Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waut es mien sswakj? What is my purpose?

What is my purpose? This seems to be quite a deep, thought provoking question and can be answered in an infinite number of ways. This is because each individual person has their own purpose in life. Some people know what their purpose is right away, yet others may spend their entire lives searching for their purpose. Fortunately for me, I do indeed know my purpose in life. My purpose is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ for every nation and for every people to hear.
All throughout high school I have wanted to be a livestock veterinarian. I love working with animals so it felt natural for me to go towards that career path. I had it all planned out. I would get through my undergraduate studies, and then go to the Nebraska-Iowa State vet school. Once I graduated from there, my plan was to move out to the Nebraska sand hills where vets are in short supply. While working out there, I could make good money and my school loans would be paid off by the government (they offer tuition reimbursements for people that move to areas where veterinarians are needed. After I had earned a good chunk of money and my schooling was paid off, I was going to move back home to my family farm and continue living the good life of Nebraska from where I had grown up.
But have you ever heard the saying that God laughs at us when we try to make our own plans?Well I believe that over the course of my Summer, God was laughing at me and He decided to intervene in my life and reveal what He had in store for me.
Over the Summer I became increasingly involved in my church. God first started revealing His plan to me at a church leadership workshop. During this workshop the idea of church planting came up. I thought that it would such an amazing opportunity, so I have been trying to advocate for planting a church within the Hispanic population of Grand Island. Next God decided to move in my heart during detasseling. It was a Sunday and the rest of my youth group was leaving for a service trip to Denver while I had to stay home and work. While walking through the fields and then an idea popped into my mind “I don’t have to go somewhere far away to make a difference.” So after crew leader Benji Hoegh gave me the okay, I decided to be bold and witness to my Co-workers on the bus between fields. I read Isaiah chapter 40, the key point in the scripture being that God renews our strength and then lead the Lord’s Prayer.
The final place where God revealed my purpose to me was at Youth Escape in Iowa. Youth Escape is a retreat for high schoolers that are involved in churches within the Central Plains Mennonite Conference.  During my weekend at this event, God finally showed me that I can be a pastor. Before this time, I could never imagine myself standing in front of a pulpit speaking, but something just changed in me.  This was confirmed to me by Psalm 63:1-4. You God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary, and beheld your power and glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will uplift my hands. These verses mean so much to me because at that moment in time during the worship service I had begun to doubt my calling. But then Psalm 63 eliminated those doubts for good.
Finding my purpose was very difficult for me even though it was right under my nose the entire time. I have based my purpose in life off of the Great Commission as stated by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20. The scripture says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus is telling his disciples, and by extensions us Christians today, to spread the Good News of His word and his commandments and baptize them into the church. The amazing thing about this purpose in life is that every possible job or career path can be used as an opportunity to fulfill this purpose.
The symbol for Veterinary Medicine

Bethesda Mennonite Church
 in Henderson, Nebraska

My purpose

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wua sie ekj? Where am I?

     Where am I?! This is a question that one generally asks when they are lost when trying to get to a place they have never been to before. Yet in the context that we have been asked to contemplate, it has a different meaning. I think it is where we are right now in the world. The question “Where am I?” seems fairly straight forward so I will attempt to answer by first looking at my state, then school and community and finally my home.
  The Corn husker state or more commonly known as Nebraska is the state I live in. I am very proud to live in this great state. My love of agriculture fits perfectly with the state because one of every three jobs is related to agriculture. Nebraska has such a varied landscape from the fertile farm grounds of the east to the sand hills and almost mountainous regions of the west.  Unfortunately when people started to fulfill manifest destiny, Nebraska became known as the Great American Desert. There are quite a few ignorant people along the east and west coasts of the United States still think Nebraska is stuck in the pioneer days. They will often ask questions like “Do you guys have Internet? Cell phones? Electricity?! Running water?!” They just seem so shocked to hear that people in Nebraska are just as modern as they are. 
Now Nebraska is also known for a couple of other things, tornadoes and Husker football. Nebraska lies in tornado alley which allows us to receive warm air from the gulf and cold air from Canada which is what creates tornadoes. When I was little I remember being terrified of them and now that I am older they fascinate me. Husker football is the one thing that can unite everyone in the state for one day a week during the fall. Everybody remembers the glory of the 90’s and hopes that we can regain that glory. There is just a pure passion for the huskers that runs in every Nebraskan’s blood. 
Chimney Rock is one of the great symbols of our state
The Tunnel Walk is a great tradition of Nebraska football
More specifically I am located within the school and community of Aurora, which I believe to be one of the greatest small towns in the nation. Aurora has so many good things going for it, a great school system, plenty of jobs, excellent recreational facilities, and most importantly, citizens who care about the town. Aurora high school has top notch teachers and administrators who care about their students and those students care about learning. Our athletics and extra-curricular are also amazing. The football team is annually one of the best teams in the state and is known for its physicality, fundamentally sound technique, and class. The band is also one of the best in the state and is known for its pride, class, and dedication to always being the best you possibly can be. The one thing about my school that I do not like is the cafeteria. I am sorry but it is just not good food. 
Aurora High School home of the Huskies

The Marching Huskies perform at Harvest of Harmony

The Hamilton County courthouse  looks a lot like a castle

The Fidelity Building which once stood proudly on the northeast corner of the square

But when I say am from Aurora that just means I have an Aurora address. My family is listed in the Stockham phone book. In all actuality I live on a small farm about twenty minutes south of town, near the clay county border. I live in a real middle of nowhere nestled along the west fork of the big blue river. and I absolutely love it. In the country it is peaceful and relaxing when compared to my daily life. Except when the animals decide to be loud and make noise that is. Sometimes it's the pigs, sometimes the goats, or chickens, but it is almost always the miniature Mediterranean donkeys. Those things are so loud! I guarantee that they can be heard at least a mile away! Good thing our nearest neighbor are two miles away! In all honesty, I really that "old McDonald" song was really made for me, they just took out my name because it wasn't catchy.
My home
A new born litter of piglets snuggling under a heat lamp

Well I am a Nebraskan, An Auroran, and just a plain old country kid who lives on a farm. Each one of these places make up not just where I am from, but also have helped make me who I am. They are so special to me. I am proud to be from here and i wouldn't rather live anywhere else than where I am right now.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wäa sie ekj? Who Am I?

      Who am I??? Well to begin I know that my name is Joshua David Janzen,I am the older brother of Jacob Janzen, and I am the son of Mark and Shelley Janzen. I am from Aurora Nebraska and I am a senior at Aurora High School. Those are just the basics of me, maybe I can go deeper and explore myself.
      Well growing up on a farm every single day of my life I am a complete country. I have crops and all different kinds of livestock.  My total list of animals include goats, chickens, pigs, turkeys, two purebred miniature Mediterranean donkeys, lots of cats, and one black lab.  I’ve always grown up with animals  which has fully developed my love for working with animals.  All throughout high school I have planned on becoming a veterinarian. But my career plans may be changing but I will talk about that a little later.
      But even though I am a country boy, that does not mean I am a dumb hick from the backwoods. I am a scholar, a life long learner. I am passionate about learning new things and I always want to continue learning. I love challenging myself with difficult classes and I love earning that A. Also being a scholar comes the stereotype of being a nerd. Admittedly yes I am a nerd. I play the trombone in the band, I love history, science, reading, and I compete in Forensics in the Category of Extemporaneous (A.K.A. I compete in the greatest speech event ever) If someone tries to tell you that the best speech event is entertainment, they are lying through their teeth and they should never be trusted. Competing in speech has trained me to be an excellent speaker and I am never afraid to talk in front of a crowd.
      However, the most important of me is that I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. More specifically I am a Mennonite. Mennonites are a denomination of Christianity that originated in Holland in the 16th century. Some of the things Mennonites emphasize on are anabaptism, pacifism, and truly following the teachings of Jesus. From a Christian viewpoint, I know that I am a sinner, I know that Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sin, and I know that I am God’s child and He loves me no matter what. Another part of me is my calling into ministry. This is the idea in my heart and mind that has taken over instead of being a veterinarian. I have felt God's calling and now when I go to college I plan on exploring and testing this call.
      Now Mennonites aren't your normal folks. For starters, we've never really had a place to call our own. We started in Holland and when things got bad there we fled to Prussia. When things got bad in Prussia, we fled to the Ukraine. When things got bad in the Ukraine, we fled to different places like the United States, Canada, and Paraguay. Another unique things about the Mennonites is that we have own language. Plautdietsch, or Mennonite Low German, was the language use in everyday discussions and around the home while High German (standard German) was spoken in school and at church. Plautdietsch is a combination of the Dutch, German, and Russian languages. The food of the Mennonite culture is also unique. There are zwiebach which are rolls. Verineke are cottage cheese dumplings drenched in ham gravy. Personally, my two favorites are deserts. Peppernuts which are a type of small cookie and New Year's Cookies. Now new year's cookies are not cookies at all. They are balls of dough filled with raisins, then they are deep fat fried, and finally coated in sugar or smothered in glaze. Now some people will confuse Mennonites with the Amish. Often times when I have told people that I am Mennonite they automatically ask, “Oh where is your horse and buggy?!”Well let me just say that even though that our religious beliefs are synonymous, really nothing else between our cultures are. I don't have a horse and buggy and I do have all the “wonders” of modern technology like cell phones, the Internet, etc.
     So now that I have asked the question, "Who am I?" I searched myself and I have found some answers. I am a good 'Ole country boy. I am a scholar and a nerd. But most importantly I am a devout Mennonite, my faith in God is never failing and my culture is so diverse. And apparently yes my name is still Joshua Janzen.

A rack of freshly made zwiebach or "two bakes"

My deep map entitled "Purple Peace"