Friday, February 29, 2008

If It Is There...Buy It!

I went to the store the other day for Denise and was walking past a worker who was stocking the shelves. I noticed an unopened case of El Paso Refried Beans.

Now we lived in Texas for almost 30 years, and Tex-Mex food is in our blood. As a matter of fact, one of my dissapointments in moving to Bolivia is that they don't have Tex-Mex. Isn't that funny? I was equating Latin America with Mexican food. There is no more reason for Bolivia to have a good bean burrito than there is for it to have an English Kidney Pie....but I was expecting Mexican food in Bolivia. Anyway, despite being dissapointed at the lack of On The Border Restaruants, I was overjoyed to find Refried Beans in the store so we could make our own Tex-Mex at home. I bought a couple of cans...and when I went back to the store...they did not have anymore.

That was five months ago. For five months, there have been NO bean burritos in the Holman House. I was planning on sacrificing for the mission field...but no one told me about this! Now...zoom to the present.

Right beside me is an unopened case of El Paso Beans. I asked the man if I could have them, and he started to open the case. I said, "NO, the entire case." To his surprise I took the case, and then some more. I bought 30 cans of refried beans! This is because we have learned an important missiological principle.

When the store has someething that you want...If it is there...BUY IT! This is because it may not ever be there again.

Last time we went to the store, we bought 20 jars of peanut butter.

So...to all of you that sent Taco Seasoning Packets to us via my in-laws...know that your gift is going to be put to the maximum use now!

Leia Mais…

Wet Windshields And Blind Spots

The windshield wipers on my truck don’t work. They did work when I first got them, I know because I turned the on when checking out the vehicle. (like I wasn’t going to buy it if they didn’t function…but when you are mechanically challenged it is one of the things that you do, like looking at the motor and nodding your head, to make it seem like you are making a wise choice). Anyway, they did glide across the window in a ssslllooowwww way, but glide they did.

It didn’t matter. You see, in Cochabamba Bolivia, it doesn’t rain for nine months out of the year. Starting in mid-February until the end of November, there is one weather forecast: “Today it will be sunny with more sun afternoon with a partly cloudy sunny evening. The five day forecast is as follows: Monday, Sunny. Tuesday, Sunny. Wednesday, Sunny, etc.” So, when I discovered that my windshield wipers did not work, it really did not matter. I didn’t need them. I moved here in the dry season, bought my truck in the dry season, and apparently my wipers quit working in the dry season. No big deal. It is like having a leaky roof. When it isn’t raining…it isn’t leaking, so what is the big deal?

But, look at the dates above for the dry season. You will notice that we are now in the wet season. I mentioned that there is one forecast for nine months…there is also one forecast for the other three months. Replace the word ‘sunny’ with ‘rain and thunderstorms’ and you have the new forecast. It is so easy to be a weatherman here! It rains a lot every day. Now, I have a problem. I haven’t been able to put my truck in the shop—I need it to drive since it is too rainy to walk. But my windshield wipers don’t work. Sometimes I have to drive with my head leaning out of the driver’s window like a dog with his jaws flapping in the wind, having the rain slap my face like an acupuncturist’s needles (I would assume, I don’t do acupuncture, but it has to hurt like this ). It isn’t fun, and is a bit dangerous. I have improvised. I have a window washing squeegee and I use it to wipe off the window as I drive. I can only reach a small area, but I can have a good 6” square clearance.

I was thinking about this, and how silly it was yesterday as the rain pelted my hand on the squeegee. I knew that the wipers didn’t work, but I didn’t ‘feel’ the need to repair them. I was going to. I was going to do it before rainy season. I really was. But, I didn’t because it was sunny…and it was going to be sunny tomorrow…and it was going to be…then it rained.

You know what I realized? This is a lot like we live our spiritual lives. In our hearts, and in our minds, we know that a storm is coming. We know, we are absolutely confident, that because we live in a fallen world: we are going to have to face pain, sorrow, and hurt. In life, we are going to experience storms. But do we prepare for them? Right now, when things aren’t going bad, do we strengthen our spiritual man? Do we invest time in prayer, in the disciplines, in the basic things of life that build up our spiritual muscles so that when we have to shoulder the hard times we can carry them? Or do we ‘plan’ on doing this or that one day? I once read that the Christian life is like watching a professional ball player. We love what the player can do on the field. We love the way that he can throw, catch, kick, hit, shoot, or whatever it is we admire him for. Every boy under 16 wants to be like that player on the field. But the fact is, what he does on the field and in the game is the result of what he has been doing for years off of the field and before the game. We want to be like the player in the game, but we don’t seek to mimic his hard work in practice. We want to be like Jesus as we read of His power and His ability in the ‘game’ as He faced adversary and problems. But do we seek to be like Jesus early in the morning before the sun was risen?

We want our windshield wipers to work in the rain, but we didn’t repair them in the sun. Every day, when I get in my car, I am reminded again of the importance of preparing for adversity. I get a blurry glimpse through the windshield of the things that I could have done a month ago. It is a constant mnemonic aide of what I really need to do today. I need to spend time with Jesus. I need to walk in the Holy Spirit. I need to abide in the Vine and Live in God. I must do this today, because tomorrow the winds may be so strong that weak branches will break. I hope and pray that my life is more than a weak branch!

Living In The SON, Driving in the rain,

Joe

Leia Mais…

Want A Shot?

The other day a strange thing happened. At least it was out of my normal range of experience. There was a knock on my gate, and I assumed it was probably a beggar wanting some money…which is now in my normal range of experience. Anyway, when I opened the door, there was a lady standing there in a medical smock. The first thing that I noticed was that in her right pocket she had several opened syringes. That was strange. Then, she asked me if I had any children between 1 and 16 years of age living in the home. I said that I did. She said that she wanted to vaccinate them!

Can you imagine this happening in your neighborhood? Sure, lady whom I have never met and know nothing about….come into my home and inject stuff that I don’t know where you got it, how old it is, or if it is even legal into my kids. Start with the three year old.

I restated to her what she said to make sure that I understood, and sure enough, she wanted to vaccinate my kiddos. I told her no thank you…and that we had to get all of our vaccinations before we moved to Cochabamba. She said it was okay, and then took out a piece of chalk and wrote on my gate that she had tried to vaccinate our kids but we said no.

Denise said I guess that means that the blood is on our hands. LOL.

Leia Mais…

Friday, February 8, 2008

Good News From A Distant Land!



Like cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a distant land.
(Pro 25:25)


This verse has a brand new application to my soul. When I saw Paul and Darlene walk out of the door at the Santa Cruz Airport here in Bolivia...I teared up. I knew that I missed them...but it wasn't until I saw them that I realized how much of my heart still lived in the States. I praise God for such great relationships and relatives!

Paul and Darlene did more than just visit and refresh our hearts. They connected us. We didn't read emails...we heard about people we loved. They told us about our friends and co-laborers in Christ. They talked about my church--Blue Ridge Bible Church--and thrilled me with good news about it. They let us know who was doing what, who gave us which present, who sent greetings, and who said that they loved us.

I didn't even know that my soul was weary till the sweet drops of loved ones names refreshed it. They filled us up with good news from a distant land.

I think that I will write later about the insight into relationships that I have received by their visit. Until then...please take my heartfelt advice. Go to your wife, husband, child, parent, or friend...hug them and tell them that you love them.

Praise God!

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Three Planes And One Emergency Landing Later

Paul and Darlene Watson have a great travel story. They did make it to Bolivia, but only after being rerouted to Bogota, Columbia and spending a night there. Denise and I had decided to surprise them when they arrived in Santa Cruz, so we were dutifully waiting for their flight to arrive...which it did 20 hours late! They started off having to change planes in Miami, after boarding, because the plane had mechanical problems. They boarded another, and two hours into the flight, the piolot announced that they needed to re-route because of a fuel leak. The nearest airport that could let them land was Columbia. When they landed, the runway was lit up like a Christmas tree, with what Paul said was "every emergency vehicle in the entire country." The plane could not be repaired, and they had to wait until the next day to fly another one out.

But you know what? It could have taken 10 days...we are SO THRILLED that they are here! They brought THREE SUITCASES full of goodies, including 17 lbs of good ol' United States Coffee for me! Toys for the kids, tea for Denise, supplies for school, candy for everyone...but the best thing of all was the hand on the handle. Grandma and Grandpa are here!

A quick word of thanks to all of you from Blue Ridge Bible Church that sent stuff with them. You guys ROCK!!!

Gotta Go Play With Grandma

Leia Mais…