Friday, March 28, 2008

What are you trying to prove?

I came to be a spectator, but how can one just sit back and watch? My heart broke when I saw her. I couldn’t help but wonder why she was doing this. Who knows how long she had been carrying that load on her shoulder. You could tell by her face that she was in pain, but she refused to allow anyone to take this burden from her. I don't know her name, where she's from or her story, but I do believe she was trying to pay for something...

This woman was one of the four carrying the statue of the Virgin Mary in the Good Friday procession. I don’t know why she caught my eye so quickly. Maybe it was that her side dropped a bit due to the fact that she was a bit shorter than the other 3 men holding the statue. Maybe it was how she pushed people off who tried to carry it for her. Or maybe it was the pain I saw in her face. Whatever it was, this was the pain I saw on many a face during “Semana Santa.”

I’m used to Easter being a joyful time celebrating the resurrection of Christ, but Easter here is no big deal. Good Friday on the other hand is when everyone drops everything to remember the Lord’s death.

I got the privilege of sharing this day with Irma (one of our cooks at El Sendero) and her family. There are specific foods that are reserved for this day. Friday lunch starts out with a soup called Fanesca (grains, yucca, beans and a whole bunch of other stuff I didn’t recognize), followed by really salty fish, rice, and platano. They usually don’t eat anything for dinner… just a cut of coffee and a piece of bread.

That night was the procession with the statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary that I talked about early. Then a reenactment of Jesus and the thieves carrying their crosses… followed by soldiers whipping and mocking them. It was definitely an experience to remember.

Semana Santa was a time to remember Jesus’ death, but it means nothing unless he rose from the dead show he had power over death and save us from our sin. That woman, like so many others was trying to prove her love for her Savior. What I pray she one day realizes is how through his death and resurrection he was proving his love for her.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Children have been teaching me more than I would care to admit these days. The most recent is about weakness. I was holding my friend’s 1 ½ month old baby boy when it struck me how cute we find weakness when they are this age. It doesn’t bother us that this baby can’t do anything on his own. It doesn’t bother us that he cries (well, most of the time). It doesn’t bother us that he is weak, he knows it, you know it… the WORLD knows he can’t do it by himself.

But the older we get the more we start to think, ‘I can do this by myself. I don’t need anyone’s help. I can do it self!’ (Something Danny, the lil’ boy to the left is heard saying on a very regular basis). And as we get older still we start seeing weakness as a bad thing. We start viewing it as inability to do it “self” so we try to prove to the world that we are not weak and that we can somehow manage all of life without help.

I started thinking of all the weakness found in the Bible…let’s see we have Adam who couldn’t do it right even though he only had ONE rule. Then we have Abraham who calls his wife his sister… and then Moses who couldn’t speak. Let’s not forget Gideon the least of the least of his family (and you think YOU’RE the black sheep!). And David the adulterer, murderer, naked dancer… how long is his list?? Jonah, the guy who ran from God. Flip to the New Testament and we find Peter who talks WAY too much and acts on impulse. Paul killed followers of Christ and can’t see to save his life. We have tax collectors, prostitutes, and just outright sinners. This is a list of people who, when measured up fall short on every level… but SOMEHOW God chose to use weakness. He loves to use weakness.

But we hate it… I hate it. I hate admitting that I need someone else to do it for me or worse yet that I can’t do it and no one can do it for me. I’m just stuck. As I was reading it 1 Cor 1 the other day, I came across this verse that I love, “God uses the foolishness of the world to shame the wise.” He LOVES to use weakness because when he does his power is made known. I feel SO weak in my Spanish… in my relationships… in pretty much all I do and that is exactly where God wants me to be so that I will depend on him FULLY. Kinda like the lil’ baby I was holding, God sees me as cute and loves to care in my weakness… my weakness is a strength in the hands of a strong God.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Unless you are like a child...

Today I was put in my place by a little child. As I was walking out of the supermarket, I saw a woman sitting on the curb begging. Usually this evokes some sort of response is me, but not today. Today I was too caught up in my own stuff until I saw a little girl of four putting out her hand to her mom. I saw her mom reach into her pocket and pull out some change. The little girl then returned to the old woman to give her this small gift.

When I looked at this woman, I judged. I wondered… does she really need it or is she just bumming off of me?

But this little girl didn't ask any of these questions. She saw someone in need and she knew she had the means to change the situation and so she did. No hesitation. No questions. No need for a response.

I was reading today in Mark about the disciples argument of who would be first in the Kingdom. Jesus put a stop to it when he knelt down, picked up a small child and said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last, and the servant of all.”

Today I wasn’t a servant. Today I didn’t see as Jesus sees… but one day I hope to be like that little girl… giving without hesitation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

6:00 en punto...

I think God shows MORE power by using an inadequate instrument like me that just making something happen out of thin air. Today I had my first Spanish Bible Study. To say the least, I was absolutely terrified. But as per usual, God took little me to use for His glory.

Maria, Gabi, Maria de los Angeles and I started studying the Purpose Driven Life at 6:00 EN PUNTO (Ecuadorians are NEVER on time, but they weren’t just on time, they were EARLY!! This is a miracle in and of itself). I had all my questions written out in Spanish so that when I got stuck, I could go back to my notes… but I didn’t need them. The Lord took over. After we read the first chapter, Maria de los Angeles said, “Jesus tells us to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him. So many people have a “Jesus” category and a “you” category. But if this is true, than your WHOLE life is His, not just a part.” I love hearing the thoughts of new believers. They haven’t had time to spiritualize everything or make everything fit in their little box. They just call it how they see it. I loved her raw honesty… “How do you do that??”

It was amazing to see God use our conversation to bring about more questions and more thoughts… let’s just say I can’t wait to see what HE does next week.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

2 Platanos and 1 Onion

I really do have it easy here. Yeah, I live in another country, but I still have friends, relatively normal food, a great apartment, and a good life. I met a girl this weekend who has given up a lot of that to live in a place where you have to walk 1 1/2 HOURS to get to a TAXI to take you to a normal city like Loja. ONE AND A HALF HOUR WALK!!! To say the least, this place is rural. Megan is there helping out with health education and has recently got the opportunity to teach the children Bible stories.
She gets to come into Loja once every couple of weeks to buy food and just relax with modern conveniences. I got the opportunity to hang out with her a little this weekend and she told me a story that overwhelmed me with the provision of God...
Earlier this week when she looked in her cupboard, she realized she had only 2 platanos (type of banana) and 1 onion to last her the entire week. She said she cried out to the Lord, "What am I going to eat? All I have is 2 platanos and 1 onion! And I don't even WANT to eat those!" In that moment, the Lord brought to mind the verse that says that birds do not sow or plant but the Lord provides for them. So this amazing woman chose to trust the Lord.
Later that day a nurse friend of hers came by and insisted that Megan eat with her all week due to her patients paying her in fruits and veggies - too many for her to eat alone.
I am blown away by Megan's faithfulness to trust the Lord. Pray for this girl... she is in rough physical, emotional and spiritual situation being the only foreigner without a fellowship of believers in a VERY rural town. Every day God teaches me something from someone here; today is was to trust the Lord to provide - even when it seems hopeless.
May you see God's provision in your life... through 2 platanos and 1 onion.