Monday, March 28, 2011

When Winter is Over

Just before we left Sudan in January, Bethany shared this poem with our team.

Two weeks ago I got to go to Maymont park with the Masso family. It is one of my favorite places in Richmond. Spring is coming and the flowers are starting to bloom, and I thought again of the last lines of this poem.


A Short Testament
by Anne Porter

Whatever harm I may have done
In all my life in all your wide creation creation
If I cannot repair it
I beg you to repair it,

And then there are all the wounded
The poor the deaf the lonely and the old
Whom I have roughly dismissed
As if I were not one of them.
Where I have wronged them by it
And cannot make amends
I ask you
To comfort them to overflowing,

And where there are lives I may have withered around me,
Or lives of strangers far or near
That I've destroyed in blind complicity,
And if I cannot find them
Or have no way to serve them,

Remember them. I beg you to remember them

When winter is over
And all your unimaginable promises
Burst into song on death's bare branches.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I'm sorry I haven't been great about keeping up with blogging or sending out prayer letters since I arrived back in the US in January. Part of the reason, I think, is that I am still processing. When I sit down to write something to share with all the people who are praying for me, I end up staring at a blank screen or writing something and then deleting it. My journal is filled with raw thoughts and prayers, but putting something coherent together has been a struggle.

I decided to just share some thoughts about the last few weeks with all of you.

Over the last few weeks I have been reunited with several friends and teammates who know me well. It is amazing thing to have friends that that can almost fill in the blanks for me as I ramble through unprocessed thoughts about the my time in Sudan and transitioning to life in the US.

Being back in Richmond has been more of a blessing than I anticipated. I have been able to sit and talk with friends and even step back into the same Bible study I was a part of over two years ago. All I can say that I am so thankful for all of the people who have been loving me well and pouring into me. Dear friends have welcomed me into their home and a family has even provided me with a car while I am in Richmond. I have been overwhelmed by the hospitality and generosity of friends! God is providing for me and caring for me through this time of transition in beautiful ways that I didn't expect. Tomorrow starts my time at WEPC as a missionary in residence. I don't know what exactly this will look like, but I am excited to find out what God has planned.

I wish I could say I have mastered the art of packing and living out of a suitcase after two years overseas. This morning when I arrived at the Seattle airport getting ready to catch a flight back to Richmond I couldn't find my drivers license. After a bit of searching I realized I also didn't have the keys to the car I am using while I Richmond. Not good.... It was EARLY in the morning, but I decided to call my teammates that were still sleeping back in the hotel room we were sharing and ask them to look around. They very graciously searched the room. My drivers license wasn't there, but they found my keys, and thankfully were able to send hem on the hotel shuttle to the airport for me. The only picture id I had with me was my Penn State student id. Why I still have my student id in my wallet, I'm not sure, but after some extra security screening I made it to my flight just in time. When I arrived in Richmond and started unpacking, I found my drivers license. It was in my makeup bag of all places! Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking when I put it in there... or more likely I just wasn't thinking. I had torn apart my purse and luggage at the airport looking for it, but never thought to check in my makeup bag.

I traveled to Seattle to attend the wedding of Kim and James. It was a BEAUTIFUL wedding that gave glory to God for what He has done in the lives of the bride and the groom. I cried several times throughout the ceremony. The wedding also provided an opportunity to spend some good quality time with people who have served in East Africa with Kim in Uganda and Sudan. We had a great time laughing, talking, and exploring Seattle together.

Since I was already going to be on the west coast for Kim's wedding, I decided to spend a few days in San Francisco before the wedding with several fellow Penn State Chemical Engineers. We reminisced about our years together in Happy Valley and spent time catching up on each others lives. We also got to go on a free tour of a chocolate factory!

The best thing about being back in the US has been spending time with friends and family in person and even just being able to talk on a phone with no delay or dropped calls. It has encouraged my heart and brought me so much joy. I know I won't be able to see everyone that I love and that has had an impact on my life over the last twenty six years, but I am thankful for all the opportunities I have had and will still have to hug my friends before I head back to Sudan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Back in Richmond! (Date Correction)

I am back in Richmond, and it is good to be back!


This Sunday, March 13th I will be giving a brief update at West End Presbyterian Church during both morning services.


The New Sudan Film : DATE CORRECTION!

In my last prayer letter I made a mistake on the date of the showing of the film The New Sudan.

It will be showing on Saturday, March 19th from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall at West End Presbyterian Church.

"The New Sudan is a film detailing the civil war and the road to sustainable peace as South Sudan prepares for independence in July 2011. The story follows the lives of four Southern Sudanese and four significant areas of need and development: water, medical, education and church development. Michael & Karen (World Harvest Mission: Sudan), speakers. There is no charge for this event."


The Michael and Karen will be giving a mission update at West End Presbyterian Church at both services on Sunday, March 20th.


Date Review:

March 13th - Christine's mission update at both morning services of West End Presbyterian Church
March 19th - Showing of The New Sudan film at 7:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall of WEPC
March 20th - Michael and Karen's mission update at WEPC

Where are you from?

*With my grandparents in Santos, Brazil*

*A brief encounter with my cousin Bruno in the Sao Paulo airport as he arrived home from Australia the same day I left Brazil. Another cousin arrived back in Brazil after spending the last few weeks in Paraguay just as I was boarding my flight*

* With my cousin Shaila at the Great Wall in Beijing*

The last few weeks of traveling and visiting my family have been such a blessing! I have a very international family which has its perks, but it also means that I only see most of my relatives once every two or three years.

While I was in Shanghai visiting my cousin Shaila a young expat boy who was about four or five years old came up to me after he saw me at a few different stores in the international area of the city and we had the following conversation.

Boy: Where are you from?
Me: I'm from Brazil (the answer I gave when in Shanghai with my cousin).
Boy: We have friends from Brazil and you don't sound like them.
Me: I was raised in the United States.
Boy: So you live in Shanghai now also!
Me: No, I actually live in Africa.
Boy: Then why are you in Shanghai?
Me: My cousin lives here.
Boy: Is she Chinese?
Me: No, she is Brazilian, but she was raised in Austria.
Boy: So you are like me! I have to go pick new shoes, bye!

I never found out where he was from before he ran off to catch up with his parents and buy new shoes, but from his accent he was probably from northern Europe. In five minutes I heard him speak three different languages. Where are you from can be a difficult question. =)

Today I am so thankful for my family! I am thankful for my cousins and the way all of our very different international experiences and upbringings bring us together as third culture kids.