Mark as Gospel: Faith and Fear (4:35-6:6)

Without overdramatizing the scene, it is probable that the story of the storm at sea represents more than just a life-threatening situation. The sea is well-known as a symbol of primordial chaos in the Ancient Hebrew worldview, and that chaos is precisely what God tamed and ordered in his good creation. Beyond the power to command demons and heal diseases--claims with clear parallels in the religious milieu of Jesus’ day--we have here a much more ambitious Christian claim.

ICDU View: The Real Value

Every month come newsletter time I struggle with what information pass along to you, our readers. Too often I lean towards updating you on our projects in terms of progress or numbers knowing how much everyone, myself included, likes to know how far along a project has progressed or how many new contacts or loans we have made. Completed latrines, new loans, successful library events, new projects. All of these things make for good article fodder and I enjoy giving you that because I want you to be keeping ICDU and the ongoing projects in your prayers. In the past few weeks however ,I have been struck time and again by the fact that the work we do here is not for numbers.

Crossing Cultures: Time

How someone views time can be observed in how they spend it. For some, this means time is something to be saved, and they spend lots of their days rushing around “saving” themselves time by going faster and fitting more into the number of hours they have. For others, this means that time is to be savored and they spend their days more slowly, more intentionally, stopping to smell the roses, though maybe lacking in accomplishments and efficiency

The Apprentice: Transitions

August has been a time of transitions and adjustments. I have now been in Arequipa six months, and culture shock has set it. I would love to write that this month has been the most productive yet, but that just isn't the case. One transition we have made was going from having interns all summer, to sending then home at the beginning of this month.

Missionary Mom: Broken

Jesus came to heal the sick and care for the broken. Everyone needs him because of brokenness. I have been taught this in Sunday School since I was a little girl, and I know in more mature terms that this is the truth I hold onto in my faith today. Jesus makes us whole. He says to come to him and he will give us rest. He is God of the broken. 

Mark as Gospel: Parables (4:1-34)

Mark does something strange with his concentrated little section of parables. Rather than focusing on the primary content of Jesus’ teaching, Mark presents an integrated set of parables that seem self-conscious. That is, they are teachings about the dynamic of Jesus’ teaching. The first parable--the parable of the sower--is in fact the parable about parables. The following shorter parables support and develop the main theme of this meta-parable. So it is that Jesus paradoxically uses parables to teach about parables. This may seem a little confusing, but the section, once we grasp its underlying point, is where the challenge to the reader really begins. 

ICDU View: July Recap

July has been a good month for ICDU. The latrine project was kicked off the last weekend of June and each Sunday this month we’ve gone out to work on the holes. The digging goes rather slowly, even with a jackhammer, because after the first foot or two the ground is basically solid rock, but our increased presence in Naranjal has already had noticeable benefits.

The Apprentice: Going to School Part II

I have been working with the secondary school in Porvenir for over a month now, and I am learning so much about the Peruvian school system and the expectations of the students. I work with Profesora Mercedes Castilla Mayorga as she teaches her students English.The 5th grade has been learning the past perfect tense, and the 1st grade has been working on colors. The students study English for one hour and twenty minutes every week, something Prof. Castilla would change if she could, since it is difficult to learn a language when you only study it once or twice a week. Next week the students take exams, and the following week they are out for winter break. 

Missionary Mom: Have You Heard?

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. God is definitely at work in this world whether we are on board with it or not, and the Holy Spirit is preparing lives to be “sons of God.” Our work here is all about spreading God’s kingdom. I have learned in the almost 2 years that we have lived here that God provides the increase, and there is a big reason that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. 

Culture: Why Does it Matter?

For those of us from the USA, the word “culture” typically carries a different meaning than for other people groups. In the states, when we use the word culture, it usually implies some sort of status or exposure to fine living that includes the arts, theatre, literature, etc. We also might refer to cultures within the country so as to define a slice of the population and their sub-culture that differs from the general norm in some way.