Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In the dead fish

On Easter Sunday, we were singing a Spanish hymn (sung to the tune of "From the fount of every blessing). Hannah turned and asked me, "Dad, why are we singing about a dead fish?"

Bill: Where do you see that?

Hannah: Up on the screen. It says, "In the dead fish, I am dead!"

The word for dead fish (i.e., the kind you would buy at the market to eat) is "pescado." The word for sin is "pecado." The way to remember it is that both dead fish and sin are stinky. So we were actually singing, "From now on, regarding the world and sin, I am dead." You've got to give it to those Spanish hymn writers. They're a chipper bunch.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lesson gleaned from a jigsaw puzzle

I was working on a jigsaw puzzle recently, and something that I noticed was that there were several points in which I thought, "There is no way that this piece fits here." Time passes. I piddle with other pieces. The easy ones come together. I think, maybe in the factory something happened, and this piece fell into the rest. I seriously think that, as if that were the truth. At points I would play with it a bit, return to the rest. Sometimes I hit a point where I go a long time without getting a piece to fit, and I realize that my color expectations are affecting my ability to move on to the next stage. Then I look at the picture again, and think, "Wow, of course, it's changing to purple!" And then I move on. Sometimes I find myself trying to figure out where one of the kids must have taken the piece I have been searching for, but it isn' t their fault. I just hadn't put the pieces together yet.

Life is like that, isn't it? We work on this puzzle of life, and we keep going until we don't. And all of a sudden things aren't working so good. We are surprised. Shocked. In denial. It must be someone else's fault (child, boss, husband, friend who has been more distant lately....). But if we are wise, we press in until the Lord shows us that the color has changed, and it requires a new strategy-- a new way of looking at life, a new skill that we didn't have before, but can have if we are willing to change and learn. And then somehow we move on, and it comes together. And it wasn't a lost piece in the factory, not an errant child, or anything of the sort-- just a change of scheme that is part of life, and an opportunity to grow.

Our Apartment - photos

One of the difficulties of being a missionary is the loss of connection you feel with family and friends at home. Of course, that is also a two way street. That's why I've included the apartment videos below and these photos of our apartment. It's a bit of overkill on this one theme, but it gives those who are interested a snapshot (or video) of an important part of our lives here. I've included three shots here: our living room, dinning room and kitchen. If you'd like to see more, just click the link below: http://picasaweb.google.com/BillandLenaPics/OurApartmentInLima.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Apartment tour

I took this video in February 2008, just before we moved in to our apartment. The beauty of our apartment is the security. We never fear for our safety. The other is this lovely park, which the kids can play in. The third blessing is our proximity to the kids' school. We frequently walk to pick them up. In a big city like this, when I'm often away traveling, it is a blessing to not worry. We thank God for our call to Peru and for providing this apartment.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bad Album Covers

It's important to know that I really like to laugh. I stumbled upon this link while reading the news: http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/ny-worstalbumcovers-pg,0,531818.photogallery

It is a photo collection of the 50 worst album covers. Not ironically, many of them are from Christian albums and all appear to be from the 70's. A word of caution: humor is subjective and can be dangerous. Therefore, if you are easily offended, then just skip this and enjoy the example I've provided above, that great album of uplifting songs: "All my friends are Dead." Otherwise, click the link above and make sure you view a few of my favorites; e.g., 9 (seen here), 27, 29, 42, 48 & 50.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Prince Caspian - Review & Thoughts

Hannah, Colton and I saw Prince Caspian on Saturday night. Thankfully, it's in English with sub-titles. It was a solid OK. It wasn't great, but I enjoyed it. If I didn't know the story, I'd probably rate it higher; but, since it is one of my favorite stories of all time, it had a lot to live up to. I rate the opening sequence a A+. The movie opens better than the book, with an exciting chase scene. After the kids get into Narnia, the movie diverts from the book and starts to fall apart. The last third gets back to the book and ends well. One aspect I hated was that Susan kisses Caspian at the end (which was unbefitting a queen). If he had kissed her hand, and looked into her eyes, it would have worked better. Also, following the kiss, there is a pop music song. Up until then, the movie had a nice symphonic score. The pop music & the kiss seemed to turn a classy movie into a TV show.

Two thoughts:

1) We watched the BBC version (from the 1980's) a month ago. In that version, when the kids retrieve their original gifts from Father Christmas, Edmund has none. He didn't get a gift because he was a rebellious traitor and wasn't with the rest when Father Christmas arrived. When Willy saw this, he was very upset and asked if Edmund would get a gift now--after he says that he's sorry. We explained that he would not; i.e., being forgiven does not erase the past and there are lasting consequences to rebellion. This effected Willy greatly. It's worth remembering for all of us.

2) In the book, when Reepicheep's companions pledge to cut off their tails, Aslan says, "You have conquered me!" I love the idea that noble companions can greatly touch the heart of God--like the four friends who dug through the roof. The new movie contains this scene, but not the emotional confession from Aslan. (By the way, in the new movie, Reepicheep is a mouse to be feared! He's not quite as pompous as in the book, but is nonetheless one of the great literary characters of all time.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Missionary Adjustment

An old friend wrote me today and asked how our transition was going. I wanted to share some of what I wrote him:

Our lives here are going well. We like Lima. We miss our friends in Cincinnati and in Costa Rica, but if you have to live in a foreign city, Lima, Peru is a great place to live. We especially appreciate the orderly structure and amenities of this big city. Nonetheless, it’s not home and there are many aspects that are less than comfortable or simply hard to understand. It’s funny that some people make this move solely for the adventure or for financial gain. It seems costly to do that without the greater purpose of the kingdom. I once heard that ex-pats consider their original country to be home up until the 2nd year away. At that point, they don’t feel that either country is home. They simply don’t fit anywhere. After the 4th year, their new country is home. We’ve been gone from the states for 1 ½ years and we are definitely feeling the sense of a loss of identity. We’re not Cincinnati people and not XA people. We’re like Abraham, marching into a new land, a land of promise, based on faith and the call of God.
(This cross sits atop San Cristobal--a tall hill overlooking Lima.)

Monday, May 12, 2008


We are in Arequipa, Peru, on our way south to Arica, Chile. We're on this journey to complete the process of getting the children's residency visas. It's a blessing, because it has allowed us to visit friends who live in Arequipa--which is in the southern portion of Peru, high in the Andes mountains. Arequipa is famous for 4 things: 1) The snow capped mountains--including the famous volcano "El Misti." 2) The Cathedral and the city's staunch devotion to the Pope. It is often referred to as the Vatican of South America. 3) The white volcanic rock used to construct many of the buildings, giving the city the name "the white city." 4) Their independent spirit, giving them the titles of "The independent State of Arequipa" or "The Texas of Peru."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Meriachi Birthday

For Lena's birthday, a Peruvian pastor who works with Latin America Childcare, surprised Lena with a Mariachi band. You can see in the video, Pastora Vicky, two teachers, two LACC students, our apartment, Lena, Willy and Abi. The song the band is singing is "Felicidades!" which is "congratulations!"

41 years of Lena

Lena turns 41 today. I want to say, that I have loved our 16 1/2 years of marriage together. That makes her birthday a real cause of celebration. Lena is my best friend. She can be both extremely funny and highly spiritual in the same moment. We don't mind long trips, because we're often looking for excuses to spend more time together. We laugh, we pray, we love and we work for the same cause--the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She's my partner and an excellent mother. That's why I'm celebrating the day she was born!

(This picture of us was taken outside of Ayacucho. We're standing on the site of the last battle fought for South American independence from Spain.)

Where's the bath-robe?

I recently wrote a friend the following: The move to Peru has been a tearing down of identities. I was once a man with a large vocabulary. Now, I am a man who says, “Where is the bath-robe?”

They say, “What?”

And I say, “You know, the habitation of the urn!”
In Spanish, one of the words for toilet is inodoro. If you look closely, you can see what it is saying; i.e. without odor. This is clearly a symbol of a Don Quixote type of hopefulness, in spite of reality, which is found throughout Latin culture.
The picture is of Lena, Hannah, Colton and I. It was taken in a hotel parking lot in San Diego, following a missions trip to Mexico back in 2000.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Piller of Smoke & Fire

For my devotions, I do a combination of Bible reading, journaling, singing and prayer (in English, Spanish and Tongues). The anchor is the Bible reading portion. The other activities are inserted into the Bible time. I aim to read 3 chapters per day in English and selected passages in Spanish. I just finished reading Exodus. The book ends with the completion of the "Tent of Meeting" (also referred to as the Tabernacle). This was a big tent with the Ark of the covenant at one end and a larger area for animal sacrifices. The tent was the place where God's presence was manifested and was both physically and figuratively at the center of the community (i.e., all the tribes set their tents around this central tent). The final verses of Exodus read as follows:

Ex 40:34-8--Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.

I want that. I want God's presence to settle upon me in a visible fashion. I want to be lead by God's Spirit in a strong way. If He goes, I go. If He sits tight, then I sit tight. I want Him in sight in all my travels.

Please pray for me, for this to be a reality.

Friday, May 02, 2008

77 Chigger bites

During our visit to the jungle last week, I received at least 77 chigger bites. (Yes, I counted them.) Each bite, leaves a nasty, itchy bump. They don't suck your blood; rather, they inject a fluid that liquefies your skin so they can drink it! They like areas which are dark and sweaty, like the elastic area of my sock (as you can see). Other areas include your arm pits, waste band and... Well, let's just say that I won't be scratching #76 in public.