Saturday, August 1, 2009
OK, you may have thought we abandon you, it has been awhile since our last blog, but just like the Lord, we will not leave you.
I will start where we left off…
After a wonderful few days with Lance and Palm family we headed for Nebraska. We reached Omaha just in time for Sean’s bachelor party. Then we spent a week in Lincoln with Richard, Sean’s brother. The wedding was beautiful and it was great to see Jordan’s parents, sister and brother. From there the hitchhiking continued through South Dakota and into Minnesota and Wisconsin. A few nights with Jordan’s teammate Liz and her fiancé Jeff were relaxing (notice a wedding theme anyone). Then the 4th of July was spent with more AmeriCorps friends in Chicago (thank you April for your hospitality). A night in New Lenox with Naz Farm friends and it was off to Michigan (which happened to be the best hitchhiking state yet!) Our first MI night was with Brandon and Taylor in Grand Rapids. Then a few quick rides and we were in Gaylord.
What a great time having all the family together. Our first weekend was Blissfest (blissfest.org) a wonderful folk music festival that my family has frequented for years (dad is even on the board now). It was a really good festival this year and great to have everyone with us, my parents, my brother and Ashley and their son Logan, Jeff a good friend from high school, Courtney a childhood friend, and Brandon and Taylor even came up for the festivities. Jordan even saw Seth and May (musicians) for the first time.
The rest of the month (or 23 days as mom and dad will say) was spent wedding planning, playing and spending time with those we love. We helped my Grandma Garthe move and hiked around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore a bit. My dad took us to Mackinac Island for a day and found some sweet bike paths through the island. Mom made us some delicious meals (and I made some too) and don’t forget dad’s salads each night, here is the recipe:
1.) Find big bowl(s)
2.) Add 2 scoops cottage cheese in each
3.) Rifle through farmers market basket for all vegetables, cut up into small chunks (i.e.
radishes, pea pods, carrots, tomatoes, onion, green onion, strawberries,)
4.) Rifle through fridge/cupboards for other salad items, cut into small chunks (i.e. olives,
pickles, croutons, sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried fruit, canned beets,)
5.) Use up entire container of items if they cost less than $1 each (“I mean if the bag of
croutons only cost 87¢ I think we can use them up in one sitting”)
6.) Yell to each person in the house about each item (“SWEET LYNNIE ARE YOU SURE
YOU DON’T WANT ONIONS IN YOURS?” “JORDAN (pause) BEETS?”)
7.) Mix up a few instructions just so they appreciate the work you are putting in also you can
say things like, “Well tomorrow you can make your own salads”
8.) Wash some lettuce (try to remove all slugs, but hey those vegetarians need more protein
anyway), tear into pieces and add to bowls
Overall (and besides the rainy/gloomy weather) it was great to be home and see everyone. But all good things must come to an end (unlike bad things which never seem to end, I’m talking to you ‘War-in-the-Middle-East’ – 9 years?!), yesterday we left for Nazareth Farm. Thank you again mom and dad for letting us use your car for two weeks (I will be going back to Gaylord on the 12th for the Raatz/Grosser wedding!!) It was an eleven hour drive (including stopping in Toledo for Indian food). We arrived and dinner was waiting- tasty black bean burgers, corn on the cob, green beans, etc. etc.
Now we are all settled in (Jordan is in the workshop making a boat to race in the creek). We are really looking forward to the time we will spend here on the farm and will be telling you about it as we go. The Nazareth Farm website is www.nazarethfarm.org and I suggest just checking it out to get an understanding of the organization we will be working with, it is truly unique.
Thank you for your prayers that have brought us to this point.
Please stay in contact, below I have added our mailing address (not a P.O. Box) and feel free to call us but the iphone, without service, has become a fancy watch, just leave a message and we will check them when we are in service. And we can always be contacted via this blog or facebook.
Jordan and/or Jessie
RR-2 Box 194-3
Salem, WV 26426
Peace and Love,
Jess and Jordan
Come see us at the farm!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Where to begin? Jess and I have had an amazing last couple of weeks. We left Mississippi on May 29th and Ray took us up to his property where we helped him plant some azaleas. My Aunt Theresa picked us up and we went to her house near Richmond, Virginia. After spending a wonderful week there with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins they took us to Nazareth Farm in West Virginia. (www.nazarethfarm.org)
Our week at Nazareth Farm was filled with joy, tears, challenges and most of all love. Nazareth Farm focuses on four cornerstones: Prayer, Community, Service, Simplicity. All four of those cornerstones are evident and fit together perfectly to create a week long experience of the love of Christ for the volunteers who come for a service retreat.
Upon arrival Jess and I were greeted with hugs (as are the volunteers). At Nazareth Farm hand shakes don't exist and starting from the very moment people meet they are drawn closer to each others hearts with a giant hug. A life of simplicity is encouraged at the farm. Water is used conscientiously in solidarity with those around the world who are unable to access fresh water. Five gallon bucket showers are encouraged (3 or less a week) and outhouses are found all across the farm in order to limit use of the precious resource. Food is grown in four gardens, which are kept up by the Staff and Volunteers. Every day the community gathers for reflection prayer in the morning and at night; as well as praying before breakfast and dinner when we eat together in a community dining area. Everyone at the farm is asked to take only what they can eat and eat what they take. Most waste is composted or recycled (even plastic sandwich bags are washed and reused).
Each day volunteers are lead on a home repair project by a staff member. Once again Christ and community are on our mind as prayer is said with our work crew and home-owners (which they call "good friends") before work and once again after the work day is complete. The work site becomes more than a work site by the fact that we get to visit, eat lunch and just chit-chat with the homeowners; focusing on building a relationship with that person.
The total experience at Nazareth Farm is hard to explain in words but what it brings to mind is the verse above. No one at Nazareth Farm owns anything (except for maybe their clothes). There are no electronics and the focus is on God and community. By the end of the week all of us were able to share our joys, sorrows, strengths and weakness'. Most importantly we all became like brothers and sisters. There is not a need at the farm, for we discover that our only needs are food, clothing, and shelter. All other things try to fill a hunger which could only be truly satisfied by community and Christ. I believe this is what the early apostles realized as well. They took care of the needs of every person and dropped all "luxuries" because they were satisfied with living in the true sense. Breaking bread with one another in their houses and sharing the joy of Christ in their life.
In this simplicity a true form of love is found. After spending a week at Nazareth Farm it was time for us to head on to our new destination (St. Louis then Nebraska). One of the staff members was heading to Louisville so he offered us a ride. He dropped us off outside the town and we waited for another ride. We were picked up by a husband and wife named Janice and Rick. They invited us into their homes as it was getting close to dark and they lived in the city of Louisville. They made us dinner and offered us cheesecake and showers before we went to bed. They too were Christians. Their daughter was visiting and she was very involved with the youth group at her church. Her name was Amanda and she was 22. They don't normally pick up hitch hikers but said they felt moved to do so coming home from church that night. The next day Amanda invited us to attend church with her and some friends. We went and had a good time and after church we enjoyed lunch with her, her friends and other church members. We didn't end up leaving until around 5:30 that night and the couple took us outside Louisville. They gave us fresh cookies and apples for our journey. Not five minutes went by and a man named "chicken" picked us up on his way to St Louis where he drove a tugboat. He brought us along with us and we arrived around eleven that night and our friend Lance who we knew from AmeriCorps picked us up with his dad. We have been spending the last couple of days with him and will be leaving tomorrow.
This most recent trip leaving Mississippi, spending a week with family, Nazareth Farm and our travels to St Louis have reminded Jess and I how loved we actually are by God and we have been able to experience his love through our relations and kindness of his people. People we have met have touched our lives by their generosity and hospitality and we hope we have encouraged others of the possibilities of those who have Christ as their foundation.
We ask you all to pray for Janice, Rick and Amanda that God may bless their household for the hospitality they showed us and also for the high school volunteers at Nazareth Farm that they may take their experience home with them and continue to live in the light.
Below I have a writing on Simplicity. Author is unknown.
Peace and Love
Jordan and Jess
Simplicity of Life
There is a form of material poverty which is blessed.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
If we follow the will of God he will lead us on a His perfect purposeful path.
We may not understand the path or the purpose but He will.
Mary’s house is done!
And that alone is purpose enough for us coming to Hattiesburg.
Below are photos of the kitchen from our third week here and this week.
(Homemade cabinets and all!) God is Great!
Everything you see we measured/cut/nailed/glued/sanded/painted/stained/caulked/grouted/and cleaned.
After After After
PSA: Praise God for the little victories too.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
As I assume most of you know, (if you watch the news you should) Mr. Obama released information explaining the techniques and uses of torture by the United States government on terrorist detainees. These techniques include: Diet Manipulation (replace solid foods with liquid), Slapping (both in the face and the abdomen), Walling (standing a prisoner against a wall and slamming him back against it, repeatedly), Nudity, Dark Confinement, Water Flicking (flicking water onto their face), Sleep Deprivation (cuffing their hands in a standing position for more than 48 hours to prevent them from sleeping), and Waterboarding (tying them down to a board, putting a cloth over their face and pouring water on them to simulate drowning).
All these techniques which are specifically described and outlined are to "startle, irritate, humiliate, or to cause temporary insult" - US Department of Justice. The documents can be found online from various news agencies.
Obviously, this is a hot topic of debate in our country. Surprisingly (or not) a large amount of people in our country support the use of torture. What surprised me even more was that yesterday, while driving to work I stumbled across a station in which the radio commentator was advocating for the use of torture and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ on the same radio show! Even worse, he had listeners nation wide who were all in aggreeance with him. This fact put me in distress all day and saddened me. How can we as Christians justify torture when our Savior tells us to pray for our enemys?
I decided to call in (he was taking live callers to give their oppinions on the topic). Surprisingly, I was able to get through the phone lines and he put me on the air, to speak my mind. (for those of you who know me, I love to debate things I am passionate about) I began to remind him that Jesus Christ was coming again, and according to my bible he will seperate the Sheep from the Goats and to the Goats he will say "Depart from me you cursed...for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." When they ask when they saw him like that Jesus replies, " Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of your brothers, you did not do it to me" - Mathew 25:31-46
After I reminded him of that statement from Christ, I then asked him a question: "Will Jesus also say, when I was in prison, you tortured me?" He explicitly tells us that we are to clothe the naked, not submit people to nudity to embarrass them. He tells us to feed the hungry, not substitute their food with bland liquids. He tells us to visit the sick and imprisoned, not subject them to torture and humiliation. The radio announcer then replied with what I knew he would, the "smoking gun" situation. It goes like this: There is a nuclear bomb/another Sept 11 (or something else drastic) that is about to happen, and you have a guy in custody who knows information to stop it. Do you torture him to get the information so you can save thousands/millions? It is the simple, "do the ends justify the means" question. He gave me 10 seconds to answer this question (and he was furious with me at this point) so I quickly found a bible passage and stated: "You unfaithful people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." - James 4:4 I then said "When faced with a loaded gun I would gladly take death, than disobey a commandment of God." He then hung up on me and told the listeners that I was living in a fake world.
The point of my passage is this: God gave us his son Jesus Christ, to suffer torture and die for us, so that we can conquer death ourselves and live with Him eternally in heaven. This means that the ONLY thing we should have to fear is God. To fear God means to reject friendship with worldly solutions, traditions and practices which contradict with those of God; knowing that it is God, and God alone who will secure everlasting life for you.
This means that we ARE capable of breaking the circle of violence, even if it means our own death. This means that after Sept 11 we could have prayed for the terrorist and sent a message of forgiveness to the world (as Jesus asks us to) instead of a message of vengence and rash decision making. We could have set a bright example for the world to follow, instead we pursued an archaic solution. Around 3,000 Americans died in Sept 11th and that could have been all the American lives lost, but instead we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and caused the death of over 4,000 more Americans and over 1 million innocent civilians in both countries. Not to mention all the orphans we created who will grow up hating our government because our missiles destroyed their home. Thus, creating futur terrorist. This is the circle of violence our unfaithful world perpetuates. When we begin to put our faith in God alone and not color coded security systems, unmanned airplaines, laser guided missiles and nuclear weapons, we will begin to live a life of pure Joy. We would fear no evil because we know the worst that it can do to us is kill our fleshly life and deliver us to an everlasting life with Christ. This is a marvelous thing to realize.
In a book called "Non-Violent Resistence" ( a collection of writings by Gandhi) page 95 has this quote, " The only weapon of the Satyagraha (the equivalent of a non-violent activist) is God, by whatsoever name one knows Him. Without Him the Satyagrahi is devoid of strength before an opponent armed with monstrous weapons...he who accepts God as his ONLY Protector will remain unbent before the mightiest earthly power." When your only Protector is Jesus Christ, there will be no use for torture because when you follow his commandments, the need for war ceases to exist and the circle of violence is broken.
We as Christians need to ask ourselves, "What do I put my faith in?" "Do I call the ideals of God fake? or Impossible?" and when we come to the realization that God is our strong tower we will be able to accomplish things that the world deems impossible or unreasonable.
Peace and Love,
Jordan and Jess
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Yeah AmeriCorps NCCC! (For those of you who don’t know what that means; AmeriCorps NCCC- National Civilian Community Corps is the national service program Jordan and I were in last year. The skinny is: 11 months, 18-24 year olds, teams of 10-12, 6 week projects across the country, and a school scholarship at the end.) Gold Seven, a team from the Sacramento campus, arrived last Saturday to work with us at R3SM. We have had a full week with them and so much has been done. We all have been working on Mary’s house (see “Learn Sow Reap” the post from Feb. 18th for more information). In the weeks since we arrived Jordan and I had finished mudding and sanding the kitchen, living room, and 73% of the bathroom, trimmed and painted the windows, primed the exterior and clothed the main living space in a coat of sun yellow. But over the past week, with the team, we have:
- Connected all the plumbing
“Welcome to Hattiesburg, please dig around this sewer pipe, we think there is a hole in it.”
- Screwed down all the sub-floor boards (and patched the missing spots)
“Welcome to Hattiesburg, please climb under this house and hammer in some nailers between these joists”
- Installed a tub in the bathroom
“Welcome to Hattiesburg, oh the tub we had donated won’t fit through the door of the bathroom?”
- Painted the exterior and replaced missing siding
“Welcome to Hattiesburg, try to sawzaw that at a matching angle to the other ones.”
- Built cabinets and shelves
“Welcome to Hattiesburg, you have never built cabinets? Me either!”
All jokes aside we really accomplished a ton and this (year long) project should come to a close by the end of the month. It is amazing how much can get done with help.
In the same way, Jesus could not accomplish His mission here on earth without laborers. He saw how much work was to be done and knew He couldn’t do it alone (well, He could do it alone, but not being 100% man). In chapter ten of Matthew Jesus gives the disciples authority over unclean spirits and the gift of healing. (“Welcome to Galilee, go touch some lepers.”) The disciples went throughout the land of Israel healing the sick and spreading the good news.
While Jesus was on earth He needed disciples how much more does He need them today; while He is not here in human form? We are all called to follow Him and be willing field hands for the Lord of the harvest.
There is still so much work to be done even right here in Hattiesburg; as Jordan and I enter our last month we are so blessed to have workers with us.
Peace and Love,
Jess and Jordan
A picture from one of the framed out windows (we will have some before and after pictures soon, and some brag photos of the kitchen cabinets!)
Saturday, April 18, 2009
- 1 Corinthians 10:31,33 - 11:1
Earlier this week I recieved the most uplifiting and encouraging email I have recieved in a long time. This is what it said:
I follow your blog. I think it's incredible...I don't know if you actually know this, but I was a bit lost from the Lord when I came down here to AmeriCorps. Lots of reasons for this-- but I REALLY struggled with it. You talked to me ONCE about it, high up on the scaffolding on that house on edgewater and that night I went home and started reading my Bible again. It has been a bumpy road , but I feel Jesus in my heart again, and I thank YOU for it. I know God puts people in our lives for reasons, and that seems to be the reason you were put in mine. Now, I have a great Church, I volunteer there in Youth Group and in Sunday school and I am completely fulfilled spreading the word and serving God. Thanks Jordan! Hope this wasn't too corny!
We always hear people say it in sunday school, in church sermons, bible study and Paul says it in the passage above; always be a living example of Christ because we never know who we will touch throughout our day.
What does it mean to be a living example of Christ? Paul tells Titus in his letter, "Bid slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to be refactory, nor to pilfer, but to show entire and true fidelity, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior." - Titus 2:9-10
That is probably one of the hardest commands, especially for those which may have a boss (master) which they don't particularly get along with or agree with. Because we are Christians, we are called to at all times praise Jesus and live according to his example. When Jesus was whipped, tortured and crucified, he did not curse those who were "master" over him. Instead he silently endured the pain, knowing that his one and only Master up above would take care of him in the end. We are in the same way called to be subject to our boss', putting forth our best effort in the work that we do despite the differences we may have with our boss. Thus, we set the best example we can of Jesus Christ. This means not gossiping about our boss with co-workers or cursing his/her name while they are gone.
On the other hand, if we are the boss, we are told, "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." - Colossians 4:1 We all are subject to God our Father in heaven, so just like we want God to treat us with love, respect and forgiveness, we are to treat those under us with love, respect and forgiveness. How are we to curse, punish and/or treat those under us unfairly and at the end of the day go to God and ask him to have mercy on us? Jesus Christ was the perfect example of a leader when he washed the feet of his disciples. (John 13:5) In order to lead people in this world, we must do it by example through serving the needs of the very people we lead.
We interact with people every day. Our familys, our co-workers, people at the store, and people we pass by on the street. With every person we have a chance to show the love of Jesus Christ. Every time we smile at someone we spread love into that small fragment of their day. Jesus brings tremendous joy and courage into my life. If the only thing I did in this world was share/give that joy and courage to everyone I meet, then my soul would be satisfied.
Once we become believers in Christ we are filled with fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits are: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfullness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. (Galatians 5:22-24) Paul, after sharing with us the fruits of the spirit, goes on to tell us that since we are filled with the Holy Spirit and must cultivate those fruits, we must also use those fruits having "no self conceit, no provoking of one another, and no envy of one another." (Galatians 5:26)
Now, living out the way which Christ would want us to is tremendously hard to do. Like the email above states, it will be a "bumpy road", but we need to be constantly reading the bible, attending church services and be in fellowship with other believers so that we may grow the fruits within us and gain better knowledge of the scripture and understanding of what Jesus is asking us to do. If we stay constant in our long journey of spiritual growth we will live more joy filled and fruitfull lives which will benefit not only ourselves, but the people around us. Like the mustard seed is such a small seed(photo at top), but the mustard plant grows wild and strong; our lives can plant small deeds of kindness into the lives of others and some day we will actually bring Gods Kingdom here on Earth and be prepared for the day in which Jesus Christ will come again.
Jessie and I say the prayer that is to the right of this page every day. We adapted the prayer from St. Francis of Assissi and customized it to our daily lives and needs. We encourage everyone to share the prayer with us and together we will grow.
Peace and Love,
Jordan and Jess
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Today He rose from the dead!
Not only do we have a martyr that died for us, we have a reason to praise (Sunday has come!).
Easter marks new life; Jesus’ new life, our new life in Him, as well as the new life of the season. Spring is upon us here in Hattiesburg (sorry to make everyone in the north jealous, but it is nice). Things have turned green, are budding and sprouting (see photos of Mr. Halloway’s garden; those are little peach trees and rows of potatoes). The birds and the bees are excited too. The house we are working on has a little wasp problem. They have been building their own little subdivision in the porch ceiling. With new developments showing up daily we really have to keep them up to date on our zoning laws. One day we were eating lunch out on the porch and we noticed a giant bumble bee. It was hovering a few feet out from the porch at about eye level. When a wasp got near the house the bumble bee would zoom over and attack. It was a little hard to see what exactly he/she did but the wasps flew away. The bumble bee would shoot across the street to Mr. Halloway’s house and do some counter strikes then come back to its position in front of us. It was a good show and we loved it because the bee was keeping the wasps away from the house. We don’t know why it was so aggressive but it never took a rest. We think maybe the bee has a nest going in the bush out front.
Cardinals and blue jays have been swooping in and out, chasing each other and singing. We even saw a woodpecker knocking on the telephone pole. I have been reading Little Flowers of Francis of Assisi and the last chapter had a wonderful story of Francis traveling along a road and coming upon a group of birds on the ground. He began to preach to the birds and more flew down from the nearby trees to listen. Francis explained how blessed the birds were; their species had been preserved, they had the freedom to fly anywhere, and God had provided for their every need (food/water/trees for nesting/new clothes). Then he explained how the birdies should be on guard against the sin of ingratitude and should constantly praise their creator. After the sermon the birds spread their little wings, bowed their beaks to the ground, and took off singing to the heavens.
We, in the same way, need to be constantly praising our creator and savior. Easter is the perfect reminder for us. Spring is beautiful and each flower should trigger songs from our heart to the one who made the earth. The thought of Christ’s resurrection should easily prompt worship.
One more thing to remember: He prophesied His death and renewal and was 100% correct; we should trust and obey everything He foretold. (He will be back!!)
“You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.”
(A line from my favorite Easter hymn)
Peace and Love on this very great day,
Jordan and Jess
Friday, April 10, 2009
There was a Man who walked this earth preaching about loving one another and praying for your enemies. He asked those around Him to follow His example and to live their lives in the service of others.
One night He even washed the feet of His followers so that they would learn that leading people is through serving them. Later that night, He was in a garden praying when one of His friends gave Him a kiss on a cheek, a sign to those who were out to arrest Him.
They arrested this Man because they feared the truth which He was speaking. They were comfortable with their power, riches and fame. They took this Man to higher authorities to put Him on trial for his death. This Man was beaten brutally and mocked all the while.
The King of kings was given a crown, but it was made of thorns. He was given wine but it was sour. He was given a purple cloth to be wrapped around his bloodied and cut up body and the praises He recieved were followed with spit, laughter and blows to the body.
This Man was then given a cross and forced to carry it up a hill, all the while being mocked, spit on and whipped. He was then nailed to the cross and raised before all as a warning to anyone who might try to live by His example. If you do what He says and follow His ways, you too will be nailed to a cross.
While dying on the cross, this Man spent energy to speak, when his body was barely able and the words he spoke were of forgiveness for those who put him there.
This Man was completely innocent and He endured a death no condemned man should. Jesus Christ died for you and me. Who am I to deserve the suffering which He endured? How can I ever be worthy of the pain which His mother went through, watching her Son stumble to His death? I love this Man, but when faced with death am I strong enough to say He is my friend, or must He continue to wake me up each morning with the cocks crow to remind me that I am only alive because of Him? How do I find the courage to complain about an aching body from work or
simple criticism when You were strong enough to remain silent through Your punishment?
Grant me mercy, oh Lord, that I may live a life worthy of Your death. Through Your suffering make me strong so that I may carry Your cross with You.
Today You died Lord. I am forever indebted to service.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Over the last year I have sought to reduce all my possessions down to one bag. I have given my life to the service of others. I have spent my time praying and searching for all wisdom in Gods Word and I have tried to practice in my life what it is that Jesus preaches about. Thanks to the power of God, I have been successful in all things.
When I look back at my life, my successes and my failures, my dreams and my realities, my faith and lack thereof; I can not help but marvel at the brilliance and wisdom of God. My God is a loving god, a forgiving God and a providing God. He has blessed me with a strong and close family who is always there for one-another. He has blessed me with friends who support me in all my dreams, seek with me all answers to this sometimes confusing life and most importantly are (and always will be) there for me when I just need company. Lastly, he has provided me with a new family in Christ which has been built in my travels. Those who have offered me rides, places to rest, and food to eat. There are many I keep in touch with and to this day I consider them a part of my life.
In all these things I find love. Whether everyone knows it or not, it is in them that I find the beautiful and loving face of God. Today I am here to announce that I have once more been blessed by God and once more he has secured for me an everlasting promise. I asked Jessie Wambold, my companion and best friend for the last year, to marry me. She answered with a YES!!
I met Jess in AmeriCorps, day one. We were assigned to the same “pod” (temporary groups before we were put in teams). She immediately caught my attention with her stories about traveling the world on her own. Who wouldn’t be impressed by a cute girl, 5 foot tall who, when she was 18 literally traveled around the world on her own. Confidence, happiness and love were beaming from her face and enthusiastic attitude. We remained friends through the first 3-4 months of AmeriCorps. It was in Vermont that we were put on the same team and began reading the bible together that we began to grow closer together. Both of us spent each night reading the New Testament starting with Mathew, in search for God knows what. I being raised Catholic and her Evangelical Free, allowed for good conversations about our understanding of Christ.
The deeper we read into the bible, the closer we became spiritually. With her I felt a bond that I never felt before. With her I felt the Holy Spirit alive, not only in her but in myself. Vermont came and went, and soon we were put back on our first teams. However, the thousands of miles did not break our communication. We continued reading the bible each night and discussing our thoughts about what we were reading on the telephone. We were both attending different Sunday Services but sharing what we learned and experienced. Our relationship seemed to be growing at a constant pace and our understanding of Christ seemed to be growing at a faster pace.
It was towards the end of our third round in AmeriCorps that we decided we wanted to continue our service of those in need, but this time we were going to do it under the authority and dependency of Jesus Christ, not Uncle Sam. One thing about Jess that is most attractive and similar to myself is her ability to dream; her ability to have a vision and work towards that vision with all faith and determination that it will become a reality.
After AmeriCorps we began the next phase of our life (AmeriCorps calls it our “life after AmeriCorps). Entering AmeriCorps we both had different visions of our separate future, after AmeriCorps we were on one accord with our dreams, we were on one accord with our God and we were on one accord with making our dream a reality.
What Paul states in the passage above is important. One can know all things on this earth, have all faith in God and give all their possessions even their life to others, but without love there is nothing. Without getting to know the inner-soul of another human being we miss out on what life is all about. Whether it be a friend, family member or partner in life we are called to love one another. Not just be kind to one another, but to actually love them. We are called to be patient and kind. We are called not to be jealous, a braggart or arrogant. We are to act proper and not degrade ourselves or seek things for ourselves. We should not be provoked by others or count the times we are wronged. We should give no credit to that which is unjust and we are to rejoice and live in all truth. And finally, we are called to believe that anything is possible, be willing to handle anything that comes our way, always remember that Christ has filled us with all hope and use his strength to endure all challenges that may come our way. When we abide in love, we will never fail. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
I look forward to loving Jess the rest of my life.
Peace and Love,