Friday, July 20, 2012

What Compels

My personality loves to think deeply.  I like to analyze.  To a fault probably, but it's who I am.  And I love seeing/understanding all sides to a situation. 

Which has me thinking as I sit here in what may become our future home in Belem, Brazil.  Bill and I decided several weeks back we needed to plan this trip to come down and investigate what we are getting ourselves into and meet with people in the area.  Smart guy.

I think life is like certain combinations.  For example, let's say that those who live by the beach fit into 3 different colors: yellow, blue, and green.  So people with purple, orange, and blue would not fit into the beach lifestyle and vice-versa.  Someone who had yellow, purple, and red could relate 1/3. 

You see where I am going with this.  As people, we have this combination in us that makes it easier or harder to live in certain place, relate to things or people.  There might even be layers of combinations.  Age would be another layer. 

We become who we are by our surroundings -includes all kinds of things, like culture- and personalities.  Throw in age and gender, maybe even physical or mental challenges and we tend to become comfortable with what we know (the color combination that makes us).

A person limited to only 3 colors their whole life will not adjust very well to other color combinations.  They'd rather not change.  Or better yet, maybe they are black and white.  They can't create other colors.  A person with yellow, blue and red can create green, purple, magenta, etc.  if they choose to.

I have the advantage of having been exposed to various color combinations when I was younger so I have an ability to recall that to the surface.    As I interact with the Brazilians on this trip, that's exactly what's happening. 

However, the reality of living in Belem has given me mixed emotions.  The place we are staying may become our home when we move.  It is very different than 1) where I have lived in the US for the last 22 years and 2) very different than my childhood homes of South Brazil.  The area is more underdeveloped.  It is normal to not have a yard, you don't put TP in the toilet (the plumping here is not designed for it), there seems to be no way to get rid of the sugar ants that take up residence along with you, and there are 3 layers of gates/ locks from house to street.

SO, as I sat here processing all this and deciding if I could live, really live, that way for several years, my little analytical mind almost made my mouth burst out in laughter as I tried to place other people who have the black and white personalities in my shoes.  It wouldn't happen. 

So what compels?  Can anyone adjust?  The short answer is yes.  It might take longer for some, but the key would be the one color that everyone receives when they become a Christian.  I have no idea what that color would be, maybe the magical color that can turn into anything depending on the situation.  The trick is learning how to work it.   And some choose not to.

That's what compels. 

One dictionary meaning of compel is : to force or drive, especially to a course of action.

I believe the best key to unlock the magical color we receive as Christians is love.  It will sustain the course of action we choose because it is done out of the right motive.  Most everything will fall apart because it comes from self. 

My biggest prayer as we continue working with this mission is that we will be compelled by love and God's Spirit. 

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us [AKA - that magical color],  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. "  Ephesians 3:20-21  Emphasis and addition mine.

Front of house (there's another gate outside the photo to left)

Front full view of house

View from house

View from kitchen

"Back yard"

We visited a botanical zoo that is close to the house.  HUGE water lily pads!
The reflected skyscraper made a neat photo too.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Life Changes

Life has so many stages that can happen naturally.  First we are children, and things are taken care of for us.  Next, we branch out on our own, most of us attending college.  Getting married brings on a whole new aspect of life.  Add a few kids for another phase.  Then those kids become teens and adults, and so on.  The phases are just a natural part of life, anywhere in the world.

But what about the phases that are cognative choices, and not "natural"?

Those take a little more incentive and commitment.  Those are life changes.  We (Bill and I) have been known to live outside the box to begin with.  So, the moment we decided to begin a mission organization wasn't too far out of line for our personalities.  What we couldn't have forseen was how much determination and obedience it would take.

I want to give an extremely strong emotional response right now to the changes we have gone through since starting Believer's Bridge.  But I can't think of a way to communicate that effectively.  The movie, "The Ultimate Gift" comes to mind.  So, go watch that, then come back and read the rest... or you can just keep reading and make a note to get the movie at another time.  It will be worth your while.

Although we did not start off with millions of dollars, Bill was a top EO for several companies before God derailed us off that path (Bentley (CAD makers), Kinkos, Watsco, and others).  But I am convinced that all that had a part in our abilities to run a mission organization.

So, fast forward literally from birth to now.  Turns out my being born in Brazil wasn't just a chance happening either.  It seems Brazil is cracking down on Visas and many missionaries are pulling out.  My dual citizenship allows me to live in Brazil w/o any problems.  Even the boys have dual citizenship. 

Which is one reason why the timing seems to be now for us to go work in Belem, Brazil.  We looked at it about 2 years ago, but things in Peru weren't completely set up yet.  Now that we have the Rigg's (American missionaries) and 2 national workers in Andahuaylas, things seem to be settled there and our attention is on Brazil. 

We have chosen to enter a phase of life probably many never experience, because it takes an absurd amount of courage and obedience.  (Yes, I am bragging... now hoping lightening doesn't hit.)  As we look at working in Belem, we decided to sell or give more than 3/4 of what we owned.  I'm sitting in our RV outside our empty home typing this.

Out of the 1/4 that's left, some very special things are being stored across the country with several people.  The rest we will be packing in footlockers to take when we have full financial support.  Meanwhile, we will be living in our 200 sq ft space RV. 

OK, so here's the thing:  I was hyper-ventilating when we made the decision to sell/give our things instead of taking them to Brazil (think $10-20 K each way just for a container to get the stuff there).  I finally stopped myself and asked God to give us peace if this was what He wanted us doing.  And He did!!!  (and !!)  It was amazing! 

I didn't ask God to provide $$$$ to get our stuff there.  I didn't ask for a new RV (even though I would love for that to happen).  I didn't even ask for full support right now so we wouldn't have to live in the RV.  Although, I do think it will all come together.  I asked God from a willing heart to provide peace if this crazy, insane plan was what He wanted.  I think I'm starting to understand how Abraham felt. 

So, I suggested a movie.  I'd like to suggest a song as well:  "Crazy" by Mercy Me.  Just Google it.

There's nothing wrong with natural life phases, but the richness of character-enhancing living comes from a heart that accepts life changes.  "The Ultimate Gift"... you need to watch it.