Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Making the Most of Every Opportunity

There is an article in called Natural Evangelism by Edward Fudge.  He talks about the fears we all have about sharing the message of God's  forgiveness of mistakes and sins and bad decisions and his offer of life after physical death. The author then gives some spot-on verses to guide our evangelism efforts.  It's a great read, linked above for you to check out.

For some reason, every sermon, bible study and devotional we have been hearing lately has been pointing to this very subject.  How do we present the gospel in a way that sounds like good news?  How do we keep from taking the legalistic, self-righteous approach toward people who don't even know or believe the Word of God yet? 
This week we have had many opportunities with contacts in our clinics, I pray we are making the most of them.

We had a woman come on Saturday who tested positive for HIV after showing several signs of full-blown AIDS.  Her husband died six years ago, but not before she had an affair with another man and got pregnant.  We needed to explain to her how HIV is spread and the possibility of her son having it too, not to mention the other man. 

A man with anxiety and gastritis came in, and after asking him routine questions about alcohol and tobacco, he mentioned that he participates in Mayan ceremonies at times, drinking included.  But interestingly, says he became a Christian 20 years ago but quit going to church because other church members said he had to leave his current wife and go back to his ex-wife who abandoned him and their children.  He still maintains both women and their children, but only lives with the second woman.  And now he is not welcome in the church.

A young couple comes in wanting STD testing because the wife had an affair with her husband's brother, who apparently had signs of venereal disease.  They needed counseling as much as medical attention and talked about the possibility that someone had put a curse over the wife to make her act this way.  They felt helpless and wanted to help their marriage get back on track and have decided to look into Christianity for guidance.

Each situation is an opportunity to share God's love, forgiveness and restoration with people at the end of their rope.  We can be approachable, share God's plan for reconciliation and renewal, or ruin the moment with self-righteous judgment. Our work is to share the gospel, not change people's lifestyles or habits.  Only the Holy Spirit has that ability.

 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:2-6

Friday, April 17, 2015

Man, It's Hot!

 Our cool mountain weather takes a short vacation during the months of April and May to give us the hot, dry and dusty days that generate the much-anticipated rainy season.  This is when the forrest fires kick up, and this week we had a big one get close to Clinica Caris and the highway between there and Chichi.  Sheri's blog has a great post of pictures from Monday's fire.
We have been getting up to 90 degrees during the day, which heats up the house to about 78.  We end up having to leave the door open to let in any breeze that might be in the area, and then sleep with just a sheet for cover at night. Man, it's HOT!  I know we shouldn't complain, but when you are used to 65-75 degrees everyday, it's hard to adjust!
Empty fields waiting for three good rains before the farmers begin to plant their corn.
 But, we are starting to hear whippoorwills at night and seeing swallows zipping back and forth in the air signalling the coming of the rains. Then it's back to cool days, rainy afternoons and evenings, and bright clear air.  This week we were blessed with a practice rain.  It really cooled off the evening and settled the dust.  Can't wait for more of that!  There is something beautiful about seasonal changes that reminds us of God's renewing spirit and his continuous offer for a do-over.  Thank you, Lord!

Hazy, lazy days in the mountains.  Not too much water flowing in that river these days...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Breakers

Organizing the Tiva water filters components to deliver.

 I know there is a somewhat negative connotation to the term Spring Breakers, but I have to brag on the ones that came down and spent their time off to work with us in our clinics and ABC ministry.  We were honored to host the Harding University team of health science students (PA, nursing, pharmacy, pre-med) led by Gary Hill, PA-C.  Dr. Brian Cress also joined us, offering his pediatric expertise for the week of well-child check-ups for the kids in the ABC program.
Our second visiting team was from Oklahoma Christian University led by Eric Phelps. Most were also pre-health science students and we put them to work on well-child checkups as well as water filter delivery to the ABC families.  We were blessed to have Drs. Debbie and Owen Corwen joining our dental teams and Drs. Neil Roberts and Zann McMahan helping out in clinic, and Matt Anderson translating.  We also enjoyed spending time with Dave and Susan Mellor for both teams!  It was a busy two weeks of heights and weights and screening exams and health education!

Visiting in Paxot II

This guy couldn't wait to show us his clean fingernails and hands!  And he wants to be a lawyer when he grows up.
Hannah is about to get a very unpleasant susrprise--this is a cashew fruit.  
This beautiful, luscious looking fruit smells like a rotting corpse. 
Former MET student extraordinaire, Laura Wilson shows everyone how you tie down the load! 

Assembling Tiva filters in the homes. The students studied the instructions before coming down and were able to get them set up quickly.

Pharmacy stop after check-up

K'iche' to Espanol to English to Espanol to K'iche'.  It takes a while to get the history!

Pet squirrels at one of the ABC family's house.

New water filter!  We asked mom if the kids were using the filtered water and she said, "They love the water!  It's all they drink now.  They don't even ask for coffee or kool-aid!

With both teams we were able to cover all of our ABC communities (15 churches) for the year's first check-up. We want to give everyone a big THANK YOU for offering up your time to be here and serve with us.  We got a lot done!