The Weather in Our Neck of the Woods

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On preaching...

It is widely stated that Saint Francis of Assisi wrote “Preach every day. Use words if you must.” I have said many times that I am not a preacher, but I was wrong. I preach every day. I just don’t use words.

But it’s not enough for the people here.

I am not brown. I don’t speak Spanish very well. I don’t have hundreds of years of Panamanian cultural experience to draw on. That’s why we have decided to hire a Panamanian to partner with us. Not to preach words but to be the example that we cannot, because of our background.

So remember, if you are a Christian, you are a disciple, and if you are a disciple, you are a preacher.

It seems it is easy for a preacher of words to become egotistical and self centered. A preacher by example can also become a “know it all” but it seems to be more difficult.

We recently made up a questionnaire for our adult class, and one of the nine questions was; “what is the difference between a Christian and a disciple?’ One of the twelve students answered with what I thought was the correct answer; “There is no difference.” But most of the people had the same idea as I believe do most North Americans – a disciple is a super Christian or one who devotes his life to Matthew 29:19.

We must be very careful that “I” doesn’t get in the Lord’s way. I may believe that I am God’s gift to humanity or the savior of the world, but it’s not true. It’s His vision, His ideas, and His ways that give life. He doesn’t need me. He can use me, but He doesn’t need me.

Love you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More arrivals!

I forgot to mention it, but we have two new babies!!!! Both girls - I will get photos up soon. their names are Becky and Berty. both adorable, mom doing find as well. George has grown huge already!

(See, God is good!)

Sometimes a good thing can really...bite!

I have been certain throughout my Christian life that God always blesses me more than I can bless someone else, regardless of the situation, he always gives me more than I can give to others. I haven't changed my mind on that, but I do wonder at His sense of humor at times. Like now.

We have been helping our sister, friend and neighbor Dani work toward a better life for three years now. We have loaned her money for food. With the help of the 2007 team that came down, we replaced her dirt floor with a concrete one. We bought her a stove, gave her beds, gave her a washing machine, and the list goes on and on. Stay with me here, and you will see that I am not boasting, but headed toward a point.

Last Fall we loaned her the money to get electricity in her house. It fell short of what she needed becaus of some poor decisions regarding material costs, but she did get alot closer to getting lights in the house. Finally, this month we bought her the last thing she needed to have for the electricity to be installed - a 20 foot metal pole. We were so thrilled because now the kids could do their homework by something other than kerosene lantern.

The Fire department came out and inspected the work, and approved. The electric company came out and installed the electric line to the house. We were all so thrilled! Only to be dismayed a few hours later when the music started. Loud music- booming music that could be felt throughout our bones. Xavier, the dear teenage wonder, had built himself some monster boom box-speakers to go with his car stereo he had converted to DC current. Bless his little heart!(I heard once that if you finish the comment with "bless his little heart" it was ok to say something bad about someone)

So, again, bless his little heart, he had his music cranked to full volume for a full week before we politely complained. Our street was so peaceful. You could hear the horses coming from way around the bend. I loved to listen for one of the neighbors to come by on his way home because he always whistles, and it is a joyful, relaxing sound. Gone. We used to hear the cattle and horses chatting, the birds chirping, the frogs singing. Gone. All because we wanted to help our dear neighbors have a better life. The music is blaring again tonight. While it goes down for a day or so, they always seem to forget that we are forced to hear whatever they are listening to wiht the volume at max. I am listening to Reggae/ Rap music that, incidentally, I generally detest, over my feeble attempt to dub over wiht David Phelps. Not a good mix.

I know that God will bless our every offering when given in His name, but I am wondering if maybe He is explaining that technological advances are not always 'better'. This one sure isn't for us. We will wait for...peace (and quiet)

God is always good.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sowing and reaping...

Thought some of you might like an update of the farm projects;
We purchased 3 ewes and a ram 8 weeks ago. Two of the ewes were bred, one was not. the first baby was due on September 5, and just like turning on a switch - out popped George! He is a male, and appears to be in fine shape. His photo should be to the right. Blondie, the other bred ewe is due on the 20th. We will see if she knows what she is supposed to do! She appears ready in every way!

The garden project was a failure in the sense that the 'co-operative' part fell through. Everyone wanted to be a part of it until it came to commiting time or energy. The last family to go spent probably 10 hours in total on planting and weeding. We, however have remained committed to producing the good organic foods, so, with lots of help from Magdiel, we are beginning to harvest. See photos to the right! the first shot is just of today's harvest. We have had all the cabbage we could eat for over a month now. good thing we love cabbage! it was planted for the entire group - 200 plants! The second photo is of the field corn with red beans behind them, and then new potato plants emerging wiht marigolds behind them. Lynn generally takes care of the otoi & banana patch that is beside the house(next photo). We have harvested bananas twice this year, and the bag you see in the upper left corner is the next batch, which should be ready in a few more days. We harvested one more head, but the tree was actually in our neighbors yard, although the fruit was on our side of the fence. He was quite surprised when we cut the ripe fruit and took them to him.
The following photo is of one of Lynn's new pet projects - hummingbirds! They are everywhere these days (since he found a feeder for them) We also have a pair of parakeets that have decided to stay close to us. Beautiful blues, but I have not managed to get a photo yet.

Praying that all of you are growing in Christ daily,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joy volunteers again...

Last Thursday Alvin, the man in charge of OM(operation mobilization) here in Volcan called Joy to translate for a group Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

She was planning to go to the ladies convention in Panama City Saturday. We decided she could do more good translating. Joy has translated once before for OM. OM if we haven’t explained before is a worldwide nondenominational missionary organization. You can go on line to learn more about them. They have an office here in Volcan.

This group consisted of about 8 Europeans who had been in Panama several weeks already but had lost their translator to appendicitis. The four days was in a small church and school near Concepción which is about 45 minutes away. It is a very small Four Square denominational congregation. I went with her two days so she would not have to drive home alone late at night (after 10pm). Joy has done an excellent job. She is really good. She will probably have more to share with you later.