Thursday, October 30, 2008

Email Update NOV 1, 2008

[See also a photo album of pictures from a refugee camp we visited: http://picasaweb.google.com/elizabethstories/ReliefCamp# - or click the photo album on the right side of this page].

Short Update-
I arrived 3 weeks ago in “Pan Town” South Asia- In spite of the heat, brown water, bugs, lack of electricity, getting sick a few times already, I praise Him for the wonderful accommodations I have particularly due to the sweet smiles of the girls and staff here (I am staying at a a girl’s orphanage/hostel). Here’s a recap from the past few weeks.

1. “Where did this story come from?” A “Spice” team member shares the response he’s gotten from sharing Stories in his village…
2. “How can we have hope?” Everything is relative for someone who has been through a flood and lost everything. In this part of the world, about 2 months ago, a river’s barricade broke (due to improper management), and the river flooded much of the state I’m living in. Thousands have died and thousands are now refugees in their own backyard, realizing their previous home of bamboo sticks that has been washed away, were truly mansions compared to the plastic tents they have now. (picture below, and see one at the end of update)
3. “Just 5 minutes” – Nearly every answer to the question, “How long will it take?” is ‘5 minutes’ or ‘tomorrow.’ In reality, it’s at least 45 minutes, or at least 3-4 days. I am re-learning that life here takes a LOT of patience!
4. P&P- Prayer for specific groups on specific days (see below)…also please pray for the workshop starting next week- Nov 3-15.

Extended Version:
1.- “Where did this story come from?” --- I met with a few members from each of the 6 teams the first day I got here. In spite of storying team members being stranded by floods, and others having dysentery from helping in relief camps, I’ve been encouraged by the energy the national Workers have for the storying work and I’ve been amazed at just how much we’ve been able to do since being here. It was a blessing to hear that they have already begun using the stories in their villages. One “Spice” team member said, “I had given the Written Book (in the national language, not village language) to this one village a long time ago, but they put it on their shelves and never read it.” Recently, I went there and told them B Stories in their own language, and they all listened very carefully. They asked, ‘Where did this story come from?’ I said, “That book you have on your shelf.” They said, “What? Really? We had no idea there were such good stories in that Book!” A neat example both of how the people who probably couldn’t read/write were still able to hear His Stories, and an example of how the Stories aren’t something separate from the Written Word, rather, they are a bridge to it!

2.- What hope?---I went with a medical team to a relief camp last week- 4 hours ride in, 4 hours ride back on roads that could be compared to riding on the beach- up, down, up down. While the people didn’t look too sickly compared to some of the other relief camps (as quoted from the doctor), the depression, and despair on the faces was intense. You could tell people were only just beginning to realize the devastation of the whole situation. As I collected stories from the people about the flood, I asked them if they had any kind of hope. The answer was the same, “What hope? Look at us, how can we have hope?” (picture below- recording stories of the flood from the relief camp)

3.- “Just 5 minutes…” – In spite of living in South Asia for 2 years already, it seems I had forgotten that additional patience is required daily here. Waiting for internet, phone, etc was challenging initially…but slowly I’m remembering that this land has a whole different set of priorities than the land I come from.
I’m realizing that part of adjusting to a culture is accepting that set of priorities- at least to some extent. Through his grace, once I do that, expectations begin to change. The things that grained on me initially, begin to settle in- because those things aren’t going to change. If I want not only to survive in this place, but actually thrive, it is I that will have to make adjustments. Of course, I’m still adjusting to the set of priorities here. I truly do want to thrive in order to be the most I can be so He might use me to enable others to go and do the most they can do.
4 - Prayer and &Praise-
- Praise for safety in travelling to Pan Town.
- Praise for good communication in the national language thus far.
- Praise for smiles of the girls each morning.

Prayer- especially for the 2 week workshop Nov 3-15. The participants will learn the next level of storying, including a lot more about testing the stories, and getting them to be more natural. Please ask for amazing insight into the process of storying for the teams.

Also --The Pioneer Girls at my Home Base are praying for the six teams under these codes names. I have also decided to dedicate one day of the week to pray for each of them. If you think of it, I’d be honored to have you join me in prayer for them.

Monday- Agape
Tuesday-Pomegranate
Wednesday-Spice
Thursday- Blizzard
Friday- Mountain
Saturday- Mighty
Sunday- for the unreached village people that will hear His Stories!

A special thank you also, to those of you who have kept up praying for me on a specific day of the month as I had set up when I came to Asia 3 years ago…it means so much to me!!

Final note…Last week I woke up early one morning (the orphanage bell rings here at 5am!) and the thought came to me, “I really do love my job.” In spite of the daily frustrations that would never even be a concern in America, I am truly thankful to serve Him in this way here. And I am blessed to have as a part of this work too. Thank you.

~ Elizabeth
Jonah 2:8-9- “Those who worship worthless idols forfeit the mercy that could be theirs…But as for me, I promise to offer a sacrifice to you with a public declaration of praise. I will surely do what I have promised. For salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth,

You're in our prayers and we will be praying specifically for "Spice" on Wednesday nights. I'm also praying the bed bugs are gone!

Love,
Mrs. Paoli

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