Monday, December 18, 2006

Advent Prayer (by Henri Nouwen)

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy, seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking light.
To you we say, Come Lord Jesus....

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas tree fun

We had a great time cutting down our Christmas tree with friends on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and there was snow on the ground and mountains all around. Zara had fun as well, although she thought it was very strange when we cut down a tree and then placed it in our house!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Day with Zara

Sorry for the avalanche of posts, but I guess there's a lot to say...

On Thursdays I (Zach) normally watch Zara, while Amanda does YWAM work. Today was an interesting day for Zara and I. Maybe you'll find it amusing. I wish I could show you some pictures of the day, but unfortunately our camera didn't have a memory card in...

Zara and I took the bus downtown, and the bus ride itself was a bit of an adventure. We were in a rush to get out of the house (of course), and I proceeded to get on the wrong bus. It didn't take us too far out of the way, but it added a bit of excitement to the day. So instead of one easy bus ride to get downtown it took us three confusing buses. By the time we got there, Zara was ready for some walking around. (As a sidenote here, Zara has just learned the word "Starbucks" but I'm going to try and weed it out of her vocabularly somehow.) It was fun to watch her walk down the sidewalk and just take everything in. She gets very distracted by people, and loves to watch them. We didn't really have much of an agenda other than walking around and maybe doing a little Christmas shopping. However we only made it to one store (Old Navy) because I quickly realized the futility of trying to shop with Zara and no stroller to strap her into. She's just too busy to sit still and let me look for anything.

After our "shopping" experience we were looking for something else to do when I saw a Carousel that is set up every year downtown for kids. She seemed really interested in it, so I thought it would be fun for her to ride it. I was definitely wrong. She hated it. In fact, they had to stop the ride to let us off because they thought Zara was about to go crazy. She rode her horse for approximately 13 seconds before jumping into my arms. At that point my only goal was to assure her that not all horses were as strange and crazy as these.

After that the trip (and the rest of the day) went rather smoothly. We made it home safely and later in the afternoon continued our weekly tradition of going to a cafe in Queen Anne to see our friend Rachel. It was a fun and eventful day.

Thailand team

Just wanted to pass along a picture of the team that will be going with us to Thailand. We leave January 8th or 9th, and will be returning in early March.

Jeremiah 29

This week we have one of my favorite speakers. His name is Ron Ruthruff, and he's the Director of Ministry and Program Development at a downtown Seattle street-youth drop in center called New Horizons Ministries.

The focus of the week has been two-fold: 1. Give our students a look at what life is like for kids living on the streets--specifically in Seattle. We watched a documentary called "Streetwise," which followed the lives of a few kids from Seattle who are living on the streets. We've been talking quite a bit about child & adolescent development, and the issues that these kids are facing--realizing that much of their formative years are being shaped very differently from those of us who have had parents around to help us navigate the confusing waters of adolescence. 2. Secondly, Ron has been spending quite a bit of time talking about cities--the formation of cities, issues in cities, and what our role as Christians can be to be a part of transformation in the cities we live in. It's too much to attempt to summarize here, but I really find these subjects fascinating. I find myself wanting to become more educated on the subjects--especially in terms of specific issues happening here in Seattle.

He uses a pretty extensive bibliography for his teaching, but there are a few main books that he references, if you're interested in checking them out:
The Corner
A Theology as Big as the City
The Prophetic Imagination

He also uses scripture extensively in his teaching, but one of the key ones is found in Jeremiah 29, where God commands the exiles to "seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." The main idea being that our welfare as individuals is intimately connected with the welfare of the community (city) around us.

It's been a good and challenging week. These last few weeks before Christmas are always difficult ones to maintain our focus. With the Christmas break approaching (along with our overseas outreaches) it can be quite diffiecult for all of us (students and staff alike) to really be present with all that is happening. We have to be on guard against "checking out" of all the activites we're involved with--teaching, small groups, outreaches in Seattle, etc.

Please be praying that we would have a strong finish to this portion of the DTS.