'shine your eyes’ is a phrase that I picked up in liberia, west africa. it means to open your eyes and see the Truth. this is my hope for people everywhere, myself included, that we will continually be transformed to see and be the ideals God has set forth as the Kingdom. the book of isaiah says it this way:

'see, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. the mind of the rash will understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.’ isaiah 32:1-4

currently this is taking shape in my life working with bahamas habitat. we are working to provide aviation support to bahamas methodist habitat, a hurricane relief/sub-standard housing repair organization based in the bahamas. know that we would love for you to come spend some time with us as we take part in all the beautiful ways that God is loving His creation.

in the words of mother teresa, “pray for me that i not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” and i pray that in all that you do, whether coming to the bahamas, serving in haiti or celebrating life in your part of the world that you will simply love and come and see all that God has for us. let this place be a place of celebration and conversation for us to greater understand life with one another.

‘and because of our faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand. and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has in mind for us to be.’ –romans 5:2



junk junk junkanoo!

the american contingency of bmh minus abe met in albany, ga to head back to the states.  we flew back in the cherokee that they had flown up a few days after i went back to the states.  the flight was fun and laid back.  it was a fun realization when i didn't feel compelled to take pictures crossing the water between florida and the bahamas.  we made it fine and it was good to be back, no doubt.

kp got married the weekend after i left for the states.  vonia, his wife, has 3 kids living with her.  all 5 are now living in the apartment above my room and the urick's space.  it's a really fun arrangement and it means that we get to be neighbors with all the people in this family who are great.  love it.  i wish that everyone will come and see everything and meet everyone.

i'm thankful to be here and here for a solid time.  coming in october and leaving in both november and december interrupts life a good bit in a place when people don't travel a whole lot.  settling in for the new year has caused us as an organization to start having good conversation about how we will live and work together.  good things are happening and i'm excited for the good things that will come when we are operating fluidly.

new years eve we had a spaghetti dinner and a righteous dance party at abe's house.  it was super spontaneous and turned 0ut to be really fun when we all got into it.  just in time for the countdown to the new year to begin, we got to the beach house which is a restaurant that had a band for the night.  they had fireworks and a lot of people...we brought lots too, about 13 of us piled into our 15 passenger van with only 2 seats (unless we stuff the adirondack chairs in for comfort).

we got in around 130 am and were back up again at 445 for sunrise at surfer's beach again.  the sun came, but we didn't see it because of the clouds.  we napped after eating pancakes and bacon that matt made us at 4 am (ridiculous) for a few hours.  we stayed through the morning and played in the waves and frisbee.  at one point there were about 13 surfers in the water and more people than i've ever seen there.

all the different cultures on this small island are amazing, really.  and how everyone gets along, too.  there's this small community of surfers and visiting surfers all ages, mostly older.  surf by day and play or listen to music by night.  then you have the church community, and the tourist community..everyone seems to have their niche or at least their identity.  then there's the love to not categorize each other that i think will always be a good struggle.  napping in the afternoon, we prepared for junkanoo in harbor island, or briland as it's affectionally known.

junkanoo started at "6" and that's when we got there.  i think besides the vendors, we were in the first batch to arrive for the festival.  junkanoo was built up in my head as this parade similar to the parades in china with the crazy multiple person dragons with a bahamian bent.  there's competitions and each settlement has a junkanoo crew.  last night was briland's junkanoo with kids.  these kids were so good!!  they were good but honestly...this whole thing was a little anti-climatic.  they didn't start marching until 945.  whew.  the time was spent well all hanging out and walking the docks.  shoot.  let me tell about that.  these boats are beyond description.  a smudge would be noticed on these multi-million dollar yachts, deep-sea fishing boats..some fishing boats had 4 300 hp engines on the back.  this island is where all the celebrities come when they say they're coming to the bahamas.  it's about an hour north of jc where we live.  we also watched them get ready for the parade.  they had barrels, like gasoline barrels, covered in goatskin that had to be warmed up by a bonfire.  the costumes are super colorful and paper mache.  these kids were so good!  they had these coordinated dances, with these crazy headdresses following them and a full band including the goatskin drums.  they did great..but really, it only lasted about 20 minutes.  whew.  lots o waiting.  but really, it was fun all us together and seeing this big tradition in the bahamas.

the airplane has a little trouble with the magneto and we won't be flying it until we take care of the issue.  but we have lots to look forward too as we all go at the new year.  we are getting in our groove as an organization.  our first volunteers of the year come in just a few weeks!

the verse that's been in my head is philippeans 1:9: 'so this is my prayer: that you love will flourish and that you will not only love much but love well.  learn to love appropriately.'  i hope we love well this year in all that we do.

nassau, flight attendants and christmas began

we took a trip to nassau on december 16, about 3 weeks ago, because i had a flight out of there early the next morning to go back to the states for christmas.  the evening/night was great.  we fly into nassau and the 5 of us (abe, matt, two of abe's friends and myself) head for the adventure learning center (www.alcbahamas.org), an evangelical ministry in nassau directed by one of abe's closest friends.  this is the same guy who we stayed with on the andros trip with his 9 kids.  this place is crazy.  it has its own planetarium, bunk houses, a huge dining hall equipped with a zipline (!), and a huge campus with a great outreach ministry.  on our way to the alc, we stopped by all saints camp, a community for those with terminal diseases.  abe described the place to us as like a modern-day leper colony.  it was a blessing to go and meet a few of those living in the community and see the progress in the conditions that need attention.  i left thankful that there is a place for people in the unimaginably awful circumstances as AIDS and other terminal illnesses.  i also left a bit more broken as we caught a glimpse at the plight of so many.  please pray that this community will continue to be loved and loved well with attention and care.

from all saints, we carried on to the alc and got settled for the night.  after riding the zip line we went to the devoux family christmas party.  the devoux family is pretty prestigious and the event felt like a wedding with no fluffy dresses or cheesy speeches, well maybe...but...there was a big tent, lots of food, a christmas sermon, carols and the family report of only the successful ones i'm pretty sure.  it was another moment in life that i loved and didn't care how life brought me to that event.

i'm about convinced that whenever i book a flight it triggers a convention of flight attendants to determine who will be working the flight i'm on.  the last few times, my age has been an issue of concern.  when i went back for thanksgiving they specifically asked my age to make sure i met the 15 yrs of age rule to sit in the exit row.  this time for no reason whatsoever, the flight attendant strutted past me down the aisle, stopped, and said, "how old are you?"  through glaring eyes and tight lips i replied that i am 22.  the response i prepared my pride for came, "well you don't look a day older than 15!"  why?  why is that necessary?  and of course, my minesweeper circle around me inevitably says, "you'll appreciate it when you're 40!"  i say thank you, and i think, "tell me that when i'm 40, and then, you're right, i'll appreciate it.  but only then."  let me say this publicly, it's not appreciated at 22.

about an hour and a half into the flight, the airplane turns around.  the captain comes over the intercom and says, "you may have noticed that we made a 180!  (yes, i thought) we have a problem with our pressurization system and cannot climb above 25000 ft.  we don't have the fuel to make it to nashville at this altitude and as a matter of fact, the best maintenance facility for this sort of problem is in miami!  so...we're headed back!"  a 4 hour event can be boiled down to say that our crew of about 50 people including babies and two elderly women needing a wheelchair on and off an airplane with out a jetway traveling between the terminal on a bus in the rain was an adventure.  amazingly, no one complained and it was actually really enjoyable...or bearable at least.  caroline, my sister-in-law, told a funny monologue by a comedian.  he said, "i've always wanted to be the one for the airlines to announce delays.  come over the loudspeaker and say, 'sorry folks, looks like we'll be delayed for about 30 minutes,' wait for the grumbles and groans and then put things into perspective, 'i'm sorry but the journey you're about to make at one time would've taken months in a covered wagon behind oxen and your aunt would die of a rattlesnake bite and you would forge rivers and some would starve.  really, is 30 minutes a big deal?'"

we were hugging in baggage claim once we made it to nashville, american airlines credited me 5000 miles (that's not a ...then i found $20 joke) all in time for dinner with the family and christmas commenced.