Wednesday

Witch one is better?

So here's a funny cultural dynamic.

Today is Halloween. The day for folks to dress up in all kinds of costumes and do stuff. No, not prom, that's more expensive. And in the spring. More in a later post on the similarities between prom and Halloween. Anyway - so we have a child and we're in the USA and so we're rolling with it.

Deacon will be a turtle. If you have a religious reason for Deacon not to dress up as a turtle, please enlighten me. And it's not a Teenage nor a Mutant turtle - just a turtle. With a velcro-removable shell. And a little turtle helmet.

So here's what's funny to me. We're looking at what to do so Deacon can experience a little American culture and we have two options: Trick-or-treat, or Harvest Festival.

Trick-or-treating involves dressing up, going out in a neighborhood (with us, of course) and going door to door asking for candy. We both did it as kids and it's sort of a threat-for-candy ransom. You knock on the door and tell the occupants that they have 2 choices. Either they give you some candy (because you dressed up in something cool or cute or scary or funny) or you will do something bad to them (typically vandalism - named for the Vandals who sacked Rome). I mean, that's what it is. And I had a hoot at it as a kid. After you fill up your plastic pumpkin or pillow case or whatever, you return home, check the candy for razorblades, and eat until you slip into an insulin coma. At least that's how I remember it.

A Harvest Festival is the Christian equivalent. Held at a church or somewhere public, kids usually dress up as something (but not usually something scary) and attend fun, harvest themed events. Go home, don't have to check for razorblades, and eat until they slip into an insulin coma. This is an alternative to celebrating Halloween as a pagan holiday. Or a safer alternative, which is a good idea given all the sickos out there. But the alternative to celebrating Halloween...is it really?

I'll give you that there are some people who celebrate All Hallow's (All Saint's) Eve ("hallowed be Thy name" - same word there. fascinating) as the night for evil before a day of good. I know Wiccans and druid type folk are about and that there really is evil out there and that celebrating evil is always bad. But going to a Halloween party versus a Harvest Festival - what's the difference?

I don't see any...anyone have some insight?

We're doing both.

Monday

Oh, just stuff

We have been in Lubbock in the great south plains of Texas. It's fall here which means the weather is beautiful and the sky is blue.

Jenny and I had the enormous pleasure of attending a Texas Tech football game. What a joy! We threw 4 interceptions, one of them ran back for a touchdown, and so lost to those pesky Buffaloes of Colorado, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. What a great sport, college football. I must admit it is one thing I enjoy more and more as I get older.

Jenny's dad had a pain pump put in and the Lord brought him through the surgery Friday. Hopefully this will lower his constant pain to a more managable level. Some days it seems he is being tortured by his own body, pressed down by the full weight being a human in a fallen world. But not all days are bad and I have been able to hang out with him a good bit. He is proof that the name-it-claim-it crowd is just plain wrong.

We begin our orientation with CAM on Sunday. Looking forward to that. It will be a busy 2 weeks. Then Thanksgiving. We are just really, really, really (is 4 too many?) enjoying time with our family. God has blessed us with wonderful everyone. And if you're in the DFW area, we'd love to see you too. Just give us a holler. If you don't know what that means, well, you have some learnin' to do.

Tuesday

Tuesday

I can't keep this up forever, but there is one more thing you folks in the US should appreciate:

Water fountains

They don't exist in Guatemala. But here, I can walk through the mall or a school or a church and if I find myself thirsty - refreshing, clean, potable water - for free - right there near the restrooms. And usually it's cold water! If we just put little signs above them and said, "In the name of Jesus, please have a drink." think how much we would be rewarded. That was only partially tongue in cheek.

Jenny and I went to church Sunday. And we heard a sermon and we worshiped and we did it all in English. Now I know that English is not the be-all of languages, but it is and will always be our heart language. And oh, we have missed it. We sing to the Lord and hear sermons in Spanish, but at this point, it is just not the same.

What a joy to sing and not have to translate! To hear and listen and think and understand at the pace of the speaker, to understand more than 70% of a sermon - sheer bliss! I forget how good I am at English. And please don't take that as arrogance - it's just my heart language, the language I know and from which I filter everything. I don't think in Spanish. I may speak it and read it and even dream in it, but when I sort something out, I do it in English. It was just refreshing to worship again in English. I look forward to the day when I am that comfortable with Spanish, bt that days is not today.

And, by the way, please enjoy his weather. This is, temperature wise, similar to where we live in Guatemala. But the crispness is not there as it is here. We don't get cold fronts. Today is like biting into a crisp, cold apple. Refreshing! Enjoy it and enjoy the Lord in His creation!

Thursday

And we're back

We landed at DFW tuesday afternoon.

It's a very big airport. And clean.

I have noticed a few things that are different from my home in Guatemala:

- houses are really big here. If you live in a house here, chances are it's pretty big. Yards are big too. If you have a yard - get out there and enjoy it. Lots of folks don't have one.

- things are really clean here. streets, parks, parking lots, cars, people. All of them clean. And someone has to clean all those things! Thank you to all those people who keep the FlowerPlex clean. It looks really nice.

- Tom Thumb is expensive. Wow.

- The roads here are things of beauty. Have you seen 3040? Goodness. That's a magnificent road. Nicer than any road in Guatemala. A lot nicer.

- Tex-Mex is a culinary delight. I ate my weight in chips and salsa. And queso - it doesn't just mean 'cheese'. Yum.

- People drive in the lanes here. At least mostly. I was turning into the grocery store and found that I swerved and slammed on my brakes to careen into the parking lot. My lovely wife reminded me that we weren't in Guatemala so I didn't have to drive like that.

- People mostly stop at stop lights. This is nice.

- It's very quit here. No buses blaring, no political slogans blasting, no cows or dogs or other critters making critter noises. No one ringing the door bell to sell me avocados or limes. Kind of miss that one, actually.

- You have lots of beautiful trees. Please enjoy that.

- The power stays on here. All the time. That's very nice.

- our family is here. I think that must be the nicest thing of all.


I am going to get the car registration renewed and the car inspected today. In Guatemala this would take 3-4 days or maybe a week. I am bringing a book to read and I will not ever complain about how long it takes at the DPS again. I mean, if it takes half the day, IT ONLY TOOK HALF A DAY!

I'm actually kind of excited about it.

Monday

In Transit

SO.

We are going back to Texas tomorrow.

Right now Jenny and Deacon are taking a much needed nap and I am in the snazzy business center typing this little blog. It has been a really busy few weeks. But we are ready and will get on a flight tomorrow to eb away from our home for 6 months. We will return to Guatemala in April 2008. whew.

I would say we have learned a lot these two weeks, etc, etc but mostly we are just tired. But all the to do lists are crossed off and I will finally slay the Telgua dragon this afternoon (Telgua is the phone company here) and be done with it.

I suppose we are in for some reverse culture shock but I have no idea what that means. When we return to Guatemala we will be with a different organization and our puppy will be a dog. We will have 2 kids instead of one. A lot will be different but for now it is just life. And life = different.

But we are looking forward to seeing our family and our friends and the tons of people we love and who love us.

So...hope to see you all soon.

Sunday

What's that they say about change?

Well, for those of you who do not know, we are changing organizations.

We have resigned from RMI and will attend candidate orientation with CAM International in Dallas in November.

We will return to the States October 16th - a mere 8 days from now - for a long time. About six months - during which we will attend orientation, have a baby, and attend more training before heading back home to Guatemala to begin our new ministry here.

I will be training and discipling pastors here in western Guatemala and I could not be more excited about it. But that seems like a REALLY long way off today and I'm just trying to get our house in order before we have to leave it for half a year.

So...

That's about it for now.

Oh, by the way, Jesus is incredible and He will never lead you astray. I promise. Just listen to Him and things will be ok.

Tuesday

In brief...

Been a little busy.

And we don't have internet at our new place. Kind of a long story. We are moving still but just about done getting pictures up, etc.

All is well - Jenny's healthy and definitely pregnant now.

Ok, sorry for the drought - more a little later.