Thursday, February 24, 2011

As of now...

My senior year of high school I decided to read the book of Isaiah every night instead of buying a cheesy teenage girl daily devotional. Not that teen devotional books are bad, I could just never get into them. I found myself in the middle of reading about war. I remember journaling things like, “Who the heck is fighting who and why?” and “God, you are harsh and I don’t think I like it.” Isaiah is filled with 66 chapters of vengeance and justice. Needless to say, my uncertainty and curiosity about this book went on for awhile. Then I came to Isaiah 49:6:
It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
Then it clicked. My life is this light. It’s not enough for me to love going to my church –I’m called to something bigger! God wanted my life and more for my soul. This excited me beyond belief. I decided to decoratively write this verse on my feet because I knew they were going to literally take me and walk the redemptive love of Christ to the ends of the earth. Plus, it looked cool and, like everyone else, I went through a phase where I desperately wanted a tattoo. I took this verse to heart, but I had no idea what I was saying yes to. The excitement of this revelation of God’s will for my life calmed down a little as time went on. Not because I felt Him less, but because “ends of the earth” is a very general location and I’m pretty sure that I qualify as a Gentile.
Fast forward two years and I’m headed to Bulgaria! I only know of this place because of a geography test I had to take in ninth grade, but I’m going to live there for three whole months. I am beside myself with excitement that I was chosen to be a part of Immerse with such wonderful people. What an opportunity this is to learn and grow and be stretched in unimaginable ways.
To be honest with you, I have absolutely no idea what I’ve gotten myself into. I have an obnoxious habit of pulling my planner out at least four times a day –it helps me feel like I have control over things. All I really know about my summer is the people I’m going to be working with and the country we are going to be in. Like I said, I’m being stretched J
What I do know is that right now, I am called to something BIG by a being even BIGGER than what is comprehendible. “[T]he ends of the earth.” is Bulgaria. The Gentiles are a beautiful group of people stuck in a post-communist way of thought. My life has been made light and I want to use it to restore the creation that God cares about most: His people. This is what it’s like to be three months away from taking His salvation to the ends of the earth.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where I'm at right now

I think I speak for all of us when I say that the most frustrating part of all of this is not knowing what we're going to be doing there. Whenever I hear about long term trips of this nature, one of the things I hear people go through is wondering if what they're doing there is making any difference, if it even matters. And prone to anxiety as I am, I'm already starting to feel some of that.

In working through it, I simply asked myself, "What are we going there to do?" Plain and simple. The most basic answer I can give is that we are going there to live. But following from that, it occurred to me that we are going to live, for 3 months, in a world that we do not know. To the point, we are going there to live, for 3 months, in a world that has been torn apart by war, oppressive regimes, and religious & ethnic hatred. Eastern Europe has been marginalized and mostly forgotten about, except when the rest of the world feels threatened by its increasing misfortunes. Caught between the always in-vogue Western Europe and the volatile Middle East, countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, & Albania are often blacked out in our worldview.

So while we don't know what we're doing yet, this is why we are going. And regardless of what we get done, how much we help, or how "effective" we are, we know that our calling is to something much greater. It is to share life with those whom our savior has called blessed. We have been called to be with the "least of these", those whom the world has forgotten about. In other words, we are called to love. Love: that is, through God and God alone, what we're going to do.

- Jake

First things first

Здравейте! (Hello!)

This is the blog for The Razgrad/Varna Immerse team! We decided to start a blog to keep all of our families, friends, stalkers, etc. up to date on how we're doing, in preparation and also the trip itself. The name of our blog, we hope, will set the tone for it: we want it to be open, raw, emotive, and concrete. We want you to see what's it's like. 

So, the trip. We are going to Razgrad & Varna, both of which are cities in Bulgaria. We are going as part of a larger effort known as Immerse, in which there are 5 teams being sent to various locations across Eastern Europe. Most of these teams will be spending 12 weeks in one location. Ours is a little different, as we will be spending about 5 weeks in Razgrad, and then spending the remaining 7 weeks in Varna. The other teams are going to:
Sofia, Bulgaria
Vidrare, Bulgaria
Sighisoara, Romania ( 
Gorre, Albania
We would love to tell you what we'll be doing in Razgrad/Varna, but... we don't really know yet! Our understanding is that we will be helping with a church plant in Varna, and our time in Razgrad will be in preparation for that.
Here is our team:

From left to right: Jake Resor; Bailey Bussell; Katelyn Hays; Graham Scott

Bailey Bussell is a Sophomore Religion Major
Katelyn Hays is a Sophomore Social Work Major
Jake Resor is a Junior Religion Major
Graham Scott is a Sophomore Religion & History Major

Future posts will most likely be written by each of us individually, so.. ya. That's it.