Thursday, October 29, 2009

Praise the Holy

Praise the Holy
Grace of Him who honored us,
Eternal, Unchanging Creator of Earth. Amen.

- The Seafarer, Author Unknown, 975 AD

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In the Ordinariness of Human Time

"In the fullness of time, God..." That line begins one of my very favorite Scripture passages from Galations 4:4.

Today, though, as I was thinking upon this loved verse, my mind kept switching the words. Over and over in my head I pondered, "In the ordinariness of human time, God..."

And then I finally realized that this second phrase was not much different than the first.

In the fullness of God's time, in the ordinariness of human time, our Heavenly Father does his gentle and loving work. For some reason this is always surprising to me. I feel like the fullness of God's time should be announced with fanfare and loud celebration. It sometimes even seems to me like the earth should stand still in its orbit, halting all ordinary chronological time, just to salute the fullness of God's time.

But the deeper I peer into the work of God in this world, I always find that the fullness of God's time arrives in the very, very ordinariness of human time. It is in the mangers and caves and stables and the drudgeries of ordinary chronological time that the promises of God find their fulfillment.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adios Guadalajara, Hola Reynosa!

I left Guadalajara last Sunday and now have been in Reynosa for a week. Last Saturday I went to a park and then walked around a pueblo known as Zapopan near Guadalajara. The last few photos show my current residence, on Alamo Calle. My apartment is the one with the open door. I think I have two roommates but they are either out on assignment or on vacation. I've been going to the Schlumberger base every day this past week (except today) for training.

The weather is quite warm and fairly pleasant as opposed to the summer when it's muy caliente. I miss the fall colors of the Hudson Valley though, but not the rain! The common description of Reynosa by people in Guadalajara was feo or ugly. Reynosa will never win any aesthetic awards or host the Olympics, but it is probably similar to a city in the south/southwest US (like Lousiana). - Nate

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A Memorable Northeastern Autumn Day


Isabella (along with her mom and dad, Luvy and Geoffe) joined us for meeting this morning. We all were thrilled to have a baby in the house!

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Princeton vs. Harvard (2-1)

A lot of us travelled to Boston yesterday to watch the Harvard vs. Princeton men's soccer game. Harvard is ranked 11th in the nation and Princeton (with our cousin Benjamin playing the whole game) beat Harvard 2-1 in overtime! Aunt Joanne even flew in from Minnesota to meet up with Dad, Mom, Jacob and Becca for what turned out to be a very exciting game! Go Benjamin!

Meanwhile, I had the treat of hanging out with Maryella, Trina & Ron at their Cambridge apartment, where the rest of the crowd joined us for dinner after the game!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

These College Days (From Luke)

Tonight was volunteer night at Cornell University. Isaac, Allie, Hannah, and I were part of a group of 200+ students cheering for the Cornell Alumni who had came to hear the president speak this evening for 2 hours (the conclusion of Alumni week at Cornell).

Before we were told our task for the evening, we were invited to a dinner at Barton Hall. When we arrived at 7pm, they were serving three different types of subs, chips, soda, fruit and cookies. We had just finished eating our own meal at home of meatball subs, baked apples, and vanilla cake (we were stuffed) but as college students do, we decided that this free food could not be passed up.

When the time came the four of us to go through the food line, we all took one of everything and headed back to our table. We sat down and looked at ourselves and wondered what we were going to do with all this food after eating a big supper. Well thankfully I had brought an empty small backpack and we loaded it up. But as the time passed on Isaac and I noticed that there was a lot more food left over. Although none of us had eaten anything, we headed back for seconds. This time we came back to the table and packed more into my backpack (that now seemed to be getting smaller as we added each sandwich to the sack). Then, as we were waiting for instructions on what to do next, a staff member came to our table and encouraged us to go get more food and take it with us if we chose. So... Isaac and I went back for the third round! When we came back to the table this time the girls were laughing wondering what we were going to do with it all. So to the best of our ability we found room for our next round of food in our coat pockets.

We waited around for 10 minutes until we were given the instructions that we would be walking a few blocks to Bailey Hall for the main event of the evening. But as we got up out of our seats Isaac and I noticed that there was still a lot of food and soda left, so we made one final dash through the line before leaving Barton Hall with food and drinks coming out of our ears. When we got outside we realized that me had a big dilemma, "Where do we store our stockpile of food?" We headed across the street and up the sidewalk and looked for a bush to hide the overloaded backpack and full coat pockets of food. We found a bush that was behind a three foot high wall and dropped it off there for the evening. We then headed to Bailey Hall.

When we got to Bailey Hall we found out that we were going to be a cheering committee for a group of 400+ alumni who were coming to hear the president speak to thank them for their support of Cornell. Upon instructions, we were seated in the balcony of the lecture hall because the alumni would be seated below. We were told to cheer for these individuals like we were at the best Cornell hockey game ever.

So when the alumni came in we cheered like no one else! We stood up, jumped up and down, and put our hands together! We got many looks from individuals sitting in front of us but we decided that these people needed to feel special so we gave it our all. Isaac then got the wave started and it made it around the auditorium and the house was rocking. We chanted "Let's go! Big Red! Lets go!" and "Thank you Cornell!" We waved the glow sticks that they had given us and clapped until our hands were numb and shouted until our voices were gone. We ended the night by all singing the school anthem.

When the lecture was over we had to get our food out of the bush. So Isaac climbed down behind the wall and pulled out all of our food and we headed home.

When we got home we counted our goods which came to the following: fifteen cans of soda, eleven subs, ten big cookies, five bags of chips, two bananas, one apple, and four $10 College Town Bagel gift cards that they gave each of us for coming out. The grand total for the evening goodies was $125. What we didn't get paid in wages we got paid in food!
This was a night to remember... I am having a great time up here making the most out of a great educational experience. I am grateful to be here and thankful for all you back home.

- Luke Angell

Friday, October 23, 2009

When You're Out in the Cold And You Want to Come In

I would contest that there are few emotions that can rival the anticipation of a cozy long evening by the fireplace after experiencing autumn's chilly winds and rains. Yes, I am basking in the delightful tension of this very longing and its fulfillment.

Cold and marooned I head for the warm.
I've been looking for a womb since the day I was born...
Just needing a place to come in from the night.

In from the cold
Out of the wind
Survivin' as old as breathin'
All of creation's your next of kin
When you're out in the cold
And you want to come in.

- Michael Kelly Blanchard

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Farming Neighbors

Our farming neighbors, the Kilmers (who raise organic meat), joined us for a meatloaf and potato dinner last evening. Their daughter is super adorable and she kept all of us smiling all evening long.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homecoming at Upton Lake!

Becca's soccer team had two homecoming games today. The first they won against the almuni and the second they initially tied, and in overtime lost, to Hyde Park Baptist. A lot of us came out to cheer and were rewarded with an exciting game in which we got to root for our very own #2!

A Cow, A Moon & A Pumpkin

Hannah, Luke, Isaac, Allie, and Eric were in a group of ten that won a pumpkin carving contest last night at Cornell Navigators! Each had their own specific jobs; Luke gutted the pumpkins, Eric and Isaac carved the cow and the girls cheered the men on. You can admire their handiwork below!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Letters of Recommendation

Tomorrow I am sending out 56 letters of recommendation for students and in the next week I will more than double that number! As I have been slowly conquering this intimidating and massive task, the following has been percolating in my mind:

You show that you are a letter from Christ... written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

Hmm, some good old incarnational sacramentology. Theology doesn't get much better than this, thanks to a stack of letters of recommendation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Satisfaction in Completion

This past weekend I was able to finish what turned out to be almost a year long project. I am fairly confident that this quilt will last forever, but the design is a little different than I had imagined. I never quite guessed that I would have made such a patriotic looking quilt!


It is in families that we are broken and it is in families that we are healed. - Carl Whittaker

Monday, October 12, 2009

Challenging, Part III

An exerpt from an article in the most recent issue of the digital webzine, Catalyst Leadership:

"Do you know what the number one sin of the church in America is?"

"The number one sin of the church in America, is that its pastors and leaders are not on their knees crying out to God: 'Bring us the drug-addicted, bring us the prostitutes, bring us the destitute, bring us the gang laders, bring us those with AIDS, bring us the people nobody else wants, who only you can heal, and let us love them in your name until they are whole."

- Jim Cymbala, Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle as reported by Mark Buchanan in Catalyst Leadership (The whole article is very challenging, follow this link and click on "Messy, Costly, Dirty Ministry.)

Autumn at Bentley 2009

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walkway Over the Hudson

The longest pedestrian bridge in the world opened last weekend in our city of Poughkeepsie. The whole Cornell contingent is home for the holiday weekend, so we frequented the popular destination (1.3 mile trail - one way). Look at the crowds!