Rach and I are heading off in the morning for a 4 day hike in the Drakensberg mountains. The Management Committees from this coming years teams are going along with a guide and a member of the office staff. We will do some team building exercises and a lot of walking. Its going to be great. I will get some pictures up with when we get back. Cheers.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
Rachel and I are enjoying our day before we get back to training in a few days. We woke up and had a great pancake breakfast and are going to go to a movie this afternoon (I love going to the movies on Christmas). I would give up the movie though to watch some football though. Oh well.
Last night we went with some friends to a small methodist church on the outskirts of Jo'burg for a Christmas service. It's funny that we love this little church because if you can think of the stereotypical traditional church, this is it. Full of old people and lame music, but there is something about the preacher that draws us there. He is this down to earth guy that speaks so beautifully about God in a way that is not flashy or trying to be a rock star or anything else that makes churches so cheesy. He said something that was great. He said that Christianity isn't about trying to morally superior to everyone in the world or being arrogant about having some understanding about God, rather Christianity is just about accepting the gift of love, forgiveness and healing from God. It was simple and great. I needed to hear that. It's so easy for me to make God and Christianity my "work", but it was good for me to hear that God loves me enough to come to Earth and die for me. Because he loves me, that's all.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 1:45 PM
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I have never really been a huge fan of county music. I have lied many times and said that I hate it, but honestly while I'm not a huge fan, there are times when it's ok to listen to a little country (however, it is never acceptable at weddings when there is a slot in the program where the brides cousin gets up and sings some sappy country song while we awkwardly all stare at the two folks getting married as they just lit a unity candle and are making little chit chat and secrets which I can only assume are about sex or how crazy their parents are acting).
Anyways. Tonight I came home and started singing a mid 90's country song called "That Ain't My Truck". I don't know where it came from or how it was raised from the depths of my mind, but it was there and it made me laugh. It made me laugh on 2 levels: 1-It's a stupid song about a guy who goes to his girlfriends house and find a different truck in her driveway, sad I know. 2-I love the image of some redneck hick in the mid 90's driving around in his 4x4 crying and singing this song over and over while it plays on repeat in his cd player. I mean come on that's funny. Stupid hick. Hahahahahaha. Try to find the song, its really great. Perfect for karaoke. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 8:59 PM
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
For you who didn't know Rachel collects fingernail clippers. Not just normal ones, but collector clippers. She counted them today and she has over 80 pairs of clippers. They break down into different groups: American Cities and States, Foreign Cities and Countries, Pictures (which are nail clippers with different pictures such as butterflies, sunsets or bass fish) and Novelty (which are clippers that are shaped and look like something else, like a ladybug, violin, alligator or race car (thanks Sean Ihrig). Just thought I would let you know. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 11:19 PM
Right after it gets dark there has been a storm rolling in over the past few nights. I don't know if its the change in temperature after a really hot day, or some change in atmospheric pressure that I can't feel, but Guinness gets really excited. She comes alive and starts acting crazy, goes outside and runs around and starts barking at everything. I think she is trying to scare off the coming storm. However, a dog can fight as hard as he or she wants, but nothing that dog can do can stop the storm.
In life there many storms that attack and many times we fight and fight against them, but they still come. It can be an accident that cripples someone, a divorce, a cheating spouse, a best friend dies, cancer. Thats life. It's not pretty, but it's life. As humans another thing that we seek is someone to blame and many times that blame gets put on God. As a christian and more than that, as an "ordained minister" I feel people look to me and expect me to be able to have all the right answers, but what I have come to realize is that there are not clear answers to all life's questions. The other thing that I am learning now as I get older is that I don't have to have all the right answers. If I don't know, I don't know and thats fine, because that uncertainty is part of life as well. It just breaks my heart when people hate God because they have unanswered questions about life. And the more we chase these questions, that have no answers the more it's like we are barking at the storm.
Man, I wish I knew everything. Because I would write a book that everyone would buy and I would be rich and have a helicopter and a custom chopper built on the Discovery Channel with an airbrushed picture of my book on the gas tank, but I don't. I am just an ordinary guy who hopes that everyone realizes that there is a God and decides to live their life for God. I don't think it right for people to be to stop asking questions, but there just are some huge "I don't knows" out there and It's in those "I don't knows" that we see that there has to be something bigger than us, something with the answers. Just thinking. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 12:59 AM
Monday, December 18, 2006
Ray and I were watching a TV show, Grey's Anatomy, tonight and the show is set in Seattle. There was a closing shot where 2 of the characters were in a park walking on a pine straw path within a maze of towering pine trees. It was beautiful. I love the that area of America. When we were touring with Traveling Mercies we performed at an even in Portland, OR each year and I must say those trips to Portland were always a highlight for me. The scenery, the people, the city, the mass transit system, the coffee, it's a fantastic place. If you ever have the opportunity to visit that area I highly recommend it. From Oregon up to Seattle and onward to Vancouver. I would love a chance to go back sometime. I hope that becomes a reality sometime. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 11:57 PM
Rachel and I bought a Christmas tree last year to decorate our house. It wasn't a typical green tree, it was a Christmas tree shape made out of sticks and twisted twigs, really cool. Well, when we got back from Europe we were going to get the old tree out, but noticed something strange. Our Christmas tree is being hollowed out by termites. If you listen closely you can hear them eating away. So needless to say the tree is going out with the trash tomorrow (Tuesday is trash day for us here if you had ever thought to yourself, 'I wonder when Chris and Rachel Holohan's trash day is?'). So no Christmas tree this year, maybe next year. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 7:14 PM
Friday, December 15, 2006
Rachel and I bought our first TV today. We got a Christmas present from a host family that we stayed with in London and used the money to get a TV. It's nothing fancy, but It's a ton better than what we had. We were borrowing this little bitty TV from a friend that we work with and you couldn't plug a DVD player up to it, so it wasn't the entertainment hub of the home. So anyways just thought I would express my excitement. I can finally play my Playstation that has been collecting dust. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 11:17 PM
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Rachel is sleeping on the floor next to me as we sit waiting during our 7 hour lay over in Dubai. We landed about 3am and are leaving at 1015. Then it's a 8 hour trip and we are home. I can't wait.
This Airport is more like a mall than an airport, but that doesn't make 7 hours shorter. I think I am going to pull up some rug next to Ray and catch a few zzzz's before our flight. A guy that looks just like Borat walked by a few seconds ago. Oh well. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 4:29 AM
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
This will be my last blog from Europe. Rachel and I are leaving tomorrow to go home and will arrive in Jo'burg Thursday afternoon. Please pray we have safe travels and things go smoothly at the airport. This has been a great mission trip and I am so glad we were asked to be a part. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 3:57 PM
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Friday night was our last show. The crowd received it well and I think the team did a great job with the pioneer tour into Europe. Rach and I have a few days off before we fly home, we can't wait to see Guinness. If you have any questions about the tour please feel free to email me. Thanks again for all who financially and prayerfully supported us on this mission trip. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 11:59 AM
Friday, December 08, 2006
One of the really difficult things about working with C-Kruis is that we are so far away from friends and family and it's especially hard around Christmas. I was thinking today that a couple of months ago Rach and I were trying to get home this year for Christmas. It was a really hard decision to not go to the States, but there was just no money for a trip now. It's tough. For me it's been a year and 3 months since I left and it would be nice to see family and friends, but soon enough.
Rach and I are planning on going home in June. Rachel's sister is getting married and it happens to be in my hometown, so it seemed wise to wait for then to go visit because all our family will be in one place at the same time. Please pray for Rach and I to get that extra money for the trip. It will be about $3000 just for the plane tickets. I really would love if someone knew someone that gets discounted tickets or works for an airline because I would love to go home more than once every year and a half. England is making me homesick a little too. Most everything here is how it is in the States and the things that are different are similar to South Africa. So, I am feeling a little homesick for both. Hope you have a great holiday season. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 1:02 AM
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
One observation that I have made about Europe is that there is hardly ever a sunrise. The only thing that makes waking up when it is dark ok, is when you get to see the sun come up. On this tour and especially in Brussels I woke up while the sun was still down and what I noticed was, because of the cloud cover, it just gets light, as if there is a dimmer switch somewhere and over the span of a half an hour someone turns the knob slowly and there you have it, its day time.
I love sunrises. A few years ago Traveling Mercies spent a summer in Arizona and I would get up early to go mountain biking. Well, when I stepped out of the door of my house I could always see the first light of day peaking up over the horizon. It was beautiful.
Another thing I secretly love is getting up really early to go on a trip. I like to leave before the sun comes up so that you can enjoy the sunrise with a nice cup of coffee driving down the highway. I mean come on, thats great.
Oh well, sunrise of no, this tour so far has been great and we have seen some cool places and met some cool people. Even though it seems like there is a giant lamp shade of cloud cover over europe, its been amazing. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 7:20 PM
We left Brussels yesterday for the journey back to London. We made it through customs fairly smoothly and after a long day we finally made it. Brussels was exhausting so we are taking today just to relax. It's raining outside, which I think is nice for a relax day, and Ray and I are about to get get some lunch. Hope you all have a great day. Cheers.
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 1:01 PM
Sunday, December 03, 2006
This week we have done a ton of work. From School shows during the day where we are up at 4am to night shows where we don't come home until 11 or 12. It has been a great week though and Brussels is a beautiful city.
Being in a city where I can't speak easily with people is tough. Many understand and can speak a little english, however most are french and can't speak english well. So one day after I got stuck trying to ask the man if there was jelly inside the pasty or if it was cream (turns out there was nothing inside, just bread) I started thinking about the language we speak as christians. We have a whole vocabulary that many people wouldn't really understand. We throw around words like worship, praise, psalm, trinity, blessed, holy, scripture, propitiation etc... and there are many people who understand as well as I understand french or they may recognize words like I do with Dutch, but can't full grasp what is being said.
I finished my work week here in Brussels by helping lead worship at a small new church that meets in a bar/cafe. It was a little weird because there were about 15 people who knew that church was going on and about 12 people who were trying to enjoy a drink, but didn't know that they were at church. (It felt a lot like FUEL's Red White and Brew fiasco). While we where sitting there and the leader guy with a trucker/bike mustache was talking about Psalm something something and Worship being a spiritual connection with God and I was wondering that if any of the people were listening at the tables would they understand what was being said. So I tried an experiment. When Thapelo (a girl from C-Kruis) and I got up to sing I tried to treat it like a concert because some of the people that didn't know they were at church turned to watch the "act". So I was talking about art and music and how every person is made with different needs and abilities like need for love and the ability to create. It would have been easier to say that we are created in the image of God, but I was trying not use Christianese. I have to say it was difficult and I failed, I reverted to some church words because I have never really thought out some of the concepts outside of the church vocabulary.
The night ended well. Thaps and I left right after we finished singing and one of the men (that didn't know he was at church) came and spoke with me to see if we were doing any more "concerts" in Brussels. He said that he liked what we did and his friends would love to hear us play more. It made me sad because if we were staying a few more days he would have a party and have us come play, it would have been a great way to meet some new people and probably get some free food.
I believe in God and that Jesus was God in the flesh and that he died for our sins so that we can believe in him and have eternal life. I want everyone to go to heaven. I hope at the end of life we see that everyone gets to go to heaven or that any one that believes anything (Jesus, Buddha, Yoga, Easter Bunny, Veganism) goes to heaven, but I don't think that will be the case. It makes me sad. It also makes me sad that a lot of people might not go to heaven because they didn't understand me when I say "Jesus died so that we can be washed in the blood" or any other common Christianese phrase and write Jesus off before learning the jive.
I pray the church here (and everywhere else for that matter) can learn to love and use a language of love that all can understand. It would be cool if we all go to heaven. Cheers (that means good bye [and thank you in England]).
Posted by Chris and Rachel at 9:27 PM