Friday, December 2, 2011


"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." (C. S. Lewis)

I love to belong.
Maybe it is a result of being constantly uprooted as a missionary kid, or maybe it is something that was planted deep in my heart by God when he made me. However the case may be, I need to belong. I like knowing that I am meant to be somewhere and can be freely admitted. At Moody, all the students had to wear ID tags that showed they belonged - and the desk workers would let them into the dorm no questions asked. Wearing the name tag showed that you belonged at Moody.
Right now I no longer belong at Moody - I had to give up my ID tag when I graduated. Now I belong at Hebron School in India, and I can walk by the guards at the school gate freely and whenever I want. I enjoy knowing I belong at Hebron and eye other "white people" with curiosity when they visit "my" town - forgetting that I am also one of them.
When I return to the United States in a few short weeks, I look forward to the security personnel in customs saying "welcome home". Even though I spent most of my life in another country, my passport gives me easy entry into the United States. As a citizen, I don't have to fill out a bunch of paperwork or be screened as extensively. Instead, I feel welcomed back into another place where I belong - the country of my birth. And when I arrive in the US I look forward to seeing my mom, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins - the family that I belong in and have dearly missed while I've been in India.
Some day I would like to get married and belong to a new family. Yes, I will still belong to the Lackey family, but I will leave them in a sense and belong to a new family - first made up of two, then more as children are added. And in this belonging I will be giving up some of my freedom as a single person, but I think it will be worth it.
Actually, belonging anywhere means that you have to give up some freedom. A married person gives up the freedom to date whoever they want, go wherever they feel like going on a whim, and maybe even give up some of their dreams for the good of the new family. The citizen of a country gives up their right to keep all of the money they make by paying taxes and forfeits some of their rights to privacy in order to gain protection. A student at Moody or a staff member at Hebron give up their rights to do whatever they want, and instead are expected to live by the school rules.
Most of the time I am willing to give up my freedoms in order to belong somewhere, because I see the benefits of belonging as more valuable than going it alone.
But even when I feel like I really belong somewhere there is always a piece of my heart that is looking for home. I loved studying at Moody, but I didn't completely belong there. I am enjoying serving at Hebron, but I don't fit in 100%. I am looking forward to returning to the country of my birth, but I never feel like I'm all-American. I dream about getting married, but I know that even then a part of me will still long for this other place where I'll belong fully.
This place is heaven. Heaven - being with God - is what I was made for and what I am looking forward to. It is where my ultimate citizenship is, and when I arrive there some day I will know it is finally where I fully belong. But like all other places where I've wanted to belong, this one also demands giving up my freedom. In order to end up in heaven, I have had to give up myself and let Jesus take over. I have had to surrender my life, my plans, my dreams, my mistakes, and my fears to Him and in exchange have found the place I truly belong. Is is a lot to give up? In a way, yes. Is it worth it? Definitely.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Journal Entry 10/15/11

The familiar sound of waves breaking against the sand fills my ears - forever rhythmic, calming, and with a hint of danger. Palm trees sway gently along the cliffs and brightly colored shops attract a passerby's perusal. Restaurants cater to the Western palate, serving fruit smoothies, granola, and chicken sandwiches alongside Indian favorites such as tandoori chicken, nan bread, and spicy curries.
I am on a beach in South India. I never would have expected to be here, but I am glad that the journey God has me on has led me to Varkala, India. After an overnight train ride (an experience in itself!), several other teachers from Hebron and I arrived in Varkala in the early morning. As we settled into a restaurant balcony overlooking the ocean and received our orders of fruit salad, muesli, and yogurt, my soul gave a sigh of contentment. I have always found it easier to walk with God when I am in a beautiful and visually rich place, and Varkala, with its cliffs and rocks and ocean and sunsets, has been just the place I needed to relax, refresh, and reconnect with my God.
Today I went for a swim in the Bay of Bengal - becoming the 5th or 6th ocean I have gone for a swim in. It tasted very much like the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador. All salty and sandy and fishy. I have so many fond memories of playing in the ocean as a child - riding the waves on inner tubes, building sandcastles, hunting for shells and jellyfish, and watching the sun set below the fiery waves. The ocean has also earned my respect, and I have a healthy fear of large waves from an almost tragic beach accident when I was 12. Thinking about that accident brings my dad to my mind, since he saved my life on those rocks long ago when the ocean was trying to drag me away. I miss my dad. Seems like I can't go anywhere without thinking that it would be better with him along.
I miss him bringing along his favorite hammock to string from two handy palm trees. I miss him ordering new things in a restaurant, just to try them. I miss him sitting on a porch in the early morning, watching the sunrise with an orange juice in one hand and his well-worn Bible in the other. I miss his creativity when finding new ways to play with the ocean - we had many hours of fun in inflated truck-tire inner tubes that he never forgot to bring along! I miss his friendliness when dealing with hotel staff, restaurant waiters, and everybody he came in contact with along the way. It seemed like he would instantly have friends everywhere we went. I even miss his rather wacky style - floppy hat, fluorescent pink or green shorts, and glow-in-the-dark Dad legs.
Yes, being here on the beach makes me miss my wonderful, unpredictable, adventurous father. Thank you Lord for fond memories, for a life-giving Dad, and for sunny beaches that soothe my aching heart.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Following in my Daddy's footsteps...

Today I spoke at the morning assembly for middle and high school at Hebron. I wanted to share with these precious students the same message that my dad has shared at high schools and colleges in Ecuador and the United States. It is a message that involves fruit with funny faces, often a blue checked apron, a lot of humor, and a profound truth.
(Note: I have had to block out/change some words in this blog because of the sensitive area I'm in. I don't want any search engines finding words that could compromise anyone's ministy. So bear with the awkward language as you read!)

My dad and his fruit :) He thought this idea up all on his own, my sisters and I helped him make the faces, he borrowed my mom's market apron, and a chapel talk was born. The theme of the message is our value in the sight of G-d. Just as the price of a fruit is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it, so our value is determined by how much G-d thinks we are worth. And the amazing thing is, G-d's son, who is G-d Himself, died for us. That gives us INCREDIBLE value. Not because we deserve it. Far from it! We all have rotten patches, bruises, and ugly spots just like an old banana. But G-d still did it. And because he did, we have infinite value.

This is a crazier truth than me dying for my handsome pineapple here. No way I'm dying for that fruit! But I sure am glad that G-d decided to die for me so that I can live forever as his kid. And no other fruits should be able to diminish my value. So often we let the other fruits around us, who really know no more than we do about the world, affect our view of our own value. Because we might not be great at sports, the most beautiful/popular/skinny/funny person at school, or the one with the richest parents, we think that our value is less. That is a lie! G-d was willing to give his Son for us, to pay our price. That's what we are worth. And the coconuts, mangos, and grapes whispering in your ear that you really aren't worth that much are totally, completely and utterly WRONG! Stop listening to them, and start listening to G-d who has this to say about YOU!
Gen 1:27 - "So G-d created mankind in his own image, in the image of G-d he created them; male and female he created them." You are made in the image of G-d. My pineapple friend here is made in the image of a pineapple. He is meant to be food, to make more pineapple plants eventually, and to serve as a teaching tool. We, on the other hand, are a reflection of G-d. Yes, we all look different, have different parents, different gifts, different abilities. But we all have the capacity to think, to reason, to love, to judge between right and wrong with our G-d-given conciences. These are things that all other plants and animals in the world cannot do. God made us to reflect characteristics of himself, to be "like" him.
Psalm 139:13-16 - "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." You were carefully fashioned in your mother's womb. Not an accident. Not a mistake. A work of art. Made by G-d himself!
Rom 5:6-8 - "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Ch rist died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But G-d demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Ch rist died for us." While we were still gross, rotting, and dead Ch rist died for us. Nothing about us was desirable. But he did it anyway, in in so doing, made us worth his very life!
I'm sure you could go much deeper into the theology in the verses above, but in 15 minutes all I wanted to do was to help the students grasp their true value in Ch rist.

And that is a summary of the market stall talk. It was interesting to hear my dad's thoughts, and even hints of his voice and the way he said things, come out of my mouth as I was sharing his fruit analogy. I am so blessed to have had a teacher like him for a father, and am so excited to keep his messages alive. I am sure I don't do them justice, but I pray that they bless those who hear them.
I always loved having my dad come and speak at places where I lived or went to school. He gave the commencement address at my high school, came to my Bible school several times to teach a class or give a chapel talk, and spoke at my sister's high school as well. I was always proud to be known as his daughter, and am humbled to have been given the blessing, challenge, and opportunity to keep proclaiming the truth. I sure do miss him though!

Doing his talk brings the reality of his death home again, and that is hard. Thinking about the fact that I can't see him make eyeballs for a watermelon anymore or get a laugh from the audience for being in a frilly apron brings tears to my eyes. I would love to be able to sit under his teaching once again - taking better notes this time! - and absorb more of his wisdom. I am not ready to head off into life on my own, and kind of feel like I was pushed out of the nest a little too early. But slowly and surely, and with many crashes along the way, I am learning how to fly. And funny looking fruits with googly eyeballs keep popping up along the way - reminding me that my value is not in how well I minister in India, how well I interact with the girls in the dorm, how much people like me, or even if I teach just like my dad, but in the simple fact that Ch rist died for me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jolly World!

Almost all of the IG's with the creepy monkey/bear at Jolly World for Andy's Birthday!

L-R, Back: Dan, Me, Andy, Katie. Front: Deanna, Melissa, Jade.

More about my ministry...

So far I have told you a lot about the fun times being had in Ooty, but I figure I should probably fill you in on some of the actual work I'm doing here as well :) It is also fun, so I guess this will be another post about fun times - only centered more on the classroom and dorm.
I am working as a teachers aid in the morning with 2nd,3rd, and 5th graders in primary school. Then a couple afternoons a week I am co-directing a play! I have half of the 6th grade class, and we are doing a fun little play called "The Truth About George". We finished assigning parts yesterday, and now have a bunch of maidens, townspeople, a knight, a mayor and a couple of others running around campus memorizing their lines like crazy. We will be performing in 7 weeks. Here at Hebron everyone in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade is in a play the first part of first semester. It's really fun! Each class is divided into two except for the seniors, so there will be 7 plays performed. They are all types - from "The Diary of Anne Frank" to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to one called "Readin', Writin', and 'Rithmitic" to "Murder in a Cathedral" to one where they all talk like New Yorkers and throw pies at each other... can't remember the name of that one.
So my days are full and fun :) I am hoping to travel around a bit and see India while I'm here... we (the other IG's and I) have every Monday off, and so we are planning on riding elephants, climbing a couple nice mountains around here, and riding on a miniature steam engine in the next few weeks. We also hope to go to Mysore, where there is a great old palace that gets all lit up at night. So much to do!!
The city where I'm at, Ooty, reminds me a lot of the mountains of Ecuador, so I actually feel quite at home here. The Eucalyptus trees, mangoes, bananas, altitude of 7500 feet, and open-air markets help with that also. The brightly colored sari's and salwaar kameez that all the women wear are very different though - so that helps to remind me I'm actually half-way around the world from Ecuador!!
Oops... I got off topic again! Now, back to what I'm doing in the dorms:
I am connected to Gables dorm, which is where girls in 6th and 7th grades live. I get to put them to bed a couple of times a week, go on outings around Ooty with them, and make sure they are getting their homework done. Some of them are in my play, so it is fun seeing them several times a day! I live at Selborne, which is the girl's dorm, and is located about a mile from the main school campus. It is a nice walk, except when it is raining!
I will also be teaching a Good Book study this semester every other Sunday on lament, and will be tutoring students for the SAT, helping them with math, and quite a few other random things. We are definitely kept busy around here!
Several of the students at Hebron have parents who are in politics or who are missionaries in dangerous places, and so you won't be seeing pictures of the students on my blog, newsletters, or facebook. There is face recognition technology now that makes it easier for people to find out information about these children and subsequently their families. Also, I won't be using a lot of religious language in my updates because of the same reason. Hebron is a very solid X-tian(if you don't get that term, think X-mas... :) school - I have been so impressed! - but they also have to be careful with what they say because of the delicate situations many of these children are in. So you'll be seeing some rather different language in my posts, but I'm sure you'll be smart enough to figure it out!

Birthday party Indian/American/British style :)

I am still alive and well, which is something that can't be said for everyone here. Everyone is still alive - don't worry! - but several are coming down with colds/the flu and spending days in bed. Hopefully I won't catch it!
The food is great - think my tolerance for spicy is growing a little bit! A couple nights ago the IG's (International Guests - the title given to all the 6-month short-termers here) went out for supper, and one of the guys poured tabasco sauce on my food and I barely even tasted it :) I am also enjoying the fruit salad served here with custard after most meals, and better start exercising soon or there will be more of me to love in December! :) I do walk an average of 2 miles a day, uphill both ways (really, it is!! the school is on a big hill, and so is my dorm!) so I am getting some exercise. I have gone shopping in the market a lot, buying Mangoes almost every time! I really love those things. I also got a couple big bags of dates (for about $3 total!) and some lychees. Lychees are red and hairy looking, but almost like a grape/apple in the middle.
Yesterday there was a soccer game, and the whole school took the afternoon off and went to watch. It was the finals for the under 19-year-olds team. (probably similar to a varsity team in the States). Hebron won, 2-1, which is both fun but also sad because we beat an Indian school, and at that school the team gets beaten if they lose. Physical beating. :( No wonder some of the players were crying after the game. Quite the incentive to win if you know you are going to get pounded if you lose! Their team had been practicing for over a month now, and our boys have only been back for 5 days or so, and we still won. It was probably all of our cheering, drumming, and general mayhem & loudness that inspired the win. I made the whole crowd do the wave about 6 times... Lots of fun :) We were at the game during afternoon tea, and so they brought it to the game! Yep, these people need their afternoon snack! Definitely a good tradition... we need morning and afternoon tea to come back into style in the US!
On the way back from the game (Mom - you might not want to read this part!!), our bus driver smelled like he was drinking and was a little too friendly, so we talked to the principal and one of the Indian staff members rode the bus back to Ooty with us. (Before he got on, it was just 3 of us female IG's and about 20 girls). We got back safely, but it was a pretty crazy ride! Made me think about the part in "It's a Jungle Out There" book where author Rani talks about some of the crazy roads in Peru where the only people willing to drive on them were drunks or his dad :) This road was about that crazy - with trucks passing cars passing motorcycles around a curve in the rain driving up a mountain. But as you probably caught on by now, we arrived home safely, had some lovely Indian curry for supper, and I got to hang out with my dorm girls for a while last night. I am helping with the 6th & 7th graders, and they are a lot of fun. They are very giggly though... especially when in the presence of the boy IG's. So silly. I am sure I was never that immature... :) They are sweet girls though, and I am having fun getting to know them. A couple of times a week I put them to bed, time showers (3 minutes of water three times a week is all they - and I - get!), and make sure they do their homework.
Last Monday we had our first IG "day off". Every Monday we have the whole day to ourselves, and will hopefully be having many fun adventures! This last Monday we celebrated one of the IG's 18th birthday (18! so young!) with a proper English tea (he's from near London) complete with scones (I looked up a high-altitude scone recipe and they turned out great!), Black Currant jam, and Earl Grey tea with cream. Then after lunch we walked about 40min to a man-made lake near Ooty. On the way we passed an amusement park called Jolly World and just had to stop and take the Go-Carts for a run around the track. After the Go-Carts it was time for a walk through a spinning 3D tunnel. Then we tried to go on a giant inflatable chicken bouncy tent, but they wouldn't let us because we weren't little kids. Then we attempted a pirate ship ride, but either it wasn't working or the people in charge didn't feel like turning it on. Oh, India... :P There was also a miniature train that was flooded, and really, really creepy giant monkey statues everywhere welcoming us to Jolly World. You can see some pictures from the day on Facebook. I've been tagged in several. The park rides looked a lot like those in Ecuador - hanging together by dental floss, a shoe string, and a prayer. It was sure fun though!
After Jolly World, we went to the one and only Ooty Thread Garden. It is a big tent full of flowing plants made from thread. Pretty impressive... in a random, eccentric sort of way. It took 50+ artists 12 years to make! That's a long project. The owner who gave us a tour told us it was going to be in the Guinness book of world records for being the largest (and probably only one) of its kind in the world.
Then we went paddleboating on the man-made lake, which was fun and a little rainy. It rains a lot here... monsoon season and all that. But it hasn't been too cold. I've been told it will get colder, so I am gearing up for it. Nothing can be as cold as MN in winter, so I think I'll be fine :)
So Andy the IG's birthday was properly celebrated, ending with dinner at the Sidewalk Cafe and some card games back at the dorms.
This week I've been with the primary school kids in a couple different classrooms as a teacher's aid, and I have been helping with drama rehearsals. Another IG, Jade, and I are directing one of the 6th grade plays, and we are in the middle of casting characters. It's been great so far - the kids are hilarious! I'm sure it will take up more and more time as the performance gets closer. It's only 8 weeks away!!
I am trying to figure out what to do for our 10-day fall break. The options so far are the beach or the Taj Mahal. The Taj would be cool, but would involve a lot more traveling time (possibly 45 hours on the train) and quite a bit more money. So I'm not sure what to do. We have to decide soon though, cause trains and such get booked quick.
I am learning a little bit of Tamil, but it's an extremely complicated language! There are 200 letters in their alphabet, and some crazy grammar to boot. We'll see how it goes :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm in India!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to write a short note to let you all know that I have arrived in India safely! I flew out of Minneapolis on Tuesday morning (Aug. 2) and finally arrived at Hebron school on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 4), after 40+ hours of traveling! Thank you so much for your prayers - all of my flights were on time, my luggage actually arrived in India with me, and I have been adjusting well, without much jetlag (the time here is 10.5 hours later than Minnesota).
Over the last few days I have been meeting people, resting, learning a lot about the school and the city of Ooty where it is located, and have tried several new foods :) School officially starts on the 18th, but first we have orientation which starts on Monday and then run a camp for the staff kids while staff orientation and training happens.
Several highlights so far have been meeting all of the wonderful Indian staff (they have such servant hearts and ready smiles! A great inspiration for me :), getting to know other school staff from all over the world, exploring the open-air market downtown, seeing a bunch of monkeys on the drive up to the school, having tea parties with several of the staff members (this is a British school, you know! We have breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, supper, and sometimes evening tea :), enjoying the green plants and flowers (Hebron is on the same grounds at Ooty's botanical gardens), and spending time in prayer with the staff and my fellow co-workers (It is amazing to pray with people from Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, England, India, the United States, Canada, and several other places. About the only thing we have in common is our love for Christ and ministry at Hebron). Being here is a little overwhelming at times, but I know that God has lead me here and I look forward to seeing how He will work!
I will try to keep you updated as I have opportunity.
Please continue to keep me in your prayers,
- Liz Lackey

The school address is
Hebron School
Lushington Hall
Tamil Nadu
643 001

I've heard mail usually arrives fine, but packages sometimes have problems.