BC Juniors Global

Join Barclay College students as they learn about Christian life, service, and leadership in the global classroom.

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Jesus’ Call

Every time I know I’ve heard from Jesus, the message is incredibly simple–one you could give to a child. Yet “simple” doesn’t mean “easy.” 

I want to tell you about my last message.

As I’ve already said, I don’t feel ready to leave Greece in a week. There’s too much beauty and redemption and hard, fulfilling work here to just walk away, untouched. Plus, the daily work and burdens we’ve been given to carry always feel harder and more ordinary than others’ seem to be (At least mine do). The moment we turn back and begin to journey home is always a hard one for me. 

But I do not want to be ungrateful for the time I have been given. 

I’ve rubbed shoulders with people wearing raw courage and contagious joy as the only barrier between them and the mocking What If’s of their life. Heartbreaking redemption stories are as common as most peoples’ stories of annoying commutes to work.

I’ve had a little girl run up to me and throw her arms around my neck and refuse to let go. So we walked and held each other and ignored the heat. And then she wanted to play, and I let her go. (Her family left camp early, so I never got to tell her how much I’d learned to love her in those short 3 days, how much I would miss her smile and sassiness.)

I’ve walked where Paul walked. (Nuff said!)

I got to be a part of an awesome team of people. I’ve laughed more on this trip than I have in a long time, and am so thankful that I got to live life with them for 3 weeks. (April, Tiffany, George, Josiah…I’m even #Blessed by y’all! πŸ™ƒ)

I had a mother come up to me and in broken English tell me about her family back in Afghanistan. I smiled at her pictures and responded as well as I could, until I suddenly understood what she was showing me: A picture of a healthy 5-year-old boy who had been killed, probably by the Taliban. It was her little boy. Her eldest son. 

Never have I been so very aware of the evil in the world. It had the power to wound a mama’ heart forever. To reach through time and bring darkness to a happy moment at a camp in Greece.

We, as a team, had several moments like this. 

The most incredible part is the believers who lived through this–“baby” Christians who still need teaching in things like when God starts accepting us (before or after baptism?)–they have understood something that I am only beginning to see after growing up in the faith. 

That something is this:

Jesus is the goal, himself. 

Don’t underestimate the simplicity of it. 

Let me try to explain what this means. So many times, we lose track of who we are, and spend our days a) building our own kingdoms or b) struggling to get to the point where we look like Jesus. 

Maybe neither are correct. 

Maybe Jesus is the goal. 

If that’s true, than nothing we do really makes a difference. Whether we struggle with jealousy, or unkindness, or financial responsibility. Whether we’ve yelled at our kids once or a dozen times today. If Jesus is the goal, then our job is merely to stay close to him. It’s his to show us when we need to change something. 

If Jesus is the goal, then no matter what happens to us, we’ll be ok. Whether a friend is dying of cancer, or you can’t find a job to support your family, or a legal case is resolved unjustly. Even if the Taliban kill your little boy. If we’re near Jesus, then nothing will break our spirits. 

The most amazing part of this is what Jesus gives us back. He’s not a harsh God who demands we come close, to kneel and receive his judgment for the day. Listen:

“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them–he remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. 

The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 

The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” 

–Psalm 146:5-9

I pray you know how much he loves you. Pray that we–the team and the new Christians we spent last week with–do, too. 


P.S. I have a hard time walking away from a chance to pick on people, soooo…a lighthearted postscript!

I’ve learned April is excited about buying an ugly fanny pack (weirdo!), and that Josiah kinda goes crazy when a painting on the wall isn’t straight, and that George eats a ridiculous amount of snacks on road trips. I have yet to learn that Tiffany is capable of walking near a table without injuring herself. 

And I’m still perfect. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for reading our blog!! Y’all are awesome. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ


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Pray in any language you wish…

Hey Y’all. This is Hannah–not sure if this is going to show up on Tiffany’s account or not. Tech and I still are frenemies. πŸ˜‰

It’s not usual for me to hesitate when asked to share about an experience–especially if it’s as amazing as one as traveling to another country! πŸ˜‰ 
Yet here I am, unsure of what exactly I’m going to say next.

I could tell you about the refugees: their community and family oriented culture; their love of strong, sweet hot tea; the way their kids run wild, lured in only by cookies or silly games. 

I could tell you about the first time I heard one of the little kids laugh. The sound was so full of absolute joy it caught me off guard and left me longing to hear more. Or the way they kids play a ridiculous version of Uno that demands all my someday-teacher skills and leave me speaking a weird mix of English and Farsi accent. 

I could tell you about my teammates–how awesome and ridiculous they are. 

     *How Josiah is always positive, even on the hard days–and how he keeps almost dying. (Coming soon: “Why Simply Walk Down the Stairs? 10 Reasons to Almost Break One’s Neck Instead” By Josiah)

     *How George has a super empathetic heart that constantly pushes us to recognize the humanity of each and every person–and how he keeps insisting on using Spanish even though we’re working with Greek or Middle Eastern people. (Why? No one knows…Also, ask him how he says “gluttony!”)

     *How Tiffany is the Team Leader Extraordinaire, staying organized and amazingly patient with our mess–and how we have a growing conviction of her klutziness. At the current rate, we’ll be down a team leader by Monday due to injuries from tripping, spilling, and general how-did-you-manage-that-exactly nonsense. (She also threw a box at April’s face. So there’s that.)

     *How April is bravely vulnerable about her struggles, and super fun to experience Greece with, since she’s so excited about all her “firsts”–and how she’s probably the *most* sane out of all of us…if that doesn’t scare you, you obviously don’t know her well! (Note: when I think of a really good roast for her, I’ll let ya know!) πŸ˜‰

     *How I’m perfect. AND important. They’re #blessed to have me along! 

I could tell you (serious stuff, again) about the way I feel like culture shock or the pain of all the hard situations we’ve encountered hasn’t hit me yet. But that I feel like each new situation tears a little of the barrier I’ve put between my sore heart and the stuff no amount of training can prepare you for. How I’m terrified and eager for what will happen if that barrier is finally broken. My life might be irrevocably changed in ways it needs to be changed, but it will be broken, regardless.

I could tell you about today, about a simple mistake that caused a big, complicated hurt. Yes. I think this is what I really need to write…A well-meaning adult let a girl (8 years old?) named Maadia hold a baby while she watched. Somehow Maadia and all the careful adults nearby were distracted at the same, crucial moment, and the baby slipped from the chair to the hard tile floor. Even though the baby was soon consoled and fine (minus a scare and a sad looking bruise), the guilt of that simple action weighed heavy on Maadia, leaving her inconsolable despite the kind attempts of the staff interns. I looked in her face and I somehow knew why. She was crying about the baby being hurt, yes. But she was also crying about all the other moments in her young life where desperate situations demanded more responsibility of her than was right for her to carry. About how she’d failed many of those, exponentially so. The thing about guilt is it’s either resolved, or it accumulates: layer on top of try-to-forget-that-too layer. 

Maybe she was too slow in packing her things to flee her country, and was yelled at when she needed comfort. Many of the refugees have a horrible time crossing by boat to Greece. Maybe she was asked by a beyond frantic mother to comfort a younger sibling, who was hungry and so refused to be comforted. Maybe she feels alienated from her family (who, as far as I know, are still Muslim). Who knows. I don’t know her story, and it is more than likely I’m putting much of this on her. This I do know: that little girl has already experienced much, much pain. I could see it hiding–barely held back–in her eyes, recognized it from the times I’ve stared, dull eyed and emotionless, at the reflection of my own eyes. But a lot of people have experienced pain. Some more, some less; some similar to mine or Maadia’s, but many different. Suffering, it would seem, is endlessly creative. (Don’t believe it. Joy is endlessly more so–I promise.) And at a certain point, counseling and strong wills and community can only do so much. 

We’re still left alone with our guilt in the crucial moments when no one came to save us. 

I believe Christianity–more specifically, Jesus Christ–offers the only true relief of that pain that haunts our days. He can meet you where you are, smack dab in the middle of the point where you are physically or emotionally incapable of continuing. Of waking up one more day or holding out your heart one more time. That’s why you can come honestly. That’s why you can, as someone reminded me today, “Pray in any language you wish.” 

Farsi, English, Greek. … Pain, Joy, Guilt. 

Jesus speaks them all.

If that doesn’t give us hope, may we learn to pray fearlessly, until it does.

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Love y’all. 


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Hurry. Write. Pack. Rush. 
Drive. Sit. Doze. Hush. 
Not there yet–not where we’ve been promised we’ll be changed. 
We’re at the sleepy, cold-metal-biting-through-jeans, in between place. 
We sit here and breathe, and wonder if we dare to plan on a reality we have yet to taste. 
I think this is what the fragile safety of hope feels like.