Monday, October 26, 2009

God & Vampires

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10:52 PM
This is a little cornier than I like to blog, but I just had to write it. Sometimes it really doesn't take much to entertain me. For example, I've recently been reading the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. It's great...vampires, telepaths, werewolves, fairies and more. I'm all into it. And the pivotal character love triangle is Sookie (the telepath) and Bill (the vampire) and Eric (the vampire). After 9 books, there's still a triangle! I'm personally Team Eric, but I'm sure that's up for debate among fans.

I was reminded of these characters in church this past Sunday. I know, odd place to be thinking of vampires, but go with me. Ryan was sharing in prayer time from Ezekiel 16 about the marriage vow, and God's commitment to us as believers. It shows how God time after time had told Israel that “you are mine” (v.8). And it got me thinking...

In the books, both Bill and Eric have claimed Sookie. “She is mine” they would say to other vampires who wanted to use her or harm her. But because she is spoken for, she is off-limits. It goes even further, when they form a blood bond to her. She is protected by them and they can always sense where she is. And I was struck by the parallel to my own life. Christ and I also have a blood bond that is unbreakable. And He has declared to Satan and all the world “She is mine”. He has claimed me for his own, and no one take that away from me. Jesus is always watching over me, and coming to my rescue time and time again. So as I'm almost laughing out loud in church on Sunday, I realized I don't need a vampire, I have a Savior.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tall, Skinny, Half-Caff, No Foam, and Sugar-Free Please

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11:30 PM
I recently re-entered the java-induced barista workforce again. This is my second coffeeshop gig, the first being Port City Java [R.I.P.] about 2 years ago. My new place of employment is Borders Cafe. I'm not gonna lie, I've wanted to work at a bookstore since I turned 18 and was eligible to be hired. I love love love reading books, recommending books, and selling books. So when I saw that Borders was hiring, I immediately put in my application. Books AND coffee...sign me up! Now maybe you're thinking, doesn't she already have a full-time job? And yes, I do. And I love that job too. I decided to look for additional work when I decided that would be going into full-time missions. Part of my support raising process includes paying off the small debts I've occurred and whatnot. So all this is is me being proactive about my financial situation. Or so I thought.

I've been at Borders 3 weeks now, and I realized I'd almost forgotten this kind of work. Not coffee work, that's like riding a bike, but work that wasn't a faith-based organization. I'd been spoiled by staff prayer meetings and conversations about God's will in our jobs. I'm back in the thick of it, no doubt. And I love it. My co-workers are starting to get to know me, and when they find out I have a full-time job they ask why in the world I'm working another. So I get to tell them about the missions work I've done in the past and the future work I hope to do and how extra money helps. Then when anyone mentions traveling, my ears perk up and I'm anxious to hear their travel experiences and share mine. Needless to say my list of destinations raises a few eyebrows [India...New Zealand...Cambodia...]. So again, I get to share about my passion and heart for mission work. I was telling 2 co-workers just tonight about my Cambodia trip, and my sweet & spunky coworker says “So you're a missionary?” And I pause and say “Yes.” And she responds, “Girl, you got a mission field right here!” And it stopped me. Because she's dead right. In the back of my head I knew this could be an outreach opportunity, but it wasn't my sole purpose in this new job. But when someone else pointed it out, someone doing the same work in the same environment. Someone who I don't even know if they have a faith background. That's a big moment. So here I am...Joy Engdahl, missionary to Borders, hoping to be serving coffee and God's love nightly.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Art + Love

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2:50 PM
Where art and love meet, great things will happen. Last night was Canvas 5, a local art show. Canvas itself has a been a labor of love, out the hearts of Bobby Triplett and Mike Deserio. Years ago they had a dream to create a place where the artists of this city could come together and display their creativity. Each Canvas has a been a huge success, with with 20+ artists and crowds nearing 1,000. I've attended the last couple art shows and am always impressed with the amount of great art in my community. Last night was specifically personal for me though, because it was where I began my fundraising for Cambodia. I had the idea awhile back to create art to sell that would help with my support. And Canvas came at the perfect time to launch this. I created 6 different postcards themed with travel, Cambodia or slavery. I had no idea what to expect, who would talk to me, and who would buy any. But as usual, God exceeds my expectations. I can't even count how many stopped by my table and I shared my story with. My throat was sore at the end of the night! Not only did dear friends come and support me, but total strangers! My pastor and our worship band played the opening set last night and they were kind enough to give me a shout-out, which brought even more people my way. It was a long night for sure, and at times overwhelming. But it was so reassuring to have shared my passion with people and to hear their response. And leaving with $100 didn't hurt either. Fundraising begun!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Art for Freedom

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2:28 PM
Fundraising has begun! This Friday night I will begin putting my cause and trip out there for the world with hopes to bring in some cash. What is this Friday night? I'm glad you asked! It's Canvas 5! A local FREE art show that exists to bridge the art community with the faith community. I will be one of the lucky artists selling some handmade goodness. I've designed travel/Cambodia themed postcards to help get word out about my trip. I'm hoping that not only will people want to buy them for the design, but also for the chance to invest in this ministry. This is just one of many opportunities I will have in the coming year to put myself out and hope for a financial return. It's scary and exciting, just like all support raising! If you are in the Tampa area, be sure to check out Canvas and support some local art, any myself!

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