Monument. This is a pretty legit monument, or rather series of monuments.

I took some pictures for you.

Enjoy!

OKC_Fotor

OKC2_Fotor

I edited them all separately, so they all look a bit different… And I am not a photographer… or an editor. I am using Fotor on my MacBook Air for crying out loud… I do what I can. Lolz!

OKC3_FotorOKC5_FotorOKC7_Fotor

[I also included lots of pictures to be nice, because my next entry will be a poem that is a heck of a lot longer than I meant for it to be… but I want to share it anyway.]

After wandering around Bricktown (Home of The Thunder), we went to mall, which got evacuated for a false fire alarm, then back on home for me to finally finish my personal joy task for the holiday season, re-watching the LOTR originals. Finished Return of the King today. Ya know… Samwise Gamgee! I mean, wow! I need a friend like Sam in my life.

I am off for bed now… working at the Coffee Shop tomorrow bight and early.

Old Poetry for an Old Friend

Today has been quite a weird day.

Work went well, both Barista-ing and counseling. Then I had to go back to the coffee shop from which I employed to get up for the holiday launch. I have been thinking a lot about my friends in Belgium these past few days, and there was someone there that looked very similar to a dear friend in Belgium and it made me miss being there and being with my friends. Missing my friends like this always puts me into a strange, nostalgic type of mood. It’s kind of a mix of sad, lonely, longing, fear, and fondness…. but not fully anyone of those. A strange hybrid of all. That’s why is been so weird… because I can never put my finger of how I feel… just weird.

That then lead to think about other friends that I miss, and my thoughts drifted to a dear friend I spent a lot of time with in Washington DC when I lived there years ago. I then thought about this poem I had written him back then (even though I am not quite sure I ever gave it to him). Here it is.

Among the Thorns

The ghosts of your past still haunt you
And your demons won’t give you peace.
Moving forward seems impossible;
Your only thoughts dwell on relief.
Longing for something to hold onto
as your world seems to crumble,
You reach out, unsure if its safe to grasp;
Placing the last fragments of you
In something that might not be real.
As the grip begins to tighten
The light begins to glow.
You begin to accept the thought,
That there may be something more.
The hope that you lost is found,
With true love invading your soul.
As your past is counted for loss
And your demons run in fear.
His embrace has saved your life,
Leading to overflowing joy.
Passion had restored your heart
All existence now has meaning;
Praise be to him who death had no hold.

My friend had suffered a great deal from life, and sometimes it make it angry and caused him to struggle with his new found faith. This was meant to encourage him, remind him of the Gospel and foster hope. It’s like the old proverb says “The night is always darkest before the dawn”. Life is hard (see previous… and lets be honest, future, post), but there is hope.

There has to be Hope.