Saturday, July 20, 2013

Online Donations

Hello All, 

I have finally set up a way to donate to this work online. I am asking that you help this TOPIK by providing them with an intern for the day. The cost of this service breaks down to $30 for the day. Think about sponsoring a birthday or holiday. Though any amount is more than welcome! Simply click the link below to visit my page.


Thanks to everyone for their continued support,

Carlin

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Holy Order of Immaculate Sheets

--> Hello all,

Today I want to talk about folding fitted sheets. Please, try to contain your excitement.
I think every person who has ever had to do laundry has struggled with folding fitted sheets. And the thing I’m talking about here is not simply getting it folded. It’s getting it flat enough that you can’t even tell the difference between the flat and the fitted sheet. When I started doing laundry as a child, I assumed that this was not only impossible, but who cared if your fitted sheet was flat or not? It reminded me of how I felt about the myth of Sisyphus. Not only was the poor guy not able to roll the boulder up the hill, what the heck was gonna be so great if he managed to do it and the boulder sat at the top of the hill?

But then…there was this group of women. I believe in the saints that live among us, so I’ll call them The Holy Order of Immaculate Sheets. This is really the kind of mysticism that surrounded the crinkly edges of those sheets for me. There were the leaders of this order, public figures like Martha Stewart and their founder Ann Landers. But there were also the everyday members. How in the world was it that most adult women I had encountered knew this mystery? At least on my mom’s side of the family. I figured perhaps it was inherited and I was simply not of this particular holy line. Later in my life, around the time that I started studying for confirmation in the Episcopal Church, I thought maybe folding fitted sheets was a holy mystery. That when the time was right and my spirit ripe for organization, The Holy Order of Immaculate Sheets would stand around me and chant and the Holy Ghost would descend upon me with tongues of fire and then I would have the knowledge to fold these freaking sheets. I mean the apostles got to learn a language without studying, was it so unbelievable that I would learn how to fold a fitted sheet flat? 

Of course, nothing like this holy sign descended upon me. And when I moved to college, my obsession with the fitted sheet diminished. I would try, sort of, but then surrender and shove the sheets in the closet where I could live with the happy knowledge that no one would ever discover the disorder of my soul made manifest in sheet form. Then I told a little fib. I needed some money so I applied to do some on and off housekeeping at a bed and breakfast. And… I may have told them that I had some housekeeping experience. Don’t worry about this lie weighing heavy on my soul; my punishment came on the first day. I was taken upstairs to start my first task. Was it folding fitted sheets? Oh no…it wasn’t. It was IRONING and then folding fitted sheets. Ironing fitted sheets. Seriously, Sisyphus, anyone?!

I was paralyzed with fear. I approached the pile of fitted sheets as though it were a pile of hideous vipers or spiders, or whatever you’re most afraid of. So I did what any sane person would do. I prayed. “Dear God, I am about to turn on the television in this room, please let there be a housekeeping show with instruction on how to fold fitted sheets. In Jesus name. Amen.” Well God always answers prayers, it’s just that the answer is sometimes “no”. No luck with the television. So I did something that had never really occurred to me before. I asked for help. I found the woman I was working for and made a confession unto her. She laughed, and said it was fine. That she was never able to fold a fitted sheet on her own either. That it was a group project. After I ironed the sheets, she would come up and help me fold them. Well buddy, let me just tell you, the result was a pile of fitted sheets so flat that you’d have thought they’d just come out of the package and still had those little cardboard inserts. Hallelujah!

This got me thinking. The true glory of the Holy Order of Immaculate Sheets wasn’t that the sheets got flat, but that there was a community that cared about the flatness of the sheets. That, if only asked for help, would be more than willing to help you fold them flat. A group of saints that if they saw the sheets wadded in my freshman dorm room would recognize all the need for help and willingly provide it. I realized that this was true of most struggles I have encountered, most recently the fact that I will be going abroad as a missionary. And trust me, this is like hand weaving the sheet, ironing it, and then folding it flat. This is why I love not just my church, but Christian community in general. What cannot be provided for in genetic inheritance or miracles of tongues can be provided for in the support of the community around me. That all one needs to do is remember the humility of Jesus. He was the Son of God and he still needed to be surrounded by a group of people that helped him out. If I can just admit that I need help whether in folding fitted sheets or for spiritual inspiration, some one will understand and step forward to help.

This is why I consider my spiritual life and my ability to fold fitted sheets as parallel happenings. At this point I consider myself a novice in The Holy Order of Immaculate Sheets, just as I consider myself a novice in my ability to form community with people of a totally different culture. But now I am in the order and I trust that, like the lilies of the field, God will provide, even if it requires overcoming the embarrassment of my ignorance.

Prayer of The Holy Order of Immaculate Sheets:

Dear Lord,

Help me this day to believe in accomplishing the absurd, whether making a fitted sheet flat or healing in a hurt world.

Help me to remember that when two or three are gathered together, you are in the mist of them, and this is why folding a fitted sheet is a two person job.

Help me to be open to the help of others in folding my sheets and ordering my life.

Help me to be willing to step forward when I see others with messy sheets, so that as my life is ordered by you, I can help others to your life of divinely flat sheets.

Amen. 


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Meet the Young Adult Service Corps 2013



A brief introduction to other members of YASC and what they are doing.
Video Credit to Ms. Ashley Cameron

Home from Training

Hello all, 

I have just returned from a wonderful two weeks of mission personnel training in Stony Point, New York. This was two weeks for myself, the other YASCers, and the "grown up" missionaries to get together to train for cross-cultural experiences as well as form a support network for our year overseas. 

I have to admit, during these weeks the gravity of what I have decided to do began to sink in. Someone said, "Goodbye, see you in a year" and it suddenly hit me that I will actually be gone for that long, living in a foreign country, trying to help more than I hurt. On the other hand, this training helped me to understand that I can indeed live in community with other people and hopefully provided me with some coping mechanisms. 

Additionally, I had been wrestling with the idea that I was in no way, shape, or form qualified to be doing this kind of job. I had been wondering what in the world kind of good a 22 year old with a liberal arts degree could do in the world. Luckily, I've been made to remember that God doesn't choose the qualified, but he qualifies the chosen. Furthermore, I discovered that the Episcopal Church's take on mission is very different from what I was anticipating. The focus is on building relationships with all people. Not trying to take God to them but believing that God has always been there. I'm a friendly enough person and look forward to helping strengthen the relationship the Episcopal Church has with the Korean Church. 

I'm terrified and exhilarated all at the same time. I think this prayer by Thomas Merton that my best friend from college shared with me will be a staple this coming year.

“My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Peace, 

Carlin


As a reminder, if you would like to donate, click the "join me" tab for more information.