Give What You Got #2

Hey Friends,

I’m on mission to become a grateful man, a generous giver, and a better steward of my God-given gifts. In this quest I have repeatedly heard God say this,” If you want to get better at these things, you must use what you already have”.

This is my attempt to step in this realm. I have the ability to use my words in a powerful way. This what I have to say.

Give What you Got #2:

1. If you are feeling depressed right now, ask yourself these questions:

a. Have I exercised today?
b. Have I done an act of service? (thanks Ryan Dahlstrom for a and b)
c. Have I done something that I am passionate about today?
2. Go find the nearest mirror. Set a timer for 1 minute. Repeat out loud, “I like you”.

3. Run into your fears, not away from them.

4. Consider this. We ALL need you to be your true self. Our world benefits the most when you are not hiding underneath insecurities and coping mechanisms.

5. You are worth fighting for!

6. You are incredibly loved.

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Be a Leader By Being a Courageous Follower

Pure Brilliance

The first time I saw this video, I knew it under a different title. I think it was called the Sasquash Dance party. In that video it showed this charismatic leader dancing and the resulting movement he created. I thought it was incredible back then.

But this new analysis, doh(though)! It was brilliant!

I couldn’t resist sharing this video. There were too many great things emanating from it. I could not stop smiling and laughing. The hilarity and simplicity of its content was so striking. There were two things I wanted us to gain from the video: The first is the  lessons we could learn from it. The second is the encouragement to be courageous followers.

Lessons we can learn

Whether this was done in pure jest or entertainment, there were many lessons that could be extracted from it. Here are but a few:

1. Leaders lead by leading.
2. Leaders also lead by following.
3. Leaders are gutsy. They step out in faith.
3. Leaders embrace simplicity.
4. Leaders are easy to follow
5. Leaders know how to follow.
6. Leaders are willing to follow.
7. Leaders teach others how to follow.
8. Leaders are the first to follow.
9. Leaders make sure outsiders see more than just the leader.
10. Leaders embrace others as their equals.
11. Leaders make everything about the movement.
12. Leaders embrace humility.

Be a Courageous Follower

The phrase that stuck out to me in this clip was , ” Be a courageous follower”. It is because of this phrase that I felt compelled to blog. I want to encourage us tonight/today to embrace the quality of following.

We all want to be a part of something big. Something that is larger than life. We want to be a part of a movement. A movement of significance that transforms our world and brings much needed peace into our lives.

I want to commission us, you and I, to be courageous followers. Let us be the type of leaders that follow the most unlikely people. Let us follow the people that society has forgotten, neglected, mistreated, and marginalized. Let the poor teach us the ways of wisdom. Let the brokenhearted teach us the ways of love and forgiveness. Let those with disabilities teach us what it means to be whole. Let us try a new path to revolution and transformation. Let’s make the least of these ,the lowly in the eyes of society, be the ones who show us the way freedom.

We’re not partying, this is just the way we live!

We're not partying, this is just the way we live!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Barnabas Prep, or Camp Barnabas, I want you to take a few minutes to look at the message written on the bus featured in this post. On it, there is a powerful quote and it says this:

“We’re not partying, this is just the way we live!”

Every time I see those words I smile. Without hesitation, I am caught quietly laughing to myself. And I honestly can’t help it. Every time I glance at that particular phrase it hits me. In that moment, there is an unspeakable joy and laughter that rolls over my soul.

I smile at first because the saying is so true of our community. I smile secondly because I always wonder what people think when they see us. Especially, people who are parked right behind us and then view us exiting the vehicle. I smile, lastly, when I think of how many times we have allowed people to enter into the party and the joy they have received from us- and us from them.

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About a week and a half ago this saying was put on display and was illuminated like no other. It happened on the dance floor- a fitting place for us to party.

We were on our spring break cruise to Mexico. We were doing what we typically do. We were enjoying life, enjoying each other, and enjoying others around us.

Then one of our students, Jerryd, was caught by the dancing bug. Mind you, at this time there was scant a person on the dance floor. But on his own he started dancing. He started melting away into the rhythms of the night. His hips didn’t lie so the ladies had to comply. And the next thing you know he had a dance partner.

Now, I can’t quite remember all the details about how it happened next. But something about Jerrdy’s infectious dancing begat more invitations to the dance floor. The invitations kept on coming and more people were lost into the rapturous festivities.

Person after person entered into the dance space. Within a few minutes the masses were birthed. People of all backgrounds were partying together- experiencing the joys of movement, laughter, fun, rhythm, love, and the shear beauty of being together.

There was a standstill moment that captured my heart while we partying together. It was the kind of moment that is featured in movies. A scene where time stops. A moment when you can see everything clearly.

For me, it was a moment where I was overcome and overwhelmed with unbelievable satisfaction. In that moment people were just people. We were people who were enjoying each others company. There were no were classifiers of race, disability, social status or anything of the sort. Differences were embraced and accepted.

It was a lovely moment. And I long to see more of them.

I pray tonight that we all would throw ourselves a little further into the dance floor of life. May we embrace the rhythms of love a be compelled to dance with each other.

I pray that we would dance with our differences and diversity. I pray that we enjoy each other presence and share each others pain- no matter how the contrast of expereince.

I pray that we would party hard- because that’s the way we live!

Friar Francis

Kansas City Visit

Hey Friends,

I am heading to Kansas City tomorrow! It will be a quick four-day jaunt to the city that has been making waves on social media.  Hopefully this trip will give me a glimpse of  what makes Kansas City so great.

Day One…  The  Richards, George White, and myself will visit L’Arche Heartland. This is  a community that is comprised of five separate homes and a day service academy where core member (persons with disabilities) and assistants (persons who serve as care providers) live and share their lives.

The mission of this community is to:

  • Make known the gifts of people with developmental disabilities, revealed through mutual transforming relationships.
  • Foster an environment in community that responds to the changing needs of our members, while being faithful to the core values of our founding story.
  • Engage in our diverse cultures, working together toward a more human society.

These are core values shared by New Heights Church and Camp Barnabas, two communities that are looking to champion disability . Ben, Heather, Ethan, George and myself approach this trip as a learning and participation experience. In particular, the Richards and myself are looking to grasp wisdom and vision for a community/movement here in Northwest Arkansas.

For more about L’Arche check it out here.

Day Two… I will visit Jerusalem Farm. Jerusalem Farm is a Catholic Intentional community located in Kansas City, Missouri, built on the four cornerstones of Prayer, Community, Service and Simplicity. They strive to transform their lives and the lives of those around them through service retreat experiences, sustainable living and home repair. My greatest desire in visiting this community is to glean ideas of sustainable development.

Day Three … This day will mostly consist of hanging out with friends. Soooo, Barnabas friends and Fuller friends, if you are around let’s hang out! I also plan to visit IHOP and check out some of the hidden treasures of KC.

DAy Four … I will meet up with the Richards and head back to Barnabas Prep. Before that I hope to visit a local church. I need your help on this one. Does anyone have any great suggestions?

And… of course, I will spend the last wee hours hanging out with friends!

I will try to give you an update on some of the events and experiences of this trip as I go along.

Have a warm evening friends,

Friar Francis

Quick Update: I am Going to Uganda

Uganda Updatw

Hey Friends,

The following is a little dialogue between you and me. It will give you a little update on my upcoming trip to Uganda:

Our Conversation

ME: Wow! Well, there is a lot going on in my life here in Northwest Arkansas. There are so many things I could share with you but let me tell you the most recent.

You: Whoa! What’s going on?

Me: I am…

You: You are???…

Me: I am … As you may already know, via Facebook, heading to Uganda.

You: What!?!?!

Me: Yeah, it’s kinda crazy. I wasn’t really planning this at the beginning of the year, but here I am ready to jump into this adventure. It’s nuts because I have always wanted to go to an African nation but it never seemed to work out.  I had thought of doing disability stuff with Joni and Friends for my Graduate Practicum, but essentially the timing never worked out. It looks like the time has come now though!

You: Wow, that’s crazy man! When are you planning to go?

Me: So, yeah, I leave around December 27 and I will be there for a little over two weeks! I am travelling with a small team connected with an organization called Forgotten Song. Forgotten Song is an organization that does self-sustainable projects in war-torn countries. (Check out the hyperlinks)

You: What will you do there? Where will you be?

Me: Well, I have quite a few objectives that I would like to accomplish on this trip but I will just list four for now.

1. I want to visit, participate, and learn from orphanages in Kampala and Jinja. In particular I will spend time at Ekisa, a home to over 20 kids with special needs. This home is connected to 99 balloons– an organization that you should check out!
2. I will glean, participate, and learn some of the best practices for self-sustainability projects and businesses. Two initiatives that I will focus on are a poultry project and a chocolate business.
3. I want to learn from and share life with my Ugandan brothers and sisters.

Here are some items on my itinerary:

– Visit orphanages, churches, schools, and organization connected with disability and/or marginalized people groups.
– Spend time with Ugandan host families.
–  Speak at churches and other organizations.
– Put on a dance therapy session.
– Attend a New Year’s stadium celebration.
– Shadow Ugandan Pastors and leaders.
– Provide at least two orphanages with volleyball, soccer, and other athletic equipment. Put on a small volleyball clinic (Maybe).
– Eat grasshoppers. A friend told me that I must do this!
– I will update you with other info when I have more time. This is just a quick synopsis.

Another thing to note, is that this trip will also be a means to cast vision for future events in my life and our community.

Ok, that’s what I have so far to say. Let’s chat soon!
Remember that you are greatly loved!
Friar Francis

El Camino from a different point of view

This is incredible! I would love to do this with some of my friends at Barnabas Prep! My heart swoons with warmth at the thought of such journeying. Life happens when we walk together on the path seemed impossible! Buen Camino Peregrino!

 

Thanks http://creativetravelvancouver.wordpress.com/ for sharing this! 

Creative Travel

On November 30th, 2012 the Theatre Gongora of Cordoba, Spain will release for the first time the documentary “El desorden de los sentidos” in Spanish. A Documentary of “La Maleta Proyectos Culturales” by Alejandro G. Salgado, that shows the journey of 2 disabled young men (with the help of one of their father’s and a worker at ASPAVI) who will drive us along the 800 Kms of the French Way to Santiago.

At creative travel we can’t wait for the documentary to be more accessible so we can feel and experience through their own senses a different way to see the Camino.
For now, we have this trailer that gives us a small taste of what the documentary will look like.

ENJOY IT!

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Love Acts. Love Does. Love Chooses.

To love means one must tarry in both truths of love: It is to feel but it is most essential that love does. Love is an action. Love chooses time and time again. Love acts with hands, feet, and with the entire body. It is holistic in nature and takes all of one’s faculties. Love demonstrates and moves with acts of service that benefits the well-being others. Love casts is gaze at the heart of another and lives accordingly. In doing so, love looks to bring the best and bring out the best for his or her desired one

Brentwood, Team Building, Pinterest

Brentwood

The last few days went by faster than a Razorback fan leaving church on Gameday Sunday.  (Sorry, that was my poor attempt  to be culturally relevant- I will get better along the way)…

The rEcess Training session went well. I think it is safe to say that Brentwood Baptist is on its way to having a incredible rEcess Program at their church. Ellie, their disabilities Director, was incredibly hospitable. She imbued all the good qualities of true Southern hospitality. Her team seemed ready and eager to put their hearts and hands to work for the benefit of others. I pray that Father gives them eyes and hearts like His to help them on their journey!

 

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Team Building

My absolute favorite part of our trip had to be our “Team Building Exercise”. This was the part of the trip where we ran out of gas. Yes, that’s right, ran out of gas.

Why and how it happened is not important (but let’s just say that the gas light was not visible to any human eye). I am so glad that we did though. It proved to be the moment that solidified that we were a team- and that we were friends.

My personal litmus test for relationships is based on how people act towards each other in moments of apparent adversity. For its in these moments that we either unravel or shine in our character. In these moments we tend to live in our “go-to” reactions; opting to show our true feelings on the matter.

As Matt said, “We passed!”. The moment that could have been riddled with frustration and annoyance was instead filled with joy and abounding pleasantries. It was really nothing spectacular from the human eye. however, the way and matter in which we handle the situation was something to behold.

Instantly there was verification in my spirit that I was among good company. I was a part of something lovely and meaningful. It will be great to see what God does with rEcess in the days to come.

Pinterest

Now that we are back home I found myself doing something that I never thought I would do. I have entered the world of Pinterest. Haha!

I was merely intending to learn more about portable sensory rooms. And then bam! I was there pinning things that I never knew I could. Let’s just hope that this thing isn’t habit forming! LOL!

I hope all of you are enjoying an incredible week thus far!

Continue to enjoy the journey

friar francis