Saturday, August 21, 2021

Dry and Hot

 I've spent two weeks traveling with the organization I'm working with. The first place was 5 hours away, the next place was another 7 hours past the first location.  There has been so much beauty in these places, and the people are wonderful to work with. I've had some good conversation with many people; speaking the language fluently has been helpful too, as nobody knows I'm not Brazilian. It's been refreshing to see people let their guard down when they talk with me, and I'm encouraged to be interacting with them and building relationship. Our purpose back in Brazil goes beyond just reforesting the land that so desperately cries for good stewardship and restoration, it is also about the silent cries for hope, for reconciliation to God that only Jesus Christ can bring.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Caring for Creation...

What do you think? Is caring for creation anthropocentric (man-centered?) Or is it eco-centric? When I speak at churches, small groups, colleges, or any other gatherings, I always ask this question. Often times, I get blank stares, or confusion...but it's really a trick question! The answer, from Scripture, is that our efforts in caring for creation are to be Theo-centric...or focused on God! It is HIS creation!

To this effect, some friends of mine have written a scholarly article, very well done, about this topic. It's worth a read, and not super long. Here is the link to it:

Please, take the time to read it, and learn more about what our calling as believers is in regards to creation.

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it!" Psalm 24:1

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Grieving before leaving

Maryville, where we've lived here for about six years, has become home to us. For myself, it's the longest I've lived in one place consecutively. Even growing up in Brazil, as a family we moved back to the US every four years and spent one year here before returning to Brazil. 

Whether it's the Redbud tree I planted in our yard a few years ago and its amazing pinkish/purple blooms,or the variegated willows grown from cuttings from my in-laws in NY state, or the weeping willow, apple trees, mulberry,  plums, or other things I've planted, I love my yard. I love working with my hands to make something useful and beautiful. Similar to a carpenter I'd say, who takes joy in the labor, in the sweat equity put into his work. He gets to enjoy the work when it's complete. I also get to enjoy the work of my hands, be it the literal fruit that grows from it, or the shade it gives, or the scent, and beauty of flowers in spring... This has been home. It's been a salve to our family to have one place to call home with all the transition and challenges we've faced over the years.

But God... God has opened another door for us..
Another door for the gospel, as the Apostle Paul wrote so many years ago. I'll write more about that soon, which involves returning to Brazil, but it's so important to grieve over the losses we will face. We already miss our home here even though we haven't even left. We have already cried over simple things and big things. This isn't to say we are sad to go! In fact, we are all, as a family, quite excited to go back to Brazil as missionaries! It wouldn't happen if all of the kids and we as a couple didn't agree that it was what God was telling us to do. We've prayed for months, and God clearly said yes to us through a variety of things, including His Word, His people, and His way. :-)

In the meantime, as we begin downsizing, selling off things that won't fit in a suitcase, and letting go of the worldly possessions that have bound us to this place in the world, we grieve. We cry. We remember. We smile, laugh and get excited too though! It's a mix, but it's good. Because our God is good, and His plan is always better. And even though change isn't easy, it makes it a bit easier to remember that God has called us, and that He goes before us.

If God opens a door, and tells you to walk through it, what are YOU gonna do? There's a great story in the Bible about this one guy who chose to run the other was Jonah. Look it up. 😆 I'd rather obey God's plan than go the other way. What a blessing that this is something God has prepared for me to do...and something I've prayed about and dreamed about since my college days... God is good indeed.