I think Taza has been a good addition to our family in this season. Now that she's not having seizures (!), she fills our home (room) and hearts with so much joy. Another plus is that in a week we will have our South America Mission Peru conference. It's just outside Arequipa, but we will spend a week in some form of luxury and surrounded by people of our own culture more or less. The language issue is much less important than the fact that they understand our jokes, questions, habits, etc. And don't worry, the conference center said we could bring Taza along.
I think for us the biggest indications of culture shock this month have been frustration with the food, loneliness, irritation when things don't work the way we think they should, longing for comfortable living space and good lighting, being fed up with school/homework (Tim), and mini-depressions that seem to hit at least me a few nights a week. I'm grateful that every morning is a fresh new chance at joy.
This morning in church our pastor was talking about the priviledge we have through Jesus Christ, that in Him we have access to God Himself. I am reading through the book of Leviticus right now, and the sermon gives flavor to a sometimes boring book. It reminds me that all of the sacrifices and offerings and rules are over, that our one Great Priest has taken care of it all, and that because of Him, I have the opportunity to draw near to GOD. It reminds me, too, that I've been more concerned recently with catching up on my daily Leviticus readings than with finding myself in His Presence. What a tragedy. The Bible is something special, but it's not an end in and of itself.
It hit me this morning that God is probably more interested in glorifying Himself in me than through me, that it is absolutely essential that I am delighting myself in His Presence. This faith is not a pyramid scheme. I'm here because of something real and something I myself know and experience. At the same time, it is something to share. Maybe more like a family tree, that we've come to be part of God making new creatures out of the old mess, to be witnesses of new births and new lives. We are not here to sell nonsense, but we have come to pass on to those interested the great treasure that has changed our very lives.