This week is called semana santa here...Holy Week. The reason for the naming is obvious, but this week seems to be the least holy of all for almost everyone here. Businesses shut down, people head to the beach (this is also usually the hottest week of the year) and the capital city empties from over one million down to a few hundred thousand people. People get drunk, they party, and it is the least attended Church service weekend of the year...even the Church here in Teguc is having its service at 5:00 instead of in the morning to try to get a few more people there that otherwise are still gone on vacation that morning.
The clinic worked Monday and Tuesday this week. Hard days to work when so many are already taking off on vacation. Made harder when on Monday we found a beaten and bloody dog dead on top of one of the containers. Senseless comes to mind...trying to figure it out is pointless, but apparently they forced the dog up there, and then did whatever they did with rocks, etc. The staff had to get the body and burn it. The side of the container is still stained with blood. During holy week. The parallels strike me still.
Today upon arriving Valerie found that someone tried to break in again. This time our window reinforcements did the job...they could not get in, but they did enough damage to require her to go up tomorrow to help our welder try to repair the damage.
The staff took off after work this afternoon to visit our phlebotomist who is home recovering after surgery to biopsy likely cervical or ovarian cancer. Survivability for anything such here is not exactly a high percentage.
Saturday the Church took a group swimming outside Teguc. Someone from the group invited for the first time someone from their neighborhood. He had never been to Church, small group, or any other Church activity. After lunch this strong swimmer took his shirt with him and went out to the deepest part...and while waving at everyone with that shirt, just disappeared below. No kicking, no bubbles, no struggling. He drowned? He committed suicide? It took many hours to find his body. The family was understanding of the circumstances. The gang to which he was a member not so much. There are real possibilities of retaliation against the members of the Church or the evangelists working in that neighborhood. Even at the wake there were people getting beaten up.
The Church bus broke down on the way back from the swimming retreat as everyone was already somewhat in shock. It has a habit of doing that lately...breaking down somewhere far away from the Church property.
I look at this grim list of "stuff" I write above, and I know friends who would shake their head and ask "Why would you chose to stay there and put up with that?" or some other such question.
Every week is a holy week...every week, day, hour, second is given to us to live from and for God Himself. The circumstances that surround us do not guide us. They may affect us in many real ways, but we do not rely on them...not those of us in Christ. However confusing and erroneous it might seem to those without it...our faith is the evidence of things that are unseen (Hebrews 11:1) I think of Star Trek DS9, not exactly a franchise known for embracing faith...one character asks a pointed question to another about how she reconciles her beliefs in her Gods that seemed to lead her to a conclusion that was seemingly contradictory. Her answer? "That's the thing about faith...if you don't have it, you can't understand it and if you do, no explanation is necessary."
I make no pretense to being patient, understanding, loving or in some way above it all in the way the world looks at things and that is how we do what we do, live what we live (like we are really suffering...laughable really considering that every day brothers and sisters are being tortured, mutilated and killed for belonging to Christ.)
It is not considered intelligence or being smart to believe in Hebrews 11:1. The world is full of people who say every day that such things are nonsense, stupidity, moronic...or worse. I have seen it. I have heard it.
I weep for the very smart people I know to whom none of this makes sense. Their house is on fire...it seems perfectly obvious to me that the flames are right below them, but they respond with "What? I have a good house. I did a lot of good things with my house! It will be fine." "Prove to me that these flames you talk about exist. You speak of a fire that can not be seen until it is too late, that seems rather convenient." "On fire? Sure...but the fire department is a loving organization, so how could they let any house burn down? Before it gets to the foundation surely they will come rescue me." "It just does not make sense to believe in a fire that can not be seen."
Lest we think we can see and they can not so we must be somehow in actuality the smarter ones...I remember I Corinthians 1:26-31 which I will post here in what is for me a lesser known version that puts what I have heard in an interesting light:
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God"