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The Opposite of Addiction

A friend of mine in South Africa posted this video on Facebook. It is an animated, abridged version of a TED talk given by author Johann Hari. He wrote a book about substance abuse called Chasing the Scream.  He realized he had a number of addicts in his life and didn’t know how to help them.  He went on a journey to find answers and wrote about it.  I haven’t read the book, yet, (I have started.) but I think his findings are worth considering.

Addiction is a major factor in our community.  (Today I was praying with two young moms whose own mothers are addicted to crystal meth.  These mothers no longer have relationships with their children or grandchildren.) In many cases, the shame and isolation method of treatment isn’t working.  It is making it worse.  This author postulates that love and community may be much more effective tools in setting people free, which resonates with where we see God leading us.

Our Top 10 Car Stories

Let’s take a look back at the best of our car stories, shall we? :

        10.  Circus clowns. Upon arriving in South Africa and not having enough money to buy a car, we rented what we could afford: A purple Ford Fiesta named Jasmine. All seven of us would cram in that thing, all folded over on top of each other. When we got out it was like crescent rolls in a Pillsbury can.

9.  Grand Theft Auto. Four months into our life in South Africa we learned just how easy it is to have a car stolen. From the front of your house. While you’re home. In broad daylight. If you’re naive, like we were, you’ll leave a bunch of treasured possessions in the car too.  Dude, Where’s My Car?!

8. The Swaggon. We loved our 1989 VW Microbus. Often mistaken for a taxi, we cruised through town with style, sometimes surfboards in tow. Sometimes it ran. We had the engine rebuilt… twice. It had no less than 17 major repairs. Still, even though she said she would stay loyal, she quit often. We have pushed her out of parking garages, up hills and through town. She was a moody one. However, one late night, Christina caught four guys trying to steal her, from right in front of our house.  Unfortunately, they had already started dismantling the whatchamacallit, making it impossible to drive. After neighborhood watch caught the guys, Christina marched herself into the police station to identify the thieves but also to suggest that since they were doing nothing but sitting in jail, that they come repair the work they had done. The police refused. We had to pay for it. It broke down again shortly after that. We decided it was time to break off this co-dependent relationship.

7. The Phantom. We found this beauty for sale on a used car site from a nice Christian man we met before. Perfect! We mentioned it on social media and the next thing you know, there’s a gofundme and money is coming in faster than a televangelist during the hour of power. Friends and family are super excited for us and we are thrilled to have a car that seems so nice! It has been four long years of waiting and praying and enduring car problems. Finally, it’s over! Everything is awesome.

Until there was that dreadful noise….TWO DAYS LATER. Oh, the mechanic says, (our trusty mechanic) the engine needs to be rebuilt. He can do it but it requires a deposit, a large one. And then later he needs more money because he needs to rebuild the rebuild. Then the mechanic is crying in our living room because his life has no purpose.

Three months later we discover our car in his garage but he is nowhere to be found. The engine is there, in parts. All over the place like a neurotic jigsaw puzzle. The mechanic is nowhere. He just disappeared, like a phantom. We tried to file a police report for a stolen car. Fat chance said the officer. You gave him your keys. Well, when you put it that way…No money, no car. No hope for humanity.

6. We borrowed a friend’s van while they were in the US. Thieves broke the side window and stole a shoe. A child’s shoe. Not both shoes. One shoe-the left one to be exact. Amount owed: one window and a pair of shoes.

5. Borrowed a friend’s car… (When will we learn to NOT do this)?  Hear a strange noise. Mechanic says the entire car is not roadworthy. Advises us to only drive if we are done with living. Odd business style but alright.

4. Borrowed a friend’s car…breaks down. Find a different mechanic. Should have had a clue when this mechanic doesn’t own a car of his own and must walk to our house everyday carrying his set of tools. R5500 worth of repair plus petrol expenses. Ours, not his.

3. Have pumpkin pie, will travel. Thanksgiving week. On our way to Thanksgiving dinner, the car slowly grinds to an involuntary halt. Pumpkin pies on our laps, we are forced to yet again call a friend to come pick us up from the side of the road. The car is towed and fixed. Or so we thought.

That same week…we are on our way to take all the kittens to the vet. Driving along a very busy road we hear a terrible noise. The car rumbles out of control and we pull over to the side to discover that metal shavings all over the road and the tire is shot.  One of our friends, Marti,  shows up to direct traffic away from Kevin who is sprawled underneath the car. The kittens are meowing. A tow truck driver arrives, another friend arrives for moral support. One drives by and honks, no doubt laughing at us. Marti is wearing an authoritative safety vest and scolds speeding taxis while standing guard over Kevin’s head. I  guard the box of cats wishing I had pumpkin pie to eat right there on the curb.

2. Hello from the other side. This is way too long a story but it begins with us borrowing a friend’s van which breaks down in the middle of forsaken land in Illinois. The story culminates with a kindly man picking us up off the side of the interstate and taking all 7 of us to his house to stay until the van can be fixed which turns out to be 7 days. You really have to read it to believe it.

And the TOP CAR STORY is…Last week, my friend calls me all excited and mysterious like, talking of God-things. Their family is moving back to America from South Africa .

Over the phone, I hear, “We are giving you our car. We feel like that is what God wants us to do.”

They could have sold it and used the money for moving expenses or for anything, but they gave us their Toyota Condor which is in phenomenal condition and runs like a charm. It has air conditioning, a CD player, power windows and locks and most importantly, an alarm system, which I think God finds hilarious. It’s also made in this century, unlike any of our previous cars.

I often look outside to make sure it’s still in front of our house and  I’m not dreaming.

 

 

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Is it an Election Year?

This post isn’t really about politics. Honest. In fact I am going to use 80s television to make it seem less political, but I do think politics is a gateway to look at ourselves, or a mirror, if you will.

The other thing is that this post isn’t about trying to change anyone’s views, opinions or actions. I am merely trying to plant a seed, a seed of hope.

It is strange viewing this election campaign from afar. The distance certainly changes the intensity. Although I find that people here are almost as interested as they are in the USA. So many tell me they are following the drama quite closely. To tell the truth, they seem much more interested than I do, but I find their reactions and observations fascinating.

There are some things that are obvious to me.

1. We are deeply divided. I am primarily talking about the people of God, but we could say that about the nation, as well. Some of us love Mr. T and are rooting for the A-Team. Others of us are saying that Mrs. C and Happy Days are the best option. And a very large group are saying they don’t like the choices that 80s television is giving us. I have people I love, honor and trust in each group. Each group seems to be using Biblical examples as proof. Each group seems to feel there is no other way to look at it and if you do, you are violating the Word. Continue reading Is it an Election Year?

Dylan’s Amsterdam Adventure

IMG_0778Why Amsterdam? Why YWAM?
Like most questions concerning missions, the answer is usually terribly simple and yet still long. The short answer is because I feel like God is leading me there and it is the next step in my life. But I guess hearing the ol’ “Because God said so” bit can give people unrest, I’ll do my best to explain why I am going. Continue reading Dylan’s Amsterdam Adventure

Hard Lessons

11880627_10152972334167001_3687567706140488208_nToday marks a week since I called the auto repair shop. We had been stuck in Marion, Illinois since the previous Thursday waiting for our van to be fixed. On Friday they called us early to say they were going to look at it that day. They didn’t. On Monday they called to say they thought they found the part, but they hadn’t. It would come in Tuesday. On Tuesday they didn’t call. When I called them at the end of the day, they said they still had a few more hours of work to do and hopefully it would be done tomorrow. Continue reading Hard Lessons

Ok. I Need Help

salsaIt so happened that I got this revelation somewhere between the Mexican bean dip and the copious amount of Diet Coke. And I don’t think it was a volunteer revelation as much as my friend delivering the hard-hitting truth. Maybe it was the Dos Equis talking but there’s nothing like a perspective shift over Mexican food.

“You know what you are being? It starts with a P,” she says to me, munching away on chips and salsa while a man in a giant sombrero waltzes by.

Those teacher types can’t converse without resorting to a pop quiz.

“Prideful.” she says, chips still in her mouth, not missing a beat.

“What? How am I being prideful? I’m a poor  missionary type. I own next to nothing, relatively speaking. I gave up Netflix and Starbucks and good customer service.” I’m incredulous, and also hungry. It’s been three years since I’ve had really good Mexican food, although doubtful if my Mexican family would classify this as authentic.

“You don’t tell us what you need. You share ministry prayer requests and other people’s needs, amazing stories and experiences, but you don’t tell us what your family needs.”

The conversation was not supposed to be about me. About right now I’m hoping she gets heartburn from the guacamole. Continue reading Ok. I Need Help

You Can’t Schedule Adventure

This trip back to the USA has taught us many lessons. Yesterday taught us a lot more lessons. I’ve been procatinating in posting on the blog because I felt like God wanted me to post a very specific topic but I did not want to post it. No, I did not. So I didn’t. And now I’m laughing sardonically at myself because God is funny.

I’ll post what I was supposed to post soon, but for now here’s an update on yesterday:

We left my sister Hollie’s house in Dallas at 11 p.m. The air conditioning in the van we borrowed wasn’t working so we thought we’d rather drive through the cooler part of the night than drive through Texas heat like a mobile human sauna.

We drove about 13 hours until it happened. Coasting through southern Illinois there was all at once a loud hissing, shreeking and grumbling. That was just me.

Then the van made a weird noise that caused us all to cringe in horror. It stopped and refused to go further than the side of Intestate 54. In the middle of nowhere. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. It’s shortly after noon. Continue reading You Can’t Schedule Adventure