Jesus, friends, creative ministry, administration, reading, music, movies
Anything rock, The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Coldplay, Iron & Wine, Death Cab For Cutie, Further Seems Forever, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton (old stuff), Copeland, The Shins, Aerosmith, Waterdeep, David Crowder, Sleeping At Last, U2, Jack Johnson, Abbington, Cool Hand Luke, The Allman Brothers, Anberlin, Number One Gun, Cooper, The Killers, The Roosevelts, Peter Frampton, The Evan Anthem, Sides of the North, Ethan Durelle, Morgan Bracy
Crash, Good Will Hunting, The Italian Job, Pretty Woman, Alot Like Love, Batman, The Dream Team, St. Elmo's Fire, The Breakfast Club, The Truman Show, Labyrinth, Grease 2, Empire Records, Disney's Robin Hood, Legend of Bagger Vance, Along Came Polly
Strangers in the night
February 24 2006
Two guys broke into the base last night.
No one, except Amber, saw them. One of them accidently tapped her knee while standing next to her bed. She woke up and pulled her covers from her face to see a flashlight shining in her eyes. Two guys were standing in her room, one next to her bed and one next to another girl, Stephanie's bed. They walked out just a few minutes later. There were five girls sleeping in that room. And to get to that room from the door we think they broke in through, they would have passed by all our bedrooms, so they could have been in all our rooms. Nothing was taken or destroyed. They didn't wake anyone or hurt anyone. They just broke in, looked around, and left. Amber laid in her bed for over two hours unable to move she was so scared.
It's weird. I don't feel scared, but more violated. Even driving around town, I look at every guy and think, was that one of them? Did they come into my room too? What were they doing there? Did they want to hurt us? Were they just bored kids? Why were they just standing in Amber's room, watching them sleep? Are they going to come back?
But God is good, and although our locks were crappy (they are being changed today), we have an incredible Protector that will never let anything happen to us.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
For all NYers...
February 21 2006
All Access productions presents...
"No More Victims"
A dynamic multi media musical that focuses on the issue of bullying and self identity in America's public schools.
This Wednesday and Thursday!!
YWAM Metro NY base in Smithtown, NY (70 New York Ave.)
Click here to check out the promo video on their website at www.allaccessny.org
Don't miss it!!!!
January 26 2006
Just a little background, YWAM Metro New York has been trying to get a location inside the city for 19 years! And God has consistently closed the door until now. Our new location is on E. 11th St. and I LOVE our neighborhood. Here's some pics. Keep in mind we are in the middle of renovating.
The new office The kitchen
The living room The bedroom The view from the kitchen window. You can see the Empire State Building. It's really pretty at night...
A park outside our back windows. I love this park. It is always filled with kids during the day. We can sit on our fire escape and watch them or just enjoy the city. It's great.
I'll try to put up some pictures after we finish renovating.
Taping and costumes
January 22 2006
Brent, playing "the victim" or the geek
Johnny, the All-Star, and Kelsey, the Prom Queen
Amber, the New Girl
Chris, a punk cast member hanging in the hallways
The popular girls
Tori, a goth cast member. He made a little girl at his church cry for 30 minutes!
Johnny, hanging out between takes. I thought it was a neat angle.
The DTS is on outreach. They were able to witness to prostitues, strippers, transvestites, and so on in Houston, Texas. Now they are in Mexico doing ministry in the mountains outside Mexico City.
And then our team, the City Missions team, is doing renovations for our new office and apartment in the East Village right now. I hope to take some photos next week of that and post them.
December 05 2005
We are playing Christmas music through the office now. And sitting at my desk with a warm vanilla creme from Starbucks listening to Bing Crosby sing White Christmas, I just basked in how much I love Christmas. I would like to find some sugar cookies and have hot chocolate breaks each afternoon.
December 01 2005
Check it out. ABC Nightline did a great story on the Justice House of Prayer in DC. If you want to learn more about JHOP, go to www.jhop.org or www.bound4life.com
icicles and thoughts on hibernation
November 24 2005
a couple of us were talking about bears and got on the subject of hibernation. I'm starting to see a lot of benefits of hibernation. and what do you do when it's 4 in the morning and you can't sleep? you meditate on the idea of hibernation. so on average we sleep around 2,920 hours a year. that comes to around 4 months. i figure the best schedule would be 4 months awake, 2 months of sleep. just think about all the good things that would bring. there would be no early morning, i don't want to get out of bed feeling except for twice a year. you would have the entire night to play or catch up on errands or work on projects that you've always wanted to do but never had the time to do them. sleeping for two months straight, you would definitely lose weight so none of us would be fat. you wouldn't fall asleep during movies or classes (unless it's right before hibernation time). i mean, the benefits are endless. i know that our bodies would atraphy terrible during the two months of sleep and will would probably have to reteach ourselves how to walk every time we woke up, but hey, no early mornings! i just can't get past that one.
so this is what i do when i bored.
November 17 2005
Urban ministries and air soft guns
November 04 2005
My back is getting better. It is nice to be back working instead of just laying around. I mean, naturally I would love to just lay around for the rest of my life. Who wouldn't? But I hated thinking about all the things that I needed to get done and couldn't do. So it's nice to only take a rest break every once in a while from work instead of taking a work break from resting.
Next week is the urban ministry retreat. We are setting aside 3 days to pray and fast for God's direction for the urban ministry. It's so exciting to think that we are beginning this ministry, almost from the ground up. Most of the previous urban ministry has disappeared, so we are creating. But God is being very specific about us seeking Him during this time. It is incredible to co-create with God like this.
The guys on the base has bought air soft guns. There are little neon green pellets all over the base from their wars, and I think everyone has at least one red mark on their body from being shot. Tonight we had a shoot out in the dining room. At one point, I was literally crawling on the floor on my stomach under the tables picking up pellets to reload the guns. I don't know if any of you guys are into these air soft guns, but they are highly addictive. Now they are looking online to buy faster, better guns. I don't think they are going to get over these any time soon.
God and I have had some hard times this week. There is a lot that I don't want to go into details about, but I have gone back and forth with being highly disappointed in Him. Sometimes I feel like He is wanting me to go so much deeper with Him but my flesh is really kicking up against that. And then sometimes I just want to pack up, take my life back, and move back to TN because I'm just so frustrated. It will work out I'm sure, but it's just tough for now.
Oh, and 19 days until Rent!!!! Yeah!!!!
Funeral for a fish
October 27 2005
October 15 2005
and yeah for the end of rainy days!
it has been raining for like 6 days straight out here. and not just light rains, heavy horrible rain. long island was going to wash away if it didn't stop. and the poor base was flooding. i had the carpet professionally cleaned just a month ago from previous flooding, and yeah, it flooded again. but today was beautiful, so praise God for that.
so i also want to say that i love my friends heather, kelsey, and brent who are sitting here with me. not that they will ever read this. they are funny. i love living in community, because there are always people around to have fun with.
God is good even in the horrible stuff
October 13 2005
Another beautiful believer has gone home...
Rick Pearson died last month of leukemia.
You can visit his memorial website at www.rickpearson.org
October 13 2005
Healing more than my back
October 09 2005
I love Jeff Pratt
October 05 2005
He led our staff training yesterday, and we are all still feeding off what he shared.
Christianity is a pilgramage towards home. Not heaven, but Christ Himself. And where is Christ? He dwells within us. Home is inside us.
But too often we live outside ourselves.
"Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says I am His beloved, chosen, marked by His love, the delight of His life."
The ultimate journey yet to remain is the journey into the stillness deep within our souls
Wake up, o sleeper. Learn who you are.
A lover of God.
We are in a war, a war the enemy constantly tries to convince us isn't happening.
The world is not a five star motel for us to gain as much comfort and pleasure from before our visit is over.
This world is a prison, a place of correction and training.
And we have weapons. Of course, we have the typical armor of God, but there are other weapons that are defeating the enemy in great ways in our current time.
Acts of compassion. We need to be a people who preach less and act more. The world doesn't care about our philosphy. They care about our hearts, our sincerity. How can they believe that our religion is based around love if we don't love? When we stand up for compassion and act out in love, it dissolves the lie that we are a fake, heartless people.
Intimacy with God. This so speaks for itself, yet we abandon this first. Why can't we see that knowing Him in intimate ways helps the world realize that He is real? People can argue our beliefs, but they can't debate our experiences.
Music and the arts. What captures our attention? What catches our eye? Art. Creativity. Colors and unique design. Beautiful chords with honest lyrics. Through music and the arts, we can convey God's thoughts and feelings to a world that doesn't believe in Him.
"We are a generation stuck between a dream and the reality of that dream coming true."
I want to see the dream come true.
I want to fight.
I want to sacrifice.
I'm so bored!!!!
October 02 2005
Pain. Lots of pain.
September 29 2005
I've injured my back. Now I don't mean that my back is a little sore. I mean, I've injured my back. To the point that sometimes I can't walk and many times I can't stand up straight. So for four days I've been laying here on the couch in my room, icing my back, watching movies, reading my Bible, playing on the internet (thank God I have a laptop).
I went to the doctor yesterday and he said that the pain is either coming from a joint or a disk. I have a strong feeling it's a disk. He gave me these anti-inflammatory pills, well they're not really pills, more like little balls, that I dissolve under my tongue. He's a homeopathic doctor, which means he likes really natural remedies, probably like God intended us to take care of our bodies.
So please pray for me, friends. Pray that I have a quick recovery, because I hate not being able to work. Pray that I heal completely. Pray that I have the money to deal with this and still pay my normal bills. And pray that I really spend quality time with God and not TLC and my DVD player.
September 23 2005
He told me a few days ago that Friday night He was going to take me out. Don't ask questions or try to figure out what we will do. Just wait for Friday night.
So I'm sitting at the cookout with the new DTS students and God tells me He's taking me to the beach to watch the sunset. Just a few minutes later, Nina says she wants to go to the beach. So Nina, Lisa, and I pile into my car and drive to Short Beach, listening to Jack Johnson on the way.
When we get there, the sunset is beautiful. Nina and Lisa walk down to the surf, but I hang back and sit on the beach to spend my time with God. With the way the beach is positioned, I can just see their torsos every once in a while. A few other couples and families are still there from their day at the beach. A young boy is yelling for his mom, switching from English to another language. Another man is fishing. So I sit watching the sunset. The sky is one huge, solid dark cloud like a canopy hovering over us breaking only right before the horizon to reveal the bright reds and oranges of the setting sun. I can hear crickets chirping in the woods behind me concealing gigantic mansions that are occupied by who knows who. Every sound is exaggerated. A plane flies overhead, and I look up to see if it is visible through the dark clouds. I look over to my friends. Lisa is sitting and watching the waves, small waves, if you would even call them waves. Nina is standing, but I can only see her from the shoulders up. She stretches her arms over her head, throws her body into a cartwheel, and then all I see is her legs until her arms and head appear again. Legs. Arms. Legs. Arms. Legs. Arms. And then she disappears, swimming into the ocean. The sun is setting further. It is getting darker. The lights from the shores of Connecticut across the Long Island Sound are becoming more visible. I lay my head on my knees and just think for a while, enjoying the slightly chilled breeze flowing over me.
It was an intimate time with God, but different than usual. He didn't smother me with words about how much He loved me. He didn't brag about how special I am, or all those things that I selfishly love. Instead, He allowed me to just observe Him. And I saw His strength. I saw His creativity. I felt His awesomeness and all encompassing presence. And in moments like those, when God is God regardless of who I am, I realize again that there are other reasons why I follow God. Sometimes I follow God because He is so good and kind. But on nights like tonight, I remember that I also follow God because He is God. He is in control and much bigger than me. It reminds me of the book of Job.
"Do you have an arm like God's, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low, look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you."
Sometimes when I am worshipping Him, the best word I can come up with to describe Him is... God.
Woohoo for Brooklyn
September 22 2005
Nick, our base director, had a meeting with a church in Brooklyn about hosting a lot of our ministry in their building. We have been trying to find a location inside NYC for literally 14 years, so this was a big deal to us. And he said yes. It should be a great facility. The Frontier Missions DTS just finished their school there and really enjoyed it. It is a great neighborhood. Bay Ridge, right off the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (the BQE for locals). So we are getting ready to get really busy as an urban team, which I am really excited about. The scary part is this is a huge step towards relocating our ministry into the city. A part of me really wants to move into the city, and a part of me is really scared. It's so expensive!
So I'm not going to think about it until I have to. Another good point is I have really expressed a desire to take over our short term mission teams that we host in the city. Of course, now they will be hosted in Brooklyn at this church, and I will pack up and live in Brooklyn one week after another as each team comes. But this is what is really special to me about this. The teams are usually youth groups or college groups. When I moved here, I was figuring I would not be doing youth ministry anymore, and although that made me sad, I figured I would enjoy whatever God had for me. But now I see myself getting back into youth ministry, but different than I've ever done it. I get to plan the mission trips and host group after group. I get to work with youth all over the country, encouraging them, teaching them, and doing ministry with them. Can you believe it?? And of course if any of you ever wanted to get together a mission trip inside NYC, just let me know.
â€œDo not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.â€ I Timothy 5:22
September 10 2005
Today, I am going to finally catch up on my expense reports, laundry, errands, and Sept. newsletter. The rest of the staff are in the theater preparing for tomorrow night's ball. I'm going with JohnO to the ball. We still need to find dates for a couple of girls, so if any guys in New York want to learn some ballroom dances and have a fun Sunday night, let me know.
I have finally found a place to live
Just like I never could before.
And I know I don't have much to give,
But soon I'll open any door.
Everybody knows the secret,
Everybody knows the score.
I have finally found a place to live
In the presence of the Lord.
In the presence of the Lord
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecc. 3:11
Back to work
September 06 2005
I love all our new staff. The base just seems to have taken a new breathe of life with them all here. And one fact that I really love is so many of them are musicians. So like the other morning as I was waking up, the sound of Chris on the drums and Brent on the guitar was drifting into my room. I might get tired of it eventually, but for now I love it.
Labor Day was filled with volleyball, New York pizza, fresh strawberries, climbing fences, lots of laughter, adorable babies, inflatable microphones, and so many other memories. Sunday night we all went to Olive Garden for Holly's and my birthday and laughed so hard I thought we would get kicked out. To think of all the fun we have had already just over the weekend, I can wait to see what the next two years are going to be like.
Now the rest of the weekend will be our staff conference. We will go over all the different areas of vision and commit them to prayer together again as a staff. And then Sunday night one of our leaders is throwing a formal ball for his wife's birthday. We all have to bring dates, which means we all have to pair off. Yikes! We all hate the idea, but will do it because we love Rebecca, the birthday girl.
"As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight." Psalm 16:3
September 05 2005
Went to the assignment desk, and the leader told us to go to the
other end of the stadium, where we could help by registering
evacuees as they came in from the buses. The floor of this old
baseball stadium (previous home of the Houston Astros) was filled
with stretchers, and there were already people trying to sleep,
after traveling all night on the bus from New Orleans. But at
this point it's an emotionally cold perspective, a look from
afar, separated from human feelings of suffering, loss and despair.
All evacuees have to register, by filling out a one-pager, and
are given a pink "hospital" wristband to wear. I signed up an
18 year old girl, who also listed her baby daughter (one year old),
and her fiancÃ©e. The form asks whether the home was damaged,
and she said quite simply, "Every home is flooded and damaged
in New Orleans." She was an extraordinarily pretty girl.
Later came a man, age 39, with his dad, age 79. Just the two of
them had been living together in the Big Easy before the big
flood. He recounted that he had to swim a few miles to safety;
because the water was 10 ft deep in places (we saw pictures on TV
of flood levels up to the eaves of houses). The form asked
whether medical assistance was required. The old man said, yes,
he felt his body was infected by the "bad" water. Then added
he was a diabetic, and his son nodded. Then added he was on
blood pressure tablets, but had to leave his tablets when they
rushed to escape the flood. His son nodded. Then the old man
added he also had a bad heart, to which the son replied,
"I didn't know you had a bad heart!" Finally, the young man
announced that the worst of the swim was the bodies he
encountered in the water!
Another family I signed up had 6 children, ranging from 26 years
to 1 year. The husband had a daughter whose name started with
"Qu", but I couldn't get it, so I asked him to spell it.
But he couldn't, and he finally asked his wife to spell it,
after lamenting to himself, "That's terrible, when a man can't
spell his own daughter's name."
One of the frustrations is when an evacuee needs to know
something, and we volunteers don't know the answer.
Several evacuees had asked me where the showers were, but I
couldn't find anyone who knew. Finally I asked around
until I found them. Then I located a large pink poster sheet,
wrote the directions on it, and taped it above the main entrance.
Then I walked around and told all the volunteers, so they
could pass the info along if asked.
A volunteer asked me if I could take a very short man to the
men's bathroom. While I was processing this, the little
man explained that he was mostly blind, and wouldn't be
able to find his way back if he went alone. So I was glad to take
him. When we returned, he told me he was waiting for his brother
to come back, after going out to buy some drugs from a
drugstore. He asked me where he should wait, so that his brother
would find him. I did some analysis, and told him to latch onto
a stretcher near the "Lost and Found desk", and this represented
the best chance for his brother to find him. Many questions came
from folks who feel displaced and confused, and we discovered
this was an important way to help.
The "Lost and Found" desk refers to people who have lost loved
ones, or Houston residents who were trying to locate friends
who came on the buses. There are bulletin boards that filled up
continuously throughout the day, with little notes to lost
loved ones. As well, some folks walked around the stadium holding
up placards, with names on them, hoping the names would be seen
and recognized. Seemed like shades of 911.
Sandy walked up to me, sweating and disappointed. She was a very
large lady (size 4X she told me later). She said this wasn't
at all what she expected, and did not want to stay in the
Astrodome. She was arthritic, and would have a lot of trouble
getting in and out of a low-lying stretcher. She knew one family
in Houston, and felt they would have her stay there, but she
didn't have their telephone number. I called 411 on my cell phone,
found the family, but only got a voicemail. She cried. We
walked her to a chair, then got her a coke, and went to see
about a change of clothes, because all she got out with was
what she had on. I found a 5X shirt in the men's pile of clothes
being given out (the corporate sponsorship everywhere seemed
to be terrific). And we found a VERY large pair of men's jeans.
Sandy wanted to take a shower more than anything. Red Cross
had been giving out a bag of toiletries, but they were all gone.
I saw a family, with two youngsters, and several bags of toiletries,
and asked them if they could spare one bag for a lady who had
nothing. They graciously shared with Sandy, and I felt that
was pretty cool: one family of victims sharing with another.
I went back and tried to call Sandy's friends once again,
but still no reply. More tears. When we left the Astrodome,
we engaged another volunteer to be responsible for Sandy,
to call every hour to try to locate the friends. I felt
this was definitely the best solution.
Jessica was also very large, but I would say only about 25. She
waved me over as I walked past, and asked if I could bring her
some supper from upstairs because she couldn't walk. Second
Baptist, the largest Baptist church in Houston, stepped
up to the plate, and agreed to arrange food for the thousands of
evacuees in the Astrodome. This is where many of the churches
absolutely shine: they are practical as well as spiritual. She
had stepped on broken glass when she was escaping the flood in
New Orleans, and the foot was infected. We got her food, and she
"inhaled it." My friend got her a wheelchair, and rolled her
to the medical center.
When the nurse arrived, Jessica told him about the foot,
then leaned forward and whispered in his ear. I asked Jessica,
after the nurse was gone, whether she was diabetic. She said
"No, I have AIDS." After I wheeled her into the waiting area,
from where they would take her to the clinic, I asked how she
had escaped the flood. She said she waded for several miles
through water that was between her waist and her neck! During
that incredible wade, she said she came across six bodies!
The need at the Astrodome is very great. But we can make a
difference. Three very young girls ran up and warmly hugged my
friend as she was leaving: a neat little "thank you" at the
end of a hard day for us, but what has turned out to be a
tragedy in the lives of thousands of folks now crammed like
sardines onto the floor of a baseball stadium!
New and newer friends
September 02 2005
All the staff, new and old, are showing up in little spurts every day. And others who are wanting to come back but are standing at a place of faith right now due to finances, visas, etc. Coming home to Nina, Lisa, and Grace cuddled up on our couch. Running into Anita's house, squealing as I hug Kelsey so tight. Jumping into Alex's arms when he showed up tonight. Writing Katie encouragement as she is waiting on her visa. Counting down the days with Chris until he is here. Talking about what God can accomplish in New York and getting excited feeding off of everyone's faith.
It is amazing to me that less than one year ago, I didn't know any of these friends. And more amazing to me that they are all in my life now.
We had our first urban meeting since we've all returned from vacation and listening to ideas and projects spill out was exciting.
It is going to be a great fall.
August 31 2005
London was so great. Working on the streets was a little hard. Some people were really receptive and some weren't at all. But for me the encourager, not evangelist, I enjoyed most of all just encouraging the church in London. We plan on returning at least once a year, and I am really, really looking forward to going back.
So now all the staff are trickling back to the base here on Long Island. Things are going to be really different around here. A lot of the staff are moving off base into apartments, which means it's going to be really quiet. Most of the next couple of weeks will consist mostly of meetings and getting this office in really good condition. I really enjoy being the office manager, and I am still getting little ideas about how to keep the office fun. Several people are talking about going to New Orleans for disaster relief. We'll see.