Monday, April 12, 2010

Squatting, Hiking, Thanking


Last night Steven reminded me of an interesting fact. While in Kazakhstan we have pretty much gone without everything, just at different times. When we first got here, we had no internet for over a week. Also, our washing machine was broken so we washed many of our clothes by hand. We’re still going without a dryer, they don’t exist in this country. We had a time, a little over a week, where our water would randomly be turned off for hours and hours. Apparently, just recently, the old Soviet plumbing has proven itself junk again. One day we came home from work, looked in our bathroom and noticed that our showerhead was gone and some more attempts had been made to seal the grout around our shower. Our shower consists of a little hose attached to the sink. When we first got here I rigged the showerhead with some plastic bags and a little clip to this bar that hangs above the shower. I was happy to have something like an American shower, but now he took our hose, showerhead, and messed up my brilliant work. So for the past few days Steven and I have had to squat under the faucet in our poor attempts to get clean. Again, we’re doing without something important and getting more experience in the wondrous world outside the comfortable USA.

Yesterday, the girls thought they had this great idea of waking up early and going to the mountains to watch the sunrise. That meant that I had to wake up early, which is not my specialty. However I was sick of staying in the apartment so I reluctantly agreed to meet them. Steven thought it was crazy so didn’t bother waking up. None of us were sure what time the buses started running, so I took to the city at around 6:30am found a bus and met the girls at the bus stop to go to the mountains at about 7:00am. By the time we got to the mountains it was around 7:30 and the sun was already sitting low in the sky. We missed the sunrise, but the cool, morning mountain air was enough to refresh anyone. We ended up climbing the horribly long stair case of Medeo. It seems like a never ending stair case, but it was fun. Then we hiked around a valley, found a soccer ball, and played soccer on a frozen stream. We walked further and soaked in the sun as we set up a wonderful picnic. Emily brought all the fixings for a Subway-like sandwich and I brought a PopTart for all of us to have a little piece of America. Afterwards we climbed up to walk back only to end up sliding down on the hard snow. We figured this was probably the last butt-sliding adventure we would have for this winter. We also did some penguin slides (sliding on our stomachs. It was a blast, but of course I ended up leaving the mountains soaking wet. We swung by the girls place so they could grab a few things they needed and then went to John’s CafĂ© and enjoyed some coffee and French fries. I had a skewer of chicken shashlik. It’s like now that I have eaten meat, I justify eating more meat by thinking, “Well, I already blew it.” I’m not saying that eating meat is a treacherous sin, because it isn’t. But, I do think that this is many people’s mindset when dealing with sin. They figure that once they do something bad once, that they might as well do it again and again because they already blew it. It’s a slippery slope that we all need to be careful of.

Today is Saturday. It’s the Saturday in which the world wept hopelessly some 2000 years ago; the Sabbath in which Jesus slept in His grave. I honestly don’t know if there was more rejoicing in heaven or more sadness. In this world, people weren’t really expecting Jesus to die and they certainly weren’t expecting Him to rise so it’s pretty safe to say that most people were in complete despair and sadness. However, in heaven everyone knew Jesus was going to die, and more importantly they knew He wasn’t going to stay dead. I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye in heaven as they saw their King beaten, mocked, tortured, and crucified. I’m sure there were plenty of angels screaming “Hold me back!” Trying to contain their anger towards this love-empty race. But on this day, on the Sabbath, what was happening? Maybe it was quiet as they waited for the Father to call His Son out of the grave. Maybe some were mourning after the traumatic events that transpired the day before. Or maybe there was great rejoicing. Maybe all the angels and the Father along with the Spirit were celebrating the victory over sin, the victory of love; celebrating the fact that humans would be able to freely communicate with them again. I don’t know what it was like, but I do know that if I had been around all those years ago I would have been with the people weeping, lost and confused, not knowing the next step, or how it would even be possible to take another step. Do yourself a favor, thank God for the brilliantly crafted plan of salvation right now. Jesus is risen, indeed He is risen, and soon we will all be risen with Him.

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