Matt Pearson

June 29, 2007

Today marks the day, 6 years ago since Matt Pearson was killed in a car accident.  I can’t believe its been that long already. 

Pearson, as we called him,  was cool.  I learned a lot from him about working through relationships.  He was one of the first guys that pursued real, genuine, open, deep, consistent friendship with me, even when it was difficult (and it was difficult but that didn’t stop him).  He was just as much willing to be a part of the relationship when it was good and fun as it was when it was akward, difficult and messy.  That’s what stood out to me about him – he didn’t give up.  I am very thankful that I got to see and experience that level of relationship with him – kind of set me up to want that in my life with others…its rare these days, sad. 

Matt helped me in my love for the Lord – and he also helped me in my love for people.  I felt like I was the only one that Matt really cared about when we were together and hung out.  It was as if what I cared about, my issues, concerns, troubles became his.  That’s the way I want others to feel.  I hope and pray that I have this type of impact, for the sake of the church…I hope you have that as well. 

Here’s what I remember about Pearson:

  • He loved God so much
  • He loved his Mom so much
  • He was 6’5″
  • He came to my graduation
  • He planned our last Spring Break around taking me, Andrew Shearer and Pete Bargas camping – there were lots of hiliarious things going on that week!
  • He loved missions and was willing to go
  • He loved children
  • He was teachable
  • He was sincerely inquisitive
  • He was humble
  • He had a great laugh and was able to laugh at himself
  • He wasn’t uptight and arrogant
  • He asked me the hard questions as well as questions some were too lazy to ask. 
  • He enjoyed basketball but wasn’t consumed by it
  • He’s feet stunk so bad!!!
  • Going to Siam Rice every Saturday at 4pm
  • He called me just to say hi and ask me what I was doing, how I was doing etc. 
  • He called just to ask me if I wanted to run to the bank with him, or to Ralphs or Costco
  • He followed up with good conversation. 
  • He was sensitive to the needs of others and did what he could to meet them. 
  • He was a good communicator
  • His message from 1 Peter 1:3-8
  • His careful attention to relationships 
  • His desire for heaven

And the list can go on.  Yeah, I’ve moved on and yes there are different categories and levels for this, but there’s nothing like having one of your best friends killed earlier in life than expected.  It wasn’t fun at the time but there’s tons that I’ve learned from since then.  If you care to know, then you can ask me. 

Anyway, please give honor to the Lord and those around you by not wasting your opportunities to spend time working on or just even caring about your relationships.  You’ll never know when it’ll all be gone.   

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I just wanted to make a couple of notes here about a couple of things that lurk in my memory and thinking; things that I am thankful for and things that I probably will live with for a while:

  • Tonight my sister, Debs told me about her visit with our Dad in Samoa for our uncle’s funeral (remember there’s a difference between American Samoa, where she lives and the Independant State of Samoa).  She mentioned a moment with a lady that hugged her out of no where and just started to cry – then Debs remembered that this was the lady that Mom drove to with the kids (3 kids, before I was born) during the last stretch of my Dad’s mistreatments of her (divorce sucks…can’t imagine).  Its crazy to think about my Mom’s friend who helped her out when my Mom had no where else to go with her kids – Praise the Lord for friends who really help in time of need!!!
  • A year ago this week, Brian and I were in Israel and I believe, right now (a year ago) we were on our way down from Galilee to Masada, the Dead Sea and ultimately down to Eilat.  Its nice to have memories that you can think of, that bring contentment to your heart about God’s goodness – not because of the place per se (which is amazing) or the experience even (which can be a blast), but because of the people your with, y’know?  Brian, glad it was you bro!
  • While it will be 4 years for Eric & Jennene’s marriage this Friday (congratulations) it will also be 6 years since Matt Pearson’s death (I’ll post more about that later). 
  • Tomorrow I’ll be hanging out with JPK – it’ll be great to be with him again.  I love Joe!!!  He’s intensely purposeful to love me so much (I know, that sentence didn’t make sense but that’s it…Joe loves me and ministers to me and helps me and is such a great friend (and a really good boss).  There’s just too much to write about him, so stayed tuned for a post about Joe in the future!                                        

There’s nothing like spending time with people that you love!  And there are tons of people that I love that I can spend time with and that I have spent time with.  I wish this culture was more relational oriented and not so much career oriented.   

But you know what?  I am excited about hanging out with Joe.  I miss Matt Pearson so much and I am very thankful for the Margrave’s and their ministry as my bible study leaders.  I love Brian and I love spending time with this friend of mine!   And there’s nothing like spending time with my sister Debbie – she’s amazing!  I love her!  She’s so funny, and smart and teachable and cool.  I love all these people (and so many others not mentioned) – and you know what?  I’ll never know when I’ll be privileged to spend time with them again. 

So, the moral of this story is, don’t waste time not spending it with people, like good quality time – and….its kinda nice if its spent with those that you know!

Just wanted to spread the word to pray for Happy & Amy who are on a mission’s trip to Mexico City with their church.  Click here for specific ways you can pray for them.  Yey for God & missions!!! 

COUNTING THE COST #2

June 20, 2007

I’ve decided to compile a couple of questions in considering what it would take for YOU to leave everything for the sake of the gospel, overseas. 

First, I’d like to remind you that this post isn’t to minimize the reality of the gospel here in the States.  BUT I should also remind you that people here have the opportunity and there are places that don’t, with people that don’t.  Moreover, that’s not the point of this second post.  My main point, is to challenge us to really count the cost and ask and answer honestly: Why am I not going?  If you are counting the cost to go, then great!  If you’re not then maybe you should.  Its always cool to learn and grow. 

Here are my questions (hopefully to stimulate your own thinking):

  • Are you really willing to go, or do you just say that because it makes you sound like a good “christrian”?
  • Do you really need to stay here in the States? 
  • Are you willing to give up your job to go overseas?  Would you be willing to give up your job to share the gospel here?
  • Would you be willing to give up your family?  What about your 401K?  Or your stocks and bonds?  Or your entertainment?  Or your retirement?  Or your rest?  (Remember, there’s a rest at the end…oh, well what do you know, we have that rest, Jesus – I think that’s somewhere in Hebrews 4 or so).   
  • What is it that you think of first, that you fear the most in terms of leaving the States for missions?
  • What is it that you think of first, that you fear the most in terms of going overseas for missions?
  • Are you living radically/extremely/”other worldly” (as in setting your mind on things above) for the sake of the gospel to unbelievers hereCan you live that way here?
  • What are you unwilling to give up? 
  • Seriously, if you are willing to give up anything or everything, then why don’t you go? 
  • What’s keeping you here? 
  • Why should you stay here? 
  • Do you think “someone else” should do missions, but not you – is that your safety net mentality?  “I’m not called to missions?” – Is that your waiver?
  • Why not go now?  Are those legitamate reasons or petty excuses for staying? 
  • (And please don’t give me a lame excuse like, “Well, if everyone went then the entire church of America would go overseas?  Who would be here?”  Really?  NO!  First of all, I don’t think that the church of America is that selfless.  Second of all, we tend to be more American than we are christian – and that’s from older and wiser men that I’ve talked with – I’m not wise enough to come up with stuff like that but I do agree.  We have that, “Let me take care of me, first” mentality).
  • What do you hold on too tightly that you can’t let go of to go overseas? 
  • Are you really honest about why you aren’t overseas?   

In case you were wondering, I am working through these very same questions, and you know what?  Its really hard to be honest with some of these.  Why?  Because I want my life to be easy – that’s what it comes down to but I know that’s not what really satisfies – ease and comfort and rest, don’t satisfy – its nice to have but it should be just as nice to be without it.  It’s difficult because everything in me wants to justify me staying.  You’re right maybe the Lord does want me (or you) to stay but wouldn’t it be a shame if we stayed because we were unwilling to go where the gospel isn’t?  Here or there? 

DIE TO SELF

June 18, 2007

The best remedy for getting outside of yourself (and actually dying to self) is to serve others…without reservation (so hard, I know) – but even then, that’ll run out soon enough.  Make sure that your service to others is driven not out of your own religious piety or what Paul calls, “selfish ambition” – people can smell your religiousity (or your “christianity”) a mile away and you know what?  It stinks!!!  Rather, prefer others as more important than yourself and be compelled by the love of Chirst to do so.  Please, for the sake of the local & universal church (the body of Christ Himself…and this is completely my own plea) DIE TO SELF!

COUNTING THE COST #1

June 14, 2007

Someone asked me the other day if I know what it means to count the cost for the gospel.  I’ve been rather confused by that but here’s what I’ve been thinking about and I make no apologies for the confusion or the disorientation; mainly because I’m still working through it: 

  • God becoming flesh and leaving His glory/heaven and leaving the Father, for our salvation (Phil. 2)…I’m so thankful for that! 
  • What am I willing to leave and become for other’s salvation (here or overseas…preferrably overseas)? 
  • Here’s what I’m willing to leave:  EVERYTHING but here’s what I have a hard time leaving:  EVERYTHING – sad I know.  Easier said than done but I’m willing to think through it, talk about it so that I am able to do it.
  • How do I know I’m called to go overseas?  Well, the Bible says to go and make disciples…I’m already doing that here and being a part of the doing and being part of discipleship – but there are other places that don’t have it, so I’m thinking, “Well, if no one’s there, then why am I not there.  I have no reason to not go and I’m willing to go, so, I should go”. 
  • What are some superficial, but honest things I would miss:  my sleep or sleeping in, my bed, air condition, personal space, privacy, money, movies, comfort, roller coasters, driving my car, freedom, fast internet access, cell phone (that might be a relief), fashion trends, In-N-Out, Samoan food, french fries, my music, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, diet Coke, ice (some countries don’t have the luxury of ice)… I can go on and on. 
  • What superficial things would you miss?
  • What wouldn’t I miss?  I guess any of the above – but probably the American Dream, my debt, pleasantries, excuses (my own namely and not that I wouldn’t make any overseas), American christianity, Hollywood celebraties, abundance, wealth, watermelon, root-beer, cream soda,…I can go on and on. 
  • What wouldn’t you miss?
  • I would definitely miss:  my family, my church (LA & COC), friends – people really!!!  Tangible communication with all of these people, face to face contact with them, conversations, encouragement, challeng-ment (is there such a thing) etc.   
  • I know the difficult thing that I’ve been thinking about seriously, is if I really know what sacrafice is or do I really understand what giving up everything, taking up my cross to follow Jesus means?  Here as well as overseas?  And I’m talking about the type of sacrafice that would cost me my rights, my opinions, my preferences, my health, my family, my relationships, my wife (if I had one), my kids (if I had any), my life and my death. 
  • Is Christ really worth it and would He really ask me to give any of that up for Him?  Really?  Now, really to that question or really to making an excuse to think that Jesus would not ask me to give up those things for Him?  Really to all of it.  I think He asks us to give them all up everyday.  Do I?  Do you? 
  • Counting the cost….hmmm I think it requires me to think, consider and evaluate, not solve for – that’s God’s doing.  I trust the Lord is growing me and I trust He will lead me becasue He is.  There are a lot of things NOW that I need to work on giving up and  a lot of things that I don’t need to work on giving up.  I just need to give it up, period.  I’m not saying don’t be a good steward of it, I’m saying, maybe we (especially me) shouldn’t hold on to ANY of it too tightly or not at all.  I have to grow up, but I don’t want that to be an excuse not to go.  So, in my going I hope that I count the cost every day, in so many ways (big or small, here or there…definitely NOW).
  • I need to really be ready to die, in all sorts of ways or even just be beaten…am I really ready for that possibility if I go to a country with this likely being the norm? 
  • I know I have a lot to work on and a lot to work through, counting the cost here in America is different, I just want to know why.  So, I’ll continue to work on why it is for me and I’ll keep you updated.  I’ll look at and study what the Bible has to say about it, if you have any helpful things to add then feel free to do so. 

Hopefully my update will be a little more conclusive or thought through.   

WHATEVERS…

June 11, 2007

Sometimes there’s just too much to write about.  Let’s see…

Well, I guess I’ll just try to keep it short (or not) to keep it to the point, for your sake and for mine (these are in no particular order):

  • Recieved my packets for my Independent Classes…so, I gotta get on it (DVDs of lectures, syllabi, tests, quizzes, instructions books (thanks Frank!), etc.
  • talked with Mom a little on Friday (YEY)
  • Got a sweet surprise visit from Jake (I love this guy so much)!  This guy is definitely down to earth and really humble.  He and Amber are what JPK calls the beautiful couple.  Well, its because they are!  
  • spent a lot of time with AJ Woodsum on Saturday, then drove out with he and Dr. Behle to Lancaster to listen to someone who’s worked with Muslims for about 20 years.  Now, this was definitely inspiring and so stinkin’ challenging.  Why?  Well, because…working with Muslims seem so stickin’ hard and costly because NO ONE wants to do it because it is so stickin’ hard (except for Becca and AJ…anyone else wanna go?) – well, I think I want to do it…seriously!  I’m definitely willing and want to try.  There’s a lot of prayer, counsel, growth and time that is involved to work through this but I think I would be willing to walk through that.  This desire is definitely growing so, we’ll see (b/c there are still other options of going elsewhere or staying here [which I prefer not to]).  I am freaked out and I ain’t gonna lie about that either but I think its suppose to be like that, y’know?…it’s getting me to count the cost and walk by faith in ways that I don’t, whether I go or stay, y’know what I mean?  Seriously, what am I giving up?  OR what am I not giving up?   
  • Yesterday was Eric’s B-Day (HAPPY 30TH MAN)!  Macaroni Grill was a good pick!  
  • It was so great to hang out with Roger, Michelle and their kids yesterday!!!
  • Me:  “Jackson, what’s my name?” (Jackson is Roger & Michelle’s youngest 5yrs. old)  Jackson:  “Um….um….um….”  Me:  “Jackson, C’mon….”  Jackson:  “Umm…Hosanna?”  Yep, that’s right….he gets a gold medal for that one!!!
  • Sundays – they’re the best!!!  I LOVE getting together with C.O.C. people (its not exclusive to Sundays OR hanging out with just Worship Team or Bible Study people – its great getting to know others in the body and just spending time with them. 
  • Got to chat with JPK a little yesterday…I miss him!   Good job for updating your blog. 
  • Listening alot to:      

                                All Of The Above CD+DVD   (Hillsong United [their youth CD]), I like their songs.  Yeah, they’re a little repeatative and not as conservative in their doctrine (does it really even matter???), but I think that’s okay.  They’re songs are very Psalm-like.  Anyway, I like them. 

  • I’m also enjoying:  

                                   Buy Life of Pi by Yann Martel   I’ll let you know how it goes when I’m done with it…well, maybe I’ll just let you know if I liked it or not. 

  • Oh, in a couple of minutes I get to meet with BehleAJ, Amahl and Becca to talk with Orville about working with Muslims.  That’s really exciting…looking forward to it.
  • Kids Choir coming up at church.  I’m nervous…but ready.  Children are a blast…if you ever really want to be humbled and gain some perspective then hang out with children – they’ll really teach you a lot about your own pride, your own uptight-ness, your own awkwardness, your own “too cool for school”-ness and they’ll just remind you that things are a lot more simple than you can make it out to be (sometimes).  If you’re too cool for kids then you need some serious arrogance check….cause, if you can’t even hang out with these then how are you going to handle caring for the orphans? 
  • Volleyball was really fun, mainly because of the people there:  Daren, Dave, his roommate JonCharles, Hugo, JimLukeLawrence, Becca, Heather, Aimee, Kyndra, Lindsey, Annalee and me.  So much fun – its nice to be with people who seem to be okay with being silly and funny…people who don’t put up a front, y’know?!!!

Well, gotta run!   

                                                                                  

                                

Okay, seirously.  I have been hounded by a lot of people to get Facebook AND Myspace (are you kidding me?).  I’ll keep these people nameless for their sake -let’s just say they’re people from all across the board – people from Carson, family, Master’s (past, present and let’s even say the future – why not).  Here’s what a typical conversation about it looks like: 

“Ona, do you have facebook/myspace”?

Me: “Heck no”

“Oh, why not”?

Me: (AHHHHHH…..Don’t ask me, I really don’t have a legitamate excuse other than I don’t like it)….”Ugh…we’ll I don’t like it”

“Oh, really?  Why not”?

Me:  (Because I just don’t, it lies in the same category as Rainbow (sandels), Verizon (I had to switch over because of work), watermelon, poker, cigars, climbing half dome, country music and more)…”Ugh, just because”

“Oh, you should get it to keep in touch”

Me:   “Why don’t you just call me or email me”?  (And usually we do keep up, and I admitt, I am bad at this too, but I am usually good at keeping in touch with people).

“Oh, Ona, its just like calling or emailing you just with pictures”

Me:  “Seriously?  I don’t think so.”

“Ona, I just want to keep up with you”

Me:  “Then call me or email or read my blog”

“See?”

Me:  “What?”

“You have a blog”

Me:  “Right, read it and keep up with me there”

“Ona, its the same thing”

Me: “No its not.  Besides it took me an entire year to decide whether or not to start up a blog.  I’m not gonna do Facebook or Myspace just because everyone else is doing it.  Look if you can convince me otherwise, I will NEVER, EVER get facebook or myspace.  If you wanna keep in touch, let’s talk like normal people OR why don’t YOU call be back or email me back” 

“Jeez….punk….” (Ben Gladd actually called me something else – he’s allowed to, he’s close enough to me to do that).     

Me:  “YOU punk”

Anyway, then it kind of fades off into the sunset….or another conversation – post disclaimer – this isn’t a REALLY serious conversation – think comical/serious/fun etc. 

PTL 4 KDJ

June 7, 2007

Kyle Jenison is one of my former RAs and now such a dear friend.  I have a couple of people in my life that we just jump back in to the swing of things even if time and distance are an apparent factor, and Kyle is one of them. 

He called last night to ask if he could spend time with me today and I was thinking “grabbing a meal” or something (even though that’ll be a part of our time) but he said, “Ona, we can just sit and read and or do whatever, I have all day.  Kath will be at work and we can just hang out all day”.  As much as I know this will require something (because I think all relationships take work, some more than others) but with Kyle?  No, it isn’t work that is a struggle, its a joy (and I am learning that needs to translate to ALL my relationships…please be patient with me as I grow in that).  I don’t know why its not hard with Kyle either.  Personality?  Maybe, but that’s a small factor.  I think because Kyle doesn’t have an agenda other than love.  I know that sounds so cheesy but it’s so true with him. 

Kyle always seems genuinely inquisitive and eager to learn – not just from me but from others, from his peers, from his parents, from his circumstances, his difficulties, his joys, his church on and on.  Also, I think its comforting to be with someone that LOVES SO MUCH no matter what and can challenge you at the same time.  Kyle doesn’t try to teach me something, he’s humble and slow to speak!  It really is humbling to have had these types of friendships as a result of being an RD – PTL for Kyle! 

Here are some other things I love about Kyle and our relationship:

  • He’s hillarious
  • Ask lots of questions
  • He’s married to Kathy =)
  • He loves and is so devoted to his church
  • He’s ridiculous and unapologetic for it (doesn’t fear other’s thoughts about him)
  • He’s honest and open
  • He’s willing 
  • He’s an enduring listener
  • He’s persistent and follows up well
  • He loves God and people
  • And he really cares about you, y’know?…there’s more but I’ll stop there.  

    

Here he is – YEY!!!  I get to hang out with this guy A LOT today!!!  See ya!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

So here’s what happened:

8am woke up, read the Holy Writ.

9am fell asleep again

10am woke up again, checked email, blogged, looked at (I didn’t read it, just looked at) my syllabus for my two Independent Classes for June (that’s due in December…so, help a brutha out and ask me if I’m keeping up). 

10:30am went running, 11:15am I look at my scedule for the day (lunch with Blakey @ 12pm, meeting with Tat @ 2pm and dinner with Logan @ 5pm…remember?  my previous post).

11:40am get a call from Lawrence Daniels from church asking if we were still on @ 2pm for lunch….Yep, you’re right, immediate panic shock (like, Oh crap, I just double booked).  Don’t worry I didn’t verbally freak out.  I just said, “Lawerence, can I call you back in a bit, just real quick?”  Then I run through every possible way to change everything to fit everyone in – why?  because I fear man and I don’t want anyone to think that I am a mess – then I literally said out loud, “Too late for that one”.  Sad, I know.  Then I just say there and took a deep breath and calmed down.  Here’s how the rest of the day went. 

12pm lunch with Ben Blakey at Mi Casa, then we drove over to Hotchkiss to see the progress of the remodeling – they’re going quick.  PTL for hard workers!!!

2pm met with Tat

3:30pm early dinner with Lawerence Daniels (he’s our Jr. High Director at church).  He’s a real humble young man.  It was good to finally get our over due time together – we’ll definitely “do lunch” again!

Now I’m just waiting for another dinner with Logan @ 6pm.  Yey!!!  I love Logan – He’s probably the most kind, sincere, servants I know.  He lives out godly character and he smiles sooooo stickin’ much!  I love Logan’s hugs!!!  Logan’s one of those you can call on to do anything, even if he can’t or isn’t able to do it, its still nice to know that you can call him to at least ask him, y’know? 

So, today was a little eventful – what a great Summer!  Still learning, y’know?  I’m out…off to another dinner!