Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Good News

Need I say more?

After just 13 weeks of waiting, I finally received this valuable piece of identification in the mail. Hopefully I won't have to deal with stuff like this for a looooong time. Just thought you might want to see the look on my face when I got it. I'll get back with another update soon. It looks like I'm set to leave on June 6th. Peace.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A much Needed Update for you...

It's been a while, hasn't it? Probably too long, but it seems like each day has something new to offer in the world of this trip. Here's how things are looking as of now: After spending the past two weeks on hold, calling senator's offices, and faxing personal information to random people from congress, still no passport. I received a call on Monday afternoon from one of these offices saying that it had finally been finished and it should arrive soon, but with my plane leaving tomorrow, the risk of missing it is too great, so i made arrangements today to reschedule my departure for June 7, 2007. In addition to this, I had a doctor's appointment Monday to follow up on my anxiety/irregular heartbeat/stress/whatever and the doctor actually recommended that I stay home a few exrta days to finish a couple extra tests he wanted to run. What's so weird though, is that the above phone call from the senator's office came right as we were discussing the doctor visit and the probably-smarter-idea of leaving late. So, just as I ruled out one dilema, in comes another. But after spending lots of time in prayer and thinking about the best option, I feel at peace about the decision to wait and leave next week.

Wow, as you can see, it's been rather difficult to decipher where the voice of God truly is. The trade-off for taking care of business in Dallas while the group leaves for the trip is relatively obvious. I've spent a year meeting and praying with them, and it seems like maybe God's telling me to slow down. I would have loved to spend this week viewing new cities with great people but for some reason, things have not worked out for this to happen. I'll also have to make a 9.5 hour flight to Santiago alone when I actually do leave. I hope this time at home will let me figure out all of this medical junk and also get my passport in time to leave. I feel like I've been through some kind of storm with all of these plans going back and forth, but I'm really hoping that this one will work out.

So, what's next? I don't know. I need to not be regretful of this decision and be confident in the fact that I've got to take care of my medical issues. I've also got to understand that the passport situation was almost completely out of my hands and that I did all I could do. I can also spend some more time with people who I won't see for a while! I need to make the most out of the place God has put me. I'll get back soon after I speak with Gary, Wes, Reid, and Nikki. Peace out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happier Thoughts

Today I went to hang out with Cassie's 3rd grade class. I really enjoy those kids. What's better though, is seeing quality education in action. I think being around kids makes you happier. Octavion is probably my favorite kid in the class because he's so freakin cool. The best part of it is that he really knows he's cool, but he innocently plays it off like he doesn't. The doctor told me a couple weeks ago to find something that makes you feel like you're in 3rd grade again. I think sitting inside an elementary school classroom can help with such ideas. It's so weird to think of random times from those days of your childhood. I was always the moderately-smart-nerd-that-sucked-up-to-the-teacher. Most of my elementary school days were joyful and others, not so joyful.

Anways, today was good because it's been about a week since I've done much of anything that's productive. As I gear up to leave next week, I've realized that I only have a week left! This presents a problem because there are so many people I want to see and things I want to do before I can't see those people and do those things for 9 weeks. Things like going to On The Border, getting a snowcone from TC Shaved Ice, having lunch with old friends and Mom and Dad, driving my car down 635 just to get a rush, making random trips to Wal-Mart to get junk I really don't need at 11pm at night, followed by some fries from Wendy's, seeing the Dallas skyline and knowing I'm close to home, and probably best of all...sitting on the couch watching a movie.

Today I decided to not mention my passport issues anymore. I'm giving it to God to take care of and make the decisions for me. "What's supposed to happen will happen"...someone told me a couple days ago, and it's so true. If I'm forced to spend a few extra days at home, then fine, I've becoem OK with that. In fact, that might even be kind of fun. Who knows. I'm just gonna enjoy the next few days I have at home with good people and take a load off, rather than pack on stress over something I really have no control over. On a much more happier note...this weekend I got a new rain jacket from REI that really rocks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jeremy's pissed

That's right. This is about to be a bash America session. I hope I can hold my tongue, but it's not looking to bright. Today, I've spent a total of 2 and a half hours either on hold, re-dialing over and over again, or talking to representatives that offer no help whatsoever to me. So today I called the Passport Office again to check my status, and no word from Houston. They were supposed to reply to my expedite request and haven't done so, so my forms are still sitting there in Houston. So when I asked them what I should do next, they said to go ahead and plan on going to Houston and that they'd transfer me to the appointment line. I'm thinking this could work out, but after about a half hour talking to my little friend (the automated computer system), he gladly informed me that the next available appointment time was May 29th, 2007. Thanks a lot! I'm so frustrated right now that this is taking this long. It's not supposed to happen like this. The best they could do was offer to request a will-call from Houston when it's actually ready so that I can drive and pick it up (M-F 8-3). This has got to be the most-complicated thing I've ever done. Ok, so I'm going to spend the next few days sulking about the tardiness of the government systems, while you can say a prayer for me. Thanks!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Houston, here I come!?

What? As strage as this sounds, it's true. I figured out today that it doesn't pay to be cheap. I had no idea that 11 weeks ago it would have been much smarter to expedite my passport rather than paying for regular service. Keep in mind that it's not supposed to take longer than 10 weeks, and here we are at week 11. After spending several hours on hold with the State Department, they informed me that there's no way to guarantee that it would make it to me in time for my departure (10 days from now). All the operator could tell me was that it's still in process in Houston and that I could call there to set up an appointment to try and get it. If this wasn't enough, there's always the threat of it actually getting shipped in time and lost in the world of ACU mail services. Ya, I think I'll take the chance and go to Houston. I have to admit, part of me wants to take the trip to get some driving time in before I can't for 2 months.

Plus, don't tell anyone, but I can also swing by Impact to say whassup to some of my Houston buds. I mean I'm not gonna complain.

It's so good to be home. There's something about it that's not like anywhere else in the world. It might be because I know I won't be here for a loooong time, but it just feels really nice to relax and have a break from school. I over-stressed my self way too much this semester and this break could not have come at a better time....except maybe a month ago. Ha. I do miss my friends and I'm starting to be all nostalgic and stuff, but I get these random moments of excitement, like when I listen to a good song in the car and I picture myself taking off on the plane or something. Then it kind of dies off because I realize I'm actually leaving really soon.

So last night I went to the Village Church to hear Matt Chandler. It's a really neat church that has a lot going on for them. It was really refreshing to be at a place where the worship is so raw and real. They played a video of him speaking because there's like 6 services, but it was so weird because it was life-size and looked like he was actually standing on the stage or something. He talked about mothers and women and nurturing. I would highly recommend downloading the podcast.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm going to Peru

Today I was driving down the road on the way back from lunch when something struck me. This was one of those moments that pierces your insides and sends adrenaline through your body. It was a revelation. I realized for the first time that I am actually leaving the country in 2 and 1/2 weeks. It came out of nowhere when I thought to myself, "I'm going to Peru...I'm going to Peru?...I'm going to Peru!!!" I think I've finally moved past the anticipatory stage to the pure ecstatic phase. I still have no idea what to expect, but I know for sure that I'm ready for some adventure and excitement in my life. All of these thoughts came just in time for finals week when I have to take 4 tests, pack my life into my car, and say some last good-byes. I don't know how to describe it other than to say that it's an inner-peace that's much needed. I find it ironic that my first impression of Latin America will be based on the city of La Paz...or if you don't know much Spanish..."The Peace". I don't even know much about the history of this place, but I'm sure of this: As God's peace is being restored to this hurting world, it's also falling on the lives of individuals in real ways. I hope God will show me peace in La Paz.

Heck, I don't know...maybe today was so good because I didn't have class, I got a big test out of the way, I went to exercise for the first time in a long time(killed my muscles, but decided I'm getting a membership at Hendrick when I get back in the fall), and there's not all that much ahead of me this week. I'd like to think it's because the stress is being wiped away as I allow God to fill those gaps. This great day was thrown into a different direction when I called the State department to check the status of my passport, only to find that it was still being processed...after 10 weeks! They told me to call back in a few days to see where things stood, and the lady kindly left the conversation reminding me that there was no way to tell if it'd make it by May 25th. Oh great...But hopefully my patience will last and God will pull through.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Let's try this one more time

Here we go again. It's been about a year since my last post, but there's a ton going on in life that needs to be shared. The summer is here and it's about to get crazy. My plane leaves in 3 weeks from DFW for a summer that will hopefully be life changing. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us. Last summer was incredible and I didn't expect it to be that way at all. I think God has a way of throwing things at you unexpectedly. I think it's possible to limit what he can do in the world. Sometimes I do that. I hope I don't do that this summer. My main objective at this point is to keep an open mind to what God will do in others' lives and in my own. I've never gone anywhere like this before and I'm so eager to jump into it, but I also want to be cautious to see what God is showing me and not just what my eyes see.

So, the summer will go like this...exactly three weeks from today, I leave from DFW for La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia. I'll be traveling with a forming team, and good friends, Wes and Ellen, who have become like family, Reid, who is pretty much my brother, and Deanna, who is a girl who supposedly lives in Colorado, but I've never met her. Haha! We'll spend just 2 short days there surveying the city for the possibility of long term work there. Keep in mind that we fly into this capitol city that sits between 11,000 and 13,000 ft. Yes, if you're wondering, that's higher than many of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I'm gasping for a breath just thinking about it. (I've started running quite a bit here in Abilene to prepare for this physically demanding portion of the trip.) After La Paz, we'll head to Concepcion and Temuco, Chile for the same purpose. After our week-long survey trip, Reid and I will spend 3 weeks in Santiago, Chile with the Grants and some others at their church. Hopefully we'll be able to learn a ton of Spanish there and stay with a local family to get immersed into the culture. I've always been interested in culture in general and the idea that people can be so different but still live in the same small world. After spending June in Santiago, we'll begin our actual internship in Lima, Peru where we'll be doing some bible studies and working with an orphanage.

Ok, so I'm beyond excited now. Here's what you can do: PRAY! Pray that God protects us on this trip. Pray that God challenges us on this journey. Pray that my heart is open to hearing the voice of our Creator. Pray that lives will be changed and that a glimpse of the Kingdom will be seen. Pray for adventure and peace as we go to new places. I'm thankful for God and his blessing on this trip through his faithful people. I'll try hard to keep updated as this thing comes together. Peace!