Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quick Word Count

I (Jeff) was recently challenged to read the entire Bible in 90 days. I am currently 10 days into it and I am about 20% done, just having finished the book of Judges. The experience has already been incredibly rich as I am having new observations every day. One observation that recently struck me was the emphasis on rest and in particular, the Sabbath rest.

At the end of reading the first 5 books, I had the subjective feeling that the Sabbath and rest seemed to be more emphasized than other themes. So, I decided to do a quick word count. Thanks to thebiblegateway.com I can do just that with a couple clicks.

Here they are with some others for comparison:

Faith: 7 times
Hope: 0 times
Love: 33 times
Rest: 48 times
Sabbath: 32 times

Interesting...and another tid-bit that challenges my theology is that there was one example of a person that broke this command by collecting sticks on the Sabbath. His punishment...death. (Numbers 15:32)

I guess my first question that comes from this observation is Why? Why is it so important? I have some of my own preliminary answers, maybe you have some of your own as well. Regardless, God thinks it is a big deal. Do I (do you) honor the Sabbath and keep it holy? Why? and Why not?...or maybe more to our reality, our application of this Truth...So what?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Look What I Found!

The school that our children attend is experiencing amazing growth, and so just yesterday they broke ground on a new building for more class rooms. Today as I (Jeff) went to pick up the kids from school, my friend told me that they guys digging the footers for the foundation just unearthed 3 big "jarrones de concreto". My mind translates this as 3 big vases or pots of concrete. I thought "that is odd, and an odd thing to feel the need to tell me". He went on to explain that they were very old. I said "like from a previous house or fence that was built there 50 years ago". He could then tell that I didn't understand the significance. He explained that these were artifacts from the indigenous people, and were probably many hundreds of years old. I went over to see for myself and this is what I saw:

This clay / terracota pot was about 2 feet in diameter. All you can really see is the lid. The lip of the base is just barely visible at about the 4:00 position.



This one was broken, looking like a cut away hole in a block of Swiss cheese.



These bones were found inside the broken one.



A nearby woman who was looking at them with me was saying that these are very common to find in this area, as it was a cemetery, and the remains were apparently placed in the pots. She said that she found one of these pots on her property and it had a human jaw bone inside...interesting huh?

It was also interesting to me that the workers were continuing to dig their ditches around the pots. I was told that the national museum was called, but I wouldn't be surprised if they continue on with the work as planned. Are there any budding archeologists out there that want to come down for a dig and then stick around to help build the school?

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Know You've Been Here A Year When...

You know you've lived in Nicaragua for over a year when....

--on the way to school in the morning, your 5 year old and his friend discuss what happens after you have a car wreck or hit a pedestrian

--your daughter brings a friend home from school and never speaks English the whole time they play

--you no longer think twice about passing a school bus with blinking lights (retired school buses from the U.S. become public transportation here)

--you smell and/or see smoke and never once think that something important may be burning

--you wake up in the morning and think it feels "chilly" at a cool 75 degrees and you put on a sweatshirt

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friendship

Sunday. A day of rest...or play...if you are a kid. I was struck today by the incredible blessing it is that our kids each have a friend that is close to their own age in our neighborhood. They played today....played hard.

Noah and his friend play everything from good ol' Legos and Matchbox cars to games that come from the depth of Noah's imagination. Ella and her friend play Barbies, put on 'shows' in the backyard, giggle like little girls, create works of art with glitter glue and markers. Andrew and his friend (and that friend's little brother) built a fort today from a fallen tree. Andrew only returned a few times throughout the day for supplies--cold water, a hammer and some nails. Other than that, he runs out into the woods with his best buddy and comes back when it is nearly dark or dinner time.

In many ways, it seems like an old fashioned childhood...they can walk to and from each others homes, build forts, and play in the woods. There is freedom for kids to be kids. 'It is a gift from God', says Andrew.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Not By My Strength

I know...we've been M.I.A. in the blog world. My apologies. The last couple of weeks have been unusually busy. Over 20 CVMers from the U.S. and Latin America have been in-country for a conference. The CVM group is meeting at a teaching farm about an hour from here...all week...so I am holding down the fort while Jeff is at the conference. And 'oh so conveniently', school started the same week. It's been a whirlwind. It has felt crazy at times. But, 'ya know what?'...I've seen and experienced this week what happens when you let God's strength flow through you instead of getting in the way or trying to do things on your own pitiful strength. This week has been a blazing example for me of Philippians 4:13 (which I have read time and time again)..."I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." I think part of what I had to learn this week was that I have to first admit that I am not capable on my own, that I am not omnipotent (you can laugh...but sometimes I live like I can control every detail of life)...and that it may indeed give God greater glory by letting Him work through me to live the life He has planned for me rather than fighting Him, trying to act on my own, then 'saying sorry' and begging for help. I may be wrong...but either way...experiencing the power and strength of God to live the "everyday" stuff has been liberating.

I can do everything...laundry, cooking, bedtime stories, driving in Central America, washing dishes, squashing bugs, helping with homework, attempting to communicate in another language, caring for my kids, packing lunches....through Christ who gives me strength.