Thursday, August 30, 2007

Korean Worship Epilogue

Something I did not mention in my previous post about our Korean worship service on Sunday night deserves mention. That night, near the end of our time together, our Korean friends shared with heavy hearts the story of a group of 23 students that had travelled to Afghanastan for relief and medical aid this summer. All 23 were abducted by the Taliban on July 19th, and two later killed, 3 released early on. The remaining 19 were captives held by the Taliban. On Sunday night, we saw the last picture of this group from before they had left South Korea and together we joined the nation of South Korea and prayed for their safety and their release.

So guess what? (Big smile) Wednesday we received word that 12 had been released. As of today, all of them are free and en route to South Korea.

Why? CNN says negotiations finally got through, MSN claims the Taliban had a rush of "humanitarian feelings".

There may be a 3rd option intermingled, you can judge for yourself.

Check it out:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Joe Joe!!

Today has been a day of celebration!

Swahili word for the day is Sherekea, which means celebrate.

Sherekea Joe Joe!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worship with the nations

Last night we had a worship service led by a group of native Koreans among us here at the international learning center. Many people have heard of the immense South Korean Christian church, in fact Korea is even the 2nd largest sender of missionaries in the world today. Much of the worship in Korea has followed the lead of the US, and they've taken many of our traditional hymns and songs and translated them into Korean, with the same message and same music that we are used to. We find this as perhaps a sad occurrence that has lost some of the beauty of Korean culture in what they may have created themselves, but tonight it gave us a glimpse into heaven.

We had the pleasure to sing some hymns which were led in Korean. Because they are the same music of hymns that we already know in English, we all (300+ people) could sing along in whatever language we knew.
As we sang, holding back tears was more than difficult.
To stand next to so many people who are truly giving their lives up for the nations, who have the love of Christ inside them, and who are singing all together the same thing in different languages, all worshipping Jesus our Savior, was and is a beautiful thing.
I had never before heard the words coming out of the mouth of my brother in Christ standing next to me, but I knew what he was saying and my heart was in line with his.
Maybe we felt for a moment what it was like on the day of Pentecost.
Definitely we felt a bit of what eternity in heaven will be! One day, we will be standing around the throne of Christ, singing of His glory in thousands of languages (probably millions!), and we will all understand, we will all know one another and know our Creator. One day...

As an aside to this post, some of you are reading this and do not know if you will be with us in Heaven, side-by-side with the God of the universe. If that's you, and if you want more than doubt and uncertainty, please e-mail us and we will get to a phone the moment we get it. The only thing that would make worshipping with the nations better is to have you there with us too. We love you, our friends, and realize that in leaving the country we may have missed our chance to share what means more to us than anything. We may have failed to share hope before, but don't let our blatant blind and muteness keep you from knowing a loving God for eternity. Please!!
(Michael – mkharr1 at gmail dot com, Joe Joe – rjharr at gmail dot com)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

World Domination

Nothing intelligent today, just some sweet shots of little green men (Michael was mother-of-pearl, Joe Joe was green). Yeaaaaaaahhhh!!!

Swahili word for the day is ushindi, which means "victory".

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mmm... burritos

Things in VA are going well. The weather has cooled off a bit, we're growing, learning, moving. We have met some incredible people and are encouraged about the state of our world! We are of course anxious and excited, but also humbled. Please pray that in the coming weeks our hearts will truly be broken for the people of Tanzania, specifically the college students of Mzumbe. It's easy to get excited and to read and learn, but this is much more than simply an adventure. Nothing can truly prepare us to work with people. Is there anything greater? I do hope that before landing in Africa, my heart breaks and we fall on our knees daily for people that we do not yet know!! To share with them hope, true hope in Christ...

So yesterday we made it off campus for a bit to make a run to the pharmacy, and while out, we found a Chipotle! Michael = happy. Also nearby we discovered a Red Robin, TGI Friday's, Cheesecake Factory, and Chili's. All favorites, all not good for our efforts to back off of usual foods and prepare for the coming African cuisine.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Up in a Tree

A note from Michael:

So I spent some time sitting up in a tree today...
I watched ants busy at work, saw a bird hunting for worms, a spider building its web, ducks swimming in the lake, a bee searching for pollen, a butterfly fluttering (it seemed to be doing laps around the tree, must have been working out), and plants, well, growing... I guess. A tick came hunting for blood, but poor guy had to go hungry today. I heard a goose honking near the lake and bugs all around, a gun shot rang out in the distance. God reminded me that I'm a part of something much bigger than myself. I have this selfish pride I like to hang onto that sometimes makes me headstrong, and I almost think I'm the only thing out here, but there's so much more!!
It's been hot all week, but last night a storm rolled through and cooled the place off, today's been overcast all morning. While sitting in the tree, I turned on some music and sat back to think. I realized that not only am I a tiny part of something that goes way beyond me, but God is SO MUCH BIGGER and more powerful than all of us. Think through history: Nations and kingdoms have risen to power and fallen from power relatively faster than a trump card gets played in a game of euchre. Nations rise and fall, but God presses on. He works through all of those to press on His message and love. It's never been about any nation, any person, and it never will be.
So I was thinking through all of this in the tree when a new song came on my mp3 player: Sting's “After the Rain has Fallen.” The chorus said “After the rain has fallen... there will still be love in the world.” True dat. As if I needed anymore confirmation, right as the song winded down on this overcast day (that rained through the night), the sun came out, shone directly on my face, and it was really stinkin' hot.

No matter what, there will still be love in the world.

Swahili for love is -penda.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Landed in VA

Hello friends. Just a quick note to let you know that we have made it to Virginia and settled in for some time of preparation. We're still getting caught up, trying to make this feel like home, and trying o breathe amidst a blanket of heat, but doing very well and moving full speed ahead!! We've already begun to see some friends we met back in April and meet some new people. In fact, the first couple we met (on the bus from the airport) knew my [michael] childhood babysitter (who's now in Oklahoma).
[Hi Stephanie, Carrie, and Linda if you're out there!!]

I of course, only needed a babysitter until I was 5, she then quit when I began roundhouse kicking everything in sight.

Swahili word for the day is mtoto, which means baby (or child).

Friday, August 3, 2007