First, a confession: I did not return to Curahuasi with any of the pants I left with. Well, maybe one pair of jeans that had been my “comfy” pair and now are tight. So there is a literal pudginess to keep a spiritual truth fresh daily.
We really lived high on the land in the United States. It was a time of “splurging” on Harry’s ice cream, Krispy Kreme donuts, Mexican food, and, oddly, ricotta cheese. We also enjoyed the generosity of our friends, accepting meals, car use, places to stay, and presents. People listened to us, prayed for us, praised us for simply being missionaries, complimented our kids. Think of a tick growing as it slurps up the blood of its host.
The irony is that one of the main purposes of our trip to the States was to give back to our supporters, to say thank you, and to make sure they knew that we appreciated their help and support. However, this sometimes meant that they hosted us for a meal and maybe gave us a place to stay for the night. It was usually more generosity on their part.
In addition, we had an odd lifestyle of five months without a fixed routine. Now, some people would have been disciplined enough to create one for themselves, but, for example, we would be out late with friends and then let the kids sleep in the next morning. We did some homeschooling, but we began when everyone was up and had eaten breakfast. Soon we were on summer hours. We traveled on certain dates and we did BSF, but other than that, we had no firm commitments. We had no regular outlet for our energies.
We didn’t feel so good. Not only physically sluggish and unattractive, but an emotional and spiritual ennui started to manifest as well.
The truth is, God made us to both receive and give. I want to be less like a tick and more like a loaf of bread that is worked and kneaded, rests and grows, goes through a bit of fire, but then gives satisfying, hunger-filling life. Our prayer now that we are back is that God will provide places to give.
Matthew 10:8 Freely you have received, freely give.