Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Happy Campers

One of the things that we as a team strongly believe in, is that God wants to reach and change the world through local churches. That is why we not only want to tell students about Jesus here in LT but we also want to serve the church in ways that we can.

The guys on our team met with the leadership of our local church here in Kaunas 3 months ago to talk about ministry and to see how we could serve them better. One of the things they mentioned was helping them set up their summer camp. The Lithuanian Free Churches have held summer camps for the last 6 years and it has been a great program that unites and encourages all ages.

So last Friday 6 of us went to help construct the camp. The camp is a farmers field located in a beautiful area of Lithuania on a lake. When we got to the field we unloaded the huge moving truck and built a camp from the ground up. We dug the toilets and started pitching tents. We even set up a 40 foot high water tower for the kitchen and showers. We had a great time doing some physical labor as we worked, ate, and slept beside fellow church members.

We worked hard and played hard too. One thing we did later in the evening, since the sun sets after 10 and stays light till past 11, was play soccer. And well I (Matt) never have really played soccer outside of gym class as a kid, and lets just say I play soccer a lot like football. Not so much finesse and ball handling skills, just go for the ball and apologize if I run over anyone in the process. We had fun but I don't think they'll ask me to join the church team anytime soon.

I had a great time the last 5 days helping in setup.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Singin' in the Rain

I love thunder and lightning storms. Maybe it's because I'm from the Northwest where the rain is usually drizzly, cold and well, boring.

We've been having a lot of thunder and lighting storms here lately. It's strange how warm it stays during these storms. My favorite part is when it begins to rain so hard that the streets instantly have rivers running down them.

So, a few weeks ago as Matt and I were trying to decide where to go for our "date night," it began to rain like that - really hard and really loud!

I looked out the window. . .

. . . I looked back at him. . I looked out the window. . .

"Come on honey - let's go for a walk - RIGHT NOW!!! He thought I was crazy but was willing to humor me.

We were the only ones walking down Laisves gatve (main st.) and we got a lot of funny looks from people standing in doorways. I think they were just jealous.

All in all, I think Matt had a good time!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A pain in the gut

. . . Warning. . .this entry was written for my friends and family who have an interest in the medical field. . .

Well about 2 weeks ago I ate some Lithuanian pancakes for breakfast and my stomach freaked out and was cramping up the rest of the day. The next day was worse after eating and I was laying down part of the day in intense stomach pain. The rest of that week it hurt on and off depending on what I ate.

Then a week ago on Saturday I was feeling curious so I tried the pancakes again to see what would happen and lets just say it wasn't the best idea. I had more severe cramping and then started throwing up every 2 hours. Not many fond memories of that day. It did however make me realize I should go to see a doctor.

I went to a clinic last Thursday that specializes in diagnosing problems. They ran me through several tests for 3 hours but I must say the best was the endoscopy. I knew they were going to stick a tube down my throat and take pictures of my stomach but what I didn't know was that I had a choice of i.v. anesthesia or not. I was told it would be 2 minutes of "uncomfortableness" if I didn't get knocked out. So, being the adventuresome and somewhat frugal lad that, I am I opted for toughin' it out.

The nurse smiled as I told her and then had me put on a huge thick t-shirt. She sprayed a little topical anesthetic in the back of my throat to numb my gag reflex. I then proceeded to lay on the test table on my side. She put a plastic piece in my mouth so I wouldn't bite down on the instrument and then the fun began. The nurse got the tube in position, which was about the size of my pinky finger, and said "Swallow." I did and she shoved the endoscope vigorously down my esophagus. The next two minutes were, lets say, interesting as I essentially had no control over my responses. I laid there gagging, drooling, and burping uncontrollably as snot flowed from my nose. I just tried to breath as they found the problem area and took a biopsy. Afterwards, I was a mess, as half my face was covered in mucus hence forth the huge thick t-shirt.

In all, it was a fun and memorable experience. They said I have an inflamed area in my esophagus just above my stomach. So with some drugs and an extremely lame diet it should be fine in a month.

And for all of you wikipedia fans, I must say it isn't always factual. You see I looked up endoscopy and it said, "Many endoscopic procedures are considered to be relatively painless and, at worst, associated with mild discomfort." Mild discomfort? It sucked!

However, I also must say it was amazing to just walk into a clinic and only three hours and 5 tests later, be able to receive my test results, diagnosis and five prescriptions for medications and all at a very reasonable cost! There are definitely pros and cons to receiving medical treatment overseas!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A speaking engagement

Peter and I had the opportunity last Friday to talk to the all the pastors of the Free Church denomination here in Lithuania. They asked us to come and talk about missions with them. So we talked shortly about what missions is and why its important, but we knew that these weren't the reasons churches don't get involved in missions. So Peter then led a time of discussion where the pastors talked about what they were currently doing in regards to misssions, what barriers are holding them back from doing missions, and what resources they have. It was a great discussion and it kept going after we left. The next day the pastors brainstormed practical ideas that they could do as next steps. We were thankful for the men God has called to lead churches in Lithuania and that He is calling them to spread the truth of the gospel and the love of God both here in Lithuania and to all the nations.

Last D&D

Well we had our last Dinner and Discussion a couple weeks ago and well it was a great yet sad night. Only 4 students showed up because everyone is trying to get their papers and projects in. It was cool though because 3 of the 4 students that came were the ones we have had the deepest relationships with.

The team got to share what we have appreciated about each of them and they loved it. We also asked them things they would change to make D&D better. Next we asked if they had any questions about the gospel or Agape, which led to some good conversations. Lastly, we asked how we can be praying for them this summer. They appreciated the offer and asked us some questions about prayer and how/why we pray.

In all it was a good night as we reminisced about how we all met and some of the memories form this last semester. The sad part was that 2 of the students are graduating and probably won't be back next year.