Sunday, April 27, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Since that fun day our family has been busy - maybe too busy. Over the last week my body told me it was through! I crashed this week and finally on Thursday I intentionally slowed down, stopped answering the phone, left my computer behind and picked up a good book. And wouldn't you know it - the Lord had a plan to show me something in those sweet pages.

I've been reading a book called "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. The book is about one of the author's - Mortenson - who was a mountain climber that ended up in a remote Muslim "town" of Pakistan, called Korphe, due to a failed attempt to climb K2. Mortenson promises the native, Muslim people who took such great care of him that he would come back and build a school. He indeed does that and so much more, but not without tremendous effort and time. I do not know if Mortenson is a believer (though I haven't finished the book, so maybe I'll be surprised by the end). But God has used so much of Mortenson's story to speak to my heart about our time with the Somali people.

As I read this book I was gently reminded by Jesus to stop making my own plans and follow his lead in simply building relationships with people.

In "Three Cups of Tea" it takes Mortenson several years to get the first school built. There are many reasons, but mainly the people were slow by American standards in getting the project done. When Mortenson tries to control the situation and push the people to finish the school, the main elder (Haji Ali) pulls Mortenson aside and says, "If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways. ... The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die. Doctor Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated. But we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time."

Greg Mortenson goes on to say, "That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I've ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly. We're the country of thirty-minute power lunches and two-minute football drills...Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them."

Mortenson HAD spent time getting to know the people. The project to build the school was taking years longer than expected. He probably had hundreds of cups of tea. But somehow, the community still wanted more relationship from him than service.

Mortenson came to the people of Korphe and won their hearts because he loved them and let them teach him. Obviously, in the end, they need more than our love, but I believe our love will lead to the "more". Let love lead! When questions about Jesus or our faith come up we don't hesitate to answer and teach - but we need to remember that when the questions do not come it is okay to let them teach us. I think if we're all honest with ourselves - that takes more humility and change of thinking than we want to admit.

Here are some other family fun details in pics:

Libby and Daddy on Fiesta Parade Day: Libby is turning into a jokester - every time I counted to 3 to take this picture she would do a funny face. I was lucky to get this smile rather than eyes rolled back into her head with gaping mouth!

Libby with her class at the parade with crazy hats and shakers (turned into drums for Libby).

A few of Libby's Chinese friends met for breakfast. The moms behind me must have been making some crazy noises and faces bc each of the girls' faces is saying, (with teenage sass and a valley girl accent, of course) "Oh-My-Gosh... that is NOT my mom acting that way in public. How embarassing."

Foote and Martine girls are so cute together!

So - I'll have to explain this one: Libby loves to get into mommy's bathroom drawer. She gets spanked every time, but still she plunders. The other day I noticed it was quiet so I went to my bathroom to see if she was there. Sure enough, she was. But I could hide my laughter. Libby discovered mascara in my drawer (which I didn't know was there!) and she even knew where to put it - well, kinda.

Libby picked out one of her Chinese dresses to wear to a dinner party. Isn't she a doll!!
The other thing Libby finds in momma's bathroom drawer is floss - and she loves to suck on it. Is that weird?
We had a family day at the zoo last week. Libby discovered butterflies in the rare butterfly exhibit. She enjoyed blowing on them to see them fly.
In adoption news - no news. Just waiting on the I-171H. Visit to follow the journey.
Love and Blessings,

Friday, April 11, 2008

Liberty Kingdom and God's Kingdom

Libby has a new kingdom - one made of wood, sand and swings! Her daddy spent all day Tuesday building the new swing set with a friend - Steve the Fireman! After a little heat exhaustion and a day's rest we added sand, a chalk board, a Dora chair and a play sword (for Princess Libby to defend her kingdom, of course! - see above pic: Libby wards off bad bald man with her terrible swift sword!). She is smitten, let me tell you! We will be spending some hot afternoons in the backyard from now on! Hopefully some neighborhood kids like Mridula and Mahira can come over for some swing set fun! Grammy and Papa Boots gave us a significant gift card to help pay for "Libby's World". Thank you Grammy and Papa Boots!!!! You're the best!! Oh, and we hung the red swing for little Aria. Can't wait to see both the girls defending their fort and laughing as they swing side by side!

In other news... Daddy and Libby have begun a REAL garage band! Look how serious Libby is about it! Attention mommy and daddy - this may not be a fad.... this may be a real life-time hobby/career!

Libby and her friend, Taylor, had a blast at the San Antonio Children's Museum recently. They could have stayed all day! But truly - it was mommy Cindy and mommy Jenny (a.k.a. Sassy Puppeteers) who were having the most fun!

Libby's way into talking on the phone these days. Yesterday she was wearing a cute sundress with her hair up in one ponytail on top of her head. She was chewing gum (which she LOVES to do) while I tried on some clothes in the Old Navy dressing room. Billy called my cell and Libby wanted to talk. So when it was time to leave the dressing area - out comes cute Libby smacking away as she tells daddy about her day at school and asks him if he's been fishing. Everyone in the store was enjoying that sweet moment.
Libby also loves dogs. Libby's new friend, Lily has two dogs and Libby (not understanding the concept of dogs "fetching" the ball) kept pelting the poor things with the rubber toy. Libby may look all girl - but there is a serious tom-boy in there with a great throwing arm, I might add.

We are finishing up work on a 5 song worship CD. Next week, Kevin will begin the final stages of mixing and then it's off for mastering, printing, etc. We'll let you know when it's ready!

There is a Kingdom that will never pass away. Liberty Kingdom will rot and fall. But the Kingdom of God is victorious and eternal. Picture Jesus in Libby's place (from the top photo in this post). There he stands firm fighting for you and every other helpless soul. What will you do... ignore his authority and commands? That would not be the right response of an otherwise dead person being defended by the highest authority in the land. And now picture eternity - in that eternity there will be some who were the least but have been made the greatest. And some who were the greatest who have been made the least. It is a Kingdom that turns our own upside down, isn't it? May all our own kingdoms fall as we raise the banner high for the only One that fights for us and gives life!