To Vaccinate Or Not: Thoughts from a TV Show.

I’m currently wondering just how many hits I’ll get merely from including the word “vaccinate” in the title. Hmm…

So, I’ve been sick for the last couple of days now. Something started coming on Sunday and I ignored it, thinking it would go away. By Tuesday, I realized it probably was not going to go away without some sort of rest. I took yesterday off and today as well just to make sure I recoup before jumping back into my schedule.

This weekend, one of our professors and his wife had to leave because she’s really sick and will be spending the next month or so in the hospital doing tests. As much as it was really sad to hear that news, there was a slight upswing for us. We’ve been wanting to get satellite for awhile now, but can’t afford it on our own. Every other missionary splits one plan, but it’s maxed out, so we can’t get on it and there’s no one else to split the cost with. But, while this guy is gone, somebody has to use his satellite and pay his bill. That means us! Perfect timing for my illness. I don’t normally miss TV, but this has been really nice.

I’ve been catching up on my crime shows that I used to watch religiously even though Brian could never figure out why. I always liked “Law and Order: SVU.” They always seemed to have controversial topics intertwined in their shows. The one yesterday was rather intriguing, especially considering how relevant it is. Now, this may have been played years ago (all shows aren’t current here), I don’t know, but the debate is definitely current, especially in my circle of friends.

The show was as follows, and forgive me for recapping a TV show, but I’m sick and in bed… I have time on my hands.

There was a young mom, early 20’s, who had a little baby girl, under the age of 2. Her parents were divorced and there was no boyfriend in the picture. The grandma came to the police saying she hadn’t seen her granddaughter in three days and was afraid her daughter had killed her. Long story short – the daughter thought she had killed the baby. The baby had gotten sick and was crying constantly, so she had spanked her, hard, and then left her overnight. When she checked on her in the morning, she was dead, so she buried her in an abandoned gas station. Turns out, the baby died of measles, not because of the mother. Then the question came up – how did she get measles in the middle of New York City? More research and they find out there was a slight outbreak of measles, traced back to one conservative mother who had chosen not to vaccinate her son. Her 4 year old son contracted measles and since measles is contagious long before the symptoms show up, she took him to a park and a bunch of kids who weren’t old enough to be vaccinated yet, got exposed to measles. So, they arrested the mother for murder of the little girl. She was acquitted and the grandma and the mom went ballistic. They were caught throwing bricks into her house and while the police were arresting them, the grandfather, who was horribly distraught after the baby died, charged into the house. He told the woman that now she had killed two people and he committed suicide in her living room. And… the story ended.

Okay, so, it got me thinking about the whole “to vaccinate or to not vaccinate” debate that is currently raging among moms my age in the States. So many of my friends on facebook will post articles, videos, thoughts, blogs – all on whether you should vaccinate or not. Mostly the people who are opposed are the ones who post the most. Granted, some of it is very interesting and I have no idea what is valid or not. It’s kind of like all the food that gives you cancer – if you listened to every new piece of research, we wouldn’t eat… anything. Anyway, I digress.

I remember having this one long conversation with a good friend in Wyoming about this debate. Her in-laws were convinced that she was NOT to vaccinate her little girls, so her husband was the same way. But, she didn’t think it was correct. However, at the time of the conversation, she hadn’t vaccinated either of the girls and they were getting to the age where some vaccines are no longer given because they’re too old. BUT, she was also thinking about what happens when they’re school age and she is NOT going to home school. Therefore, they must be vaccinated. But, what do you do when the parents are split on what is good for the kids? She was really stuck. I still don’t know what she chose.

During our conversation, though, she told me about someone she’s related to who lives in another state who chose not to vaccinate because she was home schooling. One of her kids got, I believe, measles, and within weeks, the entire city had a huge outbreak! Pretty sure that’s what vaccines are trying to prevent. We all know what happened with polio. Measles is not something to mess around with. In fact, I’d dare say most of the things kids get vaccinated for are not things to mess around with. And honestly, I had to agree with one thing that was said on the fictional show – your choice to not vaccinate affects the choice of others who want to vaccinate but their kids aren’t old enough to receive it yet. When you live in a society, I believe your choices on how you raise your kids affect more than just your family. This goes for how you discipline, or lack of discipline, the manners, or lack thereof, you teach, how you educate, and yes, how you keep your kids healthy. Remember the families in the States that got in trouble a few years ago for naming their kids after key Nazi leaders and raising them as fascists? Personal choice… that affected hundreds of people. So, they got the kids taken away and I’m not sure what else.

Now, granted, I think some vaccines are uncalled for. If given the choice, I’d rather my kids not get the chicken pox vaccine. We all survived chicken pox as kids. I remember kids getting chicken pox and being sent to school so the entire class would get it all at once and be done with it. My siblings and I got it all the same time and now, we don’t have to worry about it. With the vaccine, they’re finding out that it’s not lasting long enough and adults are getting chicken pox – which is obviously a lot worse than getting it as a child. But chicken pox is not measles, mumps, polio, or even whooping cough.

It’s quite an interesting debate, especially now that I’m pregnant and have to start thinking about my own children. I can’t imagine purposefully giving my child something that might give them paralysis or even autism. I’d feel like it was my fault. But how would I justify NOT giving them a shot that may or may not potentially hurt them and then they get a fatal, preventable disease? In some ways, it seems like a lose-lose. We are also in a different situation. Some shots are required to travel back into the States, so most vaccines are going to be unpreventable for us.

I have to admit, the debate is fascinating. I can’t say what’s right or what’s not. I like to be informed. At this point, my children will be getting most if not all vaccines offered because I feel the odds of getting any of the side effects are minimal. Like I said – at this point, I feel my children will be better protected, especially growing up in a two-thirds world country, with getting vaccines than by not getting vaccines. If I was home schooling in the States would I feel the same way? I can honestly say I don’t know. But seeing a friend’s son here get mumps – something that really doesn’t exist in the States – convinces me that vaccinating is a good way to go at this point.

Sorry this was such a long post. I’d love to hear your opinions, especially since I know some of you live in other parts of the world. But, please keep them nice. I’d rather not read anything rude. Remember, I’m not advocating for or against.

Inferior.

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes, I find myself feeling inadequate, inferior, unfit – for my life and my calling. I’m really good at comparing myself to others and in my mind, I always come up short. The last few days I’ve felt that way. I’m sure it’s needless, but still, that’s how I’ve felt. I am really good at fluctuating between, “I love my life! I’m good at my job!” – to, “Someone else could totally do this better and I’m sure everyone else is thinking the same thing.”

So, last night, realizing I was stuck in this pit, I started to pray. When I finally allowed myself to be still and listen, I heard God say, “You remind me of Peter.” Peter, the brazen, loud, obnoxious fisherman with no education. The man who fluctuated from wanting to die with Jesus to denying he even knew Him, within a matter of hours. The man upon whom God would build His church, regardless of flaws, a loud mouth, and a rash personality. I wonder how many times Peter felt inferior, insufficient, not good enough? Especially after denying Christ three times. I wonder if Peter ever compared himself to the other disciples. John, the one Jesus loved. Matthew, the eloquent tax collector. Or even Paul – wow, what an apostle HE was! All of a sudden last night, Peter became someone I could definitely relate to.

I felt prompted to open my Bible to 1 Peter. I ended up reading the entire book. And I started re-reading it again this morning. The part that stuck out to me most says, in NLT, “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as foreigners here on earth.” -1Peter 1:17

No favorites. He’s not up there comparing my work to the next missionary woman saying, “Well, Lisa’s OKAY, but she would much better if she did it like her.” He’s not going to judge me in comparison to others. He’s going to judge me… for me. For what I did with my talents, my time, my job, my life. Not in comparison to how SHE did HER job. He’s only worried about how I do mine.

He called me to be a teacher even though I don’t have my bachelor’s and I’ve never done this before. He called me to live in South America even though my immune system isn’t very good and traveling makes me nauseous. He is calling me to be a mom even though I can’t make their clothes myself and I really couldn’t care less if I make bread or if I buy it. He’s called me to be a wife even though I have no patience and have yet to be known as a “Susie Homemaker.”

I told a good friend once that I felt unqualified for my job and she, as a veteran teacher, told me that in all her years of teaching, she’s come to realize that the only prerequisite for a really good teacher is to sincerely love your students. That, of all things, I do. I feel like they’re MY kids so I want them to succeed as if they’re my own. I rejoice in their triumphs as if they were my own children and had just accomplished something HUGE on their own. I love these kids. I can’t imagine leaving them to another teacher, no matter how qualified they might be.

God has no favorites. God doesn’t compare. He just wants me to be me and you to be you.

PHEW.

**Sidenote: First Baby MK of the year was born (finally!) at 3am! My friend that began labor last week finally had her little girl. What’s hilarious is they told her in January it was a boy and then in March that it was “inconclusive” if it was a boy or a girl. Well, that’s because she’s definitely a little girl! Can’t wait to meet her when they come home in about a week. Next MK due: July!**

Yawn.

Life is tiring in general. Add a cooking baby and good grief, I didn’t realize how exhausting my days could be! Mornings aren’t so bad. Just supervising doesn’t take a lot out of me. But afternoons…wow. They fly by, but by 5, I am DONE. Last night I was in bed by 7:30. Didn’t sleep til closer til 9, but still. I was there. In my pj’s. Watching a movie. Nursing my achy lower back. And so thankful for my bed.

Here’s me at 14 wks:

I’m now 16 weeks and I can tell a difference. I’m still not out of my regular clothes, though. I read that in the next few weeks the baby doubles in size and adds inches, so odds are, I WILL be out of at least a few pieces of regular clothing soon. That’s fine. Has to happen sometime and it just means the baby is doing well. I haven’t had any rude comments in awhile, so my perspective has eased greatly. I’m also feeling better 95% of the time, so I’m enjoying this! 🙂 Got my first batch of baby gifts in the mail last week and for some reason, that made it that much more real.

Here’s my baby, 2 weeks ago:

I love this little guy. So cute. We find out in May what we’re having. Any guesses?? Personally, I think it’s a little boy who will arrive in September. Brian is still convinced it’s a girl. To the point where he refers to our baby as “she.” He willingly admits, though, that he honestly doesn’t care what it is as long as it’s healthy. And so far, so good.

That’s pretty much everything from my end of the world. I leave you with pictures I’ve been meaning to post for weeks now but haven’t been able to. Happy Wednesday!

View from our bedroom window one Sunday morning – so peaceful.

new Kindergarten classroom, view 1

new Kindergarten classroom view #2

new Kindergarten classroom view #3

new living room couches!

new desk!

It’s going to come soon!

I am the fourth missionary wife here who’s pregnant AND due this year. The first one went into labor this morning! We’re SO excited. It’s her first and she’s been married almost two years. She has to drive two hours to another district of Lima to have the baby in a hospital near her family. She’s still here… lying in bed, counting her contractions, waiting for her ride to get out of class. She’ll make it, but I know her mom, who’s in Callao waiting for her, is freaking out! It’s so exciting knowing that soon, she’ll get to hold her little one.

Just reminded me that my time will be here before I know it. I’m excited, don’t get me wrong! But still… it’s not like I have anything to compare this to! Therefore, it’s a little nerve-wracking. I realized this week that I’m almost four months along now; the third month definitely went faster than the others. Crazy crazy!

Brian and I did our doctor’s appointment alone this week. It went super well. We understood it all, got to keep a whole sheet of pictures, and just enjoyed being a family and functioning on our own in a foreign country (that’s beginning to not feel so foreign anymore). It was nice hearing that even though I’ve been told I look like I’m carrying twins, I lost a bunch of weight in the last three weeks. I don’t know where people get off being so rude, but I do NOT look like I’m having twins and I do NOT look the same as the girl who went into labor this morning. I know I’m not small; you don’t have to point that fact out to me every time I walk by. Hopefully Brian will be talking to the one person who’s been the rudest. I know he’s trying to be funny, but it’s way past that point now.

School is going well, although it’s exhausting in the afternoons. I get home and just want to SIT and not talk for awhile! I’m getting a good workout on my Spanish, though. I’m learning past tenses a whole lot faster than normal because I put so many stories I read in English into Spanish. Children really are your best language helpers. I’m enjoying teaching them and seeing their eyes light up with new knowledge. One of the girls is doing so well and she just BEAMS when you praise her. It’s fun. 🙂 I’m struggling with the little boy, but part of that is because he’s 4 years old (the girls are 7), he’s from America, he does not speak Spanish, and, well, he’s a little boy! What little boy WANTS to be in school? However, he’s been asking way too often, “Can I go home now?” Patience is not a virtue I exude in and I tend to lose it quickly.

Bible school is in full-swing. We have somewhere between 40-50 students which is pretty good. Brian is in a leadership position and he’s trying to help the kids see him as leader and not friend, which can be a tight rope to walk most days. Yesterday he had to be with two other men while they handed out the first demerits of the year to four male students. Brian was told by one of the guys what had happened because the guy thought it was hilarious. Brian turned to him and said, “Now why did you tell me? I have to do something about it now!” It was hard, too, because what they did WAS funny… if it had stayed among boys. But it didn’t and a girl got offended, so they had to get punished. You know what I learned? Different culture, different hemisphere, different language – does NOT MATTER. Boys will be boys and they will always, always, always pull stupid pranks without thinking. We had a good laugh at home about it, but in public, we have to show that we’re disappointed. Which we are; they should’ve known better. But seriously. Boys… do they ever grow up? Honestly?

Can I just take a minute to say how proud I am of my husband, though? I was honestly not outside this summer when we got home from Iquitos, so from January to March, I really did not see him interact with our Peruvian friends that much. Now that I’m back in public, I’ve noticed that Brian’s Spanish has greatly improved. We still have not had lessons and Brian hasn’t had anyone even tutor him. And yet, he has picked up SO MUCH. He’s doing so well. He’s even conducting his weekly meetings with his team mostly in Spanish. It’s hard and he admits it, but he’s doing it. He can talk with the students and he understands sometimes more than I do. I’m not saying that to brag. I speak French and so Spanish came fairly easily to me and we both know it. But, now, there are definitely times when Brian picks up stuff that I do NOT. We balance each other quite well. But besides the Spanish, Brian is settling into his role as “head of maintenance” really well this year. He has a lot of responsibility and he had to confront more than just students sometimes and he’s doing so well. He loves being a leader and he’s a great leader, if I do say so myself. He’s the gentle, meek, but assertive kind. He’s honest and blunt, but caring and thoughtful. He thinks things through and conducts the work logically. He’s enjoying his job and getting things accomplished. He’s getting to know the students and making himself available. One of the guys trusts Brian implicitly and comes to him frequently for relationship advice. It’s really neat to see and I’m so proud of him.

In closing, here’s my week’s phenomenal recipe. We went out to dinner Tuesday night and I made this Wednesday night and Brian said, “Why did we go out last night? You should’ve just made this!” So, here ya go… (once again with no measurements, just the basic idea)

  • I took two lean pork chops and put them in a non-stick skillet. Browned on both sides, then added salt and pepper. I don’t have lemon pepper, so instead I cut open a lemon (ours our small like limes here) and squeezed half the juice on one side of the chops and the other half on the other side.
  • Let brown a tad more, then add some cream of mushroom soup. Here, it comes in a powdered packet that makes like a giant pot. So, I used just part of the packet, mixed with milk and water in a bowl.
  • Add to the soup a healthy tablespoon (or more – eyeball it) of mustard. Here, the only mustard really is yellow, but it’s spicy and has a great flavor to it, unlike yellow mustard in the States which, in my opinion, is just kind of bland. This yellow mustard here reminds me of a subtle dijon, believe it or not. Mix the mustard in really well, then pour over the pork chops.
  • Cover and let simmer til the chops are cooked through and tender.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes or rice and a veggie. Makes a bunch of sauce!

Well, it’s break time for my students, so I should get going. Have a wonderful Thursday! Do something today that enables you to enjoy God’s wonderful, unique world wherever you happen to be.

Sometimes You Forget…

….just how good you have it.

We live in a two-thirds world country that is trying desperately to rise out of it. But, it’s not there yet. However, it’s to the point where if you don’t look for it, sometimes you don’t see the poverty. I know I’ve found myself not seeing it more often than seeing it lately. Sounds horrible, but if you spend most of your time not where there is stark poverty, you miss it. As well, if you see poverty frequently, sometimes you get too used to it. Know what I mean?

Yesterday, Brian had an experience that made me realize I’ve become slack in my thinking about this country. I tend to think it’s all malls and fast food and easy living. I forget that for the majority, life is still not like that. You drive past a Starbucks one minute and half an hour later, you’re in the middle of extreme poverty. It can be a shock to your system… if you’re watching for it.

Back to the story. Yesterday, during a big soccer tournament, one of our students tripped and dislocated his elbow. Not a pretty sight. He’s not from Lima and like most Peruvians, his “insurance” only covers the government-run hospitals. Brian and another friend took the poor, screaming boy to one of these hospitals. Brian said it’s an experience that he won’t easily forget.

Picture a two room “hospital” filled only with women nursing their children with the rest of their brood running around the building, into the exam rooms and everything. The exam rooms are being used by more than one person at a time. The bed they put our student on wasn’t even ready for a patient; it was covered in books. Brian, an American, was not allowed to be in the exam room with the doctor. So, he stood out in the waiting area with the nursing women… who quickly crowded around him. He said they all talked at once, begging him to take his friend to another facility. They kept saying, “This isn’t a hospital! This is what they give us and it’s not helpful! Take him out of here as quick as you can and get him real help! You’re rich; you can afford to help your friend! We can’t afford it, but you can! He deserves better than this!”

I think I would’ve cried.

Brian said it was horribly awkward and he had no idea how to respond. A lady even followed them out to the “ambulance” (an old, beat-up suburban with a light on the top) telling Brian to take his friend somewhere else.

I just can’t even imagine.

Brian got home and said over and over how thankful he is that he doesn’t need to take me there – ever. We both realize that without government-run hospitals, all those people in there, including our student, would not get medical care. He said a lady was getting hydrated, which is necessary and the only place she could go to have it done – so they are helping people. It’s not ideal. It’s not clean. It’s not perfect. But, it’s something. And it’s free.

Still, it reminded me that life is not all roses here in Peru. We’re here to serve a people who are pulling out of poverty, but aren’t there yet. I must never get so attuned to it that I don’t see it when it’s all around. One of the reasons King Nebuchadnezzar was given the seven years of insanity was because he didn’t pay attention to the poor. He built palaces and kingdoms that were unsurpassed for hundreds of years… all the while most of his subjects were living in destitution. God won’t tolerate it when we overlook those less fortunate.

I’m not saying our job is to give money or hand outs or try to change their way of life. I am saying that I need to be more sensitive to them. To be willing to help them out. To offer them Christ so even though their physical living situation is hard, they have hope for an eternity.

I want to be sensitive and alert and never become complacent again.

Furniture!

Well, we got ’em. Finally. The only piece of furniture in my entire downstairs that is not ours is our table. And that we can take our time replacing because it doesn’t look bad and it’s not needed back to its owners for awhile yet. Our bedroom is basically done. Now to work on the baby room…

I’ll get pictures this afternoon — the house looks SO NICE. I wanted to get pictures last night, but the first time I stopped moving, it was going on 10pm, so that was not going to happen. Anyway – Brian got back in the afternoon and we spent the evening, before and after a fancy program at the Bible school, rearranging our living room. Brian finally got it right… after I went to bed. He woke me up and had me go downstairs to see it! 🙂

We have two new couches (new to us), cream-colored, in a soft suede. They came with big pillows for the back (although they’re not 100% necessary; they sure are comfortable!) and six throw pillows in red and orange designs. I wanted red accents for the living room… and I got it! Brian’s desk is HUGE. It’s in two pieces, plus a filing cabinet. It takes up almost a whole corner/side of the living room (granted, our house is not that big), but it looks really nice. His desktop computer is serving as our TV for now, so it’s set up perfectly for that. He will also be meeting with students throughout the year (when they’re in trouble!) and his desk is nice and intimidating for meetings like that. The people selling the stuff even threw in two office chairs, one of which I’m using right now down at my school. Ah, a chair with a back! It’s so comfortable.

The last piece we got was a big ol’ bookcase – much bigger than I imagined it was! It took four men to get it upstairs. Brian will need help getting it into our room which I think is where it’ll end up. I’ve never owned such a big bookcase; I’m looking forward to getting it organized and getting my books OFF THE FLOOR. What a concept.

We’re so grateful for people who donated to help us out with furniture. We’d still be living on borrowed furniture if people hadn’t been generous. And then, thanks to Brian’s frugality, we were able to get all of that for less than the price we thought we’d have to pay for one couch. We thought for sure we’d have to pick between a couch or a desk and a bookcase wasn’t even talked about for purchases this year! I am so thankful for what we have. And I have no doubt the baby room will get furnished just fine without me needing to worry about it!

So – stay tuned for pictures! We’re going to get another ultrasound tonight, so pictures may have to wait til tomorrow… we shall see. Days are so busy, it’s unbelievable. Someday, I’ll get my camera out and get stuff uploaded again!! I promise!

Happy Easter Monday!

Easter was a lovely, lovely day here outside of Lima. We heard rain almost all night long (which is very, very rare here, no matter the time of year), so we started to get worried that Sunday would be dreary. We needn’t have feared! Sunday dawned bright, sunny, and warm – as usual.

We divided up with our co-workers to get to Sunday church service. That meant: Brian and my 13 year old student on our motorcycle, my student’s parents on their motorcycle, and then the rest of us adults (4) with 4 little girls in a car meant for 4. I love traveling in South America. 🙂

Here in Peru, Easter is not a Christian holiday – it’s a Catholic holiday. So while you’ll see a lot of Catholic processions, you won’t see a lot of Christians celebrating. It’s just a normal Sunday for most everybody. See, the country is such staunch Catholic and the believers want to be totally different, they think celebrating a day that has always been for Catholics would be wrong. So, the church service was nice, but definitely not what we would consider in the States to be “an Easter service.” I have to admit, I miss the choirs, the special music, the sunrise service, the breakfast… Even though the sermon focused on the resurrection, the rest of the service really did not. Don’t get me wrong, though. After not having been to church since January – it was like heaven! 🙂

Once the service was over, all of us piled into the cars for a trip literally around the block to a friend’s parents’ house for a barbecue and swimming in their outdoor pool. We had been looking forward to this since like January and it did not disappoint. We had a BLAST swimming (for the first time since 2007!) and the barbecue was amazing. Spending time with friends was wonderful. It was a genuinely great afternoon.

In the evening, the church put on an Easter play called “Separated by a Veil.” It explained, using the past and present, about the importance of the veil in the temple tearing when Jesus died. It was well-done and a nice end to our Easter.

I’ll definitely need to upload pictures later. 🙂

The Bible school students get back today (for the most part) and a conference to begin the year starts tomorrow. I’ll be teaching, but Brian will be able to attend. Graduation is Friday for the kids who finished last year. They technically finish over the summer with ministry – that’s their last prerequisite to graduate – hence the April graduation and not a December graduation. Then classes for all of them begin next Tuesday. It’s nice seeing the students again. They keep coming down to the house to say hi, which is doubly nice for us. The campus is just NOT the same without all the students! We’re hoping to be much more involved this year in their lives. There’s a chance we’ll be doing some counseling, which scares me, but is exciting at the same time. It’ll be interesting to see how the year plays out!

As for Thankful Monday…

  • I serve a risen Savior!
  • Being able to go to church for the first time since January!
  • Wonderful friendships.
  • Carrot cake with cream cheese icing.
  • Cream cheese in general. It’s such a rarity that having it in the house is pure bliss.
  • Hearing that one Bible school student gave up a full scholarship to university because he knows he would never be fulfilled doing anything but sharing the Gospel.
  • Hearing that this same student, after making such a tough decision, led someone to the Lord on his 26-hour bus ride to here.
  • A wonderful first week of classes and already a good start to the second week.
  • Being 13 weeks pregnant tomorrow! Yay for 2nd trimester! 🙂
  • My husband is not home today because he’s out picking up… two couches, a desk, a filing cabinet, two desk chairs, and a bookcase for us!! He found them online, being sold by Americans living in Peru, and got them all at a HUGE deal. God is SO good to us. Here we thought we’d get a couch and maybe in a few months get a desk and maybe next year get a bookcase… God is SO good to us.

I’ll try to get pictures up as soon as possible. Days are pretty full, but when I get a chance to use the computer this evening, I’ll see what I can do. Happy day after Easter!

Quiet Day.

The day after Good Friday. I always think this should be a quiet day. I think often of Jesus’ friends, followers, and family on this day. They had watched die a gruesome death the man they believed to be their Messiah. They buried their hope in a tomb sealed with a stone no single man could move alone. They walked home, not even able to mourn for fear of their lives. Sabbath, a day of rest and recuperation, was for them a day of mourning.

I have nothing to compare it to except the day after the funeral of a loved one. You know they’re gone and the silence and emptiness just about kill you, too. The day after a funeral is the day you just sit, wondering what to do next.

None of that would compare to burying Jesus. Their hope! The one they thought they had been waiting for for hundreds of years! And He’s…. gone. The one word I keep coming up with is…betrayal. At this point, they weren’t remembering what He had promised or what the Scriptures had prophesied. They were thinking only of the events of the last day and I’m sure not a few of them thought they’d been had. Thought they had been used. Thought they had been betrayed by the one they had put so much trust in. Look at all He had done for them! And now He was… gone. Not just gone. Dead. Buried. Decaying. And with Him were buried all their hopes. They were still under Roman oppression. They were now in danger of losing their own lives. They had given up jobs and family to follow this man and now what are they supposed to do? Nobody had a home. Nobody had an income. Some were probably even ostracized by family. What in the world were they supposed to do now?

What a bleak, depressing day Saturday must have been. A quiet day. A gut-wrenchingly sad day.

Praise God – Sunday dawned.

Otherwise, that Saturday would be perpetual for each one of us.

“Up from the grave He arose! With a mighty triumph o’er His foes! He arose a victor from the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign! He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

Tetelestai.

I didn’t take Greek in Bible school. It was offered my last year, but I was so busy with other classes and my new boyfriend, I didn’t think I should add Greek on top of it. Now I kind of wish I’d taken the extra plunge and gotten some Greek under my belt.

However, since the Greek professor was one of our main professors, we got a lot of Greek in class – which I loved. I’ll never forget his explanation of the word “Tetelestai.” [At one point, I was going to get it tattooed on my shoulder, but I chickened out after seeing the price tag and thinking about the pain. Still, that would’ve been a cool tattoo.]

Back in Jesus’ day, when the Romans were in charge, they had a system for paying bills. You would take your note in and get it stamped that you paid it or that you owed still. It was a rigid system, which we can also gather from Jesus’ parables of being thrown in prison indefinitely for debt (parables, of course, were based on real-life events that happened daily around them).

However, sometimes, a debt would get so high that no matter what, the person could never pay it. At this point, the officers had a choice. Throw them in prison… or cancel the debt. If they chose to completely cancel the debt, they had a stamp they used with one word on it: Tetelestai. This one word means, “Paid in Full.” Even though the debt had in reality not been paid, when the government looked at the bill, they would see that it had been paid in full and no charges would be held against the person. This always only used on a debt that could never be paid off.

When Jesus died on the cross, His last words in our English translation are, “It is finished.” In Greek, the language He would’ve yelled from the cross, His last word was one word. Tetelestai. Paid in full.

Our debt has been completely canceled out. No, we didn’t pay. No, we could never pay it. Jesus paid it. In full. All at once. So when God looks at our bill, all He sees is the stamp, in blood, “Paid in full.”

A debt we could never pay. Grace we can never repay. Love we’ll never understand.

Praise God – It’s been Paid In Full!

April 2010
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