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Barack Messiah [Nov. 7th, 2008|06:02 pm]
Shawn
Another presidential election has come and gone. Having talked with a number of people here in the States, I think the most common feeling about it is that we are glad it’s over. The whole political process here began almost two years ago, and by this time last year I was very confident Obama would win. Whether we voted for Obama or not, most people here have already accepted our soon-to-be president, and are ready to move forward.

What surprises me most, though, hasn’t been how Americans have reacted, but how the rest of the world is reacting. I have read the words of many people from around the world, and it seems like the whole world wanted Obama to be the president. Desperately. My friend Eric, an American living in Holland, wrote here in his blog about how popular Obama is there. My friend Sander, a Dutchman who feels the whole world should be able to vote for the American president, was ecstatic in his response here. And as this Australian points out, everyone he knows felt that Obama was the only real choice for a leader. While I know the rest of the world tends to favor American Democrats, I am still amazed by the incredible excitement that surrounds Obama.

On one hand, I’m glad to have a President that is well received by those in other countries. In fact, I’m thrilled! I sincerely hope this president will have a stronger international mindset and who will make decisions not just based on what he feels is good for America, but for the whole world.

But I am concerned that this world may be putting more hopes into Obama than he will live up to, or perhaps even can live up to. Think I’m exaggerating? My friend in Dubai told us that people were dancing in the streets on the day Obama was elected. “Finally,” they said, “America has elected a Muslim president. Finally we have someone who will get rid of Israel for us!” I don’t even know what Obama’s stance on Israel is, but I can promise you those people in Dubai are going to be strongly disappointed. Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, even said, “A new face offers Europe a new chance to remarry America. That's the good news. The bad news is that this outburst of Obama-mania does create expectations which no president can possibly fulfill. Sooner or later there will be some disappointment on the way.” I hope he is wrong, but I suspect he is right, and I wonder what that will mean for the US and the rest of the world.

I am greatly blessed to have a number of international friends who read my blog. Can you explain this “Obama-mania” to me, and to the rest of America? I confess, I do not fully understand it. Why do you have such a powerful admiration for him? What is it that you expect him to do that another person would not? Why are the world’s hopes so firmly set on a man in a foreign country, whose future actions no one really knows?

Perzik
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Two down, two to go [Jul. 2nd, 2008|10:04 pm]
Shawn
[mood |peacefulpeaceful]

There's a lot that's been going on with me, and a lot I've been thinking about.

There was another round of layoffs at my work recently. I wasn't a part of it, thankfully. But I've been around longer than most of the company, and I know they appreciate my work. If they ever let go of me, you'll know things are really bad. And it may get that bad in a few months. So for the first time in years I've started thinking about finding new work. I've got to get my resume together and be ready if I get fired. It may even be wise to start looking now. Certainly, no one in my current workplace would look down on me for leaving right now. But I do like working there, and I'm not sure what course I should take. And there's something else that is complicating that decision.

For most of the time I have been a Christian, I have been a missionary, at least in my heart. I have gone on several short term mission trips, and I loved the two years I spent in Amsterdam, helping the Zolder get started. I still yearn to go back to the field. I have ever since I got back from Holland. I haven't sought anything yet, though, because I didn't feel it was ever the right time. There have been several things which have held me back.

First, I came back from Holland with a very broken heart. I was incredibly lonely, emotionally beaten up or just exhausted, and I needed some time to rest and heal. I went to counseling for a while, which helped me get back on my feet and learn more about myself. I made good friends here, and got involved in a new group of young people at a fantastic church, which gave me a chance to practice my leadership skills. I am very glad for these things, because I really see how I needed them, and how useful they will be when I eventually do leave the US.

Although I wouldn't admit it, there were some other reasons why I was waiting here, too. First, I have enjoyed having a well paying job. Being constantly broke in Amsterdam wasn't fun. But now, I don't have to worry about money, and I have enough to be generous. I like being financially secure. But when that security keeps me from stepping out to do what I was meant to do, it becomes an idol of materialism. I do not look forward to raising support, and I know I would need to live on about half the income I have now. But I remember the parable of the farmer who scattered his seed, and I do not want these thorns to choke the life out of me. So I have let this go.

And while it can be embarrassing to admit, I think most of my readers will understand when I tell you that I also tarried here because I was hoping to find romance. I am a family man at heart, and I think life in general would be easier if I had someone to share the load. Most of us single people really would like to have that special relationship. I had hope I might find it, but that is gone for now. In good conscience, I cannot date any girl who is not also a missionary at heart, and at this point, I simply don't know anyone like that in the entire state. Part of me still didn't want to leave, until recently, when I was able to let that dream go, stop feeling sorry for myself, and fully embrace the beautiful life God has given me. Another idol out of the way, another dimension of freedom in my life, and another step closer to living my purpose.

Which leaves me with two obstacles I still have. The first and only real issue is that I don't know where I should go. Do I try to go back to Amsterdam? Do I go somewhere else in Europe? Do I go some other continent entirely? I have prayed for guidance, but I haven't really received any. Until recently, I don't suppose I was praying very sincerely. I am now. I feel ready to go, or more accurately ready to start that process. But how do know where to go until I receive God's call?

The second obstacle is less important. Once I figure out where to go, I'm not sure how to get there. There are enough missionary organizations which help with this sort of thing, so I'm not too worried about it. Of course, raising support will be a nightmare - one I'm not looking forward to. But then, I don't suppose anyone really does. If God is calling me to go, though, then he'll either find me the support I need, or he'll have something else really wonderful in mind. Either way, I just follow where he leads me and I'll be okay. Of course, if I were to go back to Amsterdam, I would probably have to raise support through GCM, which could be tricky because I'm not a part of GCM right now. But I'm sure that would work itself out too.

And I can't help but wonder at the timing of all of this. I may lose my job in a few months, and I feel free to pursue becoming a missionary again. Is this God lining things up? Should I be looking for another job at all, or looking at raising support? These thoughts are fresh in my mind, and I don't know the answer yet.

If you have any advice or comments on any of this, I'm all ears. I know what the Bible says about having many counselors.

Perzik
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So true [Jul. 2nd, 2008|08:52 pm]
Shawn
[mood |happyhappy]

This is the funniest comic I've seen in a long time, and even though I saw it months ago, I thought I would share:



Perzik
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Ouch [Feb. 10th, 2008|02:39 pm]
Shawn
Last week, my old small group at DCC had a mini-reunion. It was good to see everyone and hear all that had changed in their lives over the past year and a half. Partway through the evening, I made a casual observation.

I said, "Hey, check it out. Now I'm the only person in the room that isn't married!"

They responded, "That's not true. Maia isn't married either!"

Maia is the dog. They put me in the same category as the dog.

It's been over a week now, and I still don't know what to say to that.

Perzik
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A long, good year [Oct. 21st, 2007|12:20 pm]
Shawn
[Current Location |In my comfy home]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Well, it has been just shy of a year since I last wrote anything in my blog, and I know there are still people out there who check it from time to time. I want to apologize to you. You have cared enough about me to check this blog, but I have not been kind enough to let you know what has been going on.

As you would expect, enough has happened in the past year that I really can’t tell you all of it. But I know a brief update is better than none at all.

First, I can tell you things are going much, much better for me. 2006 was a miserable year, full of misfortune and struggles. This year has been easier and much brighter as well. After searching for a church for a long time, and praying about a few good ones, I found my home at Colorado Community Church. I joined a newly formed group of young people there, which has blossomed into a growing community of friends. I am now leading one of the discussion groups for this community, on The Journey of Desire, by John Eldredge. It is strange to be back leading others, but I really feel God wants me to grow in my leadership abilities right now, so I am excited to see where he takes me.

It has been so wonderful to be a part of a thriving community again. I am excited to see where God will take this group, and we continue to grow both in numbers, activity, faith, and love. I have made several close friends there, and I’m sure you can expect to hear more about those people and this church in the blogs to come, even if it takes another year.

I also feel I have grown in ways I never expected to grow this past year. I have seen my own insecurities and anxieties that I never knew I had. I have learned to let go of those anxieties by embracing God’s love, friendship, and strength, in ways I never knew how to do before. I have learned a new patience with myself and others, and live more in grace and trust than I ever have before. I continue to look to the future with hope. For example, over the past two months I have often asked myself the question, “What would your life look like if you truly believed that God would give you all you need for a truly abundant and joyful life every day, ever hour, every minute?" As I realize that God truly does give me all I need for such a life, a peace that goes beyond understand surrounds me, and it has dramatically changed my life.

There are other changes as well. My brother Kevin bought a house recently, and I moved in with him. We both enjoy the new house, and can’t wait for the basement to be finished. Here is a picture from our back porch today:



If you would like to pray for me, here is how you can do it:

First, praise God for all the wonderful things he has done in my life!
Next, pray that God would help me to grow as a leader, and to lead the people in my group well, constantly relying on the Spirit as my guide.

Thanks to all of you who read this, and care enough about me to want to know what’s going on.

God bless you all!
Perzik
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In other news [Oct. 24th, 2006|05:21 am]
Shawn
[Current Location |Home]
[mood |contentcontent]
[music |Be the Center]

And for those really interested, here are some of the other random struggles and events of my life, in no particular order:

Click here to read about my LASIK surgery Collapse )
Click here to read about the weddings I attendedCollapse )
Click here to read about losing my pastorCollapse )
Click here to read about my small group woesCollapse )
Click here to read about my struggles with friends, my church, and datingCollapse )
Click here to read about UrbanaCollapse )
Click here to read about GregCollapse )


And that’s what is going on in my life. It’s been a crazy couple of months, full of pain, hope, joy and promise. I’m really grateful for so much, and I can’t wait to see what God does now.

Wow. I write nothing serious for half a year, and then ten pages in less than ten days?
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Under the knife [Oct. 15th, 2006|02:12 pm]
Shawn
[Current Location |Home]
[mood |peacefulpeaceful]
[music |None]

Click here to read my latest life update, on the spiritual surgery I am undergoingCollapse )
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What a difference a second makes [Jul. 4th, 2006|07:04 am]
Shawn
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Only what's playin' in my head]

Have you ever been instant messaging with someone, and one of your friends messages comes in just before your reply, which makes your reply seem like it says something other than what you meant?

Check out this conversation:



Perzik
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Fun videos [Mar. 26th, 2006|08:22 pm]
Shawn
I thought I would share with you some of my favorite videos on the web:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Fish - Okay, I titled this one, but you've got to see it.
Feinting Goats
The Superbowl Commercials - For those of us who were overseas during the Superbowl.
The Umbilical Brothers - Easily the funniest one here.
Real Life Simpsons
There She Is - I posted on this one earlier. I love the music, and the flash animation was pretty impressive.
More - Probably the only serious link I have here. It's a powerful story and well animated.

And now, some very strange things which most people won't like, but I thought were funny:
Blindfolded Mario Piano Player
Star Trekkin' - The weirdest one here
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Magical Trevor - A very strange song, but kinda catchy.
The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny - There is some cussing in this one.

If you like any of these, drop a comment and let me know.

Enjoy,
Perzik
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Doha Differences [Mar. 5th, 2006|04:20 am]
Shawn
Well, I was in Doha over a month, and I know a lot of people will want to know what it’s like. You’ll also want to see some pictures; for that you can go to my Doha Picture Page, which also has some other little anecdotes from me. It took a while to get used to things there, just like in any culture. Some things are obvious, but others are not. For instance, the way women dress here is obviously very different than in the States, but that’s a difference everyone knows. I thought I would share a few which might not seem so obvious. At the very least, they were a surprise to me.

Click here to read about some interesting differences between Qatar and AmericaCollapse )

And that was Doha. It’s not a bad place, but I’m glad to be back among friends and family.
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