Saturday, September 29, 2012

Woo Hoo - Shopping!!

Something that has always fascinated me since living on the mission field - both here in Peru and in the Philippines - is grocery shopping.  Now I can already hear some of you groaning at the thought of it!  And to be quite honest, I do my own fair share of groaning when I think about going to the store!

I have come to look at grocery shopping as an adventure.  You never know what wonderful bargain you will find, or what recently "imported item" you will find!  Now for those of you who read this and live in the States, finding something imported in the grocery store doesn't mean very much - unless you have lived on the Mission Field before!  For those of us living on the Mission Field, finding an "imported item" from the States is like finding a magnificent treasure!  And then there is the added fun of shopping in a foreign language!  I am finally starting to figure which spices I am actually buying!  Woo Hoo!!

I remember how exciting it was to find Dr. Pepper in the grocery store when I lived in the Philippines!  It is still just as exciting now when I go to Wong (one of the grocery stores here) and find Dr. Pepper!  Recently we found Muenster Cheese on one of our visits to Wong!  Have I died and gone to Heaven?  Not yet, but I AM sure there will be Muenster Cheese in Heaven!

While I was at the "Caja" (Check-out) the other day, I found myself gazing with admiration at the way the clerks pack my groceries into the plastic bags.  Here they put as much as is reasonable into one bag - none of this one item per bag (like Walmart).  I am still trying to figure out their system for scanning things, however.  Just when I think I have it all figured out, they toss me a curve ball and I have to start all over again!  I am very strict with myself about how I put my groceries on the conveyor belt - all the drinks (milk, juice, yogurt drink, etc.) together, all the meat and cold stuff together, etc., etc., etc.  Then I watch the clerk start rummaging through my neatly arranged stacks, and I think, "Hey, wait a minute....!!!!"  This happened a few times after we came, then I finally started paying attention to what they were doing - what items they were putting together - to ring up and to put in bags.  I have started trying to copy their system, and going through the check-out line goes a little faster and easier - that is when I have remembered to have all the fruits and vegetables weighed in the produce department!

Before you start thinking I am some extraordinary missionary wife, let me tell you something....there are times when I really dread going to the store!  There, I've said it....I feel better.  There are times when the loud music, the staring, and the crowds really get the better of me, and I just want to go home and forget that there are such wonderful things in the world as "Imported Items"!  But like every good missionary wife, I brave it all for the sake of my dear family (and their appetites - not to mention their need to eat meals for the week!)

Have a wonderful weekend....and may all your shopping trips be adventures!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joys and Sorrows

What do you do when people hurt you and offend you?  Forgive.  And what do you do when people take things from you?  Forgive.  How do you explain to your children why someone stole from you?  The only explanation is...Forgive.
We were recently out on a shopping expedition and the backpack we use for the kids was stolen.  It wouldn't have been quite so bad if I had not put my wallet and phone in there!  It is hard to describe that sinking feeling I felt the moment I realized the backpack was gone!  But I want to tell you how good and gracious our loving Heavenly Father is......After about 3 hours of explaining everything to the restaurant manager, the security team, and the police - we were more than ready to go home!  He sent us such kind people to help us - even the Commanding Officer at the police station took time to play with the children and their balloon!

In my mind, I continue to think, "If I had just done this, or that, or.....the list goes on!  But I remember what Psalm 18:30 says, "As for God, his way is perfect..."  He allowed this to happen to us.  Why?  To teach us.  To teach us to be more careful, to teach us to trust Him more, to teach us to draw closer to Him and stay close to Him, and to teach us the wonderful blessing of seeing His hand in it all.  We are so blessed.  We are all safe - everything that was taken can be replaced.  He even sent strangers on the train on the way home to show us His marvelous love and comfort.  They had no idea what we had just experienced, but they showed us kindness - a simple thing - just a seat on the train...but at that moment - it was a place of refuge, a place of comfort, a hug from my Heavenly Father!  Hebrews 13:2 says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:  for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  I don't know if angels look like Peruvians, but I know that those dear Peruvians were sent from God Himself to be a blessing and a help to me and my family!  What a blessing it was to be able to say to the people who came to our aid, "We love Peru.  We love the Peruvian people.  We are here to stay."  We explained to Martha and Ian that we must forgive those people who did wrong to us.  We now have the joy of praying for the salvation of their souls.  We don't know who they are, but God does.

Speaking of souls that God knows, there is a new name written in Heaven this week.  This past Saturday I got to lead Jenny to the Lord!  She is 14 years old and her mom, Yudy, is Deaf.  As fas as I know, Jenny is the first person I've led to the Lord completely in Spanish - with no help except from the Lord!

And one more thing....I am now casi (almost) Peruvian (...if I could just get that Spanish down pat...)!  My visa to stay in the country has been approved!  Please pray as we wait for Matt's and the kids' visas to be approved.  Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Jesus This I Know"

My kids love music - especially Ian!  I have sung to them since before they were born.  One of their favorites is "Jesus Loves Me."  I can't even being to tell you how many times I have sung that sung!  And I gladly continue to sing it!  Both Martha and Ian are avid fans of playing my piano as well!
Playing Mommy's Piano - oh boy!
Music has always been an important part of my own life.  I remember singing with my Mom many times!  I always thought my Mom was the bravest lady I knew during thunderstorms.  I can remember sitting in front of our sliding glass door during thunderstorms and singing "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" and "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul"!  I'm not sure why she picked those two songs - maybe because of their length!  I learned many years later that she was scared of those storms, but she didn't want me to be, so she sang with me.  Perhaps that is why I sing when there are storms - not just thunderstorms, but storms in life - what a comfort music is to me!  I can also remember singing in the vehicle with my Mom.  Most of my life, we lived far from town, so when it was time for grocery shopping - it was quite a drive to get to the store!  Mom would grab the hymn book (Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns - I still have that same hymnal - it's next to my piano right now!) and head out the door with me in tow.  She'd have me pick out a song, and we'd sing.  

One of our favorite places to sing!
I have to tell you though, when you start down the musical path with your children, be prepared to invent songs!  Some parents invent stories, I get requests for song inventions!  Yesterday Martha wanted me to sing the song about "The Dinosaur."  I had no idea what song she was talking about, but she insisted, so I invented!  A word of caution about inventing songs:  Try to remember the words, if not the tune of the invented song - you may be asked to repeat it!  I now have the original song "The Ballad of Dinosaur Jack"!  It's a song about a dinosaur (see what happens when your sons gets glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs for his birthday?) who has to ride a train to Sunday School!  (Some day I'll write the words down for your amusement - if I can remember them!)

Mom is in Heaven now, but I think she must smile every time the Lord tells her, "Sarah is singing with her kids again!"  I find myself singing the same songs again and again and again - but that's okay!  Yesterday we went to Callao as normal.  I think I sung all the way there and all the way back!  Yesterday's favorites were "Only a boy named David," "Zacchaeus," and "Jesus This I know."  You're thinking, "Jesus This I know"?  This is the title Ian has given to "Jesus Loves Me."  Kind of appropriate don't you think?  He's only two, but Ian has it all figured out - "Jesus This I know."  The wonderful, simple faith of a child:  We know Jesus - nothing else matters.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fruit Salad Days

This week has been kind of like Fruit Salad - all tossed together, mixed up, with some sweetness thrown in for good measure!  For the Deaf school children of Efata it has been a week full of competitions!  They have had vocabulary competitions, a fruit salad competition (I got to be a judge - what a yummy job that was!), and today a drama competition (I got to be the unmerciful judge for that too!  It was not without rewards however - they gave me a piece of cake as my salary!)

For my little family, it hasn't really been a fun week.  My hubby and kiddos are all under the weather - yuck!  Martha told me this morning, "I don't feel well."  So then I had to break the sad news that she probably shouldn't go to school today - she didn't want to make her teacher or classmates sick!  She brightened up immediately and said, "I feel better, Mom!"  Bless her heart, she still had to stay home!

Since these have been "Fruit Salad Days" for me, this blog will be Fruit Salad also!  I did promise recently a picture of my new kitchen clock, it is!  They had two different clocks at the store where I found this one, and I couldn't decide which one I liked better - and after all, why do I need TWO clocks in my kitchen?  So Martha helped me decide, and this is the one she chose! Isn't it lovely?  I love checking the time on my brand new "Coffee Clock"!

As I mentioned already, I got to be the judge for the drama competition today.  The Deaf children were doing ABC stories. ABC stories are unique to Deaf Culture, and as fas as I know, they've not been done with Peruvian Deaf - until now!

I wish you could have been sitting next to me as I watched the children do their ABC's and their ABC Stories in the most beautiful and expressive language in the whole world - Sign Language!  Am I biased?  YES!  What a blessing to think about these precious young people and the wonderful plans God has already established for their lives!  Many of these young people have not yet received Christ as their Saviour, but what a blessing to think of the day when their understanding will be opened and they will accept Christ as their Saviour and then decide to serve Him with their whole lives!

Have a wonderful week full of your own "Fruit Salad Days"!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

School Days

For quite some time, Martha had been asking me if she could have "school."  So for a while we were having "school" whenever I could fit it into the schedule (she is only 3 after all!)  Then I decided to schedule school into weeks - choosing Mondays and Fridays as the best days for school!  Martha was thrilled!  Well, when she discovered there was more to it than just coloring, THAT was another story!  But we continued and she began learning her numbers and letters.  Praise the Lord, for that has helped her tremendously!  She always wants to know what something says so I told her when she learned her letters, then she could learn to read!
Then one of the missionary wives told me Martha could go to the class they have here for her age.  Mateo and Benjamin are the same age as Martha and they are learning English.  Matt and I talked it over, decided to let her go, and told her the glorious news!  She's been going to school for about a week now.  The first day she came home from school she was sad!  I couldn't imagine what had happened, so I questioned her about it.  It turned out she was disappointed because she didn't get a lollipop!  It wasn't even a comfort that the boys didn't get one either!  I realized she had confused "School" with "Sunday School" since we always refer to her Sunday School class as "Class."  Oops!  We've cleared up the confusion, and now it is smooth sailing!

I took her down to school the first couple of days, but now she goes by herself.  Sometimes Daddy walks her to school.  She is enjoying it.  She starts at 8 a.m. and is done by 10:15. She came home yesterday and was telling me all about Nicky Narwhal - the animal that goes with the letter "N."

Ian misses her dreadfully.  His first question every morning is usually, "Where's Martha?"  I can usually count on answering that question at least a dozen times before Martha comes home!  Sometimes I don't get Ian up until after Martha has already left for school.  If he happens to be up and around when she leaves - he sets up quite a howl for Martha!

Mommy misses her dreadfully, too!  Martha really isn't that far away, but to Mommy it seems like a million miles, and those two hours are the slowest ones of my day!  On Mondays, Daddy preaches in chapel for the Deaf students, so we try to go down to see him preach.  Right now he is teaching through the story of Naaman.

Now if I could just teach Ian that not every color is YELLOW......

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Look At Me..."

How many of you remember hearing those three words when you were a child?  I heard them often, and they were always connected to "...when I'm talking to you!"  Now I am all grown up (I like to think so anyway!), and I hear myself saying those exact words to my own children!  I wish you could hear my Daddy laughing at me when I share with him something I have said something to my children exactly like he used to say to me!  I remember trying the excuse, "Everybody else is doing..." only once or twice.  His response was always, "Everybody's NOT doing it, because YOU'RE not!" How he howled with laughter the day I shared with him that I had already said those very words to my own children!  I find myself laughing too, because in those exact moments when I am waxing eloquent to my children about something, it is almost as if my Daddy's voice has been dubbed in over my own, and I can hear his voice with startling clarity saying those exact words to me!

You know, I am thankful for my kiddos!  I know they are my little treasure boxes from the Lord.  Why do I say "boxes"?  Because my Hubby and I have been given the wonderful opportunity to fill their boxes (lives) with a treasure far more valuable than the wealth of the richest man on earth.  We have the opportunity to fill their lives with eternal treasures.  Wow!  I find myself wondering many times what I am filling those boxes with - and sometimes I have to stop and re-evaluate the things that are going into them.

I started reading through Hebrews yesterday during my quiet time.  Today, the Lord opened my eyes to  a verse I have probably read a thousand times.  The first 4 words of Hebrews 2:9 say, "But we see Jesus..."  The verse goes on to explain exactly who Jesus is and what He has done for us.  But my attention was arrested by those 4 words:  "But we see Jesus..."  I could hear my Heavenly Father saying to me, "Look at me.....when I'm talking to you!"  Ouch!

How many times do I (like Peter, I might add), get to looking at those billowing waves and raging wind all around me.  I take my eyes off my Saviour - and where do I end up?  Just like Peter, I end up "beginning to sink"!  And to my shame, that is exactly where I have been lately - "beginning to sink."  Then God gave me those 4 words in Hebrews 2:9 this morning....oh, what conviction those words brought...but, oh, what "balm of Gilead" they also were!  Conviction - knowing I wasn't where I'm suppose to be, but healing in the blessed comfort that He still loves me and is waiting to help me back up.  Knowing that He will walk back to the ship with me, He will calm the storms, and we can keep going on together.

"But we see Jesus..."  Will you join me today in looking at Jesus?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Knight and The Damsel in Distress

Okay, maybe Martha isn't REALLY the Damsel in Distress (not for the moment-at least!), but doesn't she look the part?  If you could have seen her face a few minutes before this picture was taken, you would think she really WAS the Damsel in Distress!

And here is my "Fearless?" Knight!  His armor isn't shining yet - we're still working on that polish!  But he is learning to be the "Defender of the Realm" and "Mommy's Chief Protector"!  Pray for Daddy!

Now you are wondering how all this came started with Ian's birthday!  God bless whoever it was that gave him that sword for his birthday!  (I inwardly groaned when I saw it come out of the package.) Then I outwardly groaned as his first action with his sword was to stab his beloved Mommy!  SIDE NOTE:  Isn't it amazing how GOD sets the difference between boys and girls and ingrains it into the very fibers of their beings - even before they are born?
Back to my story....I could see something had to change - how could my beloved son "stab" his Mommy?  On Monday morning, I "knighted" him.  Yesterday morning, Daddy gave him the box my new kitchen clock came in (I'll post a picture sometime).  Then we were inspired with the idea of turning the box into a shield  - as you can see.  Isn't it great what you can amuse a 2 year with - empty box, black marker, and string!  His "helmet" is his "Tio Frank hat" - that is exactly what Ian calls it!  Tio Frank gave it to him for his birthday (to Mommy, it is the most precious of all his gifts that he received.)

I officially "knighted" him, made the royal proclamation that he is my Defender and Protector, and sent him forth on his first crusade!  At this point he has more zeal than knowledge, and woe to the person who gets in front of him and his sword!  He has NO mercy!  As you can see, when Martha came home from school, I had a "Damsel in Distress" hat ready and waiting for her - now to train her to become a "Lady in Waiting" not just a "Damsel in Distress"!
It is amazing how God can use even "child's play" to teach us.  As I have been typing this, I have been thinking how someday there will be a young lady waiting for her "Knight in Shining Armor."  Someday my son will be that young lady's "Defender and Protector."  Praise the Lord I have God on my side as I train my "Knight" to serve the Lord, and get his armor (character) polished now so it will be good and shiny when God brings that "Damsel in Distress" into my young Knight's life.
And the same God helps me train my "Damsel in Distress" to become a "Lady in Waiting" - waiting on God in every area of her life-including waiting on God to bring her future "Knight in Shining Armor"!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coffee and "Do Nots"

When we went to the "Big Tottus" yesterday for our weekly shopping trip, Matt and I talked about getting some donuts from the Dunkin' Donuts kiosk outside the store.  As you parents know, many times we speak in "Code" when talking in front of our children.  Since my children not only know English, but also Spanish and Sign Language, it gets rather challenging to speak in "Code" sometimes! So, yesterday I asked Matt if we could get some "Do Nots" (Isn't that what they really are anyways - "Do not eat me or you'll change shapes?")  He agreed to the "Do Nots."  Yippee!!!!  When I asked Martha if she would like some "Do Nots" she said (very solemnly) "No.....Mommy, what is a 'do not'?" Daddy teased her and said, "You know it is something you shouldn't do - do not do this, do not do that...!"  And the conversation ended for the time.

When we wer finally done with our shopping - more about that another time - we stopped by the "Do Not" kiosk!  Wow - was that an exciting moment when Martha realized what a "Do Not" was!

This morning when I asked Martha if she was ready for cereal, she said, "No.  I am ready for a donut!" I knew Daddy had saved her part of a donut for breakfast this morning so I went to get it.  As I headed toward the kitchen, I heard her say, "May I have "coffee" with my donut?"  Martha and I have a "tradition" all our own.  As you know, coffee flows abundantly through my veins, and Martha (being an exact replica of her Mama) has decided she likes coffee.  I make her "coffee" - evaporated milk, warm water, sugar, and a dusting (very light) of coffee.  She loves it and it makes a nice warm drink for cold mornings!

So this morning, Martha and I are drinking our coffee together, and she is eating her donut!  My father-in-law (who is a retired police officer) would be so proud to see us holding up that most beloved of all police traditions - coffee and donuts!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Think on These Things...

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

I don't know about you, but there are days when everything looks black and gloomy.  You know what I mean?  The days when nothing goes right....the days that do go right, but you just feel restless and blue.  Not yet being the perfect missionary wife (I am working on it!), I have occasional days where I just "muddle through."  It is then that the Lord reminds me of Philippians 4:8!  Yes, I can already hear the groans over that long list of things that we are suppose to be thinking about!  If it weren't for knowing a chorus for that verse - I would NEVER be able to remember all those things that I am suppose to be thinking about!  Let's see....things that are true...honest...just...pure...lovely...good report...any virtue...any praise...and then the command - "Think on these things."

Isn't it comforting to know that if we will just avail ourselves of them, God has cures for every ailment we have!  Many times, I remember too late - then I have to scramble to "catch up" in my spiritual life!  But have you ever noticed verse 9 in Philippians chapter 4?  "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:  and the God of peace shall be with you."  The Lord pointed out verse 9 to me a couple of weeks ago, and I was impressed by the fact that God leaves no one out of the responsibility to do right - "learned, received, heard, and seen"!  But this morning, I read that verse again in light of verse 8.  "Those things..."  Hmm...just what are "those things"?  I realized this morning that "those things" are not just the things we learn from the Bible or things we've heard growing up in church.  "Those things" are the "whatsoever things" of verse 8!  (I'm kind of slow sometimes to catch these truths - forgive me!)  What a promise God gave us if we will obey verse 8 - "and the God of peace shall be with you."  Wow!

"...True...honest...just...pure...lovely...good report...any virtue...any praise, think on these things."