CoversmalpngSinging the Do It Yourself Messiah is my absolute favorite thing to do ever.  I love going with my friends, but I have met really interesting people going by myself too.

The first year I went, a woman came by, looked at the empty seat next to me, and asked me if I knew what I was doing. I told her I'd sung Messiah every year for the last five years with a great choir, so she deigned to sit next to me.  

I can't blame her, it's no fun sitting next to someone who isn't singing, especially as a soprano that sometimes screeches.  Somehow it's ok if we're all screeching together, but if the person next to you isn't singing, not so much.  There was a woman talking at intermission this year in the restroom.  She said that she was sitting next to three people that weren't singing, and the guy next to her made a face and covered his ear when she hit a particularly high note.  Kind of takes the fun out of it, you know?

One year I got a seat towards the front, but I was irritated because there was a young boy with an obviously brand new score sitting down the row from me. Great, someone who won't sing, and will grimace when I hit lovely notes.  And where are his parents?!  I fumed until we started to sing and the most glorious sound I've ever heard came from his direction. A boy soprano. 

#4 Where the streets have no name

Lost My friend Coleen calls me St. Nora the Perpeptually Lost.

She's right. 

So of course my GPS is my most prized possession.  But, it doesn't work in mmmBELLYmay land.  We don't really have addresses there.  Or street names.  Stuff like that.

One day I was out running errands with a friend.  We didn't know the way back to where we were staying, so we asked someone for directions.  I promptly goofed them up.  We didn't realize it at first, just kept driving,  the road getting rougher and rougher.  I finally stopped when the road ended in a pile of rubble that even 4wd couldn't handle.  I'd just started to turn the truck around, when the guy who'd given us the directions rode up on his bike, all out of breath.  He'd been chasing us the whole time, but we didn't see him.  He was so sorry we'd gotten lost (my fault, not his directions).  After he'd apologized over and over, he led us all the way out to the main road.

I love living in  Africa.

John Ortberg had a great GPS story in his book The Me I Want to Be.  Totally speaking my language.  He said:

"At one point while driving in this unfamiliar territory, I was quite sure the GPS voice was wrong.  It said to go left, but I didn’t go left.  I went right because I knew it was wrong.  Then in a fascinating response, the GPS voice said, “Recalculating route.  When safe to do so, execute a U-turn.”  But I knew the voice was still wrong…so I unplugged the GPS.  And – would you believe it? – I got crazy lost! …So we plugged the GPS back in, and do you know what the voice said?

I told you, you little idiot.  You think I’m going to help you now?  There’s no way.  You rejected me.  You just find your own way home!

Of course, the voice didn’t really say that. 

And God isn’t like that either."

Plastic plans and projects

bags You’ve met  Philomena before.  I showed her how to use plastic bags to crochet.  What a great plan, huh?  Clean up the village a little bit, reduce litter, create income … perfect!  My only part, after teaching her how to attach the bags was saving colored plastic bags for her every time I went shopping.  I thought that would add variety to the black ones you see blowing in the wind, and it’s still reusing, right?  It does make the project a little dependent on me bringing back plastic bags, though.

Last time I came back with a load of plastic bags, I found out that Philomena was supplementing the colored ones with black ones…that she bought new at the market.

Granted, they’re cheap, she’s still making money, and we’re still recycling the colored ones.  But, this was not what I was going for!  It doesn’t really matter what I was going for, though, does it?  I am a guest in mmmBELLYmay land.  If my very gracious and patient hosts take my ideas and change them to make them their own, more’s the better.

Eddie’s take on the Bible

Crafting and recording
This is a photo of two guys practicing telling God's story in mmm-BELLY-may.  Goes nicely with what Eddie Arthur has to say about the Bible.  He says it better than I could, and he talks about story, so you know I love it.  Please, take the time to read it, it's totally worth it.

The Value of the Bible, by Eddie Arthur

"The Bible is not a book of religious ideas or rules and regulations
(though it does have some of those). Quite simply, it is a story; a
love story told by God himself. In the Bible we read how God reaches
out to fallen humanity calling men and women back to himself to share
in the peace, shalom, which is part of his own nature. It tells how,
ultimately, God steps into the world in human form to reveal himself
and to die on the cross to open a way for humanity to be reconciled to
him and then rises again in triumph defeating death and ushering in
God’s reign over creation.

But though the Bible gives us the authentic record of the story
God’s relationship to his creation: that story isn’t finished. As we
read the record of what God has done, we find ourselves being drawn
into the story as participants. The experiences of the Bible characters
as they grow to understand how God loves and care for them become our
experiences and the disciples responsibility to take this story to the
ends of the earth becomes our responsibility. Careful readers of the
Bible are drawn together and slowly, and all too imperfectly, are built
into communities which demonstrate the peace and justice of God to the
wider world.

So the Bible has a dual role; it informs us about God and how he
cares for and deals with his creation, but it also has the capacity to
draw people to God who transforms them and their communities bringing
his reign and his peace to the world through them.  Either one of these
would make it an extraordinary book, but the fact that the Bible gives
us both makes it of inestimable value to all people on the planet –
whether they realise it or not."