Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: June, 2006

Rain, rain on my face…
We were in Karachi for a little while this past week. We decided to head back to Sanghar a day earlier than expected. It was a very interesting trip home.

I booked our seats for the 3:30 bus. At 3:15 Ruth and I were sitting patiently at the grungy bus-stop waiting for our bus. Oddly enough, it was late. At about 3:50 it finally arrived. Whatever frustrations we may have been feeling were banished as soon as we boarded the bus. I have never seen a Pakistani coach so lovely! Chilling A/C, tons of leg-room, and wonderfully comfortable seats with cup-holders made this look like the most wonderful ride we’d ever had. We settled down for a nice ride home.

The bus traveled much slower than usual. Usually these coach drivers rule the road and drive any obstacles into the ditch, but this guy was courteous and rather slow. While I went through the entire trip without fearing for my life once, I wished it went a bit faster. Eventually we left the National Highway and got onto the rural roads that would eventually lead us home. This is where the interesting things began to happen. We suddenly pulled off the road into a gas station and met up with another coach. Before I knew what was happening all the men were scrambling to get off the bus. For some reason we were switching buses. So off the bus I went, trying hard to keep up with the crowd and not lose my seat. I almost lost all of my luggage but eventually Ruth and I were settled nicely in a less-comfortable but much faster bus. Wonderful, eh?

Maybe not. About five minutes into the ride I noticed something that I had not seen for almost a year. There were flashes of light in the sky and droplets of water striking the windows. Rain? In Pakistan it never rains, but it pours! Within ten minutes of the rain starting we found ourselves in the middle of what I might call a monsoon. Even though I don’t really know what a monsoon is, I figure it can’t be much worse than that rain storm. The windows were leaking water all over us and we couldn’t see two feet out the windows. Funny thing is that our dear, semi-crazy driver never seemed to slow down. So on we went, up and down bumpy roads in the middle of a flooding nowhere, hoping and praying that we would reach Sanghar without drowning. At about 10:00 (two hours past the original ETA) we arrived in the lake that used to be Sanghar. I hopped off the bus to grab our luggage. As I stepped onto the street I silently cursed the driver for parking right beside a foot-deep puddle. I stopped cursing him when I walked away from the bus into the rest of town which was a two-foot puddle. I greatly regretted wearing my nice leather sandals that day.

Eventually we found a rickshaw that was willing to take us home. We were given a neat surprise when we got there. First, it was incredibly difficult to walk, the entire courtyard having been turned into a muddy swamp. Secondly I noticed that a rather large tree had fallen down. As I walked inside the house I saw the strangest sight of the day. The entire western wall of the compound had collapsed, leaving the family exposed to the outside of the city. As I type this now the men of the family are collecting thorny trees and branches to put up in place of the brick. Here’s a picture of the wall:

And here are a few other shots you haven’t seen:

Leader of the pack. Vroom, vroom.

Our cute little family at the Qaid-e-Azam tomb. Nice tourist destination.

Joe, cuter than ever.

Hanging at the Arabian sea.

He’s gonna be a soccer player. He iiiiis!

Swinging like a champ.

Yeah, you teach that goat a lesson!

I hope you enjoy those pics. Pray for us these days, some big things are near in the future. I could use some of that Spiritual Wisdom stuff.

Cook out.

You are what you…are

They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for me love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
Ps. 109:3-4

If you have your Bible with you this morning please turn to Psalm 109. Do you have a footnote at verse four? I do. It says that the original Hebrew reads but I am prayer. I am prayer. He doesn’t say “I pray lots” or “I pray without ceasing” or “I devote myself to prayer”. “I am prayer.

It makes me think of a man that you walk up to and ask “Excuse me sir, do you pray?” He answers, “Do I pray? My friend I am prayer. I am the incarnation of prayer. The defining characteristic of my life is prayer, it’s what I’m all about. Take prayer away from me and I am a different person. I am prayer.” I think that is what David basically means. You wonder what was the most important thing in David’s life. What was the sine qua non of his existence? Prayer.

It’s like one of those secret agents who goes around saying, “Danger? Danger is my middle name, baby.” Prayer? Prayer is my middle name, baby.

When I read that this morning I was very groggy and certainly didn’t feel like my middle name was prayer. I think my middle name was slug at that time. I’ve often wondered how to make my body and spirit work together to get me into a position where I desire the things that will give me life. I’ve got a few clues, but I still haven’t figured it all out yet.

These days I think consistency is a key (there are a whole lot of keys to this lock). When I’m consistent for a few days everything seems to flow nicely. Until that first snag at which it all falls apart. You cannot be prayer without praying. To be prayer you need to be all about prayer. It needs to be that one thing that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Prayer, to you, must be like a firstborn son, a favorite duty, a spouse. When you consistently look at prayer like this, maybe it will help.

So pray for me and I’ll pray for you. One day we may say with David, “I am prayer.”

PS – More pictures!

Jenn and Jordan.

Jenn and Jordan with our dear friend Ambo. Ask them what his name means.

Malaria + 50 degree weather + Funny diet + Two great friends visiting = The above picture.

Joe chillin’ at the tomb of the founder of Pakistan. Chill well, young man.

More later!

Goodness Gracious

For you so loved the unlovable
That you gave the ineffable
That whoso believes the unbelievable
Will gain the unattainable

Video games are pretty cheap here. When I say pretty cheap I mean that you could buy Doom 3 for fifty cents. Which is the same price that you’d pay for the entire series of Age of Empires or Jedi Knight or any other game you could think of. Or movie for that matter, they also cost fifty cents. You don’t pay for the time and mind of the creators here; you just pay for the plastic the media is put on. Yesterday my brother-in-law, John bought a CD that has something like 15 separate games on it, including a few that I loved back before Bible College. I always like the older games the best. So I was helping him install them on his computer because half the time the fifty-cent games don’t work. Which is understandable, being fifty cents and all.

So I finished installing the classic Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith. To my surprise it worked perfectly, though without the cut scene videos. I figured that I should test it for him too. Just to make sure there wasn’t any nasty bugs or anything. I dove into the game. John and Nadeem were in awe at my incredible lightsaber skills as I fought off the invading army of stormtroopers. I played a little longer than I had expected because the next time I turned around John and Nadeem were gone, maybe in bed.

I missed something that night. Ruth and I had made a habit of meeting together every evening for prayer and study. I was busy defending the New Republic from the remains of the Galactic Empire. I was thinking morning about why. You and I both know that it’s very easy to do those little pleasing things that make us happy now as opposed to those difficult things that make us very happy forever. First I tried to rationally figure it out. What are the benefits of taking on the forces of darkness as Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn??

  • Fun now
  • Sometimes a feeling of accomplishment if I win

That’s about it.

What are the benefits of leading myself and my wife to Christ?

  • Sanctifies me
  • Sanctifies my wife
  • Gives me access to omnipotence
  • Prepares me for eternity
  • Draws me closer to my wife
  • Sets my mind on things above

And I’m sure you and I could go on for a while because we know full well the benefits of fellowship with God. We know what it’s like because we have been at the throne of God before. We’ve tasted it and we know that there is nothing better.

So according to the logic of it all we should through everything away and run after God. The trick is that we are not logical creatures. But neither are we really emotional. Even emotionally speaking we should be running after God. The problem is not that we rely on our emotions too much. Our emotions tell us that true joy is found in Christ because we can remember how He has affected our emotions in the past. I don’t think the human problem is over-emotionalism.

We aren’t overly-rational or overly-emotional. We are overly-sinful. Our sin totally screws up our reason and emotions. Untainted, our reason and emotions should make us beautiful creatures, but when perverted we become dangerous, unstable, miserable folks. Our sin destroys every good thing that was supposed to dwell in us. The reason that I choose Kyle Katarn over Jesus is not rational or emotional, it’s just sinful. There is the problem. If we try to point at anything else as our problem we make a fake solution that won’t help us out one little bit.

I’m very good at pointing out problems, but I’m not too good at working a solution. Although I’ve heard that recognizing the problem is half the solution.

Photos for your enjoyment:

Rani, John, Ruth, Joe, Sindhu and Peter on Easter.

Mommy, nephew and son.

Mommy and Joe, on the roof.

Again, our dear mommy and son.

More are coming. Including the much-awaited shots of Jenn and Jordan’s trip to the land of Pak.