Saturday, July 30, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Ever since the latest edition of Set Apart Girl hit cyberspace in the beginning of July, I have looked forward to reading it. However, due to a busy new life here in Bolivia, a shared internet cable for several weeks, and a connection that isn't always speedy, I have not had the chance to relax in front of my laptop long enough to enjoy the magazine until tonight. Once again, I have been blessed!
This month's feature articles are encouraging as ever! And the beautiful photography/graphic design is a treat for the eyes, reminding me that dignity and beauty are noble aspirations to strive for even surrounded by a dusty city and the messes that fourteen children so easily create. :)
I was especially blessed by Leslie's article in the Set Apart Motherhood column about creating a beautiful environment in your home even in regards to the children's areas. The pictures look likes something out of a home decorating magazine about which you always question the reality of! But I have been to the Ludy's home and seen it with my own eyes, so I can truly attest to the reality of these pictures. When I visited several years ago, I remember being awe-struck by the loveliness of their home thinking it was the most warm, welcoming, beautiful home environment I had ever been in - including the children's bedrooms! So, yes, those pictures are the real deal and definitely possible to emulate! As I've been working this past week to help bring order and tidiness to Casa de Amor House II where I now live, I have found this article to ring true with the desires and aspirations of my own soul. :)
I was also especially blessed by the article about detecting a true Warrior-Poet from an imposter. After a year that has included several new experiences with guys that I'd never had before, I could really appreciate the wisdom of this article.
And of course, having been engaged in Pro-Life ministry for four years at Care Net Pregnancy Center, I was delighted to read Leslie's article about standing for the unborn. She not only poignantly expresses the importance of being involved in the battle for life, but she also gives many practical suggestions for how to do so.
So my friends, when you have a free hour of quiet, I strongly encourage you to boil yourself a cup of tea, turn on some soothing music, and enjoy the contents of this month's Set Apart Girl Magazine! May the Lord use it to draw you closer to Him!
Friday, July 22, 2011
She escaped from the backyard in order to walk with us to school. We tried to get her to go home. Busy streets were not the place for her. But our gangly little dog was too delighted to zig-zag in and out amongst our band of happy children, barking up a storm and enjoying the morning walk with everyone. The children eventually gave up trying to send her home and were really just as delighted to have her along. So, we tripped over her the whole time, shielded her from big street dogs, tried to quiet her yappiness, and worked hard to keep her penned in at the school courtyard when she was confused and wanted to go home.
Finally, all our little people were settled in their classrooms and the tía and I made for home with Naira darting all about us. We successfully crossed the first busy street. She stayed right by our heels. On our second street crossing, Naira got spooked by a neighbor dog and backed into the street right in front of an oncoming van. Thankfully, he saw her in time to break hard. Whew. That was close.
We were less than a block from home when the biggest and scariest street dog emerged. The one the children have nicknamed "El Lobo" (the wolf - although he doesn't look like one). Poor Naira was scared out of her wits. El Lobo chased her down the street. She whined and cried and tried to get back to safety with us. We tried in vain to help, but the two dogs were running all around too fast for us to do much.
At that moment, another van came rumbling down the cobblestones. This driver, too, saw our frantic little pup's confusion and slowed down to allow her to get out of the way. Well, she escaped his front wheels, but in her fear of El Lobo, she had an accident with the back wheels. We don't know exactly what happened, but there was a minor collision; it appeared to us that Naira's back leg got hit. I thought we would have an injured dog on our hands, but that it wouldn't be too serious. She stumbled over to the side of the road where we were standing and collapsed in the grass. It seemed she was fainting or going into shock. I'm not really sure. It was very strange. Gingerly, I picked her up and we made for home. As we were walking, she seemed to be struggling to breath, and then she went limp. I didn't realize it until we got home, but in that moment, our poor little Naira died.
Perhaps she had a heart attack. Or perhaps her injuries were internal and much worse than we realized. Whatever the case, it was hard to believe the little dog that had followed us so happily to school and back was suddenly gone. I had not developed much attachment to Naira yet, considering that most of my interactions with her were to chase her out of the house or lecture her for getting into the garbage...again. But I knew the children loved her and played with her all the time. How were they going to take the news?
We explained it to them gently upon their dismissal from school. There were gasps and questions, but no tears. The whole situation opened up natural conversations about death and heaven and animals dying as we walked home. Upon our arrival, they all wanted to see Naira in her cardboard box. She looked the same as before; no blood, no visible injuries. Just very, very still. She was a source of fascination for them all the rest of the day as they constantly visited her box and bent over her with compassionate faces. They also poured out their child-like love on Naira's little sister who was whining most of the afternoon in loneliness and confusion at all of a sudden being tied to a leash (we didn't want any more escapees).
We talked about having a funeral for Naira, but we had no shovel with which to dig a hole. Late in the afternoon, the children decided to try anyway. Armed with sticks and a broken hoe and anything they could find for digging, they began to chip away at the hard-packed earth in the backyard to give their doggy a proper burial. It was so sweet to see their united efforts. They had a project. It gave them purpose and they diligently worked as a team for a long, long time before dinner. I'm afraid they will have to keep digging all day tomorrow with their pointy sticks in order to have a hole big enough for Naira. But at least they're motivated. Some are even looking for buried treasure while they're at it.
Though but a skinny little pup, Naira's passing made me realize how fragile life is and how unexpectedly death comes. As I shared with the children, we never know when it will be our turn to die and face our Creator, and therefore, we must always be ready.
What about you? If you were to be in an accident, develop a terminal disease, or experience some other tragedy and die, would you be ready to meet the Lord Jesus Christ and give account for your life? Unlike animals, we as humans are made in the image of God with a conscience that knows right from wrong. When we violate that conscience and willfully choose to do wrong, it's called sin. Lying, dishonoring parents, hating, stealing, lusting, coveting; rebellion, pride, selfishness; these are but a few examples of the sins we as a human race commit all the time and the list could go on and on an on. Sin separates us from having a relationship with our Creator during this lifetime because He is holy and just and righteousness, and if we were to die and be held accountable for all our sins before this Holy God, we would deserve an eternity separated from Him in hell.
But the good news is, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." We were designed for LIFE; life in fellowship with our Creator right here and right now, life everlasting in His presence forever. The only way to be rescued from the everlasting death we bring upon ourselves through our sin is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our sin by offering Himself as the atoning sacrifice, dying in our place...the place of execution. He allowed His blood to be spilled upon a Roman cross because "the life of the blood is in the flesh." Only His blood was a worthy sacrifice because only His life was perfect, pure, and holy, acceptable to the Father. He said in His own words, "I have come to seek and to save the lost...I have come that they might have LIFE and that they might have it more abundantly...I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." He died in our place and then came to life again, offering this same resurrection life, this everlasting life to all who will believe in Him. Believing in Him means turning away from a trust in anything else: good works, idols of wood or stone, church membership, baptism, family religion. None of these things can save from God's wrath or justify one before His holy standards. Only the Lord Jesus can step in and say, "This one has been cleansed by my blood, this one is forgiven, this one bears my righteousness. This one has been given everlasting life."
My friends, we need not fear dying or standing before our Maker if we are clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. In Him we have hope!
"He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life..." (1 John 5:12-13)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Today, I extracted a splinter that was deeply embedded under the toenail of one of my four year olds. Poor little girl. It was a painful process, but by God's grace and with the help of a needle and tweezers, we were victorious!
Afterward, as the little one proudly sported a Band-Aid on her big toe, my 7-year-old theologian declared, "Jesus has healed her, not the Band-Aid, right?"
"Well, Jesus will heal her," I said. "It will take time, but yes, you are right. He is the Healer, not the Band-Aid."
"Yeah, the Band-Aid is just there to cover the toe so she won't get a splinter again."
Glad we got all that straight. :)
July 17, 2011
89. Orange butterfly flitting by
90. Just enough yogurt to go around for Sunday breakfast
91. Songs in church reminding me of RGBI
92. Delicious pizza smells filling the truck on the way home from church/pizza parlor
93. The reminder to pray for a passion and a love for this ministry
94. Clean clothes smelling fresh off the line
95. A restful nap
96. Dancing in a circle with happy children
97. The privilege of washing dishes and scrubbing bathrooms
July 18, 2011
98. Gooey chocolate brownies
99. Adorable kid-crafted card messages for Kaley as she prepares to leave
100. Sturdy Skechers sneakers providing support for long days on my feet and walks on cobbly stones
101. Emails from Aunt Nora and Mema (family news!)
102. My new, little blue notebook for scribbles
104. A good meeting with House 2 staff
105. Tía Sarin's laugh
July 19, 2011
106. Socks that match
107. Bedtime stories
108. Sparkly belts
109. Homemade cake
110. Sunshine beaming through the clouds onto the mountains - breathtaking!
July 21, 2011
111. Singing with children as we walk to school
112. The wonderful feeling that comes with de-cluttering and organizing
113. Warm acceptance amongst the tías with whom I work
114. Airborne drink packets helping me lick this lingering cold
115. Chirping birds
116. Delicious desserts, fellowship, and a message I needed to hear at a ladies' tea at church
117. Fernando Ortega songs to sooth my spirit after a busy day
118. Children's hugs and kisses
119. A splinter extracted from under a toenail with minimum blood and no need to go to the doctor
120. Encouraging emails from prayer partners
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Battle of the Broom Sticks!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I received this newsletter from Mark Cahill last week and thought it was worth sharing! It seemed like a good follow-up to the Discourse on the Word Calling as well as practical inspiration for all of us to share our faith no matter where we live or what we do. Enjoy!
Feeding time at the zoo. :-)
Adorable, blind little J works her way around the entry hall according to routine in order to come to lunch.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
July 7, 2011
51. Juicy apples
52. Encouraging emails from friends
53. 5 minutes of peaceful quiet in the midst of a chaotic day
"You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept...if I make you light-bearers...I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there...shine!" Matthew 5: 14-15 The Message
July 11, 2011
54. An array of beautiful flowers lining the streets ~ a feast for the eyes!
55. The smell of roses
56. The gentle splash of a park fountain
57. Fresh, cool mountain air
58. Delicious tacos for lunch
59. Encouragement and admonition from the Holy Spirit at church
60. Tia Rosa and Tio David's willingness to babysit, giving us an afternoon off
"Joy is perfect acquiesce in God's will because the soul delights itself in God Himself." H.W. Webb-Peploe
July 12, 2011
61. Sunrise over the mountains
62. A hot shower I only had to reset once :)
63. The invention of the whistle
64. A new soccer ball and its ability to make little boy eyes light up with delight
65. A nail through the shoe of J.G. that did not penetrate the foot
66. Jean pockets
67. Morning exercise up the mountain
68. Sweet and spicy hot tea
69. Ladies' Bible study in a beautiful, clean home that seemed like a palace :)
70. Words of wisdom from Beth Moore
71. Skype call with my friend in Canada; edifying conversation
"Serve the Lord with gladness...Enter into His gates with thanksgiving...Be thankful unto Him." Psalm 100:2, 4
July 13, 2011
72. Little D's fever breaking during the night
73. Beautiful vista overlooking the city
74. Palm trees
75. Delicious, meat-filled empanadas
76. The fun of grocery shopping
77. A key to the back kitchen door!
78. A doorknob on my bedroom door!
79. An email from Tara
80. Safety from the Lord during night travel
"God delights to meet the faith of one who looks up to Him and says, "Lord, You know that I cannot do this - but I believe that you can!" Amy Carmichael
July 16, 2011
81. Time at an internet cafe
82. Bright, yellow flowers adding a cheerful touch to tables and bedroom
83. Sweet-smelling hand soap
84. Friendly people to give me directions on the streets
85. Sweet baby smiles and caresses on the trufi ride home from town
86. Volunteer fellowship around the table during a newsletter-stuffing party
87. Soft, scented kleenex - so much easier on the nose!
88. Butter and honey sandwiches - a taste of home!
"And let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing." Psalm 107:22
Friday, July 15, 2011
The other day, some fellow CDA volunteers and I visited the tallest statue in the world which also happens to be one of the most famous tourist destinations in Cochabamba: El Cristo.
Even though I'm not a big fan of statues of Jesus, the trip was an enjoyable excursion, especially for the sake of enjoying God's beautiful creation.
Bus ride across town to the park entrance: 1.7 bolivianos
Bus ride across town to the park entrance: 1.7 bolivianos
Roundtrip ticket up the mountain: 8 bolivianos
We made it!