disaster relief

some days i just feel compelled, desire, wonder what life would be like or how it could be possible to…..

just quit my job and travel to tuscaloosa, alabama or joplin, missouri, or even still places affected by Katrina and just be there with people.  rebuild, search through, comfort, wash clothes, provide a meal, and walk alongside people through disaster.

there was a time where i contemplated moving to gulfport, mississippi after college. after the experience i had on the mission trip where we rebuilt homes.

i have a heart for the forgotten, the neglected, the overlooked. and many times that has caused me to be burdened with this feeling that when disaster strikes, i want to help. i want to be with the people affected, build relationships, see their needs and find a way to meet them. bring others with me.

this is my heart today.  it weights even more heavily upon me when i see the ‘struggles’ i face in my day to day life revolving around things such as ‘will the copier work today’ or other things.  that is my heart. there is a disconnect.  i pray i will be able to reconcile the disconnect and God will reveal to me how this burden can be lived out.  red cross? i don’t know. i just have a measly bachelor’s in psychology, i’m looking into social work, but is that where I’m called?  or can I serve the way my heart longs without it?  i don’t know. please pray alongside me.

life lately

it’s been awhile since I’ve really updated about life

Tom and I have been married 7 months tomorrow 🙂  Time flies 🙂  It’s been the adventure of a lifetime and feels like it’s flown by but partially I look back and realize how much we’ve done and been through over those 7 months and I’m blown away!

Stereotypically, I’m learning to cook thanks to Pampered Chef cookbooks, allrecipes.com, friends, and putting together the leftovers at the end of the week and it’s showing… Cooking at home for 2 is so much fun (most times) and we love trying out new recipes and modifying old ones.  Calzones, an italian sausage noodle dish, and Kung Pao chicken have become some our favorites!  Now that it’s warm, we’re trying to fire up the grill at least a time or two each week as well!

Speaking of life at home, WE’RE BUYING A HOUSE!! We put in the offer, things got accepted, negotiations were made, inspections were done, emails have gone frantically back and forth, and assuming nothing crazy happens, we will close at the end of June 🙂   Pictures to come at some point.  But it’s totally renovated, inside and out, and it has trees for my husband who sometimes cares more about the outside than in… Some days he may never come inside when it’s nice.  He’s already got his hammock trees and fire ring location picked out.  I’m pretty stoked about the Jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom, and having a master bathroom!  It’s 3 bedrooms, so we can eventually have overnight guests!

I got a job in January.  I’m the office manager/executive assistant for a local photography business.  They focus on church directory photography as their main gig and privately the owners do family photography and may break into a few other arenas.  It’s a job.  It pays, and it will help us live comfortably, be able to buy a home, and me save for grad school potentially for next fall.  It’s not where I saw myself, but life happens that way sometimes.  Most days I work alone, which is a change from the Y, so it’s teaching me alot about myself and how much I guess I really did enjoy being around people.  But it is nice to be able to set the pace and the strategies and management was my minor, so it’s fun to oversee lots of different aspects of the organization and be the central hub somewhat to how it all functions.  It’s definitely teaching me about efficiency which will help me later in life.

Grad school, yep I snuck that one in there.  I’m looking to go to grad school to get a Master’s in Social Work.  Something I considered after my experiences last summer with Youthworks.  There’s 2 programs I’m currently debating about:  a distance-ed program from UNC-Chapel Hill and a local joint program between UNC-Greensboro and NC A&T University.    Many options to weigh, and I’m leaning more toward the local program, even though UNC-Chapel Hill is ranked #8 in the nation, it’s priced accordingly…

I just really feel called to do more with life, to be able to have the connection I had last summer in Cass Lake with Youthworks again.  To be able to be in a community, working with a group of people or groups of people or families, etc who have a need, and connect them with resources within that community that can help them meet that need.  That’s an oversimplified version, but that’s the basic gist of it.  I feel called to be a part of something like that, something in the community, something more, something hands on, in the field, getting my hands dirty and serving God through serving others.  I just have begun to really discern through youthworks that that is part of my calling, I’m just struggling how to fully live that out right now.  I work 30 hours a week during business hours, so volunteering somewhere to help me fully discern this and get experience to put on an application is hard.  Saturdays are the only day the husband and I both have off, so we typically reserve that to just spend time with each other, and Sunday we’re doing ministry together.  I know God will help me see where He wants me to pursue this, but I struggle with it.

Moving to a new place was for sure an adventure and we’re still settling in, especially in the area of making friends, but I pray about it, praying it will progress more as life slows down a little in the summer….

But overall, life is AWESOME.  My sister graduated high school this weekend, so that got me thinking more about life and the future and really making sure I’m living out God’s calling on my life and doing all I can to allow Him to do what He needs to do through me.  It’s something we all struggle with but last summer taught me so many things and one I was heavily reminded of each day was that if I step aside and trust and pray heavily, He will step in and use me as His puppet do do His will on earth.

America

It’s been awhile, maybe I’ll get back into this, but at this time, I just want to share an article I found and get your thoughts.  

This article is from Relevant Magazine and can be found at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/mission/features/25568-the-problems-and-benefits-of-america

I would love your comments, thoughts. 

Two writers reflect on a conflicting return to the United States after years away.

After a year of eating the same rice, beans and tortillas; sleeping in a barn; contracting malaria and fleas; and riding a dilapidated tractor for transport, you’d think we’d be happy to fly home to the United States. It’s never that simple.

Over the years, moving to and from the United States, Nicaragua, China and South Africa, we’ve seen much to love—and lament—on both sides of our nation’s borders.

Yes, “over there,” it’s as bad as it seems—the poverty, the wars, the lack of health care. What you see on the news is the real deal, somewhere. Half of the world’s population really lives on less than $2 a day. Sex trafficking, abuse, starvation—you name it—all happen, and they happen far too much.

But what you experience overseas is far from only all that.

When a person has very few financial resources, God can multiply spiritual ones. People who exist with a steady dose of danger often stop nursing fears that don’t matter. Patience and perseverance thrive. People learn to trust God even in the big stuff—when the food runs out, or authorities torch the church building or Dad dies.

The United States would never win an Olympic competition of hospitality, either. Many a traveler overseas has been blessed and awed when someone cooks their last chicken or gives the one bed in the house. Such community builds real social security. Compare that to many neighborhoods in the United States, where only rarely will a fallen tree or a blizzard draw neighbors into community reliance.

Back here, too, it’s as bad as it seems. The selfishness, the waste, the shallowness. These are still here and coming on ever faster.

And yet there’s a reason so many people around the world would love to live in the United States. We have plenty to be thankful for. Take freedom, for example. You really can live pretty much how you want to live.

Having all that freedom, and an education system that values creativity, makes a petri dish for crazy—and some wonderful—ideas. We come up with new business models, technology, causes and Lady Gaga. Ms. Gaga gets a lot of stares, but most people will fight for her right to party.

Americans are also fairly unique in wanting (and being able) to give free time and cash for a multitude of causes. We have a history of volunteerism and donating that makes possible everything from colleges, to full-time pastors to the Save the Turtle Society.

Speaking of colleges, our education system is nothing to scoff at.

And frankly, we’re funny: Jim GaffiganThe MuppetsCommunity. Our informal and irreverent culture leaves lots of space for humor to spill out.

How, then, to live with the best of both worlds? One year into life back in the United States after seven years overseas, we’ve concluded: Humans stink at remaining concerned about what we do not see. Distractions and convincing logic pull our attention away from the poorest of the poor. The poor do not advertise. They do not blog. They do not pay you to go to work every day.

Community is also a hard nut to crack here. Coming back, we carried eager hopes of getting to know our neighborhood as well as in Africa. We even chose an area with small yards where we thought we would easily strike up conversations. But cars carried people into garages that ate them up without a chance to chat.

We also find ourselves spending more and accumulating stuff. It helps to stop and imagine a conversation in which we ask a good friend from Nicaragua how to spend our money. This keeps us from being overly legalistic—poor people treat themselves sometimes, too—but reminds us to spend thoughtfully. We also try to practice the ridiculous generosity we’ve experienced, like giving away a painting or offering to help pay off someone’s student loans. Whether they accept or not, it’s a reminder to not cling to what we own.

A like-minded community helps, too. Find friends who have traveled and who live differently because of it. Brainstorm ways you can give back to the places you have seen, and keep the memories fresh by talking about them.

The starry-eyed convictions that feel crystal clear on the airplane ride home quickly fade, and we can end up focused on work, family, Facebook and food like everybody else. Or we can find the same guy to bag our groceries every week and ask, “How’s your family?” We can invite over neighbors, even if they don’t reciprocate or send a check to World Vision instead of buying a $200 gaming system.

So raise the Stars ’n Stripes, and God bless Americas—both North and South—plus Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia, too.

Adam and Chrissy Jeske now live in Wisconsin. Chrissy is the author of Into the Mud (Moody). This article originally appeared in the May/June 2011 issue of RELEVANTTo read more articles like this, subscribe by clicking here