Well Hannah and I are off. We're headed to Chile for a couple of weeks vacation before our bosses head to the states for a few months. We should still have email most of the time if you need to get ahold of us, but expect fewer blog posts.
Taza and Ellie send their love and are super excited to be staying with grandma (our housekeeper who gives them everything they want and more) for the next couple of weeks.
This saint procession just came by our house complete with traditional dancers! All the neighbors were out on the street watching. The dancing was to the beat of some very loud drums, which scared the living daylights out of the dogs. The door was open, and they kept running out to see the news and then running back in.
All of the sudden, Ellie ran out the door and down the street! I was more than surprised, and without shoes or a key (to be able to close the door and then get back in), I was left in the lurch. Luckily, as I ran inside for shoes and the key, my neighbor went in search of Ellie (who had run down the alleyway in our normal morning beach-walk routine).
PS- Tim just got back and asked the neighbors about the saint. It's Saint Rosa, and although no one knows what she did, they were quick to inform us that she's the saint of policemen.
We just finished up our introduction night to the next Alpha course. It was amazing. We ended up renting a "party" room complete with poorly drawn images on the walls, blacklights, disco ball, glow in the dark paint and a roof made up of bamboo shoots and plastic - and yet it felt comfortable and cozy. I think after living here for a while, the idea of "nice" changes greatly.
In the ended we had 33 people come including us. 20 were brand new and I believe most if not all will come back for the rest of the course. One exciting aspect is that of those 20, 11 were men and only 1 is already involved in spiritual things. This was encouraging since the men here tend to avoid anything that could possibly be associated with God or religion.
Hannah and I are taking some time off before our bosses return to the US for a few months. Because of that the official first week of the course will begin on Friday the 19th of September. Please be praying for this and the time between. We hope that the momentum for the course will continue and that God will continue to work miracles throughout this next course and the people who attend.
Thank you once again for all of you who have been faithful praying for us in our work here as well as the people we're working with.
Today we made : 100 tortillas from scratch salsa out of 100 tomatoes guacamole from 30 avocados and a lot more
I'm tired and also deeply grateful for Grace, her housekeeper, my housekeeper, her daughter, and Tim (all part of the cooking team).
Our Alpha Invitation Night (for the new course in September) begins in 45 minutes. If you read this tonight, pray for us! We're hoping for a good and enthusiastic turn out of interesting and interested people, particularly men (usually sorely lacking in anything "spiritual").
Yesterday in the women's Bible study, Grace read Luke 15:26, which says that if anyone comes to Jesus and doesn't hate his father and his mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he can't be a disciple.
After some discussion and direction, Grace asked the women what they thought the verse was talking about. As usual, they spent some time in silence looking blankly at the verse. Then someone piped up: "It's about loving your neighbor." Grace and I exchanged a look of utter disbelief as all of the women nodded in agreement. I'd love to make some more comments, but I just don't even know what to say....
PS and FYI- I think what the verse is actually talking about is priorities. To be a disciple, my relationship with Jesus has to come before every other relationship in my life. I have heard before that exaggeration was a Jewish teaching technique, and I suspect that maybe that's what Jesus was employing when he used the word "hate" here. If we look at this verse in the context of the rest of the Bible (which I would say is an important tool for interpretation), we see that He couldn't have possibly literally meant that I should hate my family.
On of the interesting things here in Peru is that the trash is picked up daily. I believe it has to do with sanitation and the fact that there really isn't anywhere to store it for a weekly pick up. The reality is that since we have an empleada, I'm not really sure what happens to the trash, but I assume that Meri takes care of it each day.
Puerto Supe's local government has been having some financial problems for a while now (they went 2 months without paying any of their employees) and now they're completely out of money. Pretty much the only recurring expense is buying gas for the dumptruck that picks up all of the trash. The gas stations had been allowing the governemnt to buy gas on credit, but as of this week they stopped. Apparently they've lost all faith that the government will pay them back. It's only been 3 or 4 days but it's caused quite a rucus here.
I spent yesterday afternoon remembering one of my favorite parts about teaching: making PowerPoint presentations! I'm preparing to teach our Establishing Course (Part 1 of the Discipleship Program) in October, and Week 1 (the Bridge Diagram) was dying for a PowerPoint presentation. What fun! I am very sad to say that I can't figure out how to upload the presentation with animation, because I think you would have enjoyed viewing this diagram in action. Maybe another day.
After our worship service last night, I checked people's Reading Guide for John booklets and marked their progress. Three new people had started, which was encouraging. I was looking at some of the questions people had, and one man had asked, "Did John the Baptist complete the mission God sent him for?" I asked what he thought, and he said he would have to wait to finish the book to see. Then he said he was interested to see which of the disciples did the best. I told him I thought they all had different rolls or calls, but he says he's sure one of them did better than the rest. "Hmmmm," I said. "Interesting." I would definitely say that comment reveals some confusion he has about God, us, and where or how we get our value.
One thing I think I've learned from leading the Alpha Course is that people learn a lot better (here at least) through discovery than through instruction. If I let people figure things out for themselves instead of telling them the "right" answers, it sticks much more. I think also that there is so much in this culture (and ours, too) that runs contrary to the teaching of the Bible, that if I want to teach, I need to "pick my battles." There are only a few things that I consider important enough that I would directly disagree with someone about even if they weren't asking my opinion. For the rest, I'll hold my tongue until a more opportune moment. "Hmmmm, how interesting."
Besides, I'm not always right anyway (but don't tell Tim).
This week I borrowed Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God from the extensive Cubas library. It's five short-ish biographies of women whose lives have made a difference for the Kingdom of God-- Sarah Edward, Lilias Trotter, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare. Faithful women is a good title, because as I read their stories, I don't feel like they were super-women necessarily. But they were faithful, faithful to God's call on their lives through wars and tragedies and more, and through their faithfulness, God worked miracles.
There's so much I want to say about these women, but I know I can't do them justice. I'm reminded again today how much I love reading history. The history of people who lived for God is all the more interesting to me, because beyond history, it's also encouragement for me today, and a reminder of the legacy I want to leave behind at my death. Of all the remarkable stories in this book, I have to share this one that I read this morning from the life of Helen Roseveare:
Opening his Bible at Galatians 2:20, he drew a straight line in the dirt floor with his heel. "I," he said, "the capital I in our lives, Self, is the great enemy.... Helen... the trouble with you is that we can see so much Helen that we cannot see Jesus. I notice that you drink much coffee," he continued... apparently going off on a tangent. "When they bring a mug ... to you ... you stand there holding it, until it is cool enough to drink. May I suggest that every time, as you stand and wait, you should just lift your heart to God and pray..." and as he spoke, he moved his heel in the dirt across the I he had previously drawn, "... Please, God, cross out the I."
There in the dirt was his lesson of simplified theology-- the Cross-- the crossed out I life.... "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
from Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God, by Noel Piper (p. 160)
First I want to apologize for not posting our last few weeks of Alpha. Our last few weeks have been crazy and we haven't gotten around to it. Thank you to everyone who continued praying for us and the lives of the people involved despite our lack of reminders/updates.
Tonight we ate Chicken and Apple Curry, watched the last video, handed out certificates and had a time for some people to share their experiences/what they learned. Throughout the course we averaged about 10-11 people a night and had 9 that "completed" the course and received certificates. Out of those 9 people 3 were already fairly committed to God, and at least 2 others (maybe all of them?) have made serious committments to God.
We talked about what was next and all of them seemed to be pretty excited to continue meeting and studying the Bible together. As people talked tonight, I had the impression that one of the most meaningful experiences for them was the family and friendship that has formed amongst all of us, as odd of a group as we are (we have people ranging from 14 to 60+ years old). They also commented on the opportunity to discuss real issues together, learn new things and the freedom to say what they think without being judged. As I write this, I feel like I'm copying the promotional literature from Alpha and I'm remembering that I really didn't believe that God could work in this way. I have been proven wrong.
Next Friday we're having an introduction to the next Alpha course that we'll be starting in mid-September. Everyone has the opportunity to invite people to come to find out about the course and we're hoping to see 40 people or so there. If we do have that many people, it's going to be interesting because we'll be doing it in a different location and it a slightly different style to accomdate the larger group setting. Please be praying this week. We hope that many new people will come and have the opportunity to see what God offers for their lives. Also please pray for all the logistics (this includes painting the room we would be meeting in).
After a few months of conversations and questions, my housekeeper told me this morning that she wanted to give her life to God. She asked me what she needed to do. I talked her through the general idea:
I'm sorry... for what I've done. Please forgive me. I'm ready to leave behind my old life.
Thank you... for dying for my sins, for your free offer of forgiveness, for the freedom you offer me, and for your Spirit.
Please... Come into my life and fill me with your Spirit.
She was a little surprised it was that easy (which suprised me, because I feel like we've been over this a million times). She asked me if you had to go under water or something :-) We talked some about the idea behind baptism, how it's a symbol of what happens in your heart, and that it's more of a celebration and a statement you can make after you make the heart decision.
And so we prayed together, and she asked God to take her life and change it, to fill her with the Holy Spirit, and to come close. It's been a precious morning.
It seems that our posh poodle is allergic to dog food. We've been doing our research and decided the best option was to start giving her meat, mostly raw chicken wings and feet. That ends up cheaper than dog food here, so we're going to give it a try for both Taza and Ellie for the next two weeks. This morning I sent our housekeeper to the market to buy their food, and she returned with the yuckiness below. I find it mildly ironic that we don't eat meat at home but our dogs do.
In the process of defrosting the freezer to store the assorted chicken parts, Tim pierced whatever was holding the freon, and now our refrigerator doesn't work. That would probably be fine except for the 40 lbs of chicken we just bought. I found a friend to store the chicken and we're waiting on someone to come by this afternoon to see if the fridge can be fixed. Fingers crossed.
I did ask my housekeeper if she could store the chicken, but it turns out she doesn't have a refrigerator. Well, she has one but it's missing the seal part so she uses it for a bookshelf. Honest. Most people here also don't have hot water or a stove, but they manage just fine. Those aren't necessities if you think about it, and if 99% of your neighbors don't have them either, it becomes normal.
I'm back in Puerto after a very long and different traveling experience. Here's a quick summary of my trip to Pucallpa:
4 buses, 2 long (2 & 4 hr) taxi rides, 1 flight (in most cases I hard very little leg room, however I did get the emergency row on the 1 hr flight back) 33 1/2 hours total of traveling in 2 1/2 days 19 hrs waiting for transportation Only 10 hours in Pucallpa
Althought the extent of traveling was rather exhausting, I did get to experience some interesting things. I went from the coast/desert to the mountains to the jungle in about a day and a half.
I passed over one of the highest highways in the world (15,800 feet). As we were going through this area I saw some of the bluest sky and water in my life. I also discovered my boss is highly sensitive to high altitude and spent most of this part of the trip throwing up.
In a period of 10 - 15 minutes when descended through a small road between some mountains and suddenly we came into an area that was 10-20 degrees warmer and filled with trees. It may not sound that exciting but it was a pretty drastic and beautiful change.
I got to spend 2 nights in a row sleeping on a bus. I found out that Ambien is an incredible sleep medicine. My boss and the other guy who was with us both fell asleep within 1 - 2 minutes of taking it.
Finally in the airport at Pucallpa we had to wait in an area with about 30 seats and no air conditioning (it was about 95 degrees). Needless to say there were many more people than seats. Finally 20 minutes before our flight they started allowing people to pass through security into the waiting area that had about 150 seats and was air conditioned. I asked the employees why they made us wait outside of the waiting area but they didn't really have an answer.
If you're interested here's a detailed itinerary:
Monday: 11 am - 4 hr bus to Lima. Arrived too late to take a bus directly to Pucallpa. 3 pm - arrived in Lima and waited for next bus 11:30 pm - Took 7 hr overnight bus to Huancayo. Later realized that we mixed up the cities. We were supposed to go to Huánuco.
Tuesday: 6:30 am - arrived in Huancayo 7:00 am - backtracked via a 2 hr taxi ride to some unknown city 9:00 am - arrived at the unknown city and had a 4 1/2 hour taxi ride to Huánuco 1:30 pm - arrived in Huánuco and waited for the bus to take us the rest of the way to Pucallpa 7:30 pm - boarded bus to go to Pucallpa (11 hours over night)
Wednesday: 6:30 am - arrived in Pucallpa 7 - 11:30 am - César dropped the guy off at rehab, and I rested at a friends house 12 pm - went to the airport to buy plane tickets then wasted time till our flight 5 pm - boarded plane to Lima 6:30 pm - arrived in Lima 7:30 pm - took 4 hour bus to Puerto Supe 12 pm - arrived home in Puerto
In October, November, and December I will be teaching the women's Bible study (the Cubases will be in the US). Grace and I have talked some about what that might look like and how I can best encourage these women. They are mostly people who have made a decision to follow Christ with their whole lives but don't have much of a sense yet of what that means. As I mentioned before, I'm not really sure I know how to teach in this culture, because the ways they learn in school are so different from the US. Nonetheless, I'm excited for the challenge.
In an effort to try to teach them about their identity in Christ (in a way that sticks), I've decided to spend one month teaching on what it means to be a friend of God, one on being a daughter of God, and one on being the bride of Christ. So far I've worked up a 4-lesson study on being God's friend. I wrote it first in English with the thought that I might have a chance to use it some other time during my life (and would be a lot more likely to if it were already written in English).
If you're interested in looking at it for any reason, you can access it here. Remember that this is a first draft, so I'd love (gentle) feedback from all you blog readers out there, whether I know you or not! Consider this another opportunity to be a part of what God's doing down here! Again, it is designed to be used in a group and with people who are newish followers of Jesus.
Last night around 9:30 one of my better "friends" came over. I say "friend" not so much because we have a real friendship (yet), but -because I enjoy her company. Normally at night when the doorbell rings I groan and give Tim a "look" that says "Please go tell that person I'm sick or something." Last night, all alone, I was glad for the company. We shared some cake and lemonade and talked about "real" things.
This girl is one of the three people I see myself closest to here in Puerto, but I'm fairly confused about her interest in a friendship. It seems like it's all me, that I continue pursuing time with her and she never reciprocates. Yesterday was our day to get together, which we haven't done in weeks. I decided not to go find her. I guess I was giving up in a way. I was thus all the more surprised and happy to see her at my doorstep, intentionally seeking me out.
It's a reminder to me that I really don't know what God has me here for. I can make all the plans and decisions I want, but most of the things in my world are out of my control and understanding. I'm left living moment by moment, which is the only place I can really live anyway. One step at a time.
An adventure it is. Through a series of mishaps, Tim is only halfway to Pucallpa at this point and ready to be back home. They are leaving tonight on a bus that should bring them to Pucallpa by the morning. I think the two of them are tired and feeling pretty anxious (remember that they are taking an alcoholic to rehab, by the way). Or maybe I'm the only one feeling vicariously anxious!
I will say that Tim seems thrilled by views he's seeing on his cross-country tour. Too bad he doesn't have a camera with him.
Taza, Ellie and I are doing just fine on the homefront. Besides taking the new photos for the slideshow above, I've been keeping myself busy reading, planning our upcoming vacation (Sept. 1), watching Anne of Green Gables again, baking carrot cake, and doing all my normal work. I'm off now for an Al-Anon meeting.
If you're interested in Christian worship music for any reason, we just bought a great new CD by Hillsong called This is our God. Besides the fact that they write really good music, we love Hillsong because they publish official Spanish translations to their music. We don't have a lot of great resources for new non-cheesy music to play at church, so we're super grateful.
Tim and Cesar left this morning for the jungle. They're taking someone to a substance abuse rehab center run by retired SAM missionaries in Pucallpa. The man is afraid of flying, so the three of them will be taking the 20 hour bus ride from Lima (after the 4 hour bus ride to Lima). Fortunately they'll be flying home after helping the guy check in. They're expected back Thursday.
I don't think Tim's ever left for more than a night, and I'm curious to see how this goes. I think if I were in Charlotte, I'd probably end up at Starbucks and the movie theater a fair amount. None of that here. Neither do I have friends or a job outside my home. I'm especially grateful this week for my housekeeper and my dogs. Besides keeping me company, Ellie will definitely make me feel safer.
It's funny how loneliness goes around here, because I certainly have plenty of opportunities to interact with people. Our houses are townhouse-style (sharing walls), our door is 3 feet from the street, and no one but taxi drivers have cars, so there's a lot of hanging out in the street, dropping by someone's house, etc. And yet with all these acquaintances, I still wouldn't say I have any Peruvian friends. Grace commented yesterday that it's hard to really connect in a give and take kind of relationship with people who are in a different social and economic world (less about culture, more about education and money). That probably sounds a little harsh and doesn't fit our idealistic hopes, but I have to say that I agree at this point. After four months of being in Puerto Supe, I don't see any relationships that I hope will become real friendships.
I'm so grateful for my team- and especially for my #1 awesome teammate Tim. This is not a life just anyone could live happily, but we're making it A-okay. I see more clearly today than before that God designs different people for different tasks. At the same time, I'm not sure if this is something I could live indefinitely, at least in a non-urban area of a developing nation.
Our friends and family outside of Peru are an integral part of our life here via phone and email. Just knowing that you love and remember us makes a tremendous difference. We thank God for you often and need you here, in the US, or wherever we go.
Tonight we had our weekly worship service and then announcements. Several weeks ago I made a "Reading Guide for the Gospel of John" booklet and have been trying to get people working on it (reading short passages daily and answering a couple of questions about them). We have a chart to mark progress on the wall, so tonight I asked if anyone had brought their booklets so that I could mark where they were. Several people pulled them out, which was certainly encouraging. But even better were the two questions I got.
First, one man and his wife said that they tried to read but didn't understand. I asked them what they didn't understand-- the reading or the booklet. They opened a Bible to "San Juan" and showed me how their version didn't have all the verses that I refered to. As it turned out, they had been trying to read First John! If you don't know, John wrote 4 books in the new testament, but only one is a biography of Jesus; the other three are very short letters. We laughed for a while over the confusion, and I think they're ready to try again this week.
The other question I got was "What does the Word mean?" The beginning of John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." A little later on, it explains that the Word was Jesus, but not in a super direct way. I walked the woman asking me about this through the passage and tried to very simply address why John didn't just outright say "Jesus." All this to say that it was exciting to see her asking questions about things she didn't understand. That's definitely not something they learn to do in school here, and I think it's the key to unlocking reading comprehension.
As I'm working with these women and writing Bible studies for the fall (well, our spring), I feel everything I learned from teaching coming into play. This community is particularly weak on critical thinking skills and literacy/reading comprehension, and I'm so grateful for the experience I had in Charlotte, particularly with the less-intelligent and/or less-educated students.
Tim's newest creative endeavor is designing comfortable, good-looking rope sandals. He's been doing a lot of research (YouTube videos on making alpargatas) and has a slew of trial-and-error shoes in varying degrees of attractiveness. He's determined not to stop until he succeeds, and I know he can do it! You might be interested to know that TOM'S shoes, which I understand are a growing US trend, come from the same roots as these sandals. Except they lost the rope, which for us is a pretty essential piece.
It makes me smile to think of how many different "jobs" we are doing here, Tim more than me. So far he's administered communion, sewn dog beds, hand-made paper, counseled drug addicts, baked lots of pizzas, wired lights, taught bookkeeping, played guitar, cooked, painted a room, drawn up ideas for architectural plans, braided rope, taught on the Lord's Prayer, designed websites, led small-group discussions, analyzed and reported on ministry spending, and done lots of research. All for the sake of Jesus.
I promise to soon return to writing about life and ministry, but in the meantime, I have to share this amazing lunch we just enjoyed: Satyamma's Famous Cauliflower Curry. Since last September (with a 5 month break living in someone else's house during language school), I have been cooking almost all vegetarian food and almost all out of Moosewood cookbooks. This is from my new one, although it's really the first published, Moosewood Cookbook.
Time: 30-40 minutes to prepare Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients 3 cups basmati rice 4 1/2 cups water 2 three-inch diameter potatoes, cut into small chunks
Spice Paste: 1 Tbsp mustard seeds 3 med cloves garlic 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger (slice into thin rounds to break up the strings) 1/2 c lightly toasted peanuts 1 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp ground cloves or allspice 2 Tbsp toasted cumin seeds 1-2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds 1/4 tsp cayenne 1/2 c water (more, as needed)
1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut (optional) 1-2 Tbsp peanut oil 1 1/2 c chopped onion 1 tsp salt 1 large cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 med carrot, thinly sliced Optional: 1 c cooked chick peas 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
Condiments: Lemon or orange slices Toasted nuts Toasted coconut Raisins Sliced tomatoes Sliced cucumbers Thin strips of bell pepper Raita (recipe below)
Raita: 2 c yogurt 1 t cumin seeds salt and cayenne, to taste Optional: 1 small cucumber (peeled, seeded, grated), 1 small ripe tomato (diced), 1/4 c finely minced onion, 1/2 c finely minced bell pepper, 1/2 t fennel seeds
Directions 1. Begin cooking the rice with the water. Boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Place the spice paste ingredients in a blender and puree until fairly homogeneous. Add extra water as needed to form a soft workable paste.
3. Heat oil in skillet and add onion and salt. Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat, then add cauliflower and carrot and mix well. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, then add the paste. Mix well. Cook, covered, over low heat until the cauliflower is tender, stirring every few minutes. Add more water, if necessary, to prevent sticking.
4. Add potatoes, chickpeas, and lemon juice, and cook a few more minutes. Taste to adjust salt, and serve hot, with rice and condiments.
Yes, I know that long list of ingredients is a little intimidating, but honestly, it didn't take me that long to make and is definitely worthy of dinner guests. Or just a night at home that you want something tasty to eat. Those ingredients are all pretty affordable here and I would guess at home. I (of course) had to adjust the recipe a little bit- shredded sweetened coconut, ground cumin, no sesame seeds, sesame oil, no chickpeas. For the Raita, I used natural yogurt (has a different flavor) and included the cucumber, tomato, and onion. The Raita, by the way, is key. So tasty. For condiments, I used everything but the lemon slices and raisins.
Someone please make this and let me know how much you enjoyed it! I'm bursting!
Our South American adventure has revealed lots of new sides of Tim in the last year. Here are some things I have come to respect deeply.
Tim loves church. He has such a desire to see people come together to worship. I really admire the way he pushes the envelope with innovation and creativity but simultaneously cherishes and honors the inheritance passed on to us from the last 2000 years of church history.
Tim loves people (even though he might say he doesn't). Watching our friends come to understand and eagerly accept the gift offered to us in Jesus Christ has transformed his take on our purpose here. His #1 desire is to help people in ways that make a difference eternally and all the other stuff he does in Puerto Supe falls under that goal.
Tim loves our dogs. Maybe that's not something I respect as much as enjoy. Owning a toy poodle, in particular, has made him a new man. I can't wait to see what kids do to him (no time soon).
Tim loves me. Okay, I already knew this one. The very fact that we are here pursuing my dream is a testimony to his sacrificial love for me. His patience with and dedication to me during our time here are making me into more of the woman I want to be.
I'd guess many of my Charlotte readers have been thinking a lot about Anne Belk recently. After a valiant second battle with cancer, she died August 2. Recognizing how trite this may sound to some, I can't help but smile to know that she is healthy and happy with Jesus now.
Anne kept an online journal over the last 14 months. It's a remarkable story and a piercing testimony to the power of God in her life. As of this evening, 38,768 people have read it! I get chills thinking of the ways God is using her story to bring hope and strength to others. If you have some time, let it bless you, too.
Leaves me remembering something true...
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philipians 1:20-21
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Proverbs 31:25)
Every time I read that verse, I think of my friend Jenny. Were we laughing at the days to come the first time she shared that vision with me? We certainly didn't have an idea of what these days would entail (although I at least thought I did). And yet here we are.
Jenny's on the "scenic route" through her 20s, following her Navy pilot husband around the continental US (4 states and 5 jobs in 2 years). I thought I'd be "doing missions" in Spanish, but not in the desert, not so alone, not facing so many challenges, and not knowing that these 2 years might be my only 2. Our third musketeer, Mary, finds herself in Kentucky of all places, raising her 2 year old and dreaming of China. And she's a Southern Baptist now :-) Who would have ever guessed?
What does it mean to "laugh at the days to come" and how do I do it? Today I took my anxieties to Jesus and asked Him to give me in return some piece of wisdom for where to go with all these questions. The word that kept returning to my mind was "strength." Could I clothe myself with strength? One thing I love about that image is that it's something I put on. I am growing and learning and gaining personal, emotional and spiritual strength, but in the meantime, I can at least put on strength and pretend it's mine. Respond to criticisms as though I were strong. Set good boundaries as though I were strong.
And when my fears come back about tomorrow, next week, October, 2010? Maybe I can put them aside as though I were strong and wait to take them back on a day when I am. Or never. That might do just fine.
During our time with “the boss's boss” earlier this week, we talked a lot about Tim's role and responsibilities here. We determined that Tim's job is Alpha, worship music, and design/production for the sandals business. Although it's not on his list, he's also been working on developing a (very spiffy) general website for Puerto Supe.
I think I can speak for him to say that he could use some prayer for all of those areas.
--Alpha is emerging as our chief ministry here. We feel happy and successful in it but know that we are entirely dependent on God's grace and power.
--With the worship service, we are implementing a new plan this month for how Tim can plan the service and play in it without being in charge of all of it. Pray for the logistics of that working out and that he would feel comfortable with and supported by the new arrangement.
--Lastly, with the sandals, sometimes I think it feels like an insurmountable obstacle to Tim to make rope look and feel good on feet! Pray for all his smarts to bear fruit in that arena. There are some promising outlets for sales coming up, but if we can't make comfortable, good-looking sandals, we're not going far.
The majority of my working energy right now is going into Alpha and my time with my housekeeper (more about her in a post to come). I'm involved in a number of other things that leave me wondering where to go: Al-Anon, meetings with two specific girls every week, a girls Bible study (formerly led by Sierra), the knitting club, a weekly community prayer meeting at our house. Apart from Al-Anon, all of those things are sort of flailing, and I'm unsure what to do. I think that if I put the energy into recruiting participation, I could get people to come, but I'm not certain that's the right move. I want to be sensitive to investing in the right things and not just any good thing (which I think they all are).
As far as Al-Anon goes, I have some more thinking to do about if, how, and when I should start a recovery program in Puerto Supe. A lot of that requires research, which I just didn't have time to do in July.
Anyway, there's some “food for prayer” if you have time. And THANKS! In advance.
The Cubas and we just finished up a few days of meetings with Bob Moyer, the Director of the Fields for South America Mission. It felt meaningful to me that he would come all the way down here to guide and help us. And I think we needed it. We have some more direction in a few important areas.
In the meantime, I am definitely sick with some kind of virus. Aching all over, shooting pains behind my right ear, fever and chills. No nasal/sinus issues, which is keeping me from thinking its the flu. I've been taking as much Advil as possible and trying to sit still. I think I'll give it until Saturday but might go to the doctor at that point.
checking out our amazing new computer! (thanks to all!!)
boys fishing trip, including Tim, Phil and some Alpha guys
a fun and meaningful Alpha night with tacos (yum)
two fabulous dinners out in Lima
both of us getting sick
That's where we are now-- back in our own bed but sick. I've got a fever and ache all over. Tim's been violently vomiting. Not sure what's going on, especially since our two illnesses don't seem similar. Pobrecitos.
All in all, we had a delightful few days (too short) with Tim's family. We were sad to see them go off to Cuzco today but so grateful for their visit. More later (when we're not feeling so lousy)!