Law breaker

During this month I have gone out for walks, met for small church meetings at homes, gone grocery shopping to small street vendors, attended a funeral, hiked to a nearby village, been at the school office and all these simple, common, harmless activities that at one point were part of my normal life; now they have turned me into a law breaker for I performed them in a day I was not supposed to go out of the house.

(The new law during the COVID-19 pandemic is to go out one day according to the last ID number. The police and armed forces have inspection posts almost every corner to control pedestrian traffic)

ForbiddenIn just three months man-made laws change from one day to the other. At this moment I seems inconceivable and absurd to think that typing in a laptop and posting my thoughts would be illegal. Yet, if tomorrow people viewed these actions as a threat to global security, they might be banned and accepted as illicit. It also goes the other way around, something that yesterday and today is against the law, tomorrow it could be authorized and ordinary conduct.

I understand that laws are made for our  protection and the only clear factor for most people to comply to these norms is fear… but, hasn’t it gone too far nowadays?

I don’t have the answer. I have my opinion and respect for the others’.

 

 

 

Published in: on May 28, 2020 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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While in Prison

Behind barsSome of the masterpieces in the world of literature have had its origin while in prison.  Letters from Birmingham Jail by Marthin Luther King, Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes, Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela and The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan; to cite only a few.

The Apostle Paul also penned four encouraging letters while he was under house arrest in Rome; we call them “Prison Epistles”. Their message is important and invaluable to Christians today as it was then.

Some others prisoners have obtained college degrees, have learnt to skillfully played a sport, have acquired cooking expertise, have become successful singers, famous actors, etc.

My thoughts for today while most of the world is in quarantine because of COVID-19 is that isolation can be used for good depending on one sole thing: my decision.

Published in: on April 23, 2020 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Changing World

playing

It took a virus to change people’s opinon about internet. We once thought that much use of the web was an terrible addiction, a habit that caused isolation and individualism, a way of life that would lead to a generation of zombies. Now we depend on it for work, school, church, entertaining ourselves and socializing with others.

“Go outside” shifted to “Stay home”.

I’m not saying that from time to time there is a good reason to do so, besides there are a wide range of beneficial activities to do indoor.  I’m just thinking how we, as society, reshape our views, adapt to change and modify our values. Sometimes it has taken “ages” to develop a new or different mind set. But not today; this year’s change was abrupt, quick and global.

So far, many of us think this is just a brief and prudence prodecedure; on the other hand, I also perceive that this practice fits like a glove to some people.

Our nature is to be unbalanced human beings; but once this epidemic is over; hopefully we will more appreciative of what it’s outside and grateful for what and who is inside our living space.

 

 

Published in: on April 16, 2020 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Can God use me?

heroes-of-faith heb 11

The next time you feel like GOD can’t use you, just remember..

        Noah was a drunk

        Abraham was too old

        Isaac was a daydreamer

        Jacob was a liar

        Leah was ugly

        Joseph was abused

        Moses had a stuttering problem

        Gideon was afraid

        Rahab was a prostitute

        Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

        David had an affair and was a murderer

        Elijah was suicidal

        Isaiah preached naked

        Jonah ran from God

        Naomi was a widow

        Job went bankrupt

        Peter denied Christ

        The Disciples fell asleep while praying

         Martha worried about everything

         Zaccheus was too small

         Paul was too religious

         Timothy had an ulcer..AND

         Lazarus was dead!

Now! No more excuses!

 God can use you to your full potential.
Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.  
 
Published in: on February 13, 2020 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Axe

Ax

“The forest was dying and the trees were still voting for the axe. She was cunning; she had convinced them that by having a wooden handle, she was one of them.”    (Anonymous)

 

Published in: on December 5, 2019 at 7:10 am  Comments (1)  
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21F

21F (February 21st) refers to the 2016 referendum where Evo Morales, President of Bolivia at that time, asked the people if they agreed on his re-election for his 4th term. The results were 51% for “NO” and yet last year the Electoral commission pronounced him candidate for this year’s Presidential elections held last October 20th. Bolivia has been divided by those who support him and his socialist party whose regime has lasted 13 years and by those who support new democratic parties.

The day of election, unexpectatively, the counting program of votes stopped by the time two candidates were close in votes. The following day  the counting re-started and gave Evo Morales the total winning percentage. To make a long story short; fraud was suspected and proved.

The whole country went to a unprecendented strike that went from being some small civil gropus to a massive crowd.  It was incredible to see day after day how different sectors of society, that once were affiliated to Morales Socialistic movement, one by one turned his back on him and asked him to resign.   After 21 days of tension, blockades, confrontations, damage, hurt people and a few deaths, he and many of his ministers abdicated and fled.

People in Bolivia ascribe this triumph to God. One of the main leaders in this battle made a pledge to the nation, in front of a famous Jesus statue, to personally take the letter of resignation to the President and to bring the Bible back to the Government building where once Morales, now called Dictator, inagurated his presidency with ancestral ritual that included animal sacrifices and a number of times mocked Christianity. I have never seen so many people on their knees in the streets praying and crying out to God. They now say that 21F also means 21 days of agony with FAITH.

 

An Interim President has been elected and has taken oath with the Bible and other Catholic emblems and in her speech she asked the nation to pray for wisdom from God to govern the nation these crucial months until new elections are held.

Politics is not my favorite topic to write or talk about, but I must do it having lived through this recent important historical event. It has national and International relevance. I am still in awe to realize I was here experiencing it first hand. I saw a powerful force fall in answer to prayers. I cannot say otherwise; it is a miracle.

Published in: on November 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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Scotland (3/3)

The word hospitality in Greek is composed by the words “Philao” (brotherly love) and “Xenos” (stranger, immigrant and even enemy). In Latin, hospitality shares the same root with hospital meaning “guest chamber”; a shelter for the needy. In both instances, acts of service and assistance are involved; anticipating and taking care of someone’s needs. It is hard work that requires thinking, planning, preparing and paying the cost. Once in a while it might be inconvenient and invariably it’s time consuming.

My hosts, Christoph and Christine Ewers, are originally from Germany, but have made Scotland their home. They own and run The Ardshealach smokehouse. Their family business brought memories when my parents had a small bakery shop in Mexico. I learned many things about baking and management, but above all, to pray for customers. We work diligently according to God-given skills and then we depend on Him to bring people to buy our products. Their small enterprise is in my prayers. Anyone traveling in the area should stop by this private, small factory to get excellent customer service by the very same owners.

The Ewers ministered to my heart in a great impacting way. They opened their home to me, sharing what they have: time, food, friendship, acceptance, comfort. They arranged with other people (Lighthouse Church), as nice, loving and kind as they are, to attend me and give me each day a different sightseeing tour of the extraordinary Highlands.

To say “Scottish people are friendly” is an understatement for much more could be said. There must be exceptions; I understand that, but my experience was all positive. Chilly weather in the summer, rain almost every day, however warmth brotherhood every single moment.

Sometimes you hear a good sermon preached from the pulpit in church; some other unique and exceptional times you see a sermon lived. These people preached powerfully to me with their hospitality. Thank you.

 

Scotland (2/3)

Food is more than just what maintains us alive and strong. It is an important part of culture and identity; that which makes a country unique.  Haggis

First thing is my list to try was the national dish of Scotland: Haggis. I was hesitant about tasting it because I had read of the ingredients(sheep’s heart, liver, lungs), but I reason that if I go for liver pate with no problem; I possibly like this as well. I must confess that I cheated the first time. I was in The Grog and Gruel Pub (courtesy of Alan and Tricia Smillie) and saw in their menu “Nacho Haggis, Tex-Mex meets Scotland”. It was the ideal introduction, combining flavors I knew, with something new. The second time was at my friends’ house and they have made it. The picture says it all, it was as good as it looks.

SandwichThey also accustom “Toasties” for lunch. I have always loved sandwiches, especially if the bread is grilled, warm and crispy and the cheese melted. Simple and heavenly meal. Another lunch time I had lentil soup which is very filling, comforting and perfect for a cold rainy day, typical of Scotland… soup and weather, that is.

Scottish fish soupEven though I grew up in a port city; I was/am, to some degree, a picky seafood eater and it is not in my first-choice of edible material; adding to the fact that most of the time it is an expensive delicacy. My hosts were extremely kind offering me a farewell dinner consisting of Cullen Skink soup with smoked haddock. The main course were fresh Langoustines with a garlic-mayo dip. Given the opportunity, I would have this great delicacy again.

Scottish friend

A fully Scottish experience has to include the tasting of Whisky, so I was taken to the Ardnamurchan Distillery to have a tour of the facility where the process, from beginning to end, takes place. The visit ends in a nice, cozy room where you are given one (or more if you so decide) Glencairn tasting glass of their fine “water of life”.

And last, but not least: Shortbread! I used to bake it when I worked in the kitchen in College, decades ago. I had forgotten about it; now “I have relapsed” and have no plans to recover 😀

Published in: on August 1, 2019 at 5:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Scotland (1/3)

Where and how do I start to describe, try to portray and put into words what I experienced and my eyes have seen in my two weeks in a “wee” part in the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland?

English is not my first language, so I thought it was going to be a frustration, but I was wrong. Even though I did have my moments of confusion; it was the ever present indication of being in a foreign country. I think their way of speaking is lovely!

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back

to its old dimensions”  O.W. Holmes

Photography is just my hobby. I am not any close to any expert knowledge about  cameras, lenses, modes, etc. I take pictures because I like to take pictures, of everything for that matter. But if I were a professional photographer; I would say that Scotland is any photographer’s paradise. Almost every corner has the perfect spot for photographing. I now have a personal collection of snapshots from every path my feet trod, from each step in the beach, from every hill walking.

“Which of my photographs is my favorite?

Hopefully, the one I’m going to take tomorrowImogen Cunningham

Arisaig, Morar, Mallaig, Fort William, Glenfinnan, I fell in love with you; picturesque villages. Your greatness is not in your size, but in your friendly people, in your extensive fascinating landscape, in your countless blue lochs, in your castle-style houses and churches, in the homey atmosphere of your diners and in your historical train rails and stations. Your countless drops of rain not just got me wet, they saturated me with memories…unforgettable moments.

“It’s good people who make good places” A. Sewell

I can still feel the jet lag effects of this trip in my body. It will be vanishing and finally gone away; but for the time being, it doesn’t bother me, I am “savoring”, taking pleasure in it. I can say it is a good discomfort that reminds me I traveled. Any cost paid for traveling is nothing compared to the huge difference between looking at picture of a place and saying “I was there”.

“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times”

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on July 25, 2019 at 5:05 am  Comments (2)  
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ROME

IBCM7aRecently I was in Rome for an international conference that bring together leaders from churches in the Brethren movement. The purpose of the conference is:

  • To provide different church leaders with a time of refreshment listening the exposition of the Word of God; this year brought by Professor John Lennox, an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Christian apologist.
  • To meet new people and be encouraged by eating, sharing, singing and praying together. Food was served buffet style in the Hotel’s garden in tables with 10 chairs. Occasionally, every chair was occupied by a person from a different country and no meal was ever same. Each day of the conference was a new cross-cultural experience.
  • To be better informed of what it’s going on with the church in different countries; some which are or seem to be remote, some which are not-so-well-known and yet others which have the fame and prestige in the world for their turist attractions, but in all of them, the light of Christ is shinning.

And much more it could be said, but overall these were the highlights for me. I highly recommend anyone to participate in next one. IBCM is held every four years.

I took one day for sightseeing The Eternal City in its fabulous 1,285 km². Since I had already been to the two most-visited sites, the Colosseum and the Vatican, I took the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and went to other places such as the Catacombs, Musei Capitolini, Plazza Venezia and the Ascensori Panoramici (Glass elevator) from where you can enjoy some of the best views in Rome. I had pizza for lunch, obviously, in the Ghetto Ebraico near the Synagogue (to my dismay I was late for visiting hours) and the legendary Trevi Fountain.

2019-06-30-21-19-35-575 Besides the stops I made; I rode on the bus a whole complete cycle and took many pictures from the upper deck. I totally agree, Rome is magical. It is unavoidable to fall in love with such a place where you walk through history and art. It was an exhausting hot day in Rome, but worth doing and repeating anytime!

Published in: on July 18, 2019 at 5:16 am  Comments (2)  
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