Pomegranates are my favourite fruit

I only found out a few weeks ago that my watch tells me the date and day of the week. What a super-watch it is. It wakes me up in the morning to an obnoxious beeping that I only sleep through sometimes. It has done no more than lose a button and become hideously scratched during a Canadian mosh pit in the downstairs hallway of Next Wave, over the course of my adventure. Along with my trusty iPod shuffle (2008 model- can survive being dipped in a cup of tea, if you were wondering) it’s the only piece of technology I brought with me that’s survived the journey. Apparently the simple is best.
Simplicity leads me on really well to eating simply, which I’d been meaning to blog about since… last blog. And I’ll talk about relevant outreach stuffs later. While we were working with the church in Fush Kruje, they started a three-week ‘Daniel fast’. For the Biblical reference, it’s Daniel 10 I believe- where Daniel describes a vision of the future that God gave him. This happened when he’d been ‘in mourning’ for three weeks, eating ‘no meat or wine or fine foods’. For the church, the purpose of doing this was to commit to focusing on what God was saying to them for the New Year. I got really excited about it when I heard, so for three weeks I took on the challenge of no meat, dairy, sugar or grains. (Apart from birthdays, because I did turn 19 over that time and I wanted to eat bakllava…)
Did God give me revelation about the upcoming year? Clearly there should be a simple answer. I haven’t even journalled about it yet so I have no idea what I’m about to type. It wasn’t the easiest three weeks. Sometimes I felt like I was floating around in a mess of who I used to be, scrambled with outreach and a thousand different people. But eating simply, made me feel simple on the inside as well. It gave me less to worry about and I suspect my body thrived on not having the stress of a tonne of dubious food to digest and worry about. Other than while staying at a YWAM base where I obviously eat what’s put in front of me, it made me decide that raisins for breakfast, avoiding bread and sugar and meat and dairy of course, is a lifestyle that suits me pretty well. This also made me appreciate food SO much more. I eat much more slowly now, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. And who knew how sweet and chewy dried fruit is, or how filling fresh carrot sticks and home made hummus can be?
Quoting Romans 14, I recognise that this isn’t for everyone, but it is something that brings me a lot of joy.
Alongside this, I learned some things what I suppose you could call ‘the hard way’, if ‘the hard way’ is through practice rather than theory. It’s as good a way as any to learn, because after all, why should we compartmentalise thought from action? They’re usually worthless without each other.
I learned to take time out and journal and appreciate quiet. This was incredibly difficult in our house in Lac, where we had four rooms (not counting bathrooms and hallway) and each one had at least one person sleeping in it. But it’s worth the intentionality of running outside early in the morning to catch the dew-breath and the sunrise and say hi to God before anyone else is there. I can see I’m better at that now. Now we’re staying in the YWAM base in Durres, which is in a rented hotel right on the beach, and this morning was the first time the sun had shone. The painting on the horizon was just fantastic and totally worth running down two flights of stairs- tiles on bare feet- and sing-humming the ‘Chariots of Fire’ theme while running down the sand and wavelets. I picked up a pearly shell with a hole in it which I will hang on a chain. And that’s a memory I’ve made. I learned that all moments are worth investing in because they are unique. Take away the distraction of food and you can either be bored or choose to notice the details.
My watch has beeped to tell me it’s 10 on the hour (it truly is a wonderful invention) and as you are surely wanting to know about outreach this morning, I will tell you briefly before I sleep. For our very first outreach day in Durres, we had a ‘creative outreach’ slot- we got to choose what we would do with a morning in the city, with no outside resources or translation or knowledge. After asking God what he wanted us to do, we spent the weekend making little origami boxes and filling them with chocolates and notes saying ‘ti je c’muar’- ‘you are precious’.
On our finally-sunny morning, in a square with fountains, I got to play my violin to children and old men in long black coats who play chess. Seth and I walked down the main street jamming while the others handed out our little ‘surprise’ boxes and talked to people. We made some friends and made people laugh, something that comes increasingly easily when you commit to doing it. I ran through the fountain, got wet feet, was totally showed up by an old lady who played ‘Oh Susanna’ with some rocking double stopping on my violin, arranged to meet up with some people in a grocery store who apparently appreciated us walking in there playing Mumford and Sons… it was a good morning. People are awesome. And it was awesome, not because I get a personal kick out of it (because that honestly would be worthless) but because I asked God to give me the strength for a very extroverted outreach and I guess he did because I felt grounded and alive the entire time.
Sailor is signing out. Last week in Albania.

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