NOT QUITE 5

June 25, 2008

okay, so this is more for me than for anyone else, selfish, I know.  The answers are supposed to be top 5…I didn’t want just 5 with some of them.  So, here you go:

Things under $5 that I couldn’t live without
chapstick (or blistex), eyeglass cleaner, deoderant, toothbrush, $.99 chicken sandwhich at jack-n-the box

Favorite movies
Seven, The gods must be crazy (1 & 2), Kung Fu Hustle, Gladiator, Mystic River, Goodwill Hunting, Once

Baby names I love
Pearson, Deborah, Preston, Braxton, Douglas, Pele’ese (Samoan, obviously), Ajanae, Patrick

Songs I could listen to over and over again
Goodbye Apathy Onerepublic

Where the Streets Have No Name U2

One Thing Hillsong

We Break the Dawn Michelle Williams

Try a Little Tenderness Michael Buble’

People who have influenced me in a positive way
Mom, my sisters & brother, Aroni Nuimata, Pastor Bob, Brad, JPK, Sam, Dr. Behle, Dr. Plew, Scott Vinson, Rick & Esther Dennis, Zane Jensen, Even Gapelu, Kyle Jenison…and more I promise

Things that are always in my wallet
Driver’s License, ATM Card, Medical Insurance Card, Pictures, Business cards I NEVER refer to

Moments that changed my life forever
teaching

RD’ing Hotchkiss my 3rd year

going to India

having a former friend tell me he doesn’t want to hang out anymore

Matt Pearson’s death

Savini family reunion

Places I would like to go
Samoa (always), India, South Africa, Iraq, Hawaii, Indonesia

anywhere where there are polynesians, children, college students, muslims, hindus

Appliances or kitchen tools I couldn’t live without
faucet with running water (does that count), lighter, pot, plate 

People who I would like to see their top 5’s
Debs Suluvale, Sam Neylan, JPK, Pastor Bob,

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NO SLUMBER FOR ME

June 21, 2008

I’ve had a restless night.  It’s 3:45am and I’m not alseep (obviously).  I want to be spiritual and say that the Lord has kept me up and that I have been having sweet communion with Him.  But I haven’t. 

I woke up this morning (or yesterday morning…just not this current morning) at 4:32am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I went for a run, then came back, took a shower and drove to the mall.  I needed a shirt to wear to Durso’s wedding.  I came back (by this time it was about 12:50’ish.  I laid down for a moment and woke up at 3:37’ish – Eric’s wedding started at 3:00pm.  I immediately sat up before my blind eyes would allow me the “blessed” sovereign.  My heart was immediately saddened with disgust and so much regret.  The wedding was in Upland (about at least an hour away).  Idiot!  I’m such an idiot.  I know things happen but seriously?  Am I 18 years old?  I feel so bad!  Eric, I’m so sorry bro!  AHHH!!!  Life’s torments I tell you.  Anyway, he and Ashley are happy anyway, PTL for that. 

3 “I will not enter my house
       or go to my bed-

 4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
       no slumber to my eyelids,

5 till I find a place for the LORD,
       a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

This is taken from Psalm 132 and I suppose I’d like to apply this to where my heart is now.  There are a couple of things in my heart and mind that need some sifting and some resting upon.  And I woulnd’t recommend you (if you’re ever in this spot…not able to sleep) allowing your thoughts to linger with themselves – that could be dangerous.  So, its very freeing to find a place for the Lord, as it were, in the chaos or lines of my thinking. 

I thought about this Psalm and then read it.  Then I thought about what it might have meant to David and then thanked God for it.  The word of the Lord really does revive and bring joy to the heart.  I will rest in that and trust that this is indeed from the very mouth of God. 

I do have tons on my mind; India, prayers, people (all kinds), sins, forgiveness, list of things to do, list of things I haven’t done that should’ve been done, when I’m going to do laundry, the future, the past, Coldplay’s latest album (which is really quite good – has a lot of emotional depth to it, musically and lyrically – you should check it out…good stuff). 

Well, I’m gonna try to lie down – its now 4:10am and I leave at 5am to take Rick & Esther to the airport for their week long trip to Brazil.  I’m so glad I have people in my life who travel – keeps life very exciting and eventful – or it keeps the people in my life very exciting to be around

BACK & PRETTY FLY

June 19, 2008

I’m now back in sunny So. Cal and was warmly greeted with people driving in their respective lanes, lots of quiet and very organized systems and a lot of clean things – don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean its better here – its just what I’m used to. 

After Phil & Beaks picked me up,we got back to my apartment and talked for a long time about (mainly me and Beaks [otherwise known as Josh Beakley – a returning RA of mine this coming year])…we talked about each other’s experiences – his in New Zealand and mine in India.  I was very thankful for his experience and even the lessons he’s had to learn – i love listening to people (most)!  I was also thankful for mine and wondered, and still, if the lessons I learned will actually lead me to true change.  Then I realized that lessons or experiences don’t change me, God does and He can use those lessons and experiences to do so if He chooses (or if I rebelliously resist, then I won’t change, too bad for me). 

Josh and I stayed up the last two nights ’til 3am talking – its been good to see him and hang with him.  He left this morning on yet another exhausting flight to Israel to meet up with his parents (who are missionaries in South Africa) for a conference. 

I’m thankful I’m back – the one thing I was looking forward to was going for a run – and I’ve done that.  Oh, and my bed – I’m such a comfort lover I know…but when its necessary I will give it up! 

My sister arrived from Samoa yesterday and so I’ll make time this weekend to go see her and spend some time with family – that’ll be fun and refreshing!

Tomorrow Durso gets married so I’ll make a trip down to Upland for the wedding and then spend sometime with Rick & Esther Dennis (I never did blog about their wedding – it was actually really fun and great…and being the best man wasn’t so bad after all…I realized though that the best part about your best friends getting married is serving them during the wedding process and then looking forward to serving them after.  My goal was never to be in anyone’s wedding but to be apart of their lives, wedding or not…this though was actually more of a treat for me – Rick told me it was an honor for him for me to be his best man (liar =) but the reality is, its nice to be a part of somone’s life who strives to be the best man he could be in Christ – so, I really wasn’t the best man that day, Rick was).  Anyway, check out their wedding pics here.

Tonight I get to see Joe and have dinner with his family!  Joe takes care of me!  We’re having tri-tip.  I can’t wait just to see him and be with him.  I’m so thankful for what he’s taught me and how he’s challenged me.  I’m excited to see how Student Life will be guided under his direction.  Heidi is a dang good cook as well – so it’ll be nice to have home cookin’. 

Anyway, I really am thankful to be back.  I still have more family & friends to see and catch up with (that’ll be exciting).  I also have tons to do regarding school and personal discipline and that’s all inspiration brought by the Lord while being in India.  I don’t resent being back, nor do I wish I was in India – I do hope to one day return.  But for now, I’m here and I want to give it my all, just as I was given grace to do while I was in India.  One-day at a time, or one-moment at a time. 

I would say this, it really is quiet here and empty – I kind of miss the chaos and the crowds of India – August here at TMC comes to a close second I suppose.  So, on second thought I’ll wait for it. 

Oh, every year I take family portraits with my RA team – its like a treat for them, seriously, every year they get more and more excited about it.  Initially it was more for me but now they love it.  We take one “smiling” one and one “fun” one.  This recent team’s photos are probably the best ones.  You’ve gotta come by the apartment to check it out – its pretty fly, that’s all I have to say.  Maybe one day I’ll have them all scanned and put on online.  Ideally it would be cool if all my RAs of all my years got together and took one final pic at the end of my time here!  So far, that’s a total of 19 – that would be fly! 

NAMASKAR

June 14, 2008

Today is Sunday, 10:15am Delhi time.  I’m in an internet cafe here at the YMCA and I will soon pack and check out of my room here.  We have tons today for service and Focal Point tonight. 

I will meet up with the muscisians at Capital Bible Church (a church plant here that the Malakars help start).  We will rehearse for service that will begin at 4pm tonight.  Focal Point will begin at 6pm and combined we will be doing 7 songs.  I’m excited – to sing, to listen to the message, to interact with workers and to talk to some university students.

Our team had a debrief last night – it was great.  I have been very impressed with this team of students.  I’ve been a part of a lot of student teams and I can tell you of some teams that have not done well, sadly.  You name it, its been there – conflict of sorts, male/female interests, selfish ambition, self-centeredness, immaturity, disrespect etc.  Not this team.  These students were great – and had some really profound things to debrief about.  Its great to see this generation love God and pursue growth in Him as well as pursue growth in service to people. 

The team will be splitting up 3am Monday – Jason, Andrew and Fred will fly out from Delhi and hopefully make it back to California.  Chara & Allison leave at 9am in the morning for Allison’s home town in Puna, India (she’s Indian) for 2 weeks.  I don’t leave Delhi until Tuesday afternoon.  If I din’t have wedding commitments this summer (no, not mine), then I would have stayed the rest of this summer here in Delhi – honestly, I would have. 

Anyway, I’m not ready to come back to the States.  I want to stay here longer.  I want to come back again someday.  Maybe longer.  I probably will.  One of our debrief questions asked if this trip has confirmed or changed any future plans for me.  Two weeks ago when we were in Varanasi working with the slum children I thought, “Man, this is it.  This is where I’m suppose to be”.  Then coming to Delhi my thought was, “Ah man, now what?  I love this…working with university/college students”.  So, I feel like I’m back to square one but you know what?  That’s okay (for now).  It has inspired me to work harder to take action about my future. 

I can definitely come back here.  I’ve thought about Samoa a lot, while here, and Hawaii, and Carson and even some of Santa Clarita (not too much though)…the point is, I could go anywhere and do anything – I just want to give my life away for the cause…not for a dream, especially not the American dream (sick)!  Either way, I’m thankful for this trip and wish that I could stay.  It’ll be okay to be back in the States – pray that I will not react and be discontent to be there – pray that I have just as much a ferver and compassion for people when I come back (after I sleep for about 3 days =) just kidding! 

Namaskar!  See you later!

INIDA UPDATE #2

June 11, 2008

Well, we’ve been in Delhi for almost a week now.  It is VERY different from Varanasi.  It’s more western, significantly cleaner (in most parts, not all), the weather is slightly cooler and there are more people who speak english. 

Last Friday we got off the 15 hour train ride (which is quite the experiencer here in India, as all of the experiences) and we were greeted by Peter Malakar & Raj.  We had some time at the YMCA that we are staying in before we met up with Peter and Heather for lunch later.  After lunch they took us to their place where they also have their PMI head quarters (its atually in the basement of their building.  

Later that night we had a study with all the “workers” there.  It was a really encouraging time.  We broke up into pairs and prayed.  I got to pray and talk with Raj (who came earlier with Peter to pick us up from the train station).  He’s a 21 year old graduate of university with a degree in Political Science.  He was discipled by Bjorn about 2 years ago and excited to take classes with Dr. Halstead when he comes for his sabatical here in July.  Raj just arrived back to Delhi after spending a year back in his home in South India, with no believers around.  It was refreshing to him be so glad to be with people he grew up in the faith with.  I was so thankful to God for times of difficulty and endurance.  Raj explained that his times of depression and spiritual hunger for a year was nothing compared to being in fellowship again with people of like faith.  It was so humbling to hear that and think of some many who are discouraged but press on – PTL!   

It’s pretty awesome what’s going on here with the Malakars.  They have such an extensive and profitable ministry to university students. 

Sundays, immediately following their fellowship is Focal Point.  This is a time where university students gather (of all cultures, religions ages etc) and discuss the issues of life.  It’s awesome.  This last Sunday, the topic was on “Right & Wrong: How do you determine what is right or wrong?”  It was great and fun and normal and stimulating.  I’ve been able to do a lot of music here and its been really fun and exciting…and humbling. 

Anyway, since Sunday we’ve been teaching conversational English the last several days.  Having worships on pronounciation, word order, intonation/emotion in sentence phrasing and idioms/slang/listening & asking questions (that’s my worship – its really fun). 

Last night I gave a concert – yeah, I know go figure.  It was an hour long concert.  I sang some worship songs and even a couple of secular songs by the Beatles and OneRepublic – it was actually quite fun.  I don’t like to consider myself a performer but I suppose I do really well in that element.  It was fun and the Lord used it to spark a lot of conversations.  We ended up talking with some universtity students for about 2 hours after that about everything. 

Well, we have a couple more days here and its very exciting to think about all that we have left to do here.  I love it here!  I love the people, the culture, the food, the “workers” the university students.  It’s so relational here – I’ve probably had more in depth conversations with some of these university guys than I have with people I’ve known for years now.  I want to know why.  I’m not resentful or mad, it just actually makes me really sad.  But I’m finding it more natural to speak with these people than I have found with most Americans.  I guess that’s another blog to write about. 

Okay, that’s it for now.  It’s still as hot as chili here but I’m okay with it.  The most difficult thing for me here is wondering why things are the way they are here and why things are the way there are at home.  Otherwise, keep praying for us – the message has been shared and its going forth, so pray for mercy from the Lord! 

THE LEAST OF THESE

June 4, 2008

Today is our last day in Varanasi.  We take a 12 hour train ride northbound for New Dehli.  The team is out doing las minute shopping and I decided to stay and get some last minute stuff together, like updating the blog, packing etc. 

This morning Fred and I woke up early and walked to the Ghats (the steps from the Gangah River – a “god” the locals worship and bathe themselves in) to find the Charity Missionary Shelter, where Mother Teresa based a lot of her work. 

This facility houses disabled men and women.  We reluctantly found the shelter (because we didn’t know where it was and kind of guessed) and they motioned us to come to the back where they gave each of us aprons.  After putting the aprons on we down walked (the building is 4 stories high) to what seemed like the basement, through bedding situated in very small spaces to a pile of clothes.  They motioned (a lot of motioning going on because they didn’t speak any english and we didn’t speak any Hindi) us to take the buckets of clothes down to the Gangah and wash them.  So we did.  They soon joined us and showed us how to do it.  The Gangah River is not somewhere anyone in the States would do their laundry or most of anything.  It is infested with all kinds of disguisting things.  Later, Fred told me, “Siona, you don’t want to know what is wrong with that river; things biologically you really wouldn’t want to know”. 

After doing the laundry for about 30 mins we walked the laundry up and hung them up on wires up on the balcony.  Then we dusted the outside windows with brooms they made themselves (the volunteers).  That took about 7 mins and then we were free to do whatever we wanted. 

The shelter has two court yards.  One for the men and one for the women.  Fred and I obviously were on the men side.  There are about 20 men on floor mats; probably about 3 main sections.  Most men sat alongside the wall on a bench facing the courtyard. 

There was a particular man that caught my attention (mainly because he motioned me to come to him).  He was, I’m guessing maybe 40-45 years old.  His eyes were but a beautiful light brown contrasting his dark skin and shaved head.   He was fraile and in much pain.  You couldn’t hear his pain but you can see it and feel it.   I sat close to him and he took my right hand and put it on his lower back and began to motion (and groan) about how he prays for healing but doesn’t seem to be getting it.  I moved closer to him and put my arm around him lightly and rubbed his back and his head.  He nodded and sat with a little ease.  We sat for a while and then I prayed for him out loud.  It was powerful, not my prayer or even the moment.  God reminded me that the least of these are just as in need of Him as any other. 

I named my light brown eyed, dark friend “Raajaa” – it means king in Hindi.  I named him that mainly because he couldn’t speak but I wanted to name him that so that I would be reminded that the true King of Kings is the only who can save him from his oppressed body. 

After sitting with him for about an hour or more I prayed again that I would see this man again.  I prayed that this man who could do nothing, say nothing but who only knew pain would believe (somehow) in the Lord Jesus.  I prayed that the Lord Jesus would have mercy on him and relieve him from his phsyical torment and a spiritual one. 

When it was time to leave I gave “Raajaa” a hug and what flooded my heart was something that I beg would flood his – hope.  From what I gathered from his motions was that he prayed and prayed and found only disappointment to his prayers.  I am hopeful for “Raajaa” because I know the King of kings has the power to save and heal – this is something I doubt all too often, not only in my American or western thinking but mainly because my thinking is worldly. 

The least of these taught me much about humility, thankfulness and compassion.  I found myself more helpless in my spirit trying to help “Raajaa” but I’m reminded the Jesus loves him more than I ever can and can help him more than I ever can.  Its hard to want to do so much yet knowing you physically (or spiritually) can’t.  Good intentions aren’t always enough or sometimes seem worthless.   

Anyway, don’t take for granted what you have or who’s in your life and the time you have with them – be thankful, exercise love & affection, pursue sincere service and time to and with others (none of us deserve it) and lastly communicate hope often!