Another Witness Speaks – Lydia Brown

Our witness Lydia has a nice post to share with us. She speaks a lot about humility, something I have been thinking a lot about recently as well. Working in a foreign language will humble you, yet if you want to serve the purposes of Christ, you have to be willing to be made to look like less in the eyes of the world so that God will be made bigger as it becomes obvious that it is he who is actually doing the work and sustaining you. We were so glad to have Lydia with us this past summer. She was a great friend to all of us, and she served our family as well as many of the others very well. She was a great example of humble service.  Here is a good word from Lydia!

What I learned in Peru: a witness’s perspective

Lydia with me in the clinic.  She is going to be a very good doctor some day soon!

Lydia with me in the clinic. She is going to be a very good doctor some day soon!

As mentioned in earlier post by Allison, the nickname “ the witnesses” was quickly dubbed upon Austin and me. While it always made me laugh, I have now realized that the nickname embodied what my summer in Peru was like. Although I took on many roles (baker, teacher, gardener, pharmacy stocker, dishwasher, babysitter, and many others), the main reason I was in Curahuasi was to learn how to live as a long-term missionary. Even though I cannot say that I know exactly what that is like, God truly blessed me with the opportunity to witness his work in Curahausi.

One of the most important lessons I observed was humility. As I was given the opportunity to be a part of various missionaries’ lives, I realized how much of mission work is built upon small daily tasks; tasks most people do not give a second thought about. It is these small tasks– such as spending hours translating your daughter’s communication homework or making sure your kids’ school uniforms are cleaned–that allow missionaries to survive long-term in a foreign culture. While I loved observing and learning about amazing outcomes for sick patients, I also realized that you cannot rely on those “big” moments to keep you going each day. As a Christian, we must rely on Christ to give us our worth and take all life as a gift, even the small daily tasks.

The second lesson I learned is the importance of fellowship. While I did a lot of service-oriented tasks, most of my time was spent in fellowship with those around me. At first, fellowship seemed like it got in the way. I mean I had come to Peru to do “real mission work,” not just talk to people. Luckily it did not take me very long to realize how flawed my original perspective was. I soon realized that fellowship was crucial to my role as witness, and it started to become my favorite part of the day. I loved it when I could take a break helping Crystal on Tuesday afternoons and just hear about her life, her past and her faith. I loved baking bread, not for the roll-making machine (which was pretty cool though), but rather to hear about Konika childhood adventures. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade my time of fellowship for anything.

While there were many lessons I learned, I feel like humility and fellowship were put on my heart for a reason. Not only are they necessary for long term mission work, they are crucial to every Christian’s life– whether that be in Abilene, Texas or Curahuasi, Peru. It is this humble attitude that I want to take back with me from Peru. While I do not have as much time in Abilene to serve others as I did in Peru, I still need a humble attitude to take on whatever tasks the Lord chooses to entrust in me.

This summer was truly a life changing experience! I am so grateful for the amazing families that welcomed me into their homes and for the numerous others who helped me feel like I was home. I will never be able to repay you all for all the lessons and experiences you have given me.

Take a Love Risk for Someone You Don’t Really Know

Kristin and newborn Daniel

Kristin and newborn Daniel

Esmie (left) and Jana visiting Kristin and Daniel in the hospital

Esmie (left) and Jana visiting Kristin and Daniel in the hospital

I am thinking this morning about my friend Esmie. She loves all things baby. She used to be a NICU nurse. She works for the Corpus Christi Pregnancy Research Center now and tries to help save babies. I remember one time she said that her favorite thing in all the world was the smell of a newborn’s head.

At the time that I was getting to know Esmie, I had another friend named Kristin. Her husband Quinn was deployed in the Middle East while she was pregnant with their second child. Kristin, Esmie, and I all attended BSF together, but Esmie and Kristin didn’t know each other that well. One day in our prayer group, Kristin mentioned that God had answered her prayers and that Esmie was going to be her helper in the delivery room. I was surprised and thankful to God with her and admittedly a little relieved because I wanted to be there for Kristin, but I was hoping someone else would do the blood and hospital part. How did they even make that connection? Of course, God did it. He knew Kristin’s need and Esmie’s gift.

I think sometimes now about how Esmie was there for such an intimate and special moment, the birth of Daniel, and how they never even see one another now (hard since the Skinners are posted in Korea), never were best of friends. But Esmie loved Kristin, whom she did not know well.

When we moved to Tacoma, we had floated around to different churches and had just started attending a small church plant regularly while I was “great with child.” Two energetic, fun-loving moms whom I had barely met threw me a baby shower just a few days before Peter was born. Not only did Leslie and Julie put together a baby shower, but they had planned to do pedicures at the party. Leslie literally washed my feet and painted my toenails. I’ll never forget that service in the name of Christ for a big pregnant, somewhat lonely girl who had started coming round to church events.

Maybe some of the most meaningful acts of love are those we perform for those whom we barely know, whose need we can fill and they don’t “deserve” it by their friendship to us. Like Christ dying for those who were still sinners, still His enemies. I see it here weekly. A new missionary family will arrive and some people spend all day painting their house or helping them move in. Will’s extended family does this sort of thing all the time.

This post is to encourage you to say “yes” to serve a mere acquaintance, even if you don’t know how they will react or if it seems like an intrusion. I am sorry for all the lost opportunities because I thought, “Well, I don’t really know them that well.”

Maybe you want to tell a story about someone you didn’t know serving you. You can leave a comment for our encouragement.

People are People

Community meeting at 5:30 AM.

Community meeting at 5:30 AM.  Our neighbors.

Tuesday morning of this week I awoke at around 5 AM to someone banging on our door.  Some of the neighborhood teenagers were going around waking people up to remind them to come to the meeting at 5:30 AM.  An interesting thing about living here is the world is up and going by 5:00 and the people are very busy by 5:15 AM.  I walked down the road for a meeting about the coming electrical engineers and the need to have a reception for them (I think if someone is coming to do public works in a community – like install power transformers – the community is responsible to welcome them with a party, hopefully with lots of Cuy!)  As I sat there, trying to understand what was going on, I was able to watch how everyone interacted with one another.  They joked and teased, got frustrated with some situations, some came with a voice of reason, others just wanted to get the meeting over with as quickly as possible.  It was just like a meeting back home.  And I will tell you that I was convicted of my pride during this meeting.  I see patients all day long, The physician-patient relationship is unequal, with power on the doctor’s side of the equation.  And that has colored how I have seen the people here.  They come to me with needs and desires, in a position of weakness, hoping for help.  And so I feel superior, like I know better and have all the answers.  Yet at this meeting, I was in a position of equality or even weakness since I cannot understand everything perfectly, and I saw that they act just like I would if I was in a similar situation.  We are all equal.  We have cultural differences, but those are small differences in comparison to the ways in which we are the same.  So I am asking God to help me to see them how they really are, not how I see them in the hospital.  I want to see myself as I really am, not in the way my position in the hospital elevates my status.  I am asking God to help me to be humble in my interactions with the people that we are serving so that we can possibly have friendships that are genuine.  I am asking God to help me to be like Christ.

Hetzels, 4th of July, Service

We spent our 4th of July in classes during the morning.  In the afternoon we had a Independence Day party at the school.  It was a fun afternoon spent roasting meat on the grill at the school, eating with one another and enjoying one another’s company.  It was a lot of fun.

But what I really want to talk about is service.  There is a family (fellow students that started the same time our family started) at the school that has served continually throughout the year, working harder than the rest of us for the sake of all of us.  The Hetzel family has consistently worked on the behalf of the students and faculty since they arrived in Costa Rica.  Richard is the campus expert on technology and administration, and Krista has worked for two trimesters as social events coordinator (by title for one trimester, and by helping a lot the next).  Their entire family will show up for an event two hours before the rest of us to set up and then stay an hour afterward to clean up.  Richard has helped create a technology room on campus, worked on the sound system for the chapel, and helped where needed within the administrative areas.  One Saturday Richard and their son Nathan cleaned the school gym, which, I imagine, was a grungy job.  We all noticed the gym needed cleaning, but one person did something about it.  When the rest of us were going through culture shock and feeling selfish, they have pushed through their selfishness by being generous with their time and energy.  I am reminded that God told us to “Love our neighbors as ourselves” and that the greatest of those among us are the ones who humble themselves in the service of others.  The Hetzels have served behind the scenes without much recognition or acclaim.  I have learned a lot about sacrifice from watching how the Hetzel family served the rest of us.  Thank you Hetzels!