Friday, December 31, 2010

Long December

Dec. 1 - It snowed a little.
Dec. 3 - Happy birthday to ME!
Dec. 4 - OUCH. The pain in my lower right abdomen started...
Dec. 7 - "Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us." - Billy Graham
Dec. 8 - 1st visit to the doctor for the pain.
Dec. 9 - Last day of classes and last minute changes to go home early.
Dec. 10 - Good bye, Chicago. Hello, Emergency Room.
Dec. 11 - After 12 hours in the ER, I finally got to go home. With no answers.
Dec. 12 - Robert and I went to church! I got bombarded with questions and people trying to hug me. Me in mass amounts of pain = don't come anywhere within 5 feet of me.
Dec. 13 - Another doctor. More blood tests done.
Dec. 14 - Lots of sleep and a long walk with Robert.
Dec. 15 - Hanging out in the church office with Robert and Tom. I decided that Youth Pastors are some of my favorite people.
Dec. 16 - Time with Trina

Dec. 17 - Sys Theo, Urban, Media Laws and Ethics = done
Dec. 18 - Decorating the stage for Christmas. I kind of just ordered the guys around.
Dec. 19 - Alicia's Home!!!
Dec. 21 - Horrid night of rehearsal. I actually cried.
Dec. 22 - Epic shopping adventure with Alicia.
Dec. 23 - Painting styrofoam. If anyone needs an object lesson for patience, I just found one!
Dec. 24 - I'm NOT the "tomboy" of the band...
Dec. 25 - Merry Christmas! I'm in a lots of pain.
Dec. 26 - Banana Bread Backstage. Slight meltdown. Then I almost went back to the ER.
Dec. 27 - Larissa, Robert, and I built a ghetto gingerbread house.
Dec. 28 - Spent the day at the hospital. Lovely? Not so much.
Dec. 29 - Spent the evening with Danny, Kendra, Trina, and Viola. I love them. All 4 of them encouraged me SO much that day.
Viola - She talked and giggled at me for 20 minutes. Pretty good for a 3.5 month baby!
Trina - Fun morning running errands and a picnic lunch with lots of hugs!
Kendra - Laughing while listening to the kids talk and eat dinner with Danny.
Danny - Long drive. Christmas music mixup. Lots of laughing.
Dec. 30 - Robert and I took pictures in a cemetery. It's really not as morbid as it sounds...
Dec. 31 - New music on my iPod! Ready for the new year...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ESFP - the Performer!

According to Myers-Briggs, my personality type is ESFP.

Extraverted. Sensing. Feeling. Perceiving.

Attributes that ESFP's (can) typically have:

  • Performer.
  • Benevolently mischievous.
  • Externally processes things.
  • Possibilities are endless.
  • Loves new people and new experiences.
  • Lively.
  • Fun.
  • Content being the center of attention.
  • Easily excited.
  • Frequently in the role of the peacemaker.
  • Sympathetic.
  • Observant.
  • Not the best advice-giver.
  • Spontaneous.
  • Optimistic.
  • The world is a stage.
  • People pleaser.
  • Fun-loving host of life’s continual party.
  • Everyone is initially treated as a friend.
  • Strong and stubborn judgment.
  • Capable of deep dislike.
  • Overwhelmed when under a great deal of stress.
  • Abundance of negative thoughts when under stress.
  • Negative thoughts and stress are not common.
  • Pushes away problems.
  • Goes with the flow.
  • Improvisation.
  • Loves applause.
  • Hands-on.
  • Uncomfortable with theory.
  • Attracted to beautiful possessions.
  • Appreciation for finer things.
  • Team player.
  • Fast-paced.
  • Enjoys diversity.
  • Strongly bonds with certain people.
  • Competitive.
  • Loves to include others in fun adventures.
  • Genuinely interested in people.
  • Will shy away from criticism because someone is displeased.
  • Doesn’t take stuff personally.
  • Not easy offended.
  • Indecisive.
  • Fear of failing.
  • Feels extreme loneliness when alone.
  • Flexible.
  • Dramatic.
  • Jumps from thought to though in mid-sentence.
  • Functions well in the mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Helps without expecting anything in return.
  • Looks “on the bright side”.

High-strung, but not stressed out. Peaceful, but not quiet. Practical, but not systematic.

A few famous people with this personality type are Judy Garland, Ronald Reagan, Marylin Monroe, Bob Hope, and Lauren Barlow.

It seems very fitting for me!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Keeping Me Guessing.

This past weekend I found something that scares me more than snakes. Crazy, I know! Pain. It scares me. Not entirely the physical pain itself, but the uncertainty of it. There’s a good chance that I might have a slow-developing case of appendicitis. Before we all freak out, I said *might*. I’m not at the ER currently but am prepared to go if the pain increases or I start throwing up. I’m not in a lot of pain right now, but over the weekend I was. The pain lasted for a few hours and then went away, but since it did not last or escalate it was not something to panic about. I have the rest of the symptoms for appendicitis and my appendix is swollen and uncomfortable. However, as the doctor told me a few hours ago, before it gets to an emergency state, I will have a few hours of intense pain. The pain is my signal to go to the ER. But I could be waiting a few more hours, days, or weeks. Uncertainty is the name of this game.
So I can’t really do anything about the pain until it comes. That’s what scares me - I'm waiting to hurt.
Since I’m just...waiting...I’m trying to use my time wisely. I’m working on papers, memorizing Greek vocabulary, and attempting to study for finals. And with all the nervous energy I currently have, I'm sure my room will be reorganized a few different times!
I’m a little scared, but...
I know that God’s timing is perfect.
I know that God sees me and my schedule.
I know that God is the great physician.
I know that God is loving and good.
I know that God is faithful.
And I know that God knows what’s going on with my appendix. I just have to surrender.
“Cause I don’t know how the story ends, but I’ll be alright cause You wrote it. I don’t know where the highway bends, but I’m doing just fine cause You’re in control.”

Monday, December 6, 2010

Photo #3: Are You Challenging Me?

I SO owned my suitcase and pile of stuff to pack. I took this picture in October about 20 minutes before heading to the airport to fly back to Chicago.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Take It All. Ice Skating Included.

Ice skating? At this time in the semester? You’ve got to be kidding me. Am I the only one who has finals quickly approaching? I’m pretty sure I have more papers to write, more quizzes and tests to take, more presentations and debates to do, and more final exams in the next two weeks then I did my entire freshman year. So ice skating is definitely out of the question. Besides, it's cold outside.
I’m tired. I’m having a hard time figuring out some food allergy stuff. I just want to be done with this semester. I miss a Robert and Trina. And I miss the joy and peace I started the semester with.
The questions and doubts I have won’t leave when I finish my last final. The things I’m struggling with won’t disappear when I board the plane to California. The things hurting me won’t be healed when I’m done packing. My life doesn’t end when the semester does. Except for the schoolwork, it all comes with me. I think somewhere deep inside I’m hoping that it just won’t - that this time will be the exception.
Take it All
by Third Day
All the promises I've broken
All the times I've let you down
You've forgot them
But still I hold on to the pain that makes me drown
Now I'm ready to let it go
To give it away

Take it all
'Cause I can't take it any longer
All I have, I can't make it on my own
Take the first, take the last
Take the good and take the rest
Here I am, all I have
Take it all

All the roads that lie before me
All the struggles I go through
Every second I'm reminded
That it all belongs to you
Now I'm ready
To let it go
To give it away

Ever since I died to myself
You gave a better life to me
I give you my finest moment
I give you the last breath I breathe
When my heart aches it takes me a while to realize it's aching for Him, to know more of Him. Maybe I should leave notes for myself. Once again, it comes down to surrendering my life - my daily battle that I just can't seem to win.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Perky Turkey Day.

Perky Turkey Day. That’s what we’re calling it. Because it was a good day!

Although it’s a little strange not being with my family on holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter, this Thanksgiving was highly enjoyable! Lots of fun...a trip to the airport with Annie to drop off her sisters, listening to Lecrae while driving back to campus, stopping at Jewel for cereal and almond milk, baking chocolate chip banana bread, lunch while watching The Princess and the Frog, a nap, cooking dinner, eating dinner with a few friends, gluten/soy/lactose free dessert of the bread and chai tea, an uninterrupted time to talk to Robert, and now time to write.

I’m thankful for:

A good attitude, and even better friends

Food without lactose or soy

And our own Twitter hashtag #thanksgivingwithannieandandrea

And, of course, many other things

I feel like there’s a lot more I could write about...but I that’ll have to wait until tomorrow! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photo #2: Dreams

Brooke (Barrettsmith) Adams at Spirit West Coast
There's a few dreams represented in this picture (future, past, and present)
1. she's married (that's her husband playing bass behind her)
2. she's a rockstar
3. she's confident in who she is

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photo #1: Introduction

A friend forwarded me this challenge: to take a photo for each of the 100 themes given and to write a brief description of what it is and the significance of it. I love photography, challenges, and writing... So here we go!

Photo #1: Introduction

This photo is of the arch at Moody Bible Institute. It’s typically the first place you walk into when you come to the campus for the first time. It’s the meeting place for BroSis events, awkward DTRS, and random musicians who love the acoustic qualities of the architecture.

My favorite memory in the arch was when Emma threw her slurpee down the few stairs by the door. It was an accident, but nonetheless, it was funny. It made a huge sticky mess and there is still a mark on the ground from where it hit. It wasn't the slurpee that made the arch special though, it was the conversation that happened that night. Well, it wasn't that particular one, it was the ongoing conversations that happened after our late night slurpee runs about life, God, love, and everything in between.

Monday, November 8, 2010

116 Clique

There’s something attractive and enticing about rap and hip hop. I’m not really sure what it is.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go the Unashamed Tour: the Movement in Moody’s own Torrey-Grey Auditorium! 116 Clique - Lecrae, Tedashii, Trip Lee, Sho Baraka, Pro, and DJ Official. I hadn’t heard much of their music before, but I still enjoyed it! Sho Baraka might have been my favorite...

I loved that the artists shared the gospel in all that they communicated...through their lyrics as well as spoken word between and after their set of songs. It really wasn’t about the performance or the performers, it was all about God and they continually took the spotlight off of themselves and pointed it on God. These guys have massive amounts of talent, but they know who to give the glory and fame to.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Love Being Alive.

(two of my favorite pictures from being home in October)

Trina and A!
Pumpkin carving party...Rachel, Derek, me, and Robert.
*note - I carved a pumpkin out of my pumpkin :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Galatians 5:22-23

The Fruit of the Spirit as translated and explained by Dr. Sauer...

But the fruit (result, effect) virtues cultivated by the Spirit are:

(1) Love - willing, sacrificial giving of oneself, for the benefit of another, without thought of return

(2) Joy - gladness of life, happiness of heart

(3) Peace - harmony with others, tranquility of mind

(4) Patience - passive, calmly bearing the hurts and insults inflicted by oneself by others

(5) Kindness - courtesy

(6) Generosity - openhanded with ministry, time, advice, money

(7) Faithfulness - consistence

(8) Meekness - harnessing one’s strength

(9) Self-Control - harnessing one’s weakness

There is no law prohibiting such wonderful virtues as these!

Monday, November 1, 2010

easy chai tea

This might be the ONLY recipe that I EVER post on here! Annie and I made it a few days ago and it was wonderful.

8 cardamom seeds

8 cloves

4 black peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced

2 cups whole milk (or soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk)

4 bags black tea

8 teaspoons sugar or more, to taste

(makes 4 cups)

*Place the cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a heavy skillet.

*Place the crushed spices in a medium saucepan, along with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, milk, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

*Strain into cups. To each cup, add 2 teaspoons sugar or more, to taste.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

31 Tweets of October

A Month in Tweets. What’s more Unoriginal than that? I’m at a loss to think of something... I blame Annie, since she was with me for a majority of my October Twitter updates! Here's 1 short update for each day in October:

  1. Ewwwww some guy just sneezed on me. Not cool dude, not cool.
  2. 2 weeks until I get to see Robert! I’m just a little excited : )
  3. Worship teams...thing big “living room”, not “concert” on Sundays. Sunday morning is the un-concert-family time. -Paul Baloche
  4. Family Force 5, a cup of mint tea, and an article to finish... Content.
  5. Anyone want to go to Greek for me this morning? Please? Anyone? Bueller?
  6. Breakfast with Carley! I’m amazed at how loud and dramatic the two of us can be, even early in the morning!
  7. “Is Jesus white or is Jesus black?” “He’s plaid!” [urban classes at #mbi are the best!]
  8. “Guess what!! We have the same worldview: individualism!” - Kelsi
  9. “The enemy likes to take the desires of our heart, turn them into weaknesses, steal our trust in God’s goodness and timing...GUARD your heart.”
  10. Chicago Music Exchange! A guy asked if I needed help...I asked if they had anything purple and sparkly. “Well princess...” was his response.
  11. “There are few hotter things than a boy cooking for you. Very, very few.”
  12. “In the Old Testament it was considered a miracle when God spoke through an ass. Now He does it every Sunday.” I love missions conference.
  13. Random fact of the day: India has more cell phones than toilets. #mbiMC
  14. Technical difficulties could be avoided if we would all use flannel-graph. #mbiMC
  15. Long walk with Robert. Just like normal!
  16. I enjoy being home and out of dress code. Meaning, I love Robert and my ripped jeans : )
  17. Play guitar or sit with Robert during church this morning. Funny how priorities change, cause I won’t be on stage this morning. :)
  18. We’re not just meant to have answers, but also to ask the questions that lead us to them. In order to not only know what, but why we believe.
  19. [searching for joy in the small things]
  20. I love reading my notes in my Bible from a year ago. I see how much God has changed the way I perceive HIm. I used to be a beggar, now I’m a daughter. -Rebecca Barlow
  21. Fever and chills. Lamesauce all the way. I’m currently snuggled into a pile of blankets.
  22. Annie and I are sitting on her couch eating M&M’s and giggling : )
  23. ‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe, but he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ - C.S. Lewis
  24. Greek homework + Metallica = winning combo
  25. Last night I dreamt that I had a tea party with C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, and Rob Bell. It ended with Bell throwing a scone at Lewis...
  26. Note to self: Don’t talk about cutting class with the professor walking right behind you. It makes ditching a little more guilt inspiring.
  27. It’s windy and I’m cold. #lamegirlfromcali
  28. “I am a loved daughter of God. If you are trying to make me think less of myself, you are wasting your time.”
  29. God loves messy people.
  30. Annie and I made homemade chai tea!
  31. Rockstar and her floozy stage manager, Annie. [Happy birthday, Dawn!! Yay for costume parties!]

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Medicine Cabinet

(written a few summers ago...)

The temptation almost becomes more than she can handle. How easily she could take a handful of random pills and end her life. And, after a day of endless challenges and trials, it seems like the only positive solution. More bad news might just push her over her ever-stretching undefined edge. It’s late at night but she just got home from a friend’s house. The rest of her family is asleep; the house is still. Standing in front of the medicine cabinet, she opens it slowly. All she wants is Tylenol for her headache and some much needed sleep. Staring at the cabinet full of medicine bottles, unhealthy thoughts of suicide are racing through her mind, but she manages to think clearly one more time. Suicide will only help her, but what about her family and friends? Pain and misguided feelings of guilt for them, and she knows firsthand how painful and unfair that is. Eyes shut tight to hold back the never ending supply of tears, she quietly shuts the door and turns around. No, drugs won’t help tonight.

Having a friend attempt suicide sucks. I’m not really sure how else to describe it. Feelings of anger and sorrow intermixed with random surges of guilt are soon followed by exhaustion. A handful of meltdowns are inevitable. The cycle repeats over and over until it finally yet gradually fades away. How could someone be so hopeless? All the unanswered questions seemed to be floating around in midair just waiting to be bumped into. And in the end, no matter how you look at the situation or try to reason it out, it simply doesn’t add up.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2007 (last available data) it is reported that 34,598 people died from suicide. One person takes their life approximately every fifteen minutes in the United States and an attempt is estimated to be made once every minute. Out of the people who survive a suicide attempt, many of them damage their body permanently. A drug overdose can lead to damaged organs, suffocation and drowning can lead to lack of oxygen flow to the brain causing brain damage, and the use of a firearm can also lead to brain damage and horrific scarring. Suicide rates have been rising in the United States in the past 40 years. Why the increase of suicide? Why the decrease in hope? Again with the frustrating unanswered questions.

When my friend tried to end her life, many of my other friends were really supportive of what I was going through. Having a close friend get a few inches away from my face and ask how I was doing was a defining moment in this whole ordeal for me. She climbed into the passenger seat of my car and I took off my sunglasses. As if seeing my smeared eye makeup wasn’t enough, she wanted to verbally hear what was going on. “I don’t get it,” were the only words that came out. Instead of giving the all too common answer of, “Wow, I don’t know what to say,” she wrapped her arms around me and cried with me. Although advice or an encouraging word would have helped, a simple hug meant so much more. In the Bible we’re told not only to rejoice with each other, but to grieve together as well. Community is a key step in the healing process; it is important to replace secrets and shame with honesty and trust.

Unlike many suicide stories, this one has a happy ending. My friend is alive with no serious harm done. Her cry for help was acknowledged and she went through counseling to deal with past hurt and to find closure with it. At first she found counseling annoying and a waste of time, but after a few sessions she quickly learned to love it. It was a challenge for her to think back on past injuries and bring them to surface, but with God’s strength, she did it. And eventually the initial injuries won’t remain, just scars to remind her of God’s faithfulness in carrying her through it all. The verses that encouraged her was Psalm 147:3-5.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

Being the friend on the other side of the attempted suicide, I quickly learned that running on emotion and adrenaline only lasts so long. All the crying, unanswered questions, and doubts that arose were challenging for me. The verses that were continually coming to mind that few weeks were out of Isaiah 40.

“See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him (verse10). “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart,” (verse 11). “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these things? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing,” (verse 26). “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,” (verse 31).

The long few days after the suicide attempt finally came to an end. She was out of the hospital, physically well, and emotionally stable. My heart was hurting, but being held and protected by my Savior. Continually turning to God and refocusing on Him made the hellish situation survivable. I spent most of that day with the same friends I had been with since the night she tried to kill herself four days earlier. On my way out the door, I stopped and asked if we could pray once more together before I left. A few more tears, lots of encouraging words, and most of all, the reminder of God’s sovereignty was the positive conclusion to that dreadful nightmare.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to NOT Mess Up the Great Commission Too Much.

It's Mission's Conference week at Moody Bible Institute! This video was shown in one of the sessions I went to today and I think it's worth passing on... Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Girl with a Guitar

Dear Diary,

Today Josh, Caleb, Heidi and I embarked on an adventure to the Chicago Music Exchange. I think this was the first time I’ve been in a guitar place without my dad. He always accompanies my trips to these places, upon my request. We arrived at the store and walked in with wide-eyed excitement. The four of us quickly scattered and drooled over the hundreds of guitars. I wanted to play a purple sparkly electric guitar or a girly acoustic one. I looked and couldn’t find either. Girls play guitar, so why don’t they make very many purple sparkly ones? One of the guys working asked if I needed help. And I did! I explained what I was looking for and his joking response was, “Well, princess, let me see what I can do. Have you ever played before?” My mind went blank as to a witty response, so I just said yes. I’ve been playing for about 7 years, actually... Oh well.

Anyways, the guy returned with the bulkiest guitar I’ve ever held. But, it had a red-orange hue to it. Oh, and a bird with a flower on the pickguard. So I guess that made it girly? I’m not sure. It was neither sparkly nor purple so it just wouldn’t work. I played a few chords and gently handed it back. I looked at all the other acoustic guitars and played a few of them, but none of them jumped out at me. Heidi and I then went back into the main room and ended up taking pictures of practically everything in the store. We were a little bored waiting for the two guys to be done.

That’s when I found it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was sparkly! It was a silver Fender Telecaster covered in sparkles! I was so excited that I grabbed the guitar, walked away from the group, and sat on the floor next to the orange amps and played it. I didn’t plug it in or anything. A girly electric guitar. Because girls can rock just as awesomely as any guy can.



PS. Thanks to Heidi for the pictures!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Autumn by Elizabeth Browning (1833)

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,

And turn your eyes around,

Where waving woods and waters wild

Do hymn an autumn sound.

The summer sun is faint on them —

The summer flowers depart —

Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,

Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,

May yet be in your mind;

And how you heard the green woods sing

Beneath the freshening wind.

Though the same wind now blows around,

You would its blast recall;

For every breath that stirs the trees,

Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth

That flesh and dust impart:

We cannot bear its visitings,

When change is on the heart.

Gay words and jests may make us smile,

When Sorrow is asleep;

But other things must make us smile,

When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, —

Their presence may be o’er;

The dearest voice that meets our ear,

That tone may come no more!

Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,

Which once refresh’d our mind,

Shall come — as, on those sighing woods,

The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind — view not the woods;

Look out o’er vale and hill —

In spring, the sky encircled them —

The sky is round them still.

Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —

Come change — and human fate!

Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,

Can ne’er be desolate.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"...and dwelt among us..."

Ministry occasionally has the tendency to be anything but glamorous. Sometimes it’s filthy, harsh, and discouraging.

Tonight was one of those filthy, harsh, seemingly discouraging urban ministry times.

In a large room with eighteen adjoining closed off rooms, eighteen young men between the ages of fifteen and eighteen are all locked away in a juvenile detention center for a variety of different offenses. In the large room there are three different areas. In one area a movie is on which captivates the boys’ attention. Competing for their attention in the next area over is a screen with video games. And the final area is a wide open and empty room, except for a few small tables with chairs around them. Profanity and vulgar conversation topics are raging as we walked into the unit. Bible in hand, the inmates knew I was there to lead Bible study for whoever wanted to come. One brave soul walked up to me and sincerely asked me to stay. Before I could answer, he was off to grab chairs for the nearby table.

I had been up on the unit only a few short minutes before the first verbal fight broke out. The security in the unit, unmoved by the event, responded with a sharp scolding. After a few more minutes, the argument that never really ended intensified and the movie was officially over, as blatantly decided by the guard. Still just sitting at the table with my single recipient of Bible study, he continued to ask questions and look on his fellow jail mates with scorn and disgust. Upon request, we talked about sin and the different consequences that so actively pursue it. After a few verses were found, he quickly said he already knew it all. After all, as he bluntly pointed out, he was the one in jail with two kids, not me. I got to walk out whenever I wanted without the stress of an upcoming court date or threat of being moved to the other jail. Yes, I have made bad choices before, but none of them have landed me in jail or anywhere close to that.

The tension in the room was rising as another verbal fight broke out and was turning physical at an escalating rate. The security guards jumped in immediately and the two boys involved were put in their secluded rooms. Security loudly and coarsely ordered the others into their rooms as well. However, the young man sitting with me was shown grace, as he was not any part of the problem.

Imagine sitting at a small table placed against the wall in between the two doors which sealed off two furious young men from the rest of the world. Neither of these prisoners were thrilled at their current location and were making their unhappiness known to the rest of the world through their loud protesting. While these unnerving distractions are blaring in the background, imagine sitting with the one inmate who intently wanted to understand more of God’s Word. Our Bibles were lying open on the table and I struggled to focus as he read the first few verses of John chapter one.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

I asked if he had any questions about what he had just read. Nothing specific came to mind for either of us, but he had a confused and concerned look on his face.

Darkness. We were surrounded by it. By this time, the two guys in their cells were angrily beating their fists against the door and verbally abusing the security guards who could not let them out. My new friend continued to read boldly...

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

My heart was slowly breaking for these young men who so desperately need a positive example in their lives. As the yelling continued from within the individual cells, I hesitantly looked up at the clock. Part of me wanted to remain in the unit since I was working with someone who was interested, but another part of me was getting nervous and tense in the hostile environment. I was safe, so that was not my concern, but I was still a little uncomfortable. We stayed and finished up the section we were reading.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

We talked about the final few verses for a few minutes before it was time to leave. The phrase that stuck out to me was “and dwelt among us”.

Question: Who would want to live among criminals for the sake of loving and saving them?

Answer: The Word who became flesh would, did, and still does...