Goodness I have a lot on my mind.
First, however, is that I get to come to Texas for a few days so I can finally see my family. I will see them on Wednesday, July 22nd at 3:45 or so in the p.m. after 20 whole days. I have decided that is too long to not see my wife and children. Did I mention 20 days already? You will not hear me complain about the heat. I have been wrestling with depression/sadness or maybe just missing those-who-have-my-heart really bad since they left, but having a definite time and date when I will see them really helped lift that fog.
For a little controversy...I'll go ahead and say it: The U.S. is not a Christian nation. We never were a Christian nation. God has not promised us anything because we are the United States of America. Half of our founding father's were not believers. We are a nation founded on basically Biblical morals and ethics and we have strayed from much of that, but to call us back to our "Christian roots" is just ignorant. I'm not sure what the hang-up is with this but it's a big world out there and the US is only 233 years old. It's the best dang place in the world and the best republic in history and I love it. I really do. But what will make a difference in our nation is Christians living like Christ. Vote. Run for office. Walk humbly with your God. That's how things get done.
I was watching this special on National Geographic (the best magazine ever) about the Hubble Telescope and all that it has done. You all have seen the deep field and ultra deep field images like this one:
They basically took the telescope and pointed it at the darkest part of the sky and left the shutter open for 28 days. And this is what they saw. Look at that! We thought there was noting and what do we get? Millions of galaxies. Not just stars, but galaxies. I love astronomer language because they use creation words like 'formed' and "mysterious forces". They look at this, and rightly, they wonder. Then they try to figure out how all this occurred randomly from an infinitely small, infinitely dense point of matter. Never mind that you cannot have something infinitely dense or small. Infinite truly applies only to God. It means to have no measure, endless, limitless. But when you expect to see nothing and encounter the awesome creative power of God, you use what words you can.
Also, after some thinking, I have again come to the conclusion that there is no substitute for personal Bible study/prayer time and involvement in the community of believers. There's just not. You can augment with other things like sermons and devotional books or worship CD's or tunes on your iPod (all really good things) but if you're not reading your Bible and spending time worshiping with and serving, and ministering alongside other believers, good luck growing. I say this from the field of experience, not the pulpit of piety.
Learning another language is hard. Learning Spanish is easy. Learning to speak it with precision and eloquence is incredibly difficult. I have this scale from 1-5 that I got in pre-field training on how to learn a language. 1 is basically tourist level: order food, read a few signs, keep your dictionary close. 5 is speaking like a native, writing poetry in that language, etc. After more or less 2 years here, I'd say I'm at about a 2.5, maybe a 3 on a good day. I may never get to a 5, but I'm going to shoot for it. And that requires work. A lot of hard work. It just never ends, the need to work, does it? And among the pastors I work with, 6 Mayan languages are spoken that I know of. I was at a meeting Wednesday with 6 men (me included) and among those 6, we spoke 5 languages. Amazing! Thankfully we all speak Spanish.
Ok. Sometime today I have to make a snack for our Sunday School for tomorrow. Snacks for 20 Guatemalans. Any ideas?
I'll end my ramble here.