Saturday, May 29, 2004

In my young and impressionable days, people told me that RPG video games were evil and would lead to demon possession. Good Christian kids don't play RPG's.

One day I house sat for some cousins and popped in a game I'd never heard of before, out of curiosity. Final Fantasy IV, featuring a blond spikey haired anime dude with a meat cleaver of a sword. I really enjoyed that game, though I had to move out long before I'd finished the game.

When I discovered the wonderful world of emulation, I downloaded gameboy color and pokemon blue. This was essentially the same idea, but cuter and simpler. I enjoyed this too, though it failed to keep my attention due to the lack of emotion-laced cutscenes.

Then I was introduced to Dragonball Z, a cartoon straight out of japan with more spikey haired characters featuring lots of bizarre alien types and cataclysmic battles on various planets resulting in explosions visibile throughout the galaxy.

If you're familiar with any of these, you know that one theme holds true in each. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

In the case of dragonball, every battle you survive increases your fighting power. This is why every Super-sayan is itching for a fight. In the video games, surviving a fight and getting a few hits in results in racking up hit points, which can be used to increase stats like strength and stamina.

Which brings us to the second theme that runs through the RPG entertainment industry.... that of growth and evolution. In dragonball, you ascend. You power up to a stronger more intimidating form of your previous self, and then you kick Majin Buu's ass. In video games, you go up a level, learn new abilities, and possibly change forms.

I think that the reason I like this stuff is because of the growth. I recognize the fact that as we live we grow, and I like a game that emulates that concept, however outrageous the expression of that concept is. I like being able to "teach" my characters to do different things, and I like it that they become stronger as they defeat different enemies.

I guess you could call it character development. And I find it encouraging because I hope that my character is developing too. Even though I'll probably never cut down any fiends with a sword that weighs more than me, or karate chop a gigantic life sucking pink alien from a distant planet, things that I go through on a day to day basis are still making me stronger. And though I'm sure I'll never power up to the second ascension of a super-sayan, and my hair won't grow long and turn blonde and my muscles won't expand and the veins in my neck won't bulge out, there might be a day when I no longer recognize the human that I am today.

So now I've been playing Final Fantasy X and I got my biggest dude up to 4000 Hit Points, with stats over 40. Awesome.

I just had a breezer on an empty stomach, though I had a headache to begin with. Needless to say, I'm not feeling well. So I'm gonna go to bed now and fall asleep to Romeo Must Die. Sweet dreams to me.

Friday, May 28, 2004

For the first time in my life I named a pet before researching a name with an appropriate meaning. I simply thought, "Abu..... how cute" and that became my puppy's name.

So now I'm looking up the meaning of Abu, which is difficult, since "Abu" is almost always part of a longer name. Apparently "Abu" means father, though in the case of "Abu Bakr" it means "companion of the prophet muhammed"

How does that make any sense?

John 15 is doing it for me as of late. I mean.... Jesus spoke those words when His feet were still planted on this earth. Back when all the glory of heaven took human form, God Himself looked his human friends in the eyes and said these things to them with all sincerity and affection.

Imagine that.

But what does "Abu" mean?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

I heard that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So I slipped my new testament into my pocket, and have taken to reading it whenever the opportunity arises. It's hard to read..... it's been quite a while, and the gideon's bibles seem to specialize in run-on sentences. My eyes keep fuzzing out of focus and my brain goes to sleep.

I understand that this would qualify as spiritual opposition. So I read ravenously, repetitively, as though it was vietnamese take-out after a year in a city with no restaurants.

I think that if I could learn to take God at His word, it would be a significant breakthrough for my life.

If my experiences, or my interpretation of my experiences, seems to contradict God's word or character, then I have to conclude that the inconsistency is with me. God is my only constant. If He can be trite or vindictive, then there's nothing left but aimless striving.

There's only one place to go from here, and that's back to the cross. That's the only place I'll ever be happy. It's the only place I'm complete.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Most of my pictures from the weekend consist of face shots. Mostly because I'm not used to owning a camera, so I forget that I have it.... thus, I miss many photo ops. However, I did get the faces of the people I love, and that will do.

It got late, so here are two pics. Strangely enough, muzungu is always on the left, and chimwemwe is always on the right. I am in the middle, because it's all about me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Well, I drove home. Abu slept. My legs atrophied. It rained.

I will have pictures to show. soon.... right now I'm tired.

But I'm home. I'm safe. I'm tired. I miss my friends, but with any luck I'll see them soon. I pray that the next time I drive west, it will be because I'm going home.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Today has been one of those emotionally demanding days. I continue to put out my feelers and ask around about ideas as far as where I could work or live in the event that I moved here. I continue to touch base with people I haven't seen in at least a year, and have missed. With each of these meetings, the desire grows stronger to make a home here. There seem to be only good reasons, but the big move scares me. Quitting my job (which I love) scares me, and trying to make ends meet and make a home with virtually zero money saved up, well that scares me too. I've only just gotten on top of things, and the idea of being in the red again is not comforting.

That said, the message spoken at the vineyard this morning (that would be the Regina Vineyard) was one of intense conviction.... or maybe not so much conviction.... well it provoked alot of introspection and inspired hope.

It was about beliefs versus actions. The basic premise was that our actions reflect our beliefs. If our actions appear to contradict our beliefs, then it's likely that the inconsistent belief is not truly a solid belief, but head knowledge that has yet to reach the heart. Those things that we truly believe, those will dictate the way we live our lives.

Which brings me to my chronic distrust of God's provision in my life. Why am I so confident that God will hold out on telling me where He wants me until I've already quit my job and made a move? Why do I fully expect Him to wait until I'm in Regina having trouble finding a job to say "Oh yeah, and I wanted you to stay in Winnipeg"

God's not like that. He's not cruel and impractical, and He's not silent, yet after all these years of knowing God and worshipping Him and questioning Him and seeing Him prove Himself faithful, still I conduct myself as though He was not. As though my life was nothing more than an afterthought to Him. Like "oh yeah, Little Bear..... ooops too late, she starved. Oh well, on to someone else..." How ridiculus is that? It doesn't line up, it contradicts 23 years of head knowledge that somehow has never managed to penetrate my heart.

People say "God takes care of the sparrows, so He'll look after you" and yet every day I see dead birds on the ground, in fact I usually have to pry them from Abu's jaws. They say "He clothes the grass, of course He'll provide your needs," but grass doesn't have bills to pay. So day after day I scratch out an existence on the brink of exhaustion, though God promises time and again that He knows what my needs are, and He'll meet every one of them.

I'm supposed to believe that He will, but if I did, would I be in tears right now? I mean, if it had penetrated my heart, would I be second guessing anything that might have an adverse affect on my bank account, credit rating, or food supply?

Help my unbelief.

I have one more day. I have until 4. Then the time is up, and I will drive home and think about this trip and ask myself about whether I got the hint I was looking for. I will say goodbye to my friends not knowing when I'll see them again. I will go back to my cave and my two jobs and my exhaustion and try to get ready for africa while I ponder my next move.

Geez, I'm not ready for tomorrow to come. But come it will, so I might as well get some sleep.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

okay, so I'm in Regina. Thus far I've had a good time, though I'm quite exhausted. I've been up for nearly 24 hours now, and every moment of that time has been either physically or emotionally demanding. It's good to see everyone, it's good to be here, but there's always that underlying anxiety about the future. Yes, I want to move here. No, I don't know how it can happen.

I'm praying for a hint from God, a divine appointment. Even if He tells me to stay in Winnipeg..... I just want to know I'm gonna have a home. It's so hard to trust in God's provision when I'm in such a precarious position, and so used to fighting tooth and nail for my survival.

It's good to be with friends... peers, it's good to hear the old jokes, see the familiar mannerisms. It's good to be in a place where I have so many friends. I can't remember the last time I've been at a party, laughed myself silly, listened to loud music. Tonight I did just that.

There's so much on my mind, but I have to go to bed. Church tomorrow.
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