What do you see?

March flew by and April is almost gone so it’s time for a belated update.

We continue to serve at a local rural church, and look forward to getting some help with children’s ministry! Starting in May we should have a youth minister which is one of the things this church has really needed. Please continue to pray for this essential ministry.

We met the pastor of another even smaller and more rural church recently. By “more rural” I mean that in the rainy season he can’t get to his church even by motorcycle due the the road conditions, and has to finish the last part of the trek on foot in the rain and thick mud. Some of the church membership does not have a Bible, so we were thrilled to be able to give some to the pastor for him to hand out. Thank you to those of you who have donated copies of God’s word!

For a number of reasons, I still haven’t been able to deliver training for future pastors. I’d hoped to do this right when we got to Honduras, but I think the Lord has future plans since it is still very much on my heart. In the meantime, I’ve been working on starting up small groups and discipling as I can. In a way, it’s a mixed blessing that I haven’t been able to invest in pastor training as I’d like to yet, because supervising our house construction has been absorbing so much time.

Speaking of house construction, we’re a long ways from the finish line but the work continues to progress. We’ve experienced some deeply concerning obstacles, but God is so good! Every time we’ve run into a seemingly insurmountable problem, He has put us in touch with the right person or presented the right situation, and has brought forth a solution. Our main challenge at the moment is having enough of the compressed earth blocks ready to go once the foundations are finished in order to avoid delays as the walls go up. Our block making team has really come together though and is running like a finely tuned engine. We are so grateful for them and for the opportunity to trust in the Lord as this is all very much uncharted territory for us.

In related construction news, we had to have a road put in on our property in order to access our future house. If this sounds fancy, it’s basically a gravel road which was compacted by a steam roller. It was a necessary cost because without the compacted gravel, we wouldn’t be able get to or leave the house in the rain due to the slippery conditions we would have experienced otherwise. Recently, we had a precursor to what the rainy season will bring. It didn’t rain too hard, but it was hard enough to erode parts of our new road! Initially it was worrisome, but we realized it was a gift. We were able to take action and make attempts to divert excess water off the road before the May rains hit. As an added bonus, we’re trying to divert the runoff into areas now designated as roadside rain gardens, where we’ve been planting fruit trees. What initially looked like a problem has turned into a blessing. It’s just a question of perspective.

What do you see?

This brings me to a verse which was impactful on me when we were thinking and praying about committing to ministry full time.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

Jesus saw the crowd for what it was. Rather than being a tedious nuisance, He saw the crowd as lost and afflicted as shepherd-less sheep. This perspective evoked the appropriate emotion (compassion as opposed to annoyance), which in turn stimulated the correct action (serving the crowd instead of driving them away).

Sometimes we see something (or someone) which initially presents itself as a problem. We’re only looking superficially. But if we gaze beneath the surface, we see something else. When you experience noisy disruptions in church (our friend has paid us a few more visits) or when you watch your shiny new dirt road get washed out by the first rain, do you see problems or do you see opportunities? For most of my life my knee jerk response has been “problems”. But the Lord continues to challenge my perceptions, revealing opportunities to minister to the harassed and helpless, and to trust in Him to turn roadside ruts into opportune orchards.

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