Monday, July 14, 2008

Whirlwind and Freefall

These two words capture the past two weeks at the Garman home. A little over two weeks ago we had no renters and no leads. Very quickly we felt blessed with what should be a great situation. Last week we took the Youth Ministry to summer camp, Global Youth Camp that it. If there is a better way for a group of students to spend a week of their summer together, I have not found it. The staff at Global Youth Ministry has been critical in the development of the Youth Ministry at Stafford Baptist Church, and camp was another great experience. I wish every adult in our church would take a turn accompanying the students.. We returned on Friday Night. That has been the whirlwind portion, but yesterday was the freefall. Yesterday I stepped down from my position as Associate Pastor at Stafford Baptist Church in preparation for the big move to Iceland. It was like a freefall for several reasons. 

1. My work there has been the only job of my adult life. I know nothing else.

2. Iceland is on our doorstep and there is no turning back.

3. I have enjoyed it so much that I hate the idea of moving from the comfortable to the unknown.

To close, I wish every Pastor could say the sort of goodbye (if I can even really call it that, at least it is officially) that I did yesterday. A weeping, joyful, thankful goodbye. I now know what it means to love a church through the joyful growth, challenges, and changes of seven years. It was an exciting day to preach and I am thankful to Pastor Bill that he opened up the opportunity. Pastor Bill, the man who often sees things in people before they do., for this I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Darcy Doodle's Dental Disaster

Well we knew it would happen some time. One of our children would experience some sort of bodily injury and if we were lucky only lose a tooth. Tonight was the night and the playground was the scene of the crime. As Darcy made an attempt to climb something a little too difficult for her, she had a facial collision with a metal bar and knocked one of her two top front teeth. She took it like a champ. Cried for a little bit, but not really a whole lot.

...Her mother and sister on the other hand are a different story. Haley was concerned when Darcy fell, but watched eagerly as I assessed the damage. When I finally pronounced that Darcy had lost a tooth, Haley began weeping hysterically for her little sister. At one point I was taking care of Darcy who was not crying anymore and Haley and Annie were both crying uncontrollably. Darcy and I looked at each other thinking, "What in the world happened to those two?" Classic.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pride-Shattering Prose

Philippians 2:17

ἀλλὰ εἰ καὶ σπένδομαι ἐπὶ τῇ θυσίᾳ καὶ λειτουργίᾳ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν χαίρω καὶ συγχαίρω πᾶσιν ὑμῖν

But even if I am poured out as a drink-offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I myself rejoice and I rejoice with every one of you.

In the past few days God has been centering me on his Potter's wheel. Corners of my soul where there have been rebel outposts of self-centered pride and man-exalting fear have been targets of a counter-insurgency by the gracious spirit of God to place me humbly before his sculpting hands. I can't exactly say that it has been entirely fun, but the awareness of God's love to be at work in me is as rewarding as it is uncomfortable. 

The passage above is a beautiful example of how God arrests our prideful focus for observable results with examples of people who have had a willingness to sacrifice themselves before the Lord and let that be enough. Paul wanted the Philippians to shine, holding forth the word of life and living together without murmuring and disputes for the glory of God's gospel. But if they did not, he would rejoice that he was able to pour himself out as a drink-offering (maybe like David did with the water) before the Lord. He was Content to know that his life was a sweet display of worship for God's rejoicing.  So, again I find myself guilty of loving myself and the praise of others too much, and loving my God too little. I am a deeper sinner than I thought, but thanks be to Go Jesus is a greater Savior than I thought as well.



The theme of this blog is Bolt, yes bolt.

Bolt Bus is a great idea. Once you actually get to the bus and boarding is complete it is quit possibly the best way to travel between DC-NY-BOS. Why? First of all, free wi-fi. I have enjoyed the ability to send/receive e-mail, blog, check the news, and even communicate with Carol to rearrange my pick-up in Springfield. The seats are leather and comfortable and th driver is quite pleasant. The cost is $20 and I do not think you can beat it. There are multiple trips daily and I highly recommend you give it a try.

While receiving e-mail on Bolt Bus I got a picture ofme making a Bolt for the finishing line at the 10K the other night. Thanks David.

You can see it here.

Stranger in a Strange Land: NY City with Luggage

I learned this morning how hard it is to be a stranger in a strange land. Yesterday I left the familiarity of Reykjavik, Iceland for the jungle of New York City. I have been to NY on severl occassions, but never without a car and cell phone. It is amazing how hard adjusting is when you do not have these two beautiful modern conveniences.

Last night I picked up a cab from JFK airport to my hotel. The cab driver had never heard of my hotel and did not know the street information I gave him. We eventually made it, but it was my first dive into the Abyss of dependency on public transport, and I was already feeling like fish out of water (or a land mammal under water).

This morning was ridiculous. I left myself 1.5 hours to make it to my 9:30 AM Bus (Bolt Bus NY2DC) on 33rd St. in Manhattan and missed it by 20 minutes. It sounded simple, "Bus Q20a to the Long Island Railroad #7 train and switch the #2 at Times Square until you get to 34th St. " I could do it again in much quicker time but the first of everything is always a strange adventure. I missed the Q20a twice as I discovered first that I was at the wrong bus stop, and second that the bus does not take dollar bills or a credit card. I had a very similiar experience a the train station as the automated fare center rejected all of my credit cards and I had to find an ATM to get cash for the cash only walk-up fare center. When I finally got to the #7 train they had shut down the express train which skips 2/3 of the stops and goes directly to Times Square and had to board the train making every local stop.

So instead of taking the 9:30 am bus to DC I am taking the 11:30 am bus. Not that big of a deal, but you must understand that I had my luggage from my Iceland trip with me the entire way. I told Annie Tuesday that it would be an adventure getting around NY when I returned and that I was looking forward to it. Except for the fear that I would get back too late to pick Annie up from the airport I manage not to worry a whole lot about the unfortunate morning run around. I had been equipped a few days earlier by Kristen Marks' blog about bad days blog and found myself trying to think of all the ways that God is in the midst of this crazy experience.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iceland for a Week

It has been a full week. Here are some of the things I have been up to:

- On Friday I tried to recover from the flight and arrival. I woke up and then spent the day getting some things in order (like minutes for my telephone) and contacting people I needed to see while I was here. I began my house search, met with our past landlady, and then in the evening I met Jon and Marissa's Bible study group(Dagny, Katrinn, Wilborg, Jon Kristinn, Thorra and one other of whom I can't remember how to say her name) for dinner and a trip to the Icelandic Gospel Fest (a first time event that has been a collaborative effort from different groups).

- Saturday morning I did a talk on Prince Caspian and the Themes of C.S. Lewis as a part of the seminar series connected with the gospel fest. The talk was at 10:00 am so it was quite a difficult wake up for me at 8:45 local time (4:45AM EST). Afterward I met with Kjartan Jonson, one of the leaders of SALT Christian Fellowship, followed by a nap, some car shopping, an evening run (6 miles along the bay) and some prep for my next talk the following morning.

- Sunday at 10 AM I was scheduled to speak again for one of the events connected to the gospel fest, so I had to wake up again at 8:45 local time. All went well and was followed by some music prep with Siggy for an evening worship service with SALT. I saw some friends Andres and Lilja for the first time and enjoyed talking with them. The gospel fest had some offsite music events in restaurants as a way to promote the bigger festival. When someone dropped off the schedule I was asked to play a few songs at The Perlan (Pearle) a rather expensive restaurant and dandy tourist attraction. For those that have been, I was on the top floor and then at the very top in this little circle setup. It is the highest point inside the building and I was awestruck by the view of the city the entire time, especially becuse the entire room rotates one full time an hour (see picture above). It was at 8 PM and I met some nice people who were also doing some music. One of the guys was from Charlotte, so that was nice to talk with him. I was especially flattered when one of the waiters came up to the top of the place where we were playing and said, "some of our guest would like to know who you are? What is your name?"

- Monday I met with Sveinbjorn to get some things in order before my visit to immigration. I had never met him before this trip, but he is the father a vey good friend David. It was very helpful and set me up for success at UTL(immigration). When I left immigration at 1:15PM I felt like I had all the answers necessary to finish our application packet. I then followed up on a lead for an apartment by visiting the owner of Antikhusid in downtown. Sure enough she had an apartment and we spent some time talking and made plans to arrange a visit with the current inhabitants. Following that it was off to Andres and Lilja's so they could help me read the auto ads in Icelandic. It was nice to visit there new place and see there wedding pictures and I can now navigate through the Icelandic auto website (very important skill). I was near David's workplace so I stopped by to see one of the coolest buildings in the city. In the evening I had dinner with Hermann, Lars, an Kjartan and participated in the race that is mentioned in a previous post.

-Tuesday I woke up a little later and spent some time reading and refreshing in the morning. The visit to the aforementioned apartment was had after a return call from the resident. Whn I walked in I was so impressed I didn't know what to say. It is a great place and I think I will recommend it as my first choice. It is cheaper than most furnished places, has a nice open kitchen and living area, and two bedrooms. It was the nicest place I saw all week. By happenstance in the afternoon I stumbled upon an Icelandic language school after taking in afternoon coffee with Bing, Ying-Zi, and Brian Allen Smith III. After speaking with the teacher I was ready to sell all and take up language training. The man named Olygur was so passionate about teaching Icelandic well that I wanted to start immediately. After that I met with the ownr of the earlier mentioned apartment to talk terms. By then it was about 7:45PM and time to go to Jon and Marissa's for burgers. It was nice to relax and talk with them and Thorra.

Through the entire trip there has been intermixed visits to car lots and other apartments of no consequence, but as you can see it has been a hefty week. Tomorrow I return to the States for an NY city adventure and return to VA. I haven't decided, but I think I am going to take the bolt bus home to DC and then beg someone for a ride. So you might get a call.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reykjavik Miðnæturhlaup á Jónsmessu 2008

Maybe tomorrow night I will post about what I have been up to the last couple of days (busier than I expected), but tonight was a purely recreational event with David, Fjola, and Molle. The Midnight Run 3k, 5k and 10k. David ran the 5k, and I ran the 10k. A few things about the midnight run:

1. It was not at midnight, but 10:10 PM local time. 

2. It was beautiful and sunny the entire race. 

3. The race ends at the largest public hot pool in Reykjavik

It was really a fun event and I was amazed at how big of a crowd came out for the race. I must say that racing at 10:00 is much better than the 7 AM start. I really enjoyed the time afterward sitting in the pool with David and Fjola and soaking my weary legs. I felt good the entire race and came in at an unofficial time of 45:45. I was very pleased and I even got a little medal for finishing.