Tuesday, August 19
We spent last Saturday with friends Roberto and his wife Candida. They have grandsons the same age as our boys, and we enjoy their company immensely. Here is a picture of Candida, in her kitchen, working hard in preparing a lunch of fried chicken, beans, rice and salad. We have decided that she is the best cook in all of Nicaragua, and are never disappointed when we eat at her place. Here is Zachariah with their grandson Evert, sitting on the rocking chairs, watching one of the VeggieTales movies that Zach brought over. Evert is about 5 months older than Zach, and they have a good time together. The other day, Zachariah whispered that he would like to sleep over at Evert’s house sometime. Sigh….already come the sleepovers, another sign that my babies are growing up!
I really enjoy our quaint, small garden, and the few flowers they produce. As I aimed and refocused my camera on the white flowers here, I remembered the words of Jesus in Matthew, “Even Solomon, with all his finery, was not dressed as beautiful as the flowers in the fields.” And then a poem that I read the other day, which was a conversation overheard by a bluebird and a robin. The bluebird says that he doesn’t understand these human beings that rush around, to and fro, with so much worry. The robin replies that he thinks humans must not have a heavenly Father such as they, to take care of them. It was such a good reminder for me, to remember that even in the midst of all our little stories and dramas, sicknesses and busyness, there is a Father in heaven is who is watching over us and every day is using our trials and circumstances to bring us closer to Him.
Thursday, August 7
They use large, forked tree branches as entryways between properties, to keep the animals out, and enclose the properties with barbed wire. As careful as I am, I still manage to snag my clothes once in a while stepping through the entryway. While walking to her house, we saw a few men harvesting beans. See below
When we arrived at her house, she was not there but we left a message with her daughter-in-law. This is fairly typical of messages in the country. You go to the person’s house, and if they are not there, you leave a message or try to find out where the person is and track them down, as Steve did the other day. Since it is farming season, most of the men are out working in the fields, and Steve walks the little trails, trying to find where the man is working. As you can guess, a lot of time is spent riding and walking, which we really enjoy. Below is a picture of our ride back to Matagalpa, on the main road, about 15 minutes outside of the city.
Well, we weren’t able to get a picture of the rider (Steve, covered in mud) but here is a picture of the bike that did the hard work. The seat looks clean becaue the rider took all the mud. Yesterday, Steve did quite a bit of riding pretty far out in the mountains to the communities of Bailadora 1 and Bailadora 2, and the roads
(here is a picture of the road in Bailador 1) are almost impassable. Steve actually had to get off a few places and hand-ride it up the hills. That night he complained something about his arms dropping off. But the auto-car wash (well, it’s not automated, the guys do the work, it just means we don’t have to wash it) guys do a great job of cleaning the bike up. And then Steve gets to enjoy repeating the cycle over again every few weeks.
Friday, August 1
Because all of our work in deep in the mountains, I have a lot of time to think and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. As we drove to a community the other day, I looked and saw the mountain ranges, but their top halves were covered in clouds (pretty normal during the rainy season). I thought, How interesting, if I hadn’t been here in the dry season, I wouldn’t really know what is hiding behind all those clouds and really appreciate the splendor of the mountains. Then it struck me, the parallel with God and how we view Him. So many times, we see God, but only a part of Him. We are too busy with our own lives to notice Him, or distrust Him because we feel let down, or just don’t really care about Him. And because we only see a part of Him, sometimes barely at all, we are not amazed and are often disappointed because He doesn’t live up to our expectations. But no matter how we feel, God is still there, in all His power and majesty. When the clouds of disappointment, doubt, guilt and apathy clear, if only for a brief moment, we get a glimpse of just how awesome God is, and how great His power and love is for us. I was reminded that no matter how I feel about God, sometimes up, sometimes down, it does not change the truth: That He is always there for us and will never forsake us, and I need to remember that. We can rest in His peace.
Monday morning, July 28, I (Steve) commented to Colleen that I really felt like I needed some quiet time alone with God, to meditate and read His Word. I was feeling restless in my spirit and felt that some quiet time with God would be just the ticket to restore my peace.
I was planning, that day, to ride the motorcycle to the countryside to deliver some messages and retrieve some information from the communities where we work. As a bit of an afterthought I stuffed my Bible into my backpack, with the idea that maybe I could stop somewhere along the way for a bit peaceful contemplation.
However… of course God knows me better than I know myself, and He knew that it was not highly likely that I would take a break from my frenetic pace (though there was really no hurry) to quiet myself. Therefore, he placed some obstacles in my path to force me to sit for a while.
I was only a part of the way there when all of the sudden the rear tire went flat on the cycle. This being the first time I was not sure what to do so I called a friend for advice. He told me to remove the tire and wait for a bus to take me to town to get it repaired. I will spare you all the details, but suffice it to say that the people were quite kind and helpful to me. I waited for close to an hour for a bus, which never came, and finally a friend came by with his truck and gave me a ride to town. The patch job did not take long , but I waited nearly 2 hours for a bus (2 passed that were so packed I could not have possibly gotten on) to take me back to the cycle.
During this quiet time I, amazingly, never really felt impatient, but instead realized that the experience was an answer to prayer. I spent some time reading the Bible and in the end God reminded me of the verse Micah 6:8 “… What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before your God.” This is my new challenge: What does it mean to ‘act justly’ in a place where we are surrounded by so much injustice.
Eventually I fixed the cycle and continued my trip only to have the tire blow out again. I parked the cycle on someone’s porch, removed the tire and took the last bus back to the city. I did not really “accomplish” anything that day as I only arrived at one of the communities, but it was a rich and fulfilling day because God spoke to me and I returned to the house in peace.
Praise God that He always knows just what we need.