Friday, November 28, 2008

Community

This post has been a long time in coming, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

For the past 6 months or so, Jonathan and I have been praying about how we can further the kingdom of God through community and the fellowship of believers. One of our favorite inspirations in this area is Shane Claiborne. Shane was one of the founders of an "intentional community" in the inner city of Philadelphia. They have a group of people (married and single) living in the same house and making efforts to serve the community they live in.

We spent quite a few months dialoging about this idea with friends and really searching the scriptures. Mostly, we just waited for God to show us what He wanted for us.

A couple of months later, when praying about how we can support Kylene in her ministry, the Lord led us to invite her to live with us. She moved in with us in the beginning of September and it's been a joy to share life with her again. She works for Jonathan at the coffee shop and is preparing to run a mission school in the Philippines. A month or so after that, Mandi and Daveo shared with us that they felt the Lord was leading them to move to Atlanta in the next year or so. Well, through a number of things that happened, they felt released to come to Atlanta much sooner than originally planned. During this time, we also felt led to invite them to move in with us as well.

So, the day we got back from Turkey, the 5 of us moved into a 3br apartment together.

Our desire isn't just to be roommates or lighten each others rent cost. It's to be a community that pursues the kingdom of God together. We want to support one another in the places where the Lord has called us. Daveo and Mandi have a heart to reach out to college students, Kylene feels led to the arts community in the states, and Jonathan and I are pursuing moving back overseas within the next year or two.

Our community is only a couple of weeks old but so far it's been great. We're comfortable together and doing our best to encourage one another. We have family dinners a few times a week and a family gathering every Sunday night where we sing, pray, share, etc.

We know it's not all going to be easy. We know we're going to have to work through difficulties and make sacrifices and we already have. But, we are also trusting that God will be glorified through our community and the good will outweigh the difficulties.

We rejoice in this gift God has given us. Amen, Come Lord Jesus!

Fingerless Gloves


Made from socks!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Car


We really didn't want to, but finally had to break down and buy a second car this week. Jonathan's job changed this weekend and it now requires him to have a car and although Goodwill continued to promise me a car, it wasn't coming soon enough. We decided that if we got an affordably priced car, the mileage I get from Goodwill would pay for it. And so began the search!

I signed onto Craig List and started sending out emails. Of the 5 inquiries I sent, all of the returns turned out to be scams from people offering to ship me the car for free if I send them the money over ebay. (One email was in broken english stating that she's a woman so she doesn't need a car as her reason for getting rid of it.) Apparently I was looking for cars that were priced for less than they should be, and becoming quickily disheartened! In the midst of this process, we thought about what kind of car we wanted. My ideal cars were either a Honda CRV or a VW Jetta. We ruled the CRV out because we have absolutely no need for an SUV in Atlanta, and they get bad gas mileage. I clung to hope for the Jetta, but struggled with the idea of it in my heart as well because I didn't want to like a car too much.

I'm not really a car person, but I'd always wanted silver Jetta with a sunroof. Perhaps this was my chance? But, as I prayed about it for the day, I realized that I didn't want something that I would value more than relationships with others or God. I didn't want something that would leave me upset or disappointed if something happened to it. Why put my energy into trying not to love something too much when I could put it into loving others?

That night, after I'd gotten another scammer email and we decided we would just go to a used car dealer, we checked Craig List one more time. Lo and behold, there was a great car for sale and a number to call. We went and checked it out the same night and bought it the next day.

God was so faithful in providing this car for us. It's a 2001 black Honda civic. Great gas mileage and cute, but not my dream car which I'm thankful for. The best part about it is that it has a sunroof which I will hopefully enjoy year round here!

It's such a joy to trust in the Father to provide what we want and need all at the same time!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Turkey

Jonathan and I just got back from Turkey on Monday and it was wonderful!

We flew for hours and hours and landed in Istanbul on Nov 1st. Our dear friends Eric and Allison picked us up and we spent the next 6 days with them. Here are some of the highlights.

This is the one of the famous mosques in Istanbul.
Istanbul is a port city and kind of curves around the water so we took the ferry almost every day. Eric and Allison live on the Asian side, but most of the things we did were on the European side, so we crossed from continent to continent almost every day!





All the people waiting for the ferry. It looks like a scene in some zombie movie or something.

Jonathan spent most of the days with Eric doing stuff for the coffee roasting business they run. As I'm sure you can believe, he LOVED every second of it. Here they are roasting coffee beans to be shipped out the next day.




On our walk to the office, I stumbled upon a couch in a cemetery. Couldn't resist the photo op.
This is a picture of Ataturk next to the Turkish flag. Ataturk was the Turkish leader in the 1950's and the one who secularized the government. Everyone reveres him greatly and every building is required to have a picture of him in it. The coffee roasting office had a picture of him drinking tea in a garden. Others had golden face imprints, which made me feel like I was in Oz.


There were always fishermen fishing of of every bridge and area we crossed. I'm sure the water is more polluted than we can imagine with all the boats everywhere!

Allison and I went to the Turkish bath one day. It's one of the most er...memorable experiences I've ever had. We laughed our way through 2 hours of awkward and uncomfortable moments!



We rejoiced in every moment with them. Our time was full of laughter, deep conversation, and a spiritual unity that is hard to come by. I also really enjoyed the culture of Istanbul. It reminded me of Egypt in that we heard the call to prayer 5 times a day and there were markets and people on the streets selling juice, roasted chestnuts, etc. But, I also really enjoyed the freedom in Istanbul that I didn't have in Egypt, in things like walking around alone without getting attention, or being able to speak with men. The food wasn't my favorite ever, but it was still good.

From their house, we went to a hotel on the Mediterranean sea for a prayer conference. It was incredible! What a joy it is to be a part in what God is doing among the nations. I also got to see some of my closest friends from Egypt, and in honor of the Egyptian sleeping schedule, we even stayed up all night talking.

This is the view from our hotel room.




Finally, on our trip home, we had some flight confusion and ended up having to leave immigration in Italy so here we are officially in Roma!
Turkey was wonderful, and we're already planning our next big trip! We're hoping for one a year!