Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Christopher, pick up your own weight, please!

Christopher, can I offer just a few quick thoughts for the future this morning?  Some of the activities of the day have made me wonder about the condition of our culture and what to do about it.

Running out of gas.
Running on my way to the gym early this morning, while the dew was still heavy on grass and the sun had yet
risen, I found a couple in their forties walking with a gas can in hand.  Even though they assured me they could make it on their own, I ran straight back home to get them minivan.  After purchasing their gas and morning caffeine, I enjoyed getting to know Kevin and Stacey while taxiing them back to their vehicle.

I share this story simply to set the context of their reaction.  They both repeatedly emphasized that my helping behavior was very abnormal and strange.  They used words like weird and crazy in describing it, and then profusely thanked and proclaimed rewards in heaven on my behalf.

Why did it seem so strange to spend a few minutes and $20 to help a forty year old couple?  Surely in their collective 80+ years they've had others help and had helped others in such a way.  Could it be that they really haven't received this type of service from neighbors in the community, that it would seem weird and crazy for me to do this?  Could it be that they really hadn't ever offered this type of service to neighbors themselves?

I guess I just grew up different.  My dad was always helping people with the skills and money he had, and others in turn were always helping him.  It's just part of being a good neighbor.  It's part of normal Christian life in my mind, especially in light of the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12.

Could it be that it really isn't that normal anymore in American culture?  If it's not part of normal culture in a good, small town, community oriented atmosphere like Washington, IN, where in America is it a part of normal culture?  I wouldn't even consider this a sacrifice.  It only cost me $20 and I was only late for my morning workout by 20 minutes.  Why is this so strange?

Pick up your own weights.  
When I arrived at the gym for my workout, the floor was especially littered with weights.  Dumbbells and plates were laying all over.

It took me little time to clean up other's messes and to clean up my own after finishing my lifts.  It wasn't much work, and after all, I am there to lift weights.  Why not lift them from the floor to the rack?

 Noah, my workout partner, has ingrained in me the rule, that we always pick up the weights we use.  ALWAYS.  We don't leave our mess for someone else to have to walk around and clean up.

Putting it together.  
The weight room may be shedding some light on why helping others seems so abnormal.  Perhaps the reality is that I do live in a culture where helping strangers is truly rare.  Perhaps people don't help others because most can't handle their own burdens (weights) and let alone shoulder the weights of others.

Where to go from here.
Christopher, my advice to you in the future, is to work hard in Christ to have your own weights picked up, cleaned up, and your burdens taken care of.  Then, you'll easily be able to shoulder the burdens of others.   Also, teach others the disciplined life of a Christian, so that they will use God's principles to clean up their burdens, and will also help in the burdens of others.  Share these principles with your church, your family, and your neighbors so that taking care of someone's gas and coffee isn't rare in your community, but rather the norm.

Please, pick up your own weights, so you can help others pick up theirs.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 7:12

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Honduras Hope Mission Trip - Days 1-4

Thank you for joining our adventures!  I'm going to try to give a brief summary of days one through four (July 7th -10th), but its going to be hard with so much to say about the great things God is doing with these 31 people.

To see all of my photos from July 7th to 10th, click the link to the Facebook album, even if you don't have a FB account.  Honduras Hope Days 1-4

As always, you can also be kept up to date on Allen Burris's blog: http://www.allenburris.blogspot.com/

Day 1
Our first day was filled with great travel, great landings, great reunions, and great singing.  We enjoyed singing and devotional at the statue of Christ on the mountain overlooking Tegucigalpa, followed with a late night Lord's supper back at the new Honduras Hope mission house.  I also got to visit Camilla's family that Tyler, Casey, Jaylana, and I made balloon animals with last year.

Day 2
God blessed us with a build on our first full day in Honduras for a family (represented by Rosa Marie & little Angie) in Guajire, our primary place of focus.  Many of our group went to a local school where elementary classes were still in session.  This large, one room, one teacher, school was a wonderful way for us to get acclimated as we played with kids and even taught them lessons about a favorite subject of mine.  You guessed it, math! We also visited the local "Maxi Dispensia" (grocery store) to get our food supplies for the week.
We were able to finish up Rosa and Angie's home just as a serious mountain rain shower came pouring down.  God blessed us with a lot of safety on that day.
Our evening devotional was about meditating on what is "true" from Philippians 4:9 led by Allen Burris.

Day 3
Day three was a split day for us.  We joined a group from Kansas and split between shopping in the marketplace for mattresses, serving at the medical clinic, and building the first level of a dormitory in Guajire. I went with the medical team to the city of Matteo.  I have hardly any photos from the clinic because we were nonstop busy serving people with de-worming medicine, vitamins, hygene needs, and taking care of wounds and a few more major illnesses.  I can assure you that Emma and Merritt from our team did a great job working at the various stations for at least 3 hours straight.  We then went to Cafe el Gringo for a short snack, following that up with play visit with the kids at the Casa de Esperanza orphanage.

Our evening devotional was about meditating on what is "noble" from Philippians 4:9 led by Steven Walden.

This was also a disconcerting evening because we learned for a theft and injury of Marc Tindall, the American missionary leader of the Honduras Hope effort, and a good friend of ours.  He's doing much better now and much of the money has been returned.  Read more about it here: http://treymorgan.net/sorry-you-dont-get-a-house-now/ and have this page translated into English to read what the Honduras news media posted about it.  http://m.elheraldo.hn/content/view/full/162190

She is 96 years old!

Day 4
We spent the bulk of Wednesday at Guajire coming close to finishing up the 2nd floor of the dormitory and playing with kids.  One group went hiking about two miles through the mountains of Guajire to visit two houses we built in summer of 2012.  We were able to locate one of the families, share God's love with them, give them photographs of their family last year, and share tears together as we prayed.  Beneranda Letizia, Nora and Yahaira were so wonderfully surprised by our visit.  Beneranda (the mom) cried during the prayer because she thought she would never see her Christian friends from America again.  We finished the day by unloading lumber in the rain.

Our evening devotional was about meditating on what is "right" from Philippians 4:9 led by Jason Petty.

He was an actual ice cream vehicle!  He must have heard the gringos were in town.

Day 5
This will see our team split into a team bagging 3 tons of food that we will give out (lotsof rice and beans), and a team finishing a stairway and bunk beds in Guajire.

To see all of my photos from July 7th to 10th, click the link to the Facebook album, even if you don't have a FB account.  Honduras Hope Days 1-4

As always, you can also be kept up to date on Allen Burris's blog: http://www.allenburris.blogspot.com/