Missionary Stories.

I emailed my sister this weekend to tell her all about the past few days and she wrote back and said, “Well, now you have interesting missionary stories to tell!” Not quite how I thought she’d perceive what I told her, but I guess she’s right. Course, she was somewhat joking… these are by no means on the bar of Elisabeth Elliot missionary stories. However, they’re the Biegert Missionary Stories and probably about as good as they get. Here goes.

It all started last Monday. We woke up early Monday to the sound of a mototaxi (a motorcycle with a cart attached to the back used as a taxi) driving down the road behind our house – at 5:30. When it left, we started hearing howling. And barking. And whining. By 7, the howling was incredibly loud and right at our front door. Brian came running up the stairs to get the camera and said we had a giant dog, looking in our front window. We’re pretty sure Mr. Mystery Mototaxi Man left his dog behind Monday morning. She’s giant. Some mixed breed German Shepherd thing. Big enough to stand on her back feet and look easily through our front door’s window. BIG dog. It was raining, so she was muddy, wet, stinky, and, like every other dog down here, covered in fleas. Brian had pity and made his first mistake: he gave her leftovers.

Now, we seem to have acquired a dog.

Granted, this is by no means a dog we actually want.

I am a huuuuge dog lover. I grew up with dogs. I felt like no home was complete without a dog, so as soon as we bought our house, we got Gunther, my faithful Dachshund who passed away this year (moment of silence). I have no fear of dogs, although since moving to Peru I have a healthy respect for them. Here, they’re wild. They’re not pets, no matter if they’re kept inside sometimes or not – it’s just not the same. They’re not safe and they all carry some form of disease. Rabies is not uncommon down here (I was convinced THAT’S what I’d die from before we moved here). Dogs run in wild packs – like they’ve reverted back to their “old self” before man ever trained them to wear coats and beg for biscuits.

All that to say – under normal circumstances, she’d be sleeping at the foot of my bed by now. She’s beautiful, young, smart, and easily trainable (Brian got her sitting on command within a day). However. We don’t know her background, where she came from, how she was treated before she got here, or what diseases she’s carrying. She was obviously handled roughly and she has no clue how to “play nice.” She can’t possibly be more than a year old, so you have GIANT puppy with no control. Her way of greeting Brian and I is to jump all over us. If I wasn’t pregnant, I wouldn’t care other than the nuisance of dirty dog and the fact that she’s 80lbs (at least) and not gentle. But, I’m almost 9mo pregnant. Having a giant dog jump on me over and over in greeting is just not a good idea.

So, for the first few days she was here, I had to have someone walk me home and I couldn’t leave the house without Brian being here to distract her. She will literally run you down and jump all over you if she sees you. Brian has had an achy back for a few days now since she’s planted her man-sized paws in the middle of his back more than once. He finally found some thick rope and tied her up, away from the house. At first, everyone wanted to keep her. The night guard thought she’d make a great guard dog (which she would) and wanted to chain her up behind our house to guard our end of the property. My house cleaner thinks she’s adorable, although is scared to death to go near her. She IS trainable, but who here has the time to do so??

Then she started her jumping routine. On the night guard’s daughter. Not cool. Oh, did I mention she also bites? Yeah. Since we don’t know what she’s carrying, you really don’t want her to bite hard enough to break the skin… preferably not biting at all would be good. She’s just not safe.

Brian wants to put her in a car and take her to another district and let her go. Someone will take her in if a pastor over there doesn’t want a guard dog. Now that everyone knows she’s not this great idea, everybody wants to be rid of her, but naturally, no one wants to lend their car in order to do so! She won’t run away… strange dog… and she’s too smart to just walk her to town – she’ll come right back. So, she has to be put in a car and nobody wants to have their car be the one, but nobody wants her here.

Saturday night, I was on my way home from a banquet we held (which goes with Story #2 – yeah, this will be a long post). It was totally pitch black down by my house except for the one light on our door, as usual. I was almost home and I thought I heard something. I looked to my right and there’s this dog barreling full-force directly at me. It was so dark, I couldn’t make out if it was her or another dog and in the panic in my mind, all I could think was, “Rabid Dog!”, especially since I knew she was securely tied up. Or so I thought. Thankfully, it wasn’t a rabid dog. Unfortunately, it was jumping bean herself. I was holding things as well as watching my footing in the dark, then I had to protect myself from this giant, leaping, lunging, excited, 80lb puppy as she leapt towards my giant, pregnant belly. I managed to mostly catch her so my belly didn’t take all the brunt force. But, I had to twist and pull to hold her away from me, keep her from biting, prevent the jumping paws (with super long nails, by the way) from hitting my baby, all the while screaming for Brian to get downstairs and help me.

I didn’t think I was hurt, but within five minutes of being inside, I realized I couldn’t stop shaking, was incredibly tense, and was in so much pain I wasn’t sure I could move. However I moved to hold this dog away from me did not go over so well with the rest of my body. Brian got me upstairs and made me sit down. I took a hot, hot shower, he rubbed muscle rub all over me, I somehow got almost comfortable in bed… all of that took well over an hour. Just moving from the bed to the bathroom made me cry and took about 10min. I haven’t been in so much pain… ever. Lifting my left leg was nigh unto impossible.

I missed the rest of the ladies retreat on Sunday because I literally could barely get out of bed. Brian forced me to stay upstairs, in bed, resting all day. By evening, I made my first trip downstairs and by nighttime, I was able to move more normally. Today, I’m still sore. Stairs are my nemesis. My side is swollen from where a rib has moved or something. My back hurts. BUT, my baby is moving! However, Brian has sworn off much activity for me for the next few weeks and I’m not allowed to do hardly anything, which is driving me nuts. I did laundry today and got chewed out. He doesn’t normally get upset with me. I think he’s worried.

And the stupid dog is still here. After Brian’s reaction to her Saturday night, which was not pretty, we really thought she’d leave. But no. Idiot is tied back up and whining every time Brian walks by. Brian chewed me out as well when I expressed that I was worried about her being outside all alone Saturday night. The dog is now Brian’s enemy. Can we say, “Protective Daddy”?

That is Story #1.

Deep Breath.

Story #2.

This weekend was the annual ladies retreat here at camp. I was actually really looking forward to this year. I understand more Spanish, therefore I feel more sociable. I enjoy running the kiosco (concession stand). I was looking forward to being around women all weekend for once. I thought it would be fun! Then, of course, the dog thing happened and I only got to be around for Saturday. SO upset about this. Just figures.

Saturday, though, turned out to be pretty eventful in and of itself. First off, the ladies that come don’t come from exactly wealthy areas. They come from our church plants which are in some of the poorest areas around Lima. The majority don’t come from good home lives. Some are married, but most of the married ones don’t have good marriages – unsaved spouses, abusive or alcoholic spouses, etc. A whole chunk of them are not married, but have a bunch of children. Many aren’t real sure how to handle their children, so they just run wild. For pretty much all of them, a prerequesite for being able to come is that they can bring their children with them. So, we had about 30(?) women with a whole bunch of kids – never did see exactly how many kids there were.

We are always prepared for this and have a whole children’s program for Saturday and Sunday to keep them occupied. They eat all together so no kids are disturbing the mealtimes – the women can honestly feel as if they’re on a retreat, and yet know their kids are safe.

WELL, that’s at least the idea.

This year (I don’t know if it was the same in other years – I didn’t notice last year, to be honest), a bunch of kids just plain did not want to be in the classes. Did not matter that they played games and watched movies – they did not want to be in there and no one was going to make them. Their moms didn’t care. They let them run wild. We have a nice, child-friendly campus, but by no means is this campus child-safe! We have a lagoon that’s enough water in it for kids to drown if they fall in. We have a playground that’s really high with just enough areas that kids can fall off and get seriously hurt. You know, kid-friendly, not kid-safe. There’s a difference. But, the moms just honestly did not care that their little ones (and I’m talking 2-3yr olds) were running around literally unsupervised all over this big campus.

We were in our very first meeting with the special speaker, almost at the end, when the inevitable happened. Two little ones were playing on the balcony in front of the girls’ dorms. Then they decided to come downstairs. First one, then the other, fell. The little boy could not possibly be more than two years old; the little girl maybe three or so. The little boy fell with the little girl literally on top of him the entire way down – head over heels, hitting every single METAL step before landing on the concrete at the bottom.

The women all screamed and ran to the window. I actually did not see it happen, I was in an area where I couldn’t see out the window. And that is perfectly fine with me. I saw him afterwards and that was bad enough. It’s amazing how much blood can come from one little child.

Praise our Father in Heaven – he was okay. The cut that was pouring blood was near his eye, but he had missed his eye – just barely. The nurse that was here checked him out and said that was the only thing she could find wrong. However, she thought he needed stitches and should go to the doctor’s office in town to get checked out more thoroughly, just in case something else was wrong that wasn’t visible. Everybody here offered to drive the mom and boy up there (it’s literally 2min away by car) and help her from there as well.

She refused.

All she wanted was a band aid. Her reasoning? “He does this all the time! He’s always falling! He’s been hurt worse than this. He’ll be just fine.” A band aid and a lollipop to keep him awake – that’s all she wanted.

I thought I was going to be sick. I’ve had a serious head injury before and so I know a lot about them. One thing I learned is that whenever the head is damaged, you always get it checked out – especially if it’s a child. Their skull is not fully fused yet, so the brain has more opportunity to get damaged. And even if the damage doesn’t show up now, in ten years when that part of the brain is developing, it could show up then. Seriously – the doctors all told me when I was 14 to watch for concussion-like symptoms when I was in my mid-20’s because parts of your brain don’t finish developing until you’re an adult and they were worried I’d damaged parts that I wasn’t using yet. Imagine a little, little boy? OH the odds of having brain problems are just huge. Besides that, there’s internal injuries. He fell down an entire flight of metal stairs with a little girl who’s bigger than him on top of him. Internal bleeding can take awhile to show up; it’s not visible right away. The very least this mom could’ve done was take him to the doctor’s office just to be sure he really was okay.

But no. She did not care.

It just… I don’t know… it’s hard to explain how I felt. It was like – you want so badly to help these single moms who so desperately need assistance. But when you offer it, they refuse. It was free! It was no problem! It was important, even urgent! And she refused.

I’m still just baffled. How do you help someone who doesn’t want help?

It honestly reminded me of the Gospel. Here God is, holding out His hand to us saying, “Just take it! This is all you need! Salvation is free! It’s a gift! It’s urgent! It’s important! Just take it!” And yet, we refuse. We say it’s no big deal. We say we can handle it. We don’t really care enough about the future to want salvation now. We’ll seek it out when things get worse. But for now, we can handle it. Oh the patience of Almighty God to be holding out that gift for generations because He doesn’t want even one to perish.

If you think of it, you can pray for this little boy and his family. I don’t know the home situation. I don’t know if there’s a dad on the scene, or husband. I really am not even sure how many other siblings there are in the picture. I don’t know his name or the name of the mom – honestly, none of the missionaries did. But, if you could, just say a prayer for his health – that everything really is okay. Pray for his mom; she needs help… but I guess you have to be willing to take it when it’s offered or it won’t do you any good. Pray for our pastor’s wives. This situation is typical, especially in that particular church plant. This is the second year I’ve attended the ladies retreat and my respect for our pastor’s wives increases every year. Being a pastor’s wife is never easy, but somehow, here, it just seems that much harder.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SO these weren’t your typical missionary stories. They aren’t book-worthy and chances of lots of people reading them are pretty small. But, it’s our life none-the-less. At least we’re not bored. 🙂

Another Year.

Well, birthday #27 has come and gone. It was actually a really nice, quiet day. We had no electricity from the night before until mid-morning the day of, so I couldn’t have class in the morning (it’s all done on computers). As soon as Brian fixed the electricity, he was home for the day, which never, ever happens. In the afternoon, I made rolls while my little girls watched “Horton Hears a Who” for English class. Fun fun! Then it was on to dinner. And what a wonderful birthday dinner it was! Brian picked out some nice steaks (which are super hard to come by here – most steaks are very tough in comparison to beautiful Angus beef in SD). We splurged on a can of sweet corn, imported from the States (corn here is all field corn and by no means small or sweet). I made mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and cheesecake. So. Heavenly. Perfect day.

This is the first birthday I’ve had in awhile where I haven’t cried, to be honest. I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long and every year that went by without a baby felt like a wasted year to me. I know they weren’t, but it was tough seeing my friends moving on to Baby #3 and we hadn’t even had Baby #1 yet. This year, Baby #1 is cooking away and will be here soon. That’s just… a perfect gift.

~Change of Subject~

I was by myself all day Saturday, with strict instructions to take it easy. So, I watched TV. I found a movie called “Pregnancy Pact.” It was based on the true story that happened in Gloucester, Mass, back in 2008, where a bunch of high school girls allegedly made a pact to all get pregnant at the same time. This movie was based on that, but they had a screen come up twice saying that any similarities was merely coincidental. Anyway – I found the movie to be very sad, but awfully thought-provoking. So, here’s some things I’m curious to know your opinion on:

–In giving out free condoms to teenagers, are we encouraging premarital sex or preventing pregnancies? Which one is better?

–My personal take after watching this video, and something I’ve thought all along: Parents and teachers can talk until they’re blue in the face about abstinence, but ultimately, it comes down to a personal choice every teenager will need to make for themselves. I was thinking about my family and another family I grew up with. Both families had 3 kids – two girls and a boy – and we were all the same age. We grew up in the same Christian school, youth group, and church. Had the same friends. Our parents had the same moral values and ethics and taught them in basically the same manner to us. But, both of their daughters slept around before they got married and my siblings and I did not. What was the difference? In my opinion, personal choice. What do you guys think? And how can we instill in our children the importance of waiting without sounding like a broken, out of touch record?

–In the movie, the girls were all asked why they did it – why did they choose to become pregnant. All of them talked about how bad their home lives were – how they had moms that weren’t there for them, no dads, bad relationships with parents, etc etc. Then, they said how different they will be when they’re moms. They wanted companions who will never leave them. They wanted to do right by these children because they thought they had been treated unfairly all their lives. How incredibly sad, isn’t it? And yet, they made a point in the movie saying that most children born to under-age moms are abused and neglected and end up in foster care. Well, duh. These girls were children themselves! Children should not be having children. I guess this paragraph wasn’t really a question, just an observation.

Quite a bit to think about. It got me thinking about how Brian and I will handle this issue with our children. I started writing a very frank letter to my Elena this weekend that I should probably finish. I thought maybe I’d write her something from my heart that I’ll give to her when she’s old enough. I know that would’ve worked for me if I’d like “heard from my mom’s past.” 🙂 We’ll see. Probably by the time she’s old enough to read it, I will have lost it.

So, just curious what your thoughts are on this whole thing! Sad that it’s even something to think about seriously.

Tolerance.

Facebook is an interesting thing. You can learn a lot about people’s views and opinions just by reading statuses and random comments. I have a friend who is currently in NYC and he said in his status that his hotel window overlooks the World Trade Center. Someone I don’t know commented after saying, “Now can you imagine a mosque being built there?” The next person, also someone I don’t know, made a long comment and I quote:

“Would you be less opposed if it was called a church? Maybe people should be MORE CONCERNED about the strip clubs and bars near the site. Shouldn’t those buildings be more unwelcomed? It’s a religious temple not a crack house! If anything should be welcomed at ground zero, shouldn’t it be a building used for spiritual healing. Progress people! Not further SEPARATION! I’m sure Jesus would agree.”

I woke up last night in the wee morning hours and this comment was the only thing I could think about. I’m just positive Jesus would NOT agree. Whoever wrote this comment obviously does not understand two things: #1 – the God of the Old Testament and #2: Who the god of Islam is. If he understood these two things, he would not have made this comment.

#1: The God of the Old Testament.

First off, I understand that God deals with people differently during the different dispensations (of course, if you’re not a dispensationalist, you won’t agree with me on that). I also understand that the character of God – Who He is – does not change, no matter the time period (I’m sure we all can agree on that – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Heb. 13:8). The God Who performed the plagues in Egypt and thundered from Mt. Sinai is the same God Who leads and guides us today. We tend to forget that since He doesn’t normally display His awesome power in such obvious ways anymore. But, Hebrews still describes Him as a “consuming fire” and that it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The God of the Old Testament was a God Who demanded worship of only Himself. There was no tolerance. God doesn’t have us leading crusades anymore, but He did have His people annihilate other people groups in Israel during OT times. Why would a loving God DO such a thing?? Because He didn’t want His people tainted and ultimately destroyed by other peoples’ false gods. They were not to intermarry with them; they were not to tolerate their gods; they were not even to let them live. God demanded absolute worship of only Himself. The Bible is full of verses where God declares that He is God and there is no other – Isaiah alone records at least 9 separate times where God declares that He is the only God. There is no other.

Even in the New Testament, there are constant reminders that there is only one God. Jesus talks about He and the Father being ONE – there is no other. One God, One mediator, to Him alone be glory and honor, only one God and one Savior… One God. It doesn’t get anymore clear than that.

#2: Understanding of who Allah is.

Point #1 is mute without understanding Point #2, however. If you believe that Allah is the God of the Bible, then you won’t understand the problem with tolerating Islam. Allah, however, is not the God of the Bible. Allah is what the Bible would call a “false god.” How can this be the same God as the God of the Bible?:

  • The line of the chosen one came through Ishmael. According to the Bible, the line of the Chosen One came through Isaac.
  • The chosen people are the Arabs. According to the Bible, the chosen people are the Israelites.
  • Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet. Jesus was just another prophet. According to the Bible, Yahweh is God and Jesus is His Son.
  • Allah demands that the infidels be killed – the main infidels being the people of Israel. According to the Bible, Israel is God’s chosen people. Why would God then have them killed? The other infidels Allah demands to be annihilated are Christians – followers of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is God’s Son. Why would He have those that follow Him be killed?
  • Heaven is not just where Allah lives – it’s where thousands of virgins wait for martyrs so they can appease them for all eternity. According to the Bible, we will be in heaven to join God and worship Him for eternity; it has nothing to do with our carnal appeasement.

Would you like me to keep going?

For Allah and Yahweh to be one and the same is just not possible. We do not worship the same God and our God does not tolerate other gods or the worship of other gods. He demands us to do the same.

I understand that America is built on respecting others and tolerance, so my opinion on the building or not building of the mosque really doesn’t matter – it’ll happen or not happen either way. That really wasn’t my point in this blog. My point is this: I serve the only true and living God and He will not tolerate us tolerating other religions who do not worship Him in “spirit and in truth.” My God is a consuming fire and one day, we will need to give account of how we tolerated or did not tolerate those that opposed Him. I’m pretty sure the word “tolerance” is not in His dictionary.

Or am I misinterpreting the verses that say,

“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord. “And you are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God; there never has been and never will be. I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.” -Isaiah 43:10-11, NLT

Agosto.

Sorry for the lack of blogging. Lack of time, lack of desire, and lack of having anything good to say, so I thought I just shouldn’t say anything at all! Trying to guard what gets put out on the internet for all to see can be trying, but it’s also a good thing. Let’s just leave it that the last couple of months have been quite difficult, but God has been very faithful and I’m pulling out of quite the low slump. It’s all thanks to my Lord and I’m getting quite confident that the worst has passed. So hopefully, I can start blogging again with a little more regularity and with a little more joy.

We just had a week “off”. It was wonderful – so refreshing and SO very needed. All our co-workers take the week-long break in August to go on a retreat together to a different city in Peru. We opted to not attend this year for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the pregnancy. But, we weren’t “off”. Brian worked all week, mostly in my school. He mudded and sanded and primed and painted my walls – they look amazing! Almost done; he’s been too busy this week to actually finish. We took a total of 2 days (though not all at once – an afternoon here and there) to just hang out and be together and get baby shopping done. We now have the dresser and the bookshelf, both of which are set up and filled already. 🙂

While Brian worked on all his projects he wanted to get done without interruptions, I worked on lesson planning and getting a new schedule for school written up and a few other things I’ve been wanting to do. I needed the week to just crash, though, and regroup. It definitely was that. Course, right at the beginning, a good friend had an emergency c-section so we spent an afternoon visiting her and the new baby and another morning cleaning her house for her. But honestly, we had a great, productive week and for that, I am thankful.

Now, it’s back to school. The last semester of my second year of teaching. Wow! And in just a few more weeks, I’ll be on maternity leave. I just can barely believe it. I’m already thinking about next year and wondering how it will work with three new kids plus my baby girl. God better have some ideas up His sleeve because I sure don’t!

In more random news…

I watched a movie Monday night that was probably one of the most inspiring I’ve seen in awhile: “Julie and Julia.” Have you seen it? OH I feel in love with this movie!! I related to Julie SO much. If you haven’t seen it – it’s the true story of a girl named Julie who feels like her life isn’t amounting to much. She loves cooking and on a whim, decides to create a blog and write about her year of cooking her way through Julia Child’s famous cookbook on French cuisine. It goes back and forth between Julie’s current life (in like 2002) and Julia Child’s life, back in like the ’40’s or ’50’s, I believe. I LOVED this movie. It was so inspiring. I just know if I still lived in the States, I would do the exact same thing, though probably not with Julia Child. I’d probably pick like Rachael Ray. 🙂 How fun would that be? New recipes, new techniques, every single day? If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It was just… beautiful. On my Christmas wish list this year is the book that Julie wrote about it in 2005.

So – I’m 32wks along now. Eight months. I hate when people ask my due date, though. My due date is week 40, right, so that puts it at Oct 5. But, people look at me weird because I’m 8 months along, so the baby SHOULD be here in September, if you go by merely 9 months. It’s so confusing. I think I’m just going to start telling people “late September” and then if I do go into October, let them think I’m late. Whatever. For now, though, I feel VERY pregnant, much more than even a few weeks ago. She must’ve hit a growth spurt. She’s very heavy and everything just hurts almost constantly. Sleeping is officially a thing of the past. Forget rolling over! 🙂 I’m nervous that at my appt next week my doctor is going to chew me out for gaining weight. I’m just positive I have – but I’m also positive that it’s allllll belly and baby! Everyone in the States tells me I look normal and even a little small. Everyone here tells me I look huge and I even had one guy actually call me fat yesterday. That was pleasant. When I told Brian, he freaked out. I thought he was going to hunt the guy down. Secretly, I kind of wish he had. I mean, come on. Telling anyone, pregnant or not, “Hey, you’re FAT!” is just rude, no matter what. But, I considered the source and am trying to just let it go. Brian keeps reminding me that a big belly means a healthy baby. I keep reminding him that a big belly means a big head and that just doesn’t sound like fun!

My mom is finally telling me she feels left out and like she’s missing all this. Really, she IS missing it all. I try to take pictures and keep her filled in, but I know what she means – it’s not the same when you’re not together to experience it together. I think she’s having a really rough time with me being so far away right now. I miss my mom, too, though. I call her and just cry while she spends the next hour encouraging me that I can, in fact, do this. I would love to have a picture taken with my tiny mom and me with my big belly. But, alas, this will not be. Those of you that are near your moms when you have your first baby, please consider yourselves fortunate, no matter how obnoxious or nosy or over-bearing they happen to be.

Next week is my 27th birthday. I love teaching kindergartners. When we looked at the calendar for the month of August, they got all excited about my birthday. One told me she’d be sure to come early that day. Another is out of town for awhile and not sure when they’ll be back, so she said, “I don’t know if I’ll be here for your birthday! But, don’t worry, I’ll make a card!” So sweet. It’s, as always, Brian’s birthday, too. I don’t have much planned for this year. We don’t have a car yet (it MIGHT be ready in 2 weeks) and the car we’ve been borrowing while some friends are in Ecuador broke down this week and may not get fixed for awhile. So… we might be stuck here. Who knows. Someday, I will throw Brian a big ol’ party. But, probably not this year.

Hope all of you are enjoying the last days of summer up north! Eat some strawberries and corn on the cob for me. 🙂

August 2010
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