Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blog Facelift

It's been 3 years since I left for Bolivia, which means it's been 3 years since I ate my first chuno, developed a heart for women who prostitute, and wrote my first blog.

Bolivia will forever be burned in my heart and mind as I continue to think about and share about those 4 months, and yet, it's time for a change.

I think I've been ready for some 'newness' for a while and I'm finally acting on it. A new look, a new direction, a new perspective. Considering all the newness of the past year, a new name seems fitting, in more ways than one.

I'm not completely satisfied with the title: "The Bricknells," except that it really is as simple as that. It's just me and Paul, day in and day out, serving together, doing life together, processing together. I don't think Paul will actually ever write a blog on here, but I'm sure I'll be sharing his thoughts and stories with you from my perspective. (He really is quite inspiring and deep, even with that unmistakable smirk of his.) I am the one who spends much more time "social-networking," anyway.

If you have any other suggestions for a blog title, I'm open!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More on Haiti

A quote from

"Disasters like this one are especially devastating when they strike places that are already struggling to provide the most basic of services for its population. With weak government and private sector institutions, and with uncertain security conditions, Haiti is the poorest, least developed country in the Western Hemisphere, and the majority of Haitians live in poverty. The sheer scale of poverty in the country means that the government has limited capacity to meet even the simplest needs of its people, let alone address a disaster of this magnitude. Haiti’s lack of development—which translates into a lack of government capacity for emergency preparedness—magnifies the impact of this tragedy. In addition to creating a very real and immediate humanitarian tragedy, this earthquake and the struggle to navigate its aftermath will be an enormous setback to the hard-won gains that Haiti has achieved in recent years in securing a more stable environment and fighting poverty."

I'm so sad for the people of Haiti. This is a country that has already suffered an innumerable amount of poverty-related injustices, and now to be setback even further.

Keep praying.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Australians in Haiti

It is with much relief that I write this blog.
My dear friends Rachel (roommate and friend from college) and Joel (we went to the Philippines together and shared several of the same classes) Hoffman are SAFE in Haiti.

Rachel and Joel have been in Haiti since late August serving with the Mennonite Central Committee, which is a Christian relief agency. You can read about their honest struggles with poverty and language, as well as their joy among local Christians here.

As you may have heard, just days ago, Haiti suffered a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Rachel and Joel found safety in their doorway as their apartment building crumbled around them. They dug through the rubble for 12 hours in the dark. They dug for their survival. They have made it to the embassy where Joel is receiving stitches for a minor injury. The Hoffmans will be evacuated home to Oregon (The Dalles/Albany?) as soon as possible.

Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, many of which were shacks. Haiti's instability has contributed to an extreme poverty level, now skyrocketing from the aftermath of the quake. Thousands have died.

Please pray for Rachel and Joel as they grieve over the loss of their home, friends and ministry in Haiti. Please pray that God's presence would be made known in the midst of suffering, loss, and brokenness. Pray for a safe trip home. Praise God for a miraculous escape and for sparing the lives of my special friends.

I am trying to put myself in their shoes.
To have survived a devastating earthquake,
to have lost their belongings,
to be separated from new-found friends,
to have had the next 3 years of their life dedicated to Haiti,
and now what?

The Holy Spirit grieves within me as I don't know what else to say or pray.

Read more here:

Rachel, Katie, Me, Jessi

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something IS happening

Since getting married, I find myself more preoccupied with money than ever before. Perhaps it's because I'm unemployed, paying more bills, combining bank accounts, tracking our expenditures, working with the homeless in San Francisco, and planning for/raising money for Thailand in August.

I came across Francis Chan's video blog (I'm reading "Crazy Love" as we speak) and was so moved by his comments on a video of his wife holding an abandoned, premature baby.

"Why is my life more valuable than this baby's? Someone asked me recently why I don't save money for emergencies, or retirement. My answer was how can I justify saving for myself "just in case" something happens to me when something IS happening to so many already. 29,000 kids will die today of preventable causes. If I'm to love my neighbor AS myself, why spend so much time worrying about me?"

And once again, I find myself living in tension.