Thursday, March 30, 2006

I know I am American when...

1. I feel paralized without my car.


2. I feel "hungry" three hours after I had my last meal.

Two times in the last two weeks my car has been at the mechanic. The joys of having an old car! Two weeks ago the clutch finally gave out. It was a good clutch. It had been faithful for 12 years and 150,000 miles. It cost me almost $1,000. ::GULP:: When I write checks like THAT I always remind myself, "You have no car payment, you have no car payment, you have no car payment." Sometimes that type of "self-talk" works and other times it makes me roll my eyes.

Anyway, yesterday, when I was already running late for work, I jumped in my car and it would not start. So, I took mom's mini van to work and tried to stay positive. Could be the spark plugs, $15 repair. Could be the timing is off, cheaper repair than some things. Could be the fuel injector, lets not think about that price. My dad looked at everything, made sure I had fuel (I have yet to run out of gas, thank you very much!) and he could not figure it out.

We had Dick, our trusty neighbor who has every gadget imaginable and knows how to fix any problem, look at it. He thought it was the timing belt or the fuel injector. He said, "Well, I cannot fix that, but let's tow it to the shop." So he gets out his towing stuff and we push the car up the hill. The boys pushed me down the hill, onto the towing trailer (which I thought I would drive up and over because of how fast I was going!) and we head to Johnny Good, Inc. We unloaded my truck and dropped the key in the box.

Now I wait. Wait to hear the fate of my faithful, beloved Isuzu Trooper. This morning when I got up I was reminded that someone had to take me to work. I feel like I am being a bother and in a way I feel paralized. I had some errands to do today. My brother has to come get me with the kids in tow. My dad had to drop me off. Someone will have to go with me to get the car at the shop.

Now, what does THIS have to do with being American? EVERYTHING. Why in the WORLD do I feel paralized without my truck? It is a luxury that I take for granted EVERY day. I hop in, drive around and think nothing of it. Until I am reminded of what I have seen all over the world. How about the 50 Africans in the mini bus all hanging out like clowns in a circus van to get to the next village? How about the thousands of bicycles that are used every day in Amsterdam to get people from one place to another? How about the African women who walk mile upon mile from home to the store in 120 degree weather to buy flour? No plush seats, sleak sports cars, massive SUVs, air conditioning, heater, CD player, radio, massager or rest for their feet.

And I feel put out that I am carless for a few days? Actually, I am not completely carless, which makes this all the more convicting. I have acess to three other cars. Each driver in my household has a car. I can use any of them. How pathetic. Now, I am not against owning a car. I am just trying to tell myself how pathetic my feelings of frustration are! I am so blessed to own a car. I am blessed that I can use it to see the world, minister to others and accomplish even the most basic tasks.

So there. That is what I learned today.

As for number two, getting "hungry" when I have not eaten for a few hours. I think, for us Americans or anyone in a developed country, eating is a habit. We eat because it is "time" not because we are truly nurishing our body or hungry.

Anyway... I could say more about being American. I love it. Yet, I am beginning to see how much God requires of Christians in America because of what He has given to us. I am learning that my FIRST citizenship is in heaven and I must think and act like God's subject. His lows, rules, commands and mindset must overrule my American heritage. I must make my American mind conform to God's. There, a car is a blessing and not a right. There, a meal is a gift and not a habit.

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things That Produce Thankfulness

1. My Bible- oh, what would I do without the life giving, conviction producing, love story from God!?!? It sustains, comforts, enourages, strengthens and revives. I praise God for the men and women who sacrificed time, money and their very lives so that I might read God's Word in my own language. Now for the 4,000 languages left to translate...

2. My family- How I love them! They remind me constantly that I am loved, that I am not perfect and that God is in control. I learn so much from living and growing with six other people. God was good to me when He gave me this community where I belong and feel secure.

3. My friends- God has blessed me with amazing and Godly friends. I am a person that cherishes a good friend... and I only need a couple. I do not need dozens of people around me all the time, although I don't mind that either. I value loyalty, companionship, laughter, Godliness and honesty. I love you, friends!

4. My toothbrush- Yes, it is true. I am thankful for my toothbrush. I do not have the same affections for it as my Bible, family or friends, but I like clean teeth. :-D

5. The sun- Can you imagine life without the sun? I am thankful that I live in a place where the sun shines almost every day! It reminds me that God holds all of life together by the Word of His mouth!

6. Books- I'm a geek. You already knew that, though. I LOVE a good book. I wish I had more time to read. My favorite subjects are theology, philosophy, homeschooling, child birth, child training and Beverly Lewis' Amish Heritage novels. Told you I am a geek.... :-)

7. Knowlegde of God- I do not deserve knowledge of God; I deserve condemnation from God. The fact that He opened my eyes to the Truth is a gift that none other can match in this life. Earth has nothing I desire except Christ, being like Him and having depth of knowledge of Him that produces Christ-likeness!

8. Health- When I see people who are suffering with cancer, AIDS, malaria, constant hunger, blindness, etc. I am grateful that I, for now, have a healthy body. Lately I have been challenged with this simple thought: When God gives much, He requires much. What am I doing with my health that a sick person cannot do in their sickness? Am I using my health to the full extent to glorify God?

9. Flip flops- Although I do not like flip flops as much as my dear brother, I am thankful for them! (and shoes in general...see my quote from yesterday!)

10. Airplanes- What an amazing invention planes are! I am thankful for the technology that has allowed me to journey around the world many times in a fraction of the time that people were able to travel a hundred years ago! There is no excuse for not reaching the ends of the earth with the gospel of Christ...

11. Computers- I am thankful that I am able to find information, type papers, send emails, play games and download digital pictures.

12. The number 12- I am thankful for this number. It reminds me of four things: the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve disciples, the twelve foundational layers of the New Jerusalem and my little sister. The first three are obvious. Why does it remind me of my sister? When she was about five years old she was listening as a group of my friends discussed children. We were talking about homeschooling and wanting to have many children. Victoria, quite seriously, voiced, "I think I would like to have ten children because twelve is too many." Hahaha...

13. Last, but certainly not least: I am thankful for The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Ben and I have been listening to Focus on the Family's radio theater production of the series on our drive to and from Ft. Collins every Sunday. Katie bought me the entire set for Christmas. I have been learning so much about God through these stories. Weird, maybe, but I don't care. It is AMAZING how much indepth theology and philosophy Lewis intertwines throughout the series. Everything Aslan says is so powerful! Each book can relate to a different aspect of my life and relationship to Christ. And it is fun because it is a story!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Words and their meanings...

What picture, idea or thoughts come to your mind when you hear the word "spiritual" ? If you would, please give your answer in comments.
Everyone complains they do not have shoes
they meet someone who does not have feet.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Power of a Name

"Jaclyn," the small African man called, pronoucing my name with his Swahili accent which sounded more like Jaci-Lynn, "please come over here to meet my wife." I turned around to face a beautiful African woman. "This is my wife, Redempta."

Redempta. Redempta. Redempta.

The name rang in my ears like a cymbal as I shook her hand, African style. Redempta.

"Hello, my name is Glorious."

"Jaclyn, Ben, I am Unity. This is my wife Grace and my children, Witness, Amen and Glory. This is my niece Gladness."

"These are my brothers, Revival and Redemption."
Redemption. Redempta. Unity. Glorious.
Glory. Amen. Witness.
Gladness. Grace. Revival.
Are these mere "spiritual" words? No, these are names of Christians I met in Tanzania, Africa. If you did not have a characteristic name, you had a Biblical one.
Zacharias. John. Samuel. Peter.
Timothy. Josephine. Naomi.
In the homeschool circle I have heard names such as:
Justice. Peace. Providence. Purity.
Honesty. Courage. Summit.
My precious friend, Dawn, became a mother on Friday and her son's name is Judah. Each of these names, whether African, Biblical or characteristic, have rich significance and meaning. In the African Christian culture if you become a follower of Jesus as an adult and do not already have a Biblical name you change your name. If you are born into a Christian home you will, more than likely, end up with a name like "Revival" or "Amen." The Bible makes it clear that names have power, significance and heritage. Many mothers groaned or rejoiced while naming their children and this affected the name the baby received! Imagine Jabez, which means, "I bore him in pain." Jabez even sounds like the Hebrew word for pain! How about Samuel, which means, "I have asked of him from the Lord" or "the Lord heard my cry." There are numerous other examples I could give.
What about the names of Jesus? Can we list them all?
Prince of Peace
And the list could go on... look up the times when "name" is mentioned in the Bible- especially in reference to God. You will be amazed at what you read!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Crossing Cultures Weekend Whirlwind

Q: What do you get when you combine a brother and a sister, and a brother and a sister? What do you get when the sisters are the oldest children and the brothers are second born? What do you get when both families have more than 5 children? What do you get when both of their fathers turn 50 this year? What do you get when their fathers were both pastors and are no longer? What do you get when the girls love missions and the boys love music? What do you get when one of the girls is taking the mission class "Perspectives" that the other girl did last year? What do you get when the girls and one boy went to Africa together? What do you get when one sister and one brother are homeschool graduates and the other brother and sister are soon to be homeschool graduates?

A: Jaclyn and Ben; Shannon and Caleb!

Part One
Little Mexico in Denver: A Struggle with Prejudice
Shannon and Caleb arrived at our house while the sun was rising (7:00am) on Saturday morning. We loaded the car and embarked on a grand adventure! The adventure? A seminar, of sorts, called Crossing Cultures. We found the host church, on the other side of town, with 15 minutes to spare! We were the first ones to arrive... and the last ones to leave. (Once a pastor's kid, always a pastor's kid... always early whether you want to be or not! Always the last one to leave because you HAVE to talk to everyone, you know?)
Crossing Cultures is a one day class that encourages, teaches and challenges people (mostly "Americans") to cross cultures in their own sphere of influence with out ever leaving "home." The morning of the class is information and traning. The afternoon is hands on in the community. You spend several hours walking the streets and talking with people of different ethnical backgrounds, asking them questions about their home country, languages and any stories they want to share.

Anyway, the seminar started and we eagerly soaked up the information. Most of the material was basic, but the activities were fun and the people were friendly. I learned that the fourth language spoken in the Aurora Public School District here in Colorado is a dialect from Ethiopia called Amharic. English is first, Spanish second, (cannot remember the third... Russian?) and Amharic. Amazing! I also learned that there are 60,000 Mongolians living in the Denver Metro area. There is one small, but thriving, Mongolian church.

Most large cities in America have become the home to hundreds of different peoples (nationalities). Close your eyes and picture the people you see on your drive to work. List the people you interact with at work or because of work. Who do you see in the grocery store? Walmart? Dry cleaner? Here is my list of people who I KNOW are first generation in America that I interact with on a regular basis: Hispanic, Ethiopian, Ghanaan, Polish, Swedish, Irish, Kenyan, British, Australian, Iranian, Korean and French.

Our location for the hands on assignment was a small Mexican bus station in downtown Denver. First, finding this place was quite difficult. One because it was in a rough part of town and two because some city streets were blocked for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. I found it eventually. None of us had been to this part of Denver before. My guard was on high as we stepped out of the car. The four of us looked around and glanced knowingly at each other. Where were we? Where we in Denver, Colorado or Juarez, Mexico? The streets were dirty; the buildings were run down. The people stared at US like we were out of place. And we were. We were white and young.

We stood across from the Guadalajara bus station and stared. We confessed to each other that we felt a slight tinge of prejudice rising from somewhere within us. Why did we have a desire to talk with the African, the European or the Asian? Why were we, four pretty outgoing people who LOVE different cultures, finding this so hard? We walked by the bus stop and, not seeing anyone in there, went instead into what I thought was a Mexican grocery store. It was not. It was a restaurant. They stared. You could almost hear them thinking, "What are they doing here?" We stepped out and walked over to a run down store. The same question was obvious on the faces of all the people inside the store: "What are these young, clean, white Americans doing in our Mexican shoe store?" Shannon and I talked with the young girl at the counter while Ben and Caleb approached some teenage boys. The girl was about twelve years old and had been in the United States only four months. She learned most of her English by reading Harry Potter. She was shy and struggling to communicate, so we courteously bought a treat and said farewell!

The "treat" we bought was what we affectionately titled a "candied yam." It was sweet, sweet, sweet, stringy inside like a squash and sweet! We couldn't have chose the pink fluffy treat or the cookies, huh? We had to pick the most unfamiliar looking one. Well, what got what we asked for by doing a thing like that! It was edible, but I would not spend a $1 on another one!

We decided to complete our "assignment" and go in the bus stop. I cannot explain what I was feeling and what I was sensing were the feelings of my brother, Shannon and Caleb. This was hard. I do not think it would have been difficult if I was in Mexico or Brazil, but why was it here? We walked across the street, took a deep breath and ventured inside. Besides one man reading a newspaper, who did not look interested in company, and the man at the counter, the bus stop was empty. Ben enthusiastically greeted the man. He was slightly handicapped and appologized for not knowing English. Ben tried to sum up our mission in simple words but the gentleman did not understand. We waved goodbye and made our exit.

We stepped out onto the street and all sighed. What made that so difficult? Feeling frustrated with our attitudes of prejudice and "unsuccessful" journey we headed back to the car. We discussed our feelings and what we would like to differently next time. Why were we nervous and why did these people throw up a wall when we appeared? We finally agreed that there are definately different cultural barriers to cross with Hispanic immigrants. First, there are a lot of them in Denver. Second, many come illegally and are nervous when asked questions. (The immigration service has spies to do the exact thing we were doing... but for a different purpose! Part of our training was how to ask questions in a way that sets the person at ease and exlains what we are doing. We are wanting to learn about their culture NOT see if they have a vaild green card or visa!) Third, many Hispanics, not all, are prejudice against Americans because of racial discrimination. Fourth, many do not speak English. All of these reasons are real and cause cultural barriers when trying to talk with them!

We all agreed that we were not expecting to face the emotions we had experienced. We all agreed that we would like to break down those walls- for the Hispanic and for ourselves. We all agreed to head back towards our class and stop at another place along the way! We prayed and drove off...

Sample Introduction:

-Example: In a store, "Hi, my name is Jaclyn. I was curious about this (imported product). Where is it from? How is it used? I am learning about different cultures today, do you have time to answer a few questions?

Sample Questions:

- Where are you from? (If they say Kansas or something, ask about family heritage!)

- What language(s) do you speak? Can you teach me how to say "hello" and "goodbye" in that language?

- How long have you lived in the United States?

- What types of food do you eat in (country)?

All of these questions are good ice breakers. The more open-ended the questions the longer a conversation will last! Most foreigners are anxious to talk about their home country that they miss! Try it sometime and see what people say! I specifically seek foreigners out for cashiers. It seems to brighten their day when you take personal interest in them! I have even said, "Glad to have you in America." The girl, from the Ivory Coast, Africa, smiled with eyes bright!

....Crossing Cultures Weekend Whirlwind TO BE CONTINUED.....

Part Two Preview-

International Food Market: An Interview with a Muslim

Part Three Preview-

Chinese Sea Food Restaurant: A Lesson in Chopsticks

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


A new blog:

by my long-time friend, Jake Mentzel. Only read Jake's blog if you are prepared to be convicted, have time to read and want to think past the common cliches of "Jesus Loves Me." Jake will challenge the core of your beliefs! Make sure to read his very first post to understand what the title "Getting past triage..." means.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Relinquishing All to Follow Him

Last night I had a crisis in my soul. I was frustrated at myself, my sins and my lack of self-discipline. I spent a long time praying, confessing and listening to God. I asked God to change me. The surface level attempts I make are not sticking. I asked God to transform me, my mind, my perspective and my beliefs. God answered my prayer. And fast. I laid down my journal and began reading:
My Utmost for His Highest
Oswald Chambers
March 8
"I am crucified with Christ." Galatians 2:20
"No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God's consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.

If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you."
::Sigh:: More thoughts to follow....

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen places I would like to visit...

For Vacation:
1. Prince Edward Island
2. New Zealand and/or Australia
3. Hawaii

For Mission Adventures:
4. India- I don't care where geographically, but would want to work with the Dalit people.
5. Back to Tanzania
6. Iraq
7. Pakistan
8. Turkey
9. Ecuador
10. China
11. Israel
12. Sudan
13. Back to Romania

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dreaming of Tanzania

Yesterday Ben and I recieved an email from our friend inviting us to be apart of the team (most of us who went last time) going to Tanzania in January 2007. Oh, how I long to return to Africa.

Two "problems." One, my dad does not have a steady job. Two, can I commit to spending $2,500 while my dad is essentially jobless? Where would I get $2,500 ($5,000 total for both)? I know that God is big. He is bigger than money and controls money. Still, Ben and I need wisdom as we think about the possibilities. Please pray that we would have discernment and direction as we pray. Please pray that my dad gets a job... not so I can go to Africa, but so that he has a job! The team leader needs to know a final decision by May 1st.

Mungu ne mwema
Mungu ne mwema
Mungu ne mwema
Ne mwema kwan gu
God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He's so good to me

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Eight Miles

Last night I went to Katie's house for a Jaclyn and Katie night. (Picture at right is from Thanksgiving at my grandparents.) We started our chicken boiling and headed over to the apartment complex gym. She ran on the treadmill. I did the bike. We exercised for 35 minutes, her running four miles and I biking eight. I even threw in a hill or two!

We have an exercise bike at home that is from the stone ages. It squeaks. It grinds. It clunks. Basically, it discourages you from wanting to bike. If I had a good bike, I could become addicted to it. I feel so refreshed, so energized and ready to go ride ten miles!

We walked back to her apartment, passing the hot tub that looked very inviting, and began fixing our dinner. We prepared my mom's famous Hawaiian Chicken: rice topped with chicken in a chicken gravy/ pineapple sauce and garnished with fresh pineapples, tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, cheese, coconut and almonds. It was delicious! I was going to take a picture of it, since it has quite the colorful presentation, but forgot.

While playing rummy we ate Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies and talked. Katie won rummy by 150 points and was quite satisfied with herself. It was a wonderful, relaxing evening and I praise God for giving Katie to me. She is an amazing friend, co-worker and companion in the faith. Thanks, God!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Dawn and her sister, Autumn, have done these "Thursday Thirteen" things. I thought I would give it a try. You may learn some new things about me!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about YOUR NAME: Jaclyn Ann

1. I was named, essentially, by my grandpa.

2. I was named after Jaclyn Smith, actress (Charlie's Angels) and model.

3. "Jaclyn" means "harvester, protector and guide."

4. "Jaclyn" is French.

5. "Jaclyn" is the female form of "Jacob."

6. "Ann" is my middle name.

7. "Ann" means "gracious."

8. "Ann" is Hebrew, coming from "Hannah."

9. My last name is German.

10. My last name means "anger or justice."

11. People have spelled my name in every possible way: Jacklyn, Jacquline, Jaqueline, etc.

12. I love my name.

13. The nickname of "Jaclyn" is Jaci (some spell is Jackie or Jacky).

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

God's Judgement

Yesterday I listened to this sermon by John Piper. I would love to give more comments later, but for now will just say, "WOW!" If you have an hour sometime soon, you should listen to it. You can find it here:

We Will All Stand Before the Judgement of God

OR you can read it here: (I suggest listening to it, though, because the manuscript cannot convey as much passion as Pastor Piper's voice!)

We Will All Stand Before the Judgement of God

"When your life extends and channels the forgiving grace of God in Christ to others, it’s plain that you are the recipient of the forgiving grace of Christ (Luke 7:47-50; Ephesians 4:32). The merciful will receive mercy in the judgment, not because mercy earns mercy, but because treating others with the mercy of Christ shows you have received and trusted the mercy of Christ." John Piper