Starting again...another 10,000 pounds of rice and beans to distribute. We have had to winnow a bit of the other great things we were adding in the past, not enough funds, and also distribute less every week. A kind of restructuring after about four months of doing this.
We are still receiving enough via the Milk Project to make sure those families get a bag per week, plus a few other goodies we bought for them in August (milk and granola bars), but otherwise it is going to have to drop as we try to make this last into early September, and by then hopefully as well have the corn here and able to distribute. Prices on staples that which had been up almost 100% since March have dropped just a bit, we are hoping that will continue.
We are still taking donations since our economic restrictions are likely to continue through that time period in some form, any "phases" we get to after getting out of the 0 we are currently in, will certainly be in place now in September.
I'll include that link here for making donations to do more food distributions in case anyone is interested, we will be hoping to raise another $5,000 for September/October, to distribute another 500 bags.
The road work in our neighborhood has begun again. Although most people can't work...at least they have started this again, putting some construction guys to work again. They are digging trenches right now for sewer lines (right about where one of them are standing will be where we connect the property at some point.) Once all that is done, eventually then they will pour concrete roads here as well. Community transformation indeed. When we can connect to sewers, that will be a big change for us as well...and involve some expense to reroute all our waste from where it currently goes (about three different locations right now)
We have had several reasons to tackle a few small construction projects of late, including needing some extra hands available to do some other things. And actually as of last week, hardware stores can actually be open as well, so not only was Santos able to do the concrete work for the new garden areas around the mission house, but Soren was able to weld up some fence to protect the future flowers/berries/whatever we can get to grow there, and finish up railings on other parts of the property. So we are trying to find any other welding projects we need him to do before he goes back to school (albeit online) in a few weeks.
The clinic continues to fill the parking lot to overflowing almost every morning, and leaving late every afternoon (although that has improved a bit, no more leaving almost two hours late) and Oscar has been out and about some getting food to the pastors, checking with them...he spent last night in Las Botijas as well.
So although we are still restricted...and our case count for COVID and deaths is steady, we are slowly finding some more ways we can work safely and do what we can to help in different areas.
I have been getting up early for many months to get my exercise on the campus. Getting up early enough to beat dawn here means you have to be up by 4:30 in the summer time. A lazy 5:15 I think in December. Not being able to go anywhere else means I have got to see quite a few different views in the last...oh who is counting now anyway, four plus months.
With challenges come opportunities. With COVID comes lots of both in how we respond, as a mission and personally.
Taking steps of faith and God providing has been awesome to continue to see. Working on paperwork now for the coming containers is challenging...but worth my angst at not knowing how almost any of this shipping stuff works. That and it really being mostly out of my control when any of that happens.
Spending money where you think it is needed, looking to see what should be done, how, and how to try to be an encouragement is a very interesting challenge.
I'll admit though...those sunrises are one of many kinds of God calls, gut checks, faith walks. Not just the beauty and awe of what God does...but how He does it.
One of the things of my youth, and now, is that erroneous way of being that thinks we can understand God, that things will eventually all make sense, that we will have a handle on things.
I don't understand quite a bit lately. People, their opinions, viruses, death, hunger...it's a pretty long list actually.
That doesn't really bother me though. God gave us several reminders that He is in control, only He gets the full picture, and instead of trying to plug the gaps and/or invent what we don't understand, we just need to trust in Him.
Job 42, Isaiah 40 (Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor?) and more...all pointing to the fact God is God, and we are not.
We call it sunrise. Another language says "sun up time" and then sun down time. It makes sense. Of course, it is not accurate. We revolve around the sun, not the other way around.
Things not making so much sense is a lot easier to process when you have the right perspective.
I listen to several podcasts. Several of those podcasts would look at similar world events and have different ways to interpret those through different lenses. Sometimes then, I disagree with them. That seems like a good thing. It certainly means I get challenged, and that is definitely a good thing.
This week, during one of those podcasts, the title to this post was mentioned, that when we read the Bible, we tend to identify with the hero in the story, the downtrodden, the righteous person. Just like when we watch Disney movies, or dress up to be like them when we are kids, nobody dresses up like the villains or says they identify with them.
But...real life, our societies can be Egypt, Babylon, or Rome, not Israel. On the flip side, maybe we are Israel...when they were screwing things up for hundreds of years. Am I acting like the apostles in the boat? Am I a pharisee? Haman? Jezebel?
So the challenge was to read the Bible, and put ourselves in those people's places. What would we have done? What do we do?
Cool, interesting, thought provoking. Then I got to live it.
All of that, and more...fingerprints of God's handiwork...going off like bombs around us. Buoying us in many ways.
But...when the bumps come, and they have been coming as well of late, how do I react? How well am I remembering how much God is in control, and showing that right now, when those bumps are thumping me in the soul?
Trying to go to sleep last night, I was reminded of looking at the Bible through a different lens. Jesus walking on water. Peter walking out to him...and 11 other guys scared out of their wits not even willing to get out of the boat.
Today, I can identify a little more with the guys in the boat. That's not really comfortable, but it is challenging, and that is a good thing.
Roller coaster is what I feel I have been riding for a while. Not for almost four months as we have been locked down. No, for the first month or two, I was busy, catching up, playing the waiting game, helping with the food purchases, etc. It was not fun, but manageable.
But as this continues, it hits harder, more happens, things start to add up.
We had some theft hit us personally, we had some crisis of faith for someone close to the ministry, some got scared and chose to walk away for fear of what could happen, we had some staff diagnosed with COVID...I think you get the idea.
Roller coasters don't crash into the ground though, and neither have we. God has sent us unexpected, unusual, and lots, of encouragement and ways to keep us going back up when circumstances trying to bring us down low. Holy Spirit action is powerful stuff. Encouraging texts, kind words, some tips for sale items, donations from people we don't even know, the upcoming FAME and corn containers...sometimes the worst part of being on an emotional roller coaster is feeling like you are alone. You aren't alone. I'm not alone. (Say that outloud...it helps.)
We keep rolling with the punches, and as a mission are trying to give some punches back. Against hunger, against despair, against sickness. Times of trial and test show what we are made of I suppose.
What will come next? I know we had a long meeting today talking about some emergency options of expanding the clinic work...into different areas and also different buildings. Crazy talk just a few months ago. Now...when someone, including myself, has a crazy idea, I try to stop, breathe, and then make sure I leave the door open for how God wants to move. I won't share more here yet, just not to get hopes up or raise expectations on what I don't know will happen yet. But definitely time for lots of prayer. Been doing more of that of late.
I could really start a ramble here, but let's stay on focus on our roller coaster. I guess, it is called life, right?
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