Joyska's Journal: November 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

To all the Bah Humbug-gers

I have a friend here in KC who thinks I am insane for all my Christmas talk, decorations, and music. They don't appreciate Bing Crosby (music or movies), mock me about my tree and lights, and eventhough it is OFFICIALLY the Christmas season, doesn't seem to appreciate what all the excitement is about.

That is okay, we all have our reasons for liking or disliking the season. Some of us love the busyness of Christmas... store owners love the business of the season... some of us hate Christmas for those two reasons. And I agree. But that is not Christmas... that is what the world has made Christmas to be.

Now I know that Jesus probably was not born on December 25th, that we even have the year wrong, but the fact that Jesus did come, and was born is what I am celebrating. What does a tree or pretty lights have to do with his birth? Nothing really, but the change in my living room reminds me over and over again that something has changed... that the world was altered FOREVER by the birth of this child.

I was talking with the teacher of the two year olds on Sunday and we were laughing at the kids reactions to the story of the angel coming to Zechariah, to Mary, and to the shepherds (being that the first Sunday of Advent was our teaching that day). Her kids (as well as my 4 and 5 year olds) were awe struck. When I was reading the story about the shepherds and was showing them pictures from the book "The Night the Stars Danced For Joy" they were glued to the story. They DIDN'T KNOW what happened next! When I was talking to the two year old teacher, we realised, of course not... it was only their second (or 4th,5th) time hearing the story. And the wonder of it was real.

Maybe that is part of receiving the Kingdom like a child... when was the last time you looked at the story of Christmas like it was the first time you ever heard it?
Will it move you to wonder and awe? That is what it is like for me this year. For what ever reason, even though I have literally read the gospels 18 times (so that is reading the Christmas story 72 times!) it is fresh and full of wonder this time.

SO TO ALL THE BAH HUMBUG-gers out there... you can mock me, you can laugh at me, you can even choose to ignore me, but you can't change the wonder of it all! And by the way... I'm sure I'll have some Christmas cookies for you to laugh at in a day or two! :)
Joyska at 7:24 AM

Sunday, November 27, 2005

1st Sunday of Advent

Can you believe that it is already the 1st Sunday of Advent? I feel like one of the few who pays attention to such things, but I love the advent season. It's all about waiting and anticipating the coming of the King. It's all about taking the time to remember the awe and the wonder that the shepherds and the angels, the prophets, and the kings must have experienced while waiting for this drama to unfold.

Christmas is all about that for me. Every year I can't wait to put my tree up. I want the Christmas lights on, I start renting the classic movies, I have to make my advent wreathe yet,but that is usually done by now, and I start a daily devotional focusing on the season. It settles me into the mindset of what the season is really about.

Anyway, I just finished singing the 6 am set-- was first response for the first time. It went ok. Someday, i'll get over the nerves and just sing the stuff I hear in my head, but never seem to get over the mic!

Happy 1st Sunday of Advent!
Joyska at 8:45 AM

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving in the park

Picture this:

It's 10:00 in the morning. 50 people are standing outside of IHOP wrapped in winter coats, scarves, mitts and toques (hats). The instructions are given and directions handed out and away we all go in a caravan bearing turkey, tables, mash poatatoes, chairs, stuffing, desserts, clothes to give away, beans, propane stoves to keep everything hot, and a whole lot of laughter.

We get there and in an amazing joint effort, and almost like magic, the tables and chairs are set up, the tarps are laid out on the ground and the piles of clothes are laid out, the sound system is set up and everyone is FREEZING!! (the wind is pretty strong on the top ot the hill!)

And the people start to come. The park is located across the street from three very interesting buildings... like on one corner is a homeless initiative called Firststeps (?), on the other corner is a gorgeous old church building called "set free" church, and on the corner directly across the sreet is a Masonic Temple. Thought we felt some tension in the area!!

I have no idea how many people came and were served a thanksgiving meal, but it was fun. I spent most of the time talking to two guys named Julio and Jacob... Julio is from Mexico and was genuinely SHOCKED when he heard there were homeless people in Canada... he said "isn't it too cold?" haha.

Jacob was a New Orleans "refugee". He was in the Astrodome and was relocated to Dallas, but he came to KC when he learned a friend of his was here. He made his way here only to find his friend wasn't here and he has been living at the "shelter" ever since. He lost everything and was quite emotional as he talked about the kind of stuff that when on in the dome. Amazing story.

I loved it. I loved being down in the "inner city" again. I loved it. I loved it.
Did I mention I loved it?

Anyway, this weekend is definitely a little slower than normal and I am loving that too.
Joyska at 6:51 PM

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

thanksgiving in the U S of A

wow, i love holidays and I can party like the rest of them. But I had forgotten how big a of a deal it is in this place. EVERYONE celebrates. Yesterday Mike Bickle jokingly commented that tomorrow afternoon is the Canadian's hour to cover the prayer room as the rest of the base eats their faces off and watches football.

MY plan? Well, I'm actually pretty excited about this. I am going downtown to feed the homeless with a whole crowd of IHOPers. I'll get up early and cook and mash 10 lbs of potatoes, and head there at 10:00. My main job? To sit and hang out with the people that come, talk about their lives and love on them. I think I can do that.

Then I come back here around 3:00, take MY PLACE on the wall and pray for the rest of the afternoon. I sing from 8-10 and then i go home to watch White Christmas by the light of my newly put up tree and decorations.

Sounds like a great way to spend an American SUPER Holiday.

So happy gobble gobble day (for everyone but the turkey!)
Joyska at 11:06 AM

Monday, November 21, 2005

the multitudes

I just finished reading through the gospels and wanted to share a bit of what I noticed this time around.

The multitudes in the gospels are mentioned over and over again and I never really noticed it before. There are the obvious references regarding feeding of the 5000, the 4000 etc, but even in that it never registers what an awesome size crowd that really is. Think about it. 5000 men. That is not including women and children. Than means, when you include those they don't count, there were likely 10,000 people there for days, just waiting with anxiousness to hear the words that Jesus would speak and more likely to see the healings and miracles that He would "preform".
There are so many times that Jesus would warn those he healed NOT to tell anyone, and yet the news would spread quickly. There are references to when the crowds pressed in around him... thousands followed him through the streets, multitudes searched him out and met him everytime he got off the boat.

Multitudes heard him preach, multitudes longed to see him. What struck me though was Luke's account of the Pharisee's and the High Priests who were afraid of Him, not because of the power he held in the supernatural, but because of the power he held over the multitudes. They stop questioning him at one point, because of their fear of the reaction of the multitudes. They don't arrest Him in the synagogue because of the multitudes... Judas himself looked for an opportune time when Jesus would be alone in the garden surrounded not by the multitudes, but only the 12... and he (judas) brought a multitude with him bearing clubs and swords.

The multitudes were why Jesus came.

Just something to think about.
Joyska at 12:41 PM

Sunday, November 20, 2005

the canadians are gone

well, after a very busy and awesome weekend, the 9 Canadians have returned home, leaving Joel, Pam, Nancy, and I once again on our own. I was struck by the fact that within 6 weeks, Nancy and Joel are leaving too. hmmm. It's funny how you can miss people, and yet even when you are living in the same place you don't see them nearly as much as you want to.

I remember when I lived in Michigan, I didn't live that far from my sister and her family, and yet I rarely saw them. I've lived so far away from them now that it's been a long time since I have seen them... that is sad.

What is it about us as people, that makes it so hard to take advantage of the relationships we are in? It always seems that when you move, or they move, or someone has a major life change like marriage or a new baby that we find ourselves wishing we had spent more time, or made those extra efforts to get together.

Wow, how is this for a somber post? But my thought is that we do the same thing to God. It is when he is near that we just start to take it for granted that He is always close and we don't have to work at the relationship. But it is when we feel the distance, (quietness?) that we have a choice of how to respond... we can get frustrated that God feels so far away, or we can turn our face to Him and call on his name again. All of us have bad days, and times when the Lord's silence is simply Him waiting to hear what is on our hearts, but I think that what we really need is to treasure His closeness, and to cultivate our relationship with Him.

Human relationships are hard enough. I long to be that person who never loses touch with anyone, but I know full well that is not possible. I also long to be one who KNOWS that the Lord is always near... that IS possible, and to that I want to put my time and energy!

All that to say, I was sad to see my friends drive away, but I am SO looking forward to this coming week where all meetings are cancelled (except one that I will blog about on Tuesday... how is that for a teaser?) and my time will be spent in the prayer room and in my bed! Woohoo! Now if the insomnia cooperates, I plan on finally catching up on sleep and prayer. I can't begin to tell you how exciting that sounds to me!

Oh... the only thing that changes that schedule is American Thanksgiving on which I am going to head downtown to join a bunch of IHOPers as they do a meal in the park for the homeless crowd. Thrilled to be doing that again!
Joyska at 4:32 PM

Friday, November 18, 2005

what in the world?

so... ah.... yah.

All the Canadians arrived here safely... they are all busy with meetings, with Panera bread, and loving the prayer room!

It's fun to watch them all. I sang the 6 AM and the 10 AM today and it was even more fun to watch them as I attempted to sing "let your word run swiftly" and some how I sang "let your wordgutune swifly" or something just as elegant.

What in the world was that? It's called HUMBLING! The Lord is good... and His word does run swiftly.

The mother board for my computer finally came in, however it will cost me $300.00 for parts and labour. Not too bad, but it is a cost that is hard to swallow. Ah well, God hasn't left me with out food and housing yet!

I'll keep blogging from the corridor until my computer is back in my hand NEVER to be dropped again!
Joyska at 10:24 AM

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Have you ever felt like your head is in the clouds, but the clouds are not the silver lined ones, but rather they are the stormy dark building clouds that proclaim to anyone watching that a major storm is coming?

That is the place I sit in today. One minute I know exactly what I need to do, the clouds are dispersing... i catch a glimpse of the sun, and then suddenly... there is a wind that blows and the clouds are thicker than they were when they started.

Today has been that kind of a day. It has literally been a day when my head and heart are speaking different languages of which the other has no clue of how to interpret. My meetings with people have gone the same as well. I start out with a strong conviction one way, and by the end of the meeting feel like I am just as strongly convicted on the opposite side of the spectrum.

My day today is the characterization of the verse that says "that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro amd carried about with every wind of doctrine..."

I long for the day when I am not so easily swayed... not by doctrine, not by opinions, not by attitudes, but only by truth.

Thank you for your prayers... please keep praying. Good things are happening and coming together... but the waves are high and the wind is strong!
Joyska at 3:39 PM

Sunday, November 13, 2005

10 second update

Okay, so it's been only a few days since I've gotten back, but it feels like I have lived a year in the last few days.

The conference from the kids perspective was great. I found myself really enjoying being with the 3-5 year olds as they learned the 7 Hebrew words for praise. We had a lot of kids and this morning had the pleasure of 31 little 4 and 5 year olds running around my feet!

The "Canadians" (Stephanie and Christina) left this morning after a hearty breakfast at the "other" IHOP. It was awesome to have them here, and miss them already, though I hardly saw them while they were here! Popular girls... what a concept! :)

The next batch of "Canadians" arrive on Thursday... and that makes me happy.

So many changes and things going on, that I need an hour to formulate all the details in a more entertaining way... so stay tuned. When I figure out what God is doing in my life these days, I will let you know. In the meantime, please pray for clarity of vision and purpose, as well as a deep desire to do ONLY what the Lord would lay out before me!
Joyska at 1:24 PM

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

home again home again... jigajigjig

We made it here in 13 hours... with only gas fill ups, quick body breaks, a run around the car (steph and christina) a snow storm, a wind storm that felt like it could lift the car, and 3 happy travelers! (NO unwanted hand holding! hahaha). Before I left I had the privledge of meeting Abagail Margaret, my friend Cynthia and J-L's beautiful new daughter, and spent more time with Queen Esther! TOO FUN!!!

Well, I am back and have already spent a few hours in the prayer room! God is good!

Conference starts tomorrow, so it's back to the busy life, but I was so thankful to have the break and we will see where God takes it all from here! Keep praying... I have lots to say, but will wait till I have more time to process!

Thanks to all who prayed for the border crossing... he didn't even ask to see my papers and he was joking around with Stephanie... wierd but awesome, we were through in less than 4 minutes!!!
Joyska at 4:47 PM

Sunday, November 06, 2005



Deanna and Deyan are now the proud parents of TWO beautiful children. I saw Esther at only a few hours old and she is amazing. There are great stories around the birth of this little one, but I will let Dee tell her versions on her own blog first. All I can say is that this baby in less than 5 seconds stole my heart... that has to be a record!

Congratulations Dee and Dey (AND BIG BROTHER SIMEON)! The Lord has blessed you richly!!!!

Love you guys to pieces!!!!
Joyska at 1:15 PM

Saturday, November 05, 2005

i've never stayed with Yvonne before

I came to Yvonne's innocently enough, responding warmly to invitation to her invitation to stay with her and her family. And when I came, I packed lightly, I had little care as to how curly my hair was, and I was not afraid of the rain. Oh what a difference a day makes!

I am much closer to blonde, and Yvonne is now a red head. Highlights used to be the post game commentary I would listen to on the radio after the Blue Bombers game (CFL). Now, they are "the first day of the rest of my life", after all how do you back to plain ole brown. I asked Yvonne... as she pulled out the bulk size professional bleach she just happened to have... "do you know how to do this?" To which she replied "How hard can it be... after all it's not brain science".

Stay tuned for pictures.

Now I'm talking about make-up. And Bohemian style shirts... and "accessories". I miss my plain jane days... now I have to comb my hair. (Yvonne's comment of the day in her most nonthreatening, annoyingly cheerful way "Hey guess what? Did you know that when you have straight hair you have to comb it? HINT HINT)

To top it all off... Yvonne is beautiful... and I feel the need to at least try to keep up... although I have seen her after she has been crying and there is a reason she wears make-up!

But here is a perfect example. Yvonne spent the last 45 minutes getting ready to go to a celebration service where it will be dark and she'll be crying anyway (yes we know how to celebrate in Winnipeg). She politely asks me, "Joyska, how long do you need to get ready before we go? To which I reply "5 minutes I have to brush my teeth...oh wait 10, cause I have to comb my hair"...

Yvonne "sigh"

I must go now, hair and teeth need brushing...

GOOD Luck Anneka and Aila... I'll be praying for you...
Joyska at 3:05 PM

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wonders in Winnipeg

I have been back now for almost 6 days. I have been to the Night Watch, Sunday's service, "Hate the Darkness" party, Prayer night and a "have the baby already" party at the Magic Thailand restaurant! Not to mention two 3 hour trips to Starbucks, shopping, doctors appointments and hanging out with Jason and Yvonne. And the 10 year celebration hasn't even started yet!

Most of the crew arrives tomorrow, and David Ruis comes Saturday. There are many events planned and LOTS of people to see yet. Two of my dear friends are supposed to have babies while I am here, so that adds to all the excitement. Never a dull moment in my life I tell ya!

I am heading back to Kansas City on Tuesday night... should arrive back there sometime before noon, depending on when we leave and the "ease" of the border crossing... please pray... it's always a little nerve racking even when you have all the proper paper work!

Anyway... off to get my hair streaked!
Joyska at 10:11 AM