Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We love to garden for various reasons. One important reason we choose to garden is to help three other families who don't have enough food to eat. Our garden is organic and is a great cost-savings for us as well. In Paraguay, the fertile soil and the tropical climate allow almost year round growing.
This is just a sampling of what we're harvesting right now. We're experimenting with some new white beans, garbanzos and organic soy as well. Each year our garden gets a little bigger and more diverse.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Yesterday we submitted three proposals for the Google Idea Competition under the categories of: environment, energy and opportunity. The winners will receive $1-2 million to bring their ideas to life. Here’s a very short synopsis of our ideas:
1. Opportunity: GANA Paraguay. Provide Paraguayan youth with a mentor, hands-on training, and an internship so she can learn a trade and make a dignified living within the country.
2. Energy: Sunergía: Alternative Energy for all of Paraguay. Provide alternative energy to the poorest of the Paraguayan population.
3. Environment: Preserve, Protect, Prosper Paraguay. Provide an ecological infrastructure that allows Paraguay to protect its own ecosystem through recycling, legislation, education and tree planting.
We know that Google will receive hundreds of thousands of applications, but we can dream a little, can’t we? So badly, we want to do something to make a difference in this nation. We eat, sleep and constantly think about what can be done to help this struggling country, which we've both adopted as our own. There are so many needs, so much injustice and corruption we easily get overwhelmed with how to help.
The best thing that we can do for Paraguay is pray for the country, live the life we want others to follow and be ready, so that when our door of opportunity opens to bless this small country, we will give it everything we’ve got!
What would you do to help the world if you had $1,000,000?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I’ve been preparing for a talk on forgiveness for a womens' retreat, so it's interesting that this week this scenario happened where I teach English:
My colleague walked into my class before the students arrived and shut the door. She began to sob as she revealed, “I can’t forgive him, I just can’t.” As my colleague poured out her heart, she admitted to me that not only was she miserable because of this anger; it was making her physically sick. I talked to her about what it means to forgive and explained that the source of our ability to forgive is God.
Then, just a few days later a close friend called me up sobbing. She told me she found messages on her husband’s cell phone to another woman. She was devastated. I went over to her house and she asked me, “Why should I forgive him?”
Me “Well, because God forgave you,”
Her “I forgave him once before, but I won’t do it again.”
Me “Yeah, I know it’s hard to forgive repeat offenders, especially when they hurt you deeply. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Can you imagine that God forgives us over and over when we mess up and when we commit the same sin again! God’s plan is that we forgive not just once, or twice or even seven times, but seven times seventy.”
Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Matt. 18:21-22
Why seven times seventy? Seven, is a symbolic number representing perfection. We have to keep on forgiving until God’s work in the individual is complete...complete in us and complete in them. That means, living in a continual attitude of forgiveness. Gulp. It’s not as hard to forgive someone once, but when you have to forgive people you love more than once, that’s when the rubber meets the road in your walk with God.
Yet, without forgiveness we can’t grow in our relationship with God. Forgiveness is possible only with God’s strength. You are a prisoner to the person who has wounded you when you hold on to anger, hatred and remorse. Forgiveness is the only way to heal the sting and pain of life’s deepest hurts. Put the person who has wronged you into God’s hands. Pray for those who persecute you and wait for them to be confronted with a living, loving God. You are the one who will suffer by an attitude of unforgiveness. In fact, God’s Word says that when we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
If we wait until we’re “ready” to forgive, it may never happen. Even when it seems too much to forgive, God tells us that unforgiveness is not an option. We are disobeying God when we don’t forgive others. The thing is that forgiveness is not an emotion, it’s a decision. Even if the healing process is not immediate, God will help you let go of the anger. Forgiveness is the giving of a promise. You give a definite promise that you will count the offender’s sin against him no more. You count it as over and done with. You don’t even bring it up anymore. It doesn’t mean that you forget what happened; it means that you choose to leave it behind.
So, what is it that you need to leave behind?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This week we had the pleasure of taking a road trip, a 10 hour drive into the interior, to distribute money for a motorcycle for this rural pastor and his wife. They have started 14 churches within 200 miles of where they live in Coronel Oviedo.
Pastor Alfredo is 61 years old and is as excited as a little boy to own his first motorcycle. The Chavez family is doing a tremendous work in the middle of Paraguay. Please pray for them as they continue to spread the Word of God, now on wheels!
also were able to donate a motorcycle for Planeta Joven, a ministry outreach to teens. Pastor Marcos has been the leader of this ministry since 2006 and is very grateful for this tremendous ministry tool. Here he is on his two-day old motorcycle.
CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) donates motorcycles around the world through their annual Run for the Son Fundraising event. This year we were able to donate a record number of 6 motorycles to deserving ministries.
Next month a group of CMA will be coming here to dedicate these bikes and witness first hand what each ministry recipient is all about. We are so thankful for our partnership with CMA.