It's hard to believe the holiday's are over and we are back in CR. It was so great to be back in Michigan. It actually felt like Christmas with the cold and the snow. Since there are people staying in our house, we invaded Mom and Dad's. So Mom had six extra people and 2 dogs, bringing the grand total to 8 people and 5 dogs. Not to mention the days we had the Hall and Palmer cousins over! After our dog ate a 3 pound bag of peanut M&M's and vomited all over the house and then the next day chewed up one of those neck pillows with a million styrofoam beads, Mom didn't seem quite as sad to see us go this time! We also spend a week in Pennsylvania with the Dice's. It was a great year for me because I won 2 games of Bid, a card game we play every visit. That brings the grand total of my winnings to 3 in the thirteen years we've been married!
It was a reminder again of how blessed we truly are. We have a wonderful church, wonderful family, wonderful friends....it is so easy to loose sight of that. Before we left, Adela, our maid, told me at lunch that she didn't know how she was going to feed her family while we were gone. She didn't realize that we pay her from August through April. When I told her that she was still going to be paid, she began crying, thanking God and thanking us. The standard wage for a maid is about $50 a week. Can you imagine? $50 a week... It was so humbling. She lives in La Carpio, the old dump, with 20,000-50,000 other Nicaraguans. I am sitting here typing on a computer in a home with indoor toilets, a washer and drier. She has none of those things. I gave Adela brownie mix for Christmas, she loves those Garradelli brownies, but she has to cook them here because she doesn't even have an oven! Yet, she loves the Lord and thanks Him for everything. I hope that we can be as much of a blessing in her life as she has been in ours. Dad wanted us to find a good cause for his Christmas present, so he got 4 backpacks for her family. We can't wait to give them to her.
The Lord has been working in my heart since we started traveling to Nicaragua. I am addicted to things, things I want, things I think I need. I am trying to learn to enjoy the things that God has blessed me with without being attached to them. I am not always successful. The author Erwin McManus said that often we let the blessings of God become an anchor holding us back from following Him. We hold on to the things He has given us instead of holding on to Him who gave them. I still have a ways to go to learn this lesson. So often I feel like I am playing a game of Wack-a-Mole. Just when I think that I got one area of my spiritual life taken care of, another problem pops up. It's hard to believe that God loves us anyway, isn't it?
Jeff left this morning for General Conference in Honduras. There will be delegates from every UB National Conference: the US, Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Honduras, Sierra Leone, and Canada. The delegates from the Phillipines were denied visas to travel through the US. It will be fascinating to hear what God is doing through U.B. churches throughout the world. He will miss three days of class which means I am going to start out ahead!
Love to you all,
April (& Jeff)