Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Swift Kick in the Gluteus Maximus

Just took my second anatomy practical of the semester about one hour ago and this picture pretty well sums up how I'm feeling about it. Its as I were Calvin, flexing my muscles, teeth gritted and jaw clinched with determination and the feeling that I'm on top of the world. All the while oblivious to the fact that Hobbes (anatomy practical) was behind me pulling faces, giving me bunny ears and inevitably preparing to yank down my trousers in front of the class.

I actually feel very confident that I did very well. This practical was over the cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems and I spent approximately 11 hours over the last three days in the anatomy lab studying. It's nice to go into tests like that feeling very prepared and confident. Truth be told, it has been a long time since I went into an exam with my confidence at that level. Now I must wait in agony for my results to come back and hope that my anatomy won't be exposed to the masses.

Less than a week left in the semester for me here at the Coo and I am certain that my grades will reflect well on my choice to return to school. What amazing blessings the Lord gives us when we ask and follow His will! My plan is to finish out strong and then head down to Rome, Georgia to watch the USF Cougar Football Team in the NAIA National Championship game. This is a rematch of last years game between USF and Carroll College (winners of the last 5 of 6 Chippers) when the Fighting Saints beat the Cougars 17-9 in Savannah, Tennessee. Time for a little revenge, even if my old high school teammate Marshall McEwen does play for Carroll.

(Sidenote: it will be a lot of fun to get to see Marshall and his parents, Rock and Sandy, down in Rome. They were very good to me during my playing days at good ol' Wheatland High School, allowing me a place to stay between two-a-day practise and after long road trips when I was to tired to drive back to Chugwater. A great friend and a great family that I don't get to see all that often.)

Hope I am finding you all well. Thanks so much for the love and prayers sent my way. They are neither going unacknowledged, nor to waste.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Anatomy of My Life

Hello, ladies and germs! A quick update on the life and times of me.

I am currently sitting in the USF Student Union after taking my first of three Human Anatomy tests that I have over the next 14 days. At this point I am just trying to heed the wise words of my Mum and take things on one at a time. I felt like I was back playing in the State Basketball Tournament trying to hit two three's in 14 seconds to keep our third place game alive taking these tests. My whole university and future career depend on me doing well over the next fortnight and I once again felt like I nailed the first trey. Now we just have to foul, watch the other team make two free throws and then hit another shot at the buzzer.

Fact is, it's times like these where I preform my best and I recognise that it is because the Lord is faithful to me always. I am still just depending on Him and the abilities He has given me and I know that is sufficent, His grace is enough for me.

A few other noteworthy mentions: my parents had a great time on their 18 day adventure down under to Australia and New Zealand, a trip they richly deserved if only for putting up with my shenanagians for 22 years, and I must say I was a wee bit jealous, but I digress. The USF Cougar Football team is playing in the semi-finals for the fourth consecutive year as the University of Saint Francis Cougars come to town on Saturday for what should be a game for the ages; it's USFsquared II as this is a rematch of the 2006 National Championship game which our USF Cougars prevailed. I will once again be on the field filming for the video boards out at "The Bob" (the field is named for USF Hall of Fame coach Bob Young) and am quite keen at the prospect of a third Nat'l Chipper appearance in a row. Finals are quickly approaching and I feel very much up to the task that God has set before me and I only seek to glorify Him in my endevors.

Once again, I thank you to the point that words fail for your unwavering support in prayers and encouragement to my goals.

Love to you all.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back in Action, Back to the Fray

To quote one Mrs. Doubtfire: "Hello, my dears!"

I know I have taken a long hiatus from my blog, but I will be back on here every once in a while to give you my life updates. Prepare to be bored.

My current situation is that I am back to school as a Paramedic Technology major at the University of Sioux Falls where I am a "junior and a half" as I like to call it. That is: I have three semesters of school left at USF. Then it is off to the Avera-McKennan Hospital for a one month EMT-Basic Training followed immediately by a nine month Paramedic Training course. After that I am planning on applying to jobs throughout the country. Boston, North Carolina, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, and California all being in the mix it will be interesting to see where the Lord leads.

My time spent in South Africa was something that I will cherish and will have a large impact on the rest of my life. It was great to be able to just have some time to be a peace with my life, not feel like I had to figure out my life plans, read, walk around and explore Cook's farm, tour around the country, and most of all form friendships that I will carry on for the rest of my time here on earth and into an eternity spent with Christ. I hardly even know what words to use to express my gratitude to all those who supported me through prayer, finances, and encouragement, not to mention Uncle Stu and Aunt Marilyn, Connie and Billy, Jeff, Jono, Morne, Josh, Clint, Simon, Daniel, David, Prince, Godfrey, Hendrick, the St. John's Church family, and all my new South African family and friends that are to numerous to mention, so I will just say one big "Thank you and God bless each of you."

Thus far school is going great and for the first time in a few years I am enjoying to challenge of my education and excited to be back at university. Things that seem like such minor accomplishments to many people are major hurdles for me as I am learning to tackle my struggle with self-discipline and self-motivation one step at a time. However, I am getting my homework done on time, studying my Human Anatomy notes with regularity, and keeping my new apartment reasonably clean (we'll see how that goes once Doug actually gets moved in).

All-in-all life is good and that in itself is reason to celebrate.

Grace and Peace


#9: Take a few moments out of your busy day to just relax and think about the ways the Lord has blessed you in your life through His Son Jesus Christ. Thank and praise Him for those.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Home Is Where You Drag Two Large Bags And Have Internet Access

On 2 July my time in South Africa came to an end. People have been asking if it was sad to say goodbye to those I became close with there and my answer thus far has been consistent: it still hasn't set in that I've really left and won't be going back for probably two years. However, I do already realise that the friendships and connections I've made there will be ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Thus brings us to my travels from South Africa to the Faroe Islands to visit my sister Abby and her husband Ben. Unfortunately, I did not know that the trip via Qatar Air would end up costing me big bucks for overweight baggage, nor did I really plan on lugging my two very large and very awkward bags throughout London for four hours until I got to the International Student House on Great Portland Street where I stayed. Needless to say, it was quite the impromptu workout.

It has turned out to be worth it. The Faroe Islands are a very beautiful and epic place and my time with Abby and Ben has been great. I hadn't seen either of them since their wedding last summer and it has been great to reconnect and be a part of their lives for a time. As I'm writing this they are wrestling, teasing, and kissing each other. It seems an appropriate time to give a very resounding "Yuck!" coupled with a cute chuckle. I am enjoying how they love spending time with one another, Abby's joy of cooking, and Ben's passion and amazing talent for photography. It has also been great to have constant and reliable internet access, which has given me time to catch up with watching TV shows via the internet (The Office and Grey's Anatomy mostly) and chatting with people back home via Skype. I hope to talk to each and every one of you soon and know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers constantly.

#8: Take time to reflect on the many blessings the Lord has given you in your lives and thank and praise Him accordingly.

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Homesick Heartaches and South African Sand

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to the blog Mr. Mick Westerman! (Applaud as you see fit.)
Ok, so its been awhile and my apologies for that, but no use crying over rancid 2 month old milk I always say. It has been a very busy, very eventful, and very good time here over the last few months since I've posted something real. 

Being in Vaalwater with Uncle Stu and Aunt Marilyn has been very nice and relaxing and I enjoy teaching the youth group on Saturday's, doing a small amount of volunteering at the Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS) an HIV/AIDS clinic started by people from the St. Johns Church that we attend, going to soup kitchen on Wednesdays, and hanging out with the older guys from Leseding throughout the week. I honestly never thought I would end up fitting in so well with such a completely different culture that the one in Leseding, but they have just accepted me like I were one of them. I've even been given a name: Thabo Gidli. Thabo means joy and Gidli means busy and nervous one. The latter name was given as more of a joke than anything but I hardly ever hear my Christian name called when I am with the youth or in the township. It has also been interesting how the longer I am here the less English they speak to me. I can't speak much Sotho still, but I've been amazed at how much I seem to be able to understand without actually understanding if you catch my drift. I will definitely miss this place and these people as much as any when the clock of my journey to South Africa strikes midnight.

Truth be told, I absolutely love this country. Not only is it so diverse in people and culture, but in wildlife and geographically as well. And for all the mess that has been going on here with governmental corruption and incompetence and the xenophobia the vast majority of South Africans make this place feel like it could be home one day. 

The entire Cook family has taken me in a treated me like I was just another member of the clan and none more so than the Wicks'. Obviously having been living up on the farm with Uncle Stu and Aunt Marilyn they have done more than I could have every asked for or expected, but their daughter Connie, her husband Billy, and their family (Jefferson, Jonathan, Morne, and Josh) have also been kind enough to take it upon themselves to make sure I see as much of SA as possible. I've been over to the farm that Jeff and Josh are building a game lodge on to see Cape Buffalo, go on giant rope swings into freezing rivers, and almost kill myself on a quad, I've been down to the coast at East London to play in the Indian Ocean (3 of 4 oceans for this guy now), see where they spent most of the boys childhoods, and almost kill myself by eating to much delicious food, and I've spent plenty of time in Joburg seeing the work that Connie and Billy are carrying on for Aletheia there and just enjoying the big city and the comfort of such an amazing family.

I also had the privilege of going to another men's retreat weekend at Cayara Men's Retreat. This one wasn't nearly as big as the Might Men's Conference, it only played host to about 250 men rather than 68,000, but it was still an amazing weekend of challenge and self-discovery. Cayara stand for "Come ye and rest awhile", how appropriate.

 I feel so blessed to have been able to make this trip and I thank each of you for you love and support in all the ways you have shown it to me. Please know that the Lord Jesus Christ is being served here and that His work is never finished, neither in our lives, nor in this world. Keep the faith brothers and sisters, and if you don't have it then find the faith my beloved friends and family. You are all in my prayers and with only a few weeks to go I look forward to seeing each of you. Oh, how I love the sand of Africa on my feet, but oh, how I long for the Wyoming wind on my face.

#7: Take the time to pray and reveal to God the deepest desires of your hearts and ask for them in accordance with His will. He knows us better than we know ourselves so we might as well not try and keep anything from Him. He is our ally, our best friend, our King, and our Creator, what a mighty God we serve!


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bad Days and Date Nights

Okay so I've become a terribly lazy blogger for the past month. Its been very busy and very good around here lately and I'll get to that just now, but I would like to rewind quickly and remember a few important dates in the last month.

April 18- Happy Anniversery Dad and Mum! Its hard to believe that it has been 15 years since our families blended and now I can hardly imagine life without Dad, Hannah, and Abby. The Lord has been ever faithful to us and I would say that has made all the difference in my walk with Him.

May 13- Rev. Charles Beck Westerman goes home. Just as hard as it is to believe that its been 15 years as a Kirkbride-Westerman, it is probably even more so that it has been 17 years since Dad Chuck has passed away. As I grow older the ways that I miss him are different. I wonder what he would say to my current situation, my future career decisions, and my woman troubles among many other things. One thing I do know: he would be extremely proud of the men of God that his boys are becoming and of the family that they are part of.

May 18- Char Char the Dog Face Boy graduates High School! What in the world happened to the whiny, bed-wetting, penny-swallowing 9 year old Dog Face? Now he's become an 18 year old gradation-speaking, Washington State University-attending, clever writing, whiny, bed-wetting, penny-swallowing Dog Face! We kid. But in all honesty (and trust me, I hate doing this in full view of everyone) I am so proud of my little brother and I love to brag on him to everybody from Wyoming to South Africa. I am so excited to see him go make his own tracks at WSU and I'm sure one day we'll be watching the 10 p.m. SportsCenter hosted by our very own Charles Westerman. I take comfort in the fact that I will still be able to pummel him like the very, very little girl he is, however.

May 30- Happy Birthday to Jer! The quarter-century mark for the ol' ACC Bandwagoner himself! It has been so good for me to be in Souix Falls, SD with my older brother the last 3 years. His level-headedness and rational approach to life has helped me out of many a tricky situation. I appreciate all the support he has given me as a brother and a best friend. NOW MAKE ME AN UNCLE DANGIT!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Thinking Man's Game

Dumela my friends! (Dumela is "hello" in Northern Sesotho). It has been great hearing from so many of you and I ask that you keep the comments and/or emails and/or Facebook posts coming. I know that I don't always get back very punctually, but I figure in the small amount of time I have on the internet I should probably spend it working on the blog so that everyone can have an update rather than the few that I could get to via email and Facebook. So, my apologies if you feel left out, but know you are in my prayers. Also, nobody likes a whiner. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

As I've been thinking about what I will want people to know most about my time spent here in SA I've decided on a few things. I won't share them all now, but I will let you in on what I feel like is the most important aspect of the work that is-and will continue-being done.

It is very hard for us (by us I mean Americans) to think in a way other than that which has become standard in our country and culture. That is to say: most Americans are analytical/conceptual thinkers, because that is what is taught in our schools and that is how those who run our country think. We are not overly concerned with details, but think in a much more broad sense which then enables us to understand the details. It is partly because of this that there is a common world-view in which we understand that there is the Supernatural (God's realm) and the Natural (the realm God has created for us to dwell in during our lives) each with their own seperate time and space. From this then, we can understand that anytime God intervenes and causes something in the Natural realm that wouldn't happen by nature taking its course we call that a "miracle". Now, since we know that God has set nature in motion with specific laws and patterns we know that we can do as He calls us to do in Genesis and take control over our environment for the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ. (This also means we have a responsibility to care for it folks. Don't forget that.) Here's where alot of the work Uncle Stu has done comes in. (PS Dr. Stuart Cook has been told that he has made the biggest contribution to the field of anthropology in South Africa. Not too shabby for a guy from little ol' Wheatland, Wyoming sure?)

African culture and religion has been around for thousands of years and you can imagine how defining that can be for a group of people. Unfortunately, their culture and religion are centered on anamisim and sangomas (witch doctors) and therefore believe that there is only one realm that is divided in the Visible and the Invisible. They believe that everything is controlled by the spirits of the ancestors and so they conform, try not to "rock the boat", and surrender all individualism because that would cause the gods to be upset. So now if everything is controlled by these spirits then there is no sense of consequences for actions as long as you are doing what everyone else is doing (lots of drinking and sex, hence the overwhelming numbers of people with AIDS) and no sense of planning for the future (which includes saving money or conserving food and water). This kind of thinking makes it easy for people to accept Christ, but to them He would just be one of the great spirits. The hard part comes when they learn that they have to give up their old customs, beliefs, and traditions to truly be in relationship with Jesus. And therein lies the struggle.

I know this is a lot of stuff to digest at once (like a Bedda Chedda Bacon Burger from Granite City...ahhhhh, if only), but I hope that when I am back and able to speak with each of you this will become much more clear. This is the real issue that faces the missionaries all over the world and many people say that we can't go and try to change peoples culture, but that we just need to adapt the Gospel in a way that they can identify with it within their culture. Let me tell you something right now: that is a load of crap. Since when does the God we serve adapt to us. We are called to be in the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ, His nature, character and deeds, not the other way around. GOD IS BIGGER THAN US!!! Hello, McFly! How often do we forget that? We are here to glorify and serve the Lord with all our heart, strength, soul, and mind. This is not up for debate, it is the truth; His Truth which is the only truth. We belong to the culture of Christ and that is all. Our sole identity should be that we are Christians. Whatever else we do should always come back to that. Always.

#6: Find somewhere away from everyone and everything thing and just worship the Lord. Sing, pray, dance, yell, cry, whatever it may be. Just take some time to get away where no one else can see you and just be exactaly who you are called to be in Christ Jesus. David's wife saw him dancing in the streets in worship and despised him for it, but David was not the least bit ashamed. He was a fool for Christ. Better to be a fool for Christ than a fool for something else. It will give you the Joy of the Lord as your strength and that is all we need. WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, SING UNTO HIM A NEW SONG!!!

Grace and Peace.