Wednesday, June 03, 2009

a message from the lord

monday afternoon while leslie and i were making lunch, grace and abi walked into the kitchen where grace announced (very dramatically) that there was a message outside. "a message?" leslie asked her. "yes, a message" she said, eyes getting even wider and hands moving up and down at her sides for added emphasis. about to ask her what it said, leslie got cut off by abi, who (just as dramatically, eyes wide and head bobbing up and down) chimed in, "yes, a message! a message... from... the lord!!" so, feeling compelled to see this message as we now understood that it was not just any message, but a message from the lord, leslie went outside with her girls hand in hand to check it out while i continued with the lunch in the kitchen, anxioualy awaiting to hear what this message could be ;) they returned a couple minutes later with a package from the mailman (who had been waiting at the gate) and the message from the lord: "vendemos perritas." strangely, this particular message from the lord came in the form of a sign that rachel put out on the front gate so that passerby-ers would know that we were selling puppies.... :)

last thursday we went to unilla. we left canilla early in the morning, hoping to get a good head start, only to be detoured to a nearby village while we waited out the rain, forcing us to wait until about 9:30 or 10:00 to land in unilla. and it is still hard for me to not compare this place to san pedro since they are in the same area being a couple miles down the same river from each other. at first, this time was not much different than the last time there.... the children ran out on the runway with whoops and hollers, excited at the landing of the airplane, while the men stood along the sides of the runway, and the women hung back by their houses. the mayor had decided to go to a meeting in uspantan (a larger town quite a ways from unilla), so we were greeted by another man who was in charge that day, and leslie, craig and i started to get set up while duane went back for the others. shortly after the second landing, leslie was approached about a lady near there who could not leave her bed and had been very sick for a while (i won't go into details for those non-medical people...). so, while her and malachi headed out to see her, the rest of us hung out with the kids and waited for the people to arrive.... and hung out with the kids and waited for the people to arrive... and waited.... and waited. not that i am complaining about the wait... it was a very good opportunity to talk to some of the people there and play with the kids, but it was so different than the other medical trips that we do where people are usually lined up waiting for us to arrive.

and i do not want to sound like i think that we are movie stars here or anything either - needing people to be waiting for us when we arrive - but usually if a village has asked us to come do a clinic there, it is because the people want to be treated medically, and so they are waiting... anxious... often times pushing each other just trying to get a number to be seen and treated.

when leslie and malachi returned (their story is on the adonai blog - the link is on the side of my page), we were still waiting for people to arrive, and had decided that if no one had come by the time malachi and leslie returned (they needed to run some other medicine back to the lady's house), we would leave. so, the rest of us started packing up, but little by little people started to trickle in, until we ended up having a full-blown clinic that day and the next day.

as i reflected on it later, i realized that what bothered me more than anything about the whole thing was a seeming sense of apathy. but not apathy because they don't care, but almost because it was too much energy to move forward in the good things they had there. for example, for an area that has two growing seasons each year, we only saw one field of corn planted, and when i asked them if they grew anything else, they told me that no, they didn't want to grow anything else.... they would rather buy the vegetables from people who bring them in from other villages near by. they live right next to a river, but when i said, "oh then you must eat a lot of fish," they said "no, that's a lot of work..." and when a medical clinic lands itself right in the midst of their village (whose only medical care consists of two nurses that come out once a month to the government health clinic there), they waited until early afternoon to start trickling over.

and while this may sound weird, and i do not want to over analyze things, i felt like i was in the midst of people who had already been won over by another side.... their drunkenness on their sugar cane drink, the empty look in their eyes, their seemingly lack of desire to fight or expel energy towards things that will keep them living. and i felt like this must have been what it was like for some of the early missionaries who went into jungle areas that had never ever heard the gospel of christ... and i suddenly wanted to stand there for a long time, to live among these people, to get to know them and the answers to the why questions. to show to them the love of god over and over and over again.... the faithfulness of god over and over again.

and the verse that kept running through my head was, "i am still confident of this; i will see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living," one that has run through my head many times here.

and then i am reminded of the goodness of the lord that we did see... craig playing on a log and laughing with a bunch of kids early in the morning, leslie and malachi showing god's love to a family in all that they did for that lady... that family later coming to clinic and us getting to talk to them about accepting christ... and laughing with them. women and children coming, and getting to do about 10 ultrasounds, at least 3 of which had come the first time we went there... craig and malachi showing the jesus film to over 300 people.

and i am sure that there were many more things that i missed along the way as well.

because god is reminding me that his "messages" do not usually (although sometimes they do, as abi reminds us...) come tacked to our front gate, but that does not mean that he is not speaking to us or moving around and in us. through the scriptures he whispers to our hearts, the strength he offers us on a hard day, a kind word, a hand on our shoulder, god is moving, and god is speaking.... i am confident of this.

the question usually is whether or not i am listening or looking in the right places.... and what am i doing to plug into where he is moving?

so, while i cannot move there and live among the people as i desire some days, i know that our prayers are often farther-reaching than any acts we can do here or words we can say. will you please pray for the people of this town of unilla also?