Sunday, January 16, 2011

back in hawaii

It is so good to be back in Wahiawa, Hawaii with Surfing the Nations. This morning as I woke up and thought about the things that I have been wanting to meditate on and just spend some time in the presence of the Lord about, I immediately was consumed by my immediate needs. I moved out onto the back porch and decided to bask in the presence of God outside. I took one look at the sunrise and knew my needs were nothing but God. God told me, "Just as I placed the stars in the sky and paint the morning sky, so I will provide for you."

It is so good to have such a loving father.

As I said, being back is so good. I love STN, but I also love Wahiawa. I wish everyone could experience how amazing Wahiawa is. The nicest people live here. I know that the street I live on has been invaded by evil and serious drug trade, and dealers live on every side of our apartment complex, but that doesn't mean they aren't nice people. I love walking down the street and being able to stop and talk with people. Wahiawa is a place where people walk. Not everyone has cars, and definitely not every family has 5 cars like the neighborhoods I've lived in the mainland had and so people walk. By the simple act of walking and not driving, one is exposed to a whole other world. One that doesn't speed past you at 45 miles per hour disconnecting one from everything, but is right there and one has the privilege of stopping and smelling the flowers if wanted and can stop and talk story with people also.

I had the blessed privilege of helping out at Feeding the Hungry Wahiawa last Tuesday. It was awesome. It was so great to reconnect with some of the people I had met two summers ago. I reconnected with Tony Girl, a woman who lives in the park up the street. She was so excited to tell me that she is clean. She made the decision because she wanted to be apart of her 3 grand kids lives. Another person I met two summers ago late at night while they were working the streets is also doing well. It is the best feeling to know that I am simply doing life with those around me.

Life is good. So so good.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In between too many worlds

It seems as though I often find myself saying this to myself. Here I am in beautiful, colorful, historical, spiritual India and yet as of right this moment, I just want to go to the place where my feet will be standing for the next period of time. Nothing is ever definite in my life. No place is ever permanent. Familiar faces are never lastingly remaining. In the past 5 years I haven’t lived in one location for more than 4 months (minus my year in Hawaii where I still traveled every few months). I lived in 10 different rooms, not to mention all the floors I have crashed on. I’ve lived in Los Angeles, on a small island, in India and traversed across the globe. My heart was deeply broken in the City of Angels only to be repaired and filled anew by the grace of God in Hawaii where I truly learned how to love. India has made me grow up.
The only consistent thing in my life is God. In the past few days God has really been allowing me to fall deeper in love with him. I’m realizing that there isn’t really any place, or people I belong with, except for with God. I say that a lot in my life, but there has been deeper meaning lately. I was reading poems by Rabindrath Tagore the other day while sitting in the oven of a auto rickshaw (because it is so hot, it literally feels like I am looking in an oven as I drive through town and hot air blows in my face) on my way to a coffee shop to do homework. They were all love poems, and I can’t really say that there is any guy I could dream about to go along with these love poems. But these poems about love somehow drew me closer to God, allowing me to fall deeper in love with him.
God is so good. Although I am in between so many worlds, I am in God’s world, and it is the only place to be.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

beautiful creation

Today instead of celebrating with Razia the birth of her new baby, Rita, Elsie and I comforted her as she lay in the corner of her cement house. On a blanket with her head rested on some wadded up clothes as a pillow she lay crying. As the tears rolled down her cheek she told us that her husband told her to leave or he will leave. He threatens to throw the baby out. She fears what her life will look like. When will it be that he returns home? He didn’t even look at the child after she gave birth, all because she gave birth to a girl. What God intended to be a glorious and celebratory moment, Satan has turned to misery, grief, and pain. Carrying a baby for 9 months, going through the agony of child labor all to be rejected by her husband.
A system of evil entwined in such a beautiful culture. The prize of a boy child and the burden of a girl child is still the reality that families across India face. The birth of a girl means debt, a dowry fee that needs to be paid for the girl to one day be married off and lost to another family. The birth of a boy means carrying on the family name, someone to care for and provide for the parents once they are old. A boy child brings in money as the girl pays the dowry. He is a blank check.
We comforted Razia, we told her that her daughter is a very special gift from God to her, created uniquely and perfectly. This beautiful little infant is a masterpiece of God’s hand, not a mistake. She is blessed to be able to conceive and give birth to a healthy little girl. We prayed with her and asked God to bless this child, for her husband to see how wonderful this baby girl is.
Oh Lord God, mighty and great king, sovereign over all the earth, we praise you. You are the author and illustrator of all our lives. We know that this baby was not a mistake, how could something so unique and perfect be a mistake. Oh Jesus, transform the hearts of the individuals still believing that girls are not important. Transform their hearts to see the beautiful creation as you have made her. Send your angels to fight against the system of evil that entangles and ensnares so many individuals and blinds them from beauty. Lord Jesus, bless this little girl, protect her as she grows, we commit her into your hands and trust in you. We love you. Amen.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Some days in India can be too much. Too much pollution. Too much poverty. Too much disparity between the rich and the poor. Too much pain in the eyes you look into as you pass people by in the auto rickshaw. The intensity and hardship that is expressed in a man’s eyes as he carries a heavy load on the back of his wagon bicycle. The desperation in a begging woman’s eyes wearing a sari clumsily wrapped around her body. It looks as though it is her only piece of clothing and she’s been wearing it for years. Religious clashes that have heightened and killed two policemen. Too much begging. Things that money can’t solve. Too many emotions are expressed on the crowded busy streets of Hyderabad. The temperature is too high. Above the hundreds. Sometimes it is too much for my sensitive spirit that wants to heal all people and create a world that lives in harmony.

On another note, I just returned from a week long adventure in Kerala. Kerala is a state on the south western tip of India. It is known as “God’s own country”. It is a tropical climate. Your eyes cannot possibly scan the horizon without seeing a dozen palm trees. Every kind of tropical tasty fruit grows in Kerala. Papaya, Mango, Coconut, at least 5 different kinds of Bananas, bell fruit, passion fruit, you name it, they have it. Although Hughie, Sara and I spent half of each of our first 4 days in Kerala on buses, trains, or boats traveling, it was a relaxing, amazing time. We enjoyed singing along to Hughie playing the guitar of Ukulele as we sped through the jungle on a rusty bus with no glass in its windows. One town we visited was a mountain town full of spice and tea estates. Breathing fresh crisp air was so relaxing to my soul. It was such a good time to get away from the hustle and bustle of crazy Hyderabad and relax in “God’s own country”. I had so much time to evaluate my time here, deeply think about all the things God has taught me in the past 4 months and pray and seek for what my next step after college should be.

As I have been in India I have been reading iGracias! by Henry Nouwen. He has spoke such truth into my life and it is as though he wrote about my exact thoughts years before I ever dreamed of coming to India. Although his experiences were among the poor of Latin America, his writing relates exactly to what I have been experiencing in India. Today I read about his experience visiting the valley of Incas.

“Along the road small groups of Indians guiding cattle carried their loads of wood. These small, dark people with faces carved by nature and hard work evoked in me a sense of the sacred. In their silence, they spoke of centuries of care for the land, of a mysterious intimacy with nature, of an unceasing prayer to the God who has made their land fertile, and of a knowledge that we in our Volkswagen would never be able to grasp. The valley was filled with a holy silence; no advertisements along the roads, no factories or modern houses, no loudspeakers or shouting vendors. …When we came back to Cuzco I felt refreshed, renewed and grateful to the Indian people for this healing gift of silence”.

This sums up my experience of Kumali.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dad in India

My dad was here in India for the past two weeks. He left last night to go to China where he will get to see my brother Robb. The day after he arrived we headed up to Rajasthan to visit the desert town of Jaisalmer. We got to see the beautiful fort, which he really loved. I just love that town. It's so secluded and out in the middle of no where. As we traveled, my dad loved meeting the people on the trains, in the rickshaws and on planes. He had so many questions for everyone as he tried to get a grasp of this new country. We met some men on the train who shared their dinner with us, which was a fun Indian experience :) In Jaipur He got to meet my host family. We stayed in a nice hotel and I read most of the day. We had a great home cooked meal by Mummyji. It was so nice to just relax! I enjoyed having him in Hyderabad. He was in meetings a lot of the time, and I was busy working, but we were able to share some evenings together. It was SOO nice to have some home cooked meals in the flat he was staying in. Pasta, tacos, coffee, the wonders of having your own kitchen :) It was a nice break from rice and curry. He came and visited my work in the slums.
He loved playing with the kids. One day he bought pizza for the kids I tutor. I think it was their first experience eating pizza. It was one girl's first time drinking "cold drinks", which was such a funny experience. She drank pepsi, but wasn't used to the carbination so kept making the funniest face.
It was so nice to have him here. This was my second time traveling with just me and my dad. I hope there are many more to come! And hopefully Mom will join in on some traveling as well :) Although we did have lots of fun shopping for mom :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I've started reading other people's blogs and it's inspired me. I've also found that I have stopped writing, and maybe that's why I haven't felt so much passion lately. Usually writing about my experiences and what I see stirs the life up in me and causes me to want change to take place.

This past few weeks I have been irritated by all the rules I have to follow; texting my supervisor before I leave campus, asking for permission to go across town, not being able to go by myself, with out a boy in the group, girls have to be back by 9 PM, or take an expensive taxi, there must be two girls to every boy whenever going out, can't talk to a guy for more than two minutes. I've felt so confined, and like a caged bird. I just wanted to get out and fly.

(taken in Younan Province, 2006)

I've been having a rough time getting out of bed in the morning for my quiet time. The snooze button keeps getting pushed and sleep keeps conquering the slight desire i have to get up and spend time with God. So this morning I put my alarm clock across the room and forced myself to get up at 6AM to meet God on the roof. I got up there and was so happy to be in the cool overcast morning, which I know will only last until 8. As I just poured out my heart to God, I began to look for verses and passages that talk about freedom. I wanted to be reminded of the freedom I have in Christ. So I came across 2 Corinthians which talks about the Glory of the New Testament. I wasn't so hooked on it, and didn't look so deep into the passage, but one verse stuck out like a soar thumb.

"Whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away"

I know this has to do with Moses and the veil he wore so that the Israelites wouldn't see the bright radiance , but it reminded me of a prayer I prayed all the time while I was in Rajasthan. It was that the spiritual and physical veil of the women of Rajasthan would be removed as people come to know Christ. That the veil which covered the Marwari people, and kept them from seeing the beauty of Christ would fall, and his glory would appear.

(Krishnanagar village, Rajasthan, 2009)

As I was reminded to pray for the Marwari women, I realized that I have SOOOOO much freedom compared to them, and that I am a free bird flying across the sky, landing in whichever land I find enticing and am able to enjoy that land.

(Kathmandu, Nepal 2007)

I'm so thankful for the word of God, that each day is new, the pain of yesterday, the laziness of yesterday, the bad attitude of yesterday doesn't have to stick with me to today, that I have been made anew and alive in Christ today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.