“. . . learning to love takes practice, and practice takes repetition.”
from You Are What You Love – The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith
The last couple weeks In Peru were a rush of emotions and business as we hosted my family for the Christmas holiday. Then we had one week to sell all of household goods, say “Goodbye” and move. I was so busy I did not have time to be sad, nor have I yet had much time to miss Peru. But one thing I knew I would miss even before we left was the hike to the Mirador. I would walk out my front door, go down the steep hill, cross the Pan American Highway, and then start going uphill for over 1000 feet. From my door to the top was a little less than an hour. There was not one single time that I made that hike that I did not feel so happy to be where I was at that moment. And then as I arrived to the top I would sit for just a few moments, take a picture, and try to remember the views as I knew my time in Curahuasi was coming to an end. I always prayed and thanked God for what he had done for me and how he had brought me to that moment. There is nothing to match it in Dallas, and I miss that hike and time of reflection, silence, and solitude very much. We benefit from special places where we can be alone with our thoughts and where we can be alone with God and his creation. And when we find those places they can give us energy for the next thing that is placed before us. So here is my post dedicated to the Mirador and all the special places we have had in our lives. (I got to practice putting .gifs in the blog.)
On a rainy afternoon last week I met my long-time friend for tea. She has been a missionary overseas in a Muslim context for several years. She and her family are in Houston, transitioning between assignments and preparing for an impressive PhD program. I had not seen her in years, but Will and I have been financially supporting them, so we get their newsletters, we follow how things are going with x or y potential Christ follower, we comment on their precious kid pictures, we are proud of their lives. We feel a part of their work because we have invested in it. In the short time we had, we asked each other many questions about the places we lived, the cultures we experienced, and the people we loved. My interest in her stories was sincere and I knew that she knew I cared because we had helped support them financially for a long time.
Tonight I went to a book club meeting where the reverse happened. There were several people there who financially support us. By their questions and comments, I could see that they are keeping up with this blog. They were excited to talk with me about Africa, they seemed enthusiastic and knowledgeable about our time in Peru. They are, after all, on our team. There is a wonderful bond between us and I wanted to sit down and talk for hours, to learn something profound about their lives and to be able to express my gratitude.
It is a blessing to support missionaries. I remember as a girl when the Willits came to our church from their post in Italy or Africa. They were “our” missionaries and I felt an intense interest and involvement in their stories. My parents supported a ministry for refugees, and I still want to know about what they are doing in Dallas.
If, for example your daughter were to become a pescatarian, and you did some research on what that means and what you could cook, you would suddenly start to notice everything that has to do with the benefits of eating fish, you would begin to ask people about their diets. In the same way, when you support a missionary, their family, their particular living conditions, their people group or geography become relevant and fascinating to you and you perk up when someone mentions their country.
Maybe you have an area of ministry or a part of the world that interests you. Do you have a soft spot for Young Life? Their staff are supported. You could support the staff member who works at your local high school or even someone starting a Young Life group overseas. Asia? We have some marvelous friends in China who are changing their neighborhood and so much more. Southeast Asia and/or education? Our friends the Penningtons are the directors of a Christian school in Thailand that is doing amazing things. Want some bang for your missionary buck? David and Ari Rafael are some of the most sacrificial, hard-working people out there. Ari is a family doctor and David is a full-time elementary school teacher and nearly every day of the week they are also mentoring Peruvians through Bible study, Ultimate Frisbee clubs, women’s groups, church youth group, and probably more that I don’t even know about. Like Mexico or Honduras or Nicaragua? I’ve got someone to introduce you to. I can also recommend googling a mission organization, like Africa Inland Mission, Serge, Christian Health Service Corps or Sending in Mission, to find inspiration. Do you want to be on our team? We’ve got room for you! Expand your world by supporting a missionary today.
We get questions sometimes about how to send support for our work in Kenya, so I thought I should lay it out clearly. We are thankful for our supporters. You are in our hearts and minds more than you may realize.
Christian Health Service Corps
P.O. Box 132
Fruitvale, TX 75127
Designate account # 103 on the “memo” line
Go to the following link to donate online
Just a reminder that these upcoming two weekends and again toward the end of May we will be having a few reunions to say “Hello” and “Thank you”. They will all be come and go as you please. We just want to see you! We can talk about what has been going on in Peru, and we can explain what we will be doing in Kenya. Here are the dates and information.
Date: April 30 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: The home of Ruth Caire, 1224 Cloverdale Drive, Richardson, TX 75080
Date: May 6 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: The home of Matt and Michelle Murphy, 278 English Oaks Circle, Boerne, TX 78006
Date: May 21 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: The home of David and Carol Smith, 5914 Bent Trail, Dallas, TX 75248
We hope to see you at one of these events!
For the past few weeks I have been telling anyone who would listen about how God gave us a house and furniture in Kijabe within a week of the email confirming our decision to go. We had been dreading moving into an unfurnished apartment then waiting on a house to open up, maybe even moving twice before settling into a “permanent” home. We know, too, from Peru, how tiring it is to run around to stores you’ve never been in, in an unfamiliar culture, trying to buy everything you need for your house. And you have to do it right away. Not fun.
But, God graciously provided a home on station where the Cook family is living now. It has been a joy to get to know them and a huge help to receive their honest words of wisdom about living in Kijabe. They are going to sell us all their household goods, including a Kitchen Aid mixer, a big yellow lab to keep the monkeys away, all the apparatus necessary for working the brick pizza oven, and eight hens.
Will had the Cooks’ blog up the other night on this page: 10 on the 10th, Sweet Home (click the link to see pictures!) and I was struck by the similarity of their story. Since Kijabe is an old mission station, it is wonderful to imagine all the people who have lived in Flamingo House. (It seems like all the houses have bird names?) Missionaries who have gone through culture shock in this house, who have poured out their lives for the suffering, who have rejoiced in a sunrise, who have enjoyed meals together, who have discovered something real about God and about themselves, who have danced and worshiped and experienced victory. Pretty amazing.