Saturday

And we're still eating stuffing

Our Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful! We stuffed our house and our faces. 35 folks came over. I made a little speech and we ate too much. But it was a wonderful celebration of God and His goodness. Eating together is so special.

Here's a few pics. BoyD in his usual stance - in the arms of a Guatemalan girl. And the before and after of the kitchen. Look at all that food! It was more food that most of them had ever seen. No exaggeration. How fun that they all got to eat it! They made short work of a 25 lb turkey. We did hide a piece of pecan pie, though. Cost us close to $20 to cook that thing, we were getting a slice!
































Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We think we're about ready. After cooking since Tuesday and getting things ready we hope it all come together - we have 35 folks coming over. We hope our 25 lb turkey and enough cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes to fill a bathtub will be enough. We hope the Guatemalans like it.

May the Lord be glorified and praised at our home today. A tradition we have is to read Psalm 100 as the prayer before the meal. Enjoy this day!

Psalm 100

A Thanksgiving Psalm
1-2 On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.

3 Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn't make him.
We're his people, his well-tended sheep.

4 Enter with the password: "Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

5 For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.

Tuesday

What happened today

I went to a Colegio today. It's sort of like a high school except you don't get a general degree like in the US. It's more like a trade school. And they have 5-20 year olds.

Anyway, some friends of ours asked me if I would be interested in helping this particular Christian school out. Maybe teach a Bible class every 2 weeks or so. Sounded great. She wanted to know my credentials, sheep skins, etc.

So we go to visit and I talk to some of the administration folks. Turns out they don't really want someone to teach a class every 2 weeks. See, the kids, at least many of them, don't' have 2 parents at home because one of them is working in the US and sending money back home. So their home lives are pretty dysfunctional and several of the older kids (18-20) work during the week to pay for school and have no one to, well, just to talk to about their life.

They want me to be the school psychologist. A counselor.

Sigh.

Yes, I have a B.A. in Psychology but anyone who has that degree will tell you it does NOT qualify you to be a counselor. Now I also know that I have more education than...well, than most folks here. A Masters in the states is not that abnormal. Here, it's pretty big. But to be a counselor in the states I need a lot more training. Like a few more years.

They want me to come Fridays and Saturdays but I don't know for how long. I can't give them even a full day - it's not why I'm here. You get warned a lot not to do everything that people want you to do because when you're a missionary folks think you can and should do everything that helps somebody else.

I bet that sounds pretty snooty.

What do you think? Can I do it all? Should I? I'm here to train pastors. That's not all I'll do - but how much do you add? How often do you say, "no" and get that horrible look from people who actually need help and dont' have anyone else to give it?

It's not an easy answer. On one hand I have the opportunity to influence and help high school and college age kids who don't have anyone else guiding them. On the other hand, the work I came here to do will very soon become all consuming. It will very soon become very, very busy.

I can tell you one thing for certain. The Lord will help me. He doesn't call Himself a shepherd on accident.

Monday

for those of you wondering

Jenny and I are no longer wearing black and are doing...ok after Black Saturday. Oh, the humanity.

College Football. She is a coy mistress.

to say

We're having folks over for Thanksgiving dinner. We've invited 35 or 40 and we hope most of them come. It's a mix of missionaries, Catholics, Protestants and folks who don't fit into one of those categories but love the Lord. Wealthy and poor. Lost and found. Guatemalan, Canadian, 4 Americans and a Spaniard.

I want to tell the folks why we celebrate Thanksgiving in the States. The history, the story. I'll get to use all my newfangled verb tenses. But somehow I sense very deeply that the message of the gospel - the real gospel - must be presented to people who all claim to know it.

But I refuse to bait-and-switch. I refuse to invite folks over and then preach at them. I refuse to ignore the opportunity.

And so today I'll write something out and spend tomorrow making sure what I want to say is actually being communicated. And I'll pray a lot and ask the Lord to help me say what He wants me to say - even if it doesn't involve turkeys and pilgrims. And then we'll see.

Thursday

Turkey.

I know it's cheating to post and tell the reader to go to another blog. But here it is. Head to Jenny's blog for a fun update on some events here in Guatemala. We harvested corn.

We also bought a 25 lb turkey today for Thanksgiving or Dia de la accion de gracia. Too many words in Spanish. We might have close to 40 folks over so I hope it's enough turkey. We couldn't find a bigger one. Oh, and it's a Butterball. They're all imported. And frozen.

Here's 5 uses for a frozen turkey:

1. Kenetic energy weapon. And a cool one at that.
2. Replacement curling stone. But a poor one.
3. Um, thaw it and cook it and eat it?
4. Plug for seal breathing holes.
5. Very bad hockey goalie. Unless you had a bunch of them.


And with that I'm leaving to review object, reflexive, impersonal and reciprocal pronouns.

Wednesday

the weather

Is it lame to talk about the weather if you're a meteorologist?

I'm not, but, anyway.

Just wanted you DFW area folks to know that your current weather is what the weather is like in Xela every day. Even in August. Of course it's in Guatemala so, there's always that.

Also I thought I was going rather well in Spanish until I tried to read the Op-Ed page of the paper and realized I have so far...so very far to go.

Since yesterday, I have read most of The Shack and I must say my attitude is greatly improved. I'm not all the way through it, but my initial reaction is: WOW. What a wonderful book (thus far - I'm told it remains wonderful). It's a Big God book and I like those kind of books. Not a book where our job is to figure God out and explain Him to inquiring minds but a book where our job is to love and be loved by God. I like that.

I rekon I'll give a little review on it when I'm done but for now I'd say read it. Unless you already have. Then...read your Bible.

Tuesday

life, people and things that make me worry

So life is more complicated the older I get. Well, not really, but it sure can seem that way. I guess life is what it is and I complicate it by being older. Who knows.

I got news that our home church, CBC, has to let 2 folks go from staff because they just didn't have the support to keep them. Two of my favorite people on the planet. People with whom I share history, ministry and life. People because of whom the world is better and the Body more effective at being what we are. People that I love.

We also found out that BabyM is underweight and the doctor wants us to run tests to see if she has an infection of some sort. We got the results back but they mean nothing to us and all we can do until we see the Dr. again is worry ourselves by looking stuff up online. Even when we do go to the doctor he'll explain everything to us in Spanish and we'll only get 90% of it or so if we're really on the ball.

Much of the news I hear from back home is discouraging because people I love are struggling. They suffer loss. Heartache. Disappointment. Financial trouble. They are depressed and worried. They hurt and cry and ask God what is going on and I cannot answer them more than to say that God loves them and that I do too.

I have a lot of training. I have a masters degree from Dallas Seminary. I am an ordained minister of the Gospel. And I am not God. I'm just Brandon and the only answers I have that do any good whatsoever are just answers I have learned from walking with God and with those who love Him.

I live in a country where 95% of the people I love and care about aren't. I cannot go have coffee with a friend who got laid off or bring a meal to someone or hug one of those people who are struggling. I cannot because I have chosen not to live there and I have chosen not to live there because The Lord, who is my Shepherd, has led me somewhere else for a time. He has led me away form the flock I knew into another flock that is unfamiliar to me. A flock which does not speak my language. Whose customs I do not know. And yet He has led me here indeed.

But I am one of the Strugglers. I am not above the fray and I never will be. Jesus did not tell me, "Make everything perfect in your own life, fix all your problems, then love and serve and help people" Paul says with good reason that we carry about the treasure of the gospel in jars of clay. I am a human, redeemed but still walking by faith. Still walking by hope. See, there will be a day when I see my Lord face to face and my faith and hope will be fulfilled. But that day has not yet come. And so I wait and worry and struggle with the rest of you because that's how some days are. The Lord would not have told us not to worry if it was something we wouldn't struggle with. He told us not to worry because He knew we would. He told us do not be afraid because we fear. He told us to abide in Him because we often won't. He told us to love one another because we tend not to.

He told us to love Him because He is the source of all those other things which make being a Christian any different from anything else. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life, not something else, and when the day is done the reality is that we have no other option but to follow the One who made us. I have the option not to follow, not to believe, but that leaves me in the same predicament minus the power and love of Christ. If I have to struggle, I might as well do it in the hand of my loving God.

Probably doesn't sound very holy for a missionary. Well, I'm a missionary and that's what's going on today, holy or not.

Sunday

I hope the Cowboys win

But that's all I have to say about that.

We went to the retreat but left early because BabyM has decided to quit nursing and so we went home. But it was a beautiful camp...I'll get pics up later...and a good time. Although it stretched my Spanish a LOT, it was good to meet some folks and begin a few friendships. But the reality of it is that this is a season of our life during which couples retreats are not a feasible reality.

Tomorrow we are going to help some friends harvest their corn. We asked if they needed help and their grandfather told us no, that we were missionaries and therefore special people and harvesting corn is very hot, hard, dirty work. But we asked again and they relented. We don't want to be 'special' because we're all the same folks and sort of want to break down the Great White Missionary myth a little. We'll see how it goes. I doubt we'll be much help but maybe we'll learn something.

Ok. I'm exhausted. So exhausted that I'm going to bed before the Cowboys game is over. That's tired for me.

Thursday

Not sure what I think about this

I know I'm jumping topics like a flea at a dog show, but I had to share this. And confess my confusion and chin-scratching at the story. I'm having a hard time even categorizing it so that I know what to think.

Anyway, it's an ABC news story about a man, who has female parts, is married to a woman, got pregnant (artificially) and had a baby girl. He is pregnant again. Not a typo, there, either.

Here's the article: Man has Baby

I am to love everyone human and this guy is human. So I'm not hating on the guy or calling him a freak or any of that. Just curious if any of you could help me think what to think.

Some interesting questions come up:

1. If the guy becomes a believer (or already is) what gender does he have in eternity?
2. How is a person with female reproductive parts a man?

That's about all I've got for now. Have fun being confused. It's a strange world out there.

Wednesday

Simple things

Ever noticed how simple things can bring a lot of joy?

Here's a few from me:

- Beans and cornbread. Cost $.75 and man, we really like it in our house. Simple.
- Sleeping through the night. A seemingly simple thing but when you don't' get it for awhile, whew.
- BabyM's chipmunk smile. She got huge teeth now.
- Hot showers. If you don't get this one imagine them not hot.
- Kisses from a toddler.
- A fire. Outside. At night. When its crisp.
- Toast. It's amazing the difference it makes when compared to just plain bread.
- Cat's purring. It's a mystery but it's cool.
- Diapers that work. Just read the previous blog to see why that one's in here.
- Singing. hymns, U2, whatever. It''s good.
- Cold milk. I know this is like the toast example, but wetter. And dairy.
- Children's laughter. We lived off of it here in the Scott house.

But all these things are simple. And we live in a world that seems to be getting more and more complicated. With a few exceptions these things have been available for us humans for a very long time. And I don't have to go into debt to enjoy them. Enjoy. That's a word we seem to have too little of. And life is frustrating enough without enjoying something - good. And simple. Anyway.

What are some things that you enjoy? Take some of mine. They're free! I'd love to hear a few of yours. Unless they're not fun. Then please don't put them. Weird is good, but not not-fun.

Monday

Oh, poop

Jenny went to a movie yesterday afternoon with a girlfriend of hers here. I watched the kiddos. BoyD and I were chilling out watching Curious George discover his way through the Bahamas with the Man in the Yellow Hat when BabyM woke up from a monster 3 hour nap.

I trundled up the stairs and waltzed into her room expecting to be greeted by my beautiful doe eyed girl. I was. Except she was covered in poop. Her poop. Lots of her poop.

She decided to take her diaper off. And poop. In the crib. And play with it. It was on her legs. Arms. Hands. Face. Pacifier. Yeah. It was horrible. And the stink. Wow.

But it's all cleaned up. Go to Jenny's Blog for video evidence of the crime scene. Even CSI might have cringed. Although I've heard worse stories.

Some days are poopy.

Sunday

Other people

The fact that we need one another may be the most annoying truth I know.

The fact that I myself need other people mainly hurts my pride. But to think that other people need me around just seems silly. But it's not.

There have been books (and good ones, too) written about all the 'one another' commands in the New Testament.

Commands like:


Be devoted to one another (Rom 12:10)
Honor one another (Rom 12:10)
Live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16)
Stop passing judgment on one another (Rom. 14:13)
I appeal to you...all of you agree with one another (1 Cor 1:10)
Serve one another (Gal. 5:13)
Be patient, bearing with one another in love (Eph 4:2)
Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
Teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16)
Spur one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
Offer hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
Love one another (1 John 3:11 and all of 1 John)

Please go back and read those again. Because as I read them I have been, well, convicted, by how I am in my relationships. With Jenny, with others. Especially those I disagree with. Do those words describe you? They very rarely describe me.

But what is most important is that it is impossible to follow a single one of those commands alone. And I need you people to follow them. I need you because I need someone to love and encourage and serve and admonish. And I need you to love and serve and admonish and spurn and teach me.

We need one another to be Christians. I didn't say we need one another for salvation. I said we need one another to be Christians. We need one another to be followers of Christ - to be a Body. A dismembered body is called a Crime Scene. They have people who know how to solve those crimes. How to look at body parts and figure out what happened and how the body was taken apart. And maybe even catch the person who did it.

I don't want to live in a crime scene. It's. . .horrible. I want to live in a healthy body. And healthy bodies are, literally, together.

I need the people in my church here in Guatemala. We're going on a retreat this weekend. Its 4 hours from our house. Not expensive, but a bit of a hassle because we have 2 little kids. It will be great but it would be easier to just stay home and do the usual thing.

But if we don't' go we miss the opportunity to do what where commanded to do with people outside our family. What a shame to miss that!

So, even you anonymous people our there, I need you and I want you around. Of course none of those commands can be accomplished anonymously but that's up to you to accomplish. I'm just glad to have you around - though I'd rather know your name. Because when you remain not you (because you are not really anonymous - you are a person with a name) you rob me of the opportunity to love another person and to grow to love someone I disagree with.

Anyway.

One another. It's messy.

Wednesday

Oh, just a ramble

Head over to pastor Mike's blog for a great commentary on yesterday's election results by clicking here.

Now I have to rant a little.

And it doesn't have anything to do with politics.

I like blogs. The blogisphere is truly an amazing thing - a place where people share thoughts, ideas, concerns. Though a sad substitute for actually being with people, it's nice to share encouragement and pictures and life with people I otherwise wouldn't' be able to see because, well, I live in Guatemala.

And we can each have our own little patch of blog to do with as we please. Like coloring your own place mat and laminating it - its yours and its out there for everyone to see.

And we can even comment on each others blogs. We can encourage and challenge and help one another figure things out. Which brings me to my rant.

Stop it with the anonymous postings already.

I lost count of how many blogs have 'anonymous' comments. You can just put your name in there or create a profile or even put a

- brandon (or your name)

at the bottom of your comment if you don't want to go to the other trouble.

But don't say mean or snippy or crass or hurtful things and then hide behind anonymous. It's cowardly. Shame on you who do that. Stop it.

If you are too embarrassed to have your name associated with what you said than don't say it. Just keep it to yourself. You are embarrassed for a reason, don't hide behind a facade. All our mothers told us, "If you can't say something nice..." We know how to finish that, don't we? So let's apply that to our little place mats here.

We live in an increasingly disconnected world where we text and IM and e-mail and Skype and Facebook but we don't get together and sit and talk and eat and do the things humans do. If you are not close enough to someone to smell their halitosis on a regular basis, may I suggest finding somewhere or something where you are close enough not to hide behind the cowardice of anonymity.

Authenticity is more important than our comfort. If you disagree with something on someone else's blog, figure out a way to say it that isn't mean or don't say it at all. People say things that are personal to them. Don't stamp out their thoughts.

Don't scribble all over their place mat.

We've got enough meanness out there already. Now - go find something kind to say.

Tuesday

A wonderful day


Today the citizens of the United States of America have the incredible opportunity to do something unique. You get to vote.

For as much as Americans complain about politics and government and the media and ______, we have the opportunity, the right and the power to enter that voting booth and say, "I want this person to govern me."

That's amazing.

Please realize that the whole world does not have that freedom. And most of history has not. Guatemalan elections are quite a bit different. The government impossibly corrupt. The people often uneducated and and desperate. And yet they get out there and vote. You ladies out there have only had the right to vote since 1919 and that right was hard fought. Can you imagine not having the right to enter that voting booth?

We live in a land of historically unimaginable freedom. We live in a land of unparalleled equality. We live in a land of remarkably un-corrupted government. And it is the responsibility of the governed, the vote caster, the person that collectively makes up "we the people" to either speak their piece or hold it forever.

So go vote! I don't even care which candidate you vote for. Sure, I have my choice, my reasons, my piece to speak, but you do too! Use that brain of yours, think of who you want to govern you, and then exercise your very wonderful and sought after right to vote.




At least by tomorrow (hopefully) we'll be done with the campaigns!

Sunday

Did you hear that?

That was Jenny and I enjoying something of no heavenly value. Sometimes things that have no eternal value can be a lot of fun to experience. Last night was one of those things.

We saw it. We heard it. On an ESPN Latin American feed and an online radio station out of Midland. And we enjoyed it.

Clad in plastic armor and bearing their bovine and double consonant standards, our Red Raiders battled a valiant Texas football team to the last second. And in that last second sealed a victory for the ages on the South Plains.

Tomorrow, it's back to work, back to Spanish, to futbol and frijoles and the tasks before us. But today we take the advise of the teacher of Ecclesiastes, "So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad."

Way to go, Red Raiders. Thanks for that. It was a heck of a lot of fun.



If you want to read a great piece of sports writing (or writing in general) click HERE for a Matt Zemek article that ought to win him a prize or some sort.

Saturday

children

I love children. I don't always like them, but, well, according to the Beatles, liking gets trumped.

Here's why:

- They grow me. A lot. I need to be challenged to grow and Lord knows our 2 kids do that. Especially the Boy.

- They make me laugh. Every day. If you're not laughing, well, let me know. I'll tell you a funny something.

- They make me love Jenny more. I thought my wife was amazing. And then we had children. She is...well...slack jawed awe is a good start.

- They give our parents joy. I cannot imagine how much I will love my children's children. But our parents give me a glimpse of the depth and richness love can have.

- They teach me how to love. Loving people is hard. Loving toddlers is...emptying. The Lord has a special place for children and having 2 helps me realize how much He loves me. And how poorly I love most days, how conditional I make my love.

- They force me to order my life. Having 2 tiny people that have their own will and spirit and life - all of which you are responsible for cultivating and training and loving - forces you to either get together and make sense of things and give a child some form of ordered world in which to grow or be conquered by a 30 pound tyrant.

- They teach me who God is. The fact that God has a special place, a particular affection for children helps me know a little more about Him, gives me a glimpse into His mystery. And He desires me to have that same affection.

Oh, and they make life . . . better. Fuller. Deeper. Richer. Like the difference between black and white and color. Of regular and HD for you youngins.

Better. Either way.