Friday, December 16, 2011

suficiente..

Have you noticed, striking a balance in life is not easy.  Either we are too full to too empty.  All too often we fall short in maintaining a level that sustains, motivates, encourages and moves us forward.  As our lives here in Ecuador progress, our hope and prayer is that our actions and words be enough (suficiente) to impact those to come to Christ whom the Lord has placed in our lives.  We are doing our best to release those things that are unnecessarily holding us back and embracing that which propels us ahead.  That word suficiente alone can't change our circumstances but can change how we live through them if we stay focused on that which is behind it.....

As the result of prayer, the Lord provided three different people to provide suficiente funds to keep the electricity projects going through January.  In addition this shelter, thanks to input from my friend Ron Woody, will provide a much needed break area for our teams that come, workers in the fields in the foreground, orphan's using the facility and for our families to host kids/adults from the surrounding barrio's and from AAI.  I had just the right suficiente recycled items and materials on hand (frame cut from tree's on the property).
   Although resourceful, our southern culture doesn't hold all the cards when it comes to BBQ.  Ingenuity comes in many forms but when I saw this on the bus line, I've never seen a more practical way to feed a fire.  Simplicity is the mother of all invention and HIS knowledge is suficiente when resources are scant.
Our new church vision is suficiente: "One family of God united to build a new society to impact the gospel for the Los Chillos Valle, the country, Latin America and the World" 
Pastor Miguel's (Ecuadorian look-alike to Cosmo Teresi) new mode of transportation.  HE has provided suficiente experiences to keep us laughing and the orphans talking!
The rest of this Jamingo (minus the head and feet in the bag) will be suficiente to feed all the orphan's for Navidad!


HIS plan to plant our lives in Ecuador has been suficiente to simultaneously reach the abandoned and apathethic........Ann's Christmas program is found at the following links (if interested):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuXyhHdig7Q,   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ff9Sl2aHjs  .  Go to the beginning and end of part 2 for a personal message from Ann. 

HE has given suficiente people, experiences, resources, grace, mercy and skills to all of us to reach the world for the spread of the Gospel................. 

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"       2 Corinthians 12:9 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lost and Found

We lost one set of challenges with people, my kids and our marriage in the US .....and found a whole new set of others (physical security, accepting cultural differences and pulling together).

We lost a dog that quickly became part of our family.....and found he lost his life doing what he enjoyed the most - chasing Jamingo's (in the Llama family).

We lost daily contact with a Faith Family who we love, knows and pleases God and has reached out and supported us......and found one with the exact same vision, has embraced our shortcomings and rivals the former's impact.

We lost a ministry to the poor in the US where they run not to God but all other refuges first.....and found a culture that is either stuck in the cycle of real poverty or in love with a new found materialism embraced, learned and exported by us.

We lost neighbors, friends and people of God.....and found the same in Marco, Marcelo and Sylvania in one culture and Brent, Lois and Sara in another!

We lost daily images of our life that were predictable, made sense and practical......and found pictures burned into our memories that are both funny, profound and sometimes hard to reckon with......  See for yourself.......

This guy to the right regularly rides our bus line and 'performs' for money.  I was caught off guard when he took some down time to catch a butt and a beer at our bus stop while reflecting on the days challenges.......

 Your guess is as good as mine......
Kids at Artesan's market playing with paint chips from the wall behind them!  Proves that we generally make the best of any/all situations we are in!  FYI.  There is no equivalent ministero for OSHA in Ecuador.....
Here's what you get from 80 years of hard work, good genes and clean living.....I'm having a hard time just playing 1 hour of soccer a week!
video
At 46 and after 15 years absent from the classroom, I was reminded why I fell in love with this woman so quickly 18 years ago.........


Thank you Brock Family for inviting us to join you on this journey and adventure!  We are eagerly awaiting your arrival, praying for each of you and asking God to make His presence know in your transition!  Your place is ready and we can't wait to see you here!  We are honored, thankful and humbled you chose us to experience it with Y'all! 

"God resist's the proud, but gives grace to the humble."     -James 4:6


Thursday, December 1, 2011

...to the Glory of God

Yesterday, I was reading some commentary on Daniel.  The lessons were so clear, plain to see just in the first half of the first chapter!   Some quick background, these 'selected' young men in whom there was no blemish, good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.  They were to have the same food and wine prepared for the king, intended as a special honor.  The king changed his name Daniel (meaning God is my judge) to Belteshazzar (meaning Bel’s prince).  In addition, they were to have three years of training for them.   The purpose of the food, names and education was simple. This was an effort at total indoctrination, working to make these young Jewish men leave behind their Hebrew God and culture. Undoubtedly, Nebuchadnezzar wanted to communicate to these young men, “look to me for everything".

But, Daniel "purposed in his heart he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies" - he went on to explain the spiritual basis for his stand.  He made up his mind beforehand that he would not compromise.  His protest was courteous and courageous.   He made a polite request, showing discretion while making a stand for God.  Self-denial must be sought.  Daniel and his friends knew this would cost them something, yet they were willing to do it anyway.  The test must be boldly put.  Its important that people know what you believe by what you say and do so there is no confusion to who God is!  Why bring all this up.......
 
The king Nebucadnezzer used the same strategy as satan uses on both believers and non-believers today, enticing us into the world system:

*Feed on what the world offers
*Identify (“name”) ourselves in reference to the world
*Educate ourselves in the ways of the world

Without going into detail, I willingly participated in all three above.  It left me empty, without purpose and a separation from the living God the size of the Grand Canyon!  In the eyes of the world, I seemingly 'had it going on.'  That's until the gospel traveled to me as intended by God from the beginning of time...through His people.  Filled up, with a different purpose and with Him and His people walking alongside me, the path and environment looks different.  See, we tend to focus on the practical, reasonable and temporal things in life using words like religious, spiritual.  This world blinds us to the distinction between the difference of being a 'new creation in Christ' and the natural state we were we were born into and inheirited thanks to Adam.  So, plainly, coming to Christ is the result of the work of God for the individual, not the individual for God or himself!  It's easy to get sucked in on both sides of God's Kingdom!  His power is available. 

This weekend, the PE teacher on the foundation will be using our facilities, minus power and water, for a retreat.  He asked me to speak to the kids on friday night about my relationship with Christ (in spanish).  Sure, I will give them some details but I will do my best to encourage them that:

- This world no longer defines me by my abilities, weaknesses , successes, failures nor by any name
- No king, president, political party or movement will garner my worship or affection
- Whether in the valley or on the mountaintop, I will 'look to Him for everything': from humility to strength
- Our address posted on the outside wall of the Campamento is both temporal and temporary
- I will choose to live this life not for me, but 'to the Glory of God'.  I am grateful He gives me that freedom, without compulsion!  That alone demonstrates the stark contrast with His plan and the world system.

"even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"
-Matthew 20:28