Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tomorrow I am leaving for Sylhet district in North Bangladesh. I have been working on compiling, writing and designing a book of the 41 language groups dwelling in B'desh, and as part of the project I am traveling to several unreached ppl groups that we don't have pictures of yet. There are 6 in Sylhet district. I'm excited to go (you all know how i love to travel) but a little nervous about finding the different villages. I could be gone anywhere from 5-10 days, I really don't know how long it will take! :) It will be so refreshing to get out of crowded Dakha and back into the bush...

Sometimes i'm overwhelmed at the reality of my own finite humanity, i am incapable of solving the grievances and injustices around me.
I look at the boys i play soccer with, or the men i meet in their shops, and the thought that they live before the Father's wrath as much as we live before his love is hard, really hard. I question it. I am so thankful for the tough semester God brought me through this past spring, i'm not sure i could have borne the weight of some of these thoughts without his loving preparation.

There is a lot more I would like to say, but it will have to wait till I have more time to process and write it out. I hope your summers are going well and that God is continuing to guide and to comfort each of you. It's crazy to think that grace is the only thing that separates us...

miss you guys.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Brick Kilns...

The Jewish writer Chaim Potok says that this earth is exhausted, I’m inclined to agree with him. I went to the Brick Kilns outside of Dakha a few days ago. It was the closest thing to slave labor I have ever seen. Fat men under black umbrellas overseeing other men carrying bricks, mud or lumbar. When I asked them if I could take pictures they agreed and began bragging about how many men they “had”. One would say, “I have 300”, another, “200 of these are mine”, I’m not sure they realized that they were talking about other men, humans, image bearers. My God, these are people.

Tell me, what does love do in this situation?

I’m not sure. I am gradually becoming more and more aware that Love breathes, aches, and doesn’t shut its eyes…it bears witness and it endures the sights it beholds. Love delivers all these internal sighs to God. I also learned that a smile goes a long way.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here, and more often than not, I’m at a loss as what I should do or pray. I’m devastatingly aware that none of this is about me, yet still, I am a witness to what I see.

It will happen again tomorrow, injustice is a constant in this life, like memory. We all suffer from a curvature of the soul, yet God has chosen to work within creation gently straightening that which is bent. I’m encouraged by that.

Oh God, make Christ great among us.

In other news I have been daily playing soccer at the local park. After we finish I call them together in the middle of the field to tell them a few parables. It’s exciting and a little scary all at once. Yesterday I had one of them confront me a little angrily telling me to convert to Islam…crazy times. Yesterday as I was watching them kick the ball around before we started I looked at them individually, seeing the way they laughed, grimaced, yelled, winced…these boys need Jesus…as much as we need him every day. Please pray for their souls, God desires them. I’m sorry if this update is a little scattered. Maybe next time I’ll tell you how the actual internship is going. Haha. Here are a few pics from the brick kilns, more are posted on facebook.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

something i love...

I love being in a foreign country for a week and having people already know me. I went to play soccer again this evening and on the walk to and from the park several people who I had met before called out "Jack! Mr. Jack! How are you this day?" I don't know, it made me smile, many people here seem kind, and many more seem over eager to practice their english...still, i like it.

In other news I have a busy few days ahead. I need His grace to get through these days well. May we continue to work hard to make Christ great among us...wherever we are. In Sudan my friend would always ask me, "Did you know that you were made for such a time as this?" I love this thought, and I ask you the same question...

P.S. check out this crazy video of the brickies here in B'desh...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Enjoy! Miss you guys.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Impressions

Dakha, city of collisions., like many overcrowded cities, and perhaps the nature of our time. Watch the people and you will understand that it is a city built on a foundation of tension. This tension wears on you, its tenacious; like a bad memory or a recouring parasite. The people walk proudly with stiff backs and unwavering glances, as if concentrating on staying upright so as not to fall among the crippled, mute, disabled, blind and forgotten whose hands line the edges of many streets. Unlike the crowds that move past them these beggars are devoid of eyes. Read any amount of Jewish Literature and one will soon notice that most write to defend or explicate humanity, one of the things they focus on is that we have eyes; it’s a connection point, a reference, an indication. But you can’t see these beggars’ eyes because they never raise there heads, and so, up till now, I have joined the masses that pass by. But I see them, I see that they too are image bearers, and it breaks my heart. I wish I could see there eyes though…

My first reactions to this country is that everything screams, its overwhelming. the bright colors, the piles of trash, the heat, and the sea of people all scream to the senses, thus making it all overwhelming. Here one does not see stark differences because everyone is poor beyond endurance. The awakening soul wants to shout "NO" to the vast poverty that is daily life, but that cry seems lost when faces become crowds; crowds, neighborhoods; neighborhoods, cities; cities, regions and regions devolve into statistics. What is the accurate response to a half a country on its knees? Or a whole people targeted as somehow less than human? Or a region made homeless?

I struggle against the chaos to live under the hand of a good God, and to live before his righteousness, his justice, his peace. With eyes wide open I see that life is full, and if I take time to see it then I will behold God with us and his gentle straightening out of that which is bent. Someone once said, “earth is crammed with heaven, and every bush alight with the presence of God, only those who take the time will remove their sandals and sit on holy ground, the others sit around and eat blackberries.” I like that idea.

Alright friends, thank you for listening. Please pray that I would see people as God sees people and I would remember that I am made for Him. He’s teaching me a lot, its just hard sometimes. May we daily strive to make Christ great among us. He is the reason we woke up this morning. Beautiful. I hope your summers are going well.