Well, my summer ends on a good note and makes the beginning of the school year something to look forward to. 

I think its easy to look at a summer like mine and complain about it but honestly, I’m not tempted to do so.  Yeah, its true, I didn’t go anywhere out of state, or out of country, or do some “awesome” ministry, or climb this moutain or hike this canyon, or see this or that.  I stayed put and there were lots of valuable lessons that I think I will still learn. 

  • Staying put can lend itself to testing how faithful you really want to be or how faithful you really are. 
  • Staying put allowed me to meet other people in my church and develope good relationships with them. 
  • Staying put calmed my need to feel like I needed to be somewhere else.
  • Staying put reminded me that wanting to be anywhere else other than where I am now is discontentment. 
  • Staying put allowed me to appreciate home more.
  • Staying put allowed me to be okay with lots of alone time.
  • Staying put was humbling.
  • Staying put slowed me down. 
  • Staying put exposed my impatience. 
  • Staying put helped me accomplish a lot of goals.
  • Staying put fed my hunger to be in heaven. 
  • Staying put revealed my lack of endurance. 
  • Staying put allowed me to be a part of VBS (YEY!!!)
  • Staying put allowed me to be with people I haven’t seen in a long time.
  • Staying put allowed time for restoration in relationships.

I’m thankful for this summer.  I had lots of fun, especially with volleyball peeps at church!!!  I’ll try to continue that, we’ll see. 

My family reunion begins on Sunday – I’M SOOOOOOO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!  I haven’t been able to go in the last 3 years because of RD retreat and this year the reunion is in Cali.  I love my family, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THEM ALL…..all 400 billion of them.  I can’t wait to see them and sing with them and talk to them and hug & kiss them and eat with them and laugh with them.  I am very thankful to be a SAVINI and very thankful that I get to spend a little time with them before RD retreat starts up. 

Okay, so good bye summer – here comes the madness. 

Please pray for if you think of it – that I’ll make all the preparations and ministry about the right thing and not about the hype, that I am humble & teachable and that I serve and love God and His people aaaaaannnnd that I show the guys in my dorm what is means to serve (and love) the local church and not just talk about it!

okee bee!!! 

Tonight I picked up a SIP student from the Van Nuys Fly Away.  The wait took longer than expected (2 hours longer).  So, I decided to go by Tommy’s Burgers and wait there.  Tommy’s Burgers is a place I grew up going to – CHILI CHEESE FRIES baby!!!  So good (with raw onions)!!!  I don’t care what you think, this is sooooooo good! 

Anyway, as I was sitting at the table eating and I noticed an elderly couple sitting near by.  They were sitting at a four person table but sitting diagonal from each other.  They didn’t say a single thing to each other the entire time.  I just watched them.  Not a single word.  I found that very sad and it sparked my curiousity.  So, here’s the exchange we had.  It was cool:

Me:  Excuse me?  Do you mind if I ask you a question?

Wife:  No.  What do you want? (very kindly…husband, eating away)

Me:  Are you related? (stupid question…but I didn’t know how else to start it).  Are you married? 

(She looked at me like, ‘Dah…” and pointed to her ring, and then held his hand up and pointed to his). 

Me:  How long?

Husband: 50 years

(I was interested to see what they would say next; a couple that sat diagonal from each other and didn’t say anything to each other for 15 mins)

Me: What made it or is making it work for you?

Husband: Hard work!  (yes, the exclaimation because he said it so emphatically). 

Wife:  It takes hard work…everyday of your life, at least that’s the way it is with us. 

Husband:  And it also takes a good amount of prayer

After that, they continued eating for a while (still not saying anything to each other).  So, I continued eating for a while. 

Minutes later, wife: Well, haven’t your parents been married for a long time?

Me:  No but…

Then I began to talk about my parents, family situation etc.  Then they started to share with me that the same thing happened to their daughter.  Her husband just up and left her and their four children.  It mad me sad, then angry, then sad again. 

I started to think about whether or not I would ever marry and why things are the way they are… blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…and I guess I can go into how pathetic my next couple of moments were… but they weren’t.  I picked up my SIP student and we had great conversation on the way back to Santa Clarita.  I took him to Subway, then to Master’s and then I came home. 

But let me just say this about having been abondoned (no, I’m not pulling the “poor is me” card just because I come from a single parent home…I understand and I am very thankful for my upbrining;  I know that I probably have had it better than some who were raised in a christian home with both parents still in the picture, married)…anyhow, the Lord has definitely been good to my mother, me and my brother & sisters.  I can’t imagine my life any less than blessed – but I can imagine it differently.  I never really wondered what it would be like to have had my dad around, my mom married to him still, and calling him dad and what not.  But I do wonder if he’s really saved.  I never really wondered what kind of son I would be to a father, but I do wonder if I’m a loving son to my mother, and a caring brother to my siblings or even a loyal/faithful friend to my friends.  I look at those things and then I get sad (at how I’ve failed), then angry and then sad again. 

Yeah, I know and I do believe that my hope and my identity is found in Christ – I believe it with all my heart.  I know that He brings about restoration and reconciliation – sometimes its hard to know when to initiate it or wait for it – that tension is so humbling – even now – sometimes its hard to pray for my dad or hard to start talking to a friend again – then other times its easy to pray for him or its easy to just talk to that same friend (man, what’s wrong with me =). 

Anyway, the Lord has kept me and my family in perfect peace and has allowed us the comfort and the discomfort of trusting Him with our abandonment (or blessing) – but its been cool to grow in that together (I love my family!!!). 

The reality is, we can definitely have a lasting effect upon the people around us – all for good but sometimes sad.  

ALIVE BY TWILIGHT!!!

July 21, 2007

You are all invited to a benefit concert that’s held July 28th, 7pm @ Church of the Canyons (that’s NEXT Saturday evening).  This benefit concert is to help raise funds for the orphans that we support in India (they were saved from the December ’05 Tsunami and are in the care of the Palai’s – missionaries we support as well). 

Please come out and support the kids!!! 

Live (awesome) music, outside setting (so bring your own chairs & snacks), great time with people etc.  

Be advised, it may be hot – come anyway and bring your family and friends!!!

All The More Reason!

July 20, 2007

Here’s a copy of an email Rick Dennis (Love & miss you man!!!) wrote me about Facebook.

So ona….I’m here at night after watching a movie with my family (Disney Cars) writing emails…to my friends, rather than messaging them on facebook.  I’m over it.  It’s nice but i’m trying to respond to them in emails.  I’m not sure I want another shallow way to communicate.  Phone is best, emails are ok…letter writing is for special occasions (like seeing a dinosaur) but facebook….lame.  I can be content with a 2 line message or a quick wall post…but not real friendship?  So…stay strong…don’t get facebook…i’m keeping up with your blog though.  I like it that u put “finding out you have more and more relatives”  U do have alot!  So i was just thinking of you tonight, we’ve had several missed opportunities to hang out (this last weekend bc of not going to Yosemite, missed phone calls, etc)   But i’m looking forward to jake’s wedding to get to hang out.  Arg…i started writing this email and then got distracted…now i’m zonked ie tired.  I miss you!  i’m gonna go, talk to ya soon, rd

Seriously, I have enough trouble keeping in touch, communicating etc. – what I’m not saying is that I’m better for NOT having Facebook.  That’s far from the truth.  I just don’t need to add to the chaos of my relational and communication’al mess =).  Maintaing real relationships are difficult enough.  Sorry I didn’t call you back Rick.  See what I’m talking about?      

If it works for you, great!  But for me (and apparently for Rick), BOO on Facebook!     

Here are some pics from Norman & Tracy’s Wedding!  Man, I miss and love those peeps!!!

I LOVE SAMOA!

July 16, 2007

I’ve been wanting to post about Samoa for a long time.  I think I’ve waited so long because there’s just so much to say about Samoa.  My vain attempt to do so will not do justice to Samoa’s beauty; its scenery, its culture, traditions, customs, food, history and especially Samoa’s people.  If you’ve ever been to Samoa, then you can probably understand, maybe.  If you’ve never been, then you have no idea. 

I’ll just tell you what I miss (which basically means, this is what I love):

  • the heat & humidity
  • the blue, warm pacific ocean
  • the sound of  the ocean
  • hearing the chickens in the morning
  • samoan music all the time, everywhere
  • the burnt trash smell
  • the beautiful people!!!
  • riding in the back of pick-up truck
  • the samoan buses (that are made out of pickup trucks and are pimped out – sorta)
  • everyone wearing ie lava-lava…and wearing one myself all the time (Samoa’s traditional clothing – Samoan patterned material wrapped around your waste.
  • Sundays in Samoa are one of the best days of my life – i love Sundays in Samoa!  why?  One reason is because you can litereally stand outside and hear singing coming from all throughout the villages from different churches (so beautiful). 
  • Simoi – especially simoi powder on gummy warms – so yum (Mike and Bec, you know you love simoi)
  • green trees (real green everywhere)
  • raining when the sun’s out (i mean pouring rain when the sun’s out)
  • hearing everything in Samoan – music, radio, conversations etc
  • Samoan kids…and conversations with them – so fun!
  • S.P.I.C.C.
  • Fa’asamoa (the Samoan way – of doing things)
  • the drive to town
  • the smells
  • sweating right when you get out of the shower because of the humidity
  • finding out and meeting more and more relatives
  • I miss the Aufaipese Samoa (Samoan choirs)
  • Samoan dancing – done by real native Samoans!!!
  • I miss the island life (please DO NOT mistake that for an easy or lazy life – totally different – I mean in terms of a “don’t worry about it”- I miss that – kinda like drama free – believe me, Samoa(ns) are not drama free – just different kinds of drama than Americans).
  • Visiting with my cousins and meeting their friends from the village. 
  • talking with Samoans about spiritual things
  • the sunrise and sunset in Samoa
  • Fale Samoa everywhere – traditional Samoan houses
  • White sandy beaches
  • the black sky with really bright stars, a lot of them too!
  • the moon’s reflection on the ocean
  • Fiafia Samoa – Samoan entertainment and enjoyment
  • Samoan humor
  • the Samoan personality – Samoans are this way and that way (the good parts of it, not the sinful parts)…like, Samoans are funny, or Samoans are crazy or Samoans are so welcoming etc.
  • sweating and walking into an A/C store, home or car
  • Tea on Sunday nights
  • eating Samoan food from the umu (when food is cooked underneath the ground with hot rocks and wet banna leaves
  • fruit in Samoa
  • Hong Kong & Rubble’s Restaurant =)
  • KSBS 92 (radio station)
  • Bongos!!!
  • ‘ulu (bread fruit)
  • walking to Fatumafuti
  • drive around the island
  • Pago Pago Intl Airport =) (those of you who have been know what I’m talking about)
  • community life in Samoa
  • respect / honor / service

I can go on and on…man, I LOVE SAMOA!  I want to go back.  I’m still willing to go back for good, Lord willing.  We’ll see. 

Anyway, if you haven’t been to Samoa, go!!!  Don’t be deceived by how beautiful it is, Samoa needs Jesus!!! 

The 4th Pics

July 13, 2007

july-4-027.jpg

Click on the pic above to see all of the ridiculousness from our time in Santa Barbara on the 4th (I mainly did this because it was my first attempt in publishing a web album).

Howard Hendricks

July 11, 2007

Here are some quotes from one of my new favorite teachers (thanks Behle!).  This is from a message on Communication/Relationships

“Do you know who your greatest friend is?  The one who will tell you the facts, even when the facts hurt.”

“A friend is the one to whom you can tell your most heretical idea, and he still accepts you…and it is the one who will feed back to you reality…that’s what you should appreciate.”

“Much of our communication assumes too much.”

“Take nothing for granted, you’ll seldom be disappointed”

The K.I.S.S. formula: “Keep It Simple Stupid”  “The hardest thing to get a man to be is simple.  Any fool can complicate truth.” 

“You need two things: food and exercise for spiritual food…we tend to be too long on the food stage and too short on the exercise stage…the problem is we then become spiritually obese.”

“We give people the impression that christianity is a society of the perfect rather than the society of the progressing.  Your problems are a part of the divine process by which we grow” 

“Thinking is agonizing, its painful…but its terrifically profitable, especially under the direction of the Spirit of God.”

“Getting the door slammed in your face is terrific training and man, it’ll whip laziness out of you and produce so much growth.” 

“The reason someone doesn’t want to communicate is because they’re lazy.”

“Every time you set an objective ask yourself, ‘What will have happened when I accomplish this objective?’  Otherwise, you don’t have no way of measuring it – it is agonizing to ask yourself, ‘Man, what is it that I want?'”

“A good wife who is willing to be honest with you is a tremendous blessing to you, your ministry and the rest of your life.”

“Your response to people’s question is far more important than your answer.  The best thing to do is to open yourself up, expose yourself.  Its not about getting the ‘right’ answer.” 

“You’re not worth that much, let’s face it, that’s what you tell yourself but the people around you are.”

“Public image is what people think you are, not what you are.  Right or wrong.  If that’s what they think (then) that’s you’re problem.  Before you can communicate to people, you have to know the prejuidices you are fighting.”

“If we project the idea that we have the answers and no body else knows anyting that’s a bad news item in communication.”

“What’s more important is the process not the product [of your communication and your relationships] “

Catching Up

July 5, 2007

So, its been about a week.  Sorry, here’s what’s been going on:

  • I’ve been helping all kinds of people move:  Andrew Callaway’s friends, Karen Noa from church, The Harvey’s, Sam, the HolmesEsther Ko and more to come…if you want to help the body of Christ, let me know.
  • Playing lots of volleyball with peeps from church and hanging out with them and playing Mafia!
  • Margrave Bible Study
  • catching up with DVD’s for classes – and working through Eccleciastes
  • getting ready for the Summer Institute Program for the MABC starting this Saturday
  • Norman & Tracy’s wedding this Saturday back home.
  • Norman’s bachelor’s party this last Saturday…it was cool chillin’ with ALL the boys from back in the day – lots of funny moments at The National’s Sports Bar – I miss them!!!  
  • hanging out a lot with Telle; you’re off the chain dude!  That taco run to down town with JJ and Dave G. was cool…we should do it again soon!
  • July 4th in Santa Barbara with the Beals, Logan, Becca, Luke, Mike Mawhorter, Mike Butler, Mike Cane, Danney, Lynn & Lawrence – I haven’t had so much fun in such a long time!!!  Logan’s jeep had a lot to do with it…I’m smiling right now just thinking about how much fun we had!!!  Becca, Logan, Luke and I took like 400 billion pictures of ourselves on the way back (I’ll post them later)…in the jeep…in traffic…with the top down…laughing our faces off…it was freezing – I love it when people are okay with laughing at themselves!!!
  • being at home with my family for a couple of days (Debs back from Samoa and Esther Grace is visiting from Arizona – she says she’s moving back at the end of August, I hope so!)
  • being able to catch up with the boys (Big Mike, Sipoga, Tone, Bugg, Seko, Tang, Strong, Joey, Andrew, Allen, lil Tone etc.)
  • reading through John
  • realizing I need to journal more
  • working through some things in my life
  • listening to a lot of Howard HendricksHillsong and Beyonce…what a funny mix?!
  • sobering week thinking about Matt’s death and thinking through relationships/friendships/discipleship/missions/life…all in conjunction with Ecclesiastes 7
  • counting the days to move back into Hotchkiss, Lord willing!

Gunner meniotned something about catching up with relationships verses mainting relationships.  That cleared up a lot in my head about several things.  Here’s my response to that:  I don’t like it!  Why?  Because maintaining relationships require consistency and loyalty (which I suck at).  Its also hard and takes work.  Catching up with relationships just seems like I’m always behind, or others are always behind with me etc…oh well, that’s just the way it is. 

If you’re okay with that, then you are.  If you’re not, which I think I’m not, then don’t settle like the rest are.  Man, I’m really horrible at this…so I need all the help I can get!