September 26, 2011

So Long, Farewell.

I've been playing video games for a while.  Halfway through my junior year of college, I decided to forgo playing single-player video games.  They had been taking more and more of my time, and I wasn't able to hold myself to a moderate amount of playing time a week.  It was a good decision that got me playing guitar more and pursing other things.  I still kept the Wii.  It was good for having fun while hanging out with friends, and it got a fair amount of quality use for that purpose.

After I got off the Trail I began to play again.  Several weeks went by, and I came to a point I had come to in high school where the games became something unhealthy and addictive.  Don't worry, it was nothing near the stories you hear about World of Warcraft addicts.  The reveal of my need to stop again came when I began to get angry at myself for not being able to healthfully control my playing time.  I have had the urge to sell the Wii before, but I was consistently able to rationalize that thought away by convincing myself I could control the amount I played.  This time, though, my anger could not be placated by that thought because it had repeatedly proven to be a lie to cover up for an unhealthy need to play.  There was nothing else for the lie to grab on to and rationalize about, especially because I didn't even have friends nearby to play with.  My anger at the lie was able to be sustained and I decided to sell the Wii.

This whole process felt like two voices inside of me arguing; when I was able to distinguish that there were indeed two distinct voices and not just one, I was able to identify one as my corrupt and one as the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Once these voices were named I had no doubts about my direction.  Within 24 hours I had posted the Wii and the entirety of my games and extras on Ebay and sold it.

It was very liberating, and I can say I haven't missed it at all.  Things have definitely been better without it.  I will say, though, that I don't believe video games to be inherently evil (although the content of some would qualify them) and that they can be used with self-control as a good relaxation tool or way to bond with people, much like watching movies or getting meals with others.  That said, I do think that many Christians (mostly young-ish guys) who play video games should take a serious look at their motivations and habits concerning them; just in case.

Look at where you choose to spend your free time.  Do you spend many more hours playing video game or watching TV shows or reading political blogs or playing music than you do personal time with God?  The number  of hours spent is not alone a measure, but it can be used as a starting point to look at how you walk out the things that are really in your heart.

September 8, 2011

Transitional Phase

Off the Trail.  In my hometown for a while, working in restaurant(s) and looking for full-time theatrical employment.  This transitional phase is weird.

I only know that job hunting is difficult, and so is adjusting to a new phase of life; I'm not a student anymore, I'm a working adult.  There's a whole new set of habits to form regarding my times with God and my other pursuits, especially seeing people.  When you're profession, by it's nature, is supposed to operate during most of the local population's free time (nights and weekends) your time off becomes mornings and random weekdays.  Fortunately for me there's a small demographic that is both available and willing to meet with me for meals pretty often; that demographic is "pastors of Warrenton Bible Fellowship."  I'm not sure if they've noticed this but if Pastor John and I plan a meal next week then I'll have met with the entire pastoral staff in the span of a few days.

The uncertainty of my future is not so much worrisome as it is grindingly frustrating.  That itself comes from attempting to figure out what I'll be doing with it, and where; I know I want to go into theater but I'm not sure what kind of job I get, and I could be anywhere in the country.

I'm not entire sure what I'm learning from this.  I know that at a minimum, I'm maturing.  It's definitely tough to not be around people very often, except my dad at home and some co-workers.  The good things are that I'm reading a lot, practicing guitar and working out.  I'm looking at everything I'm doing and asking how I can glorify God in it; I'm less successful at walking this out than I want to be.  It is a thought I keep returning too, and I can say thankfully that there is some good fruit coming of this.

I want to blog more, for two reasons.  One, because articulating my thoughts and feelings and making them public really gets me going down healthy paths when I write about issues.  Second, I have received enough feedback about this blog that I know it's something God uses through me to glorify himself, so I want to do that.  Next post, I'll talk about selling my Wii (video game system, if you're wondering) on Ebay and the process I went through to decide to do so.

August 25, 2011

Off the Appalachian Trail: Journal One

Day 7,908:

There are three big lessons that God used the Appalachian Trail to teach me. Once I had learned them, the Trail was no longer needed, and so I stayed home where I had planned to stop for only two days.

While each lesson is very important and dear to me now, one of them in particular was what God used to tell me it was time to leave the Trail for now. It is an articulation of who I am; while I did not change, necessarily, I was finally able to clearly talk about how I operate in this world.

More on that later.

The first lesson the Lord taught me was one I had met before, the fact that I cannot and should not try to earn his grace, his forgiveness. He hates sin, yes; He is angry when I do sin and there are negative consequences and my relationship with Him can be clouded or hindered by sin. His love, however, is never affected by my sin, because He loves me to glorify Himself (which is not selfish, but in fact the best possible thing for me; I won't go into this only because entire books have been written on the topic).

I would get frustrated when I would read my bible and pray and I didn't feel well spiritually. Without having articulated it, I expected the Trail to instantly turn me into a pure and potent spiritual person, that being in the woods and walking would cause all my problems to just fall off. If I had been able to articulate this and think clearly about it, I would have realized then how silly and against all patterns of growth. We become patient and mature through longsuffering, and sin takes some time to deal with even when you are mourning it and striving after God.

The second lesson was a product of the simplicity of trail life. Each day, I only concerned myself with one thing beyond basic survival, and that was walking toward Mount Katahdin. My time spent with God during this trip was special because there was hardly anything else to compete with it, and when I did have devotions I would often get to have them in a very beautiful place (one place early on was a small wooden bench across from a small waterfall).

This lesson finally manifested itself when I got home. My time had been spent on walking and with God on the Trail, and I found myself tiring of things that weren't God much more quickly. By "things" I mean distractions that aren't themselves wrong but can easily be vehicles of distraction from God. After the time I had spent with God on the Trail, I could see everything a little more clearly contrasted to Him. Not that I don't struggle with distractions at all; there's just a new awareness in me.

The last one is the one I have talked about more often because it explains a lot about me and it led, with prayer, to my decision to get off the Trail. There was a period of seven days where I was alone when I stopped for the day, if you don't count the 2 guys (different days) who got there after I went to bed. Neither of them were thru-hikers like I was, and in fact I didn't see any thru-hikers for that entire week.

For most of that week, I was very depressed. I was upset and alone. After medicals issues took me off the Trail and I was thinking about how/if/when/why/where to get back on, I realized that I had no interest in hiking sections where I knew there wouldn't be any thru-hikers due to timing. As I thought about that and the week I had gone through, I realized something about myself: other people, other human beings, are everything to me. The fact that there are people other than just me in existence excites me and the prospect of human connection has always fascinated me. I realized that without other people, things are meaningless for me. That's how much of an extrovert I am. Granted, I do need my alone time once in a while, but my introvert meter usually fills up within about an hour and a half of sitting somewhere with my Bible.

There you have it. My apologizes this did not go up sooner. I hope to update more frequently with what is going on in my life and how God is involved; he always is, and if nothing else I can write about my life to serve as a reminder that God's around no matter what.

You may have noticed the days indicator at the top. On the Trail, my updates were always marked with the day of my journey. 7,908 is the number of days I have been alive. Life is the greatest adventure of all, and numbering each of my days helps me to remember that fact. The stories of our lives are the fairytales and fantasies of Narnia and Middle Earth; we must not forget how much meaning is tied to every day of our lives.

June 14, 2011

On the Appalachain Trail: Journal Three

I've made it home, in a way. This morning I crossed into Virginia! Now I've got three states behind me (Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) and once I get through Virginia I'll be nearly halfway done. Keep in mind, though, that it'll take me about a month to get through this state; the Trail spends nearly a quarter of it's length here.

Several days ago I had a real turning point in my walk with God out here. I knew it would be tough being away from so much support and being around people who don't know me, and it really was quite tough and in many ways still is. The tough lesson that I began to learn out here, the one that began to surface as I was worn down, was accepting grace. Whenever I would do or say something that I wasn't proud of, or passed by a great oportunity to witness, I would get down on myself. I really was trying to earn good feelings, to earn love and forgiveness; I was trying to earn the sense of peace I had before.

The most I can do is just relate this lesson with words. Many of you reading this will understand the concepts I'm talking about, but the true fruit shows not in some nice verse or piece of wisdom that's phrased nicely but in how I'm now able to wake up every day and walk in God's grace for my life before I do a thing. Now I'm spending time with God in the Bible and in prayer out of a response to his free love and forgiveness, not in an attempt to earn it.

That's the big lesson recently. I am certain of more to come and some that I'm in the middle of, but that's all I will share at the moment.

Now for some good trail stories. My "trail legs" have finally come in. That's the phrase for when your legs finally get used to hiking and all of a sudden you can do much bigger miles. I realized I had gotten my trail legs one day when I had just finished climbing a 2,000 ft mountain over three miles at the end of a 16 mile day and felt great, so I decided to go another 7.5 miles to a shelter that was made from a converted barn that I really wanted to stay at. Since then, I can hike 18 miles in a day without much trouble and can break the 20 mile mark pretty regularly. As long as I get some rest time in camp (and LOTS of sleep) I hold up just fine.

One of the best stories happened just yesterday. My friend Bookworm (also a recent college grad) and I were hiking along and came upon a parking lot where some scouts were being fed soda, snacks and fruit by a guy who drove out to do that for them during their hike. As we walked through he beckoned to us and let us have whatever we were hungry to eat. He began to wrap things up and half-jokingly offered us a cantelope to carry to camp. He was half-joking because he was willing to part with it, but it weighs 8-10 lbs and no hiker in their right mind wants to carry that kind of weight for little to no calories. I, not being in my right mind, actually accepted the offer of cantelope. Camp was only 5 miles away and I'd figure it would be cool to have a cantelope for everyone at camp, especially because it was our friend Intern's last night on the Trail.

That's when the guy also mentioned that he had a watermelon. A 15 lbs watermelon. Bookworm looked and me and smiled. He carried the watermelon and I carried the cantelope. It was pretty rough on our poor legs that had already gone 17.7 miles that day. When Intern finally arrive at camp, we brought out the fruit and carved it up. The cantelope turned into slices and we cut the watermelon in half and let everyone go at it bowl-style. It was awesome.

That's all for this post. More adventures and life changing to come over the next 1,700 miles or so.

June 3, 2011

On the Appalachian Trail: Journal Two

So far I've been in three states and covered just under 272 miles. I know nearly a dozen people behind me and about the same number ahead of me, all thru-hikers headed to Maine. My hiking appetite kicked in about five days ago and now I can pig out and eat just about anything... my brunch alone (ice cream and root beer) hit near the 1500 calorie mark.

Aside from reading my Bible on a regular basis, usually in the mornings, spending much time in prayer and worship has become very important too. Much of this is done while I'm hiking, but each day I need to get alone and talk with God; this need has arisen out of a complete lack of constant fellowship with other believers. I have met some lukewarm Christians and had good conversations, but not anyone who is serious about their walk with Christ. There was one guy whom I suspect walks like that, but I think he's behind me and I'm not sure where.

I have grown to appreciate my friends in Christ much more on this trip. I'm very glad there's a planned end date for that reason.

I have been able to keep my integrity out here and carry the name of Christ most places. but I've had plenty of missed opportunities and sometimes I get frustrated with myself for those. It's then that I remember grace, and I try to walk that balance of improving myself without beating myself up when I fall short. If there's one thing that's true it's the Christ covered everything so I need not worry about condemnation, and I want to live in full response to that.

There have been some rather adventurous experiences so far. I made a 1.4 mile wrong turn, encountered a bear (it cost me 45 minutes and some nerves), and have gotten quite a bit of free food and free rides (some I didn't even have to ask for! definitely Godsends). I spent 20 minutes sitting at the best view in the Great Smokies Mountains, called Charlie's Bunion. It's a rocky outcropping that gives you a 300 degree view of the surrounding mountains. The most beautiful places have been the southwest end of Thunderhead Mountain (GSMNP), which I walked through when the dew was glistening on tall grass with sporadic short trees. It really felt like a hillside in heaven. The most beautiful place was Max Patch Bald, though. You know the hills that Julie Andrews sings on at the beginning of The Sound of Music? The kind that people frolic through in commericals? Yeah, it was like that. It was as tall as a mountain, but treeless with lots of soft grass and millions of buttercups. Did I mention that it was 70 degrees with a slight breeze?

My legs feel great; it mostly the muscles and things in my feet that need to get used to the hiking. I can do 15-16 miles without much trouble, but after that things start to hurt. The good thing is that I haven't met a former thru-hiker yet who doubts my ability to get the Mount Katahdin in time... that has been highly encouraging. My feet have some more breaking in to do but not a whole lot!

The people of the South have been extremely hospitable. Hot Springs is the first true Trail town I've passed through (e.g. the Trail goes down Main Street) and I haven't walked passed a person without being audibly greeted. I'll be sorting through my maildrops from my parents, filling in the gaps, getting a shower, hanging out with other hikers for a little while then hitting the trail again tonight.

Feel free to text me with prayer requests! I've got plenty of time to pray for them on the Trail.

Hello to those people who I met along the trail who are following this! For everyone who doesn't know yet, my trailname is Pilgrim.

The Trail's been tough but God's been good and I don't think I'm allowed to quit without a clear indication from Him that it would be best. He's been providing when I need it and I've been growing a lot through the tough stuff that's come by, physically, mentally and emtionally. Thank you Lord!

As a last note to those of you who I'm sure are wondering: no, I have not met any cute single Jesus-loving female hikers under 25. In fact the only single woman I have met is a late 20's art professor from West Virginia. You may either feel dissapointment or relief now.

May 21, 2011

On the Appalachian Trail: Journal One

I'm here in a hotel in hotel in Franklin, NC and I don't have much time before I should get off this computer, but I'll talk as much as I can about the 107 miles I've covered so far!

The biggest challenge for me has been to be away from any people I am close to that I can lean on, whether friends or family. God has really been teaching me how to rely on Him and only on Him; not on other people. For the first few days the only thing that kept me emotionally stable was the Word; I'm fairly normalized now to this lifestyle, but I still need to read the Bible and spend time with God twice a day or so and constantly pray to keep connecting with Him. I can't imagine what five months of this is gonna do to me.

God has sent people at the right times; I ran into a Christian couple several days ago who gave me some good advice about the trail and prayed for me. That was an extremely encouraging experience... there have been other moments of provision similar to it, but that's the only one so far that's ended with prayer!

Physically I've been adjusting well and have been able to pace myself healthily. I'm forcing myself to eat a ton and stay super-hydrated (my goal is to have to pee several times a day because I'm so hydrated... but perhaps you didn't want to know that). After this rest day I'll be doing at least 16 miles a day, which is about 8 hours of hiking (which is pretty easy to do at this point).

As far as adventure and stories go, I hitchhiked for the first time a few days ago and am getting better (I am certain my theater degree has helped me out with this). I camped on top of a mountain in the middle of a rain storm and got soaking wet, except I was in the middle of the cloud and not the actual rain (50 degrees, high winds and soaking wet mist everywhere) and I have camped on top of a mountain under clear stars having watched the sun go down over the horizon then watched it come up. I'm carrying about 35-40 pounds and am using two wooden walking sticks for support. I've climbed many a high mountain and do several mountains a day, and have met some extremely interesting (usually enjoyably interesting) people. Check my Facebook profile ( for more current updates as I'll be texting updates to that number.

Thank you all for your prayers; my current requests are that I would continue to stand strong in Christ out here in a very new place and that my body would hold together and heal quickly when injured and that I would have the wisdom to deal with those things. I also want to mention friends going on adventures of their own: Chris Rowekamp is going to Cairo to work with missionaries and Timothy Meadors is going to Hungary to do the same. Pray that they would grow, be safe, and glorify God with their time there!

May 9, 2011

Pray For Me

I have not been blogging much not for lack of experiences that I really should have shared with you all and thoughts that I wanted to get out there, but rather an unfortunate deferred interest in blogging caused by distraction. I've been wrapping up my college experience and planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, which motivates this post.

I will be "blogging" from the trail by mailing posts to my wonderful mother to post here (they should feed through automatically to Facebook as well). The purpose of my hike is ultimately to glorify God through walking it in faithfulness and making it through by his provision and touching as many people as possible along the way for the Kingdom of God. Through the blog I will let you peek into what's going on.

Several people have asked about addresses of the post offices and other locations I will be checking for mail. They are posted below. But...

The article will tell you about how to pack a package for a thru-hiker, if indeed you would like to send me a package. If you're sending a letter, no worries, it's just paper. Try to send the mail no earlier than 2 weeks before my estimated arrival times.

The article doesn't make this clear:

The address label going to a POST OFFICE should read:

Zach Armstrong
c/o General Delivery
[Town], [State] [Zip Code]

HOLD FOR AT HIKER, E.T.A. ##/## [From Chart]

The address label going to a BUSINESS should read:

Zach Armstrong
c/o [Business's Name]
[Street Address]
[Town], [State] [Zip Code]

HOLD FOR AT HIKER, E.T.A. ##/## [From Chart]


ETA (highly changeable)

Name of Location



May 22 - May 24

Three Eagles Outfitter

78 Siler RD

Franklin, NC 28734


May 31 - June 4

Bluff Mountain Outfitters

PO Box 114

Hot Springs, NC 28743-9231


June 9 – June 13

Kincora Hiking Hostel

1278 Dennis Cove RD

Hampton, TN 37658


June 22 - June 28

Pearisburg Post Office

206 N Main Street

Pearisburg, VA 24134-9998


July 12 - July 16

US211/HOME (45 min from AT)

7708 Riverside Farm Road

Marshall, VA 20115


July 25 – July 28

Boiling Springs Post Office

3 E 1st Street

Boiling Springs, PA 17007-9998


August 10 – August 12

Glenwood Post Office

958 Country RT 517

Glenwood, NJ 07417-9998


August 24 – August 26

Chesire Post Office

214 Church ST

Chesire, MA 01225-9998


September 6 – September 8

Glencliff Post Office

1385 NH Route 25

Unit 1

Glencliff, NH 03238-9998


September 23- September 25

Caratunk Post Office

172 Main St

Caratunk, ME 04925-9998

Well, I'm leaving in two days. God has really prepared me for this emotionally; I could name instances where he really moved in my heart but I'll allow those to stay private moments between myself and those who were there to listen and/or pray for me.

As I titled the post, please pray for me. I will be relying on God very much and I want to glorify him with this trip; I want to seek his Kingdom first and be changed by it all. It has been confirmed through much prayer and speaking to others that the Trail is where I'm supposed to go... it really is a stepping out on the water moment.

I am in the midst of the most uncertain point in my life so far. I have no job lined up, no grad school to go to. I have no prospects to start a family anytime soon. My family is going through a lot. I am about to embark on a five month journey through the wilderness depending upon a God whom I have never seen.

Perhaps "uncertain" is the wrong word, because I have given up my worries about it all. I can only point to God for the peace that dwells in my heart about these things... perhaps we will call these times "reliant." Yes, I am in the midst of the most reliant point in my life so far. I trust that God is going to fill all the blanks, all the questions, all the unknowns, with Himself, however that ends up manifesting itself.

When you here what happens, you must either call me crazy (Freud and Hume will help you out there), a liar, or right. If I am crazy, pity me. If I am lying, avoid me. If I am right, follow me as I follow Christ. I can in no way promise to be perfect, but I can promise to follow the perfect.

And in two days I will be following Him from Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin.

March 10, 2011

Stressful Idols

While I never thought badly of our modern habit of calling things "idols" which are not in fact wooden statues, lately I wondered if the Bible ever used the word to describe devotion to money, comfort, or something else that can take over our focus from God. I am always made much more comfortable with a concept or practice once I am able to find it in scripture. As a side note, the Bible never actually says you must pray with your eyes closed! Not that it's wrong in any way (it does help eliminate distractions) but know that you've got options. Obviously, that's a pretty minor point.

My answer about the use of the concept of idols came in Colossians 3:5-6:
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
Paul is specifying greed here, and greed is an especially appropriate one to call an idol. The love of money is warned against several times in Paul's writings (1 Timothy 6:10, "a root of all kinds of evil," Hebrews 13:5 also). While the others are not specifically called idols, I think the concept can be applied.

That said, I recently had a very beneficial growing experience regarding idols. I was the sound designer for a show going up on the big stage in the theater building; and the nature of the show made it very sound-heavy. Thusly, I had a lot of work to do. Given my predisposition to be very deadline-focused and care a lot about doing things correctly, I started to stress out fairly often either about about the project in particular or how busy I was in general.

I started to react to this in a good way, though I couldn't at that point articulate exactly what I was doing. Whenever I would feel stressed (as in actively worrying, tightening up, et cetera) I would stop what I was doing and pray or read scripture or something along those lines. Once I did this by deciding to attend a weekly prayer gathering sponsored by our InterVarsity chapter; I had been planning on missing it to get work done, but began to stress out, so I went. It finally boiled down when I articulated it to a friend: when I find myself worrying, it means I have taken my focus off of God and am not believing his Gospel and the truth about my life and his promises. So, whenever I stress out it is a sign to stop and get re-focused on the right things.

I was able to put this into great usage over the next few weeks. When the first night of technical rehearsal hit, there were a lot of things that went wrong on my end that involved me running up and down two flights of stairs repeatedly over an hour to fix things. Through this, even though things were going pretty badly, I never got truly stressed. Even though I was out of breath, I had a tight hold on God's perspective and promises for my life. It was a really amazing thing.

I'm hoping to keep this habit up. Now I'm choosing not to stress over planning my Appalachian Trail hike, which has much higher stakes for me than the sound designing did. I'm thanking God that he taught me that lesson and that by his grace it's sticking; it certainly has made me much more effective to do well in his Name.

March 8, 2011

I'm Sorry, but... There's Another Blog In My Life

I have another blog now. Not instead of this one, but for different purposes.

As many of you know, I am (God willing) hiking the Appalachian Trail in it's entirety. There's been a recent change of plans, and instead of hiking North-South starting in late June I will be hiking South-North starting May 12th.

About a year after I got the idea to hike the trail, I decided I wanted to use this feat to raise money for a worthy cause that would help out those less fortunate them I am. To document both the fundraising experience and the hike preparation experience (as well as the hike experience, eventually) I have started a blog called 2181 Miles for Water.

As it is also serving the purpose of advertising for the charity, I won't be intentionally spiritual in that blog... but sometimes you just can't keep God out of the story.

March 7, 2011


This happened nearly a year ago.

I had just heard a message on Jacob's wrestling match with God, and how God gave him a new name and a limp. His new name, Israel, means "he struggles with God." I was going through some difficult things at the time, and in a time of prayer afterward I asked God to give me a new name... whatever that means today.

A few days later, a friend and I were discussing how we deal with our relationships with women. I am by no means a Master of Communications With Females (as soon as you start to consider yourself one you crash and burn), but I find that I have some good things I can impart to my fellow men on the subject. After hearing about how I have dealt with some situations in the past, he was impressed with my ability to reason through these situations and handle myself confidently. I think my biggest advantage is that I know how to be friends with women.

"Courage. That's your new name. I'm gonna call you Courage," my friend said. My friend who hadn't been at the talk a few days before; besides, no one had heard my prayer. Except God.

I believe God is conscious of everything that happens in my life, and thus I don't believe that I should disregard things that seem like chance as meaningless. On the other hand, one shouldn't over-spiritualize things (like seeing Jesus's image in a piece of toast or having all green lights on the way to work and taking it as a sign to do something).

That said, I think God did the name thing intentionally. It doesn't indicate a paradigm shift in the direction of my life or anything on that scale, but it is something I treasure and am encouraged by.

March 2, 2011

Jars of Dan Clayltine

I found this blog post on the website of Jar of Clay's frontman, Dan Haseltine. It's funny that I only now found his blog and I will definitely be exploring it more in the days to come, as well as starting to post again here! Theater commitments kept me busy until recently, but I'm free of them now.

Anywho, here are some of Dan's thoughts on the "prophetic voice" in worship. It's worth a read.

January 26, 2011

Reign In Us

I've begun to hear this song this semester. It's very good; the chorus is what I love the most. I'll be learning it on guitar soon.

January 23, 2011

Mambo Sawa

I got a very good reminder yesterday.

I was beginning to stress out about the work I have in front of me; I'm the sound designer for a show that goes up at the end of February and classes have started up and I've got my first batch of homework to churn through. I spent some time with God and was quite productive, but I still felt the huge burden of "stuff that needs to get done."

I started to cook dinner, and that helped; we were having some friends over later and I had to get an early start. While the cooking and friends who eventually showed up helped, I was handed some real perspective by a small choir.

My friends and I went to see the Watoto Children's Choir. All I knew was that they were a children's choir from Africa; I was not expecting a beautiful worship service sprinkled with stories of great sorrow but greater hope through Jesus. I was crying at least half the time. I got in, they started singing about God and someone could have said "Suprise! Your family's here." It was wonderful.

These kids reminded me of two things: that I have been provided for materially. These kids have all lost one or both parents because of AIDS, other diseases, or war; now they live safe lives in the Watoto village with families and some of them get to tour the world singing about Jesus.

They also reminded me that both they and I have been rescued from something worse even than the situations they come from: death. Life without God. We have been brought into the love of the Father, through the Son. It's the most simple of truths, but I was not operating with it in mind earlier that day. I'm glad that they came to Williamsburg to remind me of that, while at the same time ministering to the rest of audience too.

January 6, 2011

Eka Kpukpro Owo

After reading this article about the Scottish missionary Mary Slessor, some of my thoughts about how I want to embrace God's plan for me became clearer.

Let me know if you've had the same thoughts: as I sit through these four years of college, occasionally I will suddenly feel that it is pointless and that my life would be much more productive for the Kingdom if I moved to Tibet or Kenya or Orange County, California as a missionary. Then, after some praying, I determine once more that God is not currently calling me to do things quite that way (yet).

My time in college is not like Jesus's time in the desert or Mary Slessor's time in poverty in Scotland in that is is difficult; but it is a time of preparation. If I was not supposed to be here, God would have made that clear by now. First off, I live in one of the most developed countries in the world and thus I don't have to worry about food or shelter; I have internet access and expendable money. Second, I'm getting a college degree, which is something only 1/3 of U.S. citizens have. Thirdly, the degree I'm getting is from the second oldest College in the nation and one of the most well-connected in terms of Alumni. While I might not be solving problems and spreading Christ in person in foreign lands, I have been placed in a very rare spot with very rare opportunities. This degree is equipping me to go big for Christ in the time and place he has (very intentionally) put me.

He's got to have some plan for a Theatre major/sociology minor. The great thing about God is that he's the originator of Creativity and Power, so there's really no situation he can't turn for his Kingdom; besides, he planned for this.

Mary Slessor went to Africa, grew to love and be familiar with the people, and helped, healed, saved, and brought Jesus to many just by her powerful example. I yearn to do something similar, but often I must check my motivations. If I yearn to do these things more whatever the Father's will is for my life; if I am disappointed when his plan for me turns out to be to live in a developed country, make and give away lots of money and raise Godly children who also want to change the world, then my desire is just for my narrow definition of adventure and not God's will for my life.

Which, itself, will be the biggest adventure I could hope for if I'm putting God's glory and will first. Like C.S. Lewis said, put first things first and you get all the second things thrown in.