One of the best things about living in a laid back culture is not feeling the pressing need to hurry on to our next task. Since becoming settled in our house we have been able to develop a regular routing of reading our Bibles daily, something that was easily pushed aside in the States. I really liked what Sean wrote recently and feel that it captures our desires for the year well. The verse is Isaiah 20:2
The Lord spoke…’take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from
your feet.’ And he did so going around stripped a barefoot.
When I read this verse my only thought was ‘Wow, that’s awkward.’ But Sean saw a little more depth in the verse than I! Here is what he wrote:
“The idea of being naked and barefoot is a good image of being completely vulnerable and exposed with no way of hiding. This is kind of the way that I want to be a missionary here. Not trying to wear the clothes of a good missionary or Christian, but be who God made me, exposing my flaws and realness. And how humbling a feeling that is. God I pray for nakedness, for the strength and courage to expose who you made me. Not to shock or to make people think “how can he be a Christian if…” but to show through my actions that I am a Christian, follower of Christ, humble servant. And this is because of who I am, not the rules that I follow.
Even though we haven’t been able to understand an entire sermon yet, we have definitely picked up the key points and it has often been about the rules we should follow as Christians – like what music we should and shouldn’t listen to, etc. We long to show the people in our little village that Christianity is more than a set of rules to follow and yet we also want to be respectful of their culture so we don’t want to swoop in and tell them all the things that need to change! So our constant prayer has become that we can build relationships with the people around us and that we would have the confidence to be ourselves. And our hope is that by being authentic, people will see that there is so much more to living a life for God than rules!
Along the same lines, there’s a song by Jars of Clay called Light Gives Heat that has been rocking my world the last few days. It’s all about missionaries going to 3rd world countries, and it’s not exactly positive about it! Here are some of the most thought provoking lines:
“Heroes from the West, We don’t know you, we know best” (This is what we want to avoid like the plague. Yes, we do things differently in the US and yes it works well for us! But that doesn’t mean everyone else has to be just like us. We are here to serve, not to bring the US to Honduras.)
“You treat me like I’m blind. Setting fires around houses on a hill, but light gives heat.” ?(What this means to me is that Sean and I can’t stay in our little house on the hill – our house literally is on a hill!- we need to get down into the village with the people. We are the ‘light of the world’ but it’s not good enough to just set fires from far away. Light gives heat, it gives warmth. Again, this is what we want to do and to be. Authentic warmth that is immersed in the heart of our community.
We would greatly appreciate your prayers on this subject!
Now, a blog never seems complete without some pictures, so here are some of our most recent:
These are a bunch of our little neighbors. (all of whom at one point or another have spent a large amount of time watching us through the windows…) And this is what happens when Sean becomes a human jungle gym. These kids are so sweet. This picture was taken on a day when they were trying to find us through the few windows we have left with no curtains. Sean and I didn’t feel particulary sociable so we were hiding on our couch, where no one can see us. Sean eventually went outside to tell ask them nicely to stop. 15 minutes later and still no Sean – so I went to see what was going on. They are just so cute that you can’t resist hanging out with them once they get you outside!
I actually have a few more pictures of this. It was just impossible to get them all to stay still and look at me at the same time! The little boy in the front right was the funniest. He’s not looking at the camera for a single picture. I don’t know if he even realized pictures were being taken.
This is a gift from our 12 year old neighbor Michelle. It’s a living room made out of matchboxes, candy wrappers, complete with tiny hand sewn pillows. So sweet!
Sean and our friend Samuel ‘mowing’ our grass with machetes. Sean would like me to say differently, but Samuel was much faster.
Our first dinner guests! All on a short trip from the States. (L-R) Doug Endsley (Head of Construction – Stateside) , us, Gordon Garrett (President of HTH) and Bob Abel (Architect who has lent his expertise to the camp)
Now some pictures of ‘problems’ that have been resolved. This is a 5 gallon bucket that as you can see is almost completely full of water. This water was mopped up by the towels over a period of 3 days. Where did the water come from you ask? From a pesky leak in our 2nd bathroom. That’s a lot of water to have on our floor on a daily basis! But it has now been fixed which means…our extra bedroom is ready and waiting for visitors!
Finally, we would like you to meet Rosa. As many of you know our initial vehicle was quite a nightmare. In the first 3 weeks, it had to be towed twice and seriously took about 20 minutes to start every morning. Thankfully, the car salesman agreed to take it back and after paying for the $1000 difference we now have this beauty who starts up the first time every time. It’s an incredible feeling to know that your vehicle will definitely take you from point a to point b. Plus since it has an open truck bed we can now give people rides. So many people walk miles and miles on the mountainous dirt roads. It is such an easy and huge way to help people by simply letting them hop in the back of the truck!