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and they filled my heart.

fill the cups. fill the bowls. fill the table. fill the moon. but most of all fill your stomach.

fill may not even be sufficient enough of a word. the correct words translated mean to fill your stomach until it feels like it's going to come back up. gross, right? and who wants to fill your stomach with mayonaise-y salads and boiled little dumplings? oh that's right, everyone in Mongolia does. including me. above all else, i just love to be with them, doing whatever it is that they do.

as tsagaan sar approached, the weeks before were absolutely full of talk about meat and where to buy the cheapest. not actually that uncommon of a topic around here...

then it came to the week and i began to wonder what gifts i needed to prepare, the houses i would visit, the people i would get to celebrate with. i was excited like a little kid right before christmas.

we were here last year at the time of tsagaan sar and we even celebrated but we really had no real understanding of it all. we were new comers and still figuring out our way around, much less all the traditions of the culture.

but this year i realized how important the night before is. literally it is like christmas eve, almost more important than all the other days. this is the "fill" day, as mentioned before. the greeting you say to everyone on this day is roughly translated to "happy eating to your fullest" that's the whole eat-until-you-throw-up deal.

i had no idea how erin and i were going to celebrate this day seeing as how we hadn't prepared any of the food that you are supposed to eat on this day. so, i was just thinking...

i don't know how much i have written about my family here. i don't think very much. the manager at my church is one of the kindest women i have ever met. she has 3 daughters who are all very involved at my church so i know them pretty well. aside from merely knowing them, though, i have a connection with them that is difficult to explain. i cannot remember when i started calling them my family, mom, dad, sisters but one day i did and it has just stuck.

as i was thinking about what i would do for tsagaan sar's eve night, my mongolian mom asked me if i would come and sleep at their house and celebrate with them. upon first hear, i was speechless, this seemed like such an honor and privilege to get to celebrate with people that are so special to me.

it turned out to be just that, an honor. we ate and ate and ate. we talked and celebrated and enjoyed each other's company. i felt just like a member of their family.

we filled the cups.

we filled the bowls.

we filled the table.

God filled the moon.

we filled our stomachs.

and they filled my heart.


  1. What a great experience for u and for your Mongolian family too!


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The Prayer of the Empty Water Jar

Jesus, I come into the warmth of your presence
knowing that you are
the very emptiness of God.

I come before you
holding the water jar of my life.

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I came to be filled
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I am too full
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and I see a painful truth.

I don't need more
I need less
I am too full.

I am full of things that block out
your golden grace.

I am smothered by gods of my own creation
I am lost in the forest of my false self
I am full of my own opinions and narrow attitudes
full of fear, resentments, control
full of self-pity, and arrogance.

Slowly this terrible truth
pierces my heart
I am so full there is no room for you.

Contemplatively, and with compassion
you ask me to reach into my water jar.

One by one, Jesus, you enable me
to lift out the things
that are a hindrance to my wholeness.

I take each one to my heart and