September 28, 2009

Hi everyone!
I was reading this morning about the Sabbath and found myself thankful that it’s a thing of the past. If we’re expected to continue with Gods strict requirements for His day of rest, then today I would have been kicked out of the pool. I really thought today would be an easy day and went out to take my Sunday walk on the beach. I was met on my way back by Vanderlay who had come looking for me. He’s a Christian friend of ours who has generously helped us with our work here many times. He’s an electrician and a true servant of God in his heart. He’s made his services available and I’ve used him every time I need electrical work done. He had come to the house this morning with his wife and two beautiful daughters. He wanted to finish a electrical project he had started, and his family wanted to enjoy the ocean and pool. He brought his guitar and played some familiar hymns as his girls sang. Two songs into the performance and I’m called away by Lori who has a small situation on her hands….
Yesterday Bruno was taken from the re-hab to the hospital with what they thought was hepatitis. We got the call and had to respond, because right now we’re the closest thing he has to family. We drove about an hour to the hospital and found him in emergency waiting for us. Lori went in with him to talk to the doctor, and emerged with a stunned look on her face. “Behind those swinging doors is about as close to a Mash unit as I’ve ever seen in real life”. While she was talking we saw this kid come through on a wheel chair, blood pouring from his foot, he left a path of blood splashed all over the floor only stopping at those infamous swinging doors. People were walking in the blood and nobody seemed the least bit concerned. Finally, the mop lady showed up, and for a moment, at least, the floor was looking better. Yes, treatment is free; yes, anyone can walk in; no, nobody is turned down, but I gotta say you probably have a better chance of survival staying home and treating yourself. Thank God one of the staff members heard Bruno’s story about our helping him and was so taken that he promised to take the boy under his wing. Turns out what he has is anemia and will be needing many blood transfusions. They wanted to watch him overnight which in our language means being admitted, given a bed, and bothered all night by overweight nurses whose job it is to check up on us. In his case he was shown a chair and told that that’s where he would be spending the night. We left him and started the hour ride back home aware that we would be making this trip again tomorrow. We were within about eight miles of our house when I noticed this weird orange smoke in the sky. I was pointing it out to Lori when six jets made a perfect circle with their colored smoke, then broke from their formation and disappeared behind some tall buildings. Come to find out, France had sent their military team of precision flying jets to entertain the people of Natal. Everyone had known about this well in advance, that is everyone but us. I know that because every car and every person that exisiseted within a twenty mile radius had converged on this one spot that we needed to pass in order to get home. I found myself thankful for police at home who enforce traffic rules,and know how to handle crowds. Here there are lots of cops, but no rules. The accepted practice is that everybody does what’s right in their own eyes. What a mess, everybody everywhere, not the slightest semblance of order, just absolute chaos, and us stuck in the middle. I put the car in neutral, pulled the brake, and “shut ‘er down”, thinking to myself w.w.m.b.p.d. ( what would my brother Paul do) . Well, it was at least two hours before we broke loose, finally pulling into our yard well after dark. So you see I was looking forward to obeying Gods strict instructions regarding the observance of His day, but that wasn’t meant to be.
So today, the hospital called Lori to say they had released Bruno and to ask us to come back and collect him. She was under the weather with a constant cough, cold, and fever, and so Vanderlay and I went to pick him up, taking him back to the re-hab. Well, there goes Sunday, a trip to the hospital, from there to the re-hab, from the re-hab to home, and my day of rest is long gone. I will close off the day by staring at this computer screen so you all can know the stories of the week.
We lost another day this week meeting with lawyers and our accountant in regards to our visa. We also had to spend a fare bit of time with the local shipping company that’s handling the release of our personal goods. Before we left I bought William a new 100cc Honda dirt bike. It was made perfectly clear to us by the US shipping company that getting this into the country was not going to be a problem. Surprise, surprise, no way is that going to happen. On top of that the inventory list described it as a bicycle. I guess they thought no one would notice the large engine and lack of pedals. Not only can we not get the bike, but the federal police see it as us trying to sneak around their laws to get this past their borders. They don’t look favorably at these kinds of people who break the rules and then ask if they can stay in the country. At this point they have every right to send us back home for being dishonest. I know the shipping company was trying to help us, but by doing that they’ve only made things worst. Option one is pay $4000.00 in fines and taxes and be allowed to bring the $2000.00 bike into the country. Option two, completely abandon the bike at the docks and break Williams heart. Option three pay an enormous amount of money to ship it back home. Option four they get annoyed with us and send us packing. Any wisdom or brilliant suggestions on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
I spent some time in Aningas working on the school tables and benches destroyed in the lakes that make up the school floor. I was working alone on Friday afternoon when this little boy came into the galpao and stood around watching me. I could tell that it was more than curiosity that had brought him and kept him with me in that incredibly hot building. Finally he spoke and I looked up to see him rubbing his belly. “Ah moo sa, comeada por-fa-vor” he asked, will you please get me some food, lunch, the belly rubbing meant he was hungry. I know I should have put the belt sander down and walked him to the little market, but in stead I reached into my wallet and handed him a five. I don’t know how long he had gone without food, but I bet my guess would have been close, judging by the way he grabbed the money and ran out the door. I kinda smiled to myself and went back to my sanding, when out of the corner of my eye I caught his shape standing back in the doorway. I let the trigger go and looked his way about to question why he had come back, when again he spoke. “Mute-obgadda amego” he said, and then he was gone. I wondered how far he had gotten, how close to the market was he, when he realised that hunger had clouded his good manners. In spite of his hunger he turned to come back, his reason, to say mister thank you very much. I thought of the ten lepers healed by the Lord Jesus and only one of the ten realising that the least he could do, as small, as insignificant, as inadequate as it may seem, was to go back and say thank you to Jesus. I very much wanted to be sure this morning while walking the beach that God heard me say thank you. How many times God stops what He’s doing and reaches into His bountiful wallet of blessings, and me, so overwhelmed and consumed with the crises of the moment, grab His gift, as if I earned it, and run out then door. How many times, half way to the market, I realise that in my moment of extreme selfishness I never said thank you. I turn and go back only to find Him right where I left Him, as if He knew I’d return. He stops and looks up as I come through the door, a kind smile crosses His face, He gives me his undivided attention, and nods in approval, with that unconditional love, as I sheepishly say thank you.
Wow I really got lost in thought on that one. Anyway, as you know by now, Thursdays are spoken for. I affectionately think of it as the loaves and fishes day (that will ring a bell with those who have made many Bermuda trips,staying at the five star resort called Willowbank) . It seams no matter how many sandwiches we make we always run out. This week we told the local bakery to bump it up to 120 rolls, next Wednesday we’ll be bumping it to 150, D.V. There was a time we’d have to pick the bread up at her place, but now the order has reached the “we’ll deliver them to your house” status. We were at one of our stops this week when Caroline elbowed me and pointed out one of the girls. “See that little girl with the red halter top” I nodded and she continued, ” she has eaten seven sandwiches” Wow, they must be falling out the bottom of her feet. We never say no, we stay and feed them till they have had enough, then close up and head off to the next stop. At one of the stops we came across John. He’s one of the street boys we feed. He came running over, all out of breath and obviously, very concerned. He told us that he had crossed paths with another one of these street kids, who made it clear that before the day was out John would be dead. “I will find you and kill you today,” a boy named Dennis had told him. John was visibly shaken, having taken the threat very seriously. He truly believed that today his life was going to end. Lori stood with her hands on his shoulders in the midst of that busy intersection and prayed to God that his life would be spared, and his soul would be saved. I kept one eye opened and was watching as cars whizzed by. People were staring at this impromptu prayer meeting like we had lost our minds. When finished, Lori looked him in the eyes and said,” You’ll be fine now, you’re being protected by God Himself. Just remember when you wake up tomorrow realising that you have been spared, that God saved your life because He wants to save your soul.” I saw him today as we drove pass his spot, on our way to pick up Bruno. He was busy washing windows, and quickly recognised the car. “Glory to God, thank you God, I’ll see you Thursday” he yelled as we drove through his intersection. God willing, he’ll be around on Thursday and will have the chance to speak to a soul whose heart God has opened.
Pray for Maxwell who professed salvation. Soon after he professed to be saved, he left his spot to go visit his daughter, and we haven’t seen him since. With no way to reach him we can only hope that God allows us to again cross his path. Pray for Bruno’s recovery as well as his serious blood condition; Wednesday we take him back to see a blood specialist. Pray for John that his heart is open to the gospel. Pray for the many who heard or received the gospel this week. Pray for Aningas. This week we’ll meet with the Federal government on their behalf, with the hopes of helping them receive available funding to start a co-op. This will help that village support itself. Pray for the visa situation which has become very complicated. Pray as well for the container of our personal goods, that God will give us the wisdom to know what to do.
My eyes are getting heavy and I’m ready to shut this down. I have Lori sleeping on my right and William sleeping on my left, and now I’m looking to join them. I hope all is well at home and everybody’s healthy. We’ll continue to remember you all in prayer. We love you all dearly.
Yours because of Christ (and mom!)
P.S. I think there was enough in this update to forgo the separate devotion this week. I’ll save it for the next update. Please forgive me, or for some, enjoy the break.

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