Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
First off, I’ve finally got some photos of my time in Guatemala on the internet. If you’d like to view them simply click the link:
…And in the local news, both of the only two shops that I regularly visit in my neighborhood have been robbed. The peluqueria (barber shop) was robbed shortly before I left to the states for Christmas. The thief apparently used a sledgehammer to break the large padlocks holding down the cage door covering the entrance. He made off with both chairs, the hair dryer, both sets of shears, a 15” tv as well as a limited supply of hair products including the ever popular “Moco de Gorilla” (Translation: Gorilla Mucus, a popular styling gel among children… and yes it is the color green.) Sadly having insurance is not the norm. The owner was closed for three days looking for replacement chairs and some new-used shears. He is currently renting chairs until he, once again, has saved up the money to purchase new hair cutting chairs (according to the internet, that’s the official term). And there is no longer a TV with bad-reception in the upper corner giving customers something to do while waiting their turn for a friendly barber to remove their slender threadlike outgrowth of the epidermis (Definition taken from Webster Dictionary). Even still, life continues and for just under three dollars you can get a professional cut with friendly service (Sorry ladies, men only for this barber).
Just this week the local internet café suffered a similar fate, losing all of its computers to an unknown entity. At a cost of 75 cents for an hour of use, the time required to recuperate lost funds will be very long indeed. The café has been closed indefinitely. Fortunately for the rest of the populace the next one lies just 3 blocks up the road.
As for the news in zone three (the zone bordering the dump, and also the zone where Potter’s House is located), there have been 2 more murders within 3 blocks of Potter’s House over the last month. The most recent was a stabbing and killing of a 17 year old girl who was apparently out late at night in the Piedra Santa Colony (just around the corner from Potter’s House). The killer and motive are (and will likely remain) unknown.
In one of my previous updates I spoke of a 3 or 4 year old girl who was kidnapped. It has now been just over two months since the kidnapping and almost all traces of her existence have faded. No longer, do signs that read, “Girl Missing” decorate rusting walls. And there were reports from an eye-witness who saw the mother whether in happiness or out of an immense sadness, celebrating and drunk on New Years eve. When the eye-witness was asked if the mother was still mourning the loss, the response was, “Why should she? She still has five healthy children, and the lost one was likely sold to an adoption agency to be given to some family in the states.”
As is quite apparent, violent crime has been on the rise ever since the end of
On a lighter note, the new school year has begun and over 200 students now attend Potter’s House’s primary school. Additionally, the computer lab has been finished and a computer teacher is able to teach children valuable computer skills that may one day allow them to find a job outside the garbage. Also, an English teacher from the states fluent in both English and Spanish has volunteered a year of her life, and so students will begin down the path towards being bilingual, giving them a leg up in the job market.
Another highlight, is that this year the education department will begin offering adults without high school degrees the opportunity to continue their own education in the comfort (or lack thereof) of their own home. By broadcasting classes over a localized frequency adults in zones 3 and 7 will be able to take the courses required to earn their high school diplomas.
As for the weather, we are officially more than half way through the summer season (roughly October through April). To mark the occasion we had an absolutely astounding display of rain. October through April is known as summer because during these months it generally does not rain (This rain was the first that I remember since November). However, the temperature is on average a little cooler, the coldest month being December reaching average lows of 54 degrees and highs of 73. The winter runs from May through September and it will generally rain daily during these months. May being the hottest with lows of 61 degrees and highs of 84 degrees.
While, during this time (right now) the clouds in the sky are scarce, clouds of dust roam the earth in abundance. Within the dump a new flying specie now competes with the vultures for domination of the skies. On windy days plastic bags of all sizes and colors float amongst the dust for all (except those who work within the dump) to enjoy. Yet the dry season has one huge advantage over the rainy season. The stench has been greatly lessened. Also, your house is much less likely to collapse due to erosion or mud slides.
And finally, on to personal news. For those of you who were praying for my grandfather, thank you for your prayers. My grandfather passed away early Christmas Morning. While the event of death is a sad one and we are all definitely sad to see him go, my grandfather lived a good and full life of 91 years. He had a loving wife and a loving family as well as a host of adoring friends. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the memorial service and to see over 300 of these friends and to hear some of them speak and to listen as others gave their talents in honor of him. He was and continues to be greatly respected and loved by all. For those of you who were praying for him, I ask that you’d redirect your prayers now towards my grandmother who has just lost her husband of over 67 years. Pray that she would find comfort and encouragement from the Lord in this time and that she would know that she still has many on this earth who love her very much.
On another note, even though I delayed by 10 months, Allstate has graciously allowed me the opportunity to work for them and I plan on starting with them late summer.
That’s all for this segment of News in
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Dear friends and family,
It’s been a while and there are many stories I could tell since my last letter.
I could tell of Maria, a 4 year old girl who was kidnapped from her family on December 1st, I could tell you that when something like this happens in zone three, that actually nothing happens, there are still children smiling and playing in the street, the newspaper continues to print stories of soccer, and only a mother with a broken heart and a child who’s life will be forever affected will note the first of December 2005 as a day forever infamous.
I could tell of the second most commonly celebrated December birthday in
I could tell you of the Christmas celebration held yesterday for 150 children from the colony called New Sunrise, made possible by a volunteer group from the States. I could tell of the excitement as many received the only tangible gift they will get this Christmas.
I could tell you of how the money came in for Lorena to buy her house in answer to prayer, thanks to some very generous people.
But it is not about these events that I wish to write today. Today I want to write about what’s been happening internally.
After a little over half a year in
Just as it is not riches that keep you up, it’s not poverty that keeps you down. Poverty can and is being overcome daily. It’s broken families, abuse (verbal, sexual, and physical), drugs and gangs that keep people unhappy and hopeless, and I refer both to the rich and to the poor. If the dream of the 20th century was a second car in every garage, then the dream of the 21st should be a second parent in every home. The first thing that costs no money is the love of others and the currency for which it is paid for is time.
I am convinced that
neither poverty (though perhaps wealth) nor lack of education
neither infirmity nor inability to read and write
need separate a child from the love of a parent.
Furthermore I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
That blessed love which came in the form of a man. The only man to hold true throughout his entire life, without sin. On the true Christmas day Christ took the first step towards what would be the most costly payment ever paid for anything in the history of the world. The death of a deity.
Through this payment the path was raised up or rather lowered sufficiently for us to be able to enter upon it. The path that leads to heaven and eternal life. Still, difficult it proves to accept, for to accept this gift one must give up trying to earn it for oneself. We must give up the façade we keep up so well primarily to protect ourselves from the reality that we cannot achieve perfection, communion with God, or much less true happiness, peace and satistfaction on our own. We need the payment of the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He paid the penalty so we don’t have to. To us the gift is free but gifts cost the giver.
While physical poverty definitely exists and is an evil to overcome, I have learned that there are many types of poverty and physical poverty is neither the most evil nor the most widespread. Giving a man a fish or even teaching him to fish will not cure him from the wound his father left when his father left. And more importantly it will not cure him of our true emptiness and the lack of a purpose in life without God.