August 4, 2008

The Sickness From the Black Lagoon

{My wife and I south of Mazar having an Afghan Picnic}

I work up this past Saturday at 7am with a fever of 103 and convulsing muscles. Excess amounts of vomiting followed leaving me dehydrated in a way I think only Bear Grills [of Man vs. Wild] could possibly imagine. We called an American doctor friend who firmly insisted I drink more salty water than is humanly possible and posture myself before the maker of the universe. I’ve done both things and woke up this morning mutated into some kind of BLACK TONGUED MUTANT. Yes that’s right folks - I’m in Afghanistan and my tongue is black. In related news, I’m joining the X-Men…

{our friend TANK MAN}

I’m not gonna lie, these past couple weeks have been hard. Sure I haven’t eaten solid food in 48 hours and my mouth looks like I could personally solve the world oil crisis, but even emotionally it has just been really taxing. Living in a WAR torn country dose that to you I suppose. Poverty surrounds you. Violence surrounds you and you begin to feel helpless. Yet it’s the vary nature of our new creation that indeed makes helplessness expire and grace evolve. Perhaps we are just crazy enough to believe that what we are doing here is helping change things. I know I am…a little crazy that is.

The past weeks have seen further work in our NGO office as well as time spent in a local orphanage. We’ve all also been working on various projects for local NGO long-termers to help provide them with solid media & photography to raise funds and spread awareness. Diane photographed the local women’s prison {you can check out a bunch of her shots on her blog right now} which is in absolutely ludicrous conditions. Further, once you make the recollection that when a woman goes to prison in Afghanistan her children go with her, those conditions are even more mind numbing. Babies being raised in rubble – children playing in barbed wire. Yes I’m tired…but the Lamb is at work…

{Bread for Life - is a project I have been working on
which serves to support local Afghan believers in
opening bakeries, sustain community and freely 
feed the pour - i.e. Afghans Feeding Afghans}

The relationships I have built with local Afghans are the dearest things to me now. For while I feel at times I am taking more from this country {in photography} than I am giving back, these friendships are honest. On a personal level they have really toiled to close the gap between east & west, rich & pour, and muslim & christian. I have grown weary of the personification within my faith that pushes strictly for conversion. I find more often than not that this mentality negates the need to live out the established Kingdom. Francis of Assisi often said that "there is no point in walking anywhere to preach, unless ones walking is ones preaching." A sentiment I wholly agree with. These men (and women) I love are REAL people, with REAL problems, in a REALLY oppressive culture, living in a staggering disposition to half-truths, violence, and anger, and if we are REALLY honest with ourselves, we won't see much of a difference between their world and our own. We all must overcome and we all hold within us the beauty & truth of our maker. GRACE MUST BE LIVED, NOT PREACHED...

...After all, what mere words could possibly make manifest the fulness of His grace? 


Anonymous said...

papa sweesome!
your words are an encouragement to my heart.
and a challenge as well.....grace should be lived not wow wow.
i'm in awe of your wisdom!

not to mention my laptop is singing your tunes :)

Anonymous said...

I am in awe of your adventure and yet so proud of the lives the two of you are leading.
The walk and the path you two are on. I get choked up when I read Your Blogs.
You are the hands and the voice, May your Spirit be Lifted Up and your bodies healed, for the price has been paid.
Man dose not live on bread alone.

And you are right, for the eyes of your new friends are looking upon you. They hear what you say when you do what you do.

Keep up the good work.
Keep your head down and stay Safe.
From You know who. From you know where.

Steven Schallert said...

actually I don't know who or from where...I would love to know...thank you so much for the encouragement!