Thursday, July 31, 2003

Hellooo, I am back in Scotland these days.

I found out some disturbing news yesterday. Approximately 2 days before I am back in Fayetteville, TONY TOST IS MOVING TO CHAPEL HILL.

Actually, it's not so bad! I won't have to be embarrassed every time I run into him now.

So today Scott and I went into Glasgow and I bought two of the best cds ever produced: Spice Girls "Spice" and Spice Girls "SpiceWorld". I also bought a pretty white dress.

Basically I don't have anything to say except I am still alive and Wales was good and Scotland is good and .... I'm good.... I'll be home in a week (sad face/happy face) so I will see most of you soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Did anyone go see Denison Whitmer last night? (To you, in America, right now, it just ended. To me, it was last night. Weird, isn't it?) Tell me how the show went.

And go see Eleni Mandell at JRs on August 9. I'll be back in time to see her! Hurray!

Well, its nearing the end of my Wales trip. Today I am going to the Teen Challenge rehab with a couple of girls for their interviews. Then I'm being dropped off at Mari's for two nights and then early early in the morning I will be in Scotland. Wow, I had this dream last night that I was on the plane going to Scotland and the plane was set up more like a bus and the Captain was making jokes and stuff and the person in the co-pilot seat was just a passenger and he made a joke that the Captain didn't like so the captain rolled down the passengers window and he blew out! Then I was sitting next to the exit door, on the other side, and someone opened it and people started flying out. I crawled over the seat in front of me to get away and I found Tommy Atkinson and Bev Blann. But they both flew out too. And finally someone shut the door. When we landed, I was questioned and we realized it was Bev who opened the door with intent to kill people. (Even though she'd flown out too...) But suddenly there she was alive, with no excuse. (In my mind I was thinking she'd flown out of the plane but I just let the dream go on. I usually know that I'm dreaming in my dreams so I just let them go with it.)

Oh I also dreamed that Justin Keogh gave me a gun at school that was mine and I was still in Wales and I suddenly remembered that guns are illegal over here and I couldn't take it back with me on the plane either. So I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't want to bury it in the yard or anything in case I incriminated this family, I didn't want to throw it in a dumpster because what if they burn all that trash and there were bullets in the gun and the gun started exploding out bullets and killed people? The situation sucked.

Sorry didn't mean for this to be a dream post. I'm going to go pack my stuff. Pray that my bags this time around will be under 20kg. Otherwise I'll have to pay the airlines £4 per excess kg!

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Vision of Trees

A lady from Teen Challenge shared this vision she had with me. She saw this forrest with all these large old trees and then also many young trees. The young trees had huge branches and bore lots of fruit. But she noticed that they had very tiny roots.

Familiar God

I've been thinking lately about why I often feel so uncomfortable around some really outlandish Christians. I've often felt guilty about it, like maybe I should be that way too and I'm not. I feel uncomfortable when I see great big signs that say things like "Jesus Saves!" and "Now is the time to repent!" or when I see little emblems and shirts and whatnot with phrases like "F.R.O.G.- Fully Rely On God" and you know stuff like that. Or when people off handedly say "What would Jesus do?" or not even necessarily the cliche but just the general. For instance a lady was telling me about how she saw this restaraunt sign that said "Morning Glory: Alcohol and Breakfast" and she covered up "alcohol" with "Jesus". I was really bothered, ya know? And I wondered if maybe I wasn't being radical enough or if I was being too in the world or whatever.

But no. I realized that I feel uncomfortable with that because I don't serve a generic God. I don't serve a cliche God. The Jesus Christ who made me a completely new person, the Jesus who has helped me over and over and over, the Jesus who has healed all my heartbreaks and gotten me through every trial, is not generic. I don't know God as the God who "is like Tide- he gets out the stains." I mean, yes, God does that. God is that guy. God does save and we should fully rely on God and the time is now to repent. But the Lord is so much more personal than that. He's my best friend. I don't recognize this 3rd party God that is publicized and promoted. I don't recognize him that way.

I was watching an interview with the director of the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and his wife told a story about their daughter, how one day she was hearing people talk about her dad being the director of this hit TV show and she said "Whoa. My dad is the director of 'Buffy'." And her mother just laughed and said "Darling, he's been doing this for ten years."

That's how it is. I am so close to Jesus that I don't recognize him in the billboards and the flippant "hallelujahs" and "amens". Come on people! This is our Daddy we're talking about! This is our friend! No one is going to fall in love with the God of the billboard. No one is going to fall in love with a generic Jesus. We should be sharing the personal God, not slapping a "Honk if you love Jesus" sticker on our bumpers and expect to cut into hearts. The word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword. Why don't we start using it and drop these horrible cliches and boring images.

You know, if I had a friend and I was trying to get her hooked up with another friend, I wouldn't tell her "This guy is great. He's tall and nice." She's seen that before. There's nothing enticing about this guy. Instead I'd tell her "He's a botonist, he graduated with his master's degree last year and he volunteers at the old person's home on Saturdays. He listens to good music and plays piano. He's been to Rome several times because his family is from Italy. etc, etc." You tell whats special about him. What makes him more interesting than all the other guys she's known. Lets start being creative and telling people about how interesting our Jesus is. I've never known someone to come to Christ because they've heard "He's good." But lives all over the world are being changed when they hear what he's done to each of us personally. I think the only church sign I've ever seen that I thought was creative was one that said something like "What can change your life?" Then there was one of those negative space images that say Jesus in the negative but you can't see it because our eyes are trained to see positive space. Then underneath it says "The problem is, you can't see it."

Friday, July 18, 2003

If any of you Americans in the Central Standard Time zone read this before 3:30pm, please pray for me. (If you read it after, pray anyway, God transcends time.) Tonight is the night I've been waiting for and nervous about. Tonight we take out the coffee bus. The Teen Challenge coffee bus goes into Newport on Friday nights and gives out free drinks and pot noodles to the homeless or anyone else who comes on. Anyone can come on and chat with us or whatever. This is going to be my first experience with really chatting with junkies or homeless people or whomever. When I was in high school, I went on a mission trip to Toronto and we did some street ministry but I didn't hardly talk to anyone, I was too afraid. Tonight, I want to be bold. A lot of people their first time on the bus just kindof observe to see how it goes, and I don't want to beat myself up over it if that's all I end up doing. But if God nudges me to go talk to someone, then I want to do it! It's just scary. I sometimes think I have the gift of discernment and can tell when someone is serious or not, but then things happen where I begin to doubt that. One thing that's really hurt me since I became a Christian is not knowing what my spiritual gifts are. I've taken the dumb quizzes and they always tell me something different. At any rate, Satan likes to really attack me in that area. In fact just last night I had one of those mini dreams that last seconds and I dreamed that I told this person I had the gift of discernment and then I ate a brownie and it had orange flavoring in it and I thought "If i really had the gift of discernment, I'd have known that this brownie was going to be gross." Ha, well luckily discernment has nothing to do with fortune telling and brownies, but you get my point. So just be praying for me if you will, just a short prayer even, God answers them all. I have faith that God is good and won't let me down. Particularly since its his work I'm helping with.

Just a quick summary of whats been going on: I met Mari, my Welsh internet friend, for the first time Wednesday. We went shopping and had a good time. I bought some pink trainers, among other things. Last night we went to a tent meeting in the park and the speaker was excellent. Really powerful. Had a great story of how she became a Christian. She talked about healing which was awesome. I always have doubts about healing, but we had three testimonies of God's miraculous healing and read about the woman in the Bible with the bleeding who touched Jesus' garment and was healed and then about Bartimaeus, the blind man who threw off his cloak and was healed. It was really really good.

Ok, well that's all I have for now. Keep the emails coming folks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I Dream of Sheep

I think its time I tell some of my dreams now. All right, the night before last, I dreamed first that I went to jail for stealing a sheep. I'm in Wales, of course I'm gonna steal a sheep. See, I was with Stevie and Lewi and Scott and Pete, the whole lot, and we thought it would be funny to steal a sheep, you know, just for a laugh. But I was the only person who got caught. I was sent to this prison that was a combination of Shawshank Redemption and Bad Girls (this horrible British television drama about a women's prison). In this dream, I suddenly got into the car with Amanda (leaving prison) and - Mandy, you're gonna hate this- it was another one of those dreams where I get pissed off and yell at you- I DON'T KNOW WHY, it just happens... But I got in the car and we got in a wreck and it just happened to be this girl Caroline's car who has just started coming to our church (you haven't met her yet Amanda). Obviously Caroline was upset because we totally destroyed her car and Amanda was saying that she thinks Caroline hates her and I was like "No, Amanda, she's just upset because of her car. Now i really gotta get back to prison before they find me missing." But Amanda wouldn't hurry up and she kept on about Caroline hating her and telling me to calm down about getting back to prison so finally I screamed "YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ITS LIKE TO BE PUT IN JAIL!!" And I jumped out of the car and ran back to the prison just in time to follow all the other girls back in after their break and I didn't get caught.

Then that same night I dreamed that I was working on a murder case with Morgan Freeman about a little girl who was accused of killing her parents. Morgan and I had worked out all the details and we discovered that the little girl was innocent. (Is it obvious what movie I've seen recently?) At the same time, there was this Chinese lawyer who'd been working on a case about a little boy who'd been chopped up and fed to an animal at the zoo with mayonaise and coleslaw. (Ok so in the dream I actually thought "I hope this is just a dream. And I hope I'm not the wack who's dreaming it up.") Well chance would have it that the Chinese guy's case was thrown out and he was out of a job at the same time that Morgan Freeman was shot. But chance would also have it that Morgan and the Chinese lawyer were brothers so the Chinese lawyer dressed up like Morgan and went to trial and the girl was acquitted. Hurray!

Then last night I only remember bits. At one point, I was running around Glasgow with Stevie and we ran into Lewi (and I think I almost made out with him...). But that was beside the point, I was trying to get a cell phone. So we went to several different places and finally I bought a cingular service. It had the best deals. So I signed the contract then the guy told me "Your deposit will be £1,500." Oh no! I'd already signed the contract! He didn't tell me that part!

I dreamed other things last night, but you know, I can't remember at the moment. Perhaps there will be an adendum to this post. I sure hope so. And hey, if you know a psychiatrist, call him for me, will ya?

So today and yesterday I spent at the Lliswery School talking to kids about smoking. It went pretty well really. I mean of course the kids were totally cheeky and a couple were downright rude but for the most part, it went as I expected it to. Today two others came with Caroline and I, a recovering junkie and a recovering alcoholic. It was good. I cringed kind of a lot because they talked so much about Jesus and just like in the US, you can't do that, but it went well. One boy stayed after school to talk and be prayed for so I think it was worth it- just as long as we don't get in trouble and Teen Challenge gets banned from schools!

And there's not much more to say. I'm getting on better with the family here and I'm really starting to have a good time. I like all the Teen Challenge work I'm getting to do and I'm having some of the craziest dreams. Maybe I'll share more about those later.

For now, I gotta finish talking to Scott, call the airlines, and go to a potluck. Whew!

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Save the Wales

I've now been in Wales for about 5 days. Or 4. I can't remember. Yesterday we took the Teen Challenge bus to a festival here in Newport and we set it up for people to come on and learn about it. I also had to walk in a parade, tied up with chains to two other people holding signs that said "What chains bind you? Drugs, alcohol, etc etc, Teen Challenge can help!" I think I'm really going to enjoy the Teen Challeng part of this trip. So far, it's been eye opening. We go into school tomorrow to talk to kids about smoking. I'm nervous- kids can be ruthless.

Last night we went to England for dinner. How strange. I might be going down to London next weekend. That's really exciting to me. It's only about 2 and a half hours from here, which to these people is a road trip. I hope we go, I'd love to see London, just to say I've been.

Please be praying for me, I'm having a hard time adjusting. I kinda feel like all the things I asked prayer for before I left are the very things that haven't been happening... what a sucky feeling, huh.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Life of a Typical Scot

I woke up at 1:00 this afternoon after being out late last night. I did some laundry and I really think I almost blew up the house. The washing machine just kept on going forever and after 3 hours I decided to stop it. I don't know whats up with that machine but it started freaking me out when it started spinning so fast I thought it would orbit. I stopped the machine and pulled out my clothes and now all my clothes are like two sizes larger than they were when they went in. Gosh that sucks. And what is it about expensive clothes that the one fancy shirt I own, the only Banana Republic shirt I've ever purchased just happened to be in that wash and is now huge, stretched out, and for absolutely no reason at all, gray instead of white. It wasn't in a load with dark clothes, so why is it gray now?? Now my laundry is hanging on the clothesline and I bet it'll rain just to spite me.

Last night I felt like a true Scottish lad (yes, lad). I was sitting around a fire in the woods with about seven or eight scottish guys when they all get this idea to go down to the church camp's campsite and set off fireworks then run away. This is what these Scottish boys do you see, regardless of age. They wreak havoc. Steal/relocate signs, yell at people out the windows, I don't even know what all they do. So that's how I found myself crammed in the back of a car with a bunch of guys with speeding through the windy country roads with the headlights off. We got to the edge of the campsite and rolled the car half way down the gravel road. We crept up to the tents and simultaneously about six or seven fireworks were set off and we ran back down the road shouting and "wa-hoo"ing and setting off rockets, piling in the car as fast as possible and speeding off. I've felt incredibly privileged during this trip- most tourists don't get to see the real side of Scotland the way I've been getting to.

Last night I also tasted Bailey's for the first time. It's really tasty.

Tomorrow I leave for Wales. I guess I ought to confirm my flight, huh. I'll do that pretty soon. I'm pretty excited/nervous. I can't wait to see what God has for me. But I wish I were a better Christian. But then again, if I were a better Christian maybe I'd feel even more unprepared. I've noticed that as I grow in my Christian walk, I become more and more aware of how unprepared and weak I am. I think that's the point. I led a TMI team when I was less than a year old spiritually and I thought I was seriously unprepared. Now, nearly three years into my salvation, I feel like I could never lead a team again because of how unworthy and sinful I am. Imagine how I'll feel in twenty years. Yet the cool thing is, just at the same pace as I'm recognizing my sinfulness, God is also conforming my will to his, and when he tells me to do something I'm learning to do it. So in twenty years, I may be the ugliest sinfullest Christian in the country, but I hope I'll also be one of the most willing.

I truly love the journey.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

No La Tengo

Well this is the second time an amazing show occurred and I missed out. Yo La Tengo played in Edinburgh last night, and I was so close to going then someone (I won't mention any names, Andy) wouldn't lend his son the car for the night so we missed out. Tsk tsk. Scott and I went to the Burrell Collection art museum yesterday. It was really cool. This guy had an interesting taste in art.

Today I went to a prayer meeting at this guy Mark's house. He went through the Teen Challenge program a couple of years ago as a heroin addict and is now one of the most amazing Christian men I know. This guy loves Jesus!! The meeting was really good for me. I've been struggling lately as some of you know with just guilt and condemnation and feeling weak and faithless and whatnot... It was a good thing for me, God really touched me. Any of you reading this who pray, there's something you can lift up to the Lord for me - that I would come to understand the balance between grace and works-- so I'm not always feeling condemned but also that I'm not always feeling pretty righteous. I know God's got a plan for me and I'm ready and willing to do whatever it is. I feel like I'm definitely moving in the right direction but that maybe I'm moving rather slowly... and you know, none of us like slowness. I guess I can't always be running all the time, in any direction, but its hard when I feel like I'm just barely shuffling my feet. Sometimes I don't know the difference between being lazy and waiting on the Lord. Ah, being a Christian, as CS Lewis said is the hardest thing in the world and its also the easiest thing in the world. Paradoxes (paradoxi? paradoxese?) are a great part of life. And as a girl, I'm totally used to feeling them all the time. But I'll say this, being in this amazing country sure makes me feel close to God- maybe its because of how much higher on the globe I am... ha, just kidding. I mean, there is so much darkness on this island, yet so much light. I know you Scots are gonna think I'm ridiculous for quoting this but a song we sang Sunday night really is true: "There's a lot of darkness but a lot more light." Really. God is moving, its so evident, but sometimes its hard to see it because the darkness is all around.

I hate drugs. I hate that they even exist. God save your world and your people from this hopeless state.

I'll see you guys soon. Please email, you have no idea how lonely it is when I only check my email every once in a while and I have nothing. Sure I've got amazing friends here to keep me from being lonely but you guys have my heart. I mean, so do these people up here but you know- I live with you Americans, I love you to death, so don't forget me. Or if you dont have time to email, just leave a comment.

Boy do I sound pathetic. :) Heh, whatever. I have a lot of love in my heart, what am I supposed to do about it?

Hugs and kisses.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Scots on the Rocks

I have internet time now! Brilliant! These Scottish keyboards are different, its hard to type correctly.

so i went down to where i used to sleep in the woods here in Scotland. It's amazing! I stood in the very place that I camped for five weeks. Tonight we went to the Function, a little all ages venue where some "post hard core" band played (Emberfall). This place was like Clunk, with couches and stuff, but I didn't fall asleep there. We are all at Stevie's now, sitting around watching trial biking and chatting. These guys call me Artic. Because my name is Lori and lorry is a truck and there is a lorry called articulate lorry or something... immature boys. Heh.

Right as i wrote "immature boys" Pete threw something at me and Scott started poking my arm. Blokes.

So i got rather homesick today. I miss lots of people. I wish more people were emailing me.... grrr. But things got better. I really like all the new people I've met and it's so great to see all my old friends like Pete, Scott, Stevie, etc. Lewi is pretty great now. Anyway its been a great three days. AH only three days! I have five more! THEN I get to go to Wales and do the Teen Challenge thing!

Oh, and by far the best thing so far has been seeing Mark from TC. He and I got to know each other a bit last time i was here and wrote letters to each other for about a year. He didn't know I was coming over so I got to surprise him yesterday. He's engaged now to the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. God is good. God does really great amazing things.

I love God. Hip hip hurray for Jesus!!

Ok well that's about all....

um... later.

Aye mates, prayer request number one:

this fertile land is destroying my sinuses. i'm allergy attacking like nobody's business. please pray that my head and nose will clear up very very soon, that i wont run out of allegra, and if i do, that i can get it refilled here,and that whatever, just that i clear up. i'm miserable!

(this view from this study is simply gorgeous, like a painting.)

Once again, I have limited time.

Here is what I have learned about Scotland this time around:
1. Chip Rolls with gravy are mingin'. (pronounced MAY-ngin)
2. Everyone has a cell phone. (pronounced M0-bile)
3. It sometimes does get hot.
4. Scottish drivers are mad.

Yesterday I slept in very late which was good. I think it balanced out my jet lag. Lewi and I got up around 1 and went to pick up Stevie at his house. The three of us when to Kirstine's house (pronounced KAR-steen) and played with her wee rat Charlie Brown. Then we went to Fiona's house to see Mark Henry (the Teen Challenge guy that I corresponded with when I came home last time. He's now out of the program and engaged to Fiona who is absolutely beautiful.) Yet when we got to Fiona's mother's house they'd just left to Fiona's. So we went there and I saw Mark. The surprise was excellent. He looked at me for a minute, probably expected an introduction then said "No way! Praise God!" (in a Scottish accent). It was great. By then it was late and we had to get to a praise and worship thing that Lewi and Kirstine and some others had to do and to make a long story short, we were an hour late and when we got there we still didn't have a bass player so Stevie who is not an insured driver took Lewi's car and drove like a madman all over Paisley and we picked up Sarah one of the singers and Martin the bass player and were another hour late.

The praise and worship was great. It was at a drug rehab center and those guys/girls know how to praise Jesus! It was a wonderfully uplifting time for me. God is amazing.

Today we're going into Glasgow for some shopping and whatnot. But I gotta go. Lewi wants the computer. Oh and Robin came in yesterday so it was neat to see him.

I miss you all tons!!!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Arab Strapless

I don't have a lot of internet time so I'll make this short and sweet.

I didn't get see Arab Strap last night. We managed to get four of us on the guest list to the show and five of us were going so we were gonna pitch in for the fifth person and have an Arab Strap extravaganza. But when we got there, the show was sold out so one person would've had to sit it out. We were going all or nothing so we just didn't go. We had chips instead. (Fries, Americans.)

The flight was great, no problems, right on time, I actually slept a lot too. No crying babies, and my head didn't explode. God was with me. Yes!

I don't have anything planned for today. I slept in til 1:00pm but I needed to, jet lag and all. We're going to go into Glasgow this weekend and go to the art museum and Ikea and whatever else.

When more happens, I'll write more.