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Radical Hospitality - Sacrificing the Guinea Pig

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For years, I resisted the trend. I laughed in the face of Pinterest. I thought it was like a grown up version of “playing house”.

Then, overnight I became a temporary first grade teacher. And Pinterest became my best friend.

It turns out, Pinterest is actually a great resource for teachers. It is also a great resource for new recipes, cleaning tips, haircut ideas, and just about anything else you can imagine.

Just like with anything, Pinterest can be dangerous if we begin to put our hope in what it can offer us. But, it can also be a tool to serve the Lord and to serve others.

So, one day, as I was preparing the extra room for guests I thought – “Why not see what ideas Pinterest has to make our guests feel welcome?”

It turned out, there were thousands of ideas. I found out that in order to be hospitable, I should:

•Provide water bottles in the guest room.
•Find a cute way to write the wifi password.
•Provide fluffy towels.
•Light a candle.

The list could (and does) go on and on and on…

One Year - In the Valley

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In January of 2011, I went to a winter retreat with the campus ministry that I was involved in. I don’t remember most of what happened at that retreat. I can’t tell you the theme. I don’t remember the speaker’s name. I have no idea what he even spoke about. What I do remember is a verse we memorized together.

“The Lord our God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and mercy. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

I memorized this verse with the hundreds of other college students. I don’t remember why we memorized it, or how many times we must have repeated it together, but it stayed with me.

It’s a nice verse. We like to think of our God as a sun and a shield. A sun is powerful. Life-giving. A shield protects us. We like that God gives grace and mercy. We are in desperate need of both.  I think we really like the last part. NO good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. So, if I walk with the Lord, He will not withhold anything go…

Welcoming Winter

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As I scroll through Facebook, I am reminded of summer. Teachers are finishing end of year cleaning. Parents are proud of their graduating students. Students are enjoying their new freedom at the pool/river/beach. People are traveling. Even the people that are officially adults and don’t get to do anything fun are complaining about the heat while enjoying beautiful popsicles with a summery background.

But this isn’t a blog about the danger of comparing my life to others, or the dangers of Facebook. Even without the benefit of social media to see all the best filtered moments of other people’s lives, my own heart tells me what I should expect at this time of year. Summer is typically a time of newness. Warmth. Freedom. Exciting things. Traveling. Visitors.

So as I watch others begin their summers from afar, I watch the leaves fall off the trees in my yard. I put on (another) jacket before walking to the store. I put off showering (again) because it is too cold. And I wish it could be su…

Waiting in Line.. For the Glory of God

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I tapped my foot impatiently as I checked the time. Again. The line behind me was beginning to grumble impatiently as well. After waiting for two hours for the legal assessor to show up, I was all grumbled out.

I had been in this office the day before to submit my paperwork to annul my foreigner’s ID, and request a Bolivian ID. The day before, the man told me I was missing my marriage certificate, and a bank deposit of $2.50. “You can come back tomorrow.” He said. “I’ll be here from 7:00am – 3:00pm.”

So with that in mind, I had called Franco and asked him to meet me at the civil registry where we got married. I got on the bus to meet Franco, and mentally chided myself. I just requested this same form three days ago, and turned it in when I requested my Bolivian birth certificate. I should have asked for two…just in case.

When I arrived at the civil registry, I checked the time again. They should have opened at 3:00, but at 3:10 there was still a line outside of the closed door. I took…

Have You Ever?

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Have you ever seen someone pour beer on their car? Sprinkle beer around their house? Shoot innocent strangers with a water gun from their car? Burn fake money and incense in charcoal on their sidewalk? Come to Cochabamba today and you can!

Today is a holiday known in Bolivia as Martes de Challa. On the Tuesday following Carnaval (Mardi Gras) weekend, each family offers “sacrifice” to the PachaMama (the god of mother earth). Franco estimates that around 80% of families participate, and judging by the smoke in the air, he must be right. A charcoal fire is lit, and incense is burned. Street vendors also sell miniature items such as money, houses, cars, etc. that can be burned in the fire. The idea is that by burning these items, the PachaMama will bless you by giving you the things you burned. Sprinkling beer on your possessions is a way of blessing the items you already have. It is a dark time in Bolivia, and is a reminder of how many people around us are living without Jesus, in fear a…

SIX MONTHS

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Grieving is a strange thing. In some ways, it seems like it should be a very private and personal process. In other ways, it seems like it needs to be public and shared.

Public grief is a tricky thing though. Although I want to be open about how God is working in our lives, and what He is teaching us, I want to be careful in how I portray our grief.

I don’t want to ever pretend like grieving the loss of a child is easier than it is.

God is good. He is faithful. He has walked with us, comforted us, provided for us, and continually reminds us of who He is. But that hasn’t taken away the pain and the tears.

 In the last six months I have found myself crying in food courts, walking through Hobby Lobby, during Christmas toasts, and on airplanes. I have walked out of baby dedications, wedding ceremonies, and restaurants. I have been angry, impatient, and bitter with people that didn’t deserve my frustration. So when I write about what God’s teaching me, I want to avoid appearing overly spir…

Adventures in Shoe Shopping

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This weekend we were invited to a wedding for one of Franco's friends from Camiri. We quickly realized that we were going to need something a little nicer than our "Sunday best", since that usually involves our nicest jeans. :)

As we were contemplating how expensive this was going to be, Franco got a call from one of the elders at church. They just happened to have some suits they wanted to GIVE Franco! That afternoon we went, and it was as if the suit had been made for him. God's provision is so neat sometimes.

Then I went through my dresses (all three of them) and found one that would work... except that one of the straps was broken.

I decided it would have to do and brought it anyway. When we mentioned the dress to Franco's mom she suggested we go visit her friend, the seamstress.

The seamstress fixed the strap in five minutes and wouldn't let me pay!

SO, with money ($20) still in the budget, I went shoe shopping.

As I've mentioned before, shopping in …