Friday, October 28, 2011

Auschwitz: A Warning To Humanity

Hundreds of thousands of tiny shoes belonging to the child victims of Auschwitz. (photos by Kyrre Hovde)

This week I traveled to Krak√≥w, Poland with my School of Pioneering Leadership to study the history of the European church with Jeff Fountain from the Schuman Center For European Studies. As part of our teaching, we spent a day touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, a true hell on earth. The night before, I sat down with some of my fellow students to watch "180," an extremely well-articulated documentary comparing the silent holocaust of abortion to the horrors Hitler inflicted on millions of Jews during World War II (I've mentioned this documentary before, and I want to urge you again to please watch it if you haven't already). With that information fresh in my mind, I just lost it when we entered the memorial for the hundreds of thousands of child victims of Auschwitz. My heart broke as I saw the never-ending piles of tiny shoes belonging to precious babies just learning to take their first steps as their lives were snatched away by the gas chamber, starvation, and disease. 

One thing is clear to me: We have not heeded the warning; We still have not learned the value of human life. While "180" only accounts for those abortions taking place in the United States, Nurturing The Nations by Darrow Miller reports the even more alarming global total of 46 million abortions annually (about 126,000 per day...roughly the population of my hometown of Abilene, Texas). Miller notes that "God designed a woman's womb to be the safest place in the world. Sadly, this place of compassion has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for human life." 

As I stood weeping before this warning engraved on the Jewish memorial, I couldn't help but wonder if there will come a day when a similar memorial will stand to honor the millions of lives that never had the chance to begin, the stories that will never be told, the children--like those of Auschwitz--who have been robbed of their childhood. But unlike the world-wide ignorance of this holocaust as it took place during the war, we are all too aware of this multi-generational mass-murder of innocent children, and yet we do little more than put "Pro-Life" stickers on the bumpers of our cars. It's time we find our voices. You can begin by sharing "180" with everyone you know. You can also join me in searching for new creative ways to reach out to women facing this decision between life and death. I worry that the modern Church has become so focused on what we're against that we've forgotten what we're for in the process: hope, life, healing, restoring dignity, and introducing the world to a perfect Love which drives out all fear. Isn't that really what it all comes down to, fear and a lack of real understanding? Let's begin living as a people of hope, speaking the truth in love, saving the lives of innocent children as we cast out fear in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Reform

Last weekend, YWAM Norway sent out 50 teams to all 46 nations of Europe to intercede for the continent simultaneously. Can you grasp that? Young people standing in the gap, crying out in one voice to the God who desperately longs to be with the people of these nations. How beautiful is that? 

You might recognize this song, "The Reform" by Ascend The Hill, from our Koshe Project video. It's my heart's cry to see this song become the prayer, the reality, of Europe. Join with us in hoping for that. 

(Download this album by Ascend The Hill and many
 other great artists for free at

I open my eyes to the breath-taking splendor of brand new sky
I come with all I am
Heart pounding, and voice resounding
This is the sound of my rebounding
Coming back again
Coming back again
To you, God

The Creator's brand I bear
And forfeit the scars of love to share
This is the sound of foundations shaking
History in the making

This is reformation
This is love overtaking 
This is the sound of redemption
This is now, this is here

This is love overtaking me
This is love overtaking me
Overtake us God!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Holy Matrimony

Simon & Eline with all the YWAMers!
Last weekend I  made a trip down to Holland for the wedding of my two very good friends, Simon and Eline! *Side note---it's still amazing to me that a two-hour flight will take you all the way across the continent (such a shocker after growing up in the vast expanse we call "Texas"). Anyway, I've said it before and I'll say it again: YWAM weddings are special. To have friends coming together from every corner of the globe to bless this union and celebrate it together was such a gift for everyone involved. Not to mention the Dutch know how to throw one heck of a party! I dont think I've ever eaten so much good food in my entire life, and that's saying something coming from an avid celebrator of American Thanksgiving. 

The travel to and from was a bit sketchy, as we were flying through massive rain storms both ways. I experienced for the first (and hopefully last) time the thrill of hydroplaning into a tailspin on the runway amid the screams of frightened children. No thank you! But all in all, it was an incredible weekend packed full of quality time with friends from distant lands. I was so encouraged to hear about what God's doing in each of their lives, and I look forward to when we'll meet again! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Simple Expressions of Love

Proudly waving the Norwegian flag in my new sweater.
     Because my practical needs feel more tangible in the mission field, I tend to only ask God for the necessities and skip the rest, but last week I really felt that God was challenging me to ask Him for my heart's desires. While my "heart's desires" cannot be summed up in a nordic sweater, this was the one token of my time here that I really wanted, so I asked for it specifically: white, pull-over style, loose and comfy with the traditional silver buttons. To my surprise (and it's sad that it was a surprise) God didn't respond with "Seriously, Laken? I'm kind of trying to deal with the whole mass-famine-across-Africa thing right now. " Instead, I simply heard, "Faithfully look in the boutique every day until I provide your sweater." So every afternoon I've gone down to look for my sweater in the boutique (a room in the YWAM base where people can leave behind clothes to bless others with). Today I went down, and sure enough, there was my sweater neatly folded on top of a pile of t-shirts. It's exactly what I requested! I was told later that a sweater like this would normally cost around $175, and mine looks like it might never have been worn. It was such a good reminder for me that, like my earthly father (and I have a great one), my Heavenly Father wants to provide more for me than just food in my stomach and a roof over my head, that sometimes He wants to give me something just because He can. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Elskede Jesus

I love Norway. I love that every morning when I step out my door, the crisp fresh air hits my face and the prayers of faithful servants float down from the Upper Room. I love seeing the sun glittering on the surface of the lake in the distance and the clouds settling low on the hills. I love the thick, green, weed-less grass and the colorful Norwegian cottages. I love that 54 degrees farenheit is picnic weather. I love the rich heritage of this nation. I love this culture and these people. 

Most of all, I love their beautiful language. This song, Elskede Jesus, is so on my heart. I had a dream the day before I came to Norway that many people were standing around me singing this song. At the time, I thought it must have been the language of angels because I'd never heard it before. To my great surprise, this song actually exists and was written by girl named Marie Hognestad (who does have the voice of an angel, even if the language was only Norwegian) who's serving with the prayer team here at Grimerud. How beautiful is that? Oh, Lord, how you woo me!

Here are the lyrics in English:

Beloved Jesus
No one can compare with you
Beloved Jesus
You are the only one for me

You are the glorious Morning Star
Chief among ten thousand men
You live in a light no one can approach
You are the First and the Last
Ruler of the kings of the earth
Your beauty surpasses all I can think of

So come and take your place on the throne of my heart
I crown you as king of my love
Come and take your place on the throne of my heart
I crown you as king of my love

Beloved Jesus
You are all my heart aspires to
Beloved Jesus
There is only you who satisfies