That last part, "in justice" is important. It helps me to focus on whether the challenges I face are "just." The only way I can do this is to consider the lives of those around me. Is God asking me to face any more than the people with whom I live are facing? Almost always the answer is, "No." So how can I not respond with peace and joy?
God has helped me see this clearly by the difficulties we have faced as individuals and a ministry just since the new year began. You know how you see posts like these on Facebook:
God is teaching me this expanded attitude of gratitude and contentment in ever new was though the events that occur. To really be grateful, not just give it lip service. When I'm not grateful in the midst of a difficulty, to consider those around me, who often face greater disasters than the inconveniences face. (These are listed below)
So here's the latest:
|Last week the mayor of Antigua came out|
to review the work.
It seems to be going slower since her visit!
The first weekend I would stop at one of these faucets and fill water jugs to take back to the apartment with me. The biggest problem was filtering water to drink, because our filter attaches to the outdoor faucet at our house. . .no water, no way to filter it. Not too difficult. I could drive into a nearby town and buy 3 gallon bottles of water when we could not purify it ourselves. Inconvenient, but not impossible.
|Women carrying water from the public faucets|
The driver who came was actually a Christ follower who attempted to teach me a song about Jesus in Quiche, a Mayan language. I did not do well, but it helped to pass the time to the airport and we picked up Ken only a few minutes late. We then headed back to the gas station, tried to start the car, and again had no luck.
Maynor, my friendly car repair man, just shook his head as he tried to start the car. It didn't sound good. We would know more when he had a chance to look at it Monday. In spite of this, and thanks to the buses and the chauffeur services of Dick, we had a lovely weekend in spite of this. Every time that ugly anxiety of "what are we going to do without a car" would raise it's head, I would verbally tell Jesus, "This is your problem and you will provide." Miraculously, I was able to let it go.
By Tuesday Maynor called with an estimate. It would cost about $1500 to replace the water pump and head gasket, and adjust the head. This was actually good news. The car was repairable and to fix it would cost much less than I would have to spend to buy another car. So I made my deposit, and they are working on it. Who knows how long it will take, but we will have a car again.
In the mean time, I am riding buses and enjoying the time to sight see which is impossible when I'm driving. I enjoy talking with the children on the buses, and hearing where they are going. I am fondly remembering the first years I lived here when I had no car and the buses and tuktuks were my only source of transportation. It's harder than driving, to be sure, but it is doable.
While I am on the buses, I see the dozens of people walking up the steep mountainside as we go to Santa Maria. Most of them are walking because they cannot afford the roughly 50 cents bus fare. And I am blessed to pay this without a second thought.
Fidel goes to Complete Speech for therapy, and we have to pay a pick up truck to come for him and Mario since I can't take him. We are blessed, however. He is receiving free speech therapy thanks to a sponsor and we can pay the pick up to take him there. This is only a dream to many with speech impediments in this country.
Brenda, our house manager, has to take the bus to the market and a tuktuk home. Again, we are blessed. We have the funds to buy more food for the house than she can carry on the bus, and we can afford the $3-5 a tuktuk charges her to bring her out to San Pedro.
All of these are added expenses which were not in our budget. The emergency fund we were starting to build again will not be enough to even cover the car repairs. If God would put it on your heart to help us with this financial need, please go to our website, www.reasontohope,org where you will find directions as to how you can make a contribution to offset these expenses.
But then I come to the water!!! Without a car it is almost impossible for me to carry much water from the local faucets, and today I have used up just about all the water jugs I was able to fill the last time we had water. I was grumbling to God about how hard it was to not be able to flush the toilet. I was grumbling about how the dirty dishes were stacking up. How I couldn't do my usual weekend cooking for the week because I needed to save the water for essentials.
I got on the city Facebook page to see if there was any news about when we would get water again.
And I was convicted. One of the first comments I read was from a nurse in town who had a patient who was on continual peritoneal dialysis. She was concerned because without accessible water, he could be facing serious infection, illness, and even death. I felt I had been kicked in the gut.
Suddenly my unflushed toilet and dirty dishes were seen in a new light. My selfishness stuck in my throat as I read her comment. And I know we need to reach out to this situation and do whatever we can to help. At the very least we can help this man store water when it comes back on, because the water is sure to be turned off again. We can share what we have with those who need it more than we do. We will survive with water shortages, this man will not.
And suddenly, I am content. And my peace and joy will return when we are able to help him. We can't fix this water problem for everyone, but we can for him. As Andy Stanley says we will "Do for the one what you would do for all."