31 Days of Life in Afghanistan

31Days_afg_Postcard

Afghanistan

War; Terror; Oppression; Destruction

It’s what we hear on the TV, see in the news, read on our computer screens. I want to give you a fuller picture than that. A real picture, with true stories.

I have the honor and privilege of living and working in this beautiful yet broken land. Learning the language, understanding the culture, trying to figure out a way forward. My friends are Afghans – the ones that have fought violently, and the ones that have sat passively waiting for a better tomorrow.

My heart is for this land and for these people. I want you to hear their real stories, the good and the bad; the ugly and the beautiful; the dramatic and the mundane; the over-comers and the defeated. I want you to see and hear a full picture, I hope to spark something within you so that you will cry out in a new way for these people. I hope that you will walk away at the end of October thinking of more than war when you hear the word “Afghanistan”

Throughout October I will be linked up with The Nester for a 31 Day series. I will be writing on life in Afghanistan sharing real life stories of Afghans I know, stories from my own experiences, and maybe even a guest post here and there.

***Links to all my posts will be listed here as well as categorized under “31 Days”***

Day One :: Najiba (The story of community transformation through the courage of one lady)

Day Two :: Nuria (The girl with scabs who broke my heart)

Day Three :: Ahmad (When I became a doctor and began to dream for a healthier Afghanistan)

Day Four :: Write (Where Five Minute Fridays meets 31 Days … When I became literate)

Day Five :: Project Ladies (An insight into the day of project staff)

Day Six :: Muharram (Chanting, Marching, and Bleeding chests)

Day Seven :: Obeda (Desperate situations lead to desperate measures)

Day Eight :: Beautiful, broken, worship (Those who choose to live there)

Day Nine :: From the mouths of babes (The hand written illustrated dreams of Afghan 1st graders)

Day Ten :: Nesima (The lady who I found to be a hero)

Day Eleven :: Ordinary (Five Minute Fridays meets 31 Days … A list of (not so) ordinary things)

Day Twelve :: Amina (The lady who built a future)

Day Thirteen :: A Hidden World (Child brides and the hope of education)

Day Fourteen :: Stepping In (the moments I arrived back in Afghanistan)

Day Fifteen :: Eid -e- Qorban (When the sewers ran red)

Day sixteen :: Oops this day is missing, too ill to write

Day Seventeen :: Talk Good To Me (GUEST POST – the positive facts of life)

Day Eighteen :: Laundry (Five Minutes Fridays meets 31 Days… when showing Christ’s love means doing laundry in freezing rivers)

Day Nineteen :: Bruised (The Christmas she showed me how she had been beaten)

Day Twenty :: Beautiful (A photo post)

Day Twenty One :: Fatima (GUEST POST – my mom shares a story)

Day Twenty Two :: Chicken Street (Where I go when I’m ready to leave)

Day Twenty Three :: Ballerinas in Beat-Up Toytas (That magical place)

Day Twenty Four :: Hope for Change (The family that gives me hope)

Day Twenty Five :: Together (Five Minute Friday meets 31 Days… we face life together)

Day Twenty Six :: Oops this day is missing … I took a day off.

Day Twenty Seven :: Oops this day is missing … I got busy and forgot to post.

Day Twenty Eight :: My First Meal (GUEST POST – when perceptions were broken and reality was met)

Day Twenty Nine :: Haji Mohammad (The type of story that needs to be shouted louder than the news)

Day Thirty :: Q&A (Where I answer 10 of the questions YOU sent in)

Day Thirty One :: Wrap-Up (We made it! Plus a special announcement!)


Five Minute Friday :: Truth

It’s Friday! Hurray for the weekend! Friday means it’s time to link-up with Lisa-Jo for 5 minutes, unedited, not over thought, off the cuff, as it comes, writing on a set theme. The rules are simple – write for 5 minutes straight unedited. Share what you have written, you can link-up at Lisa-Jo’s place. Visit the person before you and give them some comment love.

5-minute-friday-1

This week’s theme is…

 

TRUTH

 

It was everyone’s favourite game, everyone but mine. I used to dread social boredom because it would always lead to the suggestion of this game. I would feel sick as I went to sleepovers knowing this game would be inevitable. I closed my eyes and wished the game would disappear on a regular basis.

It would always start with someone giggling, and then asking the question:

“Truth or Dare?”

The dares were always terrible, and the truths so unpredictable.

The truth, it was what everyone sought. Had you started your period yet? Which boy did you fancy? What color was your underwear? Did you really break that rule? What was your deepest darkest secret? Why did you do what you did last weekend? The questions ranged from the mundane to the most intrusive.

The dares were always terrifying in some way or another – either because of their embarrassment factor, the risk of being caught, or because of how gross they were.

No-one wanted a dare – it was too risky.
No-one that is, apart from me.

They say the truth will set you free, but the truth terrified me. My truth scared me, and if it scared me I could only imagine it would terrify others.
They say vulnerability is the key to community, but for me vulnerability meant rejection.
Truth would lead to vulnerability which would lead rejection.

No-one wanted a dare – it was too risky.

I wanted a dare – the truth was too risky.


50 Things About Me … that you might not know.

I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk recently – just not been able to focus to write anything. Sometimes I don’t blog for a while, but normally I am still writing elsewhere, but recently I’ve just not written anywhere. When I was on tour I was insanely busy, and the little time I did have off, after communicating so much all I wanted to do was be totally introverted and not communicate in any way shape or form with anyone. Then there’s been a lot of moving about and being surrounded by boxes and mess, and paint cans, and other such things. Then there just been the lack of routine and focus.

All these are coming to an end – hurray! I’ve got myself a new blogging routine in place, and soon I will be hosting a weekly link-up for my online community group, so I will HAVE to be blogging at least once a week! I’m hoping this will all help.

For now, to try and help me get out of this funk I’m going to write a list; inspired by my blogging friend, amazing person, and great inspiration Alece (why not hop over and check out her writing?)

Here we go…

50 things you might not know about me:

1. English is my mother tongue, but I often think and dream in other languages.2. I spent years thinking I was 1/4 Swedish after my brothers tricked me.
3. I love brushing my teeth – it just makes everything seem better.
4. Good news makes me cry more often than bad news does.
5. I used to have the top side of my wrist pierced (staple bar).
6. I had my tongue pierced, (and I LOVED it), until one day I swallowed the whole thing and couldn’t get it replaced fast enough.
7. I have had many other piercings. The anti-tragus hurt the most.
8. … but one day I decided to de-metal myself.
9. I love stationary – I just wish I had a stable enough home to collect it more!
10. I was a tom-boy growing up.
11. … sometimes I wonder if that was just thrust upon me.
12. … because now I love being a girl; hair, make-up, nails, massages, candles, getting dressed up, heels, etc.
13. I have been a ballet dancer since I was 2, it’s been the one constant in my life – yet I rarely talk about it.
14. I still have a ton of my tutu’s from when I was a student – it’s the only thing I’ve kept.
15. I can’t wait to be a mom.
16. I love getting snail-mail, it’s just the best.
17. I live a constant battle between wanting to serve and obey God and wanting to have money.
18. I struggle to stop ugly words and talk come out of my mouth.
19. I am very indecisive.
20. I like peas, a lot.
21. I dislike sandwiches – please don’t make me eat them if I come for lunch.
22. I love sung worship, I’d sit and sing my worship all day if I could.
23. … but I don’t really like church (I know, I’m a bad bad missionary)
24. I love people, a lot. (My brother used to tell me off for saying that ‘everyone is lovely’; I used to say “but everyone is, in some way or another”.
25. I’m an introvert – many of my friends find it hard to believe.
26. I have to be extroverted a lot of the time, hence people finding it hard to beleive I’m an introvert.
27. I can’t do a cartwheel, not even a little bit.
28. I’ve met several members of the British royal family.
29. My mom used to defend me and say my anger issues were just “Misplaced passion” and someday God would use it for Him.
30. … she was right, God now uses that passion to get me to go to crazy places and do crazy things for Him.
31. I love traveling.
32. But more and more I find it hard not having roots and a stable home.
33. The more I travel the more I realize the world is all very similar.
34. Sometimes I wonder if I have traveled too much, because very little surprises or shocks me anymore.
35. I pray daily that God will not let my heart be hardened or become numb to the pain and suffering around me.
36. I love chocolate – but I’m actually kind of fussy about what kind it is.
37. I like silver and white gold.
38. I love a paper book, but kindles are so much more practical for my life.
39. I often meet awesome people and then have to say goodbye weeks later.
40. I have run half-marathons (once with no training – don’t do that)
41. I love working out.
42. I wanted to be a doctor or some kind of medical person growing up.
43. There is still a little bit of that dream in me.
44. I get cold easily, most of the time in fact.
45. I love getting flowers – but not lilies, they make me sneeze.
46. I am the most undisciplined person I know.
47. I really don’t like fish or water creatures – eating, seeing, touching, I just don’t like them.
48. I am terrified of moths, and scared of butterflies.
49. I don’t like talking on the phone – please text me.
50. I really didn’t think I would get to 50.

There you go, maybe you feel like you know me just a little bit better now.
Leave me a comment and tell me something about yourself that I might not know.

(Note: Alece is now doing a link-up on this which I totally had NO clue about before I wrote this!)