my life songs

i have a friend
May 17, 2011, 3:39 pm
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i have a friend whose children go some days without eating because she doesn’t have anything to feed them, even though she works ALL day.

i have a friend who lost both of her parents this year.  she works just to buy her food and pay her way to school.  she studies at night trying to finish high school.  now, she is sick with only her sister to help take care of her.

i have a friend who got an infection in her hand so bad that she has lost use of her thumb.  now she can’t work.

i have a friend who just wants to be able to buy a refrigerator for her family.  if only she could save up enough money.

i have a friend that pays $15 a month rent on his house, and has to beg for money to buy milk for his daughter.

i have a friend who lost her husband.  she had never worked before.  she opened up a business in her home. for years she has struggle just to get by.

i have a friend who lost his job working in the cane factory.  now he struggles every day, working in the hot sun, carrying people to and from on his moto for 50 cents, $1, if he’s lucky $3.

i have a friend living with HIV.

i have a friend who got pregnant at 12!  she now has five children and is trying to finish school at night.

i have a friend who had a baby at 17 and does her best to take care of him.

i have a friend whose mother left him when he was two to find a better life in spain.

i have a friend who gave up her life to try to provide life for 30 families… and more…

how can i leave here and feel like my job is done?

i have a friend who gave His life so that i could live.


it is well with my soul
May 12, 2011, 3:26 pm
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In John 9 the disciples ask Jesus why it is that a man was born blind, who it was that sinned so that he would be punished.  Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” John 9:3-5

I’ve seen so much suffering in my time spent here.  I sometimes wonder if the project will ever have any longevity or if it actually changes lives.  I was reminded this week that suffering is for God’s glory.

I’ve been getting by month to month with my support.  It seems each month that I’m informed that funds are back down, then we do some heavy praying and my support goes back up to two months worth.  I was letting the women know yesterday that things have been hard lately, so that they would pray for me.  Tati said, “I don’t hardly ever go to church, but I’m going to go and pray for you.  I’m not staying here by myself.”  We really are all in this together.  Tati has been an angel to Rachel and memany times.  I thank the Lord for her.  When I get down sometimes, Tati is my reminder of hope so that I can carry on.  I love her.

In Psalms David cries out to the Lord.  Sometimes he is angry, weeping, sometimes he is shouting and singing with joy.  I live out those emotions doing this kind of work.  I know that the Lord will provide.  He never promises us that we won’t suffer, but he promises us that he will always be faithful and he loves us with steadfast love.

Thank you Jesus for Tati.

I stole these pictures from Ashley from her trip here, so that you could see Tati.

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my life is different than yours
April 15, 2011, 3:43 pm
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1. If you work, do you drive to work or take public transportation?
i work in a village in the middle of lots of cane fields.  the only way to get there is on a motorcycle.  i don’t know how to drive a motorcycle, so i pay a motoconcho (mototaxi) to take me.  lately i’ve been getting rides with rachel in her big fancy truck.  it’s fun.  we have some of our best conversations riding through the cane field out to the village.

2. How often do you get your haircut? Do you go to the same person every time?
last time i got my haircut was december.  i go to salon maria, my friend that does hair in her house.  i can’t say that i go to the same person every time though, because the time before that it was some walk-in place in round rock for 8 bucks.

3. Do you read the newspaper? If so, a hardcopy or the online version?
if i happen to be in some place of business that has a paper, i pick of the dominican one.  usually i read online, BBC.

4. What is the best book you have read this year?
just started “the help.”  i’m not done yet, but i can already tell i’m going to like it.

5. What is the best movie you have seen this year?
this just isn’t fair… i’m really behind on movies.  i usually wait until i go home, and then i sit on the couch watching every movie that’s on time warner in demand.  i just saw that movie “taken.”  i liked it, although i get freaked out by stuff like that.

6. Do you tend to crave sweet or salty foods?
usually salty.  lately though, i’ve been buying paydays every time i go to the big supermarket.  they have salty peanuts, AND sweet, chocolate caramel… best combination ever.

7. Do you eat breakfast every day? If so, what do you have?
yes.  tostadas, bagel, cereal, fruit, juice, eggs and toast, coffee… at least one or more of those things.

8. If you celebrate Easter, what Easter treat/candy are you most looking forward to?
eww… easter candy… eww.

9. How late is “sleeping in” to you?

10. Where are you going on your next vacation?
vacation?  i get to go to the beach whenever i feel like it….. soooo, austin in june for my bro’s wedding.

¿por qué?
April 9, 2011, 4:07 pm
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why?  from the time we are two we start to ask the question.  why?  we ask it about everything.  it persists as a theme in our lives, although beyond the age of two we are able to control our tongues from asking it every five seconds.  i believe it is in our nature to try to make sense of things… cancer, death, luck, zits (seriously though… what are those for?), miracles, poverty.  these are the things i find myself questioning these days.

lately the question has been directed at my immediate surroundings.  work has been heavy, and i find my mind consumed with the day to day struggles and not so much with the big picture.  so i was trying to do a bit of reflection, remind myself what it is i’m doing here.  i was reading some old journal entries, and this is what i found:

july 6, 2008

which is worse, that God cannot, or that He will not?  this is something that I find myself questioning a lot here.  i feel that we never really make much progress.  i know that the Lord is capable of miracles.  so why are these people still hungry, ignorant, without jobs, and poor?  why are these children not taken care of? why do they still behave so badly?  i need to see the beauty in God’s sovereignty again.  i need to see His glory.  i suppose faith could not grow if we did have something to doubtthis is what i live with.

that was written after i had lived here for almost a year.  now i’m approaching four, and i feel exactly the same.  i ask the same questions.  i realize this isn’t the kind of blog post that makes people want to empty their wallets to send in support and buy loads of stuff from the art co-op.  one would hope that in four years i would maybe have some things figured out.  the thing is, there is a lot that happens that we can praise God for; making salaries this past month, jela living with HIV, being able to buy supplies for four more months of work, the newly donated surger and maria’s excitement to use it.  it’s the WHY that i can’t get over.  WHY after all of those praises are things just not “fixed?”

rachel just recently wrote a blog discussing a similar topic.  she asks, “I wonder why that is.  Are we not doing enough? Are others not doing enough?  Is it unsolvable?”  so $100 a month helps; but is it “okay,” is it “acceptable” that these people still live on the brink of tragedy, a constant state of mild depression?  i don’t believe it is.

building someone a septic helps, but what happens when they don’t have the means or resources to maintain it?  a feeding program keeps kids from being hungry for the day, but poverty still exists.  a steady salary may provide a meal every day, but what happens when the refrigerator breaks, or when a family member gets sick, or when your sewing machine catches on fire?

rachel says, “As it turns out, there are tons of missing cogs, and finding my place in this community doesn’t fix anything, it just helps, and that’s it:  Pretty inglorious.”  these days rachel and i do everything we are capable of doing, we put 100% of our effort into each day.  (actually rachel sits somewhere around 110%, honestly i don’t know how she is able to do all she does.)   it’s true, it “helps,” but it’s hard to feel like actual progress is being made when the problems are still so immense.  i find myself each day saying, i don’t know what to do about that…

three years later, i’ve come full circle, and ask again, WHY?

this is the part where i conclude, where i say that i’ve had an revelation and NOW i understand.  only thing is, it’s just not that simple, nor is is just one thing.  loving and serving the poor is something that we should ALL do ALWAYS.  maybe i was naive in coming here, i now have a burden to carry to no end, but i’d rather be on this side of the fence.  i believe that God intends for us to carry on His work; and our inability to “fix” things, or even make progress, may reflect on our shortcomings, but it does not reflect on God’s desire for His children.  just because we don’t see the end does not mean that the Lord desires for His children to live in poverty and depression forever.  it points me to the Lord again, it forces me to have hope in Him, because there is NOTHING else that can solve these problems.  we do have a Helper, and we are able to accomplish great things, but the complete revelation will come in Christ alone.  so we wait for Him, and we hope, and we continue to do EVERYTHING we can, EVERY day.  we hope that things get better, and we are able to carry on because of the small things that others do to be Christ to us.

tyagroo- help my bro go to bonaroo
April 5, 2011, 2:47 pm
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Hello This is Tyagaraja, I’m here today to implore to you click on the link above and DOWNLOAD OUR FREE TRACK “All the Names of God.”  The Band with the highest number of DOWNLOADS wins a chance to perform at the infamous Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.  This would be our SECOND whirl wind victory of performing the festival.  Here’s a Look at what happened during our last performance at Bonnaroo 2010!
It would mean so much to me if you would share this email with anyone and everyone you know, we need everyone’s mama and their dog helping us win!
Thanks so much for your time and support

image by mark austin

please take 5 seconds right now to pray
March 22, 2011, 1:45 pm
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foto by Gillian Gauthier

Thanks to the Makarios group this past week!  We are doing better financially in the co-op, but we are still behind for payday.  There’s not much else to do at this point besides pray.  Pray that we can pay the women their full salaries so their children can eat and be full.

also check out new items on the online store: click on the ALL link to see new items.

ten for tuesday
March 22, 2011, 1:29 pm
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i don’t usually ever do these… but here is goes…

1.  What condiments are always, always in your fridge?
Ketchup.  I can’t say that any other condiments are ALWAYS there.  Right now I have barbecue sauce.

2.   How do you like your steak cooked?  Your burgers?
Meat eating is not really my thing, so I can’t say that I even know what I would tell a waiter if they asked me this question.  I probably lean on the more cooked side.

3.  What’s your favorite use for fresh tomatoes?
I like to dump lots of garlic salt on them, like a ridiculous amount, and eat them just as such.

4.  What’s your go-to dinner when you haven’t planned anything in advance and you don’t feel like going out?

5.  What’s your favorite snack food lately?
This is funny.  Snack food in this country isn’t quite the same as what I would be snacking on in the states.  I’ve been eating lots of dulce de coco.  The old lady that lives on the corner of my street makes it.  I smell her cooking it all day and then I have to buy it.  It’s a mixture of coconut, butter, sugar, and goodness for 5 pesos.

6.  What’s your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home?
My dad used to always make me pancakes.  I usually either make eggs and toast here, or I go buy tostadas and juice.

7.  What’s your favorite thing to grill?  How do you do it?
I don’t own a grill.  I like when my parents make kabobs, lots of veggies and bell peppers, and my dad has a special mix of seasonings that he has put into one container for easy usage.

8.  What’s your favorite wine for under $10? If you’re not a wine person, what brand of beer is your favorite?
Carlo Rossi from the colmado, rose.

9.  Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe.

Cocktails?  Let me go look in my cocktail recipe book… oh wait… I don’t have one.  Does rum and coke count?

10.  How do you like your eggs?

Scrambled.  Domincans make fried eggs all the time.  It kinda grosses me out… waaaaaaaaaaaaay to much oil.