Wearing eye-glasses

My constant eye-glass accident it’s when I left them on the bed, come back and sat on them. It’s there where frames get loose, bent and crooked. Few times I have dropped them and gotten them scratched. The least frequent mishaps are glasses getting shattered or lost. On one occasion, long before one could get prescribed eye-glasses the same day, I had to wait a few days for the new pair to arrive. Since I wear glasses full-time; I felt very insecure without them and frustrated with blurred vision. Since then, I learned to keep old ones as back up and choose different styles for different activities.

I assume I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to hear from the ophthalmologist the news that new glasses are required with current prescription for sight has gotten worse. For quite some time (a few years, I don’t want to say how many) I refused to change to the measure determined by the exam because the thickness of the glass would not allow me to use the frame “in fashion” during that period. Then fashion went back to thick frames and got mine and was able to see better.

As time would have it; getting closer to my 50th year; I started to notice the need to take my glasses off to read. I accepted quite well my inherited nearsightedness from early age, but it took me a while to accept a new visual defect: hyperopia. I was very happy when the doctor introduced me to progressive lenses with no visible line as traditional bifocals.

It wasn’t very popular to wear glasses back when I was a teenager, but now they are fashionable. I have never considered surgery. I don’t have the money and if I had it; I would use it for other purposes. Glasses are so much part of my body , like a second skin, that sometimes I realize I have them on when taking a shower and droplets stick to the lens. For me, not having them on, it’s like no having teeth or other part of my body.

Having more than one pair of glasses is like having a group of  good friends that are reliable, practical, functional and very valuable to help you go through life with a clear vision.

Published in: on May 4, 2017 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pack Hierarchy

marking.JPGIt was hate at first sight. They were about to kill each other. I had just moved to Mr. and Mrs. Train’s house after their passing. They had Samson, a beautiful mixed breed dog and I came along with three dogs (and two cats). Aldo was the oldest and the biggest, therefore, leader of the pack. Aldo was used to have always his way. Samson had always been solitary and his territory had now been invaded. From the moment Aldo and Samson saw each other, they had to prove who was “the boss”.

drugged.JPG

Heavy-eyed

My first attempt to stop their daily bloody combats was to sedate Aldo, but once the drowsy effect wore off, they recurred to their fiery biting which left them with torn out skin

bloody.pngThe Vet recommended to have them “fixed” to help them deal with their male dominant behavior and said it would approximately take three months to get their strong hormones out of their system. I thought the pain of the procedure would reduce their impulse to conquer the “Alpha” Title, but as soon as they woke up from anesthesia; they got at each other again.

There were occasional fights in the past three years, but finally Aldo and Samson got to tolerate each other’s presence and even abide in harmonious companionship.

Aldo died four months ago and Samson died last week. They are buried next to each other.

their tomb.jpgThe moral of the story is: What was all that fighting for? Who won? We all have our struggles in life; it has been well said to choose wisely what battles are worth fighting for. In the tomb, no one is stronger than the other.

Published in: on April 27, 2017 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It could happen to anybody

This week I was scrolling down Facebook News Feed and came across an announcement for a town’s restaurant’s daily menu and their phone number for more inquiry or reservations. Since I had gone there to eat before and like their cuisine; I started looking for my cellphone right away to save the number, but the cellphone was not to be found anywhere. It has happened to me so many times that occasionally I have to call myself from the landline telephone to find it. “I just had it with me here! How come it’s gone from sight?!” When suddenly I realized I was checking Facebook in my cellphone. What I was frantically seeking, I had it with me all the time in my hands.

I guess it could happen to anybody in different areas. Searching and searching without finding, pursuing without obtaining and chasing without seizing. We can be so distracted that we overlook the obvious. Sometimes what we look for, it’s right before our eyes.

 

Published in: on March 30, 2017 at 6:31 am  Comments (1)  
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A link in the Chain

A few weeks ago I heard the sad news of the passing of the son of a missionary couple very dear to me. When I finished reading their letter my mind went back over 20 years ago when I had briefly met David. I was in Chicago with this family and I was heading down to Bolivia. I don’t remember why, but my flight out of The Windy City was at a very early hour of the morning and David drove me to O’Hare Airport. We had to wake up around 5 a.m. and the ride must had been no more than an hour. He dropped me off and that was it; I never saw him or knew of his whereabouts ever again. It never occurred to me to ask about him; I was his family’s friend, but not his.

It was upon knowing about his death that I realized that among the numerous people God had used to direct and bring me to Bolivia, David was on the list. In a simple, casual, quiet and apparently insignificant deed; he was a link in the chain.

This incident taught me a lesson: to help people that come my way; folks I had never met before and will never see again, much less receive a “thank you” note.  The unknown, the uninvited, the outsider, the unfamiliar and the perfect stranger might need a hand…my hand. Surely in a small, but big way I can be a blessing to someone today.

 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’          Matthew 25:35-40

 

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 5:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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61 School Anniversary

There were three special events during the week of the school 61 anniversary:

  • March 6: A special Chapel time of Thanksgiving for all students, teachers, parents, alumni, some local authorities and the local press. All grades shared a cake in their classrooms.
  • March 7: A Marathon in four categories. Any student who participated had to invite an adult to run with. It was a fun time, but also an opportunity to inculcate perseverance and good attitude in the race.
  • March 10: The traditional and classic Bolivian program with poems (some written by our students) dedicated to the school, folklore dances, instrumental and singing ensembles.

I spoke during Chapel and told the audience about two events ( of the many which could be told) where God’s hand has been clearly seen in the school history. The first one I heard from Mr. Train and not many knew why the school anniversary is in March and all classes in the southern hemisphere always start in February. It was December of 1955 the Lord had provided the property and in less than two months classrooms had to be built.  There have been very few times when the government postponed the opening of the school year until March and 1956 was one of them. The Lord gave Mr. Train more time to complete the construction he himself was working on. That adobe classroom and wooden beans are still there after 61 years.

The other memoir I shared and many students had not even been born yet, but I was already living in Camiri. It happened back in the late 90s when many people had pointed out the School’s poor-looking classrooms with  their leaky roofs and out-of-date decor. There was a military TNT storage a few miles away from town. The cause is unknown, but in the middle of the night, it exploded. The blast awakened all and some were afraid the raptured had taken place. Glass windows were shattered and houses as well as buildings got wall cracks, except the OLD Christian School!

All what it’s remained to say is: TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

 

Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 7:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Carnival Retreat

Carnival is a feast very close related to Catholicism. It always happens 40 days before Easter (Lent). It is supposed to be a festive occasion with lots of laughter, good humor, happiness, all-day-party and parades in funny customs and masquerades. The truth is that the word “Carnival” means “farewell to the flesh” and generally it is a time for excessive and unrestrained of one own’s appetites and desires.

camp logo 2017It is during these days that our church has its Annual Carnival Retreat. I strongly feel a burden to organize and make this camp to happen because it is an opportunity for lots of youth to get away from town where all this ruckus is going on.

For many years we had the youth come the first two days and the adults/children would join us for the last two days. This created a sentiment of “invasion” on the youth and an “out-of-place” feeling on the rest. So, this year we decided to start all together and be prepared with activities for all ages; ultimately “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try it” (Seth Godin).CARNIVAL RETREAT

In our evaluation meeting we identified some of our high and lows points, but were happy and very thankful to the Lord for every one that came and heard the message from the Word of God about JESUS, THE ONLY HOPE.

Published in: on March 9, 2017 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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CANADAteam part (2/2)

Before, during and after the Team’s one-week visit, many people asked me how this all happened! 19 members from far away countries that come to give generously, work hard and share their lives trying to speak their language, eating their food and helping in the needs of a school in a NFT (Not For Tourists) town in Bolivia is/was unheard of.

To answer their question my memory went back to the decade of the 90s at Emmaus Bible College where I had met Bob Agnew, the team leader, but had not seen him since then. In 2008 I went to a conference where many alumni were there. One night, as part of the program there was a “Dessert and Fellowship time” in the Dinning Hall. Events with many people are emotionally exhausting at least for me, I don’t want to speak for all introverts. I decided that I had had enough “social time” and went upstairs to my room and took a good book to read. For many years I have made the effort NOT to act on what comes first and innate to my personality which is to avoid a crowd. I reasoned that it was not the time to keep to my own self since it was a special occasion and decided to go downstairs to socialize for a while. My re-encounter with Bob happened at that moment and as it is natural, the conversation turned to what we had been doing all these years. I mentioned my missionary work and he told me about his mission trips. I casually said “You’ve got to come to Bolivia one day with a team!”

What would it have had happened if I had decided not to mingle for a while that night? I don’t know. That single one conversation took eight years to become a reality. I am sure it was perfectly orchestrated to come true this year leaving me with a warm heart. What I now know is that what it seems simple, insignificant or trivial at first, it can lead us to a very rewarding experience and that when you first meet someone, you can never know just how much that person will bless and enrich your life.

agnew-y-segovia

 

Published in: on March 2, 2017 at 5:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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CANADAteam part (1/2)

We recently, at the Christian School, had the privilege to have the visit of a mission team from Oakridge Bible Chapel in CANADA composed by 19 members from five different churches and one representative from USA and Scotland each.

They came with their own funding for the projects and travel expenses. We spent a week of sweet fellowship and intense hard work in different areas.

canteam

 

They arrived to Camiri Saturday night in time to be part of the young people’s meeting where there was a small welcome program with refreshments of typical Bolivian snacks.

On Sunday they all came to church where in spite of language barrier we could remember our Lord’s death and resurrection together. After the service, the team leaders and I walked around the school (like Nehemiah did before building the wall in Jerusalem) and it was there when I realized the magnitude of the task to accomplished in five days!

This team was an example of humble, loving, concentrated, hard service to the people of the community. The investment that they did, financially, physically and emotionally has impacted us all. I will repeat he words of a brother in a short farewell speech: “The repaired walls one day will be old again and the bright colors of the painted walls will little by little fade away, but the fond memories of the moments of that week will remain in our minds and hearts for the rest of our lives.”

May each one of the participants, local or foreign, be encouraged to know that the work in the Lord is not in vain (I Cor. 15:58). It has been an eternal investment.before-after

If you want to see more pictures of the projects and how much the infrastructure of the school improved, check my Facebook Album (here).

 

 

Published in: on February 23, 2017 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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The power of Christ

holding finger

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

(K.Getty, S. Townend)

 

Published in: on December 29, 2016 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Unstuck, the perfect meal

unstuckAPPETIZER

Appetizers are the entrance of a meal. They are light in flavor, but stimulate your hunger. In Spanish we have a saying that literally translated is “Food enters through the eyes” meaning that the appearance of a meal helps the appetite. The English equivalent would be “The sizzle sells the steak”.

There are three big turtles in the house where I live which have occasionally found upside down; it is a hopeless and despairing situation, a terrible no-win position and if remained overturned, it could be fatal for the turtle.

The words in the cover “moving beyond defeat” and the image of the turtle stuck on its back invites your attention and makes you want to continue with the next dish.

THE SALAD

Depending on the culture, salads can come before or after a meal and sometimes even go alongside the meal. So in this menu the author, Amy Hernandez, is the salad. How many times in life one has the opportunity to read a book in the author’s home? I precisely did that with this book. I don’t know Amy, she is my friend Joel’s wife. They have served in Mexico as missionaries and are now in Dubuque, IA involved with Emmaus Bible College and the local church. What I admire about Amy is the honesty with which she shares her own struggles. You can find her, contact her, ask her questions and more in her blog: Here.

MAIN COURSE

This is the heaviest, heartiest and most important and substantial dish on a menu. This is the content of the book. The idea of presenting Amy’s book as a four course meal came from seeing and tasting in each chapter different ingredients for food which main purpose is to be nutritional and satisfying, but nutritious food is not always tasty and full-flavored and they don’t have to be, but a good cook will know how to mix and balance the ingredients so that the final product may be healthful and of great gusto.

Amy has prepared a very solid meal. She will talk about weaknesses, suffering, justice, the flesh, the mind, the heart and the many hidden, unnoticed, sometimes overlooked, some other times unrecognized sin in our lives. She will encourage you “to eat up” the whole plate in the section where she puts the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in truth, love, prayer and with gifts in our lives.

DESSERT

It concludes the meal. It consists of sweets and for that reason, the favorite part of the meal.  Proverbs 16:24 says “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Some bitter compounds are good for you. Life itself gives us plenty of those; defeat is one of them. It is nice to find someone who has tasted the bitter flavors and brings sweet words of encouragement. Amy’s book’s summary says it best: DEFEAT ISN’T WHERE IT ENDS; DEFEAT IS WHERE REAL LIVING BEGINS.

This is a meal I want to repeat, a recipe I will be using over and over for the need for healthy food will not end as long as I keep walking in the Christian life and growing and strengthening myself in the Lord.

Amy and Joel Hernandez with me in their home.

Amy and Joel Hernandez with me in their home.

 

 

Published in: on November 17, 2016 at 4:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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