One of the few terms I learned last year while overseas is "sunny filo," which means "happy new year."
It's already toward the end of the first month and I'm at the end of my travels. So far 2010 has proved to be a doozie. The past few Januarys have been rough for one reason or another, but this has proved to be the hardest. The affects of the earthquake in Haiti have hung heavy on my heart for various reasons. Before I go into that I will mention that my first J-term (January term) was a success. It wasn't the most formational part of my call in Diaconal Ministry, but it was reassuring that I am where I need to be and the bonus is I made several new friends. Plus I got to see some of the historical sites of Gettysburg, D.C., AND stay in a former Civil War Orphanage for two weeks.
The news of Haiti first came to me via a facebook status which lead me to know that there had been some sort of natural disaster. One thing led to another and the continuation of devastating news came in. I was blessed to meet the Wartburg seminary student, Ben Larson, that died in Haiti nearly 2 years ago when I was visiting the seminary. His wife and I have the great connection of being best friends with the Oleson sisters. The news was saddening in general and moreso to be with close friends and fellow Wartburg students, to the Larson family and experience their grief made it real. I knew a handful of other people in Haiti, or near, at the time and thankfully they are all safe. Another fact that makes this hard to accept is knowing how called myself, and many I am friends with, are to do missions work around the world. No matter where we are, we often just pick up our stuff and go as we feel God is calling us, and we never know exactly what we're getting ourselves into.
After the Diaconal event in Gettysburg I was blessed to be able to visit some Spoke Folk friends in Baltimore for the weekend. While there I learned that a friend of mine who is a former Youth Encounter teamer, Mikey, has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has chosen to receive treatment and fight the disease as it is not like him to just sit back and let it consume him. Mikey is a great guy with a beautiful family, wife & little boy as well as sister & mother. I pray for comfort & the continuation of hope & strength to always have a smile and a good laugh about the little things.
The strength I find in all of this is through Jesus. Not just that Jesus is great and all, but the actions that are so elementary in many of our faiths. It is not just the cross that gives us hope for a better future, but the reality of Jesus' resurrection and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit that we can see or feel every day.
2010 hasn't had the best take off. I'm in good ol' N. Manchester today & headin' back on the road tomorrow. I look forward to being back in MN even though it's at least 10 degrees colder than here and more like 15 or more degrees colder than the weather I left in MD. It's crazy to think a year ago I was in China. As my "husband" would say, "life is weird!"