I feel like God opened my eyes this morning. It is often amazing to me how gently, how slowly, and how much patience He has. I think I would have given up on me by the time I turned 18.
We have had a cinnamon tree growing on the property here for many years. A novelty, we didn't know what we were doing when we bought it, it just seemed cool. Despite just being planted and left, in the shadow of a now huge avocado tree no less, it has continued to grow and is now about eight feet tall. Recently we decided to look up what is required to harvest cinnamon, and Oscar and Jorge gave it a try, with Maria looking after it and using it afterwards.
This morning, Valerie got some of it, and made cinnamon tea. I had some. Tasted like cinnamon water, not too bad!
I have been a bit depressed of late (uh, who hasn't?) and also thinking about the measures society uses for prosperity, specifically financial. I probably was coveting a couple times in my mind, maybe jealous a bit if I am honest at seeing a few things. Really I would describe those feelings as...a lack of focus and vision (oh, and sin, lest I forget.)
Not to get way too over personal for comfort, but that tea this morning was a "breath of fresh smack in the head" reminding me...treasure, prosperity, and joy, doesn't come ultimately where we think it does.
That might not make a lot of sense to you, I'm not sure, but it was clear as day for me.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Let's hope it sticks with me for a while.
Building up, and down
I am personally a bit down of late. Physically, actually not too bad. Back is not too bad, just an ear infection and otherwise, God be praised, still in good health. But mentally/emotionally...I am drained. Apparently so is my keyboard. Some of those repeated letters in the title are its doing. It seemed appropriate, so I went with it. Also seems to describe trying to get to sleep every night.
No picture to share to show why I am feeling stressed, computer screens with big red Xs doesn't feel like necessary to share.
For almost five months now in quarantine, I am used to facing each day a little not knowing what I am doing, what should be done, how, etc. But with two containers coming, and government offices still somewhat closed or moving things online, I am finding myself as the only guy apparently that can do some of the paperwork that needs done, and with no clue what to do. Three or four different agencies (so far, gulp) different registrations, paperwork needed, payments...and all in different platforms, rules, etc. And...asking for information in that way that only government agencies do: beyond my understanding.
It is so draining and stressful I begged our customs agent to do some of it. "'Can't I just pay you to do it?" His answer, with sympathy in his voice: "No, has to be you pretty much." I got a little solice from him though when he told me he couldn't make heads or tails of the online system for the phytosanitary permit either. Although, it still left me then going to the physical office (two days in a row..the first day about 1 hour trip to find out we needed to have made an appointment) for another 1.5 hours to find that the people in charge...had no clue the online system was so confusing and requiring a username and password, that I had no way to request online. At least I got to leave the property I suppose. Now, I have to buy stamps...but electronically. And that means another organization to talk to. I mean, this last part came up literally as I was ranting here about the previous steps! I have been tested, and been found wanting...at every step of the way. I can't do this stuff, I am in way over my head. I am lost actually, and just keep stumbling from one email to the next. I need to place some more God calls. And also remember...so what, I don't know what I am doing? Who cares? Keep calm...and carry on. It will get done, eventually, and my ego bruising is ultimately a small price to pay if it means getting the things the mission needs. Even if it kills me! Well...hopefully it won't be that drastic. Although we did go over procedures if one of us were to die last week, that one being me since I know where all the passwords are kept.
But, there is other stuff going on, let's try to forget the soup of paperwork I am lost in, (you can pray for me after though, I need it) and talk about some other happenings.
We are taking advantage of Soren's welding skills, his availability, and desire to help to tackle another project that we wern't sure otherwise we were going to do for a while...a new backup tank for the mission house. Soon, when the power goes out, we will still have water for the groups to use. Also soon, if we need more welding, it will have to be on the weekends as Soren starts online classes next week.
The Milk Project...Maria and the rest of the staff continue to keep busy every day of the week. Helping pack food, cleaning the property, classes for themselves, even painting some more of the mural space outside.
And...creating Birthday cards for the kids. We can't celebrate like normal, so...time to celebrate, but not normal.
It feels like sometimes, the ministry work there is stopped. In some ways, sure.
But the letters I see from the kids, and sometimes from parents...I think they are more aware than ever of what they are missing, and what a blessing it is right now, with food for the families, and ongoing homework help, that the staff is there and helping how they can, even staying in touch via messaging and social media.
I love this picture. I mean, among many things buoying me and keeping me going in spite of my drained state, quite literally, this is a big one, because it is just one picture but represents a mentality, a way of being, that we exist for and want to see/be as a mission/people.
The bags of food we are sending out lately are not as full as they used to be. Donations have dropped off, and to make sure we can keep going into September, we had to drop to just doing beans and rice.
In Sampedrana, they took up a collection and are adding oil, sugar and more, like we used to be able to do as well. They see the needs, they visit the families, and they want to continue to help. Here is pastor Henry, his wife Isela and their son packing some of those extra items in the bags we sent.
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