Monday, November 11, 2013

Stop paying attention!

Yesterday, I (Jeff) had the opportunity to preach at church.  In brief, the passage was             1 Peter 5:6 and 7.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." (ESV)*

One of my points was that we can humble ourselves before God by casting our cares and anxieties on him...trusting him.  On the flip side, I can diagnose pride in my life based on my level of anxiety and worry (or my pursuit to control things...not trusting him).

So, about 20 minutes ago, Andrew finds me staring off into space and starts a conversation:

Andrew: "How are you doing?"

Jeff: "I am irritated about ______ and am trying to think of solutions."  (Andrew knows the details of what goes in the blank)

Andrew: "Have you prayed about it?  Have you humbled yourself before God and given it over to him, or are you just worrying about it and being proud?"

Jeff: "Yes, I have and thank you for the reminder."  But I was thinking: "Stop paying attention to my sermons on Sunday and then keeping me accountable on Monday!"

*Side note for the scholars out there (I don't include myself in that category).  I chose the ESV above (the English Superior Version as my friend, Curtis Hill, jokingly calls it) because it is more accurate than the NIV that I tend to read.  If you are like me you have often seen a period between verses 6 and 7 because it is easier to read.  Verse 7 then reads like this: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."  The point of such a sentence is obvious...we cast our anxiety on him because he cares about us.  But this is not the original Greek grammar.  It is more awkward to read with a comma because then there are 2 subordinate clauses (maybe 3...a grammar expert, I am not), but this is closer to the original Greek.  So, if you now read it with a comma, like the ESV, we see that we humble ourselves by casting our anxieties on him, and we do all of that because he cares for us.  So, there is the connection that Andrew was making for me..."Papa, are you humbling yourself by giving your worry over to God and trusting him, or are you being proud?"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How the Monkey Joined the Zoo

This tale is dedicated to Jennifer Freeman who has been predicting this day would arrive.

This is a somewhat of a sad story.  Within our church fellowship, there is an elderly lady who is dying of cancer.  She has lived in Nicaragua for many, many years.  She loves the companionship of her animals...cats, dogs and her monkey.  As she prepares to move to her eternal home with the Lord (which is the joyful part of the story), she has been making provisions for her animals, in particular, her capuchin monkey.  We have been selected as the provisional home for this monkey.  

While we laughingly joked in the past about getting a monkey, it isn't necessarily an animal that we wanted to add to the menagerie.  However, for the love of this elderly woman, we welcomed a monkey into our midst yesterday.

As with all things here, we are trying to see the humor and irony amidst the sadness and craziness.  Now our yard will presently contain: two cats, two dogs, two turtles, a few fish in a jar, and a monkey.  I can only imagine what will we get next...a sloth? an ocelot?...only the Lord knows!  However, I will tell of the turtles (the larger, meaner one) will soon be released into the wild.

So, back to my story...the monkey arrived sleeping soundly thanks to some happy drug that Jeff injected it with to help with the transport.  With the help of a friend and neighbor, we set up a rather large cage in our yard, placed the sleeping monkey inside and waited.  Guessing from the dogs reaction, it was certainly awake rather early this morning.  The kitten seemed a little freaked out.  The monkey was quite interested and seemingly nervous about the small turtle.  And Lexi, the rottie, was interested in whatever tasty morsel fell through the cage onto the grass.  It really is a regular ol' zoo here at our house.

It played shy all day; however, it seems to "talk" to Andrew whenever he walks by the cage.  Kinda funny. We have 'renamed' it Reina (which means queen) because we are on this kick of naming animals after Narnia characters.  Its disposition is a little like the Snow Queen in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  So...Reina it is.

A few times today, we've said to each other in passing, "We have a monkey in our yard."  Strange thing to say, isn't it?  Yet, almost nothing seems truly strange now that we have lived here for three years.

While still a work in progress...this is Noah's depiction of the monkey.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Let Me Catch You Up

Since it has been a good three weeks since our last blog post...let me catch you up a bit on life here in Nicaragua and more specifically, the Bracht household.

  • We are plugging along with homeschooling.  Honestly, we had one of those "implosion mornings" where we were either begging to be sent to school or to do the sending to school.  However, we rallied and re-evaluated and have improved our schedule.  Funny thing, genetics...and I have 'schedule' minded children...well, at least two...who crave a more "school like" atmosphere.  
  • We learned this week that we are not the best turtle caregivers.  Water quality of a pond matters.  We are now nursing two turtles back to health from SCUD...otherwise known as shell rot.  I (Bethany) have been applying betadine and silvadene cream to the underside of these turtles.  The little one is a good patient but the big one hisses at me. We have nicknamed her Darth Vader because that is what she sounds like when she hisses.  

  • Noah is faithfully praying for an owlet (baby owl) to appear in our yard.  Somehow the lesson of leaving wild animals (ie. the large turtle who can impersonate Darth Vader) in the wild has gotten lost on Noah.  He insists an owl will be a wonderful pet if he can train it while it is still a baby.  [He got this idea from a wonderfully written book called Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat.  If you get a chance, find this book and read it!]
  • The "rescued" ugly little kitten has found a home...ours. Yes, as someone put it..."just keep her and admit that you lost control a long time ago."  Lucy is doing well and she can hold her own against the rottweiler.  She looks less ugly.

  • We discovered that we can order "pizza dough" from the local bakery and it is the closest I've come to having Pillsbury dough in a can since we left the States! 

  • Ella has discovered her entrepreneurial side and has made over 70 friendship bracelets and sold them at her "alma mater" and then donated her profit to a friend's ministry here.  She is currently making a list of other products that she can make and sell.  Soap and baked clay ornaments are at the top of the list.  She has asked me to make a list of different places that she can sell her products.
  • Andrew is learning from his wise Papa and has taken to listening to sermons online.  Some of his favorite pastors to listen to are Curtis Hill and Andy Stanley.  
  • We are a bit in denial that it is already November.  There are no seasonal cues to tell us that we are two months away from Christmas.  Although, we heard the familiar explosive fireworks at 5am-ish a few mornings ago and that is usually a sign that we are getting close.
Thanks for reading our blog...however sporadic and random our posts tend to be!