Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ten Steps

What did you do thirteen days ago?  At some point during the day did you walk to your living room and sit down on the couch?  For the first time in two years, so did my friend Kaitlyn.

In October 2007, Kaitlyn was sent home from school sick.  At first they thought she had the flu, but she got worse rather than better, and no one knew why.  Her hyper-sensitivity to sound, touch, smell, light, etc. left her to sit in a dark room all day watching tv and the lowest possible volume level.  Her family read the subtitles because the tv was too quiet to hear. 

In April 2008, she lost the ability to walk.  That June she was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease and multiple co-infections.  Her family of five (plus two dogs) packed up their lives, left their 3,800 square foot house, and moved 800 miles to a two-bedroom apartment.

Over the last few years they have faithfully walked through a battle that I cannot fathom.  The air conditioner, the act of cooking dinner, and even the gurling of the fridge are painfully loud to her.  Hugs are out of the question.  She's been treated almost daily at same clinic since 2008 and the doctor and nurses have never seen her face because she wears a towel over her head to block the light. 

The week before the Steelers (this family's football team of choice) won the Superbowl, Kaitlyn independently walked ten steps, something medicine could not explain.  That ability was lost again but the hope it provided was remarkable.  She's now learning to walk again, and less than two weeks ago she got to sit in the living room for the first time since they've lived there.

This week, on September 29, Kaitlyn turns sixteen.  What did you do for your sixteenth birthday?  Not sit around in a dark apartment or go to a clinic with a towel over your head, right? 

For her 14th birthday, their apartment was flooded with cards. 
For her 15th, we were asked to fast and petition the Lord, the Great Physician, for her healing. 
This year, her family has asked that we find a way to make her 16th birthday memorable. 

What they want everyone to do is something sweet or uplifting. Something out of the ordinary.  They suggested volunteering at a soup kitchen, making a meal for someone, visiting hospice, writing to a solider, volunteering at a dog shelter... Bless someone on her behalf.  In Kaitlyn's honor and for God's glory.

I would love for you to participate with us.  If you do, please comment on this post or send me an email with what was done and where it was, your state if you're within the US or your country (since I know there are some international lurkers!).  What they're going to do is collect these stories and bind them into a keepsake book for Kaitlyn.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

As for what I did, well, you'll have to come back on Friday.
<>< Katie

PS: For more information, visit her caringbridge.  You do have to register for the site but it's free and open to everyone.

Monday, September 27, 2010


If I could summarize this past week in one word I'd say: hurt.

In the last few days I've been bizarrely injured multiple times.  With a few of them I've had to seriously contemplate if professional medical attention would have been inappropriate.  It seemed every time I put my First Aid kit away it needs to come out again a few hours later.  I've always been the "girl with the Band-Aids" and now I'm "the girl who needs the Band-Aids."  It's annoying, but what is more annoying is that not all hurts are physical.

Emotional wounds are harder to treat.  Neosporin and Band-Aids don't cover it (no pun intended).  You think they're healing and suddenly you're gushing tears again.

At (adult) Sunday School I shared the prayer request that I keep getting hurt physically and emotionally, and I am sick of reaching for Band-Aids.

Our Sunday School teacher Matt smiled.  He said he could write his own name next to that request every day.  He said many others could do the same.

When Matt prayed, he thanked God for the rain pounding on the roof.  He said it was healing rain sent to cleanse and heal those of us who have hurts like I mentioned.  Later, he asked God to relieve our (my) physical, emotional, and spiritual hurts.

My first thought was defensive.  "I didn't say I was hurt spiritually."  As Matt prayed, God prodded gently.

"Yes, you are."

I can put a Band-Aid over my scratches to cover them up.  I don't have to see their nastiness and neither does anyone else.  Why am I still putting man's Band-Aid over God's band-aid (a scab)?

Emotional wounds don't need Band-Aids; they're covered in a different way.  They're hidden deep within me as if that'll make them go away.  The other day Luci said, "Katie, you're like a box.  I keep trying to open you, and I can't."  That hurt.  But it was true.

Is God saying that to me too?  "Katie, I'm here ready to open you, ready to heal you.  I'm ready and you won't let Me."

Just like physical wounds need to be cleaned, so do emotional and, more importantly, spiritual wounds.  Boy, does it hurt!  But it's vital.

<>< Katie

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Never Alone

She sat on the futon with both of her legs curled underneath her.  The purple polar fleece blanket draped over her held the textbook she wasn't reading.  Just out of reach was her chocolate milk in a glass made of glass.  On the table in front of her sat the computer with broken internet, Nalgene with one last shluck of iodized lake water, and her Writer's Notebook

The music was playing louder than necessary but she wasn't listening until the familiar chords sounded once again.  She'd already heard that song once that day well as several times in the last week.  It seemed to be appearing everywhere as if it were haunting her.  Perhaps there was something in it she desperately needed to hear.

"Never Alone" by BarlowGirl

I waited for You, today
But You didn't show.
No, no, no.
I needed You, today,
so where did You go?

You told me to call.
Said You'd be here.
And though I haven't seen You,
are You still there?

I cry out with no reply,
and I can't feel You by my side,
so I'll hold tight to what I know:
You're here,
and I'm never alone.

And though I cannot see You,
and I can't explain why.
Such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my life.
Oh, oh.
We cannot separate.
You're part of me.
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen.

I cry out with no reply,
and I can't feel You by my side, so
I'll hold tight to what I know:
You're here,
and I'm never alone.

We cannot separate.
You're part of me.
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen.

As she listens, she remembers learning to sign the song.  The corresponding facial expressions of desperation and confusion seemed to come so easily.  Now they seem easier.  What was once a loud proclamation of, "I'll hold tight to what I know: You're here, and I'm never alone" is now whispered gently.  Yet it still holds true.  Even when it is difficult to say, it holds true!

Her right hand flies through the air in a reverse candy cane.  The left meets in an imaginary bouquet of flowers and pulsates for emphasis.

"God I trust You," she says.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Communication Breakdown

When you're a college student and you get into a twelve passenger van with other college students, you have no option but to play traveling games.  Even if your ride is only to Wal-mart.

We played a word game where every person had to come up with an entire sentence where all of the words began with the same letter.

Guess who had Q and V... yours truly.

Luckily, I'm an English major, so I didn't have too much trouble coming up with "Quiet Queen Quinn quilted quickly" and "Violent Vincent viciously vexed Vanessa."  I pity the person who had "X" because there were no verbs in the English language that begin with the letter "X" (except for "Xerox" which really is a noun that has become a verb).

On the way back we played the game were each person says one word and we have to form a sentence/story. These were our sentences:

"The ant pooped on Kevin's teeth which were brushed not ever."

"Gardener Sammy went to the treehouse to hang the ant that poop with his face."

"Sarah ate her hair because it looks delicious."

"Focus went to a sleep where they dreamed about telephone poles and maracas beating cows named Ernest and Rhubarb."

"GiGi Stamey lost the bra during his emancipation proclamation while he ate bananas and apricots."

"Fire-hydrant Bob loves water colored yoyos and hula hoops named Elmer and Fudd."

"Green grass beans grow gloriously after rain doesn't come generously in fact snow doesn't appear melted astronomically because they ran out."

"Dictionaries are stupid unless donkeys appear bloodied messy with orthodontists on its head."

"Flags twirl vexingly America enjoys laughing foreigners with animals that can't race."

Yeah, the first few made sense but after that good luck, right?

When you say a word, you anticipate what the rest of the sentence is going to sound like. Unless there's some cheating, that doesn't happen.

When you surrender your day to God, you kind of anticipate what's going to happen. Typically, that doesn't happen. Being obedient to His plan is not throwing a fit and saying, "That doesn't make sense!"  Except to Him, it makes perfect sense. He understands why the weird things happen.

Do you trust Him enough to be obedient to His obscure plans? I think that's something we all need to ask ourselves daily.
<>< Katie

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Who let the dogs out?"

In my media writing class, we're doing a unit on journalism.  It bores me to tears because I need the freedom to embellish rather than being confined by the truth and bland format.  This is an exception.  <>< Katie

A college student was attacked by three dogs while walking through a campus apartment building.

Katie Ax, 21, was on her way to a meeting around dusk on Sunday night when three small dogs burst out of the apartment unchaperoned and began to viciously bark, jump, and bite.

"It's one of those things you imagine in dreams, but the marks on my legs tell me it was real life," Ax says.

The owner of the dogs, a mother visiting campus for the weekend, claims they are not prone to attacking and are up to date on their shots.  However, Ax still questions why they were on campus in the first place since the only pets permitted are fish.

Ax says when she returned to her apartment an hour later, her roommates and their respective boyfriends were concerned, especially when she showed them the gashes in her leg where the dogs bit through jeans and flesh.

Andy, the resident "medical person" and his girlfriend Elizabeth took Ax to report the situation, Allyson and Jennifer photographed the injury, and Amy sought an unscented bar of soap.

Ax is hopeful of her full recovery and steps are being taken to avoid infection.  A representative for the campus disability center, Laura, said if Ax were to lose her leg she could no longer live in her current apartment since it is not ADA approved; however, her disability would get her priority registration for classes and the ability to request a note-taker.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Can't I just pray in peace?

The pastor had finished his sermon with a "Let's pray."  I bowed my head and just as he started to pray, someone grabbed my knee.  Not going to lie, I jumped a little.  I looked up to see Queen Emily beckoning me towards her.  She, Amber, and I had to leave church early, and the service was running long than we anticipated.  Instead of staying for our arranged exit time, we snuck out during the prayer.  A spontaneous change in plan that I was not informed of.

Not an hour later, Queen Emily, Amber, and  were in our second church service for the day. We double-dipped on church because our sign choir had been asked to perform at the second service.  Neal said, "Let's pray," I bowed my head, and Amber grabbed my knee.  No praying allowed in church apparently.  Instead, we had to progress on stage like an army preparing for battle. 

The performance went better than expected.  Not flawless but quite well considering the extremely limited amount of time we had to prepare.  After the service, I was mingling and everyone seemed very impressed.

"You were my favorite one up there."  You're biased.
"We always love it when you guys perform."  Thanks, we love it, too.

It was Jennifer's words that stuck with me the most.

"You know, some people just sign with their hands.  But you sign with your whole body.  It's like you're telling a story."  I like to tell stories.

When I joined this choir, I had no knowledge of American Sign Language.  None.  During practice, I would feverishly scribble what the signs looked like to me.  For example, next to Queen Emily's "WHO" I wrote "inhaler."  That's where I got my first sign name, a "K" on the chin, to remind everyone of my silly "WHO = inhaler" moment.  When I started, the signs were just motions to me.

Now, almost four years later, I am conversant in ASL.  The signs have moved on from being motions to being worship.  It means I get to worship with all that I am.  My hands, my body, my face, my heart, my mind, and sometimes even my voice.  I use all that I am to praise God and tell His story.

It's worth all of those hours freshman year trying and trying to figure out what was going on.  Every "WHO = inhaler" moment and the laughter that followed.  Every trip to practice in the icy rain.  Every sore shoulder/wrist from overuse and abuse.  Every moved table and chair to create ample practice space.  It's even worth every interrupted prayer to use all of my being to worship God as I tell His story.

<>< Katie

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tear down the walls. Let everything fall

I don't like alarm clocks.  I still remember flying out of my skin the first night I shared a room with Amber when her alarm clock when off in the morning.  It seemed to take me forever to calm down and realize it was NOT the fire alarm.  Over the year it got better, but every morning she got up first, I got an unwelcome jolt.

My own alarm clock is music.  I plug my iPod in, put it on shuffle, and wait to see what God sends me in the morning when the alarm goes off.  Today the first song I heard was "Break Through" by Peder Eide.  As I was in bed trying to convince myself to pull my lazy head off of the pillow and sit up, the lyrics that I've heard a million times hit me in a new way.  I decided to make this my prayer for today.  Feel free to do the same.

"Break Through"
By Peder Eide

Sing all the songs
and read all about You.
I know right from wrong.
What does it amount to
if my life doesn't show
how much I love You?

I need You to break through.
Tear down the walls;
let everything fall.
'Cause I want to praise You.
Nothing between You and me.
I need you to break through.

I know there is more
I've yet to discover.
So many things
You want to uncover.
I've been scratching the surface;
I want to go deeper.

I need you to break through.
Tear down the walls;
let everything fall
'Cause I wanna praise You.
Nothing between You and me.
I need You to break through.

Break through the pride.
Break through the shame.
I've had enough of staying the same.
Break through the fear.
Open the gates,
I'm getting tired of playing it safe.

I need You to break through.
Tear down the walls;
let everything fall.
'Cause I wanna praise You.
Nothing between You and me.

I need you to break through.
Tear down the walls;
let everything fall.
'Cause I wanna praise You
Nothing between You and me.
I need You to break through.
Need You to break through.
Break through!

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Are there any prayer praises?"

It seems all of the long-term prayer requests in our Sunday school group had changes for the worse this week.  The eleven year old fighting adult cancer lost her battle.  The two year old they thought was finally on the uphill slope was given less than a year to live.  A discouraged soldier.  Continued pain for several younger women with chronic illnesses.  More relationship problems from a daughter.

"Feel free to share praises, guys," Matt said.

On cue, the door opened and in walked a young family.  Husband and wife with their newborn.  She was still pregnant when I came back to school a month ago.  We pulled out extra chairs for them and they got to sit front row center.  The father reached over, grabbed the leg of his wife's chair, pulled it closer to himself, and put his arm around her.  I had this sudden overwhelming urge to be that woman.  Someday.

We added this family to our list of praises.  The general energy of the room lifted upon seeing their tired faces.  We began to thank God.  We had to do some searching, but we found reasons to be thankful.

What are you thankful for today?  Don't be upset if you have to search.  Were you healthy enough to get out of bed?  Do you have internet access to read this?  A roof over your head?  Food to eat?  Clothes on your back?

Even if you say "no" to all of those things, you can say "yes" to this: you have a God who loves you.  Let that be what you are thankful for today.  It is enough because His grace is enough.

With love,
<>< Katie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

God is an Earthquake

God is an earthquake.

Sometimes He bursts in with trembling force destroying anything and everything.  With one simple movement He flips your life up-side down.  Just like detrimental earthquakes get all of the press, unexpected life changes get all of the attention.  Yes, God uses those.

He also uses earthquakes like the ones I experienced in Guatemala.

I was sitting on the bottom bunk journaling when the bed began to shake.  At first, I didn't think anything of it.  Heather must have woken up and kicked the unstable bed frame.  Then I looked at Heather, still fast asleep.  I looked across the room at Mandi who was looking back at me.  Her eyes held the same questions mine did: what is going on?

Together we both looked at the huge water jug.  The water sloshing told us it was not just a bed frame problem.  We were experiencing an earthquake.  So small it could have gone unnoticed.

Sometimes God's signs and His words are so small they may go unnoticed.  So subtle you might pass them by. 

I just wanted to take a moment and encourage you to seek in the big earthquakes; hear His booming voice.  But also realize that sometime God whispers.  Don't let the whisper, the little earthquake, pass you by.

With love,
<>< Katie

Monday, September 13, 2010

Putting on the Towel

I went to a small seminar where Stephanie the leader began to call names for volunteers. 

"Keith, Elizabeth, and..."

I knew my name was coming and sure enough it came.  The three of us went to the front of the room, and Stephanie began her analogy.

We were a family.  Keith was the father and there was no mother.  Elizabeth and I were Keith's daughters; we both dropped to our knees and walked towards him.  Stephanie narrated that Keith loved us both very much, so he put his arms around our shoulders and held us close.  We smiled.  Stephanie continued by saying that Keith gave Elizabeth all of the food, the clothes, and everything and told her to take care of her sister (that's me).  Then Keith went away but continued to watch on his brand new Nanny Cam.

With Keith no longer between us, there was a gap between Elizabeth and me.  Stephanie said Elizabeth ate a big dinner, and I went hungry.  Since I truly was hungry at the time it was not difficult to act out: I frowned and rubbed my stomach.  While Elizabeth slept in her warm bed, I was left out in the cold without a bed at all.

While aspects of this drama are not Biblically accurate, it does hold some fraction of the truth.

The first chapter of James calls us to care for the widows and orphans.  In the time when this was written, widows held no role in society.  The least of these.

Plain and simple: He calls us to put the towel on and serve.

Just before Passover, Jesus and His disciples gathered for a meal.  The disciples argued over who would wash the feet.  This is a dirty job; a job for the lowest one on the totem pole.  The job of a servant.  Think about it, would you like to wash someone else's feet?  Keep in mind the disciples were wearing sandals not nice sneakers.  Think of the worst Chaco dirt-tan you've ever seen and then multiple it by twelve.  Yucky, right?  No wonder they're arguing.

Jesus stands up, leaves the room, and returns wearing a towel around his waist.  He gets down on one knee and one by one takes the feet of the disciples and washes them clean.  The Lord above all got on His knees and served His friends.  The Creator of the feet (and the dirt) caressed the callouses clean of crud.  Jesus, the Most High, took the role of the lowest of the low.  He served His brothers, and He calls us to do the same.

In today's society, serving is the cool thing to do.  People love to stand up and fight for a cause.  Look at the fund raisers for New Orleans.  For Darfur.  For Haiti.  For AIDs.  For malaria.  How many of those projects are Christ-based?  Sure, some, but many are not.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, non-Christians are doing our job.  They are taking care of one another which is what Christ calls US to do.  We serve for a different reason than they do.  We serve for God's glory, not our own.


Or do we sit on our couches for Christ's glory and not our own?

Honestly, when is the last time you served someone in Christ's name?  I'm not talking about your Christian roommate or your church.  Sure, those things are important, too, absolutely, but that's not what we're discussing today.

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone, put the towel on, and cared for the least of these?  Hugged the man dying of AIDs?  Watched the single mother's children for free?  Gave food to the homeless man?  Reached out to the woman in the abusive situation?  The least of these.

"Katie, I don't know anyone with AIDs, dying of hunger, and living on the street."

You're right.  Neither do I.  Because I haven't taken the time to find them.  They exist in my city.  I bet they exist in your city, too.  They're in line at the soup kitchen every Wednesday begging for something to eat.  They're in the nursing homes yearning to be visited.  They're in the schools in needing someone to help them with their homework and teach them that they are important.  They are all around you waiting to hear the name of Christ.  Will you tell them?

Look around you.  The world's isn't all hunky dory.  It's a matter of opening our eyes and seeing the needs.  It's only after physical and emotional needs are met that we can be God's mouthpiece to reach the spiritual needs.  Do you truly believe that there are "greater things still to be done in this city"?  Why aren't you out there doing them?

Otherwise it's like Stephanie's sketch where Keith told me he loved me, but I didn't see it because Elizabeth had all of the food and I had none.  I saw that Keith loved Elizabeth, but I could not see how he loved me.  If she would take the time to show me rather than tell me Dad loved me, I might have believed her.

<>< Katie

Note: I am preaching to myself here just as much as I am preaching to anyone else.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sleepovers: College Style

Allyson said over the summer she'd get really homesick for our suite, so she would go through and read my old blogs about some of the crazy things we did. This post is really for Allyson, but if you want to read it, too, that's allowed.

Jennifer had finished doing her devotion, we had said good-night, and we were both in bed trying to fall asleep. Well, I was making a mental list of what hurts because I'm getting sick, and she was trying to plug in her phone. Either way, we were both headed to dreamland when the door burst open and light revealed a silhouette in the doorway.

“Jennifer!” Allyson whisper-shouted. “Jennifer!”

Allyson skipped into the dark room and jumped onto Jennifer’s bed. She had something important to tell Jennifer, but she forgot what it was. Instead we just sat there giggling. Shortly thereafter, Nikki ran into the room.

“FEET!” I shouted to remind her that I have them.

I’m still not really sure how this happened.  You need to know, my bed is waist high.  My waist, not Nikki's.  Normally she falls on it and it's really awkward and humorous to watch.  This time, I was in my bed and she somehow leaped onto the bed, dodged my feet, flipped over me, and positioned herself right up against the wall.

Amy heard our giggles and screaming and came to investigate. She hopped onto Jennifer’s bed and the three of them sat cross-legged while we told stories, teased each other, and laughed. It was kind of like a sleepover. Minus the sleep part, but does that really happen at sleepovers anyway?

Like all good things, this too came to an end. Nikki left first, followed by Allyson, but Amy stayed to tuck Jennifer and me in again. As she was closing the door, Jennifer and I let out child-like cries.

“Allyson! Allyson! You have to sing us a lullaby.”

She complied and allowed us to pick our song of choice. I said the first lullaby that popped into my head, “My Little Buck-a-roo.” Allyson stood in the middle of our room, invented the song and accompanying dance moves on the fly, and made us laugh so hard we had to use the restroom.

We got lost on the way back from the bathroom and ended up in Amy and Allyson’s room. Jennifer on Amy’s bed and me on Allyson’s. Nikki stood in the middle and told us a thrilling fairy tale about how Allyson is the keeper of the butterfly bodies because she is so pure. Thus begins the tradition of bedtime storytelling by Nikki Raye.

Before the end of year we will each have individual stories by the lovely and talented Nikki Raye. Each will be told orally, recorded, drawn, and published for Amy to someday use in her classroom. The stories completed are: Allyson, Queen of the Butterflies and Nikki, The Lovely and Vicious Princess Finds her Prince (told by Katie and starring Jennifer and Amy).  Mine will probably be a horror story that will not be appropriate for young audiences...

After a knocking-through-the-walls rendition of "Jingle Bells" we were all in our respective beds and ready for a good, long night of z-catching.  Shockingly most of us still managed eight hours of sleep.  Elizabeth was jealous she missed this camaraderie.

<>< Katie

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Las Chicas

I went out to dinner with Las Chicas the other day. These four girls left South America and Europe to come to Small Town, USA for a year to teach Spanish and French. They all speak English very well, but it is their second language. They are also new to the United States and not well-acquainted with the area, so some of my friends and I offered to go out to dinner with them. I was their chauffeur.

When I lived in Costa Rica, I remembered always being so annoyed with the Spanish radio. I didn't understand a word of it; it was just noise making it harder to hear. I didn't want Las Chicas to have the same problem in my car. I regretted leaving my Juanes CD at home and put in my Spanish worship CD instead.

While we were driving and talking, Las Chicas asked me all sort of questions. Is what I'm wearing ok for where we’re going? What kind of rag do I need to buy to use with my mop? I'm getting five hours of sleep a night; why am I so tired? Do they sell textbooks at Wal-mart? What do you call the little white thing you use to clean your ear? Do I have to be a United States citizen to get a driver's license here?

In a break between conversations, the music was heard through the silence.
Cynthia: Is this a Christian CD?
Katie: It is.
Cynthia: Oh. I am a Christian in Argentina.
Katie: You can be a Christian in the United States, too.
I was glad she laughed because it came out so fast that I couldn't stop myself. I didn't want her to think I was mocking her, but they all enjoyed it. This added a whole new dimension to the questions they asked me.

What is the name of the guy who, you know, how do you say? And you know the thing that he does, what is that part called? What is the difference between Baptist and Methodist? Most of the people here are Baptist, yes?

Let me be transparent for just a second. I can write, blog, and read about God all day without a problem. To talk about Him is more of a challenge. Even sometimes among my Christian friends I feel silly for saying, "God showed me this today." I rarely tell people I'll pray for them (but if I say it, I try to really do it). When Christ came up with Las Chicas, I knew I had a witnessing opportunity. I also knew my tendency to be turned down when I offer a ride to church.

That's why I was shocked when they accepted the invitation! Even after I told them we'd have to leave at 8:30am. Las Chicas began to talk about their home churches. One did mission work every Saturday where she worked in local neighborhoods helping people. Another's pastor and his wife sent her with all sorts of photos and wanted her return with photos of American churches. It was humbling to hear about what God is doing in other countries.

On Sunday morning, they were ready early. One of them even made a joke about it. I have since realized why. This was their first opportunity to hear God's Word proclaimed since they've been in our country.

Shame on you, America. We're sending mission teams all over the world to spread the gospel. Yes, I went to Guatemala last year for that very purpose. But do you want to know what I found? Jesus is already there. He's in Guatemala. He's in Argentina. Yes, going and showing His love is important, but we also need to realize there are people in this country yearning to hear His name and they are not being filled. These girls are living on a Christian campus and no one had invited them to church. No one has stopped to ask if they need prayer. No one.

Shame on me. The thought never even crossed my mind until they said they had been looking for a church to attend. This is my twelfth year of Spanish, and I don’t even know the word for “prayer.” I feel ashamed to admit that, but it’s the truth.

When I took three of Las Chicas to church with me, I wondered how much they were getting out of the service. The sermon was less than engaging, the power-points with lyrics weren’t working, and the southern drawl was more pronounced than normal. Afterwards, Cynthia waved her notes in front of me.

“This is exactly what I needed! Thank you!”

Don’t thank me. Thank God. He coordinated it all.

If you could do me a favor, pray for these four girls and they are in a foreign country teaching their native languages. Pray that they can see God's love shown through those of us they encounter here. And, if you don't mind, pray that the Lord gives me the desire to speak boldly about Him. How can I pray for you?

<>< Katie

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Trip to the Police Station

I've never really cared for the administrative assistant at the police station.  She's not as friendly as the officers.  Maybe it was the smirk she gave me when I went in to report a missing hub cab a few years back.  I don't know.  I do know she did not earn herself any more points today.

I needed another key made for my roommate.  They did not provide us with enough when we moved in, so we've had to get more made.  'Round these parts you do that at the police station.  I walked in yesterday and was told the key-maker had left for the day.  He would be back between 6 and noon today.  I went back today a little before noon, and he was out on the grounds.

At first she began to take down my name (not even daring to repeat my last name to me but requesting I spell it), request, and a phone number.  I did not get past the area code when she looked out the window and almost stood.  She picked her Blackberry up off of the desk and radio-ed the officer.

Officer: Go ahead.
Secretary: Can you come in and help this little girl?

Woah.  I glanced around to make sure she and I were the only ones in the room.  Nope, no little girl had snuck in on my watch.  I politely waited, but her words rang through my head.

"Help this little girl... help this little girl... help this little girl..."

Suddenly instead of a renter asking for a new key to be made, I felt like a child separated from her mother.  That's where separated children are told to do, right?  Seek help from police officers.  I contemplated producing some tears just to accurately play the part.

Officer Larry came through the front door and stood in front of me, so close that if there had not been a wall and fake ficus behind me I would have stepped backwards to remove him from my large personal bubble.  His eyes were the same level as mine, not bad for a little girl.

Officer Larry: What can I do for you?

I held up the key between our faces.  I told him my request and gave my apartment number.

Officer: You already have a key.
Katie: My roommate needs one.
Officer: This for the front door?
Katie: Yes, sir.
When it doubt, throw in the "sir."  It used to be so unnatural it sounded corny but after three years down South I have to remember to turn it off when I go home (and not say it to women...)

He took the key and walked away.  I was not sure if I should follow or not, but I did since he was still talking to me.

Officer: I've already made a bucket full of keys for that front door.
Katie: You've made one, and we need one more.
I didn't blabber my spiel about the apartment housing six students and the school only providing four keys because I was interrupted by the Chief of Police.

Chief: You made a bucket full-a them?  Now whatcha gonna do?  Can your bucket hold one more?
Officer Larry: I guess so.
Katie: Thank you.

Officer Larry disappeared I stood in Chief's doorway waiting.

Chief: What are you up to today?
Katie: Causin' trouble.
Chief: Would you stop that?
Katie: What are you up to?
He looked down at his desk, knowing my eyes would follow and see his Subway sandwich and chips.
Katie: Eatin' lunch?
Chief:  Yup. 
Katie: All day?
Chief:  Yup.  You're like my wife.  I'm sitting on the tractor and she says, "Are you going to cut the grass?"  I want to say, "No, I'm just sitting here because I feel like it."

I contemplated telling him about how my dad and his neighbor-friends gather their matching orange tractors in the middle of the yard, rest their feet on the steering wheels, sit back, and enjoy a good beer and great company.  But I remembered I'm in the South... and talking to a police chief.  Crazy Northern Lutheran stories were probably unwelcome.

Instead, I should have asked to ride the segway.  Chief might have actually said yes.  Either that or he would have said, "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness."  I'm not really sure.

I didn't get to find out because Officer Larry came back with two keys and sent this "little girl" on her way to find her own lunch to eat all day. 

<>< Katie

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Nikki came up to me the other day and genuinely said, "Katie, I just want you to know that I love you.  I know I pick on you a lot, sometimes too much, but I love you." 

I told her I loved her, too, and went to give her a hug.  As I got close, she burst out laughing.  She backed away from me and kept laughing.


She didn't say anything.  She didn't have to.  It was then that I remembered I have blue lines running across my face.  I was in an event on campus where I let the freshmen paint blue lines horizonally across my face.

Well, I came home and wiped them off with paper towel and water then a make-up remover wipe and saw a huge difference, but I still had blue lines across my face. They kind of looked like veins. So I hopped in the shower, used some soap, some eye make-up remover...

Now my face is so dry it's ready to fall off, but the blue lines ain't goin' anywhere.  And Nikki's laughing at me immediately after apologizing for picking on me incessantly.

<>< Katie