Last year we spent a week of Lent in Guatemala while finalizing Mackenzie’s adoption. One incredible day our lawyer and his wife took the three of us to Antigua, Guatemala. I could smell the coffee beans growing along the roadside as we wound around in the mountains on our journey.
While we are not Catholic, I was deeply moved by how cathedrals’ doors were flung wide open for the public to come worship at any time. People dropped in just to pray and focus their thoughts on Christ’s sacrifice in the midst of their busy days.
Part of the Holy Week celebration in Antigua includes villagers making ‘alfombras’ or rugs out of dyed pieces of sawdust. The detail is so intricate and I kept worrying a breeze would come along and blow them to pieces. It was beautiful to behold the art of these villagers, all done out of reverence to Christ and His death and resurrection.
I hope as you view the photos below that I took in la Catedral you think most about the final image – one of a local man who is likely a poorly paid farmer. I heard him weeping in the middle of the day as he held his hand to the glass case surrounding a sculpture of Jesus in the tomb. It is so easy for me to pass over Jesus’ pain on my behalf as I read about it because I know the final outcome in the next chapter of my Bible. Yet it was more real and intense than you or I could ever know. On this Good Friday, may each of us stand with this sweet man in Guatemala and reach out to our Jesus who endured it all that we might know Him.
una alfombra en la catedral (made of sawdust)
Man weeps over Christ’s death
Because our trip back to the states for training will be 6 weeks long, we’re giving up our flat and will rent a different home upon returning to London at the end of May. Our flat was listed on the market this morning, and within 2 hours of that, we had 3 viewings scheduled. Now that’s a good market! If our flat is rented out before we leave (in less than 3 weeks), we stand to gain the return of April’s rent which we had to pre-pay upon moving here since we had no visa or local bank account. Please pray with us that our flat is rented quickly and the money returned to us. I’ll keep you posted…
I took the photo above standing on a bridge near our home. It’s a unique and exhilarating feeling to stand on the bridge with trains speeding underneath you!
London has recently been determined to be 26% more expensive to live in…full article
We’ve moved our planned visit to OKC up 2 weeks so that we can be back in London by the end of May to present TWO LC.tv Network Church services during June! As mentioned last week, we’ll apply for visas for the 4 of us to live in England while we’re in OKC and will spend 6 weeks training with LifeChurch.tv as part of our partnership with the church to focus on the expansion of the Internet Campus and other potential Network Campus opportunities abroad. We get to spend a week in Phoenix with my family from April 29-May 6 and hope to schedule time to meet many of you as well to share about our ministry here.
Our 501(c)3 application was filed in Oklahoma this week, and we’ll be able to receive tax-deductible donations to support our living here to grow this Network Church sometime in April. I’ll post more news on that as the process progresses.
No doubt these next 3 weeks will sail past quickly as we prepare for the April 6 Network Church service and move out of our flat.
We’ll be seeing many of you soon!
Some of you might remember me posting before we moved to England that Chris hoped to run in a local club. A few weeks back while running through Wimbledon to train for the upcoming OKC Memorial Marathon half-marathon, Chris was spotted by a man who attends our local church and is an avid runner. Our friend from church picked him up early yesterday morning to take part in the Wimbledon Common Time Trial. WCTT is a free 5K held weekly in a local park. Chris had a blast, has a new friend from church, and looks forward to shaving more time off his running using this new challenge!
Chris and I spent our first “nobody’s sick” Friday in 4 weeks in the city yesterday while the kids were at school. It’s only about £2/person to get into the city on the underground transport from our home!
We walked around a few hours to see the famed shopping at Oxford Street (which claims to be the busiest street in Europe), St. Paul’s Cathedral (which is where Prince Charles & Lady Di were married), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (a reconstruction of the original located on the River Thames – where Shakespeare himself wrote and performed!), and the Tate Modern Art Museum.
Chris and I agree that in the past month we’ve joined the ranks of locals who fail to recall on a daily basis we live in London, near some of the most amazing historical sights in the world. But I was seriously jolted out of taking our new location for granted yesterday when I casually walked from one gallery in the Tate modern into another and stumbled upon Jackson Pollock’s Summertime, numerous Picasso pieces, Andy Warhol’s Hamburger, Warhol’s Gun, and Claude Monet’s Water-Lilies. While I’ve been fortunate to see some amazing artwork in my life, I’ve always wanted to see one of Monet’s Water-Lilies series and was stunned to discover it resides in the same city as me! The detail of the water’s reflection is impossible to capture by photos I’ve seen of the piece – such a gift to see it in person. It almost seems the water is moving as you stand and take it all in. Like all museums in London, admission to the Tate Modern is free. Incredible!
I took a few photos of our day in the city – you can see them here.
Last night we attended one of Blake’s friends birthday parties. The family is American, so it wasn’t entirely different, but we learned a few fun British bday party facts. 1) You always play ‘pass the parcel’, a game where music is played as a circle of children pass a wrapped present around. Each time the music stops, the child with the parcel gets to open it and keep the treat inside. The parcels are wrapped around each other so each child gets a treat by the time the game is over. 2) Birthday cake is cut and handed to children on napkins as they leave to take home and eat. 3) The child either opens his presents at the door as you enter the home with his gift or he opens them following the party when everyone’s gone home.
Local schools place a big emphasis on educating students about a variety of religions and cultures. I know an 8 year old boy here who recently told his teacher he would not accompany his class on a field trip to visit a Muslim mosque. The teacher told the boy’s mother he said he doesn’t yet fully understand how Muslims worship or what goes on in their mosques, so in order to avoid the possibility of doing something he shouldn’t as a Christian, he would be sitting out. This 8 year old boy’s example is one to run with. (I’ve got 20+ years on him and still need to be better educated on world religions myself.)
What would our lives look like if we stood up and said we’ll not venture into shady territory? Shady territory can look like anything from lunch out with a married co-worker of the opposite sex, watching an ‘R’ rated movie, or going to an all-you-can-eat buffet in your stretchy pants.
There are plenty of things we could do that likely won’t harm us – but as we mature in Christ let’s start demanding more from ourselves and pass by opportunities that could do more harm than good.
While she’s an American citizen now, Mackenzie was formerly a citizen of Guatemala. Her foreign origin takes our numbers up to 11 Countries represented, 27 people in attendance. We don’t want to pass up the chance to acknowledge her unique heritage!
Another quick factoid from last night. Of the people in attendance the following countries were present:
27 People, 10 Countries