out of our minds...

salam from mazar-e-sharif. i will try my best to explain the other-worldliness of this place, but I do suggest that if at all possible in your lifetime you visit afghanistan (at least once!). I can attest to the fact that it is, afterall, only a hop, skip and a jump away. after eight days of hopping, skipping and jumping from kona to tokyo (for one night) to india (delhi for four days), to kabul (long enough to live through a bombing) and finally an eight hour van ride through some of afghanistans finest dirt roads and mountain passes, we have arrived in MAZAR. seven days of travel brought us a day ahead of the western world and back to the year 1347 (according to the afghan calendar). 

it only seems fitting that it is the year 1347 because geographically, i'm sure this place has not changed much since then. close your eyes and imagine mary and joseph riding on donkeys through “that little town of Bethlehem”. what do you picture? perhaps dust flying about in the dry air, camels, sheep and goats wandering through the rocky, dry roads, women with faces framed by scarves chasing after children, men in long cloaks selling fruit from wooden carts, clay houses built into mountainsides….if this is the picture you had in your mind know that you were actually picturing [mazar-e-sharif] in all its
charming simplicity.

no matter how super-human we have tried to be, or how hard we try to force the shell that encompasses our person to snap into shape
and adjust to the blazing heat (usually about 130 degrees) or the time-change or the unfamiliar foods, our entire team was sick for about the first week that we were here. we are recovering (some of us more slowly than others..) 

the physical discomfort is a constant reminder that we were created for another world. the physical change echoes what my heart feels of the constant pull between the world that I live in and the one that I was designed to live in. as long as I walk this earth my soul will ache for its home.

 life here is simple. there are none of the comforts of the western world or the familiarities of home to distract me from this truth.  we present the gospel plainly, as it should be presented. there is no room for a candy coated gospel concocted in a la-la land prayer meeting. we do not bend the truth or complicate the story of the God Man for the sake of relevancy. we are not fluent in Dari (although I am excited to report that we are becoming quite conversational) so there is no option of fluffing up Christ’s love with fancy veils of enticement. 

we have learned to operate strictly in the practicality that IS the kingdom come. in simple acts of mercy. the kingdom is here. in loving embrace. the kingdom is here. with dancing. the kingdom is here. with warm smiles. the kingdom is here. coloring with crayons. the kingdom is here. In patient understanding. the kingdom is here. with broken english. the kingdom is here. in the eyes of the orphan. the kingdom is here.

we are living out the ministry of reconciliation. 
drawing our new friends into the relationship with their Father that they were intended to live out , one practical act at a time. “not regarding anyone from a worldy point of view”, but loving unconditionally. despite culture. despite circumstance. despite convienience.

these are the
mustard seeds that we are sowing into this dry land. 

“ …in a distracting, violent and tempting world, keep sowing the seed of love. sow it even when it is seemingly being choked or seems too small to make a difference…” -shane claibourne

© 2010 unless otherwise stated all photos are copyright diane schallert and may not be used without permission. thanks.

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