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Rainy days and Mondays…

Thinking out loud this morning…

Walking After Midnight...

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down. 

(“Rainy Days and Mondays” ~The Carpenters)

Sometimes, even in the middle of the best of everything, my soul gets soggy.  I need for Someone to wring me out and hang me over a clothesline somewhere to dry.

These last several weeks have made me weary.  We lost our “fifth child” as our Nick left Ecuador to move to South Africa and begin the task of opening up the Extreme Response presence there.  It’s wonderful.  It’s exciting.  And it hurt my heart, just like it did when my three children left and went to college.

Two weeks ago, I had surgery on my hand.  In my mind, I would be up and around within a day or so, back to…

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This and that, and why I think I’m pretty boring.

Walking After Midnight...

I got an email yesterday from a long-time friend/supporter that I only know through the electronic world.  Electronically, she’s a dear, sweet person.  She started off her note by telling me how she couldn’t do what I do, and that if the Lord had called her she would have just argued with Him until He went away.  I tried that, Sweet Sister.  Doesn’t work.

We’ve had an uneventful Sunday around here.  Church this morning.  My blood sugar did That Thing again, the one where I end up lying on the floor in a storage room in the church basement sweating and shaking and sick to my stomach with the black parts around the edge of my vision, until all of a sudden it’s over and I’m fine again.  I have no idea what causes it, and I don’t know how to fix it, and my doctor has no idea what…

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Time for a laugh.

Walking After Midnight...

OK.  Time to lighten things up a little bit around here.  The following incident took place in February of 2005.  It’s all true–every bit of it.  No names have been changed, because trust me–there were no innocent people in this one!  It is still the story that people remember most.


       What a week.  And that was just yesterday.  Our children were off of
school Wednesday and Thursday due to two days of political protests here in
Quito.  Basically, they were trying to oust the President.  And no, I don’t
have any clue whether or not they were successful.  Thursday, I had to work.
I told Heather and Kristina that they could have a friend over, as my maid
is there on Thursday.  Dan and I went home for lunch at noon, and the first
thing that greets us, tail wagging, is a PINK German Shepherd.  Followed by
a pink…

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The Missionary’s Prayer

This morning I have been going through some things that I wrote way back when we first arrived on the field.  Things have changed so much since then.  This one particularly stuck out to me, for two reasons.  One, I wrote it in July of 2004, when we had been on the field for only seven months.  I wasn’t jaded or cynical at that point.  And two, I need to be reminded in my current jaded, cynical state that we are here for a reason, and it really has nothing to do with my own personal comfort.  Even after 10 years, I have so far to go…

The Missionary’s Prayer

   Father, help me to love these people as you love them.  Remind me that “Their ways are not my ways, nor are their thoughts my thoughts.”  Forgive my selfish pride in thinking that my way is always the best way.  Help me to see the differences between us as strengths, rather than weaknesses.  When I feel wronged, and I will, remind me that I am to forgive others as you have forgiven me.  I pray that they will also forgive me my trespasses, which will be many.
   When the opportunity for love comes my way, allow me to put off my foolish ideas.  Do not let an opportunity to show your love to someone pass, simply because I am worried about physical things.  I have the blessing of going home and washing, while many here do not.  When I am offered a meal of foods that are strange to me, prepared by hands that I do not know, remind me to accept it graciously and enjoy it in the spirit of sacrifice in which it is offered.    Take me beyond the ragged exterior to the heart within.
   When I am asked to be in places that offend my sensibilities, remind me that you left Heaven to come to a world that offended everything in you.  Yes, the places here where people live are dirty, and I wonder that they can survive in a garbage dump, or a village with no clean running water…You saw earth in much the same way.  Allow me to look past the physical to the eternal, as you did for me.  
   My purpose here is not to change their way of life, but to embrace it, and to see the beauty that their traditions merit.  Show me the wonder in their worship, in their music…in their living.  And when at last you call us home, I will find the joy that comes with kneeling at your feet with my brothers from this foreign land.  And our understanding of each other will be complete.

” So neither he who plants not he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow…”
                                                                                                                       1 Corinthians 3:7

Ten years on…

Walking After Midnight...

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of our arrival here in Quito.  I would like to say that we met it with great joy and celebration, but in truth we didn’t even realize it until about 11 in the morning, and then we just mentioned it to each other and went on about our business.  It did get me thinking, though, about the differences between 10 years ago and today.

-10 years ago we were cocky, overly confident new missionaries.  We were going to change the world.  We had been to Ecuador twice before, for a week each time…and we HAD this.  Ecuador was going to love us–we just knew it.  Fast forward 10 years…we still get it, but in a whole new way.  We have a different perspective on missions.  On Ecuador.  On life.  We aren’t going to change the world.  We’re just a little piece of a BIG puzzle. …

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I am not the brave one.

Walking After Midnight...

“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

I ran across this quote sometime last week.  It struck me so forcefully that I immediately made it my Facebook status…and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

I am not the brave one.  I don’t take risks.  I have a soul-gripping fear of the unknown, and it doesn’t have to be the “great” unknown.  Shopping at an unfamiliar grocery store is enough to raise my anxiety levels.  People say “Oh!  You’re so brave to live where you do!”  I am here to dispel the myth.  No bravery.  Not even a squeak.  I am one of five children, and all four of my siblings will tell you that I’m not the brave one.  No taking risks.  Slow and steady.  And boring.

I don’t think I’m alone. …

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Showing up.

Walking After Midnight...

We did it.  Again.  Last week the Extreme Response staff, along with a team of 45 people from the US and Canada, and our dogs and cats and kids, gave about 8,000 people a little bit of Christmas.  Sometimes we refer to what we do as “being the hands and feet of Jesus.”  I have been known to use that quote, but I’ve never been entirely comfortable with it.  I did some digging (because clearly The Google knows what I am thinking better than I do) and found this quote, that sums it up beautifully.

“Being Jesus doesn’t mean that I am always at the center, always doing something, always making something spectacular happen. Being Jesus simply means that I show up to be “part of” something. Maybe being Jesus isn’t so much about making it happen as it is letting it happen.”

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