Monday, November 23, 2009

What a day!

Ok! Another post about life in Guatemala.

Today we had an appointment in Guatemala City at 10am, and it is normally a 3 1/2 hour drive with no traffic. We were all loaded and in the car at 5am. By 5:10, we were driving away from the house. So far so good! We had planned on encountering some traffic entering the city during the morning rush hour. GirlM has the croup, but is hanging in so far.

About 50 minutes into the trip (the kids had not gone back to sleep) GirlM gets car sick and throws up. Luckily, she had not yet eaten breakfast, so it wasn't too nasty.

We have to stop so the pregnant lady can go to the bathroom. This particular potty consisted of a very small toilet with no seat and no way to flush. It cost the equivalent of 12 cents to use it. It was totally dark. The good thing was that the door locked, so at least I felt a measure of safety. And there was a rooster crowing right outside of the door to keep me company. The floor was wet with I don't want to know what, so I rolled my pant legs up over my knees before pulling my pants down so that they didn't drag on the ground.

I guess I paid the money so that someone could come after me and flush. Pretty gross, but is was better than trying to go on the side of the road. I just am very thankful that we had our own TP so that I could cover the seat before sitting down, and very, very thankful that we had hand sanitizer in the car.

On our way again we drive another 1 1/2 hours to find ourselves at a road block. Now, here in this beautiful country, there are VERY few alternate routes. There are basically two ways to get to the City from Xela: The coast road, and the mountain road. They both branch off at Xela, and the only road that connects them is filled with bandits and the US embassy has discouraged its use. The road block was because of a demonstration and had rocks in the road, a little violence, and burning tires. We waited there for over an hour, and then after some prayer and fasting (we didn't really fast) decided to try to find an alternate route through the mountains to a town farther down on the same highway. But not before giving GirlM some medicine for her climbing fever and apparently sore throat.

We had to backtrack for about 20 minutes and then ended up on a really, really curvy mountain road covered in pot holes. Ok...we drive for another 30 minutes before BoyD gets carsick and vomits. He had eaten breakfast. So I am turned around in the car "catching" the vomit in his blankie getting a little splattered in the process. No problem, except that I start feeling very motion sick from having to be turned around until Brandon found a safe place to pull over.

We get the boy cleaned up and give him a chance to empty his bladder on the side of the road. I get peed on as I am trying to help him. Sigh.

Back on the road, but pretty soon I have to start driving because I can't shake the nausea. We drive on road that consists of series after series of hairpin turns, bridges wide enough for one and a half cars, and pot holes, until we come to another road block. These demonstrators know what they are doing, and are effective at keeping honest folks from traveling in their country. We wait there long enough for Brandon to talk to some cops. We find out that the blockade is indefinite. There were no plans to open it up. By this time, it is around 11:30 in the morning, we have missed our appointment and the immigration lawyer is trying to find us another appointment.

So...we turn back around. We go back through the curvy road to get back on the highway. We finally eat lunch at about 12:30, and make it home by 3:30. GirlM slept a little in the car after she threw up, and BoyD had been awake the whole time.

We all took a nap when we got home. So we are going to try this again on Friday. Pray for us! :)

I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little note about giftedness:

I really don't have time to blog right now. I am cramming as much in my day as I can and still be a wife and mother. But, I ran across this in my preparations for the Bible study that I am teaching and I really wanted to share it. So, I will take 15 minutes "off" and write this out. Not that anyone is reading this anymore since I only post every once in a while, but here it goes anyway.

This is a quote from Howard Hendricks from his book Living by the Book regarding application of Scripture, and more specifically, the Great Commission. (If you have never read this book, please go out and buy it and read it. It is amazing.

"So when it comes to "making disciples," some people will do that by teaching, because that's what they do best. Some will do it by modeling and mentoring, because that's what they do best. Some have a giftedness for influencing people, so they will focus on proclaiming the gospel in very straightforward, impactful ways, because that's how they are most effective. Some will come alongside unbelievers and build relationships and live out the gospel, so that over time they stimulate curiosity about what makes them different. Some will take the approach that Andrew took with his brother, Simon Peter (John 1:40-42): they will bring their friends to people who have the ability to explain the gospel much more effectively than they can. Some will participate in teams that go into the world and do specific projects aimed at drawing people to Jesus. Some who have a talent for telling a story will write books in which they relate their own journeys of faith in ways that are very compelling to an unsaved reader."

This is my question: What am I doing? How am I applying the Great Commission? How are you applying it? What are you doing? Not being an "evangelist" or a "pastor" or a "missionary" is no excuse. (For me, either)

Be encouraged that no matter what you are gifted in, the Lord Jesus created you to do specific good works, and we are commissioned to "go" and "make disciples." We are not called to be something that we are not, just to do something because of who we are.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Great Experiment - (can you do it?)

I have unintentionally been conducting an experiment. I mean, my life has been very different over the past couple weeks than it was previously. I want to explain, share, and invite you to try this with me.

Those of you who have been active at our Flower Mound, TX church will be very familiar with this analogy. It is not one that I came up with, but is one that I have found to be INCREDIBLY true to life.

We each have two creatures living in us. (Well...those of us who have the Spirit of God dwelling in us.)

These two creatures are constantly fighting for control of our thoughts, emotions, will, etc. One of these creatures, I will say, wants us to be "of the world." That is, worldly in our thoughts, actions, responses, etc. The other creature wants us to be holy in all that we do. The stronger creature will win in any given battle. The battle over how to react to a screaming toddler. The battle over how to react in really bad traffic. The battle over whether or not we take the time to pray when we see an immediate need. The battle over finding time to be in the Word of God. The battle over whether or not to share that little nugget of interesting "information" about our neighbor with someone. I could go on and on.

Now, what determines which creature is stronger? How come we just can't seem to keep our thoughts away from criticizing that other person at the grocery store?

The creature that is fed the most, will be the strongest.

I have experienced much frustration over wanting to think more holy, act more holy, be more like Christ, but just finding my mind during the day thinking of other things. Not necessarily "bad"things (although that can certainly be an issue as well), but just things that are not beneficial. I will have some wonderful time in the the morning in prayer with every intention and desire to have my thoughts on God all day. To be experiencing His presence. And then, at the end of the day, I look back, and I was as self absorbed and distracted as always. (What I mean by self absorbed is that I am concerned with my life to-do list, my issues, my schedule, my kids schedules, etc)

Now, to the experiment. Over the past few weeks I have been insanely busy. I get up at 5am and go to bed around 9:30. I don't have time for TV (we lost they only channels that I watch anyway, so I'm not even tempted), reading fiction, surfing the internet, exercising, or really any extra curricular activities. I have been making gifts, making bread, cooking, keeping the house picked up, but mostly it has been the following.
1. I am preparing, translating, and teaching a class on "how to study the Bible" for women from our church.
2. I have been doing all of the homework that I assign them for the class (which is a lot of time in the Bible).
3. I have been spending a lot of time in prayer for this study and for the women in it.
4. Before going to bed at night, to settle down my mind, I read 1-2 pages in a book called Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.

All of my "spare" time is doing numbers 1-3. I am even taking some time off from those things to write this blog because it has been on my mind to do it for quite a while and the desire + opportunity will go away if I put it off any longer.

Ever since all of this began, I have noticed that my mind is more focused on the Lord. I turn to God more rapidly when a question arises, when someone is hurt/sick/suffering. I pray more throughout my day. I am more aware of the presence of God! I realized that I have been feeding one creature (the Spirit) and starving the other (the flesh)! I mean, I have always believed that that was true, and hence the value in a devotional time, but I don't know that I had really experienced before the effects of really starving the flesh creature!

So...I am going to continue along these lines for a while. (I am forced to by all of the things I need to do, including preparing a lesson and a sermon for a church this coming weekend) I am even choosing to read more Bible stories to my children instead of just fiction.

Will you join with me? For a week, maybe two? Will you try my experiment? Will you stop watching TV (just for a week!) and stop listening to secular radio, and stop reading anything other than the scripture (or devotional books, or Christian non-fiction, etc)? Will you use that extra time (most likely you will have some) to read the Bible, pray, listen to Christian music?

I would love for you to do this with me, if you aren't already. Then we could compare notes.

Disclaimer: I am in no way opposed to any of the things that I mentioned that we sacrifice for a week! I am not saying that they are sinful, or inherently bad, or un-holy, or anything!!!! Please don't read it that way. It is just that those things don't feed the creature that we want to be the strongest. (Normally, they don't) We as believers should not be so removed from the world that we are ignorant of what is going on around us. We should not isolate ourselves from everything "worldly" and move out to a monastery (although there is nothing wrong with that!). This is just a short term experiment to watch how this truth plays out in our lives.

Will I stop watching all TV after this busy time is over? Most likely not. Will I stop reading fiction all together? Probably not, but I do believe that I will be making some changes after this time. What those permanent changes will be are still yet to be determined.

Let me know if you will participate with me.