Tuesday, July 31, 2007
If anyone asked me for my opinion ( yeah right! Like I'ld wait to be asked!) on what it takes to be a career missionary, I would answer, "Blood, sweat, and tears!"
It takes years to learn a language and a culture well . A language is picked up long before the culture is truly understood. In most cases, the missionary can attend a language school to learn a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but there is no class room to learn the culture. When dealing with a tribal language it is much more time consuming and the culture of course is totally alien to the western mind.
To learn a tribal language, one must become child like and follow people around and try to imitate sounds with out a clue as to their meaning. Eventually, you will begin to hear the different individual sounds and can transcribe...well, thats another whole blog!
To learn a culture is an important task for the missionary and it takes time, and, as I said, "Blood, sweat and tears!"
BLOOD? Yeah! You have to learn the cultural way of dealing with death. You have to find out their way of mourning and caring for the dead. This can be very different in each culture.
Take the Sanema tribe, I remember the first time I was invited to a "funeral". I walked to the village and found a spot around the huge fire being built. I saw the women screaming and crying and slapping themselves in dispare. I saw them bring out the body wrapped in it's hammock and, I saw them place the body upon the pyre. There is no smell quite like the smell of human flesh being consumed by fire.
At this point, the witch doctor really began to whip it up. I saw the women even more excited. This dancing and crying went on all day...all night... until, at last, the fire was allowed to die.
Not over yet though! Now comes the most important part! The most vital thing one must do for their dead loved ones...the drinking of the bones.
The women scraped through all the cinders, sifting through their fingers every last little bit. Careful to catch each piece of bone left. Then these bits of bone are taken and with a primitive mortal and pestle, are ground to a fine powder. Once this is prepared, it is added to a banana drink and stirred in.
Now, all the immediate family members of the deceased come forward and begin to drink the bones. They pass the gourd around solemnly from one to another. The tiniest baby must swallow some as well. NOW, they can relax and rest in peace! Their departed love one will now be ok!
By drinking the bones, they have guaranteed that their family member will live on in them. Now they will have eternal life by being part of the living. And when the living die, they will be consumed along with them by the next generation.
Why is it important to know this? It might explain to the missionary that the father who refuses to allow you to fly the sick child out to town for medical treatment isn't being a monster. No, he loves his child too much to risk him dying out among the "criollos" and being buried! For who would drink his bones? Who could guarantee the continuation of all the ancestors contained within the child? It is an act of love in his eyes.
We may think it morbid, but...it is actually the nature of man to desire life after death and if no one is there to explain the true path God has set for us to achieve it, this is their feeble attempt to acquire eternal life for themselves.
SWEAT! You bet, sometimes you have to work with them physically to gain their respect. In some cultures, you need to understand why they DONT seem to work at all! It is all part of how you will communicate truth to them in a way they comprehend.
I remember a group of visitors making an observation once about Ye'kwana men.
"They are so lazy! They sleep till noon and then sit around in their hammocks the rest of the day while the women do all the work!"
DUHH.. I thought! So would you if you had been out running through the jungle hunting all night and knew you had to go back out tonight since you weren't able to bring home meat for your family!
TEARS! You need to know what hurts them. You need to be with them in their times of mourning. Sit with them as an old, loved one slowly dies. Or as a newborn infant fades away.
I learned from the Indians, tears are not always visible. The worse hurts stay inside. The pain is for you alone and can not be shared, as this would cheapen it. So, if you don't see tears...thats serious pain!!!
BLOOD! Literally, sometimes. I once flew out to town to donate blood for a dying indian. No one else with his blood type could be bothered. I gave so much blood I nearly passed out. And I gave again in a few days. I wanted to give more but they would not let me. His father placed his sons hand in mine and said, "He's your son now too. He has your blood now."
His father had never wanted to listen to the gospel until that day. He is now a believer!
SWEAT! I have seen my husband work with them. He helped them build the school. He helped them build the dispensary, he helped them cut the airstrips they needed so the plane could get in to take out medical emergency patients. I have seen his shirt soaked as he worked hard in the sauna like environment of the jungle. I have seen him go days without sleep caring for the sick. This speaks volumes.
TEARS! How many caskets have we built? I remember one baby we were hand feeding , drop by drop as we could not get in an IV. We were unable to fly our plane out due to government problems and red tape. We called for the health department planes, but they were BUSY flying assembly members to Angel Falls for a vacation. When the baby died, my husband built the tiny casket. Jewel lined it with a blue gingham material and Jayde sang Jesus Loves Me in Ye'kwana at the funeral.
We are by no means, SUPER missionaries. These stories could be repeated over and over again by a number of missionaries. I just feel they need to be put in writing so that others can know of the many things God is doing in Missions today. Often times we act as if the God of the Old Testament is dead and no longer works among us. Or we read of great missionaries of the last century and wonder why God is not doing the same great things today. He still is! I have witnessed it.
I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him so so tenderly,
"My feet were also weary upon the Calv'ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me."
"I've sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I'm worth a lot to thee,"
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
"I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we'll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me."
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
"If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,"
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I'll take my cross and follow close to thee.
By Ira Stamphill
This old missionary hymn was sung last night. Over 75 missionaries from all the corners of the world, some young, some not-so-young, and some in retirement, all lifted our voices and sang this. I was left crying. It was very poignant for me. Especially the last verse.
Monday, July 30, 2007
You're Cry, the Beloved Country!
by Alan Paton
Life is exceedingly difficult right now, especially when you put more
miles between yourself and your hometown. But with all sorts of personal and profound
convictions, you are able to keep a level head and still try to help folks, no matter
how much they harm you. You walk through a land of natural beauty and daily horror. In
the end, far too much is a matter of black and white.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Does this sound like me?
What book are you?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
We are traveling and will be at a week long conference held by our mission. This is held each year for all furloughing missionaries and is intended to give us a chance to take some of the shock out of "re-entry".
Especially for the children. They so enjoy being with other missioary kids and realizing they are not the only ones going through the same adjustments. It s a week of great fellowship for all.
I will not be blogging much this week. I will re-post some older posts, for all the new readers.
But do check in! You never know when something interesting might happen here at The Jungle Hut!!!
Chavista Trolls Beware!
I have decided to declare myself, Jungle Mom, as "Dictator for life" here at The Jungle Hut. In so doing, I will follow the example of the dictator Hugo Chavez, from whom I have learned much in regard to restraining free speech...I will allow no dissent to be expressed here! Anyone who criticizes me will be permanently expelled from this blog!!
( Ok, not really ANYONE, just the ones who use foul language and express their desire for harm to me or my family. Many commenters here disagree with me on various subjects but state their opinion in a respectful manner. They may continue to do so.)
Cyberbullying (also spelled Cyber-bullying, Cyber bullying or online bullying) is the term used to refer to bullying and harassment by use of electronic devices though means of e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, and websites. Other terms for cyberbullying are "electronic bullying," "electronic harassment," "e-bullying," "SMS bullying," "mobile bullying," "online bullying," "digital bullying," or "Internet bullying".
It can constitute a computer crime. For example, in the United States it is a federal crime to anonymously "annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person" via the internet or telecommunication system, punishable by a fine and/or up to two years imprisonment.
Cyberbullying is willful and involves recurring or repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text. According to R.B. Standlerbullying intends to cause emotional distress and has no legitimate purpose to the choice of communications. Cyberbullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. Cyberbullying may also include threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech). Cyber-bullies may publish personal contact information for their victims at websites. They may attempt to assume the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them.
La Biblia presenta un sendero claro hacia la vida eterna. Primero, debemos reconocer que hemos pecado contra Dios: “Por cuanto todos pecaron, y están destituidos de la gloria de Dios” (Romanos 3:23). Todos hemos hecho cosas que desagradan a Dios, las cuales nos hacen merecedores de castigo. Debido a que a la larga todos nuestros pecados van en contra de un Dios eterno, únicamente bastaría un castigo eterno. “Porque la paga del pecado es muerte, mas la dádiva de Dios es vida eterna en Cristo Jesús Señor nuestro” (Romanos 6:23).
Sin embargo, Jesucristo, el inmaculado (1 Pedro 2:22), el eterno Hijo de Dios, se hizo hombre (Juan 1:1,14) y murió para pagar nuestro castigo. “Mas Dios muestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros” (Romanos 5:8). Jesucristo murió en la cruz (Juan 19:31-42), llevando la culpa que merecíamos (2 Corintios 5:21). Tres días mas tarde El se levantó de la tumba (1 Corintios 15:1-4), demostrando Su victoria sobre el pecado y la muerte. “Que según su grande misericordia nos hizo renacer para una esperanza viva, por la resurrección de Jesucristo de los muertos” (1 Pedro 1:3).
Por fe, debemos apartarnos de nuestro pecado y volvernos a Cristo para salvación (Hechos 3:19). Si ponemos nuestra fe en El, confiando en que Su muerte en la cruz fue el pago por nuestros pecados, seremos perdonados y recibiremos la promesa de la vida eterna en el cielo. “Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna” (Juan 3:16). “Si confesares con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor, y creyeres en tu corazón que Dios le levantó de los muertos, serás salvo” (Romanos 10:9). Solamente la fe en la obra completa de Cristo en la cruz, es el único camino verdadero hacia la vida eterna!. “Porque por gracia sois salvos por medio de la fe; y esto no de vosotros, pues es don de Dios; no por obras, para que nadie se gloríe” (Efesios 2:8-9).
Si usted desea aceptar a Jesucristo como su Salvador, aquí está una oración modelo. Recuerde, hacer esta oración o cualquier otra, no va a salvarle. Solamente el confiar en Cristo puede librarle del pecado. Esta oración es simplemente una manera de expresar a Dios su fe en El y agradecerle por proveerle su salvación. “Dios, se que he pecado contra ti y merezco castigo. Pero Jesucristo tomó el castigo que yo merecía, de manera que, a través de la fe en El, yo pueda ser perdonado. Me aparto de mi pecado y pongo mi confianza en Ti para salvación. Gracias por Tu maravillosa gracia y Tu perdón – el don de la vida eterna! Amen!”
Friday, July 27, 2007
Isa. 2:3 …and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:
Twenty four years ago God called a young couple to the mission field. God had chosen the pathway for our lives and ministry. He has also chosen to change our path at times in ways we had not foreseen. We are the Vernoy family and for the last twenty years Venezuela has been our home.
We went to Venezuela following God’s leading. Our first path led us to the city of Barquisimeto.
It was necessary that we establish churches, a bible institute and a camp ministry. We began working with the Carlos Arce family and as we learned from them, and worked with them, we saw many of these goals come to fruition to the glory of God.
It was our desire to train Venezuelan pastors to do the work of God. We were able to help establish a Bible Institute and be involved in the beginning stages of this great ministry.
The first year started with eight students. That was 18 years ago. On June 25th 2007 we graduated over 12 seniors with an enrollment of over 100. Since it’s inception almost 50 have graduated into the ministry.
Many of those men who have graduated over the years are now pastoring churches that they have started. Out of the church where we first worked in Barquisimeto there are now 8 organized churches and 20 missions. Now, each of these eight churches has Bible studies of their now and are now helping to start other churches.
Other ministries were begun also. Men's camp, Ladies camp and youth camp which has allowed for the spiritual growth of the church families.
After ministering for 8 years in the city of Barquisimeto, God showed us a new path for our lives that we knew nothing about.
We were lead into the jungle ministry among the Ye'kwana indians. A new language, a new culture, a new way of life. God’s purpose for directing us down this new path was
that we might teach the Way, the Truth and the Life to the indians of the Chajura river.
We worked to established the Good Hope Baptist Church and to train Pastor Victor Hernandez, for the working of the ministry. Along with the bible teaching in the church , God also gave us a medical and aviation ministry through which to reach the indians in various villages.
We learned to deliver babies, pull teeth and stitch wounds, to name a few. The church grew in numbers and in grace. We were able to train the Indian believers to travel with us to other villages to evangelize and hold medical clinics, as it was our hope to establish churches in at least three new villages.
But once again our path was changed. We were forced to leave the jungle ministry before we could see these plans come to pass.
Political pressure from the government of Hugo Chavez has caused most all mission work among the Indians of Venezuela to cease. We do not always understand why God allows our paths to be blocked, but we do know that he will show us a new path.
Even though we were not allowed to remain in the jungle ministry that does not mean that God has stopped working among the Ye´kwana. During our last service in Chajuraña, Pastor Victor said, “They can take the missionaries out of our village, but they cannot take the Holy Spirit out of our hearts,” He went on to preach of the need to follow in the footsteps of the missionaries and to practice what we had taught them. Saying that we, the missionaries, had left our footprints that they might follow the right path which leads to God.
Since our departure from the village in Dec of 2005, the believers continue to meet and preach the Word of God. New souls have been added to the family of God. The Annual Pastors Seminar was held last year in the state of Amazonas, and for the first time all teaching was done by the Ye´kwana pastors, attendance was the best in years. They have taken the responsibility and are carrying it well. They are walking in His pathways and we rejoice for them.
The Ye’kwana Christians are continuing even under difficult circumstances, often cut off from one another and under pressure from the government to return their old ways they are thankful that missionaries have left them with the word of God in their language so that they can continue to follow God’s path. They have continued, on their own, to stay true to their faith. It is their own faith and not one imposed upon them or else they would have abandoned it. Instead, they are sharing their Christian faith with others.
But what about our path now? Where would God lead us?
We have prayed long and hard seeking God’s will for our future ministry. Our hearts were broken that we could not continue to work among the Ye´kwana, but we also accept that God’s path is best.
We have had our eyes opened to the needs of the country of Paraguay. The independent Baptist churches of Paraguay are few and in need of training. We have peace in our hearts to go to the country of Paraguay and begin again. Pray for us as we go to a new country to begin a new work. Establish churches, train pastors and reach the youth of this generation that they may be prepared to reach the next.
We now realize that God allowed us to spend time in Barquisimeto in order that we might be able to take what we have learned and done there among the Venezuelans and reproduce that among the Paraguayan people.
In our last annual Independent Baptist Conference of Venezuela we saw what God has done in the country of Venezuela in raising up national leadership. The attendance was over 3000 each evening. We were able to look out and see trained pastors and lay workers, many of whom had at one time been our students. We witnessed Venezuelans committed to reaching their country, we have even seen some attempt to minister among the tribes as much as the government will allow. We realized that while there is still much work to be done in the country of Venezuela, there are now national pastors able and willing to meet the challenge.
And so ends our path in Venezuela.
The new path God has shown us is one of rich rewards. We will be relocating to Asunción, Paraguay in the summer of 2008. At that time we will be joining fellow BIMI missionaries Brian and Jackie McCobb who happen to be our daughter and son-in-law. The McCobbs are the only BIMI missionaries serving in Paraguay at this time, so there is a great need as we begin this foundational ministry of starting churches, discipleship training, Bible Institute and camp ministries.
The pathway before us is new and exciting we are anxious to see what God will allow us to be part of. Although right now we do not feel our path leads to another tribal work, we are aware of the great need among the tribes of Paraguay and our prayer is that we may be involved in the training of Paraguayans who will then reach out to the tribes.
Pathways, we do not know the many twists and bends that may be ahead of us but we do know God will guide our steps even when we can not see, even when we do not know where the path ahead may lead us in this life.
We know where our final destination lies...and that is enough!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Jackie had to get the shot since she is rh- blood and Abbie is +. All is well. Both are fine.
Elena is getting used to "sharing" her parents.:) Brian looks good and sounds good on the phone.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
One of my fears for the future of Venezuela is that many of the educated people are leaving and this will not bode well for the country. Since I arrived here in the states just a few short weeks ago, I have already ran into many Venezuelans who have left the country to start a new life here.
I also have learned that some mission boards are now requesting that their missionary families with children of Venezuelan citizenship return to the states, at least temporarily . Some of the new Constitutional reforms put into jeopardy the rights of the parents over their children. We had decided to do this as of last year as we see only a downward spiral in Venezuela. There is little to encourage one that things will improve.
I saw this statement by Chavez just this week.
The current government is "instilling an ideology into the society" and such a process covers elementary schools, pre-school, garrisons and universities, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. "We have been accused of instilling an ideology into the society, and I say 'yes!'", Chávez noted.We have been called alarmist, but,in my very humble opinion... when it comes to my children, better safe than sorry!!!
1) We visited with one couple last week who had left Venezuela just two months ago. The father is a lawyer and the wife works in administration with an international company. When they went to re- enroll their children in school in Puerto Ordaz, they were asked by the school to surrender their children's Italian passports as they are Venezuelan-Italian.
This frightened the father to the point that he immediately left with his two children for the USA. The wife only was able to join them last week. Her company was able to get her a transfer to Miami and even a job for her husband. Two intelligent people with much to offer are now making a new life in the USA.
The father told us that when they asked for his children's passports, he was afraid that his children would end up trapped in Venezuela and unable to leave if he waited any longer.
2) We have a young lady and her 6 year old daughter attending the Spanish church where we go. She left Venezuela to keep her child out of the school system.
3) There is another family, just one block from us, the wife is Venezuelan and the husband is American but grew up in Venezuela. They had been serving as missionaries in Tachira until a few months ago. They also left fearing for the future of their 6 children as they are Venezuelan.
4) We received an email from another family with children of dual citizenship. The wife is also Venezuelan. They had moved back to Venezuela last December, against our advice, and now are returning to Canada after only 6 months.Why? they have two Venezuelan sons.
5) I had a surprise a few days back. When I opened my door, a friend from Venezuela was standing there. They had worked and served in the same tribe as we had just on another river. They also left Venezuela a year ago. It was so good to see him!! He was able to catch us up on many others we had lost track of.
6) Another family left last month and their children had to leave on their Canadian passports after trying to renew their Venezuelan passports for over a year. When one enters or leaves a country on the other passport, we are told that according to international law, you surrender the other citizenship. So now, even though the mother is Venezuelan and the children were born there, the children can not enter except as Canadians with a visa. If you can get one.
7) The driver of the truck which brought our container from Miami used to live in Valencia, Venezuela. He escaped Cuba in his youth and now says Venezuela is going to be just like Cuba. So he left.
A frequent commenter here, The Beak,The Beak Speaks, has said that he sees Venezuelan visa applications cross his desk everyday. He also mentioned that American companies in Venezuela are trying to get the families of their employees out of Venezuela.
Obviously, I am not alone in my concern for the children! We had decided last year when we began to see some of the new Education Laws, that we were removing our children from the country...just in case. After what we saw done to the missionaries in the jungle, after we saw the way the constitution was ignored by the government, we realized this regime does what it wants, when it wants, and there is no legal recourse. To suppose you will have "rights" under this government is dangerous. Ne se meta con mis hijos!!!!
This is so sad for Venezuela!!! Many good, hardworking, educated people will no longer be able to contribute to the future of Venezuela.
I am seeing a Brain Drain!
If you notice, in this picture behind Jackie, you will see a plaid hammock strung up. It is a hammock chair. You can hang any hammock in this way, or use one made specifically like this.
During the final stages of labor, when it is time to push, you can use the hammock in one of two ways,
1) The mother herself will sit in the hammock and use the sides to pull herself upright during the push. Or she may squat in front and use the hammock to grab to lift herself. This allows you to use gravity and the strength of your own arms. The husband would then be knelt in front and ready to receive the baby. This is the method Jackie and Brian used to deliver Abbie.
2) The other method is used more for labor up until the final stage. The husband would sit in the hammock as the wife squats in front. Usually with the trunk of a banana tree to sit on. Banana trunks are soft and squishy,thus more comfortable for the mother. During each contraction, the husband will help the mother to stand by holding her firmly from behind , under the arms. Thus, his strength and gravity do a lot of the work. If this method is used up until delivery, someone other than the father will receive the baby. (Usually, the missionary!)
Hmmm... they say the missionary forces their culture on the Indian... seems my kid took the Indian culture all the way to Paraguay with her!!!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Born 5 minutes ago!
Cutting the cord now!!!
Praise God for His Incredible Goodness
and Blessings to Our family!!
Born at 5:something
I am web camming with my daughter who is in labor. She is in Paraguay and I am watching her contractions from here. Keep her and Brian in prayer today. She has decided on a home birth. She watched so many Indian ladies deliver in the jungle, and had a bad experience in Costa Rica with her first, she rather be at home. Read all about it!!!
UPDATE : 2:30
Jackie has decided to lie down as she looks to be in early transition now.
I have lost my web connection with Paraguay. Still waiting. I think it will be later this evening. Just a hunch!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I found this a week ago at BAPTIST GIRL. I often find myself in these situations in my life and these verses are a great encouragement for those times. Or any time.
I was thinking of doing a Post on self-reliance and the effect it has on a believer, when I came across this and thought how appropriate....I encourage you to read this, it is very, very good.
Disappointment With God
Many church people seem to be saying with their actions what they would never admit with their mouths. Even the expressions on their faces suggest that they are unhappy and bored. Their behavior makes it difficult to believe that their faith gives them any real satisfaction. How can others be expected to trust a God who hasn't lived up to the expectations of His followers? One answer offered by the Bible is that some who claim to be followers of Christ are not authentic. For a while they look genuine. But they are not (Matthew 7:21-23; 13:24-30; 1 John 2:18-19). The infiltration of impostors, however, is not the whole story. The Bible does not hide the fact that real people of faith also have been disappointed with God. Both Old and New Testaments give examples of people who were distraught and even angry with God because He allowed them to suffer circumstances they expected Him to protect them from (Numbers 14:1-4; Psalm 73 ).
Under pressure, and even in times of prosperity, real Christians can be distracted from the confidence that their ultimate well-being doesn't lie in the hands of other people or circumstances. Because of ever-present diversions and distractions, the Bible urges the people of God to renew their minds continually by remembering what God has done for them (Romans 12:1-2). The Scriptures urge believers to keep their hope and faith alive by stirring up the memories of what they already know (see 2 Peter 1:1-15). The reason is clear. A lack of basic Christian behavior can often be attributed to a critical lapse of memory (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).
Jesus was known by the company He kept. He ate and drank with people other religious leaders wouldn't think of associating with. But Jesus did not eat and drink with such people because He was attracted to their way of life. He did it to be the best friend a sinner ever had. With the wrong motives, the relationships He cultivated would have been dangerous. Without His strong and loving purposes, the accusation that He was a "friend of sinners" would have been more damaging. His own apostle Paul would later write, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.' Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning" ( 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 ). Even the wise King Solomon paid dearly for such forbidden relationships ( 1 Kings 11:1-13). The resulting confusion caused him to act like someone who had never known God ( Ecclesiastes 1-12).
Genuine Christians have made decisions of faith that signal a change of direction in their thinking about God and themselves, but they have not overcome their struggle with self-centeredness. Neither are they morally superior to non-Christians. Their capacity to be self-centered remains unchanged (Romans 7:14-25). The downward pull of desire remains as predictable as the law of gravity. When real Christians stop living under the influence of the Spirit and the Word of God (Galatians 5:16-26), it becomes as natural for them to revert to self-interest as for a kite to drift slowly to earth when the wind stops blowing.
The God of the Bible asks His people to trust Him on His terms rather than their own. He urges them not to rely on their own understanding but to use their best judgment and sense of reason to rely on Him. He invites His children to let Him live His life through them. Those who forget this principle of God-dependence fail in practice to distinguish themselves as genuine Christians. Even the original disciples of Christ learned about the danger of self-reliance the hard way. On the night of Jesus' arrest, one of His closest followers, a tough-minded fisherman named Peter, announced that he was ready to follow his teacher to prison or to death (Luke 22:33). But within a few hours, he found himself denying repeatedly that he even knew the man from Galilee.
His mistaken confidence was recorded for our warning Look-alikes have a reputation for being hypocritical in their prayers (Matthew 6:5-8). People of genuine faith use prayer, not as a means of impressing others but as an honest means of giving thanks, confessing sins, and asking for direction and help. They know that prayerfulness is not optional for anyone who wants to develop a personal relationship with God. When followers of Christ do not show their dependence in prayer, they can end up acting like anyone else (James 4:1-6). Jesus warned His disciples about this likelihood on the night of His arrest. Pausing from His own struggle in prayer, He urged, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). They didn't understand. They slept instead of praying, and within a few hours all had abandoned Him.
King David was a man of authentic faith. By his love for the law of God, he distinguished himself as someone committed to avoiding moral and spiritual failure (Psalms 1; 119:11). The Bible itself acknowledges that he was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). His record of spiritual accomplishments, however, did not keep David from becoming an adulterer and murderer. One night, as others fought his battles, and as he stood in apparent security on his own palace rooftop, David used the power of his office to pursue another man's wife. In an unguarded moment, David discovered the meaning of the statement, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12).
An Unexamined Heart
As a teacher of the heart, Jesus reminded us that unexamined motives can result in complicated forms of self-deception. Many years earlier, the prophet Jeremiah acknowledged the dangers of "inner darkness" when he wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Modern psychology has confirmed our tendency to avoid emotional pain through subtle forms of transference and denial. It has documented habits of the heart by which we attempt to blunt the pain of real or false guilt. Psychology, however, cannot change the heart. We all have reason to join King David in his prayer: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalms 139:23-24).
An Unseen Enemy
The people of Christ have a spiritual enemy who is attempting to confuse them and neutralize their impact. This adversary is fighting a war of attrition. There are many casualties. Countless numbers of real Christians are rendered ineffective by one who is far more subtle and clever than they think. While he can't make Christians sin, he and his demons are constantly looking for weaknesses that give him an inroad into the lives of genuine believers (Ephesians 4:27; 6:10-20). Like a predatory animal, he looks for vulnerable prey (1 Peter 5:8).
A Lack Of Accountability
People don't develop into spiritually mature persons by doing what comes naturally. Neither do they grow in Christlikeness by being left to themselves. Even the strongest Christians were never meant to go it alone. Jesus taught His disciples not just to make converts, but to train them thoroughly in His ways (Matthew 28:19-20). A few years later, the apostle Paul likened followers of Christ to a human body where all members are dependent on one another (1 Corinthians 12). While many in our day have developed a spirit of independence, such an attitude does not reflect the original intent of Christ for His church. He made it clear that He calls people not only to Himself, but also to one another.
You're Not Alone
You're not alone if you doubt the genuineness of church people who do not act like followers of Christ. Keep in mind, however, that it's wrong to assume that people who claim to be Christians aren't authentic just because their current behavior doesn't measure up to their claims.
The good news is that God saves people by grace (undeserved kindness) on the sole condition of faith in His Son (Ephesians 2:8-10). While there is never a good excuse for any genuine Christian to live in sin, the fact that God saves people who sin against Him both before and after they believe in His Son is good news for all. If God can save people like this, He can save us as well. He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who will acknowledge how wrong they have been to live independently of Him. He offers heaven to all who will believe that Christ died for their sins, and that He rose from the dead to live His life through anyone who believes (Romans 4:5).
Friday, July 20, 2007
You are a Flag-Waving Everyman, also known as a patriot. You believe in freedom, apple pie, rooting for America at all times, and that God gave us a two-day weekend so we could enjoy football and NASCAR.
You are a Free Marketeer, also known as a fiscal conservative. You believe in free-market capitalism, tax cuts, and protecting your hard-earned cash from pick-pocketing liberal socialists.
You are a Values Guardian, also known as a social conservative. You believe in serving on the front lines of the culture wars to restore traditional values and protecting America against condom-dispensing, stem cell-sucking sodomites from Hollyweird.
You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
So...what are you?
(and how do you do battle?)
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Our container has left the port in Miami and is being loaded on the truck now. Should be here by this evening . We had nearly a two month wait in Caracas and our friend who works there as a customs agent was shocked by the amount of opposition our container encountered. She has been working there for nearly 20 years and had never experienced anything like it.
They made our stuff be opened and re-packed more than once and told her it was because we were missionaries and missionaries are "known" to transport drugs. Here we go again!! Of course, every time they open the seal, it costs us money. They even made her have her picture taken along with all of our boxes. She had never had to do that before. And they knew we were missionaries and were very antagonistic. She thought that was odd. Not me!! Been there , done that, and got the T-shirt.
Venezuelan visas for the members of a Taiwanese unofficial diplomatic delegation will not be renewed, reported Wednesday the website of a Taiwanese newspaper.
For its part, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted "unfriendly atmosphere" in Venezuela.
In addition, Taiwanese state oil company CPC Corp claimed that the Venezuelan government asked it to hand over its stake in two local deposits, AP quoted
I found this at:
We Don't Care Where You're From
Teodoro Petkoff, the Editor of the TalCual newspaper published an article (it's an Editorial, of course, but writing "the Editor of TalCual wrote an editorial" doesn't sound nice) in which he criticized the Chávez movement of neo-racism. It seems that when the pamphlet-bearing youngsters were arrested, the interrogation was in the way of "where are your parents from?". In other words, the government wants to know if you are a "true Venezuelan" because if you or your parents are from abroad, then you're not.
First, let's start by saying (Petkoff said this too) that us Venezuelans have a long tradition of accepting people from wherever they come. Arabs, Jews, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, etc. have been received with open arms. Nobody asked "Tarek William Saab" if his name was Arab before voting for him to the Congress first and then to the Governorship of the Anzoategui state. There was another top Chávez official (a former Minister of Foreign Relations) with a very English name: Roy Chaderton. A leader in the "Alexis Vive" group (linked to the left, both figuratively and textually) is the son of an immigrant. In other words, the Chavista prosecution of sons of foreigners doesn't stand the smallest inquiry.
But there's something beyond the fact that we're all descendants of foreigners in a certain degree: the Cubans in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government pays Cuban nationals a salary in exchange for work done in the country that could be performed by Venezuelans. Part of that salary doesn't even go to them but to the Cuban government, that limits their freedom of living wherever they wish.
But since we're not racists, lets just say that our country loses dollars and the chance to reduce unemployment every time a Cuban medic or sports trainer (I've known good trainers and not-so-good ones) is hired. Xenophobic people that support the government tend to overlook this. They just make a big fuss when they spot a racist Chavez critic. The difference is that they're the ones that have the power to incarcerate people.
The nature of most Venezuelans is probably why Petkoff brushes off* this neo-fascist movement. Even so, we need to keep our eyes on this. Dictators just love to dictate (sorry) what is "local" and what is not.
MIAMI, July 16 (Reuters) - A surge in the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United States has some drawing parallels with Communist Cuba in the early 1960s.
As populist President Hugo Chavez tightens his grip on the world's fifth largest oil producer, wealthy and middle class citizens are fleeing, just as their counterparts did soon after Fidel Castro seized power in Havana more than 40 years ago.
In 1998, the year Chavez was first elected, just 14 Venezuelans were granted U.S. asylum. That number jumped to 1,086 in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.The Venezuelans seeking asylum are just a small part of a big exodus, according to Venezuelan activists in Florida, who say some 160,000 Venezuelans are living in the United States illegally or on overstayed visas.
"If you have young children, you want out. If you have assets that have been seized, or may be seized, you want out as quickly as possible," Roett added. "If you have land that will be expropriated, leave sooner than later. As the alta (upper) bourgeoisie becomes more and more of a target, you want to leave before Hugo Chavez shuts the door."
The number of U.S. asylum grants put Venezuela in 11th place, well behind nations such as its neighbor, Colombia, and deeply impoverished Haiti. But more Venezuelans were granted asylum last year than were natives of trouble spots like Iraq, a country reeling from nightmarish levels of violence.
Asylum is granted by the United States to people who are unable to return to their homeland because of credible fears of persecution. Cases may be filed by individuals or families.The high rate of approval for Venezuelan asylum applicants has angered the Chavez government and those who see it as a back-handed stab by Washington at his socialist policies and defiant anti-Americanism. Venezuela today is not a despotic state, and granting Venezuelans asylum is a way to embarrass its government, they say.
Hat Tip to;
A colombo-americana's perspective
He told us that the church is continuing well under the leadership of Pastor Victor. What a blessing to hear this! He also mentioned that there has not been any medicine in the village for several months. Another friend was just brought out by canoe to the hospital as the government could not send a plane. Typical.
As far as he could recall, no medical flights have been done in our area since we had to leave with the plane nearly two years ago. He said they only come when they want something, like votes!!! Or to talk bad about the missionaries.
He told me the Christians continue to have prayer meetings in Maripa and Bolivar, and that they had been praying for us. This made me cry. They are worried for us!!! He says that he will not be able to continue much longer with the teaching as he could not agree with the "indoctrination" they are asking him to teach.
All was not good news, the village " nurse", (trained by missionaries, by the way) was in Bolivar as well. His wife has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. They had started a round of chemo, but due to the wonders of Socialized Medicine, were not able to finish it
She was returned to Maripa to wait and die. I asked about pain medication. He said she had none and was just laying in her hammock. This is a Christian sister of mine and it hurts me to think of what she must be going through. Pray for Evelina and her husband Timoteo.
I also spoke with his 7 year old daughter on the phone. She practically grew up in my house and I was so happy to hear her chatter away and that she remembered us!! I asked her in Ye'kwana," Do you know God?" she answered, " EE!!! Wanaadi, dhowanaca!! ( YES! I know God!)
That made me happy to hear. Her mother is like a daughter to me.
After we hung up, I must admit to some tears!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I find many people that seem to think WE are some how required to "protect" the Indian from any outside contact. I find this attitude to be very arrogant. The Indian is a person like anyone else, and with education is just as capable to determine their own future. Neither is their culture something so fragile that they will discard it if made aware of another culture.
The chief, Bertico, responded that Cubans were also foreign. They also said they did not want Cubans living among them. The tribes do not like for single men to move in as it almost always creates a problem as they begin to seduce their girls.
Then the General began to accuse us. This was done by showing a folder with pictures of our family, even our children. He accused us of atrocities, such as rape, starvation, slavery...the chief, a non- Christian, became very irate!! He expressed the same opinion to the General that I have put forth here . Indians are not likely to permit someone to come in and live among them and FORCE them to do anything, and certainly not to abuse them. He actually told the General , " If anyone came in here and did those things to us...well, we are Indians, we would just kill them!! So be careful!"
This photo was taken by another missionary in the 60's. This is the chief, Bertico, as a young man. He still weaves baskets and teaches the young men to as well.
I am often told by academics and government representatives, that the culture must remain untouched and that any exposure to something from outside will "destroy" it. I have a hard time believing this.
Consider the case of the modern day Jew. Although spread around the world, although having had to survive several bouts of genocide, the Jewish culture survives. The Hebrew language was even revived. The Jewish people have certainly been exposed to other cultures and have even taken an active part in many different cultures but has yet managed to retain their ethnic identity, culture, as well as religion.
I also point to the fact that tribal cultures co-exist, live next door to one another, and yet each tribe manages to keep their ethnicity and language differences. The Ye'kwanas share the same territory with the Sanema and Yanomamo. Each culture is distinct. Each language is completely different and do not even derive themselves from the same language family. They interact and have for centuries, but each culture remains to this day distinct from one another.
The cultures differ in the most basic areas. Their spiritual beliefs, their marriage rituals and burials are very different. The Ye'kwana bury their dead, the Yanomamo burn their dead. The tribes do not even inter marry.
A culture that has a strong moral fiber will survive. A culture that does not , will not. And, frankly, should not. I often hear Chavez sing the praises of the Ancient Aztecs, but consider the culture? Should a culture that practices human sacrifices be allowed to continue? Will that lead to a better world? Would you like to live in that culture? The Aztec culture was intent on conquest, slavery, and brutality! I am not saying they were not admirable in many other ways, but it is not a model society nor one in which you or I would enjoy living in.
Back to the American Indian of today. To maintain a culture, the most important factor is the language. That is the primary factor that will determine if the culture will continue after assimilation by what is referred to as the "host" culture The criollo culture of Venezuela is the host culture to many tribal cultures. What group of people through out the world is most dedicated to alphabetizing, translating and printing tribal languages?
The missionary! We set out to learn the language, create a written alphabet of the language, but that is not enough. What good is a written language if no one knows how to read it? And what is the motivation for the Indian to work and learn how to read, if there is nothing available in their language to read?
Anyone who has taught a child to read knows what hard work it is!!! Imagine teaching a child to read, and then the child have nothing available in print to read. Hard to motivate the child to bother to learn! More so with the adult Indian! They have a lot to do without learning to read for no apparent reason.
The missionary, of course, wants the Indian to read for himself! Why? So that he can read the Word of God for himself. And with that knowledge, be exposed to the Laws of God, such as the 10 Commandments which will only strengthen any culture if put into practice.
With the new found knowledge and ability to read and write, the culture can then flourish to a new level. Poetry, music and even science can become available to all. The Indian now has the tool needed to chronicle his own history. This will protect the tribe from falsehoods another culture may chose to perpetuate about them.
Missionaries have written for the Ye'kwana of Venezuela, in their own language, The History of Venezuela, several hygiene pamphlets, a Literacy Primer as well as the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament. We have provided teaching aids and a complete phonics program for literacy classes.
Literacy is a powerful tool that should not be denied anyone! An Indian that learns how to read is able to progress and progression is not evil! You and I enjoy our modern life. We enjoy the many things that our ancestors were able to learn and teach us. We then build upon that knowledge each and everyday and we all hope to leave the world a better place for our children and grand children.
Who are we to deny the same opportunity to the Indian?
Monday, July 16, 2007
Last week I was recognized by fellow blogger, Barbara, at Stray Thoughts for the The Blogger Reflection Award. I am very happy to think I may cause someone to "reflect". This led me to reflect a bit myself.
Why do I blog?
One reason is that as a personal discipline, I try and write something each day. Also, I am trying to collect short stories about our life as missionaries in the hopes of writing a book. I feel that the modern missionary life is just as exciting, just as sacrificial, as missionaries in the past, only...the modern missionary is not writing about it! In the past, an educated person kept a journal and it is through these that we have the great missionary biographies so well known to many of us. While I would not put myself in the same category as these heroes of the past, God is doing the same work now as then. He has not changed. Blogging is a way for me to journal and share these happenings God has allowed in my life with others, as well as get feed back for the future book.
Another subject that is important to me is my family. I hope to share this with my readers. After my Lord, my family is the most important thing in my life. I hope I can share with you all, that a family knitted together in Faith can be an amazing thing! A family with a joint purpose, that uses teamwork to perform a common mission is a wonderful thing to behold. And nearly unstoppable in determination.
I also love the country and people of Venezuela and am alarmed at what I see happening there by the government of Hugo Chavez. I want to share this alarm with all because it effects people very near and dear to me. I have received some comments from people criticizing me for this being that I am not Venezuelan. However, after 20 years there, I do feel that I have the right to share my observations and also being that my children are Venezuelan citizens, the future of Venezuela matters to me.
Of course, I love the good ol' USA as well. I am also very concerned about the future of this country and I want to do my part to return this great land to its judeo - christian roots.
Now, according to the rules, I am to share this with 5 other bloggers. So many of you have already been named!!! But, I will give it a try.
1)Christian Dreams n Visions
Sherry always seems to post something that causes me to think! I am learning more about her on line even though we have never met. My only regret with her blog is that she doesn't post as often as I would like! I have yet to be disappointed in her views.
Baptist Girl is a christian blogger and she never blogs "fluff". I always find her posts to be spiritually uplifting and they make me think. She shares a lot of great christian teachings and often links to other sites that are just as enlightening.
My daughter, Jackie, has taught me so much! She is so much more organized than I ever was at her age. She also has taught me more about pregnancy and childbirth at home than I ever knew.
I am so proud of her.
4) Yekwana Man
Yes, he is my husband. He also is the best preacher I have ever heard. He has a lot of knowledge that he cleverly disguises with his humor. To sit under his preaching is a delight as he is an expository preacher and teaches through the books of the Bible ,verse by verse. He does not get to blog often but I enjoy MOST of his posts. * wink, wink*
5) sarah's journal
Sarah journals some very deep thoughts. She is brutally honest and it is refreshing to read a person who shares their heart so openly with others. I would love to meet Sarah! She has such an interesting back ground I would love to know more about.
The Rules for Participants are:
1. Copy this post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers and write at least a paragraph about each one.
3. Make sure you link to this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment letting them know they’ve been given an award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.
Now, if any one would like to share their favorite blog or blogger with us, just leave the link in your comment!
My children amaze me at how quickly they are able to adapt and become involved wherever they may be. They also show a testimony of their faith in the life styles they have chosen. This is the greatest reward for me as a mother. I can only hope that they may continue forth with a life of service towards others and a life of purpose.
We had a busy weekend. Starting off with the parrilla on Friday night. Saturday was busy getting both of my girls ready for camp.
My son who is a junior in college is very involved at his church. He is a Bus Captain and my two girls are helping him. He visits his area every Saturday morning and the girls are going with him to help as there are many Spanish speaking people in the area. Then on Sunday morning they go and pick up any one wanting to go to church. He averages 40 - 45 riders each week. It is good to see them involved in ministry so soon after arriving here in country! Josh also preaches on Sunday afternoon at a Retirement Home for house bound elderly people unable to get to church.They love him there!!
(Rn.) Jewel Leigh
This morning, Jewel left for Nursing Camp. She hopes to become a missionary nurse and after growing up with the dispensary and all she saw and helped with in the village, I think she will be a great one. She flew off at 5 am this morning very excited.
Jayde age 12
Jayde left by bus for teen camp . This is her first year as a teen camper and Dad was a little nervous. This is a church camp and she was so excited she re-packed her suitcase at least 4 times.
That leaves me with a week of quiet in the house as Josh works full time. I plan to spend it ordering my school curriculum for the girls next year of home schooling, 8th grade for Jayde and 11th for Jewel. I do get frustrated re-ordering books I already had, but that are left in the jungle!!!!
Le Le with chicken pox!
I don't want to leave out my "other" child!! This is Brian, my son- in-law, missionary in Paraguay. We are proud of him as well, since he is the father of our grandchildren!