Friday, March 31, 2006

mosquitos. there's no escape.

I have my first mosquito bite of the year. on my face. lovely.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

so long, farewell...

I'm really sick of goodbyes. I know, I've said this before, but it's true. Dave left this morning and Cecilia's leaving tonight. I'm gonna miss them both...

On another note, I was just at the hostel and there were these two sweet innocent-looking asian girls asking for some directions. I was pointing them towards the nearest albert hein when the second girl casually asked me where they could find the sex museum. I don't know the answer to that question, and told her as much, but I'm pretty annoyed at myself for not suggesting that they go somewhere else. I was quite surprised that she asked me, so I was caught off guard. Appearances can be deceiving...

Anyhow, I'm off to prepare for my Bible Discussion tonight.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Last night Marco and I went out for dinner, and as we were walking along trying to find somewhere I saw Sunday's and it looked like Subway and I got excited, but alas, it was a tanning store. So today, imagine my joy and excitement when my mother pointed out a Subway in the middle of the street in Haarlem! It was the perfect lunch, and a good experience for Tina.
Also, I now have the Sandlot, so for those of you who have never seen it *Freek, this includes you* (and those of you who have and just want to see a really great movie again) stay tuned for a Sandlot party. Ok, probably I'll just announce a night when we'll watch it. Not so much a party. But anyhow, it will be fun.
Oh, other random moment! Erica, who works at the city, knows my Uncle Stu. Actually, she calls him Uncle Stu. So she and mom had a nice chat, cuz my mom knows her parents. Just to go further to prove the stereotype that all Canadians know each other.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

spring has sprung!

I was just basking in the sunshine on my roof with Tina. Zo leuk! I was thinking how good it is to simply rest. To be. To not do anything, but relax. This is something that is so easily avoided...not on purpose, it just doesn't seem as important with the busyness of life. But God uses those times to refill us...energize us. Tina and I just lay there enjoying the semi-warmth, talking a little...but it was good.
I'm looking forward to these next few days with my parents when I'll become a tourist and just do things for fun. A while ago my mom said to me "you need to take some time off and have a break" and I responded that I couldn't because of how busy I was, since we were understaffed and all...but she was right. It is a need. So I'm going to get my break, and I'm going to enoy it!
Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

eternal thanks

Freek will be eternally grateful to me for cleaning big storage today. That means that when we meet in heaven I can say "what are you thankful to me for?" and he will say "Big storage!"
But let's be realistic here...that's not going to happen

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I got my first Bible in a language other than English tonight.
A Dutch New Testament.
I will practice reading out loud and maybe next time people won't laugh at me.

Monday, March 20, 2006

story time with bingwa

It was just after Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. We were going to our first riot. Only problem was, we lived in an all black neighbourhood. No one to fight there. But we were mad. I mean, we were pissed off. So about eight of us guys got in the car and started cruising the streets. We went into this one store and the owner saw these big black guys come in and hid behind the counter. So we had the store to ourselves, and we were thinking, "Man, we can do anything, and take anything, and no one's going to do anything about it." So we walked around that store like we owned the place, and all of us grabbed something, and then we went back to the car and took off. Then we all looked to see what we'd gotten, money, electronic stuff...every one of us had grabbed ice cream. So there we were, our first riot, and we had this ice cream and no spoons. So we just started digging in with our hands and eating that ice cream. We got better at rioting after that.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

life through the eyes of...meghan

I know, I know, I failed. I'm done with the animal stories for now. No inspiration. The moose was really not like me, because I just couldn't imagine a moose making it in Amsterdam, so I think it sounded kind of negative, and that's not how I feel about Amsterdam. Also, I just got out of the habit (not that it was a habit yet. you need at least a week to make a habit, right?)
But I have a good excuse for why I missed a day or two...first I was out of town *yay!* at Ewout's babysitting Joa, and then Friday was crazy busy and I just didn't feel like writing. Actually, I don't feel like writing now. So, ok, buh bye. Sorry to disappoint.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

life through the eyes of...a moose

Yes, I am a moose. And I am in a place called Amsterdam. How did this happen, you might ask? Truthfully, I do not seems like I woke up from a strange dream. Or maybe I am still asleep? Anyhow, one thing I have to say about this city is that it has lots of water! But I went to take a drink and had to spit it back out! The people in my way looked very angry, but I think they should try to take better care of their is no crystal clear stream I can tell you that much. And the traffic...usually I have the right of way...when I venture out of the forests at home, the cars always stop for me. Or if they don't...they do. There is a different traffic system here. Of course, I always win, but instead of cars coming second and bikes third and pedestrians last, the cyclists seem free to cut in front of cars to a certain extent, and the cars usually wait for them to pass. And the trams...ok, it's possible that they might beat even me.
It is very difficult to get excercise here, but there are a few parks with (get this) trees! and a few other animals. There are no hills, and not many wild animals, mostly just dogs who poop (orange!) everywhere. And the air isn't what you can call fresh and clear...there's always a scent of something...but I think I could get used to this place. Not super homey to bring a flock of meese [brian regan, couldn't resist...MOOSEN] but I'm a bit of a loner anyhow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

life through the eyes of a joey

I recently escaped from the Artis, but not with my mother. I've been hopping around town trying to find a place like home, and in my ventures I happened onto a street called Willemsstraat. Since I can jump so high (I'm the best jumper of all my friends) I jumped into an open window. Why there was an open window in this house when it's cold outside, I don't know, but it was nice to be somewhere warm. I hopped into the kitchen where someone named Joshua got a package. Inside were balloons, so they started blowing them up and tossing them back and forth. This was a very fun game for me because they were good jumpers and so am I so we had a little competition. But then it got dirty...They put some water in the balloons! Not a whole lot, so they didn't burst, but enough to make them fly all crazy and weird. And then Cameron tried to pick one up and it burst all over the floor. What a mess! After that it was just chaos as water balloons burst everywhere. Then Meghan and Josh had the bright idea to take the balloons outside, but there was only one left at this point, and on the first toss it flew funny, hit a car, and promptly died. I am much more fun than balloons I think, but no one took any notice of me. I'm going back to my mum's warm pouch at the artis.

Monday, March 13, 2006

life through the eyes of a mouse

Challenge by Dave: write a blog every day this week from the perspective of a different animal. So, as I'm feeling uncreative, I'm choosing the shelter mouse first.

I try to stay hidden, after my brother Freek got squished by a refrigerator. One by one our little mouse population has died, Gepke, Jacob, Ewout, and even Rosemary. No one knows I'm still here, and so they haven't given me a name yet. Probably if they see me I'll be called Lynn. Anyhow, today has been pretty uneventful. Not much spilled food on the floor or anything, even though Dave was cooking. Tonight it was so loud in the cafe! They were watching a movie, School of Rock. I was going to scurry to my usual perch on the shelf next to the speaker, but it was too loud when those kids started rocking. So I scampered into the cafe, which was a little dangerous, but since everyone was sucked into the movie they didn't notice me. It was quieter there, and I enjoyed the movie, even though it was predictable. After the movie a couple of guests started playing chess, and the Russians were thankful for Meghan's superior knowledge regarding castling, but Bingwa was less than thrilled. Sometimes the truth just hurts. Well, I'm going to go back into hiding so they don't find me when they mop the floor. Doei!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

sad story

Mel, you're lucky. Two posts this shift. I just went to get a bandaid for a guest and proceeded to slam my finger in the safe. My finger has no feeling, is burning, and getting fatter as I type. Actually, I'm just typing with one hand. Matthieu got me a HUGE bag of ice, haha, so that is sweet.
Josh and Nate and anyone else from Roberts reading this, you can stop laughing now. And you can banish those memories of other similar *Meghan* moments too...*sigh*


Oh, today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue...and the air was frigid. Perfect day for an outdoor baptism, wouldn't you say? On they way to the nieuwe meer we saw ducks walking on the ice and stopped to take pictures. There was snow on the rocks decending into the water. But did that diminish Maria's excitement or joy at being baptised? Nope. Despite the cold weather and water Maria, Eric, and Vera entered the water while the rest of us huddled together on shore. It was such a great witness to everyone there...they were really touched when we prayed for her. Then we went to her friend's bar and had cake and coffee and tea, and there was Christian music playing which was really weird to hear in that atmosphere. But very cool, and we discussed turning it into a church for a few hours on Sundays. Good idea, I think.
Oh, also I wore Marco's aviators today. Anne was like, "You look..." and I finished with "Stupid?" and she said, "No! Like a movie star!" haha, so that was nice.
So Mel, this is for you. Stop your complaining. haha. sorry it sounds like a poorly written news article.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

mon Français est pathétique. histoire triste.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

God's will

In home group tonight we had a discussion about God testing us vs. us living in a fallen world, etc. and it reminded me of something James wrote to Rob...So I thought I would post it. It's long, but well worth the read.

I never really know how to consider things when it looks like nothing is going my way. Some people decide to say that this is nevertheless God's will and we just have to trust in him. This means that it only seems that thing's aren't working out, but they're actually going quite smoothly according to the master plan which we just don't understand. But I really don't think this view fully accounts for evil. I would like to define evil as the messing up of God's plan. I would like to believe that God regrets evil as much as we do. Not that evil is something that we just misunderstand, but that it is something that God hates as much as us (even more than us) and is actively working against. I think this is the message of the cross: God doing everything necessary to work against evil, even becoming the only person who submits to evil--but is not a victim of it--because he is the only person who suffered evil willingly. It's an amazing thing to think about. But if God's plan is constantly being messed up, how are we to have any faith in him? How am I to know whether a hardship is sent to me from the Lord for some greater good, or is just something that Satan was able to "slip past the goalie"? But I think that whether you're agnostic in this respect (like I am) or if you have full confidence in divine providence, the end result may be the same: it produces longsuffering and patience. I guess the difference is that the person with a strong view of providence prays "God, why are you doing this? Please let this end soon, or at least help me to understand", while the person who's more agnostic prays with a fervent desperation (as I often do) "Thy will be done! I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to recognize it, but I pray that your will shall be done and is being done in my life!"
I think that at the end of the day, the lot of the Christian is not to seek an easy life or easy answers, but rather to take up our cross--and many crosses will inevitably come--and carry it. That is, to take up whatever challenge either Satan or God (often I don't know which) has tossed us and carry it in the most Christianly way possible. Isn't that what Jesus did? He begged not to have his cross, but when it came to him, he carried it, and did so with great righteousness. The question is not "why am I suffering?"--I don't think there's any complete answer for that in this life--but rather "Am I responding to suffering in a righteous manner?"

Alright, so you pretty much hit the nail on the head with the problem of evil. James 1 reads "every good and perfect gift comes from [God]". So it's clear that he gets the credit for that. We can blame all the shit that happens on either direct intervention from Satan, or from the original screw up with Adam. With direct intervention, I don't think it's wise to say that Satan "overrode" God. God is absolute sovereign of all creation, including Satan. Whatever authority the latter has has been granted to him. Look at Job. But the real question, which you got to, is "why does this loving God grant Satan such power?" And why doesn't he make special intervention all the time to undo the works of the fall, like just putting a single apple on the road so I don't starve. I don't think we get the answer to that. Philosophically, I don't think the problem of evil can be solved. It's a really good paradox, which we just have to be happy with. But while God does not give us an answer to why there is evil, he does however give us a response. This is found in Jesus. That's why in my previous email I said that I take comfort that even God submits to evil. The rules of the game ("game" does not imply something fun and silly, but merely a closed system with consistent rules), for now, are set up so that God may occasionally interfere with the natural flow of things (this is a miracle) but not always, and not consistently. Another rule is that Satan is granted broad power to do his will. Given these 2 rules, it would be easy to think that maybe whoever created the rules (God) doesn't have our best intentions in mind, especially since we're not given a good reason for why (isn't that our favorite question from the time we're kids?) these are the rules. Maybe he enjoys seeing us confused and suffering. But there is strong evidence that in some way or another, it is in fact necessary that these are the rules. There is a good reason why these are the rules. What is the evidence? That God is not an absent God merely looking down on the game board. He's not having any fun with this, but suffered just as much as we did. So this is God's way of proving that he means business. He's not kidding around when he says "in spite of all you see, I am in control, and I'm a loving God". He's gone to great lengths to prove his point. But it's still possible to be skeptical. Maybe Jesus never was God, or maybe God's just making this a really elaborate hoax in order to trick us. So while these options are logically possible, I do not believe them because of faith. And there's nothing absurd about that. I don't really have any proof that Rob Snider is a fellow human. All my arguments are based on analogy: I am a human, and I laugh, and Rob laughs, so Rob is a human. We both have noses, and eyes, etc. But these are not logical proofs, and it's possible that you're something entirely other than human. And so I need faith to even believe the simplest things.

I guess with a lot of things it's logically possible that it just happened, but if you believe in a God who is good and who loves us, then it becomes more probable that it's a blessing from God. Especially when I think of the sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about the hairs of our heads being numbered (read: there is no detail too small for God) and the sparrows and the lilies of the field. Sometimes I picture myself walking down the road of life which is an empty dirt road going through some fields. Along the way I find an apple tree. I pick the apple and eat it. Did God cause the wind to blow the apple seed to that spot, send rain on the seed and cause a tree to grow just so that James Pyles could eat an apple on that day? Maybe. But if not, I at least know that God created apples in general so that people could enjoy them, and this tree is a part of that blessing. Jesus said "He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous". So it is even God who sends the rain so that trees can grow and people can eat, whether they recognize the hand of God in this or not. I don't think I've ever had a problem believing that blessings are from God. It's evil that I'm never too sure of. Now this broken world is also a Christian world, so there is a chance of redemption, but will you know how to seize it? Will you know that you need to seize it, that redemption does need to take place, and this rejection is not just an instance of "shit happens"? This is why along side of "thy will be done" I usually desperately pray every day "give me this day my daily bread", meaning "give me the things I need to get through the day the way you intended. Give me the knowledge I need, but wouldn't ordinarily have, give me the love, patience and compassion that I need to accomplish thy will (a desire to accomplish God's will, as the body of Christ, comes alongside the prayer that it shall be done). Give me the things I need, but don't even know to ask for. And also, give me the food I need."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

happy birthday meil!

It's my sister's birthday today. Hope it's a good one! Love you Meil!

I made 35 beds this morning. I am the man.

Now I am going home to talk with my sis.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Titus: Do you play guitar?
Me: A little. not really. I'm teaching myself.
Titus: Because I saw you with that guitar and my heart leaped...

haha, excerpt of a conversation with a guy at the hostel.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

moving backwards

Maybe sometimes you have to move backwards before you can go forwards.
I don't know.
But it can be disheartening.

Ben is a cleaner here. When he was at the City he was stuck on this debate about God, the old testament, the evils of circumcision, and how Abraham and Moses are some of the most evil people who ever lived. Since he's been at the Jordan he's been growing so much! He said, "I'm starting to see how all the old testament, Abraham and Moses, and the animal scarifices were just leading up to Jesus. It's all starting to make sense and is completing in my mind."
And then. He's back to the circumcision/animal sacrifices/evil Jewish patriarchs thing again.

Please keep him in prayer! He has come so far...pray that he puts his faith in Jesus to lead him to God to get answers for some of his questions...