Monday, 22 October 2012


Here she is.

She has found a visor.

Because she is a super hero. A licky super hero. Her super power is licking everything.

Soundtrack to this post: Bethel's snores in bed next to me.
There's a DTS lecture going on downstairs and she's too poorly to sleep anywhere that i'm not, so we're all three of us holed up in our bedroom. It's quite nice. John is reading Harry Potter and thus is in his happy place. I'm trying to type silently, but it's not going well because of all the thumpy PASSIONATE THOUGHTS.

This post is probably going to suck because i'm a bit poorly too. My head is full of thinkings that are half thought because of headache fog that gets in the way, and I should probably be napping too but that would be to admit defeat. Shan't.

So I think today we (the royal we? my many personalities? Beth is helping me type?) shall write about winning. Because i'm in a nation, and on a planet, that thrives on confrontation and aggression and assertiveness.
On a local level, people are snappy and quick to disapprove - you're doing this wrong, you've got that wrong, you need to hurry up, you need to slow down, you need to be less stupid or hot or cold or busy or lazy...I have grown to expect obvious disapproval whenever I venture out of the house. Should probably just stamp FAIL on my own forehead. Would save time. 
On a global level, things just seem to suck. Fighting for freedom, fighting for money or for power or for respect or for stuff or for someone else's stuff. This world seems to me - from my tiny vulnerable stranger in a foreign land perspective - to be big and angry and a bit scary. Don't believe me? Watch some news. Google people trafficking. Talk to someone who has been abused. Look at how many children self harm. Look at how many mums and dads have to watch their children die of stupidly treatable illnesses. Find out where your bank invests your money. Try going a night without a home. Try being a woman in a country that considers you less than a dog. Try being a man in a culture that demands you show no weakness and need no love. Try getting off heroin.

I live my life against a backdrop of this knowledge of a broken globe, and I think we all do. Seeking family in a hostile world, relieved by the love and comforts around us, sometimes engaging but generally hiding from the things we can't change. Refuge. It's a beautiful thing and it's of God.

But you know what else is of God? Justice. Compassion. Holy Rage. Action.
I've got a lot of rage.
In all the passion of hating suffering, do I get angry too? Do I get confrontational too? Do I stomp about shouting at the world to change because if it doesn't i'll count to three? Do I pick up a sword to kill a murderer? Do I launch a missile at the bad guys?

What Would Jesus Do? (It was only a matter of time before that got in there, people. I'm a Christian missionary. I can't avoid cheesy Jesus acronyms. I need help.)

They came to kill him, to arrest him illegally and try him with no defence, to torture him to death because he told them God is love and you're not loving. They proved him right with whips and with nails, with wood and with thorns.
So his friends get angry, they get some Holy rage, they take some action and take out their swords and they draw some blood. Yeah! Justice! Defend the weak! Assertiveness!
But he told them to stop that. Put the soldier's ear back on (he can do that kind of stuff y'know) and freaked the guy out a bit. Put his hands in the cuffs, his head in the hood, went with them on purpose. Took it.

So t
here is a different way to change the world. Stropping out or taking arms may not work out. It hasn't yet. 
Last night we were worshiping and our friend Daniel was holding his tiny baby girl and she is so beautiful and small, and I realized something important. God
 is the God who invented babies, tiny little bundles of handle-with-care. He sees the planet he made that is tearing itself to pieces, and against that backdrop he is the God who makes life. Tiny life with chubby hands and wondering eyes and licky dribbles. He made that vulnerable, gentle, sweetness that is a baby. That is part of who he is.  

He is at odds with the suffering we see. He is at odds with aggression. He heals the soldiers who come to kill him. 

he world is often violent and angry and hurting. People are often violent and angry and hurting. But there is a weapon we haven't all worked out how to use yet and it is gentleness. 

Taking it.

This is what I need to do here: the Bible says to come at things in the opposite spirit. You yell at me? I'll whisper back. You want to win? I'll step aside. You take my stuff? Here, have some more.
You want to shout at me in the street? I'll say thank you, yes of course my baby needs a snow suit in June, you're so right. Turn some cheeks. Smile.

Is it hard here? Yes, the culture is much more aggressive than i'm used to. But this country is beautiful, these people are worth so much more than I will ever be able to give them in my lifetime, and i'd like to see how British people would behave after centuries of oppression and communism.
So I will try to be gentle.
Because that way things may start to change. Jesus FTW.


Friday, 12 October 2012

A Positive Post! Freakish!

So this is Beth, looking like a fifties bather/ pilot. 

I did arty effects to this photo.
I am regretting this decision.

Soundtrack to this post: Newsboys
Because when one is happy, one should listen to cheesy happy Jesus music. That said, about half the tracks are so annoying that I instantly skip them. Can tolerate so much cheesy happiness before I get irritable and start craving some Beardy Emo Jesus.
So we're in trouble because over the last two weeks I haven't felt able to update the blog because of not having much positive to say about Ukraine, and the tendency to continuously complain can alienate one from people. Not goths, they like it. But I don't know many goths and i'd like to keep my friends please so thought i'd avoid yet more cyber ranting. 
But now we're riding the flip side of my gloom, hovering over stupidly happy, flying a little bit high on the realisation that when my God-dad sent me here, he knew what he was doing.  

When we got back to the Ukraine after two wonderful weeks of family-friends time, diagonal split in John's arm notwithstanding, I was gutted. Walked up the stairs to the house smelling that rural smell that is not much like shopping centres and more like chicken poo, and my heart dropped a bit. The first few weeks here were so very difficult and at that moment I could happily have quit this stupid adventure. So I breathed in and muttered to Him 

'but your Kingdom come, and your will be done'

and I felt like he got it. And that he was pleased. And like he was standing with me as I unlocked that front door and stepped inside. 

So that was my little decision, made again, made often, to do this thing called missionary life. Come what may. (Moulin Rouge re appropriated, people. You are welcome.)

Two nights in, that made again, made often decision has been an easy one because it's been fun! Beth slept through last night, we've been eating and laughing with the team, I haven't had to feed the chickens yet, John is wonderful, the heating works in the house, I get to wear my winter knitwear and my baby is crawling her over excited way about the house. She loves crawling. She loves crawling so much that she hyperventilates and laughs and disco slides across the kitchen. And eats poo from secret dusty poo collection corners.  

Oh, and lots of you prayed for our return journey to be easier. For those of you who I haven't ranted at, journeys home involved night trains in cattle class in beds a foot wide in the corridor six feet up with no railings, on the trains that suffer from an abundance of stinky men who like to snort in their sweaty drink sleep. With a baby.
It was fun.
Because i'm a super mum.
I would like a cape.
Made by Cath Kidston.
This is turning into a poem.
Or an ode.
Stop that now. 

People say I need to do proper updates, not just existential ponderings, so here's what we're up to:
- Getting the house ready for a team of 8 from America who are coming to do short term mission out of our base.
- Hanging out. Buying food and stuff.
- Preparing for a week of teaching on evangelism that John's helping with week after next, when we'll be hosting a DTS of 15 from Kiev. 
- Playing with Bethbaby and her new friend Camilla who is also gorgeous.
- Going to orphanages and all that jazz.

Right, going to go give my lovely handsome fit kind funny clever husband a massive snog. Lucky boy.