Wednesday, June 30, 2010

elsalvador: Tia Anna

I think this woman changed my life.

I can't seem to find any pictures of her . . . but let's see if I can't show you how amazing she is with my words. Truly she is someone who let the love of Jesus capture her years ago and it continues to impact her life daily. Jen translated her story for us, so I will try to tell it as far as I understood it.

Tia Anna was molested for many years when she was very young by her uncle, her father's brother. One day her dad discovered what was happening and threw Anna out of the house. She was only seven. Her mother was powerless to help. Anna lived on the streets as a prostitute for years. Survival was the goal - she carried around a gun and a knife.

When Tia Anna was thirteen, a woman named Gladys started pursuing her. Anna was mad, repulsed, upset . . . she did not like Gladys and told her that without hesitation for 3 years. For 3 years Gladys pursued this girl. She visited her apartment. She found her at the bars. She brought her home and cleaned her up when she was drunk. Tia Anna yelled at her - "Leave me alone!" but Gladys wouldn't leave her alone. Gladys would tell Anna, "My Father loves you." Tears came to my eyes every time Jen translated that phrase during the story. Tia Anna could not imagine a father who would love her. Gladys kept reminding her.

When she turned 16, Gladys threw a birthday party for Tia Anna. (I guess they were on speaking terms at this point.) They had a time of worship during the party. And Jesus met Tia Anna. Anna said that she fell on her knees during the service and just started to weep. She cried for the first time in many years (over 10 years?). For the first time she felt peace and His presence, the presence of her true & faithful Father. That night she slept without her gun & knife - peace overwhelmed her life. Tia Anna has since been reconciled with her parents and God has provided a husband for her.

Today Tia Anna runs an orphanage for children, many whose mothers are prostitutes and cannot take care of them. God has provided opportunity time & again for her to minister to children - I believe 62 kids over the past 30+ years. Right now there are 8 children at the orphanage. Tuesday & Wednesday morning we visited there: played with the children (crafts & jumped rope), heard Tia Anna's story, cleaned the kitchen, ironed clothes, helped with homework, etc. I helped to clean out the refrigerator on the second day and I do believe it looked brand new by the time we were done. On Friday we were able to purchase a clothes washer for Tia Anna, since the one she had just broke and she was doing all of the children's laundry by hand.

I wrote this in my journal that evening, "Gladys was the part of the story that really stuck out to me and touched me. This woman pursued Anna for 3 years and wouldn't give up on her. . . . Jesus, would you please give me a passion like Anna's? Some area of ministry that I love? . . . I want her passion for living and her joy in serving Jesus. Lord, please make me like Tia Anna and Gladys." Make me like them because they are like Jesus.

Pictures to come...

Friday, June 25, 2010

elsalvador: snapshots

More in-depth stories are on the way, but for now short snapshots of our El Salvador missions trip will suffice. What a crazy/wonderful week!
  • We lived in downtown San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador, population 2.1 million) for a week....in an apartment in the midst of the locals.
  • Trash was everywhere; they just don't see it the same way that we do - the neighborhood trash drop was right across the street from us....no trash bins so everyone just threw their trash on the ground and it was picked up periodically (by the trash truck and also by the random dog or passerby).
  • Stray dogs were everywhere, which reminded me of Romania and China.....only in the U.S. are dogs pampered, splurged on and treated like royalty.
  • I got to ride in the back of a pick-up twice; it seems to be the usual way of getting around in El Salvador (and not exactly a safe way).
  • Ministry opportunities included: 4 church services, testimony home visits, drama at Metro Centro, VBS for 5 days, and 2 visits to Tia Anna's orphanage.
  • I particularly remember three amazing times of worship: on the mountain, at the Pacific ocean, and at the CDA church.
  • Can I just say that I loved all of the colors in San Salvador: turquoise, blue, green, red, orange....all sorts of shades. Mix that with a variety of textures: sheet metal, concrete, tile, wood, stone and I was in design heaven.....got my brain spinning with ideas.
  • Not being able to speak the language was really frustrating for me....I remembered very little of my high school or college Spanish. That was probably the most challenging part of the trip.
  • When it rains in El Salvador, it pours. And I mean pours. One day we were stuck inside with all of the VBS kids during a thunderstorm (pure craziness!) and that's when my disposable camera was stolen from my pocket....good thing I only had a few pictures on it!
  • I have never been that constantly sweaty in my entire life. It did cool down some in the evenings but even then I still felt dirty & sticky. I think I'd rather live where I need to bundle up.
  • The Eagle students were amazing! I was very impressed with their positive attitudes, willingness to jump in, lack of complaining (about the heat & living conditions), and eagerness to love all of the people we met. I especially enjoyed getting to know all of the girls on the team.
  • Richard & Jennifer Mullinax (+ 4 kids) are C&MA missionaries in the city. We were privileged to hang out with them a bit at their home & the beach. Excited to be involved in their ministry from State-side.
  • It was at the same time very challenging and wonderful to serve & lead alongside Bryce. I'm glad we were able to go on the trip together. Our first week-long trip/vacation as a married couple (besides our honeymoon): serving cross-culturally in El Salvador. I think that's a good way to start.

And just so you know how truly spoiled I am, here is what I was most thankful for when we returned to the States:

  • being able to flush the toilet paper
  • a clean towel
  • a thick mattress
  • clean water from the faucet
  • a clean floor in my house
  • peanut butter & honey sandwiches
  • brushing my teeth with water from the faucet
  • a warm shower
  • air conditioning

Friday, June 18, 2010

Boden

I found this clothes catalog at the office the other day . . . and I fell in love with this company's style. It's only a dream, since everything in the catalog ranges from $58 - $118 (which happens to be how much I spend total on all of my clothes in a 6 month period). But it's a lovely dream. Do you ever find a clothes line where it seems like everything is "your style" and you could buy it all? Yep. That's what I felt like when I saw Boden.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

State of Grace

Have you heard me mention the dance company that I have been a part of for the past 8 or so years? It's called State of Grace and is currently based out of the Virgina/Washington D.C. area.
State of Grace & it's director, Connie Taylor-Krupp, have blessed me with so many amazing opportunities: 2-years-in-the-making production celebrating the history of the Jewish people; Messianic Jewish conference in North Carolina; trespassing on an ancient abbey in England (literally on the abbey....but that's a story for another time); the Yorkshire Air Museum; dance conference in Jacksonville, FL; special guests at Fort Monroe in Norfolk, Virginia.....and the list goes on. How blessed I am!

Read a delightful description of our company here.

Here's our website.

And if you are interested in viewing an interesting photo-book of our England trip? Go here and click on "SG in England."

Friday, June 11, 2010

my little man

No, not Bryce. This is what I call Nehemiah. My beautiful sister's wonderful son. It is one of the most wonderful things in the world to hold and to play with your sister's son. I do believe I almost-but-not-quite love little Nehemiah as much as Jess does.

Here is me and my little man. So precious. Look at his hand on my arm!

Grandpa! I loved watching my dad be a grandpa for the first time.

Watching his toys . . . Nehemiah started to work on crawling while
he was in Indiana. And, yes, he's only 4 months old. Amazing little boy.

Uncle Jordan and Nehemiah. They had a lot of bonding time
over the week and it was so much fun to watch.


This made Chris & I laugh really hard. See Nehemiah sucking on
Sadie's arm? Just a little bit of baby saliva.
Well, Sadie did not like this one bit and promptly gave Nehemiah
back once the picture was taken. :)

Nehemiah and Great Grandma Eddi (my mom's mom).
I love this picture.
You can see a little bit of a smile on both faces.

Nehemiah with his grandma! So content and relaxed.

And I just have to post this picture again. Bryce and I did a very good job of not fighting over the baby. I loved to watch Bryce hold Nehemiah and make him laugh.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beginnings

Last weekend marked some beginnings in the Eberly family. Jordan graduated from high school and is beginning a new phase of life. My mother, Cynthia, graduated her last student (of 4) and is also beginning a new phase of life. My sister & brother-in-law visited with their son, Nehemiah, which was the beginning of younger generations present at family gatherings. Such a full & fun weekend...

Dwight & Jess drove down on Friday morning to see our new house and to pick me up. We stopped by the studio to visit Bryce on the way to Fort Wayne and also stopped for ice coffee. Friday night we ate dinner & relaxed & Jordan went to his rehearsal & I spent time with Jess. Saturday morning I held Nehemiah for a few hours (tried to steal time with him whenever I could) while everyone was getting ready. 1:00 p.m. was Jordan's graduation ceremony . . . a tad on the long side but meaningful & memorable. Went to Josh's Schenke's open house. Talked with the grandparents & ate cake for Dwight's birthday. Bryce arrived Sunday morning and we went to church with the whole family (minus a very significant person in L.A. who we missed very much). Sunday afternoon was Jordan's graduation party (thank you to everyone who came)!!! Sat around with the family + Millers, crashed for a bit, and then drove back to Indy. Whew.

Jordan & the parents at the ceremony

All of us at the graduation ceremony

Siblings!

My wonderful sister, Jessica, and my Dad
Bryce & I & the nephew
Party time!
The Bruce Eberly family (note the spot for Jason)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books. The heroine & hero are plain & ordinary. The story is captivating. Charlotte Bronte's writing style is a joy to read. And the spiritual undertones are truly inspiring. Two quotes below (spoiler alert!):

Mr. Rochester:

"Jane! you think me, I daresay, an irreligious dog: but my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now. He sees not as man sees, but far clearer: judges not as man judges, but far more wisely. I did wrong . . . I, in my stiff-necked rebellion, almost cursed the dispensation: instead of bending to the decree, I defied it. Divine justice pursued its course; disasters came thick on me: I was forced to pass through the valley of the shadow of death. His chastisements are mighty; and one smote me which has humbled me for ever. You know I was proud of my strength: but what is it now . . . ? Of late, Jane--only--only of late--I began to see and acknowledge the hand of God in my doom. I began to experience remorse, repentance; the wish for reconcilement to my Maker. I began sometimes to pray: very brief prayers they were, but very sincere."

Jane:

"I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest--blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness in my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once, free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character--perfect concord is the result."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

thursday thoughts

Note to self: do not absentmindedly reach for a coffee cup and accidentally grab the one you left on your desk 4 days ago. Cold coffee with gnat floaters is basically disgusting. Just go ahead and spit it back into the mug after you take a sip.

Another note to self: please remember to turn off the car and take out the keys before you walk in to work. If you get out of your Vibe and you hear a car running and there's no one else around, it's probably your own car that's still running.

Two non-noteworthy items: 1) we have an influx of ant friends on our kitchen counters. They're the tiny kind and everywhere. I'm not an ant fan. And Bryce gets in these ant-killing modes and then I can't seem to get his attention when he's on a rampage. 2) I somehow scalded my tongue over the weekend or did something to it . . . the usual bumps were completely gone on the tip of my tongue and it was really painful and it took 4 days to heal (which is a long time for a tongue). Ouch. I would remind myself never to do that again except that I have no idea how I did it.

Okay. I got those out of the way.
Yesterday I realized that I haven't done a life update post in awhile. So, here goes:

Work: It's going well. Baker & Daniels is a great company and my boss is a wonderful gentleman to work for. I'm still not very busy but trying to use my time wisely. (If you have any online projects or research, send it my way.)

Married life: I love it. I love my husband. I love it when he makes me laugh. Actually, this past weekend we had one and a half days together and I was overwhelmed with how much I enjoy being with Bryce. Nine months + nineteen days of marriage - it's been a wonderful ride so far. Not perfect but wonderful.

Home: People keep asking me if we've been working on our house. And the answer is no (in case you've been wondering). There aren't a lot of extra funds right now and probably most daunting is that there is not a lot of extra time. I am slowly working on making apple crate shelves for the dining room (which I can paint as soon as I decide what color I want) and I also painted the trim in 4 rooms downstairs. But that's about it. Now, if you ask me what I want to do....that is fun question to answer. Oh, so much! Painting and building an island for our kitchen are probably next in line.

Eberly family: This weekend will be my 4th weekend in a row visiting Fort Wayne. 1st weekend: teach new mime. 2nd: end-of-the-year mime performance - Jordan's last one. 3rd: Jess, Dwight & Nehemiah in town! 4th: Jordan's graduation & party! (Now you see why I have no extra time!) I love spending time with my family.....we haven't been together like that since my wedding and yet it's like no time has passed at all! I love that about us.

Langebartels family: I spent some time with Lori & Janna last weekend. We walked and then tackled the very important task of getting some sun - two of my favorite things to do. Good times, I must say. Hope to have more times like that this summer.

What else is going on? Working on gifts & shower items - I love being crafty! Playing keys for church. Playing in a recording for Grant & Laura's wedding. Doing laundry. Having Justin & Janna over for dessert. Lunch with Rachel. El Salvador meeting and preparing the drama props. Jeremy & Megan's wedding. Cleaning my car........and that's just in the last 2 weeks. (Now you really see why I have no extra time!)

Enough from me. This blog post is getting entirely too long. Thanks for reading and keeping up with me! (To my fellow blog friends....I'd love to read a "life update" from you soon. :)

Happy almost Friday from me,
Janalexis