Friday, July 31, 2009

Everyday goings-on!

And so the time goes by! I cannot believe how fast the weeks seem to pass. I honestly didn't realize that it had been so long since I'd last written!
No much has happened really. Days come and go, it is still very hot and humid and GOD IS GOOD!

Right now my Mom is preparing octopus for lunch... I have never had octopus, but everyone I have asked says that it is very tasty. Still, I would prefer to come to my own conclusion after I eat it. It makes me laugh to think of what I might have said three years ago if my Mom had told me that we were going to have octopus for lunch... very funny! I don't think that anyone in my family would have gone for it, me least of all! But now, I think that everyone except for Evie will eat it without comment (or at least without complaint. A favorite habbit of ours is to comment on the food; my Mom doesn't mind as long as all that we say is positive ;P ). Evie has never liked sea food. Oh well, that just means more for us!

The boys have been working on cutting wood for my Mom's new brick oven -- which, by the way, is now finished. It's sort of hard work, but it keeps them occupied and that means that I have some quiet time to, say, write a blog post!

Yesterday we went to a party for a friend's little boy. It was fun and it was only a few blocks from our house which means that we didn't have to worry about the distant storm clouds catching us on the way home! It was another pool party and the boys spent most of their time trying to climb a rope swing that was stationed above the pool. I think that Jessee holds the record, something that Caleb laments. He really takes pride in being the strongest boy. I wager he'll be doing push-ups for the next few days! Well, I might be exagerating a little bit, but it is true to some extent.

Alright, before I call it a day I want to share a passage in 1 John that I have found quite challenging these past few days:

1 John 3:5-9

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is
no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no who sins has seen Him or knows
Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices
righteousness is rigthteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin
is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son
of God appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. No
one who is born of God practices sin because His seed abides in Him, and he
cannot sin because he is born of God.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A party, a storm and three days of horrible heat!

Dear faithful readers,
As always, I have to excuse the lack of movement on this blog. And, as always, I do have an excuse. These past few days here have been nice and horrible at the same time. We had a huge storm which knocked down a good number of telephone poles and even more trees. The result of this was that we had no electricity for almost three days (this is my excuse). I was desperate by the third day -- mostly because I hadn't realy been able to sleep without at least having a fan. I slept enough so that I wasn't falling over, but not enough to avoid a headache. Thanks to God, we now have electricity, but the days without it are still fresh enough on my mind to make me quite happy and not at all discontent in the heat... I suppose that means that something good did come of the trial... but at what cost? lol ;^)
There's a really cool story to go with all this, though. I was trying to think of the best way to start, but I guess that the best is always to start at the beginning. Here goes nothing!

On Saturday we all woke up at the normal time, did our chores and other various odd jobs that were to be done around the house and then we had a few hours to spend as we so desired. I spent most of it practicing my guitar and clarinet... and, of course, reading, but I didn't really do much of that. At 1:00 we all got ready and left to a party for one of our friend's cousin's daughter's birthday (say that five times fast!) in Guamuchil.

It was a swimming party and they had rented a pool for the occasion. We had a great time hanging out with our friends and keeping cool (very important!). At about 6:00pm we started seeing a large storm system rolling in, but we didn't really think much of it. We ended up leaving about an hour later and by then the sky looked really dark. Still, it didn't look like the storm was going to hit us for a good hour and we knew that by that time we would almost be home.

After a bit of consideration, my Dad decided that we would take the back roads in order to get home sooner (just so you know, most of those roads are dirt or gravel). We drove for a ways on the road and then, all of a sudden, it got crazy still without even a little bit of breeze. It was like that for a moment and then SWOOOSH! the wind came blowing in. It was a lot like the movie Twister (if you have ever seen it. If you haven't just imagine the harshest wind you have ever seen and that's probably about where it was).

The trees whipped around like crazy and the dust swirled up making mini tornados. It was INSANE! After a little while, the dust got so bad that we could barely see the road, so my Dad had Esteban (a friend of ours who knows the roads really well) change places with him. The wind was so strong that when my Dad opened the front door of the van the wind grabbed it and flung it so hard that it almost came off the hinges (that's the next project that my Dad has on his list, fix van door).

I was a little worried by that time. Not the kind of worried where I was scared, but worried enough to begin constantly praying. We weren't more than 20 minutes from home on one of the gravel canal roads when the rain came. If it was hard to see in the dust, it was twice as hard to see in the rain. Garbage and tree limbs were flying everywhere and the rain was falling almost horizontally. We were driving about 10 miles per hour, but even at that pace we had to stop constantly in order to make sure that we weren't headed into the canal. We were about 5 minutes from the highway when we glimpsed the lights on a car ahead of us. It seemed like the car wasn't moving and as we got closer we realized that not only was the car not moving, but there was a tree on top of it!

From the looks of it, the tree had fallen a matter of minutes before we arrived. It was kind of weird how it happened, but we hadn't been there a minute and my Dad and Esteban were still discussing the best way to be able to help them when three girls (well, more like youth) and a lady carrying her baby rushed out from the bushes where the car was stuck and into our van.

They were all soaked, but no one seemed to really mind since all four of the women were hysterical (I have never actually seen someone go into hysterics, but this was really close). I tried to calm the girls down the best I could. After about 30 minutes of the two men who were in the car trying to get the car out from under the tree, we decided that it would be best to take the women back home and then have them send someone back with help to get the car out.

By this time the rain had calmed down and the road was clear enough to be able to drive on. We backtracked the way we had come and about 2 hours later, after having dropped the women off at their house, we arrived in Las Glorias. Not much of our stuff got damaged by the rain (mostly just some books of mine that were on my desk under the window). Nothing that couldn't be replaced. God really protected us and I hope and pray that we were able to be a testimony to that family. They even invited us to come by and visit them any time!

It's cool how God uses those kinds of circumstances for His glory and to bless us. We kept commenting that, "If we had only left 5 minutes earlier we would have made it through the storm." or "If we had only left 5 minutes later we would have chosen a different road." Then we realized that God used everything and worked it all together so that we would take that road and so that we would arrive at the tree a mere minute after it had fallen. Who knows why it happened, but I do know that it did happen for a reason. Maybe someday I'll know why, but even if I never do I can trust that God is capable and willing to take care of everything!

Alright, I am now going to release you, but only as long as you promise to come back -- or are you too scared? Mwahahaha!
Seriously though, I hope to see you around here again!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

God is in Control!

Hello everyone! Interesting title, right? It doesn't have a lot to do with what I am going to write, but it's the thought that has been most prominant in my life over the past few days. I figured, why not make it into a post title? So, I did! :^D

As of right now it is 4:15 a.m. . Some of you might be wondering what in the world I am doing on the computer at such an insane hour... well, there is an easy answer for that too! We are being hit be a storm. Like most nights when we are hit by storms, the power is out, the roof is leaking in places -- there is one right over my head that is dripping constantly. I am already wet, though, so it doesn't really matter too much. I am wet mainly because I had to step outside to find the mop... took me a little bit because the only light I had was a cellphone and the occasional flashes of lightning.

Still, even though storms here do have their downsides, I can't help but love the wildness of them. There is something so magestic about the rolling of the thunder -- that is the perfect word; "rolling". It does sound like it is "rolling" across the sky... BEAUTIFUL!!

Anway, aside from the fact that it is 4 oclock in the morning and the power is out, lets just pretend that this is a normal update. Sound good?

My days have been pretty full this past week. If I am not doing one thing I am doing another. I have been trying to keep my hands busy. I find that when I have my hands busy I am less likely to fall into temptation.
The principal filler of my time has been the memorization of verses. I am trying to memorize the book of 1 John. Right now I am on chapter three. It is very fulfilling to be able to quote passages of scripture; it's nice to know that what I am putting so much time into is something that's going to be of lasting importance. I have also found that when you are memorizing passages of scripture it really helps in your understanding of it. Kind of like the "meditating on His word" that Psalm 1 talks about. I believe that when we take the time to really think about what a verse means, the Holy Spirit gives us understanding.

The best way I have yet found for "meditating on His word" is memorization. For those of you who feel up to it, I would like to challenge you to learn a book of the Bible. After 1 John I am thinking about beginning on the book of Romans. I know that it is a long book, but don't you think that it would be worth the struggle? I do! Take up the challenge, and don't put it off another day. It's a trap that we fall into, procrastinating. Live every day as though it were your last... such a hard motto to live by, but if we want to live lives that will leave a lasting mark on this world, we will have to do more than just plan. It's going to take action and sacrifice...

Luke 9:22-23
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me"

... are you going to take up that cross? Then take it up! And follow HIM to the end!! And this isn't just about memorizing verse -- thought that's a good thing -- it's about what you are going to do with the grace and mercy that you have been given through the blood of Jesus Christ.

God bless you guys! I hope and pray that you have a wonderful week! May te peace of God which surpasses all understanding be with you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just the average update to you all!

Hello faithful readers! I know that I was hoping to have that whole week free... well, I did have a whole week free, but it seemed that every time that I sat down to type on my computer the internet was busy, the power was out or I just plain got distracted by something else.

I have had a great and relaxing week. The heat here is making it hard to accomplish any really big projects or tackle any really big jobs, but I think that we are all making it alright. Today was especially hot though... oh well! I suppose if it was cold I would be complaining the opposite. I just have to take everything with a grain of salt -- or something like that ;^)! Through it all God is good!

In this past week I have, among other things, been taking the opportunity of practicing on my neglected and dusty clarinet. My Mom gave me the clarinet on my 10th birthday, but I haven't really applied myself to it until now. It's a hard instrument to learn because it sounds so horrible when you don't do it right that you can only practice when everyone who has to share the house with you is okay with your doing so! Still, I have a fairly gracious set of "house-mates"... they put up with a lot more than most! lol So far I can play a total of three songs on the clarinet -- all old hymns -- not too long and I will be playing on Sunday mornings on the worship team *winks*. :^D

Today my Dad went to town to buy materials to start construction on a new portion of our house. This time it's going to be our -- Evie's and Mine -- room! Right now we only have enough to build the walls, but soon we are hoping to be able to put a roof on as well. It's so exciting!! I am already busy planning how I am going to arrange to our room... hmmm... lol!

It's funny how God works and uses all these hard situations to cause you to grow -- kind of random of me, I know, but when I write I tend to write exactly what comes into my mind as I am writing.
My Dad and I were talking the other day and somehow we ended up talking about our comfort zones and how a lot of the time, as Americans, we are accostomed to more than most Mexicans and a lot of times tend to complain more when we are deprived of our comforts.
Talking about this lead us to talk about how everyone is at a different level in their comfort zone. For example, I might say "I went three days without food so that we could complete the outreach we were doing", whereas a Christian in a country such as Africa might think of that sacrifice as nothing. Sometimes we -- I should make this more trasparent and say "I"-- forget about all the other Christians around the world and get too involved in what is going on my life -- the things that I am dealing with or the sacrifices I am making -- to be able to remember that less than twenty out of every hundred people in the world have electricity; to remember that 1.1 billion people in this world don't have clean to drink; to remember that even in my hardship I am blessed.
It's so easy to aknowledge that when you are seated in the church pew... but when you are lying awake tossing and turning in the heat because the electricity has gone out... then it gets hard to remember.
Still, looking at the Bible I have to see that God never warns us to be careful in hardship (Romans 5:3-4); it's when we have plenty. When we are "well-off", that's when the Bible tells us the be careful. It's not that riches are bad in themselves, it's that, if one is not careful, riches can cause one to stumble and sin (Psalm 49; Mark 10 Rich Young Ruler). Just a challenge for anyone willing to give an ear. Sure is challenging me!

We are officially planning to be in the States August 20th thru September 10th -- I am not 100 percent sure about that second date, but the first is right. We will be traveling up to the LA area but probably not any farther. If any of you want to plan a roadtrip down to see us... well, you have an opportunity!! ;^D
Blessings to you all!