Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Then and Now: Callie looks back

You can laugh at my cheesy title...I definitely did. Sometimes I just sit down to blog and weirdness comes out....but I honestly couldn't think of another title. So just get over it already.

This Monday in my Nehemiah class, my teacher asked three questions that forced me to think about last year.

1. Where were you 9 months ago?
2. Where were you 5 months ago?
3. Where were you 1 1/2 months ago?

Those three questions where enough to cause instant tears and my heart to fill with thankfulness...class could have been over at this point and I would have left feeling like I heard a whole sermon. You see, nine months ago I was in a pretty bad spot. I don't think anyone really understood, not even my family. When I got home from India last spring, I had a little bit of a crisis. I no longer fit anywhere. I hated my life. I hated my job. I really didn't like looking at myself, because I was nothing that I wanted to be. Now, I have never been one to wallow in depression...I honestly haven't ever really been able to understand what true depression is, but when I look back at myself I see that time being the closest I have ever come to being depressed. I wrote this blog post in April  last year. The fact that I wrote those few lines and published them online for the world to see really proves that I felt very lonely. Then, right before my 22nd birthday, I wrote this. Now I know the tone of this post is actually pretty upbeat, but the part that really reflects my heart is the following paragraph -

"I wish I did more things. I've always wanted to do so many things. If you were ever to ask me "What would you like to do before you die" I'm sure I could come up with a brand new lengthy list, right on the spot. If you ask me the same thing a week later, my list would be different. Here's the real birthday is on Monday. Twenty-two. I know it's not forty-five, but really, twenty-two is practically grown up. you see, I've always been a girl who plans. I've been planning my life all my life. I always knew that I would have my life figured out by this age. I can actually remember specific conversations with my best friend about how I was NEVER going to be the kind of girl who lived with her parents and had no idea what she wanted to do. Suddenly, I am confronted with the fact that I am exactly in the place I never wanted to be."

The truth was, I was so disappointed in myself. I was wasting my life and had no idea how to get away from myself. I knew that God had something more for me. I always have. I remember the first time I ever realized that God wanted to use me. I was 16 and on a missions trip in Mexico with my youth group. We went to an orphanage and I remember feeling God stirring my heart. I realized for the first time that there was work to do and that life was not all about me. That MY life is not all about ME...or at least that I didn't want it to be.
            But I was 16, and I forgot.

So then, I was 22 and I looked at my life and felt like a failure. I never wanted to be like I escaped.  I didn't want to feel bad about myself anymore so I just stopped looking at my life. Instead, I watched TV. Well, TV shows via NetFlix. Last summer, I watched all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls, 8 seasons of Monk, 3 seasons of Dr. Quinn Medicine Women, 4 seasons of The Big Valley, 5 seasons of I Love Lucy, 2 seasons of Hells Kitchen, and many many movies. I also worked and hung out with friends. I kept my mind so busy with the adventures and problems of fictional characters that I didn't have to look at myself. Let me just point out to those who don't know how I grew up....THIS IS WAS NOT NORMAL for me. I never watched TV growing ever. I like to be busy, I like to be outside, I like to be social. But I had been done with college for over a year and, simply, I just had nothing else to do.

So nine months ago, somewhere in June, I was in my bed with my lights off, staring at a screen and hating my life.

Then I had enough. I couldn't do it anymore. I knew I needed to have some kind of purpose, something to keep me busy. I HAD to move. I decided to go back to school, my local community college, and I registered for Ballet, Personal Exploratory Writing  and Ceramics. It wasn't surprising to anyone that ballet wasn't for me...but I loved my other classes! Then God began to work on my heart...once I was out of my room I was again confronted with  how badly people need to hear of Gods love. In my writing class, I heard so many "essays" that were really cries for help. Personal stories of abuse, drug addictions, confused and angry political views, and most of all...souls searching for purpose. It was horrible to know that I held the answer in my heart, but didn't have the courage or the knowledge to share. I don't care what anyone says...trying to be a living example is not enough. Yes, there are those stories we hear in church...stories where the lost say to the saved "You're different, and I want what you have"...but when does this ever happen?  I know it has, I know it can...but it's not enough. What about the people who don't notice a difference? What about the people who don't ask? I knew I wanted to be able to learn boldness and to really know the answers to questions I would face...

So five months ago I applied to come here, and in November I got my acceptance letter.

I was thrilled! I finally had a goal! Not just an idea, but a real focus. This was the beginning of peace that overwhelmed me. God continued to reveal Himself to me. One day I was house sitting for my best friends mom. I had the house all to I woke up early, made myself coffee, put my hair in curlers and blasted music. Then the doorbell rang and I found two Jehovah's Witness women on the porch. The best word I can use to describe myself at that moment - unprepared. I was totally unprepared. These two women tore apart everything I had to say. There I was, no makeup, curlers wrapped in a turban, and Michael Buble crooning in the background...trying so hard to tell them that Jesus IS God...and I couldn't. They knew their bible better than I knew mine...finally, out of words, I started crying. I know they felt bad, but I felt worse. I went inside with new a Christian, it is my responsibility to really understand what I believe so that I might share with others. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was calling me to Hungary to Bible College.

So a month and a half ago, I was here. It's amazing. I can already look back to February and seen how much God has been working in me and changing me. Today, I am blessed by God's faithfulness.

"Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." - Romans 10:1-2

Today, my Romans teacher said this "Knowledge without zeal is dead and zeal without knowledge is dangerous." I want both knowledge and zeal. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Toilets & The Sinful Nature of Man (a Subtle Hint to The Girls Who Use Bathroom #6)

I have published an unusual number of serious blogs lately. Not necessarily a bad thing, but just not what my blog has typically been. I was thinking today about how funny I am, and how I have not had very many chances lately to express my extraordinarily entertaining sense of humor. Now, I have a gained quite a few followers since coming to Hungary, and I just want to make sure you all know that, in all actuality, I am quite witty.

If you don't believe me, I would like to refer you back to some of my older blog posts. You should read about my return journey from India, or perhaps you will be amused by my process of cleaning. If you are not easily disturbed you may be able to handle the worst about me. Maybe you would appreciate to my ability to relate fiction to reality or be interested in how I view my family. You can also learn to understand the way I view the world by understanding my inability to attract normal people and also my complete distrust of doctors.

But I am in bible college now. There's no time for jokes or laughing. We are a very serious bunch who studiously read the bible during every waking minute. We never laugh and we never joke. We simply live each day, trying to consume Oreo cookings that are much to big for tribulation...

(P.S. Not really. All of that  last part was a lie...well, besides the cookie and the glory bit.)

I do have a point, and it is I cleaned toilets. Actually, I clean toilets five days a week...most of the time, it's really not bad and I actually enjoy my time alone. But every once in awhile I encounter horrible things. Unspeakable things. Things that make me think "WHO did this!?" and then spend the next few hours suspiciously eying my neighbors. The first time this happened to me, I was seriously grossed out...You see, I come from a home that dealt with gross things in a very wonderful and normal way. Mom took care of it. Anything that caused uncontrollable gagging to occur was Moms job. She would bravely march in, scolding us for being such wimps, and we would all wait outside...gagging. Well, I guess when it comes to bathroom #6, I am the MOM.

After a few days of cleaning the bathroom, I was starting to notice a trend in the cleanliness of the stalls. Naturally, because of the creative way my mind functions, I began to see an allegory for life depicted in my bathroom.

Let me describe the scene for you. The bathroom door opens inward, swinging to the left....Actually, I changed my mind. I'll just draw a picture...

(Let me take a moment to admit that I know I have put way to much thought and effort into this...)

So, here it is, my bathroom. The alternate title of this blog post would be... 
If Our Lives Looked Liked Bathroom Number Six: 
If the life of humans could be depicted as this bathroom, 
Toilet Stall #1 is the place of our normal, day to day sins. These are the sins that we are comfortable with. Things like laughing at bad jokes, talking about someone behind their back, or eating too much cake. We feel kind of bad about these things, but we don't let them bother us to Stall #2 we start to get into the darker sins. We feel ashamed of these sins...because, well, because they stink. These are the sins that other people can see reflected in our lives...the things we hate and want to change but they just keep happening. Stall #3 is where we move from admitted sin to the dark, horrible, sick sins. These are the areas that we don't want anyone to ever know about. The things that come out of us and we just want to blatantly deny "I would never do anything like that". Yes, these are the sins that we forget about, until one day, we just explode with evilness that is shocking to ourselves.  

Lets move to the showers, shall we? The shower is a place of cleansing, where all our filth washes down the drain...never to be heard from again. But every once in awhile the drain gets clogged (mostly with hairballs). Shower #1 is the easiest and nicest. It's used often, but doesn't afford much privacy. In our spiritual lives, this shower is our devotions. The daily act of praying and reading, simply being blessed and therefore experiencing more of Gods cleanliness and less personal filth. Shower #2 is the cleanest, but only because it is the least used. The water drains to slowly, so when we use this shower we are left standing in our own filth. We are still being cleaned, but it's painful to see the water turning grey. Shower #3 is related to Toilet #3. This  is the shower that grows mold. It's the shower that offers the most privacy, therefore the most used. It's always left a mess, but it reflect the mess that we often step out of after being cleansed from sins. 

The cabinets in where we keep our sins that we know are wrong, but we like them. So we just stuff them in the closet and shut the door. They get all mixed together and unorganized, but we like them that way. These are the things that we don't like to call sin...the things we excuse with sayings like "It's just the way I am".

Then there is the hand dryer. We HATE the hand dryer. This is sin that knocks us out when we least expect it. You see, under the hand dryer is the trash can...Just when we are almost done cleaning....ready for the last step of just taking out the trash, we stand up and hit our heads on that stupid, useless machine! 

So there you go. Cleaning bathrooms makes me think about sin. I can't help it. Everyday when I clean I am confronted with the gross nature of mankind. But having it all cleaned, sparkling and fresh feels wonderful! So, clean out your bathrooms people. You won't regret it. 

P.S. If you use #6, please start using the toilet brush....especially in stall #3. 
No one wants to see that. Seriously. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Psalm 46:10

When asked to give an example of how Jesus has appeared to me, I have to smile. I look back over my life and I can see His hand and His presence moving me along. I see a picture of Him directing my steps, even into the midst hard circumstances. Jesus has always been real to me. I remember the first time I ever felt like He answered one of my prayers. I was a little girl, maybe eight or nine year old. My favorite dog, and best friend, Sarah had ran away and been missing for over a day. I remember praying to Jesus, pleading with Him that He bring her home to me. I told God that if Sarah came home, I would tell everyone that He was faithful to answer my prayer. This was the first time I ever attempted to bargain with God. It was also the first time that I fully understood how good Jesus is and how sinful I am. My dog returned, but I was embarrassed to keep my own end of the deal. I remember battling with myself over this for what seemed like an eternity…finally I climbed into my moms and whispered into her ear that I had asked Jesus to lead Sarah back. It was so hard to do, and I expected to feel immediately better, but I remember walking away and still feeling a bit guilty because I didn’t do what Jesus wanted me to do. Looking back on that, I can smile about my little girl ideas of Jesus, but I can also see the tendency in myself to still view Him this way.
For the past two years I battled with the mighty question of “What is Gods will for my life; what does He want me to do?” It was agonizing for me every time my thoughts went that direction because of the immediate reminder was that I wasn’t in the place He had for me yet. I was also tormented by the thought that once I knew, I would run. I knew I was doing the best I could, but I just wanted Jesus to give me a map and a set of directions so I could decide if I was up for the journey. The last few weeks I have sat through more than one sermon about “God’s will” with a beating heart. But I didn’t want to accept the words that I was hearing; words of comfort, peace, love and most of all words of direction. Last Thursday, Don Patten shared with the MPT class. What was his topic? God’s will...of course! I wanted to weep the whole class! Don and Marta have received so many specific directions…God has shown them His will. So why not ME? As I was walking back to the castle, Jesus spoke to my heart. I have not had many instances where I felt the God was speaking to me directly, but this time there was no question that is was from Him. He said, “Callie, right now you are in Hungary at Bible College. That’s where I want you to be. So, be there…and be still.”  
So, I am here and I am resting. Psalm 46:10

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Dear Allie Zupet, 

I love you and think you're wonderful! 
Thank you for understanding the what I am going through. 
I am so excited to sit down with you at Christmastime and 
compare notes. I can't wait to see how God is going to use 
you for His purposes. You're beautiful inside and out!

Oh, and I can't wait to get your letter!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's time for: A Molehill is a Mountain if You're Small and I feel Small.

Well, I actually don't feel small anymore...but I decided to blog about the hard things now. Not that the good parts of being here aren't amazing anymore, because they totally are...but I think everyone likes to see some realness. Everyone knows it's not all good, all the time, so I decided to fill you in on the -not so good- times.

But actually, before you could understand the bad, I think you have to have one more look at the AMAZING. Last weekend I went with a small group of girls to the city of Egar, its was about a four hour drive from Vajta. All the girls on the team where amazing and we just had a wonderful time of fellowship. Honestly, it felt more like a vacation than an outreach because it was so fun. (Life lesson here: ministry doesn't have to be hard! It can be fun serving God!) 






So here you see...AMAZING weekend. But, part of the problem with these awesome times is the fact that sooner or later, we have to come back to reality. And the reality in bible college is homework: five hours of language study, 2000 word research papers, dorm cleaning, cometaries, devotions, book reports, mp3 sermons, housekeeping, prayer meetings and mealtimes. I wrote a update email to my prayer team and someone responded that it was good to hear that I wasn't just on a extended vacation. That's when I realized that perhaps I have been only reporting the good and not the hard. The problem is, even when it's hard, I know that everything I do has a purpose. I am learning...but it's the process of continually taking new things in, constantly learning, growing, and being convicted...well honestly, it's exhausting!  Amazing, yes, but also hard. It's the same with the fellowship. It's amazing to hangout and pray together and for each other, but sometimes I want to be alone (I am really learning to value my toilet cleaning times). The point is this...I don't want everyone to simply think that I am living in Europe and having the experience of a lifetime. Is that true? Absolutely! However, it's not why I am here. I am here to learn, to grow, to be challenged, and most importantly to be equipped so serve in ministry.  Honestly, I have no idea where God is calling me to go. For now, I am called to be here, so here I must be. What I am beginning to realize is this; I can no longer be satisfied sitting on the sidelines watching people walk down the road that leads to hell. I want to be standing in the middle of the path, with my arms and legs spread out trying to block the road. If they choose to walk around me, at least I can say I tried. The scary thing is, I know that I'm not ready to step out onto that path yet. I also know that it would be so easy for me to leave this place and fall right back into my own little world. So that is why I am here...not simply to have an experience...but to be changed.

Most of you know, or maybe you don't, change is hard for me. I hate change! I always have. I've cried on almost every birthday simple because a birthday marks a change. I resist change. Changing that mindset is painful...I even cried in my Spanish class yesterday...full on weeping. Why? Because changing the way I look at letters is hard. I don't want to change...but I have to...because staying the same is worse.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

KOL Orphanage Outreach






These girls wore me out...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dreams of the Least of These Team.

I have one very dedicated, committed blog fan. I know this for sure because whenever I go any significant time without blogging, I get a reminder via my formspring account. Sometimes I respond with "soon" and then forget...but my faithful follower holds me to my word and when "soon" passes I get another reminder. So, this blog is for you, my blogger stalker. Enjoy.

I could really share every day about what I have been learning, but I am so busy that it's hard to find time. Even when I am not busy I am usually with people, so I just don't remember to write things down (a.k.a. blog). I actually have a list somewhere that has little reminders written for blog ideas. Thoughts that really would make no sense to anyone reading it....for example: "every language whistles" or "I don't really look like this, but no one knows" or "stomach noises" or the very serious "a molehill is a mountain if you're small, and I feel small"...these are all possible upcoming blogs. Today I couldn't choose between "Dream Team, Part 2" or "The Least of These" which is how I settle on the title for this particular post.

I will actually start with "The Least of These" because it happened first. This all started two weeks ago when I decided to join the "Palfa outreach team". Palfa is a village neighboring village that happens to have a mental hospital. The patients all have mental disabilitys, not diseases (so it's not a hospital for suicidal patients, but down-syndrome patients). Our team goes every other week and, basically, we just hang out. We hug a lot, sometimes more that we really care too. Most of the time spent hugging is also spent avoiding kisses on the lips. The patients are dirty, missing teeth, smell bad and not exactly modest...but they need to be loved. It's easy to imagine what kind of homes they have come from. It's hard to think that they have any family anywhere that loves them at all, because if they did, they wouldn't be there. It's a dark and gloomy place. That  we are able to go and minister to them is such a blessing to us, but a thousand times more to them. When we went last time, a few of the patients followed out (and it was freezing, by the way) and tried to come with us. We really had to just get in the car and leave them standing on the other side of a locked gate...but we honked the horn to cheer them up, so it wasn't too gloomy. I was talking to one of the Hungarian students, saying I wished I spoke more Hungarian so I could understand them, and he said that speaking Hungarian really didn't help. We go again tomorrow, my second time, and I am very excited to go back. I don't have any pictures, and I'm not sure if I will. Honestly, I am afraid that if I bring my camera I'll never see it again.

Then on Saturday I went to the Budapest, by the way, the letter S in Hungarian is pronounced "sh" the city is called "Budapesht", well anyways....we went to an orphanage. We went with people from Calvary Chapel Budapest and it was the first time for anyone to go. The orphanage has recently been awarded money from the government to fund things like this, so none of us had to pay transportation fees. But because it is a government orphanage, we have been asked not to talk about religion, at least not officially. If someone asked me "Why are you in bible college?" or "What is a Christian?" I can respond, but we cant do Christian songs or lessons. We are really praying that as the ministry develops and they get to know us more, that God will change the hearts of those in charge and let us share. For now, it's enough just to go and love them. I somehow ended up with the teenagers, which I would have never picked to do, but I loved it! They just wanted to talk and they asked me so many questions (through Oliver, a Hungarian from the church), and it was such a blast. I was supposed to go on a missions trip this weekend to Bija, but I decided not to so I could go back to the orphanage. After this Saturday, we will go every other week.  They want to same students to try to keep going back so that we can build relationships with them.

Everyone gathered in the beginning.

The teenagers.

Trying to be studly.

Trying to be gangster, clearly needing Jesus.

The girls. 

He really wanted us to have a picture with his toy...

Then on Sunday morning I went back to Budapest and went to Calvary Chapel Budapest for the Baptism service. It was really wonderful! After church we got to do a little shopping and sight seeing. 

That's part one. Now for Part 2, Dream Team. I traded my Servanthood class with another student and am now the proud cleaner of...the bathroom!

I actually really like it. I would rather clean something that is dirty than something that already looked clean. Besides, it's the bathroom I use, so now I can know in my heart of hearts that it's really clean. I can also put a sign on the door that says the nice version of "I'm cleaning in here, so get lost" and get to be alone for a whole hour and a half! Yep. I like it.

Oh and one more little side note (notice I am wrapping up quickly, it's almost lights out). I am really becoming so much more confident here, and yesterday I realized why. As I was walking through the hallway, headed to clean toilets I was stopped with the complement of "You always look so cute! Every day!" then I headed into the bathroom and was greeted by the mirror...I looked so gross that I had to take a picture because I thought it was so funny.

Yes I know it's basically two of the same picture, but I just want everyone to fully understand what i looked like when I received that complement. I think this was my forth or fifth day without a shower, I know I smelled....and I haven't been wearing eye makeup because my eyes are too swollen and puffy. Please don't comment with a complement, I am seriously not digging for one. Just know, I am in a really nice and safe place.

The End....I think. Yep, The End.