21 February 2013

Leaving Footprints

I cannot believe I haven't blogged about this yet.

Well, tada!

We're down to 38 days. The decision was almost impulsive. I've wanted to go back to India for a couple years now but the time has never been right. That was, until I heard a brief announcement about a trip to Mumbai that my church was hosting.

The announcement was like a whisper in my ears. Like, "Hey, Ninz. This is for you. Here's your chance."

So I jumped on it. And (not) coincidentally, I took the last spot available. It's exciting but nerve-wracking, too. This will be my first trip without my parents, the Indian natives. I know my skin is brown and I look Indian BUT I'm not. I may need to pack toilet paper...

But I digress, the two weeks I'll have there will be packed with exposure to some of the most impoverished areas of India I've ever seen. Living and visiting Kerala, I saw some poverty but the exposure was limited.

I'm also excited to meet the people that work for the Mar Thoma Church in Mumbai. The diocese itself is considered the "missionary diocese" and missions is its number one priority.

Now, I'm guessing here, but some of the places I'll visit are:

Navajeevan Centre - The centre includes a day and night care center for children, a women's unit focused on rehabilitation, empowerment and reintegration, primary and secondary education, and a vocational training center.

Kalyan Special School - aids in the education and development of mentally challenged children

The burden of this diocese is to cover more than 250 unreached villages in Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

Obviously, this trip will be transforming. And I'll be taking you with me!

18 February 2013

Weekend Recap

Oh, three-day weekend, you will always be loved.

It went by at a pace I can handle. The bro celebrated 23 years of life.

I've always been jealous of him.
He shares his birthday with one of the greatest men in the world.

My grandfather.
They were only 78 years apart.
Here we are. Pardon my hair... and outfit. Appachan (granddaddy to you) is holding my hand. I was always his favorite. He is missed greatly and the few moments I had with him will forever live in my memory. He's one of those people you want to go to Heaven for, you know?

It's been years since he passed, but it's one of those wounds that never fully heals. I rest in the hope I'll see him again soon.

So as you can imagine, my brother's birthday is a bittersweet celebration. But a celebration nonetheless.

The way the Mathew family celebrates

Tres Leches Cake. Frosting missing your mouth and smeared on your face instead. Love.

My brother and I are extremely close in age. We were each other's best friend and number one playmate growing up. That was until looking pretty became important to me and cars became important to him. Un-relatable. I call him an old soul. He looks and acts older than me and he's getting married next year, which makes me realize how grown up he really is. I love him a lot. Maybe too much.

But is there such a thing?

Tell me about your sibling bonds. What were you and your sibling  like? How does that translate into now?

08 February 2013

Cut them some grace.

The Westboro Baptist Church has offended everyone in some way. If they haven't offended you, you probably just haven't heard of them.

In a nutshell, it is an organization that exploits the name of God to hate on homosexuals, minorities, soldiers and the dead for publicity's sake. They were recently in the news for threatening to be at the Newtown funerals.

Considering all that, I was surprised to read that two sisters, Megan and Grace, one being an heir to the congregation, left the church. Read the article here.

Megan and Grace left everything that they've known their entire lives because they finally understand the grace that Christ freely gives.

The author writes, "Consider how traumatic it would be to know that your family is never supposed to speak to you again. Think of how hard it would be to have a fortress of faith built around you, and to have to dismantle it yourself, brick by brick, examining each one and deciding whether there’s something worth keeping or whether it’s not as solid as you thought it was."

Megan and Grace made a decision that I'm not sure if I'd be brave enough to do. Their present journey may be rough and lonely, but I know God has a reward for them in heaven.

I rejoice that Megan was able to understand, " that if the death penalty was instituted for any sin, you completely cut off the opportunity to repent. And that’s what Jesus was talking about."

Megan and Grace's wrote their own statement (read it here), "Up until now, our names have been synonymous with “God Hates Fags.” Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what we did."

Their hope is that the changes they make in their lives from here on out speak for themselves. And that's where we come in.

Pray for these girls as they try to figure out their lives apart from what they've been taught and raised to believe. Pray that they will not be the only ones to see that Westboro Baptist Church does not preach the love that our faith is about. And pray that God supplies people to support them, to care for them, and to love them.

Basically, cut them some grace.

04 February 2013

My best friend's wedding

Do you remember your first movie?

My Best Friend's Wedding was mine. It was the beginning of my love affair with Julia Roberts and that guy with the scar (you know who I'm talking about). I was eight at the time and the movie was not appropriate, like most of my childhood firsts. But that's another post.  

This weekend was literally my best friend's wedding. It was nothing like the movie, though I wish we sang, "I say a little prayer for you." 

I continue to relive the occasion through Facebook by looking through pictures and remembering all the special moments. I hear that weddings go by so fast but this one moved at a precious pace. 

Family and friends absorbed the day in all its glory. And so did the bride and groom. 

These two are especially close to my heart. I can't explain why; I'm not the clingy type but for them, my heart is soft. They are also the reason I will move to Houston in the near future. ;-) 

I had the privilege of standing next to Maize when she said her vows, exchanged rings and worshipped the Lord for the blessing that is Jon and his family. It's a privilege I hope to share with her soon enough, too.



Now girls, I know I'm skipping something. And I'm hesitating including this in fear of getting labeled as an "overly attached friend." I was scared of losing her pre-wedding. But post wedding, I can tell you that I haven't lost my BFFer and our friendship is no different. 

The girls that lose their friends to their husbands sometimes lose them out of their own selfishness. Don't let that be you. Instead: 

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

Rest in His Peace and path for your life and rejoice in these times of celebration!