A Scout’s life

So a big part of my trip here has been spent in reflection. I am slowly starting to remember who I am. Confused? I am, too, a bit. But bear with me. We’ll work it out. Lately I’ve been thinking of my time in the Boy Scouts. Next to my faith, that is the biggest part of what has shaped me. And the two go hand in hand. Jesus said love other people. The Scouts say do a good turn daily. The Scout oath says, “On my honor I will do my duty to GOD and country…”. The Scout law reminds us to be reverent. And the skills I learned there have served me well over the years. The other day, I tied a taut-line hitch, one of the knots every Scout should know. I’ve used first aid to test shock after someone had a heart attack. The most difficult thing I’ve ever accomplished has been my Eagle rank, and it’s something I am immensely proud of. 2% of all Scouts become Eagles. It takes a lot of hard work. Most importantly, the skill Scouts teach boys how to be is a good man. It’s a well rounded education. We are taught first aid, good citizenship, environmental responsibility, leadership, and a slew of other useful items. Through merit badges, you can start figuring out what you truly are good at and enjoy doing. It’s a program I highly recommend to all boys. I am very thankful for the Scoutmaster I had, Terry Lile, and all the assistants. You all helped mold me into a man. I enjoyed the program so much, that after I turned 18, I stayed on as an assistant Scoutmaster for a while. I haven’t been actively involved since moving to Tennessee, but I aim to rectify that. Wherever God sees fit to place me after Haiti, I want to start giving back. I want to help raise good young me though the Scouts. I want to help others see the benefits that I derived from it. I am sure I can find a troop that needs more help wherever I end up. And men, even if you weren’t a Scout, if you have a passion for helping boys become outstanding men, visit BSA.org to find out where you can volunteer. I’m going to leave you with the Scout law. It’s good for all of us:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. And yes, Terry, I did that from memory, even after all these years!

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I haven’t forgotten

Ok, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated and for that I’m sorry. The truth is, I’ve written and rewritten a post multiple times but it’s never been right. So I’ve scrapped that one for now and am moving on. Things have been flying by here. Getting a lot of stuff done. My big project recently has been sanding and painting a house that’s been built. Sanding is messy. The houses are concrete so concrete dust gets everywhere. Mix that with the inevitable sweating (because it’s hot and I’m big) and you get a fantastic mess. Lots of scrubbing to get that off of me every day. Just had another team come and go. This one was from Rochester, NY. It was led by my friend Juli I met a couple of years ago. Everyone else on the team was new to me, but a great team. I enjoyed meeting them. They left yesterday. A team from Nashville (Brentwood UMC) comes in Thursday. They are delivering some things I need (like a replacement for the pair of jeans I just ripped the rear out of….) and, I believe, that’s the last team I’ll see. By the time they leave, though, I’ll be under a month remaining. Crazy. Time is flying.

My entertainment here has been reading. A lot. I had brought some movies to watch on my iPad but a technical glitch has rendered them unable to be viewed. It’s been good, though. I had always been an avid reader, and had gotten away from it. I’ve gone through 15 books since I’ve arrived plus several books in the bible. I’ve read a biography on Teddy Roosevelt’s White House years, a book that recounts the Lincoln assassination, the Harry Potter (relax, I don’t believe in Wizards. I liken it to Star Wars. Good entertainment) series, Stephen King’s 11-22-63 (a fictional account of someone who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination), Head from Korn’s autobiography, classics like Treasure Island and Metamorphosis (hated Kafka…) and others. I like a good variety. Ready to dive into something new today. Maybe some Sherlock Holmes.

Ok, last bit of news. I got an inner ear infection and vertigo out of it. First time I’ve ever had vertigo. That’s trippy. The room didn’t spin so much as teeter back and for on an axis. Thankful for my friend, Michelle, who’s a nurse, that gave me some exercises to get rid of it. No more dizziness. Well, no more than normal for me anyway. I’ve also managed to get contact dermatitis on my right wrist. Got against something. Have been putting hydrocortisone cream on it. Hopefully that will clear it up. It’s been 5 days and it’s still there. Maybe getting better a little bit but definitely hasn’t gotten worse. Or spread. So I will call that good for now

Oh, and this last Friday was the 9th anniversary for Restoration Ministries (the church here in Haiti). Pretty cool to see where it’s been and where it is now!

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For God so LOVED

At the house tonight, we watched The Passion of the Christ. It’s been a while since I have watched it and I had forgotten what a powerful movie it is. Some of the girls that had never seen it were weeping at the sight of Jesus taking such brutal punishment for you and for me. They realize just how personal the story is. The movie reminds me of how beautifully Jars of Clay paints the picture of how Jesus died not for other people’s sins, but my own. Jesus died because I sin. Even if I were the sole person that sinned in the entire world, He would have died to save my life. As Christians, we get all bent out of shape and worry about the minutia of our faith and forget the big picture. He really does love us that much. I am posting the lyrics to the song, Worlds Apart, here. The song is on their debut album, though I’m listening to the version on Furthermore, which is not only my favorite version of the song, but my favorite song of all time. If you have the song, I encourage you to stop reading and hit play and just follow along. And thank God that He loves you enough to send His son to serve as the sacrificial lamb for all of us.

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride, I flew too high
Like Icarus I collide
In a world I tried so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
To give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of on who loved
More deeply than the oceans, more abundant than the tears
In a world embracing every heartache
And can I be the one to sacrifice?
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow!

Take my world apart
I am on my knees
Take my world apart
Broken on my knees

All said and done, I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe in the mercy that covers me
And did You really have to die for me?
All I am for all You are because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart
So I pray

Take my world apart
I am on my knees
Take my world apart
Broken on my knees

I look beyond the empty cross forgetting what my life has cost
Wipe away the crimson stains and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now, I owe you more each passing hour
The battles between grace and pride I gave up not so long ago
Steal my heart and take the pain, wash my feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish take the weak, all the things I cannot hide
Take my beauty take my tears, the sin-soaked heart and make me Yours
Take my world all apart. Take it now, take it now
I serve the ones that I despise, speak the words I can’t deny
Watch the world I used to love fall to dust and blow away
I look beyond the empty cross forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe the crimson stains and dull the nails that still remain
Take my beauty take my tears, the sin-soaked heart make me Yours
And all the things I cannot hide, take my beauty take my tears
Take my world apart, take my world apart
And I pray, I pray, will you take my world apart?

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When I read the Bible, I tend to have questions. But my questions are probably different than most. For example, right now I am reading through the Gospels. I want to know what happened to Barabas after his life was spared for Jesus’. Did he continue on his destructive path and eventually get killed later? Or did he recognize his life was spared so God’s salvation could come to fruition and live a holy life from there? Also, what happened to Judas Iscariot, eternally? Could God blame him for turning over Jesus knowing that someone had to do it to fulfill scripture? One might think he was given a hero’s welcome into Heaven. He had the stones to make sure prophecy was fulfilled. And were the seven “demons” drive out of Mary Magdalene really just STDs? She was a prostitute after all. I suppose these are the things that we get to find out in Heaven because we can never know this side of it. But I wonder just the same.

Today marks three weeks here. I was actually a little taken aback its been that long. I guess I’m starting to get into a rhythm. Today I got to do some work. There is a community soccer field and I helped clear rocks and garbage off of it. Felt good to get out and sweat. It’s definitely a little bit different than two years ago, when the work that needed done was quite a bit more obvious. This time, I am just trying to do what they need to have done. There’s definitely progress. The fact that I’ve had running water every day has been nothing short of miraculous to me. It’s exciting to see how everything moves forward. God is definitely good.

One last thing before I finish here. I have a slight confession. One of my favorite pastimes, is whenever I see a white person I don’t know, I yell out “Blanc!” Blanc is the word Haitians use for foreigners. It literally means “white” but really gets used for anyone who isn’t Haitian. Anyway, it’s great fun when they turn to see who said it, and they do a double-take when it’s the whitest guy they’ve ever seen saying it. I have a weird sense of humor.

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On kids

I like kids. A lot. I think the best part about them is their innocence. They accept everybody. They have to be told who they should and shouldn’t like. And that’s the same no matter where you are. Kids are the same in Iowa, in Nashville and Haiti. Kids are kids. And it’s awesome. Oh sure, they can drive you crazy, too, but I love it. One of my favorite parts of being here is the sheer amount of kids. Just yesterday I played an impromptu soccer game with an empty plastic bottle, played the hand slap game, failed miserably at a two-person syncopated clapping and just walked around holding hands with them. Kids don’t care. They just want to be loved. And it’s awesome. I love these kids. And I hope one day I’ll have a chance to have one of my own.

I think the second question I have been asking wrong is what should I be doing? The right one, I believe, is where should I be to further God’s kingdom the most. Wether that is in Nashville, Iowa, Haiti or Utah, I should feel prepared to be where God needs me. Not going to lie. This is scary. Most of my marketable skills are only marketable in Nashville. I have worked in the entertainment industry for a while and that’s where I’m comfortable. Oh, sure, I have a lot of skills in other areas but I’m self taught. Most people aren’t looking for that. Though I know that if I’m trusting Him, He’ll make things abundant. And I know some of you will point out that I only lasted 9 months in Richmond before moving back to Nashville. The difference is that I knew Richmond was a short time deal. It was never going to be permanent. It served a purpose and I was thankful for it but the time was done. I did meet some great people there and I will am thankful for that time in my life. That being said, leaving Nashville isn’t easy. My parents live there. My brother lives there with my nephew and my unborn niece. I have a lot of friends there and a church I absolutely love. But if He needs me elsewhere, I want to be prepared to go.

This has been a slow week. Today is Wednesday and there wasn’t work for me to do yesterday or today. I am hoping that changes soon. They are supposed to be ordering paint. Those that know me well know I can be a bit of a workaholic so the down time is probably good for me, but it is difficult at the same time. I’ve been reading a lot of books and a lot of the Bible and playing with kids and writing to you lovely few that read my ramblings. Speaking of books, I’m running out of them. If anyone would like to bless me with some iTunes money to buy more, I’d be grateful. Just text/email me the code. You all are awesome. Thanks! Now I’m off. Going to have pizza here tonight. I’m excited.

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