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Friday, October 31, 2008

Microphone Monkey-Bone

This is what my hair becomes if I let it grow out for about 5 weeks.

Anytime your hairdo draws comparison to a microphone with a fuzzy windscreen, that is never good. I basically have a recipe for hair disaster: 1 part matted down, 1 part cowlick, 2 parts going every-which-way and a dash of gray. I was reaching my breaking point lastnight so I decided to buzz my hair which is my normal custom. Jenn usually goes over it when I'm done and then trims the back and sides with a shorter attatchment. However, she was already asleep. So I decided I could go as-is for a day or so until she had a chance to finish the job.
Today, fresh off a mediocre self-administered haircut, I was the subject of another hair story. While sitting on the floor with a group of 20 or so 6-8 year olds, I began to retell the Bible story we had just heard. They were all listening fairly intently with little to no distractions (gracias a Dios). My friend Karen was sitting in the circle across from me holding one of the kids and I saw her looking at what was going on behind me. I knew there was some activity back there but none of the other kids seemed bothered by it so we pressed on with the story. [Then, as a sidenote unrelated to hair, a boy began to poke at my ginormous adam's apple and say "hueso, hueso" or "bone, bone." Did my man think I had a chicken bone lodged in my windpipe or what? I'm not sure, but it was funny.]
Shortly after the "hueso sighting" I began to feel atleast 2 different girls leaning on my back and messing with my hair. Strange, but then again not really. As I continued asking questions to the group I caught a glimpse of Karen's eyes. I could only see her eyes because she was deliberately covering the rest of her face with her Bible as she was laughing at these 2 girls. Afterwards, she told me it looked like two little monkeys grooming the bigger monkey. Never before have I felt like such a well-groomed, microphonic monkey gagging on a chicken wing!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The voice of Darwin

Last week I had the opportunity to share my personal testimony with a group of children at La Carpio. I was so excited to have the chance to share something personal with them. I had a good feeling as they all gathered around to listen to what I was going to say. "This is going to be good," I thought to myself.
That's when I heard it. It was the strangest thing I've experienced since arriving in CR and it caught me off guard. It was the audible voice of Darwin. Of all the audible voices to hear, why would I be hearing that one? Perhaps a better question would be: "Why is Darwin yelling 'Gringo como frijol, Gringo como frijol'."(White man like a bean, White man like a bean.)
Darwin (pronounced: Dar-bean no pun intended) was the 8 year old boy sitting on the floor right in front of me. He thought it was hilarious and it had the potential to really distract everything that was about to be discussed. I asked him if he was really saying what I thought I was hearing. He was and I thanked him for sharing. As it turned out, Darwin was one of the most attentive listeners that day and he participated in the conversation. I pulled him aside later and really bragged on him. I told him I was proud of him and I was impressed with how he changed his attitude and behavior. He had that bashful 'Aw Shucks' look on his face and he had a hard time receiving compliments. It was a cool moment for me and a little sad at the same time.
I'm challenged to reach out to the Darwins in my life. That could have turned out so differently and usually does with me. However, the Lord gave extra patience in that moment and only he knows exactly what Darwin needs and when he needs it. May Darwin come to know Jesus personally at an early age like I did.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dirty Hands

Before I left the States, I worked at UPS for 12 years. In those 12 years I learned exactly what to expect when I went to work:

  1. the work would be tough
  2. my body would hurt at some point during the shift
  3. my clothes would get filthy
  4. my hands would be dirty when I left work

Not a day went by that I didn't experience all 4 of those truths. Now I am studying Spanish in Costa Rica. I haven't stepped foot inside a warehouse for 10 months (praise God). However, this week I began to see the similarities between working at UPS and working at La Carpio:

  1. the work is tough- breaking up fights, having patience with kids who are making fun of a special needs child, trying to shout the Bible story loud enough that a bunch of rowdy kids can hear it over the rain beating down on the aluminum roof.
  2. my body hurts at some point- I've been jack-slapped upside the back of my head by a little girl who just wanted some attention, grabbed around the neck, jumped on, almost tackled multiple times, accidentally poked in the back with a pencil by the boy who was using me as his desk.
  3. my clothes get dirty- I know not to wear khakis on Thursday. Jeans and a dark Tshirt are the only way to go when you know you'll be sitting on a dirty floor, wrestling little guys who are wearing dirty clothes, navigating mud puddles, and avoiding the occasional random mangy dog that might wander through the building.
  4. my hands get dirty- we use those cheap inflatable balls that Wal-Mart sells out of that sky-high wire basket in the middle of the toy section. They are dirt magnets and the kids love to go wild with those things. At any given moment 6 or 7 of those things could be flying around the room. We sit in the floor with the kids. We pick up the trash they have been throwing on the floor for the past hour.

When was the last time you got your hands dirty? I don't ask that in order to draw attention to anything I have done. When I was in the States I lived a pretty sterile life. I was good at operating within my comfort zone (i.e. being around people who were like me). I missed out on being a blessing to others and being blessed by them.

I've been thinking about who Jesus hung out with. It wasn't the people in his Sunday School class, or his pastor, or the middle-class guy that lived across the street. Jesus hung out with fishermen, prostitutes, and tax collectors (dudes that ripped people off for a living). I'm pretty sure his hands were getting dirty. I'm challenged (and commanded) to do the same.

music llamas listen to :)