There’s No Place Like Home

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 I want to share with you a project that I have been working on the past few months. I am part of a Christian dance ministry called Children of the Light Dancers, and each year the current seniors have the opportunity to brainstorm a vision and execute a spring dance concert. This year one of my closest friends, Meekhol, and I were able to lead our senior group and Core (high school) group.

Sometime last August, Meekhol and I were talking about the future over some Panera lunch. I was sharing with her my “big dream” of instilling a national vision for godly family – we were supposed to make a list of big dreams for our “Circle Maker” dance Bible study. I don’t even know how it happened, but suddenly we were talking about the importance of family and our senior concert. All I can say now is that it must have been God working through us. Within about a half hour we had a vision for our senior dance concert.

After months of planning, hard work, prayer, stress, late nights, sleepovers, and dress rehearsals, we are nearing the final days of preparation before our senior concert. While it has been an exciting time of growth, I did not anticipate the amount of work that putting on a full dance performance required. There have been many nights I have spent in tears and prayer. But through it all I have tried to remember that God is faithful. He brought our performance together last year, and He will again this year.

Our senior concert – “There’s No Place Like Home” – is a fundraising effort for Abide Family Center. Abide seeks to decrease the number of children living in institutional care through support for vulnerable caregivers. The founders, Megan and Kelsey, discovered that there were over 800 orphanages in Uganda and an estimated 50,000 children living in them. Of those 50,000 around 80% have known family members and are only there because of poverty. God’s design is for children to belong in families where they can receive love, care, and support. No child should go without family because of poverty.

The dance concert tells the story of three Ugandan families forced to give their children to orphanages because of poverty. The dances portray the journey of the parent’s love, pain, and struggle. At the end, the families are redeemed by God’s work through Abide. During our concert, we seek to personalize the story of poverty and familiarize the audience with Abide’s purpose.

Check out the promo video!

If you are in the area, consider coming to one of the concerts. I also ask that you would be in prayer that God would use this offering to further His vision for family. Because we believe that children belong in families.

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)

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Concussions and Contributions

Big things are happening on “God Gazing.” I started this four months ago to catalog my experiences in Liberia. Since then, God has taken it to places I never imagined. Within those four short months, I went from five followers to fifty-five followers. And from a few beginning posts to, what will now be, thirty-two posts. God has brought many supporters, who have encouraged me in my writing. And during this time, I have realized that my true love is writing about my first love – Jesus Christ. In sharing Him, I find the most joy.

With all that said, I realize it has been over ten days since I last wrote. Life has been busy. Last week I was out of town at a home school basketball tournament. (No, I don’t play. I was supporting my brother.) Then this weekend I had an exciting new experience with my first concussion. (Tip: avoid playing soccer on a concrete tennis court with guys who are tougher and bigger than you.) And in the meantime, I have gotten way behind in my reading for school.

So that will be the extent of my blog post today. However, this morning my second contributing post for Tirzah Magazine was published. You can check it out  here. In this new post, I share my struggles with anxiety attacks and how God has worked in my life to give me peace.

And hopefully, I will be back in the next week or so with an official post. Until then…

– – Phebe

AP Lit and Moby Dick

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Last night my dad and I went to the Kennedy Center to see the Washington National Opera’s rendition of Moby Dick, thanks to the kindness of my grandparents. The orchestra was captivating, the set stunning, and the graphics imaginative. The production brought a classic piece of literature to life with nods to Star Trek, including graphics that portrayed a ship traveling through space – brilliant! Despite the impressive production, the story left me feeling empty. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Moby Dick tells the story of a whaling ship’s crew led by an obsessive captain who puts the crew at risk to seek revenge on the whale that took his leg. The story concludes in a nasty battle with the infamous whale, Moby Dick, that leaves the entire crew, except for one man, dead. Such a warm, light-hearted tale.

I felt empty because there was no redemption. All around me were adults applauding and standing for an opera that exemplified the depravity of man. I heard people praising the sarcastic remarks the characters made about Christian kindness. While the opera did a fine job illustrating how “Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy,” (ch. 1) they did not address another significant point of the literary classic. Greenhorn remarks, “…and Heaven have mercy on us all – Presbyterians and Pagans alike – for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending,” (ch. 17).  To me, that is the point of Moby Dick.

This year I’ve been assigned many classic books to read for AP Literature, and nearly all have left me depressed at the state of humanity. Hamlet tells the story of murder and revenge. Gulliver’s Travels reveals the faults of human society and politics. Frankenstein shows the extreme of obsession and isolation. The list continues.

But if there’s one thing that AP Lit has taught me it is that we are all fallen humans badly in need of a savior. C. S. Lewis says it well…

“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

There is only One who can save us. The only person who can fill our hole of longing inside is Jesus. His death on the cross gave us worth, hope, and redemption. “O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” (Psalm 130:7)

That is your hope! That is my hope! Enter your own name into that verse: Phebe, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

Whenever I hear applause now, I always hear in my head the voices of the Liberians repeating “Clap for Jesus!” Yes, clap for Jesus! He chose to save us despite our obsessions, doubts, murderous thoughts, and disloyalty. Praise be to God!

– – Phebe