I love this map. And it is a map. Doesn't it give you comfort, knowing that if you were lost at Cuatro Caminos Guatemala, this map has been given by the government of Guatemala to help you find your way?

See, for me, the map makes plenty of sense. I live here. See that little arrow? That means, "You are here". See, like everyone always says, you can't know where to go unless you know where you are.

But that's not actually enough, is it?

You have to know a lot more than just where you are. You have to know where you want to go. And you have to know how to read. And for this sign, you have to know how to read in Spanish.


You have to know someone who knows all those things.

Some of you may think that I know all these things. That because I am a missionary I look at all the maps and know where I am and where I need to go and how to get there. That I have things figured out. You would be wrong.

Some days I look back and wonder how I got here. And I look at where I am and wonder what I'm doing. And I look to the future and I am afraid. And on days like that, I either turn to the Lord or I freak out. Not much middle ground for me.

Yesterday was one of those days. And the Lord showed me these things:

Psalm 32:
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.

7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

And then the Lord responds with this:

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

Proverbs 16:

1The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the LORD weighs the motives.
3Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

This is not a joke. The very day I was looking to the desires of my heart and asking the Lord, "What is going on? Am I insane?" He leads me to these verses in the Bible.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you."

Yesterday I was looking at the map and I was just lost. I could see the arrow but I didn't know what all the squiggles were. And I felt afraid. I needed someone to show me the way. And I still don't know the way. But that doesn't really matter. Because I know the person who knows the way. And I tell you what, that's enough for me. Because He tells me He will teach me in the way I should go and that He will counsel me and watch over me.

My job is not to figure out the way. It's just to trust the person who knows the way and enjoy the ride with Him. I know some of you are thinking this is overly simplistic. But on a day like yesterday, I'll take simple and true an helpful over academic and complicated and confusing. Call me simple. Call me whatever. I'm a follower and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I follow Jesus. And He can read that map.



I was going to say that I've been too busy to blog, but that's not entirely true. BabyM and I had a case of the Guatemalan Tummy Tussles. Imagine millions of microscopic Mexican wrestlers in your intestines and that's pretty close. That took it's toll over the weekend. We have had computer issues that I am slow to resolve given my general ineptitude at computer related crises. Both the masked microbials and the microprocessor woes are jsut about over. And that's a lot of m's.

Some Guatemalan friend of ours, the Lopez family, came to Xela yesterday. They live 5 hours from us in a town called Jacaltenango, where they moved a few months ago. They ended up staying the night and we were able to share a few meals with them before they headed home. Life is hard for them there. It just remote and their kids were roughed up in school. Nellie, the wife, had a good chance to talk and cry with Jenny last night. Rene, the husband, told us that they, for the first time, looked at us as having given something up to come to Guatemala. We live in a nice house here and don't have a horribly difficult life. But we do not live in the US, our home. He said he can see that we really sacrificed to move here and leave our country and our people and our family.

I don't feel like we suffer here. but it was so cool to have a Guatemalan share the sense of...foreignness..with us. We are extranjeros, strangers, foreigners here. And he, for the first time with a Guatemalan, got it. It was really neat.

Kelly, the gal staying with us, has experienced more frustration than we ever have in getting a project going. It's taken close to 2 weeks for our church to get in motion just to let her paint in the nursery. Incredible. Two weeks for paint. It's a different culture.

Oh, by the way, Jenny is pregnant! 10 weeks along this week. :-) She is utterly exhausted. Being pregnant is hard. Being pregnant with a 3 1/2 year old and a 17 month old is...really hard. Please pray for her. Thankfully, the 1st trimester is drawing to a close. But it ain't over yet! I love her far more than my own life and its rough to see her be so worn out.

Ok. I'm making mashed potatoes. They are ready for me to bring the mashin'


Mothers constantly amaze me

I am married to, in my opinion, histories most amazing woman. I know other's will say it's their wife, and they should. Her role as a mom has only increased my love for her and respect for her in how capable she is.

I read this story and thought, "That's what Jenny would have done." Here's to moms and the Momma Bear in each of you:

A Canadian mother has fought off a cougar with her bare hands after it pinned down her 3-year-old daughter in a forest.

The child, Maya, escaped with only superficial wounds after the attack near the town of Brackendale, 40 miles north of Vancouver.

But the cougar, an adult male, was tracked down and killed by conservation officers on Wednesday, reports said.

The girl's father Pablo Espinosa told public broadcaster CBC that his daughter thought the wild cat wanted to play.

Maya asked: "Why didn't the kitty play nice?" Espinosa said.

The girl and her mother Maureen Lee were walking on a wooded trail with their dog when the cougar pounced.

"All of a sudden it just flew on her, rolled her a couple of times and grabbed her," Lee told CBC.

"She was on her back and (the cougar) had his paws on her head, and I just knew I had to react quick.

"So I just jumped in there and wedged myself between the cougar and her on the ground."

Then "I just got up and threw it off my back and grabbed" Maya and ran, she went on.

She fought off a COUGAR. Incredible.

Here's the link for those who want it


Today is Tuesday

Just in case anyone was wondering.

I'm in the process of meeting the area pastors. To do that, I attend these prayer meetings put on my the Pastoral Care Ministry of the Consejo Altiplano. For those of you living in Plano, the name of your town means, "Plain or flat". Just thought I'd take Plano down a notch because I'm from a town named after a 50 ft hill which used to be covered in flowers until Tom Thumb killed them all. Anyway...I digress.

I'm supposed to meet some pastors and either drive with them of they ride with me out to the church. Two different guys said they would call me before today but saying you will do something and actually doing it are not as important here as I am used to. Sometimes folks run out of minutes on their cell phones and can't call. Who knows.

Flexibility is handy no matter where you live. But living in Latin America tends to require more than I am used to. Jenny and Kelley went to take BabyM to the doctor at 5:30 yesterday. They were there for 2 hours just...because. We had a team meeting last Monday but could not attend because people who were supposed to get paid for planting trees to prevent deforestation had not been paid by the government and decided to block all the highways throughout the country to make their point. Which they did. And in the process hurt all the people who did nothing wrong and also choke the economy and generally frustrate everyone but the government. Can you imagine, DFW folks, if people got mad and piled stuff 35 north of Denton, at 635 and 35, I30 and I35 and name your major intersection so that no one could go to work and everyone just sat there for hours on end until they just decided to open the road?

Well, it's frustrating. But it's life so, you go nuts or you roll with it.


At least it's less than a week

It's funny how much I am a creature of habit. Take a routine away and I'm slow to recover. For someone as naturally un-organized as me, it can be annoying.

So, you folks in Flower Mound and Lewisville (In Texas) took a pretty good beating. Amazing. I'm glad no one (at least to my knowledge) was hurt. But there were lots of lights and signs and trees blown down. My brother Ian had to clean up all over. He has some great picks on his blog Fully Known and Fully Loved

But he had an even better quote:

"While I was chopping and sawing this morning, I did reflect on the fact that the two trees that were uprooted were lost because they didn't have deep roots. There's an analogy there, people, so whatever your roots are, make sure they're strong enough to keep you from blowing away when the real storms come, and make sure they're deep enough to get ripped out from under you. "

He's in really good company saying that. Jesus used a different analogy, but the same idea:

Matt 7:24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

My roots are not just reading the Bible. The Lord tells me to "put them into practice". I actually need to do what He says. And that's just part of it. I'm not in this thing alone. I heard a sermon the other day reminding me that my faith/walk with Christ is personal, but it is not private. I am a part of a body and bodies are not private to themselves. My fingers touch my toes or scratch my back or slap a mosquito. I need some one to help me in this life. I am a work in progress. I need brothers and sisters to point out things I cannot (or do not want) to see.

Often trees are planted wrong. They then need ropes to keep them from falling over. But if you leave the ropes on for too long the tree does not send out deep roots to steady it in the soil. Sometimes the soil is bad or weak and the tree must send roots very, very deep to get a good hold. But even lone trees with deep roots are more vulnerable. Trees in a forest have their roots intertwined and brace one another when the storms blow in.

I'm often isolated here, but I am thankful for our church here and my transformation team with CAM. I need my fellow trees. And I need personal time with the Lord, talking to Him, studying His word so I will know what to do, letting Him point out where I am wrong and need to change and them submitting to and depending upon Him to change me, transform me. But just as vital, I need to share that process with others. With by fellow trees. We weather the storms a heck of a lot better together.


And a week later again

Well, since I last blogged, I have
- driven almost 1000 miles
- picked up Jerry and Kelley
- attended a prayer meeting in a place called San Cristobal at the foot of the peak of the volcano" (so the view would have been amazing had it not resided in a cloud
- had lots of fun using the 4x4 on the rainy mountain roads
- Purchased 300 tiny Mayan dolls for Jerry at half the asking price
- Driven Jerry all over Xela running errands
- Been turned back at a roadblock.
- That happened twice
- Driven to Xocomil (a water park)
- Finally managed to get Jerry to Danny (Thanks for being so flexible, Jerry - you rock)
- not slept enough

Well, that's some of it anyway. I haven't had much time to blog. Maybe...Tuesday. Or maybe Sunday. I shall see. If it comes to blogging or napping....well, I bet you can guess which one I'll choose.