Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm coming home is a song that has felt very relevant to me this year.

Below are the key lyrics.

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the World that I’m coming...(home)

I've never been a massive fan of P.Diddy, but this one seems to wrap up what I've felt most of this year.....and today, as we return back home to Granada after some much needed time away, I'm excited to return to our friends and family in Grana'.

Its a hodgepodge group, Spaniards, expats, people who follow Jesus and those who aren't yet, men and women, atheletes and couch potatoes, but they are our group of people, and we are coming home.

More than ever, this place is our home, and its a good thing. We are looking forward to this school year as we, "come home."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And so we continue with our theraputic time of listening to music, watching yet more MASH, and recharging our batteries, emotional, physical and creative for the coming school year.

One of the things that's stuck with me this summer is the intense power of words, and on the contrary, the lack therof. Something that was said to us this summer was, "You guys are survivors." And that person probably has no idea that by saying and writing us that, how much those four small words have encouraged, sustained and kept us sane.

You see here, the war, is a spiritual war. We remind ourselves weekly, sometimes almost daily, that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers and princes of this world.

But in the same thought, we also get weary of fighting the war against the war. In a MASH episode, Hawkeye starts having serious nightmares, waking up screaming, and starts walking in his sleep. His fellow comrades and doctors have a discussion behind his back, and one thing Radar O'Riley states is, "Its because he's losing the war against the war." When pressed to explain, he goes on to say that one character paints and has a horse, another works hard and has some pets, etc.

Last night as I heard those words, I cried. I realized that's one element of my stress this summer. I've been so focussed on the war, I've wearied in fighting the war against the war. I too, must keep sane. I too must immerse myself in the Word for me, and not just teaching or preaching, or giving it out to others. I too must find time to just write, not just to exhort others, but to express myself and do what I need to do to recharge.

Andrew's better at this. He knows when to stop, watch some movies, read a book to fall alseep by, find good music, and let go for a bit, so that when you go back to it all, you aren't so weary.

We have a few brief days left, and its taken me this long to figure this out again. So, we've closed our door for a few days, taken down the shingle, and hope to disconnect just a little bit more until we are ready.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Andrew and I big fans of the show M.A.S.H. For those unfamiliar, I will sum up rapidly, said television show was taped in the 70's and 80's about the Mobile Army Surgical Unit 4077 that was placed during the Korean Conflict. You can read more about it here...M.A.S.H.

Essentially, it was the first sit-com to deal with a more realistic plot, following the ups and downs of this MASH unit, both hysterical and realistic. The comedy is darkly believable, the depressing moments resonate strangely with both Andrew and I. Even though he and I don't perform actually surgery on patients in a war zone, the homesickness, the boredom, the loneliness, the depth of relationships formed in a short time, and the sadness of certain situations always seem to resound in our souls.

So several summers, we pull out our dvd's and have long extended marathons. I call it our therapy.

We are working our way now through the early season, and one of the episodes particularly struck a chord with me this year.

The chaplain, Father Mulchahey, is a good solid character, always there to lend a hand in surgery, write a letter, listen, give some spiritual advise, etc. But at one point, he expresses his frustration by saying, "Sometimes, I feel like I don't ever see results". He goes on to explain that the doctors and nurses see patients come in battered and broken, torn apart and they get to put them back together. He says he deals with the spiritual, and never seems to see anything come outta it.

During the episode, the docs come across a patient on the brink of death. The docs have done all they can, they don't know why the solider isn't getting better. They ask the padre to pray, and almost instantly, the patient wakes up and speaks. They turn to the Padre and say thanks. Befuddled he says, "it doesn't work that way..." but you can see his joy and gratification in that he was useful.

It feels that way here. Sometimes you work and work and work and pray and work and work, and you never feel like you get any gratification. But a couple of weeks ago, I had the same thing happen, right after I watched that episode of MASH.

Andrew and I are teaching classes and the man who is subcontracting us out, owes us a lot of money. He thought he was going to be able to pay us right before vacation, i.e. the month of August, but he wasn't able to. I called him a few days before vacation and he felt so bad on the phone that he couldn't pay us until he get paid. A thousand apologies...and I said, No pasa nada...and we hung up.

As I started to think about it, I realized I had a moment, an opportunity. In a metaphorical sense, the patient was dying, and I was given a moment in time to pray. I felt I should write Jose a note, and he had asked for some information anyway.

I gave him the info and then I wrote him this...translation below.

Quería decirte que no pasa nada, tranquilo en sobre todo, el dinero. Te digo porque. No estoy seguro en lo que crees, pero Andrew y yo creemos en un Dios que es Todopoderoso, pero ademas, se ocupa en cuidarnos. El tiene todo bajo de su control, y a veces olvidamos esto. Yo estoy muy seguro que a veces cosas así pasa, para que podamos esperar y orar a Dios, acordándole nuestras necesidades.

Así que, tengo fe en que Dios controla hasta las detalles mas pequeñas en nuestras vidas. Oremos que lo mas antes posible, habrá un milagro sorprendente en este caso.

Confiamos que tu estas haciendo todo lo que sea posible. Tranquilo! Y nos vemos pronto, estoy seguro!

I wanted to let you know that "no pasa nada" relax, especially about the money. I'll tell you why. I am not really sure about what you believe, but Andrew and I believe in a God who is all powerful, but as well, a God who takes care of us. He has everything under control, and sometimes we forget this. I am very certain that sometimes things like this happen, so that we can have faith, and pray, reminding God of our needs.

So, I have faith that God controls everything including the smallest details of our lives. We will pray that as soon as possible, there will be a surprising miracle in this case.

We trust that you are doing everything possible. Relax! We will see each other soon, I'm sure of it.

And off it went. I had no idea that the next morning, as I rode the bus, I would receive this powerful response.


Me he levantado temprano,
vengo a trabajar como cada mañana a la 8:00
Pero hoy….al abrir el correo electrónico…me he encontrado una palabras maravillosas,
Que habla sobre Dios, la Fe…y que él nos cuida…

Cuánta razón llevas…!!!

Es cierto… estas palabras me ha hecho esta mañana, reflexionar…parar
Y pensar, en el ritmo que llevo a diario…
Le damostanta importancia al dinero y al trabajo… que no pensamos en las cosas bellas
Que nos brinda la vida…

Gracias por tos palabras me ha alegrado la mañana…y me da fuerzas para seguir…

Sois unas personas maravillosas


I woke up early and went into work like every morning at 8am. But today, when I opened my email, I found these incredible words that spoke of God, faith, and how He takes care of us.


It is so true, this morning, your words caused me to stop, reflect and think about our daily rythmn in life.
How we give so much importance to money and work, and that we don't think about these beautiful things that toast (or shine) our lives.
Thank you for your words which have made me happy this morning and have given me strength to continue. THANKS>

You are wonderful people.

And as I got this little email, I realized that I had actually hoped for and prayed for the wrong miracle, and our surprising God, had given me the miracle that He really wanted. Instead of the money, a temporal thing, He didn't give it to us. He instead opened an eternal door, a door of witness, and opportunity. One that we've been praying for, one that's vital and important and crucial. The reason we are here, not to pay the bills, but to see His Kingdom come.

And I was reminded again yesterday morning after not sleeping all night, tossing and turning as my chronic kidney condition flared up. As I struggled over the pain, again, I tried to laid my concerns again at his feet. And in my email I got this...

Luke 12:27-31 (New Living Translation)
27 "Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
 29 "And don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don't worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need."

As Andrew and I rest this month after a most busy school year, I hope this will be our mediation. Seek His Kingdom, the rest will follow.

Summer. A time for renewal, rest, and some writing. So, the series of articles that follows will be some of my reflections, travels, thoughts, and yearnings for the year to come.