Archive for March, 2011

In Over My Head

So a friend of mine (Candee) Sent me a gift on Amazon… like a kindle download. It’s a book called, Pink boots and a Machete, My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer by Mireya Mayor. This is very amusing to me and really made my morning. Even though I don’t know that I could do pink boots in the jungle because Pink would possibly attract more bugs. But anyhow, the concept is so fun.

It is easy for us to judge. I used to hate that people saw me as a ditzy blond, because even though we all know that much of the time I can be a big ditz, I also have a soul that is full and mind that wants to know everything. I even studied hieroglyphics at one point because I wanted to know what the mummy cases at the museum said. Ha but i’m not sure people would know such things about me if I hadn’t told them. I think it’s very easy for us to get caught up in what people say. I’m sure looking at that cheerleader you would never guess she likes to take on mountains (Haven’t actually read it yet but i’m sure that is included with being an explorer)

In the same way, being on the mission field, serving the poor, the window, etc, does not make you automagically make you an unselfish person. And yes I meant to use automagically.

I struggle daily with my desire to do what is more comfortable and with my desire to complain. lol It happens. Last night it was really cold outside, i’m still a little sick, and was suppose to ride my bike out to Promise House… the orphanage in town. And with rain, I DID NOT want to go. I went through all the reasons that I could think of to stay home. “I don’t want to get the kids sick” and “I can go any other time” but in my heart I knew that tonight I had to fight a little more. I’m not saying that you are selfish if you stay home and rest, lol but for me last night… I needed to be in that orphanage. And I have had time to rest, so I knew it was an excuse. So I bundled up the best I could and drove… On the way over I almost got slammed between two cars (which I guess we all thought we were not stopping) and I could have sworn the rain was toxic because when it got in my eyes it burned. My attitude stank… and I knew this.

One of the best things about driving a bike, is you have no radio, no destractions besides crazy people driving. So I pulled over for a minute, wipped off my glasses, and told the Lord I was going to start over. As I drove I began to hum along with the thoughts in my heart. the thoughts were…

Baby don’t worry, about a thing… every little thing is
going to be alright.

Maybe that wasn’t what you were expecting… and yes it’s Bob O Marley. People around me must have thought I had lost my mind because by the end of my drive I was pretty loud. but I sang that song over and over and believe with all my heart that as I sang, God was singing along with me. I think he was telling me that it is ok. Sometimes you just need a daddy figure to lean over you with a big sloppy kiss and tell you things like that. lol God can use us when we don’t feel usable. Grace. Like the words from the David Crowder song OH How You Love Us-

“If your grace is an ocean, were all sinking”

It’s true. I’m in over my head.

I made it to the orphanage, had a great time with the kids, and my attitude seemed to melt away like butter. One of the girls walked up, put her hands around me, looked up with her crisp brown eyes and said… Sely, I Love you…. even in English.

Im in over my head.

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Karaoke at 5am?

I realize that I tend to be always writing from a cafe, but the coffee is so good here. Plus, sharing a room, finding a little shop somewhere is sort of my Shelby alone time. I love that i’m finally comfortable enough to drive off and sit by myself. Currently i’m at bread of life, which is actually owned by the pastor of the church I attend here in Da Nang. It is restaurant that supports the deaf and handicapped. A wonderful M as well as having the best food around. (I just had another cheeseburger:) I’ve even learned a couple of signs in Vietnamese… which you would think sign language was universal but apparently it’s not.

So fun fact, the Vietnamese like to Karaoke in the morning early… haha they just get up before work, grab a mic, and sing their little hearts out. I actually think this is a very good idea, makes the heart cheerful. I know this because I have got up early a couple of times to run. I thought they were just singing in the shower maybe, but everyone has informed me that they actually use karaoke machines and have words and everything. haha take a moment and smile.

Saturday a friend and I jumped on her bike and rode out to Hoi Ann, which is one of the most popular tourist sites in Vietnam. Mainly for the shopping because they can make anything there, and also because of the beautiful French styled buildings. We met up with a Vietnamese friend of Emy’s. We were walking around taking pictures, (I was looking for the famous dragon that lives under the water, but he did not show) and all of a sudden these two guys in uniforms came up and took our friend away. Emy and I just kind of looked at each other and my first thought was, this is a bad situation for me to be in. I have watched waaaay to many movies by the way. So this other guy in uniform comes up to us and starts to ask us about this friend. He spoke with broken English of course, and we tried to explain that we knew him and that we lived in Da Nang. He just turned and walked away, so we decided to follow him. (In the movies this is where both of the American girls disappear because they were curious) He ducked into a building so… we did too. Our friend was there being questioned about tourism. Tourism. They said we were tourist and he was our tour guide and we owed them money, which of course we were NOT going to pay. Apparently you have to pay a tourist tax if you walk with someone who is not a tourist. They thought he was our guide. Pretty much this was a big scandal and they made us leave. It was funny later, but very odd. No one else had ever heard of a situation like that happening in Hoi Ann. SO anyhow, maybe next time i’ll just go by myself and be a regular tourist.

Because of the situations in South East Asia and the Pacific, the weather has been very bad. Some of you may have heard of the earthquakes in Thailand and Northern Vietnam. It has been very cold and rainy here, which is very unusual for this time of year. So everyone is sick, including me. The good things is I don’t have to cover my mouth when I cough because I already wear a mask for the motorbike. I feel a bit rebellious when I cough with my hands by my side.

So everyone knows, the weekend of April 9th, we will be traveling up to a village to work with severely malnourished children and families. We are trying to come up with 60 baggies (Toothbrush, paste, vitamins, parasite medicine, soap, shampoo, maybe a pen or pencil and paper, etc, sort of like Christmas shoe boxes) for each family. Please pray with us that God will provide for us there and while we work with the children. Certain things have to come through in order for us to go!

I love you all!!!! Enjoy your day! Grab a mic and sing!

Make Me Savior Wholly Thine

Sticks and stones… but words will never harm me. Something i’ve never really said because i’ve never actually believed it. Words are powerful, and coming from someone you love, they make all the difference to us. Of course the right words can change everything for good. Words like, “You look nice.” “You are doing a great job!” “Will you marry me?” or “You have just won a million dollars!” HA those words can make us dance. So we all know that the stuff that comes from our mouths has the potential to move, lift, or destroy.

I love classical music, it’s poetry that forgot it’s words. If you pay attention, you can almost tell exactly what it was intended to do. It will make you fall in love, get angry, or want to dance. And it does it all without saying anything… I used to watch Anne of Green Gables all the time and I loved how easily she would get lost in a song or a book of poetry. Boys probably don’t know this, but there is a scene where she lays down in a canoe pretending it’s her funeral and begins to spout poetry when her boat starts to sink… I always tried to reenact it, including memorizing “The Lady of Shalott”. A young girl finds a group of words that fit together right, and they can make her swoon. (Ha I just used the word swoon in my blog, I wonder what other words I can use)

Where am I going with this? Am I just carrying on for no reason? Well yes, I was caught up in the movement of the thought of words and music…

There are words though, and even songs that I do not sing, if I do not feel right about it. For example, I haven’t always said the Lord’s Prayer if I thought I didn’t mean it. Most of us are so used to saying it, that we forget how powerful a thing we are saying. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE. Am I really ready for God’s will? These are things that when they come out of my mouth, I want to mean it. Again words have power and I don’t want to throw them around too much. (This is a process for me as you all know)

The point- In the office this morning we opened up with the song I Surrender All. I will write out the words for you.

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

If our words have power, then what does it mean when I sing this? Am I ready to forsake everything to follow after Christ? Do I give all freely to him? It is possible to go to church every Sunday and not Surrender anything, and it is ver very possible to fly to Vietnam and not surrender at all. As I sang this song, I realized that like the Lord’s prayer, if I sing this out, then I had better mean it…

All To Jesus I surrender
Oh make me Savior wholly thine.

Amen

In every traveler’s life.

There comes a time for every traveler when you just want to be dry, full, rested, and for once not draw any attention. Now i’ve had it pretty easy I think, and am not complaining at all… but i’m currently sitting in a coffee house by myself drying off, lol as it decided to rain as I was driving to town. I’ve sat down in Highland coffee which is a really cute shop by the river. I have a hot glass of mocha, and my blog here for me to pour myself into. Somehow there have been nights when my blog has a friendly face and brings a bit of comfort. Maybe it’s because those I love and trust I know are reading it, and if you could you would talk back to me. I imagine you all sitting there with a hot cup of coffee!… today I got lost downtown during rush hour traffic while trying to hold this super awkward plastic golfing kit for a kid. So when I was driving I had to sort of hold it under my arms. Then I realized I had no clue where I was. And there comes a time when people who honk at you… are the people who are actually in danger. lol But I figured i’d just follow my little heart, and it was saying you are going the wrong way, so I looped around and finally came to a roundabout that I knew. By the time I got back home I felt drained of all life. 🙂 So it’s those nights when fried chicken and your mommas lap would be nice… but I think just sitting here a little warmer and knowing how much I love you all will do the trick.

I’ve got some new adventures coming up. I’ve heard of a group of special needs kids up north in the mountains who desperately need assistance. A pastor there has communicated the need… and a few friends and I will head up in two weeks to take goody packages for the kids and will visit some of the homes to see what medicine we can provide. Of course none of us are doctors, but we will take some simple medicine and vitamins, anything we can think of to offer a hand and maybe a bit of relief, so i’ll keep you all up to date about that!!

Well for now, you are all in my prayers. I believe there is something truly amazing about the people in my life. Each one of you does something special to my heart. You walk into the room and something changes the air… the way you laugh, or talk, or maybe what I know you have been to the world or others. There is that saying, that to the world you are just one person, but to one person you are the world… Ha I think that’s it. But either way, you should look in the mirror and tell yourself that Shelby think’s there is something simply beautiful about you. Cuz I really do… and if I haven’t met you and you are reading this, I bet I could find something easily!

Sending my love and a mocha across the sea!

And…

It had to be done… there was no way around it right? You haven’t seen what the helmet and weather have done to me… it was time for the foreign haircut… DuhDuhDuhhhhhh!!!!

I should have known better when I had to drive down this tiny little alley to get there. Chau (My Viet Roommate) was on the back of my bike, because I wasn’t going to try to translate alone that I JUST WANTED LAYERS! I was pretty worried that the handle bars would scrape, but gratefully we got through. We pulled up, the stylist looked at my hair and smiled. And……. this is where I should have walked away. haha you know though, that is why i’m blessed to have curly hair. Because no matter how much someone chops it up, as long as you have curls, they will still bounce up! For the stylists who read this… she actually brushed out my dry curly hair and then cut it… Teasha and Kat would have screamed! Oh well, yea it was a bit short, and maybe I look like a boy… but I am in Vietnam for the Lord so I guess having great hair is not a necessary. 🙂

After my hair cut adventures I left for Promise house… spent some great time with the kids. They helped me to read some of the Vietnamese children’s books… insert laugh here… all together a great time.

I’ve had so much on my heart, and I don’t have the energy at the moment to share much, but I can say that being here has caused ripples. Ripples that I see when I look down at the reflection I know. Maybe it will be different next time I look.

Read Nehemiah 9… can you relate? To the Israelites I mean? I can here.

More pics from my week!

These are pictures from my week. The difference between how I look when it rains and when it shines, pics from the kids and parents at Phu Ninh, and then the church we sang at Wednesday night.

Also, important news. I bought a harmonica, and am presently practicing to be the next vietnamese piper! Figure I can sit on the beach and play…drawing thousands of children to me like Santa. I think it could be a good strategy. Even though i’ve had this thing for about 4 hours and i’m out of breath. We will see… I won’t keep you in suspense for long.

All my love!!!

PS- my favorite picture is of the little boy looking out the window. He was the one in the last blog that had the walker. He has a beautiful heart!

“I will sing over you” Tears in a bottle

What do you say when there are no words to describe… you write and write and write and then just erase, because the feeling can’t be repeated. There is nothing small in it, nothing simple, nothing that is right. All the author can do is close their eyes and see the faces again and again. The only thing my heart feels is music, and it plays out in songs of prayer and humility.

I don’t feel like it is even right to send a blog out, but this is the best I have to share what I saw and felt today.

Phu Ninh is a village about an hour and a half from Da Nang. O. V. works with handicapped children monthly to provide mental and physical therapy. Parents bring there children from all around, since this is the only help their child may ever get… the faces of some of the mothers were hard to bear. Seeing their child walk or do something that once before was impossible, nothing can translate.

I played with children who could not see, hear, speak, or even smile. And the only help or comfort I could offer was my presence. 🙂 Some of the kids kept putting their fingers in the dimple on my chin, amused like it was the first time they had ever seen this. Others just tugged on my hair. I now have lots of dirt and slobber all over my head, but i’m never been so happy to have messy hair. (Big smile here)

About 2 hours after we got their, a few of us left to make house calls. We visited and checked on patients that could not leave their homes because of the severity of their condition. This is where all of my experience, and all of my nerve ended up as nothing. I have traveled around the world and seen poverty at its greatest, things you should never have to see… but we should never ever, EVER, be conditioned to human suffering. The moment you lose sensitivity in your heart, is the moment you have lost the ability to be human yourself. So what I saw today broke my heart over and over again.

Every house had a beautiful child that’s body was broken, and yet their spirit was free… but it wasn’t until house number three, that I lost myself… in November of 2010 I read an article from O. V., the article that made me want to come to Vietnam. It was about a blind elderly woman who was caring for her two handicapped daughters by herself without any help, even though she herself was handicapped. And I wept and prayed over this woman… today without realizing it, I walked into their home. Laying on the bed was the grandmother, she didn’t move at all. and beside her on another bamboo bed was her daughter curled up in a blanket. The youngest, maybe in her 20’s, was running wild around the yard… the house smelled so strongly of urine and rotting fruit that to walk in was difficult. I held my breath as much as possible. But what made me sick was the darkness that was over this family, and no love to be seen anywhere… and then it hit me exactly who they were… they were my reason for coming. God sent me right to the point of call… and whispered my name in the pain and disappointment of seeing a family suffer so much. I see his purpose. He flew me across the ocean, put me in a van, and walked me straight to their home in the jungle.. if that doesn’t rock your world, I don’t know what can, and on the way home… of course, I once again wept.

As I said, no words can really convey the faces I see even now. Before we left to come home, we visited one more. When I close my eyes, I see the face of a small girl who cannot leave her bed. Her eyes are red, her smile is big, and her legs are twisted. When everyone was outside, I tip toed back into her room, and sang her a song. It was my gift to her. I would sing over her all the joy and love I had in my heart. As I sang she reached out, grabbed my hand, and laughed.

8 You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.

Psalms 56

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