Saturday, March 28, 2009


proximamente means 'coming soon'.. because a very large update will be coming in the next couple days.. the last two weeks have been the craziest weeks yet of my eight months here.. i have so much to tell you and no time at the moment to start.. but i promise it will be soon! thanks for all you guys who read regularly!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

trip to the zoo

hey everyone, sorry its been a while since ive posted.. ive had a lot on my mind and havent really felt like writing.. also, we havent really done much.. but anyways, we went to the zoo on friday just to get out of the house and do something fun as a team, and it ended up being really sweet.. i love animals, and i got some decent pictures of some of them so yeah.. enjoy!

if you click on the pictures and look at them full size, some of them are really incredible.. and as always, there are a lot more pictures at the gallery..

Monday, March 9, 2009

even trev has a bad day..

its late.. i should probably be in bed.. but i just have this nagging.. something.. that wont let me..

i just listened to a podcast from francis chan called, 'even francis has a bad day,' hence the title of this post.. he was just talking about feeling like he was under strong spiritual attack.. he explained that he had been planning on having the sermon that morning be about rejoicing, and praising God.. but when he got to church, he was feeling like anything but rejoicing.. and he talked about just not being able to fake it up in front of all these people..

i really identified with that.. i dont know what it is in me, but i think im realizing something about myself.. i noticed it last night when my mom and sister were skyping with me, and asked me how i was doing.. i said, oh im fine.. and i realized that i really was not fine.. i realized that i usually respond to questions like that with, im great! or im fine.. and thats pretty much it.. part of it is honestly because i just dont get bummed out too often.. but when i am, i still tend to just say, oh im fine..

i feel like most of what i say on this blog is just awesome stories of how everything is great, and sweet things im learning.. stuff that gets you pumped and makes you wanna listen to 'eye of the tiger' and go save the world.. and i think its so awesome that the Lord has been teaching me so much, and giving me an incredible, crazy vision for what He wants to do in this country.. but at the same time, im not always at that place of just loving life.. i have been hesitating to post anything for the last week, because i honestly just felt like i didnt have anything to say that would be of any value or encouragement, nothing i was feeling that would get people pumped up.. i couldnt bring myself to write about how awesome life is right now because actually, life is really hard right now.. and i think i needed to just say that.. not for anyone to console me, but i think i just needed to be honest in saying that life is hard right now, i feel like im under attack, and please continue to pray for me.. i know so many of you do pray faithfully, and i cant thank you enough with any amount of words..

i have a sense of peace about all this.. im not crying myself to sleep, by any means.. i think im just getting to a point in my stint year where i will really need to lean fully on the Lords strength to push through.. i have been getting weary of being apart from ali.. it has been so hard to feel connected to the woman i love with so many miles between us and such sporadic communication.. i just really miss her..

well, im rambling at this point, and my eyes are starting to quit on me.. i better call it.. i hope this didnt come off as depressing! i still love Jesus and He loves me too.. its just been really, really hard this last week.. but thats ok! God is still good, and i am still privileged enough to be here in el salvador, sharing what He has done to change my life.. i knew when i signed up that it would be a great honor, but that it would also be really hard and growing and stretching.. turns out i was right..

thanks for all your prayers, friends..

Sunday, March 1, 2009

real men | Gods Word

one of our favorite things to do here on stint is listen to sermons.. its something that i think makes life feel very normal, or at least more normal.. and our choice every sunday is really between attending a spanish speaking church here in town, or listen to a podcast of a pastor from the states.. call it a cop out if you wish, ill own it.. i just know that for me, church is a place where i go expecting to be fed and refreshed, and charged up to go back out into the world for the rest of the week.. at this stage in the game, a two hour sermon in spanish is a total drain; we tried it when we first got here for several weeks, and it was just really tough.. so now.. podcast sermons!

also popular on our team is one particular pastor that some of you may recognize.. his name is francis chan, and he is a pastor at cornerstone community in simi valley.. i heard francis speak a few times during high school, when he would come speak at grace baptist, and i was always just amazed at how real this guy was.. he spoke with passion and authority, but without a hint of pride or self glorification.. he speaks with this kind of conviction and passion because he is a man who humbly recognizes that he is broken, and is willing to live his life in front of the world, fully exposed, so that God might be glorified through him.. he reminds me so much of paul from the Scriptures..

ive been listening to a short five part series he did a while back called, the end of the world.. i honestly started listening to it because i just wanted to hear about the prophecies and the end times and that sort of thing, but its totally not how it has played out.. he has been focusing on 2 timothy 3, which starts with the verse, 'but understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty..' the series has not been centered on the prophecies and the wild things the Bible says will happen.. besides, when paul says 'the last days,' it includes everything from Jesus' death on the cross until Jesus returns.. no, the core of the study is the question of whether or not we are prepared, whether we are living our lives to stake a stand for Christ in the face of all the evil the world throws at us every day..

todays sermon, part four in the series, was about two things: leaving a rich heritage, and living by Scripture.. from 2 tim. 3.13-14 says that people will continue to go from bad to worse as history draws to a close.. paul, the author, encourages timothy, the recipient, to continue in the things he had learned, always keeping in his mind who had taught him.. francis explained that no matter what is going on around us, we have been laid with the charge to raise men and women of God who are committed to His Kingdom at all costs.. i want to be able to look my kids in the eye one day and confidently tell them, 'i have lived my life before you.. you have seen that i would do anything for Jesus.. now go do the same..' i want to be one of those solid, unwavering, absolutely real men who people can point to and say, i watched his life, and he is the real thing..

the second part was really just a total encouragement to me.. he just talked about the power of the Bible, that it is completely sufficient for salvation.. it was humbling to be reminded of the fact that there are no words that i could ever say that would be powerful enough to save someones soul.. the Word of God is even more powerful than any physical miracle that God could perform.. the Bible is simply more convincing.. its an incredible and bewildering and startling truth, but it is true nonetheless.. there is just so much power in the Word of God.. its comforting to know that as i am down here, surrounded by people who speak another language, often stumbling over words and feeling insecure or uncertain about what to say.. i know what to say.. i speak Gods Word, nothing more or less.. and i trust that God will do the work in the persons heart.. 'the Word of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness...' its funny, it doesnt mention anything in the Bible about the Word of Trevor, and how powerful it is.. its nice to know i dont have to rely on myself for people to meet Christ..

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

nehemiah part one

we have been reading out of nehemiah for team Bible study, and we have been learning some really cool things about ministry, that are really applicable to what we have been doing here in el salvador.. God has been so faithful to show us a lot of truth and wisdom from nehemiah and his experience, so i thought i would share some with you..

just a little bit of a summary for anyone whos not too familiar with the story: nehemiah is a jewish exile in persia, and the cupbearer to the persian king artaxerxes, when a messenger from israel comes and informs nehemiah that the walls of jerusalem were broken down and the gates destroyed.. he is heartbroken for the state of his people and their city, and asks the king for permission to go help rebuild the wall.. the king allows him to, so nehemiah returns to jerusalem and leads his people in the effort to restore honor to the God and His people.. so here are some sweet things weve seen:

- nehemiahs ministry is borne out of need; he sees a need, and it is through that need that he feels the Lord call him.. most of our team felt the Lord call us here to el salvador because we were confronted with a great need.. and when the greatest cause in the world meets a great need.. its something to really consider..

- nehemiah was so heartbroken for his people, for the injustices being done to them at the hands of their enemies, for their helplessness and hopelessness.. it was just really challenging to me to really think through how broken i am for those who dont know Christ, and for people who suffer every day..

- nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king.. this pretty much meant that he stood by the kings side, testing all his food and drink to make sure it was not poisoned! in some ways this really resonates with a team like ours pioneering a new ministry.. first of all, we get the very first taste.. every morsel of exotic, gourmet food that the king ever ate.. was first tried by nehemiah.. he got the first sweet taste of some of the best food in the world.. but he never, ever got the full portion of that meal.. and, he also risked his life with every bite and every sip he ever took; if it was poisoned, he would die.. yet he willingly took those bites and sips.. as a pioneering team, we get to have the sweet first tastes of what will be a thriving ministry, but we wont experience the full portion.. and we also get to be risky, try new things, fail, and pass that on to the future teams!

- today we talked about nehemiah 3, which is basically just a huge list of names.. brenna led our time, and she drew a map of the wall on a whiteboard, and as we read through we found all the places that are called out in the chapter that people worked on.. the content was really mostly just names, but we pulled out some really cool thruths..

1. often times its nehemiah who is credited with the rebuilding of the walls, but the fact that so many names are listed just shows Gods character in wanting to honor all the families who built right along side nehemiah..

2. most of the men and families who helped in the efforts worked on the section of the wall closest to their home.. this is really sweet, because they really took on what was in their own backyard, the thing closest to their hearts.. we all have unique roles on our team, and we all get to tackle things that the Lord has laid on each of our hearts.. and we are continuing to see clearer and clearer just how uited each persons role is for how the Lord has uniquely created them to be..

3. one really sweet thing we saw was that such and such a person rebuilt the gate and 'set its bolts and its bars...' this occurred over and over.. i think what this said to me was that these people often couldnt offer much; they couldnt build the whole wall by themselves, or maybe couldnt really build a wall at all.. but they did what they knew, they focused on one thing, and they absolutely poured their hearts into it..

4. they were unified, but dispersed.. they were all of one mind, but worked contentedly and faithfully on different parts of the wall.. they couldnt all work on the same part of the wall; that would be absurd.. but they spread out and worked until the wall came together, all with one unified purpose..

we are building a wall of sorts here in el salvador.. our 'wall' is a foundation for a movement that will last for years, decades, who knows.. pray with us: that we will be united; that we will be willing to take risks, for the sake of the movement; that we would be faithful to pursue what is closest to our heart, and do it to the best of our ability; that others back home would see the need and answer the Great Call to come here and be a part of God moving in this country!

more in nehemiah later..

Saturday, February 21, 2009

know your enemy

so i wrote a couple days ago about my study in genesis 3, and Satans temptation of eve, and the fall of mankind.. and i wrote a little bit about how Satan is cruel and ruthless and what not, and cares only for the destruction of our souls, or something like that.. and it reminded me of the way cs lewis presents satan in one of my all time favorite books, Perelandra..

Perelandra is the second book in a science fiction trilogy that follows a man named dr ransom as he travels to distant planets in our solar systems.. ransom is brought to the planet called perelandra supernaturally, with little explanation as to why he was summoned there.. because i encourage every single person who reads this to read Perelandra i will keep details to a minimum, but we find out from reading on that venus (as was speculated to be during the time the novel was written) is a vast ocean.. cs lewis creates this world filled with floating islands that collide and separate again, always changing the landscape.. ransom discovers a woman, and through speaking with her discovers that she has become separated from her husband, and is searching for him, and that they are the only native inhabitants.. ransom also discovers through the woman that there is only one island on the planet, 'the fixed land,' that the woman is permitted by God to be on, but not permitted to live on, or sleep on.. the woman takes him to the fixed land, and while there ransom discovers that a spaceship carrying a physicist from earth had landed on perelandra.. the woman leaves and ransom and this man, named weston, begin having a philosophical conversation.. to make a long story short, weston says that God and Satan are really the same 'Life-Force,' and calls it into himself.. at this point weston becomes possessed by Satan himself, and the stage for the rest of the novel is set..

the parallels to the genesis story are unmistakable (the only addition being ransoms presence) as the possessed weston begins to tempt the woman to live on the fixed land, thus breaking the only commandment given her by God.. the majority of the novel becomes very dialogue-driven, revolving around the very precarious interactions between the innocent 'Eve' and Satan himself (through westons body), with ransom battling against him to help the woman cling to truth.. lewis does an incredible job of displaying the weight of what is at stake, and the weight of that moment we read about in genesis that once existed for mankind on earth.. the fate of this planet hinges on ransoms ability to fight against Satans crafty temptations directed at the woman..

i bring this all up because i feel that lewis paints an incredibly convincing picture of what Satan is really like.. i wanted to share a couple quotes from the book, to more or less just expose Satan for who he is..

"I [the woman] have said already that we are forbidden to dwell on the Fixed Land. Why do you not either talk of something else or stop talking?"
"Because this forbidding is such a strange one," said the Man's voice. "And so unlike the ways of [God] in my world... It is mere command. It is forbidding for the mere sake of forbidding."
"But why...?"
"In order that you may break it...that you may become really old [wise]..." (p. 89, 100)

the parallels here are so clear, arent they? it is almost an excerpt from Scripture, with the implications Satan makes in his questioning of eve.. he questions Gods goodness, and tries to create doubt in the womans heart.. this next section of dialogue gives me chills:

Ransom: "He [weston] says I am young, but I say not."
The voice of Weston's face spoke suddenly, and it was louder and deeper than before and less like Weston's voice.
"I am older than he," it said, "and he dare not deny it. Before the mothers of the mothers of his mother was conceived, I was already older than he could reckon. I have been with [God] in Deep Heaven where he never came and heard the eternal councils. And in the order of creation I am greater that he, and before me he is of no account... consider how white his cheeks have turned and how his forehead is wet... It is what happens -- it is the beginning of what happens -- to little creatures when they set themselves against great ones."
..."Listen, Lady," said Ransom. "There is something he is not telling you. All this that we are now talking has been talked before. The thing he wants you to try has been tried before. Long ago, when our world began, there was only one man and one woman in it, as you and [your husband] are in this. And there once before he stood, as he stands now, talking to the woman. He had found her alone as he found you alone. And she listened, and did the thing [God] had forbidden her to do. But no joy and splendour came of it... all love was troubled and made cold, and [God's] voice became hard to hear so that... life became narrower, not wider."
"He has hidden the half of what happened," said Weston's corpse-like mouth. "Hardness came out of it but also splendour... He has not told you that it was the breaking of the commandment which brought [God] to our world and because of which He was made man. He dare not deny it."
"Of course good came of it. Is [God] a beast that we can stop His path, or a leaf that we can twist His shape? Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He prepared for you if you had obeyed Him. That is lost forever. The first King and first Mother of our world did the forbidden thing; and He brought good of it in the end. But what they did was not good; and what they lost we have not seen..." He turned to the body of Weston. "You," he said, "tell her all. What good came to you? Do you rejoice that [God] became a man? Tell her of your joys, and of what profit you had when you made [God] and Death acquainted."
...The body that had been Weston's threw up its head and opened its mouth and gave a long melancholy howl like a dog... (p.102-104)

i think we tend to forget who Satan is.. he has done an incredible job of making himself a laughable idea in our culture: the tiny little man on your shoulder, whispering things to you; the dude in red spandex with a plastic pitchfork that kids dress up as for halloween.. Satan is perfectly content in being mocked, so long as he continues to accomplish his tragic mission: to devour the souls of men (1 Peter 5.8) and destroy humankind (John 10.10).. we forget that Satan stands before God as an accuser of man, that he hates us with a fiery passion, and that he will do anything to destroy us.. we forget that Satan was once an archangel, and that he is still very powerful and incredibly manipulative, driven by his pride and consuming hate.. in another passage, lewis describes a way that the Satan-possessed body of Weston smiles, saying:

"The smile was not bitter, nor raging, nor, in an ordinary sense, sinister; it was not even mocking. It seemed to summon Ransom, with a horrible naivete of welcome, into the world of its own pleasures, as if all men were at one in those pleasures, as if they were the most natural thing in the world and no dispute could ever have occurred about them. It was not furtive, nor ashamed, it had nothing of the conspirator in it. It did not defy goodness, it ignored it to the point of annihilation... The extremity of its evil had passed beyond all struggle into some state which bore a horrible similarity to innocence. It was beyond vice as the Lady was beyond virtue." (p.95)

i could honestly quote the whole book here, and i want to, but youd stop reading (if you havent already) and i might get sued for copyright infringement.. so i better wrap this up.. i think just writing about Satan and the fall of man a few days back just got me thinking about who our enemy is.. that he would stop at nothing to destroy us, and that he would do it with joy in his heart and a smile on his face.. and if all goes as he hopes, all of mankind will have smiles on their faces as well..

but have no fear! thank God for Jesus! thank God that He is so much stronger than Satan, that we have a hope.. but lets not forget that without God, without Jesus, we are hopeless.. if we try to face Satan and his attacks alone, we will fail.. we need to be daily putting on our armor (Ephesians 6.12-18) and coming to the Lord in prayer for His protection and strength..

i just think that if we can get a clearer picture of who Satan is, what he really wants with us, and how he goes about his business, then it makes it so much easier to resist him.. we can almost hear his deceptive and tempting voice in our heads, beckoning us into sin.. and if we recognize that he only desires our destruction, then sin becomes so much more repulsive and undesirable.. and his attempts at beckoning us become much more pathetic..

thats all.. thanks for taking the time to read this.. buy the book!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Emergency

this was written by lauren sexton.. if you dont know lauren, she is a member of the STINT team here in el salvador.. i thought you would like to read what she has to say..

So the other day my team and I got an email from Cayla Hatter and the Campus Crusade for Christ PSW team, giving us the status of the El Salvador STINT applications for 09-10. With only 11 days left until the application deadline, the official count of people applying with El Salvador as their first choice was....


I think I have only been moved to tears two other times since coming on STINT, which is saying a lot. But after reading that I was suddenly overcome with such a heavy sadness. One? Really?

Before I go any further I would just like to clarify. I know that God is going to provide. I know that the work we have done, the hours we have spent praying for the salvation of these students, the hundreds of methods we tried that didn't work, will not have been spent in vain. I know the Lord will be faithful to continue to draw this nation to Himself. People will be saved. Leaders will be raised up. His purpose will be accomplished.

But you see, in that moment my heart was not burdened by the tragic state of this nation, but rather for our own.

9 of the current El Salvador STINTers, including myself, come from Cal Poly SLO. Our movement is one of the biggest in the US. Sometimes reaching up to 800 people, SLO Crusade students can easily pack out the giant auditorium in which our weekly meetings are held. Students have an awesome opportunity to be surrounded by community, hear challenging teaching from the Word, and be poured into individually by a discipler. Men and women are growing exponentially in their love for Jesus.

And yet, from that giant number, from the hundreds of students who love the Lord and are giving Him the glory in their lives, thus far only one has decided to take the leap of faith to go and meet the need in El Salvador. This, in my opinion, is much more than a sad statistic... it is an emergency.

I really think that Jesus meant the things He said. I think that when He said things like:

"anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:38)


"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

Well I think He really meant it.

So I have to stop and wonder, what is it that prevents us from doing the things Jesus asks of us? Maybe it is fear... fear of leaving home or family, fear of what other people will think, fear of giving up a year of our lives. Maybe its a fear that we just aren't good enough.
Did you know that that the most frequent command that we see God give us in the Bible is "do not fear" ? I've heard that it is said around 365 times. You could have one for every day of the year that you are on STINT.

Or maybe we are believing Satan when he whispers things in our ear like "Fix your own problems first. You're just still too sinful to be of any use." The truth is that God likes to use the weakest, most broken people to do His work. I'd be the first to volunteer myself and every other person on my team as an example.

I think what a lot of this boils down to is this: We are simply lovers of self. We value our own lives and comfort more than we value what God desires. I know because I have been a victim of it myself. But the Lord gives us this verse:

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Cor. 5:14-15)

And so I urge you, brothers and sisters, to consider El Salvador. Consider the broken souls and desperate hearts that need to know Jesus. Consider carrying on the work here, of being co-laborers in Christ, of supporting your SLO Crusade's partnership. Consider the calling that God has for your life. Maybe it isn't STINT, but either way, I pray that you are listening to Him. Because truly, I have found nothing on this earth more rewarding than loving and serving the Lord with all my heart.

And if you do make the choice, I can absolutely guarantee you two things:
1) It will be the most growing year of your life.
2) God will move.

Thanks for reading.

Yours in Christ,

Ps: Even if you know you are not being called to go on STINT, you can still join in helping us! If you know anyone who might be praying/thinking about STINT, please pass this message on. Not everyone knows how great the need is.

(please also join us in praying! pray with us that the Lord would move in peoples hearts; pray with us that those who feel the call would answer it, and not push it aside for any reason; pray that students who have not felt called yet would bring this before the Lord again, in humility and boldness, asking if they will be the one the Lord uses to meet the great need here; pray that people would see the need and feel it in their souls and be moved for compassion for the Remnant of believers here that is ready to be raised up!

thank you so much for reading! feel free to pass this along and encourage others to pray for El Salvador!)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

'but God' part 1: genesis 3.3

so i finally started my 'but God' study that i mentioned a while back.. click this and read the third paragraph if you dont know what this new study is all about.. im really stoked about it! so here is the verse, prefaced with v.2 as well:

"and the woman said to the serpent, 'we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, "you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."'" (genesis 3.2-3, esv)

this use of 'but God' does not explicitly fit into the general trend that i am trying to explore, the dynamic nature of the phrase 'but God,' but i wanted to study this in context more and include it anyways, because i think it has some very interesting things to take note of..

to set the stage a bit for this verse, the world at this moment is pure, innocent, untouched by the horror of sin.. adam and eve experience true fellowship with the Lord, communion with each other, harmony with nature.. they have it made, you could say.. then satan comes and tempts the woman, and mankind falls.. fellowship is broken between man and God, because of this ugly barrier of sin that is erected.. this is one of a very small handful of the most significant moments in the whole of human history (along with alis birthday and the invention of the wii..) man and woman are banished from the garden.. their banishment comes with a curse: women will experience pain in childbirth and striving for power in her relationship with her husband; the man will have to toil and labor to survive.. in a moment, life is no longer perfect.. life becomes hard..

i think there are some interesting things having to do with 'but God' in this verse:

- the 'but God' in this verse comes as eve is reciting the one and only commandment God gave them.. i find the addition to Gods commandment, 'neither shall you touch it,' kind of interesting and i dont know exactly what to make of it yet.. some people believe eve throws this in there as a reference to a command that adam possibly gave her, for additional protection.. but the fact is, its an addition to the single, simple command He had given the pair..

- the way satan asks eve the question is interesting too, because it highlights how deceptive he is.. he asks the question, 'did God actually say, "you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?"' and the insinuation is clearly, 'God has really restricted you from enjoying this place to its fullest? it doesnt sound like something a good God would say..' he sows doubt, and presents himself as an enlightened, heavenly being who is bringing a greater, newer truth than what God has presented.. satan continues to do this today.. he is ruthless, and purely hates, and enjoys the destruction of man.. he is cunning, and twists the truth into half truths that are filled with promise of blessing, but lead only to death and destruction and unhappiness..

- its so sad to picture the scene of adam and eve explaining their sin to the Lord.. Gods heart must have been so broken for His dear creation in that moment.. and instead of being truly remorseful for their distrust and disobedience, they compound the utter tragedy of this event by trying to pass the blame.. adam first tries to pin this mess on God Himself because He gave eve to him.. and then shifts the blame to his wife, because she tempted him.. God turns to eve, who shifts the blame to the serpent, trying to absolve her responsibility for her actions.. it just makes me so sad to think that this is our nature.. we constantly try to hide our guilt from an all knowing and perfectly holy God, who just wants us to be honest with Him and try our best to be holy as He is..

- finally, i just love that the Lord immediately answers this tragedy with the greatest beacon of hope and joy.. He says to satan, in more or less words, 'there will be war between your rebellion and the followers of Christ, until you are crushed forever..' i just love how swiftly the Lord responds to this devastating moment with the greatest promise of grace and redemption.. man has just fallen, but God immediately promises to send the One who raises up.. man is lost in sin and darkness, but God promises a Rescuer.. man is defeated, but God promises Victory.. its just such a beautiful contrast in that moment of what our destiny would have been without God, and what it can be when He steps in.. its even cool how He closes off the garden so man cannot eat of the tree of life and continue to live forever.. physical death in some ways was an act of mercy on Gods part, because spending an eternity in that fallen state would be a horrific punishment..

i guess in essence, that is the 'but God' moment in this passage.. a sad and hopeless story of death and separation becomes a glorious story of hope and redemption..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a sip of home

the four of us guys have a time every week set aside to talk about how were doing, keep each other accountable, ask hard questions, etc.. jeff has been doing a great job of leading us in this time, making sure that its creative and doesnt become boring and routine.. so last night we decided to have our time out, and go to a restaurant none of us had been to yet.. there was some mild indifference regarding where we ate (my only stipulation was that they had good food, cause i was hungry..) so i suggested a taiwanese place called 168 that we had heard mentioned several times as the best asian food in the city.. so we decided to check it out..

the place was great, they serve family style platters that you all share around the table.. we didnt know how big the portions were, so we ended up ordering five plates of food! it was way too much, so we took it home and have lunch for a couple days now haha.. but it was so good! it definitely lived up to its reputation..

the whole reason i bring this story up is, well.. one, to just tell you about a cool experience with the boys.. but mostly, to talk about tea..

im serious..

now im not much of a tea drinker.. i actually might prefer coffee, for its ruthless efficiency.. for the last three years of being an architecture major at cal poly, coffee became a good friend of mine, keeping me company during the long nights hunched over projects trying to keep my eyes open.. but when i dont need to force my body to stay awake, i definitely prefer tea.. its smoother, and more sophisticated right? at least i cant help but feel slightly sophisticated when i drink tea.. anyways, of all teas my favorite is jasmine tea.. its chinese, and very clean and simple, and great.. well they sold it at this restaurant we went to last night! and its authentic stuff, the same kind they sell in asian markets or in chinatown.. its not loose tea, its just the regular bags.. convenient, but not as good as the kind that comes loose.. but still really good! ive had three cups of tea in the last twelve hours..

finding this little box of jasmine tea was good for my soul.. i think coming back from my trip to guatemala and honduras was strange, because the whole time i was looking forward to being 'home,' and realizing when i got there that i still wasnt home.. its really easy to start missing people and places and things back home: all my brothers, matt broseph, nolan, fick, t.hall.. my family.. my architecture studio, strangely enough; i dont miss the work so much as the atmosphere.. i miss discipleship with joe priola, and w8, and driving down the 101, and splash cafe in pismo.. i miss my loft bed.. i miss wii! i can go through most my days here not really thinking about these things, kinda blocking them out and focusing on the here and now.. which i think is healthy.. but realizing how much i missed all these things kinda snuck up on me as i rolled across the guatemala border back into el salvador and realized that it was good to be 'back' but also hard to swallow that it will be another four months until i am back to slo, back to the crusade library and calvary slo on sundays and my djembe.. finding this little box of jasmine tea was so great, cause it was just a little taste of home, a little reminder that i will be coming back, a little bit of the joy of home that i can experience here..

and its just dang good tea..

Sunday, February 15, 2009


three foreign countries in two days.. 54 hours total, 36 of which were spent in a car or bus.. nearly no english the whole time!

this is just a glimpse of what this past weekend looked like for me.. i decided to entitle this post, 'learning,' because i feel like i learned a lot of interesting things on this trip that i thought i would share with you..

layo called me on wednesday last week and asked if i could go on this trip to represent our team, in the development of a spring break-like trip for university students to go to honduras.. it was very short notice, but we have learned to fly by the seat of our pants here.. so i got the bus ticket the next day, and left on friday afternoon..

there were several legs to the journey, and i really wasnt clear at any point exactly what was happening.. so i took a charter bus to guatemala city, and was supposed to meet a man named chino.. i had his number, but my phone didnt have service once we crossed the border.. so when i got to the hotel, i waited to be approached by someone.. he walked up and said my name, and i asked him his name and he said chino, so he must have been who i was supposed to go with! so we hopped in the car and went to a local hostel that was owned by some friends of his.. it was about ten at night.. i slept until two in the morning, and then was picked up by a younger student named juancho, and his girlfriend noemi.. and we were off!

this is my room at the hostel the first night.. not too shabby..

the next leg of the journey, i was mostly sleeping.. i was exhausted.. but we drove for about seven hours from guatemala city up to the north eastern border into honduras right up by the caribbean sea, crossed the border, and drove to a city called san pedro sula.. here we met a man named joaquin, a staff guy in honduras, who is part of planning this spring break trip.. i thought i was going on this trip to meet him, but once we met him, i learned that i was incorrect.. we jumped into his car and drove for another three hours to a tiny little town somewhere to the east, near santa bárbara.. we had finally arrived! we met with a group of about ten pastors from nearby towns and villages.. chino presented his ideas for what this trip would look like, and juancho and i also added our ideas of what it should look like.. about forty five minutes after our arrival, we prayed and finished! lots of driving for a very short little meeting, but a very important little meeting.. we immediately began our return trip right after the meeting..

entering honduras

the caribbean, from honduras..

the church where we met with the pastors

i learned first hand on this trip that the border between honduras and guatemala closes at 6pm.. i learned this because we tried to cross at about 7.30pm and the guards with M16 rifles and black tactical gear did not seem like the types who made exceptions.. luckily, there was a tiny little hostel right on the border that cost 250 lempira for the night (about 13 bucks).. we definitely got what we paid for.. i also learned a new spanish slang word, shuco, which means 'dirty' or 'filthy' haha.. i learned that sometimes frogs can be inside the pipes, and may hop out when you turn the water on.. i learned this just after learning that at some hostels, a pipe coming out of the wall suffices for a shower.. shower heads are altogether unnecessary, arent they?

the hostel i stayed at on the border.. encouraging name, right?

we awoke a shade before sunrise and got back on the road, driving from six in the morning until about one in the afternoon.. i learned on this leg of the journey that noemi had a brother who owned a gas station, and that typical guatemalan breakfast was not too different than their salvadorean neighbors: egg patties, refried beans with sour cream, and slices of bread.. we ate breakfast quickly, then got back on the road.. when we got back into guatemala city, and dropped chino off at his home, and at this point i learned that it was noemi's moms birthday! i got to meet her family and hang out at her house for about an hour, which was a very interesting time.. then i learned that they have taco bell in guatemala! i had not had taco bell since ive been here, so i got a supreme burrito for lunch, and brought back some bean and cheese burritos for the boys.. then it was off to the bus station to complete my journey..

taco bell in guatemala!

some other things i learned on this journey: i really like my team.. i really missed them, and realized that i can take them for granted sometimes.. i missed their community and their jokes, and their english.. it was tough to be on the road with three people who didnt know me and didnt speak much of my language.. i also was learned, or perhaps reminded, of how much i like music.. i had plenty of time in the car to put my headphones in, close my eyes, and listen to music that ive been wanting to listen to for months.. i also was reminded of how much i love my girlfriend.. i thought about ali non stop.. she brought many, many smiles to my face this weekend, just thinking about her and praying for her..

so i learned a lot.. some of it was great to learn, other things i would have been ok to live my whole life without learning.. but i was reminded that life here is a total adventure.. ministry here is a strange new experience every day.. the Lord is a God who loves adventure, and rarely does the exact same thing twice.. He is never changing, but His ways of doing things are always fresh; He makes every day new and exciting for us.. He doesnt have to do things this way, but He loves us and created us with a love and desire for excitement and adventure.. and despite all the moments this weekend of just.. confusion, or apprehension, or exhaustion.. i got to go on a very interesting adventure and experience some really cool things.. thank you to all of you who rpay regularly for my safety, the Lord definitely kept me safe! (and taught me a lot..)