It's beginning to look a lot like...something else

I think about this time last year my blogs included a phrase that I enjoyed using, but I can't here because it's not stupid cold in Charlotte. I'm enjoying it. The last time I blogged Christmas seemed so far away but now it's only...eleven days away. Anyway, I realized something about Christmas this year that I hadn't noticed in the past. I had heard people talk about it, but I either chose not to or wasn't in a situation where I saw it. It's the commercialization of Christmas that I hadn't seen before. I really started to notice it this year. At the mall that Starbucks is in they started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween, I thought that was a little strange then I saw all the people running around like crazy talking about getting gifts and how it's getting so frustrating getting gifts for everyone. Today however, I met someone and in just the few minutes between when I greeted her to when she got her coffee I saw the commercialization as clear as day. She walked up to me and said, “What can you give me that will give me the Christmas Spirit?” I told her what our Holiday drinks were and then her words really sunk into my mind as she decided what she wanted. She decided to try to find the meaning of Christmas in a Venti Nonfat Gingerbread Latte. So she goes around a mall from store to store trying to find “the Christmas Spirit” in the things they have to sell and samples and stuff. BALHHH!! Thats sickening. Has it always been this terrible and I've just missed it the past few years? Even if you aren't a Christian people usually are around family and have friends and that's what Christmas is about for them. It's not about what Starbucks or Macy's or Gap can offer you, but people live in that, and are okay with it. Is it just me or does that life seem to suck. What happens when Christmas is over? New Year is over? Valentine's Day is over? St. Patrick's Day is over? Are people really living from one Holiday to the next finding happiness in those few days and then just surviving until we can get another fix. There's a word to describe that it's called addiction. Have we really turned into a society with a Holiday addiction? Are people really that blind to what is happening to us. I don't like it at all. So I'm thinking we take back Christmas and let people know that finding happiness at Gap and Starbuck's is not okay and should not be normal for anyone.


They Call Me...

...Mr. Pig...Tater Salad. I have had a lot of nick names in my life, especially in the past two years: Travisay, Travisario, Travisty, Big T, T-scriggity, T-ro, and Sancho Gene Mc Spankycakes (ask Jaime about that one). All of the kids here in our neighborhood know my name and sometimes I want to be where everyone knows my name and people are always glad I came...ha ha ha ha did you catch the song (wow I'm funny)...uhh yeah. There are two little girls who don't know my name...well I think they know all our names but they want to call us something else. I used to be just friend. I would go to the community house to get stuff ready and I would here them yell out, “Hi friend” and I would look over and wave at them and they would smile and wave even more because I looked at them. All of our names have changed to these little girls and they're the only ones who have given us this new name (which I think is a good thing). For these two girls our name is Jesus. It doesn't matter whether there talking to Jesse Jaime Leo or I to them our name is Jesus. We've told them numerous times our real name sand said our name isn't Jesus but they seem to be stuck on that. I'm not going to complain that I am showing Jesus to a five and two year old I love it but I have never actually had anyone call me Jesus before, but I think I like it.


I'm not a fan of the bus

I just got back (about twenty hours ago) form my trip to Gainesville, Florida (GO GATORS!!). I spent eleven hours on my trip there and fifteen hours on my trip back, but that because I had a four hour layover in Jacksonville. I didn't know that bus layovers could be as bad as airport layovers. The bus depot wasn't even close to a movie theater or restaurant or anything slightly entertaining so I couldn't even go out and find anything to do unless I had a car...but if had a car I wouldn't have been waiting in Jacksonville for four hours. Throughout the entire four days I think the bus ride was definitely a low point, but thats the price to pay to save money...wow half a sentence that's an oxymoron; that's amazing.

I know I didn't tell anyone in the blogger-sphere about this trip so I will fill all of you in now.
About six weeks ago I got a call from my mom late at night (just so you know late night calls from people are usually never good) to tell me that my grandfather (her dad) has passed away. It was news that I had been expecting for the past few weeks but it still hurt to hear. He had been battling Alzheimer disease for the past four or five years and he really had no clue who I was the last time I saw him; which was rough to deal with, because I loved spending time with him, watching football games or listening to the things he had to say and from his lifetime of experience and all his wisdom and I can't do that anymore. So I went down to Gainesville on Friday for the memorial service and I got a chance to see most of my family; some people I hadn't seen since Christmas but other people I hadn't seen for six or seven years (a lot of stuff happens in that amount of time...babies are born and people move to different states). I was thrilled that we all came together, but I wish it could have been for a different reason. So we had his memorial service and honored him and his life that he dedicated to God. After that we spent time together to love and support each other and I wondered why someone had to die in order for all of us to see each other again. I think my grandfather loved to see that the last thing he did was that he got us to have a family reunion. We should have another one...except we'll keep everyone alive for next time.


PTB in Charlotte 614 style

So apparently noone likes me using another person's blog on my blog, or maybe it was just way too long, so here's my own stuff.

“Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12 (NLT)

“And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of buildings that have laid waste for many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” Isaiah 58:12 (AMP)

Pray The Bible has taken on a much different look here at 614 Charlotte. Usually we have a list of scriptures to speak out and pray through and there's main focus to those scriptures. That can last anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes. That is the way I have usually seen PTB done. We walk around a room praying scriptures with one goal: to have break through by praying like Jesus prayed. The past few weeks though PTB has been anything but the usual. There is an abandoned house right next to Rob and Heather's house which is owned by a black fraternity group here in Charlotte called The Omegas. This house was once boarded up (not very well), forgotten about, and empty. Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way. Some of the drug users in our hood needed a place to use during the winter so they could keep warm and other people would conduct their own business in that house. The windows are all broken, it smells, there's mold growing on the wall, there's piles of nasty clothes and needles and trash everywhere, and this is where we had Pray The Bible. We got some gloves, rakes, brooms and eighty billion trash bags (that was just for the inside) and went to work. We cleaned up the clothes the glass the trash and properly disposed of the condoms and needles and took out the carpet. It actually almost looks like it could eventually be a house. It still doesn't smell so great, but that will change too...maybe. We let the owners know what we did and they were thrilled. They said they would get the trash taken away and fix it up and get it ready to be rented. Toady we finished it by picking up all that trash on the outside of the house as a prophetic act of getting rid of all the junk that the enemy has put here. We became restorers of a home, we repaired the breach, we stood in the gap for this house and changed it from the way it was to the way it should be. Praise the Lord.


Gabe's wisdom rather than mine today

Today I am using a blog from one of the greatest guys in the world, my best friend Gabe Riefer. It's an awesome example of mercy and compassion and love, proving once again that love never disappoints and never fails. (Don't ask me why he refers to Mick Jagger as a reverend)

As I make my way home, dejected and alone, contemplating how horribly I hit and how ghastly we played, a dry feeling in the back of my throat begins to grow. Then I feel it; the rumbling of my stomach reminding me how little I have eaten. Up ahead in the distance I see a glowing yellow light. As I grow closer the light begins to take shape, two arches coming together to form the shape of an "M".
Ah yes, McDonald's. Not only can I quench my hunger and thirst, I can also win large sums of money. Say, five million dollars.
I drive in to the parking ot and begin making my way to the drivethru, when out of the corner of my eye I see a man rise and begin walking toward me. I look at him and he stops. I begin to study him: thin, scraggly greasy beard and hair, worn leathery skin, dirty ripped jeans and t-shirt, and a jacket hanging over his fragile body. But it is his eyes that draw my me in. I see in his eyes, pain and hunger. I wave him over and with each step I see his growing hope.
I ask him if there is something I can do for him. All he wants, he tells me in a slurred Southern drawl, is a little spare change, maybe a dollar or two. My heart, now full of compassion for him, begins to speak for me. I tell him I can go through the drivethru and I will get him whatever he wants. Just a burger and some fries. A drink, maybe a Coke or a Sprite? No soda, he replies. He can't drink soda. Makes him sick. I tell him to give me a few moments and I will return to him as soon as I can.
"Go ahead with your order." Okay, a double quarter pounder with cheese, large fries, a Dr Pepper, two double cheese burgers, and two apple pies. "10. 84, drive around to the next window."
I collect the food and drive back over to where my newest dear friend is sitting, shivering in the cool October air. I remove a cheeseburger from the bag and hand him the rest. He looks at me, astounded that a person could even be so kind. I sit with him and eat my cheeseburger, and he begins to tell me his story.
He was born in a small town in Tennessee. His family was never wealthy, had never been wealthy, and, as he said, probably never would be wealthy. He lived there until graduation, when he joined the Army. Fifteen years he spent in the Army, before he was honorable discharged. He then met a woman, fell in love, and got married. They moved to Zephyrhills, Florida, and had lived there nearly seven years when she kicked him out. See, after he left the Army, he didn't know exactly what he was going to do. So while he thought about it, he would drink. The more he thought, the more he drank, until one day he had spent nearly all of the money they had on alcohol. Not knowing what else to do, he began walking until he ended up around Nebraska Avenue and Fowler. He would find places to sleep at night, most of the time behind restaurants or in alleys. He would eat whatever he could find that was edible from dumpsters or garbage cans, and he would ask for spare change. Any change he received went towards a bottle of beer or Jack Daniels. He was a drunk, an alcoholic, and he had no reservations in telling anybody this. Yes, he admitted, drinking had torn his life apart, but he had no idea how to quit or even what to do or how to go about quitting.
He was a man, helpless and hopelessly lost, ashamed of his past but willing to take responsibility for his actions. I told him to walk in the morning down Nebraska to The Salvation Army ARC. There he could have a warm bed to sleep in, a place to wash and shower, and a hot meal. And he could start turning his life around. He shook my hand and thanked me for my kindness. Then with a tear in his eye, which (being a man) he tried to hide, he said, "God bless you."
That hit me hardest of all. God had blessed me that night. He took my desire to win a meaningless prize (albeit five milion dollars), and replaced it with the desire to help a fellow human get his life back on track.
"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need." -The good Reverend Mick Jagger with some words of wisdom.


614 Starbucks... I like the sound of that

Grande, Double, White Mocha, non-fat, extra hot with whip cream. Why anyone orders something non-fat and then puts whip cream is something that I probably won't understand anytime soon. Those are the types of orders I hear all day because I work at Starbucks. I love it too. It's definitely a step up (or five steps up) form working at McDonald's in Bangor, ME. I did have fun working at McDonald's (even though I told everyone I hated it) but I just needed a place where I have a little more interaction with customers and it's not a boring routine type job, I almost ended up going back there if I didn't get hired anywhere else. So, after applying at fifteen different places and doing only two interviews Starbucks became was my last hope. I turned in my application talked to the manager and prayed for the best. Two weeks later I'm doing an interview and loving every minute of it...well it wasn't that exciting but I did think about painting my toenails the day before so I would have this constant smile on my face during the interview. Even if I don't get hired I would still be laughing saying to myself I know something you don't know, but I didn't have any toenail polish. Anyway, one of the best things about working there is the girl I was hired with (Bonnie) said she just became a Christian a few months ago. So right there I've got the beginning of a Starbucks cell group. I made everyone here in Charlotte (by everyone I mean Jesse, Jaime, Rob, and Heather) very excited, because every week I get a pound of Coffee for free. So every week we get to experience a new flavor caffeine buzz. The only person that is not a fan of coffee is my room mate Leo. He doesn't even like the smell, ba ha ha ha. I'll get him conver...I mean addict... I mean acclimated to the taste soon enough. Then he'll be one of us, a true Salvationist. So God has definitely blessed me with one of the best jobs I could ever and it's perfect place for ministry. When I help open the store, when there is a slow point of the day, or even after work, I love it. By the way, for Christmas everyone gets a Starbucks gift card and a Frappacinnoin the mail (because that's all I know how to make right now) the ones going to Canada and Bangor should stay frozen, the ones I send to Florida...well, thats a different story. I'll just say I don't want to be there when you open it up.


I miss you Martyrs

I miss you Martyrs. The Revolution Session of TWC has started up here in Charlotte and when I'm hanging out with them and laughing hysterically (you remember that laugh?) I start to remember all the things we did the first few weeks in Vancouver...before we wanted to kill each other. Everything was gubmnt', we said “of course” after every sentence...some of us still do (Lucy Jane, Linsey). {sigh}The memories. With the new...first TWC session here in Charlotte new memories are being formed and new inside jokes are popping up almost all the time (HOT FORK HOT FORK!!). Leo is my room mate from Arkansas. He actually lived only half an hour away from where I lived when I was in Arkansas. His Junior High football team actually played mine on Thursday night (my team won). He usually carries a knife with him (not hear obviously) and wears sandals with the rebel flag on them which is probably not great attire for this area, but he's working on that. He's great with the kids and is a really active guy like me so I'm not the only one getting beat in basketball by these kids. He's like the little brother I never had and I love him. Jesse is the second TWC student (but she was actually the first one to apply and be accepted and confirm she was coming). She's from Australia and is really awesome to be around, but even more awesome when she opens up and we actually talk about real stuff rather than just trying to make each other laugh. She has no problem connecting with the kids and, she will do whatever she can to make sure they have something for their birthday. She has aheart to make a difference in theses kids lives and that is a beautiful thing. I think I might cry when these guys leave...if they do leave (dramatic music duh duh dun). Jaime Riefer is also here, but most of us know about her, and she's awesome. I love The War College.


We're going to win!!

How can one single event, that didn't go as well as we would have liked, overshadow all the victories we had in the past? (that's a question I can't answer and I don't attempt to in this post) I know I'm not the only one who has had this happen. Elijah had this problem. He had a huge victory against the Baal prophets and soon after that we was running scared from Jezebel and ready to die. He had his competition against them to see which if there god or his God would answer first by fire on an altar they had each built and he had so much confidence and faith that he had no problem mocking them as they called out to Baal. God showed up and put Baal to shame and then Elijah proceeded to kill all the servants of Baal. Jezebel heard about his and sent some people to kill him but Elijah got away, and then he went into this depression and wanted to die.
Some kids were trying to start a fight here as few days ago. I stayed outside and watched them the whole time trying to diffuse the situation and get them to go home and chill. I had a talk with the two that I thought were more mature and I thought they would go home like I had asked so there wouldn't be a fight. It didn't happen. I went home and ten minutes later I decided to go for a walk for a few minutes to see where they other group was. I found them in the other kids parking lot fighting. One adult was trying to break it up and the every one else was just watching these six kids as they would just at random times run up and hit each other. I jumped in and broke up the fights, out of instinct, and all I heard from some of the other adults was “let them fight; let them go; let them get there licks in; if they don't finish it today they just gonna to do it tomorrow”. When I heard those comments I wanted to take a swing at the person saying it (what a great example that would be). Finally, the one other adult trying to stop the fighting took one of the kids home to talk to his parents; the other people decide to go home or someone that knew them took them home,and it was all over. It ended that quickly, in just few seconds everybody was gone. I just looked like some crazy white man trying to be a hero but I felt like crap. I didn't know why it started or who it started with. I just know that it started at the Community House with two kids (and two instigators) and then it ended with six of them, all getting embarrassed, with nothing but tears streaked faces.
Right then it seemed like every other victory we had in the past just faded away and I couldn't see anything except a fight that I failed to prevent. I just felt like packing my bags and leaving. Where would I have gone? I don't know. Somewhere far away. That would just be another victory for the enemy. I'm going to persevere, look to the future, focus on battles I've won,dig in, and keep pressing on.


Eighty kids in one van...just kidding

Jaime had a cell group yesterday; tears were shed hearts were changed and four more girls have joined the ranks of Christ's army to fight against dark spiritual forces in this world. Pray that they are discipled effectively and raised up to replicate the Jesus they see in us.

Today we took thirty six kids to CiCi's pizza. I think CiCi's probably either hates or loves us. The funny thing is that we had two fifteen passenger vans and one mini van. Which means we only had one free seat out of the three vans. If all the kids we know here could have come we would have to be braking the law, I'm not saying we would...maybe...to get kids to church though I think there's got to be some grace for that...hopefully from both God and man. Two fifteen passenger vans is a lot of space to fill. That's like almost forty seats, but when all the kids are talking and singing and trying to get your attention all at the same time (they're multi-tasking and don't even know it) it seems like we have eighty kids in one van, which can be tons of fun especially when you're driving...but not the best idea in the world. Whether we have fourteen kids or thirty eight we have fun and I love every minute of it. The thing I love most about doing this is that kids are going to church and having fun, and the fun isn't just in the gym or at CiCi's. That's the Holy Spirit


Back to school back to school...

The kids are back in school and now we have gone from fun summer crazy cool stuff all day to calm down, lets get some homework done, and then go nuts!! WOO HOO!!!! (woo hoo?? does anyone use that term anymore??). Football season is starting up. That's very good news. Today the Gators posted its first of many wins this season and that makes me excited. This Thursday The Miami Dolphins start and Tampa and Jacksonville start next Sunday...which reminds me I need to go buy some more Chezz-its. Jaime and I are having a debate as to who is smarter. We took a few on-line tests and I scored higher on both of them proving that I am smarter then we took on-line IQ test and she scored slightly higher than me (her score 127 my score126) proving that she is smarter than me, but then again I don't really know how much an on-line IQ and/or intelligence test can prove. I d0 stel thenck i is samrtser then she ares cause me wents tu kolige and gots edumacted. I'm glad it's time to go back to school.


My summer

I was trying to think of something that has happened recently that's “bloggable”. Maybe something that has good shock effect or a deep spiritual insight that I've had, but then I realized I don't think I really ever told you guys what it is I've been doing this summer. Looking back at my past blogs I wouldn't be surprised if you guys thought that I just sit around the house, play Monopoly, go to the movie theater, listen for gun shots, and wait for the end of the world. Sounds like fun...maybe not. Has anyone ever known me to sit around my house for more than a day and do absolutely nothing (this question is not for my parents to answer)? I think I would go nuts if I started to do that. This summer has been interesting...to say the least. It started out with Rob Heather and I hanging out with kids and keeping them entertained by thinking up random games or playing the games that they know (that's basically basketball and man hunt). Then we had to aussies join us; Anthony and Andrea Castle all the way from Vancouver, BC on their summer assignment. So they joined in and a real summer in the USA South, but I imagine this probably isn't too different form a summer in Australia. Then we had a Summer Service Team join us. Three girls from the USA South signed up to do mission work and were sent here. Debbie is a registered nurse from Kentucky who just finished school, but she wanted to do some mission work before she started her job. Tempress is from Norfolk Virginia. I think she laughs more than I do (hard to believe, I know). Just because of how loud she is and how strange her laugh is it would make the rest of us start laughing. The third team member is Jamie Riefer, enough said. She was able to scam her way on a service team to come here, which is where she was planning on coming after it was over, and get paid for it. To use a quote from Stephen Court “good scam”. We all got together and started a day camp with the kids in the neighborhood (Rob and Heather's idea). So they loaded up on Macaroni and Cheese (aka Kraft Dinner), chicken nuggets, ravioli, hot dogs, Cheez-It's (that was more my idea and for my sanity), basketball's, soccer balls, volley ball's and enough craft supplies to choke a horse. We started at 10:30 in the morning and went until about 2:30 or 3:00 (depending on how long we could keep or minds going at 187mph).
As soon as the kids arrived we would try to split them up and send them to different stations we had setup. We had sports, games, computers, crafts and a few others and it started out well, but after July 4th things satrted slowing down. We kept going on with our normal daily routine but the kids didn't. Kids just started showing up half way through the day and others just stopped showing up. I would love to meet whatever genius thought that kids enjoy having structure. I know we were always told that when I worked at camp and at probably every YMCA and Boys and Girls club. I haven't met any kids that work better in a structured area with a set schedule. Kids don't do schedule's. Whoever came up with that theory was on drugs. I would love him to come here and prove that it works.
The times they did show up on time was when we went to the pool which is only a ten minute walk from here. God Bless the pool. It was ridiculously hot so when ever we had to go to the pool we were in heaven. The kids loved the pool and so did we. For Anthony and I our time in the pool was spent trying to get away from the kids who wanted to dunk us. There were two kids who would spend all there time trying to do it and the they recruited Deb and Tempress to help them. I always came out victorious. I was never dunked (never try to beat a Floridian in his own environment).
The six weeks came and went and the Service Team left back to there homes. So it's back to me Anthony, Andrea, Rob, and Heather doing stuff as it happens. Trying to keep the relationship going with the kids we know and make new relationships with the kids we meet. Jaime is coming back today, but Anthony and Andrea leave in a few days back to Vancouver (where there is no sun). So they will be much cooler ans everyone in Vancouver will probably notice that they have color back in their skin now. Hey, so do I!! Woo Hoo. We also taught the Summer Service Team a very important phrase HALLELUYHWH.


Duck and Run

It was a normal “Double Blessing Friday”. We went to the pool and had a blast. Anthony and I did fifty push-ups. We relaxed until Shabbat time. We invited Rob and Javi over to our house for a Shabbat meal and it was good. When we had all our ice cream set up and when we were just about to dig in we heard several gun shots just outside our house. I ran to the window (not a smart idea by the way) to see what was going on and I just saw five or six people ducking down and running away. The barbecue that our next door neighbor's were enjoying was done in a matter of seconds and everybody had bolted inside the house or were ducking behind a car. I heard six more shots and a pause then four more. Then I saw a man running away with a rifle in his hand. Once I saw him leave we opened the door to see what was going on a few people jumped in there cars and took off (understandable)and everybody else slowly came out out of their hiding spots. I thought it was a drug related thing because there has been a huge increase of drug trafficking going on here in the past few weeks and a few people were shot at a few days ago over some drug stuff. We talked to a few of the neighbors and found out that this guy was just shooting at random. No one knew him or knew why he was shooting or what he was shooting at, he just decide to shoot because he could. The only person that was injured was a 15 month old baby. She wasn't shot but something hit her on the back of the head and she started bleeding quite a bit. After the police, paramedics, and News crew came and went everything seemed to go back to normal. We ate our ice cream, the barbecue continued and kids went outside playing duck behind the car. THAT”S NOT NORMAL!!!!! Most kids during a barbecue play regular games like Frisbee or pretend school or tag or maybe even cops and robbers. That's not the case here. Kids here reenact what they see happening because that's life for them and they don't know anything different. They think this is normal but it shouldn't be. Kids should never feel like playing that game because it's what they see in any setting, but that's their reality. Reality needs a makeover.
We don't even really know why the guys started shooting. Was he angry, did he not like to see people enjoying themselves, did he hate barbecues, was he testing his new rifle, was the enemy just being a punk and wanting to stir something up while most people in the area we having fun? There doesn't seem to be any rational reason for someone to do that and I don't think many people in our neighborhood care. Someone if not most should care right??


Christians and Monopoly

A good idea or a recipe for disaster?
If anyone reading this is planning, at anytime in the near future, on playing a game of Monopoly with a group of friends. You may be in for a long long long long long game. I realized last night that when Christian's (or just good friends) play Monopoly unless they understand that the point is to not give someone a second chance that game could last a lot longer than it should. Andrea, Anthony and Javi (one of our friends here in Charlotte) and I all started to play and as the game progressed we were buying properties and making money and making deals and it was fun. Then we started building houses and hotels on those properties and people started to lose money and make money at the same time. Eventually some of us got to the point where we we couldn't pay the rent. That is the point of the game isn't it? to bankrupt the other players? We totally forgot about that and started to lend money and help each other out. We made deals and cut rent in half for each other and we said you can have immunity form rent this time, and it was good. We were enjoying it, until we looked at the clock and the time was 11:30 at nigh; we started playing at 7:00. We couldn't figure out why this game was taking so long, until I realized we were Christians playing a cut throat game in which you needed to be mean and deceiving and show no mercy. We weren't doing that. We were living out Acts 2:44-45 “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need”. I said we're living out scripture in this game. Jesus sad if we have two coats we're supposed to give one to a person that doesn't have a coat. Javi looked at all his money and said, “bro, I got eight coats here”. So at about 11:45 we said okay no more mercy. If you can't pay we can't be helping each other out by handing out $500 bills like they're candy. You have to deal with bankruptcy, and we played until 1:30am. The game still hadn't ended. Only one of us had gone bankrupt (Javi). So we finally we had a genius idea. No one in the history of the world had thought of it before; it was brilliant. I couldn't believe how great of idea this was I'm getting excited just thinking about it. We decided to end the game, count up our money and assets and whoever had the most was the winner. Ba ha ha ha ha. I came in third. I only had half the money Andrea had and about $3,000 less than Anthony. The only person I beat was Javi and he was bankrupt. So learn from our mistakes. If your playing Monopoly with friends they can't be your friends for the next four hours (give or take nine hours).


Hitting Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom, The end of you rope, taking a hard fall. Choose which term you like best to describe the situation.
I've seen what it is like to hit rock bottom (when there's no where to go but up) in the DTES and I've seen what it looks like here. I think here it is much worse and it effects so many more people. The first family I met when I got here was a family of six; four kids and two adults. I love the kids. They are awesome to hang out with and if they were the only four people that I saw a change in at all during the time here it will have been worth it (I am pushing for more though). There dad hits the youngest son some times and neither parents work and the only income they get is from the government. That money isn't enough to support a family with four kids. So they couldn't pay rent and were evicted. They went to stay at a hotel for a few weeks but that won't last long because it also costs money and after that is over they have to go live in a shelter which means the four kids will be put into foster care and we would never see them again. The boys would have to go to a shelter in Gastonia and the girls would go...well, I don't know; but it wouldn't be here, and their mom is okay with this. I'm sure she would have loved it if she hadn't been evicted, but she is okay with the kids being taken away for a while then she would have to try to get them back after a year or two. How is that an okay way for things to happen. Fortunately, Rob and Heather are a couple of genius' and have taken in the two boys to live with them, and they can live in a house and experience a family like it should be. Rob came by this morning and Juan and Javi were surprised when they were eating waffles for breakfast, because they usually didn't eat breakfast. I never thought anyone could be okay with living in such a terrible place both physically and spiritually. I drove them to the hotel that they are staying at and it was just like our neighborhood except it was just a little place off the side of the interstate. There were guys walking around wearing simple black shirts that said security and they asked everyone where they were going, but I don't know which would be scarier: not having or security guards or knowing that the place is a bad enough area that they need a security guard there all the time. What does it take to get someone to realize that they are not living a normal life?


The Last Stand...or is it????

I saw “X-men 3 The Last Stand”. I was a little disappointed when I saw reviews of the movie saying that it was terrible and it needed more depth to the characters and a better story, but I really enjoyed it. Before I saw it I knew what the story would be about (Jean Grey isn't really dead but she comes back as the Phoenix and almost destroys the world and people are racist and want to either kill all the humans or kill all the mutants) but there were knew characters introduced and stuff that I didn't expect so it was still very exciting.
After the movie I decided that I want to die like professor X did. I don't (for those of you that haven't seen it this won't really make a whole lot of sense) want to be torn to tiny pieces and have every molecule of my body torn apart little by little. He died in a fight. He died trying to stop something that had more evil inside than anything we could have imagined (although since it was a movie it wasn't more terrible than anything we could have imagined because someone did imagine it to put it in the movie...wow imagine that). He died trying to stop a force that he knew was more powerful than he was but he still rose to the challenge. He didn't back down, and when he saw that he would inevitably be destroyed he took his last moment and used it to pass on wisdom to the person he was trying to stop. He spoke to the actual person rather than her other personality. He spoke to Jean saying don't let it (her power) control you. Good wisdom, unfortunately she didn't have ears to hear. It was the same advice Spider-mans uncle gave him “with great power comes great responsibility”. It's true. If we can't control ourselves and our own abilities and use them for the work they were intended for than who is? Who will be controlling us if we aren't in control? Thats a scary thought. I would love to be able to spend my last dying moments passing on wisdom to people I know and people that are fighting alongside of me. I don't want o be in a hospitable bed doing it I want to be up and around I want to be in a fight. I want the last days of my life to be spent fighting ,as strong as ever, the dark forces of this world. I want to be taking down enemy strongholds till there's nothing left of them but a pile of dust. I want to be stabbing the enemy in the eye still when I'm ready to kick the bucket. And with my dying breath shout HALLELUYHWH!!!
Does anyone think it's strange that I'm twenty years old and already talking about dying??


I'm amazed...well...not really

"Everyone it's okay come out of your bomb shelter's the world is still here." Okay the world is not ending. I'm thrilled can't you hear the excitement in my voice...or in my typing...never mind. I'm glad the world didn't end today because Heather made this wonderful tuna melt dinner and banana bread for dessert and it was delectable. It would have been a shame if I had missed that just because the world was ending.


We all have twenty four hours...hurry

This made me laugh. I hope everyone enjoys it...or maybe not...

Enjoy your Monday. Because tomorrow, the world could end.

That's if you believe that June 6, 2006 -- or 06/06/06 -- has anything to do with the so-called
"Mark of the Beast." Religious scholars place the idea in the same category as "The Da Vinci Code." The Bible's "666" referred to a person, not a date, says Davidson College religion professor Greg Snyder. His best guess: The Antichrist was supposed to be Nero, a nasty Roman ruler who persecuted first-century Christians. Recently discovered fragments of Old Testament texts suggest the number's all wrong anyway, and should have been "616." Today's marketers can't resist the lure of the triple six. A remake of "The Omen" opens tomorrow, and the latest volume in the "Left Behind" series hits the shelves. So do albums by several heavy metal bands, and conservative commentator Ann Coulter's new book. (She calls the release date a "tribute to liberals.")

And folks of Hell, Mich., are throwing a big party. Not everybody is happy. "Here I am living in Hell, taking my kids to church and trying to teach them the right things," resident Jason LeTeff said, "and the town where we live is having a 6/6/6 party."


God's way is sometimes an unexpected hole

Does anyone recall a time in the Bible when God used a hole in a wall or in a gate or something like that as a plan or startegy or for anything? I know Ezekiel saw a hole in the wall and dug and found an entrance to a room(Ezekiel8:7), but Ezekiel saw things a little differently then we did. this is coming form a guy who ate bread baked over human feces. Do you really want to trust that guy? He always had weird things happening to him anyway. I don't think he knew when he was in the world and when he was in the spiritual realm most of his life. So that one doesn't count. The reason I ask is because when I first arrived here in Charlotte Rob took me around to see the neighborhood and after I saw all the housing areas he took me by the middle school that's in our neighborhood. Past the school there is the entrance to an over pass for the highway that separates this community from the other. It's not a vehicle over pass; it's an over pass for people to walk on. Namely for kids to cross the road safely and get to school without playing russian roulette with the cars or taking a bus; it's a genius idea I think. Unfortunately, it also provided a great connecting spot for suppliers and addicts. The gate has been closed, chanined and locked since we got here and we haven't been able to open it. A few days after that I was playing Man Hunt (Hide-and-seek) with the kids in the neighborhood. I had a difficult time figuring out how they were getting form one spot to another faster than I was. I was running as fast as I could and had a hard time keeping up until I was able to follow one of them when he was running to a gate and in that gate there was a huge hole. They don't know why it's there or how it got there. They just know that it's there and it is an easy fast was to move around from one area to another in this game. A few weeks later Anthony and Andrea Castle arrive. Rob and I are taking them on the same tour of the neighborhood that he took me on, and we went to the same closed Highway over pass and Rob is speaking in tounges and commanding that the gate be opened in Jesus name and I look at the sides and see a hole in the gate. I'm guessing it was cut it the gate by drug suppliers and/or desperate addicts. We slip though the hole and walk to the other side where we find the gate locked as well but this time the hole was in the top of the gate and no one else was up for climbing up and through it so we saved it for a differnt day, but we now have a way to get into another neighborhood without driving for twenty minutes to get there. It puts a whole new spin on incarnational ministry. Not only are we living with the people we're ministering to, but we are moving form one community to another the same way drug users and dealers are. I love the way God works. When he does something he's not always miraculous; sometimes he's practical, which is why I asked the previous question. Has God ever used a hole in a wall before? Bueller...anyone Bueller...


Men's camp

So, the last time I left you guys, I had left to pick up Anthony and Andrea Castle from the airport. Well, I lied…actually no I didn’t. We did pick them up and they are here in the house right now. Right now as I’m typing this blog. They have been an absolute blessing to us here. They have moved in to a town house not far from where we are living and are building relationships in that neighborhood. So our forces are taking on two neighborhoods at once.

Rob, Anthony, and I went to Men’s Camp a few days ago. What an experience. We are Men after God’s own heart. That was the theme of the camp. The thing that amazed me the most was that they willing put gun’s into our hands. Pistols, rifles, and shotguns. I didn’t get to shoot the rifles or pistols but I did get to shoot the shot gun. I almost fell over as well when I shot it. We were doing trap shooting. These guys were in a box and we say “pull” and these clay discs shot out and we had to shoot them. I only hit three out of the ten, but I would say that’s good for a first time. Anthony and Rob slept while this was going on. I wanted to get us signed up for the Tug-of-war tournament, but no one else was up for it. So I took my chances at Dominoes (I was knocked out in the first round) washers (I don’t remember my score but it wasn’t good) darts (I got 94 points) and a marathon (2 miles). This is what I was hoping to bring home a first place trophy in. I figured if nothing else I would win the marathon. There were a bunch of old guys and so I was one of the youngest and I think I’m pretty fast so I thought I had this one in the bag. When I realized we had to run at 8:00 in the morning I was less than thrilled, but I was not going to give up because I’m a shoe in for first. So after a breakfast consisting of biscuits and gravy and sausage I was set. I arrived at the flagpole and I start stretching. Then a few old guys show up and then a young guy shows up (he’s working at camp) and he looked like a track star so I figured this would be a close race. Then another young guy shows up and he looks very fit as well, so I’m thinking this is going to be a very tight race. And were off and running. And four of us started out a pretty good pace then one man fell behind. I kept going and pushing and running until after the first mile. We got by the first mile and I couldn’t kept up and I slowly started to fall behind, but I kept going and with a third place finish (12:53); I was three minutes behind these other two guys, three minutes! That’s a lot of time. They came in with a nine minute time that’s fast. I talked to the officer in charge, after I was back to breathing normally, and he said that Tim (the guy in first place) is like an entire track team all in one person. So there was no chance for me to get first place. Later that day I was talked to Rick (2nd place man) and I found out that he was a track star form Africa who runs in all sorts of meets in Kenya and South Africa so there was no chance of me getting second place, so I had to settle for third. I was happy with that. It was a great camp though. We put up a prayer tent and built a cross for people to nail names or requests to. We also got a chance to meet the new TC and we heard an amazing band from Austin, Texas “The Gospel Silvertones” and they were anointed by God. Now we are back home and playing with kids and sweating and getting them juice and having a blast.

I also just want to point out that i am 22 years and 2 months old. In case anyone is wondering.


Con men at age eight

I realized that my duties here in Charlotte involve being illegal for a just cause. A few days ago one of our next door neighbors was arrested. Her brother came to her house to get money to bail her out of jail but the house was all locked up (why wouldn’t it be). So he asked me to help him check the windows to open them. Unfortunately they were all locked. The locks on the windows in this neighborhood aren’t real great so when we found one that seemed to be the “weak link” we decided that was the target and with a little help form a screwdriver and a butter knife (reminds me of 705 in the Empress) we were able to pry the window open and I crawled through. This is better known as “breaking and entering”. So I unlocked the front door to let her brother in and that was the end…or so I thought. He constantly forgot things in the house so I constantly had to go to a different window (he left this one unlocked) open it and reach in to unlock the door for him. So I am guilty of performing a “b and e” four times within a one hour time period. Later on I was off to pick-up Mason (Cory Harrison’s son) form school. Jeremy anted to ride with me. Jeremy is a very interesting character. Like most of the kids around here he’s always doing things and trying to get out of trouble and treating everything as a joke. He’s a very manipulative person. He asked me to stop by a fireworks shop on our way back. That’s fine no harm in that. He started joking and saying that he was going to steal boxes of fireworks and he’s got big pockets and all that stuff and I laughed at him because he was joking, the only problem was I soon realized we wasn’t joking at all. I pulled a package of M-80 from his pocket and when he realized I wasn’t going to be leaving him out of my sight the rest of the time we were there he just got angry. He tried to scam free stuff form the cashier and ask for free fireworks because he bought something for a dollar. He’s a very manipulative person and will always press the envelope as far as he can to get his way. The strangest part is that he doesn’t feel the least bit guilty for anything he’s done. We got back in the car and a few miles down the road he pulled some other things out of his pocket that he didn’t pay for. I knew that I couldn’t make him take it back to the store because he would just sit in the car and I can’t force him to walk. It’s strange that someone who is fifteen years old can steal like he’s been doing it his whole life. All I could do was let him know that stealing wasn’t cool and not acceptable and I would punish him by not taking him for a ride anymore (he loves riding in a car for some reason). It sometimes makes me feel like these kids are too far gone, there hearts are too hard and no matter what we say or do we can’t change them, but I do know that love conquers all and never fails and there is power in prayer and we are commanded to pray continuously. That is my battle strategy. Now I am going to band and songsters practice and then I’m off to pick up a couple Australians from the airport. Hallelujah.


Here's a rundown

Here is what has been happening for the past few days. I play with kids, I stop fights, I watch kids throw rocks, stop them form throwing more rocks, and get them snacks and drinks. I am a camp counselor and I have no DYS.
Things that have been out of the ordinary: We finally have a picture of the man with a shot gun on the 614 Charlotte blog. Look and be amazed. Last Saturday I woke up at around ten in the morning and walked over to the Dolby house to get some breakfast, like I do every morning, and Heather asked me if I heard the gunshots this morning. I said, “No” and Heather just stared at me with disbelief. She said, “The house they came from is closer to you than it is to mine and the shots woke me up. It was practically right behind you and you slept through it?” So I currently hold the record of sleeping through the most gunshots. The record stands at six. On Wednesday night this past week I was laying in bed and I heard a man not far from the window yelling for someone I know so I sat up and took a peek to see who it was. Bad idea on my part. The man was urinating in my front yard. I thought of yelling something strange and slightly offensive but he was drunk and I was tried. If I had a camera I would have considered it a photo opportunity and bloggable. I don’t think the blogging world would be too thrilled with it though. Needless to say I tried to go back to sleep as soon as my mind would let me. Today after church and after CiCi’s and after playing with kids and laughing and then putting away all the toys and while everyone was winding down, only then did it decide to rain. It had been looking like it would all day, but it didn’t start until seven thirtyish. All the kids started running home except three. Then the all Hail broke loose. We had hail the size of peas coming down. My response was oh course “OH HAIL NO!!” Then one little girl (Lele she’s 4) decided that would be a good time to run home. She ran out the back door and when we noticed she was gone I looked out and saw her stopped about a third of the way home standing in the rain/hail crying. I guess that’s when she realized that hail hurts. So I ran picked her up and carried/sprinting her the rest of the way home. I felt a bit like a superhero. Then the hails stopped and the rain stopped and everyone else went home. Now the Liquor House (the house next door to mine) is open for business and there are thirty four cars parked in my front yard and I don’t drive a single one of them.



This weekend was very relaxing. In a couple of ways I was able to relax without expecting to. On Saturday Heather and I went with Cory Harrison and his family to a drive-in movie theater. I had never been to a drive-in movie before so this was a very new experience for me and it was a double feature which made it even more exciting. First feature was for the kids the movie was “The Wild” very much like Madagascar. It seemed to be a mix of Madagascar, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King all in one. It wasn’t as funny as I had expected, but it was worth seeing. Then we saw Mission Impossible III. It was a thriller. At the beginning of the movie all I could think about was what Cory had told us about Tom Cruise wanting to eat his baby’s placenta. So for two minutes straight I saw Tom Cruise+ placenta. Placenta kept popping into my head; it wouldn’t stop (placenta, placenta, and placenta). Eventually I was captivated by the booms and explosions and fire and shooting and I forgot all about the placenta (I’ve seriously typed that word more in this blog than I ever thought I would in my entire life). I go to be very unhealthy for dinner (not that I have been healthy recently) it consisted of Nachos with Cheese and Jalapenos, and Twizzlers, popcorn and Sierra Mist. It was wonderful. The movies ended at around one o’clock and Heather and I didn’t get home until about 2:30. I slept. I awoke to a knock at my door. It was Heather. Word of advice; always remember to turn on your alarm after you set the time. If you don’t it doesn’t work. All the kids were in the van and ready and I hadn’t gotten out of bed yet so I went into hyper mode and was ready to go in record time. I would doubt that I spent any longer than seven minutes getting ready. The kids thought it was hilarious. So we were off to church and then to CiCi’s Pizza. The Captain preached a very good message on marriage. He emphasized that a marriage should be based on covenant rather than feelings and love. It was a good word. Then we went to lunch (God bless CiCi’s Pizza). Then we went home and all the kids went to there homes and I went to my home and I definitely laid on my bed and was listening to music but I think I fell asleep with my eyes open because I don’t recall closing or opening my eyes at all, but I don’t remember thinking about anything either for a long gap of time. So I’m currently missing two hours of my life and I don’t know where they went. I think I can live without them though. Now I will sleep more.


He's Lost

I lost Rob and I don't know where to find him. Has anyone seen Rob Dolby I can't find him anywhere, ROB...ROB...where are you?


Culture Shock!!!!!

Today at Charlotte Temple we had an amazing meeting. Usually we go and it’s not real great. The Captain that usually speaks is not real inspiring and the worship is just going through the motions. This Sunday, however, was very much Holy Spirit led. The worship was very powerful and the band played absolutely wonderful. Captain Gainey had a very good word for the church. The service was very much focused on the youth of the corps. They had a power point presentation of the different things the youth were doing while we were in the chapel and then we had a time of prayer to bless all the people in our corps that are involved with the youth programs. Then Captain Gainey talked about why it’s hard to get children to go to church. First he talked about his time he spent in the Military and had to go over to Germany. He was told that he may lose his wife within the first few months because of the culture shock that happens when you first arrive. He related the culture shock of Germany to culture shock of being at church(they go to churchany. His joke not mine). Most kids today live in a world that is very secular. At school, in music, in homes, and there friends. Usually it doesn’t revolve around Christ. They are constantly getting different messages from music and television friends every other thing you can think of. So when we try to get kids to go to church one day a week that one day is very different from anything else that they experienced that week. We need to have church at home not just in a building on Sunday. Church one day a week isn’t going to build a strong spiritual foundation for the kids. The culture shock of church needs to happen at home. Over the years our culture has changed and Christ has slowly been pushed out of hoes and caged up in a building where he can stay but he’s not allowed to be anywhere else in our lives. He said when ever he hears people talk about the “good ol’ days” and how terrible things are now; he can’t help but think that those “good ol’ days” had a huge influence on creating these “bad new days” that we’re living in. Let’s get rid of the Sunday culture shock and let Christ out of his cage.


One year

I have had my blog up and running for one year now. So in honor of this anniversary here is one of my first blogs.

I'm sorry I have to do this, but I feel that there is a number of things that we say here at The War College that should never come form our mouths. I am guilty as well. They are as follows...
10. "My apologies." -Travis/Jo-No/Josh/Phil/Xander
9. "Hey, I got a Latte Machine donated!" -Jonathan Berkshire (AKA- JoNo)
8. "Sorry I'm late for Pray the Bible, I had to straighten my hair." -Jenn Burr, phase 2 (she said this last year while she was a student)
7. "You can break into 705 with a knife or a phone card." -Anyone
6. "Hey baby, wanna chug some gravy?" -Josh and Jamie Smith
5. "My hard-drive crashed/computer is fried/laptop broke." -Jamie Smith, JoNo, or Linsey New
4. "Make it a venti cappuccino." -Josh and Phil...well, kinda all of whenever we have money.
3. "I break your mom off in Jesus' Name." -Jaime Riefer, Xander and Travis
2. "I'm going to return my rental car." -JoNo
1. "The wireless is down...again" -Jamie Smith, JoNo, Linsey, SueAnn, Nicole, Jaime Riefer, JoNo, Xander, JoNo, Josh, Phil, and JoNo

Everyone, enjoy!

There will be blogs of the same kinda thing in the future...hollaaaaaah.

It's Jesus or hell

Ahhh Those were the days.


I'm still suprised

After living in the DTES of Vancouver most people would think that there would be very few things that surprise me anymore. But there are so many things that still happen on a regular basis here in Charlotte that have become normal that shouldn’t be. I woke up on Wednesday and started walking across the street to Rob and Heather’s house for breakfast like I do every morning because I don’t have any way of cooking breakfast at my house even if I had food. It seemed like a normal day except for one guy slowly walking around the area with a shotgun in his had. He wasn’t bothering anyone and it didn’t look like he was looking for anyone. It was like he just decided to go for a walk with his shot gun. When I got to the house I asked Rob if he saw the guy with the gun and he thought I was joking. He laughed and said “no but that would be funny” I said he’s seriously went to the back of our house and the three of us went to the back door to see this oddity. Then I grabbed the camera and snuck into the bushes and snapped a picture of the guy. I don’t know whether to still be amazed or look at stuff like that and see it as normal stuff. Our next door neighbor (Anitavias) was talking with us last night and the ambulance came to see another man in the neighborhood who had a hernia. This was the fifth time the ambulance had been in this neighborhood this week. We could get to know the paramedics and have a cell with them because they come here so often. I asked Anitavias if it was normal for the ambulance to show up here five times in one week. Her response was “I guess so. Why?” In Vancouver I remember it was normal to hear the ambulance fifteen times in one day but Vancouver was a big city. This one area where the ambulance has come in consists of six houses. I was walking to my house on Thursday night and I heard a gun shot and it didn’t sound to far away, maybe in the neighborhood next to ours. This is one strange place.

So as we are bringing light into this dark place I realize this is going to bring to light a lot of chaos going on here. When chaos is discovered that usually brings in more confusion which could make things here much more difficult than they are now. Which means things may start to get darker before they get lighter, but I’m ready for it because God equips the called and he “has trained my hands for war and my fingers for battle”.

I'll have a picture of the amn with the gun soon.


Those southern days

I spent the last three nights in my new house with my new bed and new sheets and a familiar smell. I had the opportunity to chase a fly around my house with the tube of the vacuum cleaner. It was exciting. First I stabbed at it in the air randomly but hat didn’t work so well so I waited for him to land. He foolishly picked the window sill. Flies don’t really understand glass and window shades and all that stuff so he flew around the inside for a bit, obviously confused (OF COURSE HE WAS CONFUSED) while I tried to sneak up on he but he managed to escape. Then he went to the other window. Maybe he thought he’d have better luck there. That’s where he met his demise. My first attempt was unsuccessful, but I had more stamina and I tired him out. He started moving without thinking and going to places that weren’t helping him at all. So I took advantages of those mistakes, made A few strategic moves and victory is mine. It took me a few minutes but I sucked him up and he will never return. Ba ha ha ha. I win. I’ve been trying to turn it around and make it into an object lesson so that it has some deeper life application like Tara does on her blogs but it doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s a spiritual gift that she has.

I got some paint the other day for my room. It’s a light aqua color called country cottage. It’ll look real nice. I think once I have it painted that’ll take care of a lot of the smell. A change of smell is always good. That’s why I like candles and incense so much it can change the atmosphere of a room for however long it burns. I experienced a thunder storm today. With thunder and lightning and all that great stuff. It was just like being back in Florida at Camp Keystone again. I loved it.

I just wan to let everyone know that the Tampa bay Lightning just beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in the Playoffs. Woo Hoo!!!


Good times in Charlotte mixed with a little re-learning the southern life

It’s strange when some of the simplest of things is what I should be doing, but it really seems like I’m doing nothing. Anybody else feel that way?? My days here in Charlotte consist of me waking up and running around with the neighborhood kids all day long but at the end of the day I still don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much, but I think that may just come with the territory of moving to a different area. I haven’t gotten into my semi-permanent house yet, so it’s hard for me to have a set schedule right now. I also tend to have a habit of looking for tangible results in ministry only days after starting. It could happen; it just hasn’t yet. I maybe I’m not suppose to see the changes I’ve made maybe they won’t be evident until six or seven years down the road. Anyway, I’m going to be out of commission for a week or two when it comes to running, jumping climbing or anything that put s pressure on my foot, my left foot to be more specific. I messed up my ankle yet again. Let hopping begin. I just would like to get through one year without hurting my ankle; this is the third year in a row that I’ve had a sprain in my left ankle, and it makes number eight for my grand total. Luckily it hasn’t turned funny colors and swelled up like a basketball this time. So in a few days I should be back to digging holes and playing basketball and man-hunt again. This time I’ll be a little more observant of the ground when and if I pay man-hunt in the dark. That wasn’t the brightest idea in the first place. My ankle is a small price to pay for…uhh…I’ll think of something that sounds smart later.

I realized my Bangor and Vancouver days have taken a toll on my skin. My neck was so burnt the other day from being outside. I didn’t even think I was outside for very long. So I got to work on getting my tan back without getting burnt; that’s going to be tricky. I don’t mind the heat though; I’ll take the 89, 91, and 92 degree temps over 12 and 14 degree temperatures any day. One thing I am looking forward to (I doubt anyone else is) are some good ol’ southern thunder storms. I haven’t heard thunder in so long it might scare me at first. I never heard it in Vancouver and I rarely heard in Bangor over the summer (never in the winter). I want some noise!!!


My new house

I got to see my future house and it smells like The Empress. Great! I finally found something that is familiar to me. I spent a few hours cleaning the cabinets and walls, and cleaning the walls again and again, because I would think I had it clean (it doesn’t really look very dirty) and then I would see a spot that I missed and I would clean that spot and then I would need to clean the rest of the wall all over again because that one spot made the rest of the wall look dirty and I would see another spot that I missed and the cycle began again (another vicious cycle that I’ve noticed). But the walls will be painted so I can just wipe off the surface stuff and call it good. I am usually never happy with just doing surface work because it’s but going deeper is so hard that it just seems like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I think that going deeper in a community on a spiritual level is a little more important than cutting through the deep stuff on the walls. My bathroom has been fixed up though and that it the important part. We worked for a couple of hours and decide that would be good for the day…we don’t want to over exert ourselves while we’re…cleaning walls. The house will one day be ready and I will be living there, but for now I am content living with Rob and Heather. Earlier in the day Rob and I took a walk through the neighbor hood and we saw all the houses that are possible spots for TWC students to live. We also saw other communities that we want 614 to branch out into. We then walked through an area of houses that were all boarded up and basically condemned. No one owned them and they weren’t fit for anyone to live in. Rob and I decide to enter one of them (we didn’t break in, the press wood over the door was already broken off) as I walked into this area it was like stepping into a Vancouver alley. In the alleys of Vancouver there was drug paraphernalia and condoms and nasty clothes that no one would really want to wear and just dirt everywhere. This was all in that one house. So we have the alleys of Vancouver inside the house’s here in Charlotte. I think that might be the norm for Ghetto’s I know that this house is a house that is rundown and condemned but as for the houses who have the drug dealers in them as the father to the kids I wonder if they are essentially living in the Vancouver alley’s?

I'll have pictures soon.


A day in the life in Charlotte

My first 24 hours in Charlotte was exciting. I got the royal treatment I was greeted at the airport by eight kids that I will be chillin like a villan form the floor to the cellin with and Rob and Heather. I was taken to my home for a few days and (The Dolby residence) and I didn’t g to sleep until midnight because we just wanted to stay up and talk and have fun and just be with each other. The next day I woke up at around ten am and we talked to friends for a while then we went to find me a bed at the TSA Thrift store. Rob makes that interesting. Then we went to the Prayer Room here in Charlotte (it’s not 24-7 yet) and we just soaked it up for a half hour. We ate lunch at CiCi’s pizza (praise the lord for Ci-Ci’s. Good pizza for real cheap). We drove by some places low income housing places that have been closed up boards put over the windows and doors and they’re set for demolition. With a bunch of other places and town houses will be put in there place. The families that were there were given a chunk of cash and were told to relocate which couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. Then we headed out to Wal-Mart and bought a bunch of balls and balloons and other random toys that are going to be used by the thirty different kids that are here in the neighborhood. And then we sat in the house and talked with some more friends for a while longer and it was good. I am so ready to have some fun.


For Bangor

I am leaving Bangor, Maine. I am off to a new phase of my life in Charlotte, North Carolina. One thing I really love about leaving a place is that is when you find out how much people really love you. I know that I was (and still) loved by people in Bangor but The days leading up to my departure is when it really started to show. Now I’m not talking about all the crying and praying and hugging and all that stuff. I’m talking about the free meals! I got to eat so many meals that I didn’t have to pay for; it was wonderful! One of those meals was two Maine Lobsters (that’s a whole different blog). Out of my last seven meals in the state of Maine I only had to pay for one. I was so thrilled. I actually didn’t care about any of the food (maybe a little). The best going away present I had was on Sunday. I got to listen to two members of the Corps Mary Mackay (YPSM) and Ryan Grant (spiritual and physical soldier) tell of all the memories they have of me and letting me know how much I really blessed them during my stay. The blessing goes two ways. I was so incredibly blessed by the Bangor Corps. I got to see corps officers that didn’t make a single decision in the corps without first consulting the Holy Spirit. The local corps leaders have a passion for souls and are always striving for a more effective way of reaching them. Seeing that kind of unity in a Christian body is a beautiful thing. I love that drive and I hope that one day I will see that passion filter out into the rest of the city. I love the youth that is in the city. Ryan, Chris, Cory, Cody, Charlie, Jerrica, Sam, Alice, Brandon, Tyler, Michael, Joel and everyone else that I can’t remember. I know that one day they will be continuing everything that has been started in that corps and they are the future of the army in Bangor. I will one day be in Bangor again to see everyone there and I know I will be amazed at the Spiritual progress made in that city and I can’t wait to visit see everybody again.
So I leave you Bangor with these words form Paul:
Therefore I, beg you Bangor to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace. We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-7 (NLT)


April 1 blog

April fools!! ba ha hah a ha ha!! No blog ba ha ha ha ha. Oh man that was the best joke ever. Ha ha ha ha. Why are you still reading? Seriously I’m not blogging today it was all a joke…Go away. Jokes over go home. Hey stop looking at me.


It's the 29th

Today is my birfday…birfday what is birfday?? I don’t know that word oh well. Happy birfday to me happy birfday to me happy birfday to meeee happy birfday to me. I forgive everyone who didn’t remember and never sent me a happy birthday E-mail or card or phone call or present. You can remember next year ba ha ha ha. Steveo remembered. In normal sec fashion he sent me an E-mail with a total of four words and one was grace. It made me happy. I also had a party with like eight little kids running around and that was fun. I got M&Ms, cookies, a miniature dodge ball with superman on it, and Dayquil because I might be getting sick. I also got to see Aurora what an amazingly responsible adult she is. Keep in mind she’s the Youth Pastor here, with eight little kids watching she puts a tiny hole in a helium balloon and inhales the helium and starts talking. It was really funny but maybe not the best time to do it. I don’t know if we will ever see those kids back here again after they go home and tell there parents what they saw here. It was a wonderful birfday party. By the way I’m 22.


V for Vendetta

V for vendetta was a very interesting movie…actually that was a lie it was a great movie. I wasn’t sure if I would really be thrilled with it because at first it looked like it was all about revenge and payback and that is what the movie Punisher was like and I wasn’t thrilled with Punisher. But I watched this movie and it was really great. It’s a futuristic movie in which UK has become this huge superpower which is now run by a dictator. He is using fear to keep everyone under control and in order (Just to warn you if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to I’m going to ruin it for some of you). Scientists are able stop this disease that has pretty much destroyed the United States and other places and they have samples of it and they purposely infect almost 100,000 people with it and they all die. So they have that fear to help keep control and they have this elite police group called the fingers to help them keep control and they do it well because people are more scared of them than they are of the normal police. There is also a curfew instituted for everyone except the Finger (I sort of got that the finger name was like the actual people doing the dirty work it wasn’t the head guy it was his fingers…maybe). The dictator in charge restricts books and music and paintings, they are all illegal to have. It’s illegal for someone to have a butterfly collection. It’s strange. I guess people aren’t allowed to think for themselves at all. That is what V (the masked characters name) is fighting for. He wants justice to reign again when it hasn’t for so long. He realizes that it’s fear that has been running this country and he wants it to stop. He realizes that a symbol is only a symbol and it has no power unless the people give it power. So the symbol that has power is destroyed, and the symbol is the Parliament building. It is a sort of skewed way of doing justice but in V’s mind it was all kosher. It made for a great story line as well. The critics Roberts and Atell gave it two thumbs up.


Panicking never works

I find it strange how one event in day can over shadow almost everything that was good. It started out as a normal Thursday. Rations in the morning, lunch in the soup kitchen, talking with Aurora, waiting for Teen group to start. We were taking a trip to Bald Mountain. A hike up the mountain and back down, easy enough…or is it dramatic music dun dun daahhh). Everything was in order we had drinks we had apples we had the teens we had a van we had keys. We drove to the mountain we ran up…most of the way. It was great. We climbed to the top of the look-out-tower from where I could see my house. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because we didn’t have a ladder to get us to the first flight of stairs and on top of that some of the stairs are a bit sketchy. I did my Sméagol impression a number of times and Ryan hid in the woods and then jumped out in an attempt to scare Aurora and a couple other people. It was worth the effort. Then we went down the mountain. There was no trouble until we reached the bottom of the mountain. It was a bit of a race. Ryan, Emily, Cody and I were all running down the mountain (not smart in the first place) I was headed straight for the van and I needed to stop. I didn’t want to hit the side of the van with al my weight on the door because then there would be a big dent in it (that may have been a better idea) so I decided to put my hand up and use the window of the van to slow myself down so I didn’t hit the door so hard. Well the window did slow me down for a few seconds and then it shattered. My initial reaction was Oh $@%&#!!! I had never broken a window before in my life ( I actually didn’t think I could with out injuring my hand neither did the guy replacing the window). I can’t remember if I had ever broken someone else’s property before that was this huge, so I panicked (no the best way to handel a situation). I didn’t want the other teens to know that I had broken the window of the van because I thought they would have thought less of me, so I asked the three that were there to lie for me (second bad step). Emily said she couldn’t lie well, so I said don’t say anything. So when Aurora and the other teens came down the mountain and saw what had happened, the story they heard was that the window was already broken when we arrived, so someone may have just decided to break our window because they could. We had a two hour drive back and I was almost holding back tears the whole time. Once we dropped off the last of the teens I told Aurora what actually happened and we headed back to the corps for a Corps Council meeting (so everyone that needed to know was in one place at one time). I told Doug and Deb the actual story (they were obviously not thrilled with the news) and because I laugh so often it sort of seemed like I didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. I think, at first, I was more disappointed with myself than they were. I was hoping that only the two of them and Aurora would be the only three that knew the actual story, but in a small town the truth gets out fast. Not everyone knows yet but thy will after reading this, and I do need to tell all the teens and apologize to them for lying and asking three of them to lie for me. I guess I just didn’t want to leave Bangor with everyone remembering that I broke a van window, but I am human and as Doug brought out so was David, people don’t remember his faults over the fact that he was an amazing king that’s comforting to know. Someone once said "It's not the making mistakes that we learn from, but how we handel them." Anyone know who that was?? Do you think he broke a window too?


Community involves unity

Word of advice from me to you: Don’t stop blogging for a long period of time because there is so much stuff to catch up on it’s easy to fall behind. I had the opportunity to preach on Sunday morning three weeks ago. So I did. I guess it shouldn’t come as a shock when God does something that makes everything fit together, but I can’t help being amazed by it. This past few weeks Doug Burr has been trying to build a closer community within the corps family. He wants to stop this surface level knowledge of who everyone is and get deep into each other’s lives (who knows where he comes up with these crazy ideas ba ha ha ha). When God spoke to me what I was to be speaking on it went right along with what Doug has been pushing for. God spoke to me about bridging the Gap between the youth of TSA and the elders. In order to progress and keep pressing on in the fight against the enemy we need to be standing along side each other working together. We can’t fight as a divided army. The elders have knowledge and wisdom that they youth don’t have, but the youth are the ones that will be taking over as leaders, and if we don’t build a foundation for them to base their faith on then when they got to places where they face huge temptation they could easily be torn away from the church and dragged into some other religion, or they may just give up on religion all together, that’s never good. We need to be working to build up the youth in a corps so they take over the leadership and be effective in a corps. We can’t have disunity and still be effective. We can’t fight a battle on our own and expect to succeed when an entire army is needed. TSA will fail if we aren’t raising up effective warriors. A spiritual foundation is not only built by what we do ourselves, but it also comes from interaction with other Christians. I’m not talking about just sitting by someone on Sunday morning. It comes from deep conversation and having a meaningful impact on each others lives. We need to be helping each other through problems and we need to know that there are people that will stand beside us when attacks from the enemy come up. People being brought together in a church setting doesn’t happen by accident, people that look up to you doesn’t happen by accident, and corps officers aren’t sent somewhere by accident. It is spirit led and God ordained. The youth that will be following each generation is not an accident. God has a plan and a role for each person to play in the future in the church. We need to recognize that and set them up for success. It takes cooperation from both sides. If we don’t set up a precedent then the next generation will follow suit, and there will be generation after generation of surface level relationships and that is a scary thought. It’s not something I would want to be a part of. It’s not easy, it does take work but we can create community.

That’s basically my sermon. I thought everything went by really fast. It felt like I started and was done in four minutes. The recording had fourteen minutes of space used up, but it sure didn't seem like it. Fourteen minutes still seems really short but at least I know I probably kept everyone’s attention. I did a much better job of starting this time as well. I didn’t have to leave to find a lapel microphone like I did over the summer. After it was all said and done I felt like my sermon was almost JAC worthy. I know that I’m no Stephen Court, but I have my moments.


My Canadan adventures (dramatic music plays)

Warning If you don't like to read long blogs turn back now. I’m sure that by now everyone (that is 614 related) has probably heard all about Jenn and Josh’s amazing, spirit led, beautiful, perfect, wedding. If you haven’t yet (you weirdo) talk to me; I’ll fill you in, or better yet talk to Josh or Jenn Ivany…oh man that is so weird. What most people probably haven’t heard is my adventure before and after the wedding. I will tell you my tale…now. It was a dark and stormy night when we set out. If you don’t believe me ask Aurora or Alberta. We were seriously driving through a snow storm. So we all that thought it would be a good idea to not let the Floridian drive. I think I would have done fine. It was around nine thirty at night and we couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of us. We eventually found pout way out of the mess and were making good time headed for the border. There wasn’t whole lot that happened on our way up there except for sleeping, talking and switching out drivers. Alberta had the unfortunate privilege of being pulled over in New York by a State Trooper. I think he thought she was drunk because he said she was crossing the lines a bit. The lines are our friend stay in the line. He thought we were drunk ba ha ha ha. He asked us where we were going and our response was Canada. He then said you do know your going south right? We said, “Yeah, we know that’s how we get to Canada from Maine”. He was very confused and said “you’re going south to go to Canada”? We said yes and let us got with out a ticket or a sobriety test. If you ask Alberta she’ll tell you that he was driving an eighteen wheeler but I think it was just a SUV. I was told by a friend that state troopers in Massachusetts and New York drive a Dodge Viper. This shows how much those crazy Florida people know. We were on our way and after my shift Aurora took over. I put my coat over my head and fell asleep. I woke up right after we paid out last toll in New York before the border. It cost $12.60. How do those people sleep at night? I can understand a buck fifty here two dollars there but twelve sixty. That’s highway robbery. I told Aurora I would have hit the gas and gone. I was going to be in Canada in thirty minutes anyway we’d a been safe. Anyway, we crossed the border at Niagara Falls and stopped to admire the view and it was amazing. I never knew Niagara Falls was so huge it went on for miles. I couldn’t believe how awesome it was I was really tempted got but a video camera, but I’m a poor college student (no matter where you go to college at some things never change). We then stopped at Denny’s. It was really expensive there, so we left and went across the street to an all you can eat breakfast buffet where we didn’t have to pay fourteen dollars for French toast. After all that we arrived at Aurora’s parent’s house, and I got to meet her family and they were lots of fun and then we found Jaime Riefer and that was really cool. The next day we drove from London to Toronto. So picture this on a Canadian highway: Jaime, Alberta, and I all in one car Aurora was in the car with her mom in front of us. Fun stuff happens in those situations. We drove circles around them. Literally we drove in circles…maybe more of a box. First we passed them, got in front, crossed in to the far right lane, let them pass, and got behind them again. We did it like four times, and each time was just as fun as the first. I want to do it again. So Josh and Jenn need to have another wedding so I can go to Canada and drive circles around Aurora. Tell me when you set the date. Actually I don’t think either of them read my blog. So we finally arrived in Jackson’s Point and I knew we were in the right building fairly quickly because I saw Darren Hailes and I heard Tara laugh. You know that really loud laugh that will scare you if you don’t expect it. I heard that and it made me smile. I saw Rob and I didn’t recognize him at first he’s different. It was strange for me to not recognize someone. Then we had the wedding and that was fun. We met up with Sue…Ann and spent a few days with her in Toronto. WE went to The Hard Rock Café and we saw the CN Tower thing. And we went Toronto 614 service and we saw elephants and we almost went into the hockey hall of fame but time was running short and so was money. So we saw the front entrance. It was good. Then we started our trek home. We made a stop in Montreal where I couldn’t understand a single word the signs said because they were all in French and we stayed with Aurora’s cousin…whose name I can’t remember. We got lost a number of times with her in the car. Then we headed for the states. We decide to take route two through Vermont and New Hampshire and into Maine. Now you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. You may be sitting in your chair right now saying, “Travis why are you telling me the road you took that seems pointless”. I’m warning you if you have been driving for a really long time and you want o got to Bangor Maine don’t take route two. It takes you away from toll booths and all that business, but it is so long. I didn’t think that road would ever end I just wanted it to all be over. And it was over at sevenish at night. Most of you probably want this blog to be over as well so I will end now. I give you more details of this tale some other time. There will be another soon.


I can Blog again...finally

Okay guys I’m seriously bogging this time. I’m sitting down at a computer typing and I’m going to push post when this is all done. I finally have found some time to sit down and blob about stuff that has been happening in the mind and life of Travis. I think I just finished my personal longest stint of not blogging ever. Granted I haven’t even had this blog running for a year yet but almost. Besides being busy with work and going to Jenn and Josh’s wedding and other random stuff I think one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging so much is that I stopped doing my rations for a few weeks. This week and last week I have been on task but managed to push them out of my mind and do my regular life without my daily rations. I know it may sound odd but I really think that my blogging ability usually go hand in hand with my rations. I thought I just had writer’s block for a while. It’s really weird that something that should be automatic by now can still be pushed to the side by other stuff in my life, this should not be. I blame McDonald’s. Please pray that I reestablish that discipline again so that I don’t try to “fit it in” my day, but that it's a constant in my life. My spirit is willing but my body is weak. I hate it when that happens.


Sleep is overrated

I decide it’s a good time to blog considering it’s been over three weeks. This is a quick note to the two people leaving me a comment telling me to suck it up: It must be nice having a car to ride around in when it’s snowing. Besides I wasn’t even complaining I was just trying to be funny and I think I did an amazingly good job. Of course you two wouldn’t know funny if it side swiped while you were driving IN YOUR CAR!!!

The last few weeks have been interesting. I’ve been watching the Olympics which are always fun, working lots of hours and smelling like lots of grease, and plowing lots of ground and seeing lots of breakthrough. Last Sunday night we had a Teen Group sleepover. Aurora and I had a great idea to do a sleepover at the corps. So we did and it was fun. All of the guys had great dreams of playing Halo 2 until 5:00am and then going home and sleeping but it never happened. No one really mentioned Halo2 the entire night. There were a couple other PS2 games happening but no Halo. Aurora had a few things planned which put Halo out of the guys minds for a few hours but it never resurfaced. I was very surprised. The pudding drop/fight started it. We had two people lay on the ground and someone else stood on a chair and drop pudding into the person’s mouth on the ground. As you can guess it got ridiculously messy and Aurora decided to try to put a little bit f pudding on someone else’s face and then the trouble started. Everyone was fair game. Pudding was on everyone’s hand and they were going for the face. Chris Burr and I were the only ones who escaped but I decide to go to a different place to get away and I got caught…my hair and hoodie may never smell the same again. Then we did hide and seek and Sardine’s in the dark for about three more hours, that was tons of fun. Some games we never grow out of. Every guy talked about drawing on the face of the first person who fell asleep, but they were all talk. No Sharpies appeared at any point in the night. I thought about it a couple times but I figured they would remember and this probably won’t be the last sleepover before I leave. Near the end of the night we had decide to entertain ourselves by watching The Olympic ice dancing competition. Rather than watch it I enjoyed laughing at the costumes. Some of them looked absolutely ridiculous. One girl looked like she had the top part of a cake scraped off and put on her as a dress. It was all flowery and bright like a wedding cake. I guess some things seem funnier at three in the morning. It was all down hill after that. Even though we inhaled an immense amount of soda, chips, ice cream, pudding and other not healthy stuff we consumed, eventually we all fell asleep (even if it was only for a few hours) and woke up to the infamous three minute outgoing message on the Bangor Corps answering machine. Although I was wrecked during my whole six hour shift at McDonalds on Monday I think it was worth it. More sleepovers still to come.


You might live in Maine if...

I have noticed that there are number of things that I have seen happen here in Bangor that I believe only happen in Maine, and i have decide to tell you about it all. Most of this has to do with winter because I’m still really cold.

You might live in Bangor, Maine if…
…you need to scrape the ice off the inside of your car windows as well as the outside.
…at twelve degrees with three inches of snow everyone says hey this is a mild winter.
…there are seven foot tall snow drifts in every store parking lot.
…your teeth feel cold after being outside for only a few seconds.
…the number of cars on the road doesn’t change when it’s a bright clear day and when there’s a foot of snow on the ground.
…when people talk you here an h sound where there should be an r.
…Canadians travel back north to a warmer climate.
…you find a pale pasty white Floridian.
…part of the daily news segment tells you how the snow on the mountain is for skiers.
…you would rather deal with a hurricane than this weather.

Ba ha ha ha…Jeff Foxworhty ain’t got nothin in me.


Super Bowl Sunday!!!!

Okay so I was wrong in my Super Bowl score prediction but that’s okay because I was right about the winner and that’s all that matters. First of all Sunday morning was great we had a guest speaker by the name of Rob Bell. Doug pulls this guy out to do the sermon sometimes. He talked about discipleship. In biblical times it was a compliment if some one said to you “may you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi”. A disciple follows every move and does everything the same way his Rabbi does so he can be just as good as or even better than his rabbi. Maybe that’s what Sting is talking about in the song “I’ll be Watching You”…probably not. I wonder how many people watch the way our Spiritual leaders do things. How can we ever try to be as good as (or better than) them if we don’t follow the lead that they give. Almost everyone looks up to some one and if we follow the lead of that person eventually it’s going to end up showing that we’re following Jesus and that is what we need to strive for isn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to try to be like Jesus?

After the Sunday morning worship we went hom and then camp back of the mother of all Sports event…SUPER BOWL XL!!!!! Woo Hoo. I supplied every one with cheez-its and Doug and Deb did the rest. We had a three foot long Subway sandwich, tortilla chips with salsa, cookies, Pepsi and a number of other food stuff we didn’t really didn’t need but we ate anyway because it was there. I swung my terrible towel and I rooted for Pittsburgh, and I laughed at commercials and I laughed at Nick and the comments he made and I had fun. It was cool beans.

Just in case anyone hasn't heard yet
Final Score: Seattle 10
Pittsburgh 21


Super Bowl XL prediction

Just for the record: this is the first bolg that I out up that thas anything to do wiht football. I think that's a great accomplishment for me. As I've been saying for the past two weeks the Steelers will beat the Seahawks. No it's not a wrod form the Lord I asked him and he told me to guess.

Steelers 31
Seahawks 24


Will & Grace

It’s been a long time since Sunday, (almost a week) but I am finally blogging about what was said that day by Aurora Borealis (Atell). I would have done this earlier, but I decided to wait a few days rather than blog Sunday night. By Tuesday evening everything was just a faint memory. Luckily for me and all my faithful blog readers (however few they may be) Major Doug Burr is a genius. It’s taking every bit of energy I have not to hit the backspace button. He records every sermon so I listened to it today as a refresher course. Aurora was on the program to deliver a sermon to us and she did very well. It was all about Will& Grace. Before you ask the answer is No (maybe) she doesn’t watch too much TV. Our God id a god of grace not will. When Jonah finally got the idea that he can’t run from God, after being inside a nasty fish for a few days, he went to Nineveh and they repented and God had Grace. When the Israelites attacked Jericho (as God had instructed) there was grace for Rahab and her family because they helped the Israelite spies. She was guilty of Espionage and was spared. So does that mean she was like the first James Bond?? God is not a GO of Will which is stagnant and never changing he doesn’t have keep everything the same and never change. He is a God of Grace and a God of love. Hallelujah.



I realize this is long but please read it all.

I just finished watching a movie that I hadn’t watched in a long long long time: “The Never Ending Story”. The Power House Teen Center had a movie night held here at the Bangor Corps. I don’t know how many of you have actually seen it recently or remember it that well, but there is apart of the movie where this mysterious Nothing that is sweeping across Fantasia is described. This part really stood out in my mind because of the way things are described, it made me wonder if it was put this way for a reason. In the movie where Atreyu (the hero of the movie) is confronting this beast that has been coming after him for a good portion of the movie and he asks the beast what he knows about the Nothing that is sweeping across Fantasia? It’s leaving behind…nothing; the land is being destroyed into non-existence. The beast (G’Mork) describes the Nothing as “It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it…people have begun to loose there hope and forget there dreams so the Nothing grows stronger”. He is then asked why and this is his response, “Because people who have no hopes are easy to control; and whoever has control has...the power! I am the servant of the power behind the Nothing. G’Mork basically says he’s a demon serving Satan and helping him bring people into this sense of hopelessness and despair and depression so they can be controlled.

I see it as a message for Christians. We have to be guarding ourselves against this sense of hopelessness that comes after us. It creeps in on us at times when we least expect it and when we’re most vulnerable. If we don’t combat against this feeling it will overtake us and take us out of the fight for Christ and render us ineffective. I have seen this oppression take its toll and work on people here in Bangor. That has got to be one of the saddest thoughts in the world: a Christian who can’t fight because they feel it’s too hard, and it’s pointless to try. Yes, there are times in our lives when sadness comes and grieving is, at times, a very good thing, but we can’t stay in that state. We need to fight and work through stuff that is trying to pull us down so that we can do everything in our power to win the battle’s that are we find in our daily lives that are on our battlefronts. When we fight we know we can have victory because Christ made us more than conquerors. We're on the front lines!!

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV) Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


I have a question

I watched History in the making last night when (that's what the guy on TV said) a different political party took power in Canada's government. All that I got from watching CBC was that Conservatives had a larger number than the Liberals. Aurora was not happy but couldn't really explain to me what was happening either. Is there a Candian that could please clarify exactly what happened? That would be great. I thought a new Prime Minister was being elected, but I didn't hear anything about that at all for the hour and a half that I watched...whatever was happening.

Christmas Party!!!!

I went to The Salvation Army Family Store Christmas Party this past Sunday. I thought it was odd that they waited until a moth had passed to do the party, but it seemed like Christmas all over again when we opened our presents form our secret Santa’s. Unfortunately for a lot of people a secret doesn’t stay a secret for long around the Family Store. We had a summer type theme so most of the people dressed up in beach type or warm weather type clothes. I put on my Florida gear (swim shorts and a sleeveless shirt) and then my Maine gear (two pairs of jeans, two shirts, one hooded sweatshirt, a hat and a parka) on top of that. We played volleyball for a good hour and a half and never bothered to keep score and we ate and opened our presents and left. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t seem like everyone was enjoying it as much as a regular Christmas party. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t talking and having a great time just spending time together like people normally would. Chris (Burr) was counting the minutes until he could finally get out of there but he’s always like that unless he’s snowboarding paintballing or doing anything that has nothing to do with TSA. Everybody just seemed to be waiting for something to happen and it never did so they all went. Maybe they were hoping for another volleyball game or some other game to play but there was nothing so it seemed like an awkward ending to the party. When we got our presents the party was pretty much over. I know most of you have never been to Bangor, Maine much less the Family store but if any body has any insight let me hear it please.