I have to admit to struggling some this week. Bad news will do that I guess, and I am still dealing with the break-ins at the clinic, as well as the steep proliferation of graffiti appearing, mostly on the old clinic building where the milk project is now meeting. All graffiti bugs me, and some of the very graphic, mean, and just offensive stuff appearing on the walls is...well, I am not sure what the word would be for the feeling it gives me, but it is not a happy one. So it looks like some painting will be on the agenda next week for Dora to cover up the mess. Nothing like having the clinic three or four different shades of that blue...this is not the first time we have had to cover up graffiti, but it has been a while. I am not at liberty to talk publicly, but we are taking steps to curb this wave of vandalism and thefts that not only has increased for us, but seemingly for the country as well. I saw a poll last night about what measures should be taken to help curb the violence....it was split between "general disarmament" of people (the irony of people defending their 2nd amendment rights in the US is not lost on me, but the term was kind of vague...Honduras has a plethora of unregistered weapons) and invoking curfews again. Curfews sound like a great idea to me, and to many others...but they tend not to be so popular with people who like to party or the international community who would probably decry that as a human rights violation. Commonly here it would be seen that the only rights being violated would be those belonging to the people causing all the problems. Of course, these measures we are implementing take money, money that will now not be available for other ministry activities, and I am not sure how long we will be able to continue them. We will see if they work and let God direct us I suppose.
We are struggling with someone in San Juancito who wants to claim ownership to part of the Church property there. They are trying to fence off where the Church body has been so encouragingly trying to build actual Sunday School rooms. So...that project is on hold until legal proceedings can settle the issue, which will not only cost money but delay the construction for the foreseeable future.
And then...encouraging news seems to seep out in places you are not even seeking it. I saw the nursing students cleaning the floors of the clinic. I remarked to Valerie that we had a full time custodian, so why did they need to be doing that. She answered that they asked permission to be able to do it...they want to help as much as they can, and when their part of helping with patients is done, they do this and other odd jobs they are not required to do. Why? They love working there, the atmosphere, what they learn, and are very grateful for what the clinic is doing. I was so flabbergasted that I had to snap this picture. Patients at the clinic tell you they come there because they see the difference in what we are doing from how they are treated elsewhere.
The leaders in San Juancito have promised that if we use coffee proceeds (all "profit" from 2010 and some from 2011...getting ahead of ourselves, but with faith!) to buy property there to grow coffee, they will maintain it for the support of their pastor and Church funds in much the same way we started in Sampedrana.
And also encouraging is that this weekend is the third anniversary services in Sampedrana. Oscar will be traveling there as the invited pastor to deliver the sermon. It must be a big event they are planning since Oscar said the service is to start at 7:00PM...only for big events like weddings, the occasional movie we show and a service like this would anybody there be out so late!
On a totally unrelated mission matter, I also struggled with the news that Jennifer Knapp (she released several Christian CDs almost ten years ago and is releasing a new album next month) revealed she is involved in a long term relationship with another woman. Unlike other comments I have seen, her rationalization of her sin of homosexuality did not make me angry at her, but just motivated me to pray for her more, as well as look at myself and how I rationalize my sin as well. We all do it, yet we seem especially surprised when someone famous or that we admire does it. There is more to the story that also gives me cause to pray for her (not congregating with a body of believers, not having a continued focus on Christ in what she does, etc.) but I must admit to thinking in my mind...going back and forth of whether or not I will listen to her music. I make no claims that my thinking is right...in fact, I think I am wrong, but just sharing that feeling I wrestle with nonetheless.
There have been other struggles, other encouragements...things happen, things break...people write with an encouraging word or share how God's ministry here has blessed them in one way or another, they buy Hill Climber coffee, they make donations to the efforts here. I really covet prayers from our brothers and sisters because sometimes life can be an emotional roller coaster around us, and having a firm base on the Rock that sustains us is incredibly important given the responsibilities we have. I try not to think of everything that is, for this time, riding somewhat on our shoulders...the idea is a bit overwhelming. But...then again I suppose that is the point.
I could be the only one that finds these images...interesting, but I post them anyway, enjoy:
So this man was waiting to see someone off at the airport as I was making sure Valerie got through security. People watching at the airport here can be quite interesting, as it is in the US as well at the big airports like Houston and Atlanta, but Hondurans at the airport really run the full gamut of style, flair and functionality. Cock fighting here is not considered as offensive as in the US, I have driven by farms where the roosters are kept, but I decided to refrain from asking him if he was advertising, or simply is wearing a used hat that came from the US...which would be even more curious. This is the back of the hat that I could get...the same message was repeated on every side of that hat...whomever designed it certainly wanted to get their message across.
I know there are political leanings to most judges and their rulings...but to be so blatant! Actually there was a central hallway with a door leading to offices on both sides, and this was to tell you which side you needed to visit, but the joke that I immediately saw when looking at it was not lost on Oscar who was with me when I pointed it out to him. As has been the case with all three of our visits to this "courthouse"...we left without even getting to see the judge....a signature lacking here, paperwork not done as they thought there, you name it. Having the attitude that you will not actually get anything accomplished other than having a distant meeting place for Oscar and I to talk about decisions, etc. makes those trips much more enjoyable.