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Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Smell Cookies

Today was the first day back to school for the boys. Their teachers survived and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went with a group of 20 or so to an extremely poor barrio (neighborhood) called "La Carpio" to minister to the children there. It was similar to some things we have done in Mexico with our homechurch. We played games, sang songs, told a Bible story, and had some activities related to the story. All the kids were very sweet and you could tell they loved the attention they received.

At the end, I saw one of the regular workers passing out some cookie packets to some of the kids. Somehow my kids each ended up with a pack. I told them they should give them to one of the other kids because they never get treats like that. It was a no brainer for my oldest. He quickly went to another boy and in his best spanish asked the little guy if he wanted some cookies. "Si, gracias," was the response he heard.

My youngest was not on board with giving away something he already had in his possession. After all, he is only 6. He began to chow down like the cookie-monster ending a 40 day fast. As he was nearing the end of the package we noticed the skinniest little dog you can imagine. This poor, hairy, skeleton of a canine was walking up to everyone looking for something to eat. A couple of us began to coax my son into giving his last cookie to this hungry little dog. Maybe it was guilt, maybe it was peer-pressure but he put the cookie on the ground for the dog to eat. That scraggly little pup timidly approached the cherished morsel, gave it a couple of good sniffs and quickly decided that sometimes it's just better to be hungry. I want to know who picked THAT snack. As for the fate of the rejected cookie, last I saw, some kids were trying to feed it to some random chicken walking down the street. Try to find a street like that back home.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Waste Not

I'm just going to pretend like the last 3 weeks never happened so I won't feel guilty for not updating my blog for the 2 people that actually read it. Actually, it was a time filled with final exams at language school, an oral proficiency exam, and a visit/vacation with my parents. Not fun, Not fun, and fun (respectively).

The past couple of months God has put a thought/idea/truth on my heart that I think of everyday and I want to throw it out there for you to consider.
"Worship is never wasted" This is the thought that I wake up with and carry with me throughout the day. When I close my eyes at night it is there.
Now let me explain what the Lord has shown me in these 4 words. Over the past 2-3 months we have learned: One of our dear friends was diagnosed with cancer; A missionary colleague and mother of 5 suddenly died on the mission field; A young college graduate died in a car accident while serving as a summer missionary in Peru; A friend of ours had to return from her field of service due to back surgery. That is a lot of disheartening news over such a short period of time. All of these individuals love/loved the Lord and are/were following Him in obedience. As I began to think about 'worship' God showed me something. The very root of true worship is obedience. It is impossible to worship the Lord while you are walking in disobedience. If you haven't tried it, Don't (just take my word for it).
When most people think of a 30 something dad of 3 young boys having cancer, or a mother of 5 dying suddenly, or a recent college grad dying tragically, or a 22-23 yr. old with back surgery to the point she has to go home from the mission field they think, "What a waste!" Honestly, that was my initial reaction to such news. That's where it all started. I still see the news as extremely sad but I have a new perspective.
As a christian, I am called to offer myself as a living sacrifice to God. This is an act of worship. God knows the details. He knows I have a wife, 2 young sons, that my desire is to tell people how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that I'm a "good person" or whatever. He knows all of that. But if something happens to me or my family while we are walking in obedience does that make God bad or unloving? I say, "No!" We live the way we live out of worship, not for some earthly reward. If our lives of worship are "cut short" or altered, they will be "cut short" or altered by the one receiving our worship. By the one who doesn't allow worship to be wasted.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Down the Drain

A few things seem to be going down the proverbial drain right now. As I type this, Jenn is puffing on a nebulizer because she has managed to get Bronchitis and some other medical junk. She is on 'Roids right now (She said the doctor prescribed them, but I think she's just trying to get in the Olympic spirit.) You know how former gymnasts are.

I'm definitely not a Spanish speaking whiz but many of the things I have known for years and even re-learned this trimester have suddenly decided to go down the drain. I am experiencing some kind of Span-mnesia. These kind of symptoms are usually the result of massive head trauma. Thankfully, the only trauma my head has experienced is massive information overload. My brain is like a glass (more like a shot-glass); it can only contain so much before it overflows in order to make room for the new stuff. I'm losing some of the basic stuff. I feel like it's in there somewhere but I can't seem to remember where I put it. Not to worry though, I have four whole days to get my stuff straightened out before my 1st Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). YIKES!

For a reprieve from the mounting stresses, I took the boys to play soccer in the park with some of their new Tico friends. Five minutes into the game and the ball was in the street. No big deal except for the fact that all the grates which cover the street drains have been jacked. I was able to lower 3/4 of my body into the 5 feet deep hole and retrieve the ball with my feet. It was game on once again. 15 minutes later and the ball was back in the street. Fortunately, the oncoming car saw the ball and slowed his car to a crawl. Unfortunately, his front wheel "crawled" over the ball. It had a certain egg shaped appearance after that. One of the Ticos said it looked like an American football:) Everyone knows that soccer balls have atleast 3 lives so we played on. Within a few minutes, the ball had found its home-away-from-home (i.e. the street) again. We all watched hopefully as the ball traveled westbound. So much for that. Immediately, it found another drain. We couldn't see the ball this time so I lowered one of the boys into the curbside cavern. However, it was all for nothing because the ball had already made its way into the maze of pipes never to be seen again. As we returned to the field/vacant lot, the 9 year-old owner of the ball was visibly sad. After consoling him for a bit, we said, "Well, atleast we have buddies to play with in Costa Rica!"

So here we stand, certainly with struggles but BLESSED!

music llamas listen to :)