Are you looking at me? Oh, sorry. Can’t you tell I’m busy? I’ve got my headphones in, but they are silent. I’m not playing music. I don’t want to listen to music right now. I am just happy with sitting on this bed, being alone. When someone has headphones in, to everyone else around them it’s like they have “DO NOT DISTURB” stamped on their forehead. I have this stamp on my forehead, right now.
Oh dear. There are so many things that I’m learning. Do you remember the Y2K? And how everyone was freaking out? It’s kind of funny now that we look back on it. I mean, two 0’s really sent your Aunt Jeanie running to the grocery store to stock up on creamed corn and canned yams? I say your Aunt Jeanie, but it was probably you! Don’t be ashamed, you were fooled along with the other hundreds. But, I will always remember my sister saying while sitting at the dinner table a statistic she had heard that if we learned something every second for the next thousand years only then would our brains be full. That’s a lot of stuff! I’ve never referenced that fact, and don’t know who told her, but it seems right, doesn’t it?
Well, I tell you, I’m near sick of learning! Goodness, sometimes it’s just hard. BUT, James in the very start of his book (1:2) tells us that we should be encouraged when we come face to face with problems! It, in fact, makes us stronger! It gives us patience.
James has been my man this week.
In my last post I was telling ya’ll the issues Joel and I were having communicating. Last Thursday, we had two team building/counselor/ladies (Lynee and Shelli) come to Puno and go through a team building session with us. It was a God send for Joel and I. We actually had some time with Lynee to work with just us. I felt that when we got done with her new doors had been opened for us and I had instant relief thinking that everything would be okay.
That was our up. Ups are times when we are flying on cloud nine. Or, a perfect example, if I get my hands on a cup of real Starbucks coffee, or if I make a stellar apple pie and it tastes just like mom’s! These are ups. And ups in our emotional lives seem to follow Newton’s law of gravity as well and like to come back down.
Sunday, in the morning the Puno team met to talk about what we had planned to do that day, each pair that is, and pray. Before we prayed we went around the circle and talked about what is happening in our different districts. When it came to me, I talked for both Joel and I, and said we were excited to have met this girl in Santa Rosa that was mormon, but she was very open to what we had to say. Even having told her from her window (that’s where she answered… not at the door) that we wanted to talk to her about Jesus, she came down and let us talk to her. At the end of the sharing with the group I look at Joel and he is shaking his head… He told the story over again and all that I had missed was that she wasn’t mormon, but had visited a Mormon church.
I was stricken. So, after our group prayer I went off and did my own devotion and prayed by myself. As I was praying I realized that something that I want very much for our relationship is to center it on Christ. That’s something Kristen has said her and Franci do. I have felt that Joel is not interested in doing devotionals together. Or, whenever we do, he is not responsive and doesn’t contribute to a discussion. So, I sat in our little prayer room broken and just prayed to God that our relationship would be healed, because it still seems to have its bruises. When I went in to talk to Joel I asked him if we were on the same page about the girl I had talked about that wasn’t really Mormon. I wanted to know we were on the same page. We were on the same page… I told him the way he reacted to what I said hurt… but I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or what, there was no response. Then, I almost burst into tears as I told him how hard this relationship is and I just told him how important it seems to me that we have a time to do devotions together before we go out for the day. He wanted to leave right away to our districts, but I told him how I wanted to have our relationship centered on Christ. So, I asked him if we could that day do a bible study before leaving… and before I could finish my thought he said, “No.” With a smile even… It was weird, and you can imagine if I was hurt before, I was devastated then.
We went out… without doing a study. We went to Santa Rosa. And I had a sadness in my heart. But, God was speaking to me. I realized, perhaps this is going to be the way it will be. Perhaps we will have good moments, but when it comes to work we will butt heads. Maybe our relationship will never be what I had hoped that it would be. But… but I have a job to do. I can’t do it alone, that is for sure. Yea, sure, I need Joel’s help. He’s Peruvian and he’s got the culture thing down. But, more than I need Joel… more than I need all of his experience and knowledge from his seminary, more than the color of his skin, eyes, hair, more than anything I need God. I can have the worst day in the world with Joel and still have to leave to do this job and if we depend solely on God we will have success!
So, we went out just like Joel wanted, and I was surprised that the sadness in my heart was not anger. I was in communion with Him as we walked around Santa Rosa. We ended up bumping into a woman knitting on the sidewalk. I was surprised, because I was the one who initiated everything. I started our conversation and I even lead us into talking with her about the Gospel. I think that I had mentioned in a previous blog that I had been afraid to talk to people about the Gospel in a foreign language. But, I was just calm and content to talk with this woman. It turns out that she seems to have been looking for God for a while now and likes to read the Bible, but doesn´t understand it. So, we are going to be meeting with her on Sunday at 10 or 11 in the morning! This simply enforced the lesson that God was just teaching me. It was such a blessing.
Lately, something that I am struggling with is my attitude. Like I said, James has been my man this week. He, along with Kristen, have helped me to see that I get angry… a lot. In Jame´s first chapter it talks about being slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to wrath. I have been rather wrathful. I have been praying a lot about this. Living in a house with a ton of people sometimes can be very difficult to have an attitude constantly directed toward peace. I tell you this so you can pray.
The Lord has really been spilling his blessings on our work. All of this attack is predominantly for the progress that we have been making in our districts. In Santa Rosa we had a visit this past Wednesday with Vilma. When we got to her house she had her husband there with her. I was a bit shocked and leery about having him there, but we went through our lesson and at the end he asked us when we could come again! He also told us not to forget about them. My eyes well up with tears every time I think about him… it´s amazing to see God´s hand at work.
God is definitely at work here. We have a place to teach English at and will have our first lesson on Thursday. Please, pray that we get a good group of kids that are willing to learn. Pray for their parents as they see what we are doing as a service.
This has been a nice long piece for you guys! I hope that winter is thawing nicely and that spring is on it´s way soon!