Quite suddenly, we find Jesus surrounded by Jerusalem authorities. Once again, they are looking for a fight, this time over ritual purity. Like the Sabbath confrontations, the practices at issue are vitally important to the Jews as markers of their difference from those not in covenant with God (Gentiles). While the “traditions” they advocate are not the Levitical purity laws, those laws are their origin and impetus. We must not allow our own advocacy of “biblical Christianity” over against “traditions” to confuse us into thinking that the problem here is that they are practicing traditions rather than Torah alone.
It has been great to be back in the States on furlough. One of the things we anticipated was the opportunity to eat at some old favorite restaurants and enjoy food that tasted just like we expect it to taste. But what I forgot was how the system works concerning customer service.
Furlough for the Smith's means that I have the pleasure of having two neighborhood girls come and spend their Saturday mornings with me (normally spent with the Smith family). We usually bake some type of dessert and play Clue. This past Saturday, was particularly busy with the girls coming in the morning, a library event in the afternoon, and Alfredo's graduation in the evening. In addition to all these planned events, I had to find time to bake cupcakes for Sunday morning, because Sunday was Rosa's birthday.
I am very excited about what is going on with our Porvenir library. To bring everyone totally up to speed, we started out with 4 libraries and only 2 exist now. One is located in one of our church member’s homes. It is called Biblioteca de Cristo. I go and facilitate a kids event every other Saturday in that library. Our other, much larger, library is called Porvenir. I facilitate an event there every other Saturday and Rachel is in charge the alternate Saturdays. It is located in the community above where Greg and I live. It occupies the part of the second story of the police station.
It is hard to believe that furlough is a month away for us. I have to tell you that I am so ready. I get to a point when I deeply miss my family and need to see them. I think I am past that point right now, but I am waiting patiently for those 7 wonderful weeks of being “home.”
Jesus finally sends out the “sent ones.” It’s a bold move, because the last we saw of them they were terrified, astounded, and generally faithless. This is a sink-or-swim school of ministry. Again, the summary of their ministry is clearly an imitation of Jesus’ word and deed proclamation of the kingdom.
We have a natural assumption of having an effect on the people around us. We are taught not to stare, point, make fun, be too loud, or offend others. We are trained to be aware of the feelings of those around us, watch out for other drivers, keep the dog in the backyard and generally be considerate. The basis of these actions is the belief that we can influence the well-being of others. We act accordingly, either positively or negatively, but we know we affect others.
It sometimes amazes me, the things I find I miss that I never even thought about before they became unavailable. As I sit here, writing this article, I am munching on cheddar cheese (courtesy of my recent trip to Lima) and drinking root beer (courtesy of the Hendersons). I must confess cheddar cheese has never tasted better than it does tonight. In life, we make choices about where we will live, how we will live, and the sacrifices we are willing to make in order to have the things we really want.
Over the next few months I’ll be spending my newsletter slot on our entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of our no-interest loan program. I want to spend each month highlighting a borrower and their business. Recently, over on ICDU’s website, I put out an update on the four loans we have made and the two other possible loans to be made. While this program has advanced as we had hoped, it would be even more amazing to break expectations and make another loan or two in 2010.
Can you believe it? We have been here for two years! The Smiths will leave for their furlough next week, and we will leave on our furlough right before Thanksgiving. It is funny how anniversaries naturally cause a time of reflection. This month I have been able to reflect on many things, but what was really special was having the Henderson family come visit.