life's little miracles (& the big ones too)

So beyond today being the last official day of my undergraduate career (yea), I also received an extra blessing while taking care of business at school. I received a scholarship letter in the mail last week telling me that I have been awarded a scholarship. I had just needed to turn in some paper work. Okay. So I am at school turning it in (and trying not to be late for my other class). I asked the very kind lady behind the desk what else I needed to do and how is my graduating this December going to work with a two semester scholarship. (My initial thought was not one of gratitude, sadly. It was more along the lines of 'of course. Finally they decide that I need money to pay for school, when I am just about to graduate and had already paid for this semester. Thanks.') Anyway, she came back, after asking her superior, with a smile on her face telling me that they are going to give me the full amount - both semesters worth! That is two thousand dollars! And the check will be mailed in the next couple of days. And then it is going straight into my savings account to await grad school. So now I can be in less debt by the time I finally finish with school! Praise God.


why India? because

I have been asked many times now (and expectantly many more to come) with confusion, astonishment, and concern, 'why are you going to India ... and to do what exactly?' Many have known about my plans to study in Berlin this coming winter/spring semester and were excited for me about that experience. On that note: no worries. I will make my way to Deutschland soon enough. For goodness sake, I have learned German! But this other thing presented itself, and I jumped in with both feet.

And it is odd, somewhat, that friends from school are equally excited or even more excited about India than Germany, while friends from both church and work seem less thrilled (I know there are you within this group that have been a great encouragement to me, so sorry to lump you into the masses ... but I have not encountered even one fellow student or professor that disapproves or disagrees or whatever). I do not know why some wish for me to reconsider.

I, like others in my generation, feel the need to have lives that have an impact, that does good for people, for the world, in general and specifically. I was introduced to EMI a little over a year ago as a possibility to what then was a searching for an answer to the whisper of purpose in my life. I fully see my life played out as a career architectural missionary in service to all nations, bringing hope to all nations. EMI's slogan is 'designing a world of hope.' Perfect! It is showing God's love practically to those who are desperate for it. My heart jumps knowing that God has called me in ministry with Him for this reason.

So why India? Approximately a year ago, my dad and I decided that we should do one of EMI's short term missions (two weeks-ish long) - he as the structural engineer and I as the draftsman. We had done local service together, but an international mission would be an extra blessing to serve alongside my father. And he was so excited (and jealous) when plans for my serving in Poland were underway. Just because this is now no longer possible does not mean that God has taken away my heart, willingness, and ability for international service. And as my undergraduate career was coming to a close, timing worked out that I had this considerable block of time open before I could begin graduate school. With this and other happenings, there were just so many open doors that it floored me.

I have been in communication with several current mission-minded people, and all of them have a particular people on their heart. I do not have that (yet?) - my focus is still the nations. Does this mean that I have not met other missionaries that are not solely attached to one location? or Will I develop a burdened heart for a people group, I just have to find them? or Is my call simply different and purposefully global? I know not. But in any case, I move ahead with what lies before me.

I guess now I will get to confuse Spanish, German AND Hindi when searching for a word. So why India? Because God said so.


Black Thursday

Something is amiss. I understand that technically this was Thanksgiving weekend, but it was not, really, at least for me. Because of a number of circumstances, one of which being the ever infamous miss-communication, the traditional Thanksgiving that I can remember throughout my lifetime did not happen this year. We would go to my dad's family with his two brothers and their families and his mother. Great cooking, lots of food and then grazing for the next couple of days, generally relaxing and laughter. However, this year, it was just my sister Kelli and I in her apartment in Austin. Do not get me wrong, we have had a great time in each other's company, but it is so familiar ... just like other weekends that I have come up to hang. And I expect the same for Christmas. I wonder if I can expect this for years to come?
On a different note: I am now Skype able. Bought a web cam and headset today (with Black Friday sales). I also got a new digital camera because I broke the display screen of my old faithful camera who survived many mis-adventures with me. But that is neither here nor there. So Skype me (tam.williamson) if you find me on or we can set up an appointment while I am in India or where ever else in the world. (It is free).

To cap off a good day, my sister and I just worked out (in an incredibly empty gym) and took showers. So life is good ... and clean.

Anyway, I have been writing this post for a couple of days now. Started with nothing but the blank screen and a swirl of ideas. Then came the first line. That is how I left it yesterday. Now, there is this, though I am in process of formulating questions that probably have no clear answers. But I will get to that tomorrow I suppose. Two of the upcoming posts are most likely going to center around: 1) what I am thankful for (might as well, and it is good to remember as often as possible); 2) people's response to India news. But I will get to that tomorrow I suppose. Until then ...


hear ye

It is official! As of yesterday night, I will be serving in India with EMI (www.emiusa.org) as an architectural intern. Two months from today all new interns will congregate in Colorado Springs, CO for orientation ... then off we go to our respective countries. I am very ready to start this next phase, even though the last bit of school is still lingering (just two half weeks, one whole week, and then finals).

Mid-January to mid-July, 6 months. This would be the longest that I have "been on assignment" away from familiar customs and traditions (and availability of certain creature comforts ... i.e. pink frosting). Strangely, I am not stressed or disconcerted by this. I have seen myself for a few years now as semi-nomadic, not grounded to any particular nation, but reaching out to all nations.

It has been my consistent prayer for many years now that God would allow me to join with Him in service, using to the fullest extent the gifts, talents, and character that He has given me and grown up in me. Whatever and however that looks like (whether with EMI (!) or Habitat for Humanity- globally or locally- or playing in my church's orchestra or Bible studies or bringing my worship to church), I am game ... the rest really is simply details to the depth of the story that is being written.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ' And I said, 'Here I am. Send me!'" (Isaiah 6:8)


prayer, rest, sleep

I am currently up in Menard, Texas. 'Where?!' you might ask. It is the largest town in Menard County. (Just look it up if you really are interested.) Anyway I am up here because my sister is going to be guest preaching at one of her seminary friend's church tomorrow. So she is still writing her sermon, while I am simply wasting time. It is a beautiful thing. We are all (my sister's preacher friend included) sitting in her parsonage - they in the dinning room at the table and I lounging sideways in a really comfy sofa chair, feet over one edge, messing around on my laptop, absorbing its warmth into my lap. We stayed up yesterday into early today (about 2am) thinking, questioning, and working through various scriptures and theology and lines of thought hopefully pertaining to my sister's sermon. It is interesting how much they sort through and note that does not become the 'published' piece that everyone hears.

Besides that, I also have a better appreciation for what those people waiting to be ordained as pastors go through. I did my EMI (engineering ministries international) phone interview a couple of days age. I was not nervous coming into it because I feel that this is where I need to be - out in the world, not hiding my given talents in the sand, but using them however much I can where ever I am. So in my heart, I know India is next. But anyway, the phone interview was more than I was prepared for. The intern coordinator asked me about my faith, what is the gospel and how has this affected my life, what are my practices dealing with prayer and study, and various other very loaded questions. I hope my answers were good - I do not remember what I said. I just remember praying often, 'Lord, your turn. I think this question goes to you.' I will officially find out either Monday night or Tuesday morning if India is where I am supposed to be from January to mid-July of 2008. So these few days (past and coming) have been devoted to prayer from EMI, me, my Bible study, and various other people who I have asked.

So back in Menard ... lounging in this arm chair. Both my sister's and my cell phones do not work here - meaning no calls (a struggle for her) and no instant time and no alarm clock (my struggle). We woke up at dawn (whatever time that is) and decided that we should go back to sleep. It wasn't until 9:30 ish before we got up. I made us both omelets (amazingly beautiful tri-fold, evenly cooked, spiced to each of our different tastes, cheese and ham - not bragging, really, but they were good) and then we are where we are.

I think my sister's friend is going to make ... um, allow my sister to see the sights of Menard to get out of the house. So off they go. While me, just lounging in this comfy chair, legs draped over the edge, messing around on my laptop.