We've been living in our current home for about five months now, and every day is a reminder of the reality that we live in a hard place.  It's hard in so many ways.  The weather is definitely hard (ex: today's low is negtive .   The transportation is beyond difficult (I waited for an hour for a bus or taxi the other day, and ended up walking to my destination... in the negative 15 weather).  Things seem to break easier here  (ex: our water heater has broken at least once every month since we've been here).  Even the people seem to be harder, and there are days that we do not enjoy the people here at all! 

It's easy at times for me to just want to throw up my hands and say "I give up!  I'm leaving this God-forsaken place!"  And trust me, I've had my fair share of near-breakdowns in five months.  But as this new year begins, I'm surprisingly inspired.  I'm inspired by people who have gone before me and clung to hope in the midst of difficulties.  I'm inspired by people like Rich Mullins who unabashedly and honestly lived a live covered by grace.  I'm inspired by people in San Francisco who spend time on their knees for the healing and transformation of that city.  And I'm inspired by a man who chose humility, and who, for the joy set before him, endured persecution and death.  Because of this, I know that I do not have to be sucked into the habitual hardness of this place, but rather be strengthened for as long as I am here to show that there is hope.  There is great hope!


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