Saturday, March 28, 2009

Facebook Says It All

The day after we arrived back home, I saw these "status" comments on Facebook from our team. I love how it captures what everyone was feeling those first few hours back in the States.

A's heart is still in Morocco

G misses Moroccan food

D misses his kids

R "it's not what it used to be"

J likes chocolate and hot showers but not more than Morocco

L felt the mountains tremble

B is not the same person he was last week

A is emotionally overwhelmed

P travelled to rural Morocco and found the center of it all

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Everything I Once Held Dear, I Count It All As Loss

I don't know how you can experience Africa and not want to give up everything you once held dear. Our week in Morocco was absolutely life-changing. The more I think about it, the more I realize how impossible it is to sum up in a few stories and pictures.

We sang "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble" several times throughout the week and it took on totally different meanings. We sang about dancing on injustice and a mighty river flowing through the nations. We were living out what we saw!!

Here are the lyrics to that song and a slideshow. We really did hang out with kids but they have asked us not to post pictures on the Internet due to security issues.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Did you feel the mountains tremble?
Did you hear the oceans roar?
When the people rose to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen one

Did you feel the people tremble?
Did you hear the singers roar?
When the lost began to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen one

And we can see that God you're moving
A mighty river through the nations
And young and old will turn to Jesus
Fling wide your heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring your hope and
Songs that bring your joy
Dancers who dance upon injustice

Did you feel the darkness tremble?
When all the saints join in one song
And all the streams flow as one river
To wash away our brokenness

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Apartment

We are the Ground level. Our door is to the left of the black window.

Fun Facts about Washington Heights

-John James Audubon spent the end of his life here and is buried here

-the campuses of Columbia Medical School are a few blocks from my house (on Hilltop Park where the now NY Yankees played in the early 1900s)

-The neighborhood is home to Manhattan's oldest remaining house; George Washington stayed there during part of the American Revolutionary War

-In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated near the Audubon esate

-Riverside Park where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet in the end of "You've Got Mail" is also here!

Washington Heights

Overheard in New York City

There's a popular blog where NY residents write in things they hear on the street and they publish them on the website. I thought I'd start my own "Overheard in NYC." So far, they have been just in normal conversations with students or staff!

-Were any of you in the Bronx last weekend?

-Excuse me, I have to get away from the secondhand pot smell. (she said as she walked away from the open window of her apartment)

-We are a little off schedule because we didn't meet last week due to the protest.

-I had a class with Mary-Kate Olson. (this is only one of the many, many celebrity references)

-I was a part-time student last semester because I was working on my book. (sophomore NYU student)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

First Impressions

This is a little long so if you want the short update and to see pictures, you can scroll down to the two posts below this.

O cratered moon and sparrow's wings
O thunder's boom and Saturn's rings
Unveil our Father as you sing
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs

Oh praise Him all His mighty works
There is no language where you can't be heard
Your song goes out to all the Earth
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

The pulse of life within my wrist
A fallen snow, a rising mist
There is no higher praise than this
And my soul wells up
O my soul wells up
Yes my soul wells up with hallelujahs

These are a few verses from one of my favorite Chris Rice songs. I usually feel the closest to the Lord when I’m at home in the majestic Rocky Mountains, but I’ve been surprised to feel the same awe of sensing his presence walking down the busy streets of New York City. I know I’m not in another country but every time I go outside, I feel like I am. My neighborhood (Washington Heights) is heavily populated with Dominican Republicans. In fact, we have the highest population outside of Santo Domingo. Spanish fills the tiny aisles in the local grocery store, the crowded subway and the bustling streets. I just read a statistic that said in 2005, 14% of the population of Washington Heights was white. I love it!!

Before I left, a friend shared Deuteronomy 31:8 with me, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” She said isn’t it great to know that God is already in NYC? I don’t think I had ever thought about God being here. I went to Nav Night last night at NYU. It’s like a haven amidst the bustling streets. The students who are accepted to NYU are literally world changers. We commissioned several students last night who are working on major projects-a movie, an album and a band tour this summer and entering photographs in art studios. It was exciting as we prayed for them to think the impact these projects will have on the generations to come.

Someone told me that being in New York is like being in a movie and it's so true. It's incredible that all the famous things you always hear about are just everywhere. I saw the Empire State Building on my way to Kmart! It's kind of surreal.

New York invigorates the senses. The air is a surprisingly pleasant aroma of clean laundry, grilled meat, trash and exhaust. Taxi horns, children laughing, rap music and sirens fill the streets.

The Big Apple

This was my first day in the City. We were walking and all of a sudden there was the Empire State Building. I've also seen Central Park, the NYU campus, 5th Ave, Greenwich Village or like us locals call it, "The Village," Washington Square Park, Macy's, where the parade is, and ridden the subway by myself!
My first few days have been exciting and overwhelming. I went to Nav Night last night and several girls hugged me and told me they have prayed for years for female staff. That instantly dissolved any uncertainties. I'm excited to get to know the students more, but they were extremely welcoming last night.

Leaving Minnesota

The staff team in Minneapolis surprised me with a little "going away coffee." I was shocked and it was such a special way to end my time.
This is me ready to head for the airport.