Cultural Pilgrimage: Reflections from the Protestant Church #comments4kids

Reflections from Team Fink’s pilgrimage to the Protestant Church.

Going to the Protestant church I already knew what to expect. There was nothing there that was going to surprise me or make me feel uncomfortable. But as Pastor Peter was talking I felt as if I had never learned of Christianity before. My mind drew blank and I learned about it as if I have never heard the word Jesus before. He answered all questions in away that I wouldn’t have thought of. Pastor Peter talked about perspective with all questions. That’s something I loved, that he would put perspective into every and all question.

God exposes you to Him if you are in the absence of light. Also God talks to people in different ways. We think God doesn’t answer our prayers, but really we don’t open our eyes to realize our answer right in front of us. All of our answers look different, and our relationship with the trinity looks special and different than anyone else. With the unique relationship I have with God, I’m realizing he is making me more new in every way. I loved going to the Protestant Church and learning more about the love of God.

Going to the church has helped me understand my own religion better. One thing pastor Peter said was “In order to fall in love with Jesus we have to experience the bad.” ~ Peter this reminded me of the saying we must experience the rain before we can see the rainbow. I think God puts trials in our life so we can resort back to God when we need a hand. One of the questions I asked was who is God at the core? Peter replied God is Jesus. I found this interesting because at the Catholic church the man said God is love. Peter said love can be used in wrong terms. So he said God is Jesus. Also one thing I thought was cool that he said was Gods wrath is Gods love. When God is mad it is because he loves us and cares for us.
Overall this trip has impacted my life greatly and has taught me to trust God in the darkness.

God is the groom, God is the light, God is our daddy, God is the consuming fire. I walk and so often I trip on the shadow Satan has cast on my path, I fall in love with this shadow because it hides me from the things I can’t see. I become dark like the shadow and it feels good because I’m scared of what the Light might expose. With each fearful thought a piece of my flesh falls from my body and is plastered to the shadow. The shadow takes form. This creation I am making from the shadow says we are friends, yet I am a slave to it. My flesh keeps falling off. This creation becomes bigger and gives me orders and calls them deals, but I never benefit. Pieces of my flesh keep falling. This evil creation I make deceives me and I become evil too. My flesh is gone. Now I am ugly and broken and I ask the shadow that I made into a monster if it would help me. It leaves. I am left with no hope, I am dark and I crave the Light. I want the Light and I know the Light exists. I search and search. Soon I grow tired and go sit against a wall. I look up and a cloth is on the wall. “Tear the cloth.” Light speaks to me. I grab the cloth and rip it in half and light seeps through. I am covered in the Light. It scorches me and I cry. Why would Light do this to me, it must hate me, but I don’t realize Light actually loves me. Light is a consuming fire. My skinned body is burned to ash, and I become made new. I am in love with the Light. The Light then holds me and I know it will never let me down, because the Light is my Daddy; even when I stray from Him, He will never stop loving me. The soulless creature I have made dies. It no longer has my skin, because I have been reborn.
The church was a refreshing place. At the church today I realized how often I slip into the shadow of evil. “With fear you put flesh on the evil one.” (Peter). Satans biggest weapon is fear. I constantly fear the unknown and it makes Satan stronger. Satan drowns us in darkness and we easily forget God can give us a breathe of Light. There is always light in the darkness, even if we can’t see it. “In order to fall in love with good, we have to experience evil.” (Peter). Without darkness we would not celebrate the Light. God gives us trials, to rejoice in His greatness. Peter talked about how first we have to want God, then we have to search for him, and God will let us find Him. We are the brides to God and it is the most beautiful marriage ever. Some religions believe God is not like a dad or does not want to help us if we don’t seek Him, but God is truly our father and His presence is constantly by our sides. God is the groom, He is the light, He is our father, God is the consuming, and God makes us new.

We reject God but He still love us anyway. We push Him aside because we don’t have time for Him, but He still loves and strives for us. We act like strangers and have a disguise over ourselves so we can hide from Him, but the disguise is like glass, and He can see through it. God is always with us “we aren’t a number on a waiting list.”(Peter). Even if we are in a really bad situation, in the end I believe that “You make beautiful things out of the dust, You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.” (Beautiful things). He has a purpose for everything so in that bad situation something good will come out of it, but it might take some time. God will re-sculpt us and those ashes that we were once, will one day convert us to become pure, because that’s how much He loves us.

God is the river that gushes into our soul. The water of Gods river is sweet because of the flavor of love and grace He has put into it. This Spirit does everything out of love even if we forget sometimes. The Divine has the power in which He can eternally torture Adam, yet He chooses not to because he is good, and good always conquers. God is the almighty, yet He does not use this power to torture humanity, but He uses it to bind us with Him out of this unbreakable love. (Pastor Peter). The Lord is the river of love that is open for us to swim amongst its waters, yet we choose to create our own river.
The river we have created is bitter and salty because we have dumped sins and lies into it. One of the lies is that we are sin at the core and because of this lie we try to justify our wrong doings. God destroys this lie we believe about ourselves. God destroys this lie and purifies our murky waters out of His love and embracing us in His wrath. (Pastor Peter). The Lord destroys this lie in each person differently just like He communicates to others in different forms.
The Divine comes in different ways so we may spread the Gospel according to what He has taught us as individuals. (Pastor Peter). Sometimes we see the Spirit and sometimes we don’t, but God is always there even if we can’t hear Him. When our ears become numb to what God tries to tell us we feel as if He has become absent from our lives. In these moments when the Lord doesn’t seem transparent we feel consumed by darkness.
In this darkness it is easier to see the light that shines. (Pastor Peter). Light is always around us, but in the darkness light becomes easier to appreciate and notice. God is always around us channeling His river of love into our everyday lives, but if we don’t experience darkness we can not appreciate this river He has made for us.
God immerses us in His river everyday. We must allow Him to filter out our dirty lies and sins. We shall rejoice in the darkness as much as we do the light, and most of all we must recognize He is always with us even if we do not see Him right in front of our faces.

My hand closes around a small metal key. Although I sit in the darkness, I can feel the key gleaming in my hand. This is my way out. This is what I have been waiting for my whole life. I start crawling until I slam into the wall. My hands start working their way up the wall until they find the little keyhole that I discovered months ago. I reach into my pocket and grasp the little key. I shove the little key in the slit. I twist it and turn it but nothing happens. I must have been sitting on the cold floor twisting the key for hours, but how would I know? I haven’t exposed to time for years. Finally, I hear a little click. I hold my breath and wait. The dark cold walls of my dungeon fall, and the light blinds me. “The worst thing that can happen if you believe that you are darkness, and God exposes you to light.” (Pastor Peter). I scream. It has been so long since I had last seen light that I forgot what it even looked like. I forgot how wonderful and warm it was. I looked down at my bruised hands and dirty clothes, and wondered how long I had let the Evil one tempt me into despair and darkness. I remember my father. I remember his last words to me. So I ran. I ran right into the room where I last left him, and there he was. Sitting on his throne gazing down with his beautiful eyes that I almost had forgot that could light up the world. He sat there with his arms wide open and a big smile on the face. “I knew you would come back, there wasn’t a moment that I ever doubted you.” Then I started crying. I started crying because I knew I couldn’t say the same. Because I knew that I had doubted. He read my thoughts, and pulled me into one of his loving and strong hugs, that I had so dearly missed and said, “I love you.”

Reflections from Cultural Pilgrimage Day 1: Mosque

Reflections from Team Fink, Cultural Pilgrimage Day 1:

 

Sometimes we need to experience something twice to process it. Going to the Mosque for the second round made me feel more comfortable with different religions. There are many differences between Christianity and Islam, but we can also learn from people that don’t believe the same as we do. Today I learned more about women’s rights in Islam, their teachings and their beliefs. The one thing that stood out to me was the call for prayer (muezzin) and its translation. God is greater than anything we are doing this second, and the least we can do is think about him for a few minutes. What still stands with me is that we tend to spend not a lot of time focusing on God every day, while others dedicate their time each day to love and thank God.

Notes
Women are like diamonds
In order to thank or as for forgiveness from God, we a have to thank or apologize to the people we affected
Using Google, but not relying on it
They believe that Jesus did not die on the cross
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“Recently we were attacked by Muslim terrorists”
“The Islamic group ISIS has just destroyed..”
“We are still at war with Muslim Radicals”
“These people pose a great threat to our society”
There are 1.7 billion Muslims in the world. 95% are peaceful, only 5% are radical. That is still over 50 million people. 50 million people mixed with the media can make us think differently of the entire 1.7 billion.  In reality Islam isn’t the religion the media poses it to be. Visiting a Mosque can change the way you think. There are many different views of even Islam. It’s up to us to learn about these things and not just focus on the media.
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When Mati spoke to us it almost gave me goosebumps. One of my favorite topics he was talking about was when he said you need to acknowledge something before you fix something. Like with ourselves I the power of one we have to know who we are before we can fix ourselves. We are so quick to judge that we try to fix a religion or culture but we don’t even know it. He was also saying that we have a lot of similarities in religion but it is the differences that make it so unique. I loved that because we are always trying to get people to be a specific way but differences are something that we should admire. He talked a lot about how the most important source to learn from is books. He said that the we should use the Internet but not rely on it. I liked that he was saying that they think of woman more precious than jewels so they cover themselves to get rid of the distraction and to treat them not for their looks but for their minds. A part that Mati said was extremely powerful for me and I will remember it for a long time. Mati said, “God does not need us to pray, it is for our own benefit.” I loved that because God is perfect and righteous a person like that does not need people to bow down to him. God provides for us and he gives us the blessing to observe and choose for ourselves. Mati made a metaphor saying that God created man and woman differrent and that they are both needed. He said that one would be the transmission in the car and the other engine. You could have a really strong engine but without the transmission it could never move no matter how strong the engine is. You could have a great transmission but without the power of the engine it won’t go anywhere.
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I never in my life time thought that I would ever step foot in a mosque. I always thought that people who aren’t Christian are bad. That they are sinners and they are going to hell. Even though it was out of my comfort zone, it showed me a religion that was so strongly proud of what they believe. ” This wasn’t a strange place, it was a new one” ( The Alchemist). A man named Matt was speaking to us about his religion and his beliefs. Not word for word, but in quotes that he has made. One quote that stood out to me was, ” don’t trust google, find out for yourself.” I have always heard that but having him repeat it over and over hit me harder then anyone else saying it.
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Going to the mosque for a second time was different than before, especially having someone else teaching. I learned more about the religion and have a better understanding of it. I really liked the imam this time around. Some of the topics he told me about had better affect than last year. It was interesting and cool to hear about how people treat him since the attacks in Paris. When we were meeting his wife, she was fully covered. He even asked us, “doesn’t she look like she’s from a different land?” At first we laughed, and then he told us to be honest. We nodded, and he goes, “she’s completely American.” then smiled. She was the sweetest person I have ever met. I enjoyed this trip.
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This experience was eye opening to new cultures and religions. It gave me a new perspective on what Muslims believe and think about society. Something that I thought was cool was when they did the call for prayer because Matt was translating it for us. One of my favorite lines was ” God is the greatest, God is the greatest” because they take God and their religion so seriously. Something that I remembered that Matt said was, ” If a black person sat by a white person and asked him if he had fifty cents the white man would be quick to say no and look away. If a white man sat by a white man and asked him for fifty cents he would be going through his bag to find some money.” That stood out to me because it is acceptance and who society tell us we have to hang out with.
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Mati spoke to us about his religion and Cluture. He said that Christianity and Islam were very similar. Mati said Christianity and Islam both worship the same God. He said a lot of cool quotes. “Do not always rely on what people tell you.” People thought that Mati was a Muslim extrimest. We shouId not be so quick to judge. We should get to know someone not by looks but, by their 90%. Muslims have a lot of respect for God when they pray. It was really humbling for me when they put their noses to the floor to show that they are so much less then God. Christians just lay on the couch and do not pray respecfuly. Overall this was an amazing expirence to learn a different religion that I never knew.
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We talked to a Islamist with the name of Mati. He showed us the call for prayer (which was my favorite part) and showed us what he understood. Seeing the men do their prayer really stunned me and made me think about ‘they really love God and show it through their movements.’ It made me think on how the difference of prayer for Muslims and Christians. Why do we judge Muslims before we see what they do, they have better prayer than us.