Wednesday, June 30, 2010


These days I'm reminded of a man who once upon a time grew up in a place far, far away but not so different in culture, religion, constitution, citizenship, or bone structure.

On his 21st birthday in this faraway land, he went, as was the tradition at this passage to adulthood, to register at the Coordinating Office, which required signing various papers and cards and smiling for several photos. They then pointed him down a long, smooth-tiled hallway. He walked and walked, paused several times to rest, sweating an thirsty. Every twenty paces a small, clean sign in twelve-point Times New Roman said Water Ahead. He would have turned around, but it was blurry back that way.

Finally he arrived at a door. hen entered a room and stood alone, though it felt crowded with a million pairs of eyes watching and directing and waiting for him. He'd never been in such blaring silence. Tow elongated basins sat in the middle of the room. They were painted cheery colors but looked like the top and bottom of a coffin. He walked to the middle. A small, cardboard sign with twelve point Times New Roman told him what to do. He was twenty-one. He refused. he cursed. He paced. He kicked the wall. Eventually he resigned himself, figuring everyone else's birthday passed through here, and they all seemed fine afterward. He laid down on his back in the basin full of gunky plaster, like what they use to make a cast of your teeth before getting braces or a crown. Two faceless assistants came in and deftly lifted him out, leaving his impression in place. They they helped him lay face down in the other half, which had a special breathing apparatus. when they lowered him in, he began to hyperventilate; if felt constricting, and the breathing tube was too small. but when he finally relaxed into the gunk, it actually became soothing after all the walking, after all the fluorescent lights. The faceless assistants pulled him out, and he sat in the corner as the plaster dried. He was covered in the gunk. He fell asleep in the corner.

When he awoke, he was washed and clean, sitting on a bus that was arriving at this home. There awaiting him in his own front yard was himself- cast in ceramic. He inspected it, amused, but it was also unsettling. Then in the middle of the night, he felt something was going horribly wrong. He found a two-by-four and ran out his front door and started smashing the ceramic statues with his face on it. the legs started cracking, and a mask fell off. He laughed because in the moonlight the face now looked like the face of the country's most famous sports star. A few neighbors watched with passive condescension. He stopped for a second, relieved, like he'd gotten to something. But no. He started smashing again, splinters driving into his hands. The statue's legs kept cracking, and then another mask fell off to reveal his nation's first president. exhausted, with hands bloodied, he kept smashing through the faces of a top business mogul, a top religious leader, a top chef, a top model, a top designer and architect ... and eventually the whole statues shattered into small pieces on the ground. He briefly felt free and had a sudden urge to listen for God's whisper, but he only had enough energy to carry himself to bed.

When he awoke at dawn, he quickly swung the front door open only to see that the Coordinating Office had delivered a replacement statue made from his mold. Night after night he smashed it, and the masks fell off, in different orders at different times. A few months after its first appearance, when he saw he couldn't permanently smash it, he arranged the burning down of the Coordinating Office. It was charred badly, but the didn't even bother rebuilding. The statue kept reappearing in his front lawn. Things were coordinated but not centralized. then one day he simply went to bed early; when he left the house in the morning , he accepted its presence and kept going. Other times he took to dressing it up on his birthday or religious or national holidays, putting a wreath on it or some blinking lights. Once someone else tried to smash it, but rather than welcome the help and join in, he chased the guy with his two-by-four, ready to beat him for attacking it.

As he became a successful, well-respectred leader in the community, the young men and women in their late teens would gather round to hear his stories and learn how he navigated into his respectful position. They'd sit under the statue, which he never mentioned, which he admired but also resented because he suspected he shared his success and power with the statue. As he got still older, he would finish his talk about doing things the right way to get where they want to go- and then wistfully, as though it were a throwaway suggestion, he would say there is this story you might find interesting in the ancient Scriptures, if you can find it, about three young men close to your age named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and a statue. And he would remember his two-by-four, wonder if he gave up too easily, hope that a few of the women and men would find the story and, quickly wiping a tear from his eye so it wouldn't be noticed, even wonder if it still might be destroyed.

-Kent Annan
From: Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News of the Day

News of the Day: Smashing your middle finger with a hammer is possible. And it hurts too.

Band of the Day: Sleeping at Last

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Glass Window (Smallest Landmass Between Two Oceans in the World)

Roof Framing

Bus at Sunset (Best Picture Ever)

Its strange to see what encourages me. A few moms from a team making eggs and bacon for breakfast. The sun dipping behind the clouds for a five minute rest. Or even a few minutes in the my room alone listening to music before I fall asleep.

The small things have been really helpful.

But that hasn't made it clear how Jesus is moving here. I definitely still feel like I haven't seen the spirit move in the clarity that I hoped for. And I'm definitely watching.

But of course its a little thing that encourages me.

The passage about The Sheep and The Goats has been running through my mind (Matt 25:31-46). I mean I probably could quote it word for word. But as I read it again a week or so ago, a different line stood out, not one of those proclaiming judgement or explaining the ways to treat the poor, the naked, the sick, the hungry, or the imprisoned, but this line:

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?''

The sheep didn't see Jesus clearly either. But they are rewarded and considered righteous. In this there is strength to go on and a reminder that though God may sometimes seem not present, he is in all things and through him all things hold together.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Promise.

Ill make another post soon. I promise. I have several things I want to post, but not enough energy to sit in the heat and type them.

In other news, I miss Ultimate. Really really badly.

In final news, Go USA!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2 Week Update

So it has now been two weeks here in the bahamas, and, according to my calendar, I'll be home in exactly 6 weeks. It is amazing how time varies. I feel like I have been here forever, but I also feel like everything has flown by.

Anyways, here is what is up.

Work: I have done a lot of hard labor. With the team from Roswell Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia we mixed concrete and poured cores for two days. Basically, this meant that I spent 4-5 hours each day manning the concrete mixer, shoveling 5-gallon buckets of rock, sand, concrete mix, and filling up buckets of water. Then I had to pick them up and pour them in. Do you know exactly how much a five-gallon bucket of sand weighs? Me neither, but they are heavy. And those 94 pound bags of concrete get real heavy real fast.
We also spent one afternoon at the "special school" on the island which is basically the school for special needs children. Here they have about 12-15 special needs children with needs varying from ADHD to Autism to Down Syndrome in a one room school house taught by one man. These kids come from all over the 110 mile long island. We spent our time cleaning up the small lot around the building, just trying to make it somewhat clean as it was covered in trash, fallen leaves, and rock. What was real shocking was to watch how the Special Needs children responded to us. They came out in their full school uniforms and began to help us rake, shovel, weed, and clean. They worked so hard, and it was really funny to watch two of them take a wheel barrow to be dumped, one would walk in the front and steady it, while one would push in the back.
The man who runs the school said he had never seen them work this hard. He was legitimately shocked to see these kids rally to work. I think it is interesting how easy it is to make these kids feel loved. We just showed up, I never even spoke to one (special needs is not something i am good at) and they were so happy. After that day Mike thinks we are going to make it somewhat of a long term process.

Teams: So far we have had one team come down. They were an all guy team from ATL, and they were awesome. I thought it was so cool just to be able to meet people so easy, as they were literally just flown into my life. I really enjoyed them, and enjoyed working hard with them. And I taught everyone how to play Aces Up Solitaire, and that easily became the game of the week.

Personal: Life here isn't comfortable. Its really apparent how blessed I am in the states. I really miss air conditioning. Its amazing how hot I am all the time, living in 95 degree heat at a minimum allllllllll the time. I feel so weak when I really think about how blessed I am and how hard it is to live without a fridge that dispenses ice and water, a tv, air conditioning, and snack food.
Also it is real hard to be focused on Jesus here. I came here wanting to serve because I feel like this is something that Jesus would have done. The whole giving of yourself thing. But instead of glorifying him in my thoughts and praying through all the hard work, I find myself longing for the next water break, my cold shower, and shade. It sure is hard to have a pure heart even though everything I am doing this summer is a result of how I wanted to serve him. Its also hard to have quiet time and even community is a struggle. I haven't really figured out if I am supposed to or even allowed to jump in on the teams group time.

Yet everything here is so pretty. The beached, the caves, the ocean, the sea, the rock, the trees, and even the bugs are brilliantly crafted. Brilliantly.

It looks like this week we will be framing a roof over a water cistern for the center. Cool.

Another one of my jobs is making a movie for each team that comes through. Apparently Ill be doing this forever even though I swore I'd never make another movie again after senior year.

I appreciate all of yall back home.

As a serious question, I've been puzzling through the concept of beauty. Cool process, I encourage you to think through it.

Sarah Johnson is the other intern. She's pretty cool. haha.

If any of you get the chance read Following Jesus: Through the Eye of the Needle by Kent Annan. Good book. Especially his short story in the middle.


Special School Kid Working Hard.

In The Cave With Roswell

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Piper, Wolfman, and Bahamas

Because God is unique as an all-glorious,
totally self-sufficient Being, He must be for Himself if He is to be for us. The
rules of humility that belong to a creature cannot apply in the same way to its
Creator. If God should turn away from Himself as the Source of infinite joy, He
would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of His own glory. He
would imply that there is something more valuable outside Himself. He would
commit idolatry.

- John Piper


I think Wolfman is on his way back. The absolute worst part about the Bahamas is the bathroom. I step in there and I sweat immediately. I hop out of the shower (which is always cold, thank goodness) and I sweat. I brush my teeth and I sweat. For some reason it is always, always, hot and with 100% humidity in there. And because I use and electric razor, and don't like razor burn from sweat immediately after shaving, it looks like ill be doing less of it. Apparently the full moon is rising.


Still Doing What I Love

Good Ole' Concrete

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bahamas by the numbers

Eluthera length (miles)- 110ish
Population- 8000
Average Temp- 90+
Amount of water I drink daily- 130+ oz
Hours of Sleep I get- 7
Hours of sleep I need- 9
Amount of times I miss people at home- 1000+
Amount of sweat i produce daily- uncountable
Amount of times I've listen to Pittsfield by Sufjan- 30+
Number of Emails i want to send- 6
Number of Emails I'll manage to send tonight- 1 (maybe)
Number of people on Roswell (current team)- 6
Number of people on next team- 23
Number of people on Grace team- 40
Amount of world cup I've watched- 0
Number of times power has gone out- 1
Number of buckets of sand, rock, water, and cement i lifted today- 40ish
Number of Bahamian Weddings attend- 1
Number of jellyfish stings- 0
Number of books read- 1
Number of times I have wanted to rest and read but haven't- 3

Number of bugs- toooooo many

In other news, I got to throw a frisbee today.

Everyone whos been emailing me, I love you. I promise I'll email back. Eventually.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Song of the Week.

Song of the Week: Pittsfield by Sufjan Stevens

There is no song more soothing and calming. It mixes fear, pain, love, and desire and blends an artistic interpretation of chaos and calm.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


So it looks like i'm going to be exhausted this summer.

Quick Update:

Instead of getting to watch the soccer game I have been dreaming off the past two months, I went to a Bahamian Wedding. It was interesting, ask me about it one day. I was ok with missing the game because i am a big boy.

My OCD + Exhaustion has been kinda hard the past two days. The wedding reception was held here in the center and that took its toll on me. However I am bossing my anxieties. Byaaahhhh!

I have been placed in charge of the Caribbean Ministries Association Twitter and Facebook page. I sure hope I manage to get it all done....

I miss home some too.

Its still hot.

Im still sweating.

The beach is still pretty.

The bugs are still bad.

I have to read a lot before I can go to bed.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pictures Round 2

Front yard.


Club Med.


If you've got something to say feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tools and Race

So today I did something I'm really good at.

Alright, so you remember that scene in Elf? Ya know the one where the black guy who runs the North Pole at the department store walks in to see all the setup that Buddy did for Santa? Yeah that whole setup thing was what i did today. Except instead of christmas decorations, I organized tools. And there was no comedic relief from a department store employee. But seriously, I spent 6ish hours all alone in a large tin trailer (maybe a semi?) sorting and organizing tons and tons of tools, hardware, concrete mix and the like. Hard, hot work, but I actually enjoyed it.

Ok, some more cultural insight.

Eleuthera has a relatively large population of Haitians. Apparently they'll be the majority on Eleuthera by 2020. I would have never guessed, but really am anything but shocked. We actually went to a Haitian Church on Sunday. It was pretty much a one room church, with no air conditioning or fans. And it was full. They actually had somewhat of a modern band with a drummer, a guitarist, bassist, and keys. However they were never, ever on tune. I didn't know anyone could play a whole song out of tune, but they did it like 4 times! And even more it sounded good! They sang everything from memory, and it was all in French Creole, but of course they played amazing grace, and I got to sing along in English.

What struck me the most about this church, was their joy. They truly seemed happy. Their worship was so sincere. Afterwards (and somewhat during) they talked about the monetary need they as a church has. They are working really hard to get AC, because it is just too hot in the building, some of the women and children had to sit outside due to the heat. They also are trying to get their bus fixed and build a small edition so they can have Sunday school. But the best part was just how confident the pastor was in God to cover their financial needs. He told us afterwards that there is always financial need, but he always covers it. And he never stopped smiling.

What blows my mind even more is how happy the Haitians are in light of how they are treated here. Apparently the Bahamians are racist towards the Haitians. Legally the Haitians earn 50% what the Bahamians earn when working side beside, the Haitians can't be there own boss, and they have to pay $1500 a year for a work visa. Thats a ton when they aren't making much. Though I haven't seen the racism first hand, I have seen the Haitian joy, and it really blows my mind.

The Haitians are also super hard working. They walk around with their machetes and use them to clear all their land out and grow food. Apparently only the haitians farm, and they are the only people who work like that in the fields so that's one way of context I can tell them apart.

One final thing, Charlie is our gardner round here. He takes care of the land in front of the Fastzkie house and around the center. And he is the happiest man i've ever met. He doesn't have much, but he has Jesus.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh happiness.

1. The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is
good, not sinful.

2. We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as
though it were a bad impulse. Instead, we should seek to intensify
this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest
and most enduring satisfaction.

3. The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God.
Not from God, but in God.

4. The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it
is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.

5. To the extent that we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure,
we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively:
The pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and
virtue. That is:

The chief end of man is to glorify God
enjoying Him forever.

-From Desiring God by John Piper

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bahamas Day One- Words

So I made it, safe and sound. And currently I am just kinda in culture overload mode. I have been doing my best to process as much as I can and learn as much as I can. Here’s what I got:

Eleuthera is a 110 mile long island, with about 8000 inhabitants, and between 15-30 little settlements. This is way smaller than Clemson, population wise.

Where we are staying is basically a really old coral hill. My back yard is actually thousands of years of old dry coral. Ballin.

Event oriented society opposed to a time oriented society. We’ll see how this plays out for me.

Everyone knows everybody.

They drive on the left side of the road, and the driver’s side is still on the left side.

They eat a lot of conch. Conch salad, conch fritters, other conch that I haven’t tried yet.

They Bahamians really like to party. And I mean alcohol, music, dancing, food. Often there is a beauty pageant involved in the party. According to the people I am with, there is a big disconnect between how they are at church and how they are outside of it. Apparently they have a big party from Good Friday through Easter Sunday Morning, and then roll up into church. This, just reminds me of America.

The beach is gorgeous. We went to one on the Atlantic side, and the sand was so white. And the grains were huge. Much better than SC beaches.

Bahamians have an islander accent similar, but different enough, to your stereotypical Jamaican accent.

Quick storytime:

Tonight we went to the Pineapple Festival in a little town up the road. There was food, lots of people, and a good many drunks. It was really interesting as there was a substantial group of white people throughout the crowd. (Understand Eleuthera isn’t really a tourist island.) Initiatly the big thing was this Dj. He was playing lots of random American pop music; Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Rhianna, ect. It was really interesting to see all the Bahamians singing along to these songs that are all over America. But the best part was the dude would like talk over the songs on the mic every 15 seconds. Sooooo funny.
Anyways, eventually the draw became “The Miss Pineapple Princess Pageant” for girls aged 12-15. There were four contestants and they danced and gave speeches in various outfits. Standard pageant business. It was interesting as it was like the big thing and everyone was into it. We left while the pageant had probably another 2 hours left. The party will go on to the wee hours of the morning.

I am loving it here.

Scripture of the day:

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I like it because it’s a cyclical promise. Haha

Much love everyone.

Bahamas Day One- Photos

Hidden Beach 1

Hidden Beach 2

Hidden Beach 3

Tiny Plane

Why I hate airplanes. (This is before the dude in front of me leaned his seat back...)

Friday, June 4, 2010

So I found this poem...

William Cowper’s Hymn: God Moves in a Mysterious Way

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Furious Love

Really great documentary on spiritual warfare. This dude went into "the darkest spiritual climates on earth," places like caste filled india, several witchcraft festivals, the heroin filled dump in madrid, prostitution filled amsterdam and thailand, and the deep into africa. He went there and they just loved people with no hidden agenda. Its super cool to see just who God is and what he can do.

I really encourage you to watch it.