down day

I am simply discouraged today. Yesterday some friends of ours (gringos) were in a car accident. They are ok but their rear axle is bent which makes driving rather awkward. They were following us to church where we are helping with VBS and we were stopped at a light. I heard the crash-bang that only car wrecks make and hopped out to help. A guy in a new BMW said he fell asleep and swerved from the right lane into the left and hit their stationary vehicle.

Insurance? No. Police? 8 of them. Lawyers? 3. Compensation from the guilty driver? $0.00. I put the decimal places in because more zeroes look sadder. The driver changed his story, got aggressive, said that gringos treat Guatemalans like trash and once his buddies got there he clammed up and said that my friend had actually hit him and damaged his car. Hmmm. That was especially nice of him.

I wrote a blog once about the hymn I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day and I feel a whole lot like hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men. Injustice is everywhere here in Guatemala. I am weary of a childish Church doing nothing and a government more influenced by nefarious drug lords than democracy. I am weary of dishonest, prideful people talking advantage of the weak and the poor and the foreigner. How contrary to the character of God to do those things. All it takes is 1 person doing the right thing. One person. But I don't control anyone but me. So I have to point my finger at my own face and ask myself, "What is required of you?"

Churches here are more concerned with getting bigger than growing up. More concerned with experiencing the rapturous gifts than exercising spiritual disciplines. They want people to live holy lives but they aren't equipping them to fall more in love with Jesus. What in the world are you doing, Church, if you are not growing more deeply in love with Christ? That's the impetus for all the good and all the hope and all the change we can imagine. It's not buildings or programs, it's a PERSON that we love and He leads us and helps us and empowers us to do the impossible: Be a Christian in a crappy world.

My lovely wife gave me a desk clock with this engraving:

"Every man complete in Christ...For this purpose I labor,
striving according to His power, which mightily works within me"
Colossians 1:28-29

In Honor of your Ordination
April 20, 2008

My weariness, disillusionment, disappointment and frustration are no excuse for me to forget my purpose. I was not called to comfort and ease but to labor, striving according to the power of the Prince of Peace. Today I am discouraged but not defeated.

While writing this the doorbell rang. It was little Maximo and Edgar the shoeshine boys, just 9 and 10. They live 90 minutes away and come on Thursdays to wash the car and get some some food and talk about Jesus. I had to stop letting them wash the car because an older boy beat them up and told them to stay away from our house because he wanted the business. So they come for some bean tostadas and juice. I got them a Bible and the gospels in comic book form. They are reading it and we talk about it and I ask them questions.

But honestly I have no idea what I am doing. I can't relate to these boys who wake up at 5am and take an hour and a half to two hour bus ride one way every day to Xela to shine shoes and formerly wash my car. They make Q25-35 a day or about $3-4. Maximo is the oldest of 5. His mother died last year and is grandmother died in Sunday. He doesn't get vaccines or vitamins or watch cartoons. He and his 9 year old buddy walk by themselves all over Xela with no one to protect them or give them socks or let them be little boys. I can't relate. But I can't just do nothing either. So I do what seems just short of nothing and hope God can take that little and transform the world of 2 little boys.

God is not dead nor doth He sleep. Even when I feel like He's not doing a whole lot, He is. Because that's who He is. And another day I will see another glimpse of His work to lift my sagging faith.