The air had a pronounced chill to it as he opened his eyes to the morning light. It was one of those mornings when most would say it’s too cold to get out of bed. Any other guy would have rolled over and gone back to sleep. But not him. And especially not today, for today was the day he had been waiting for. The day he would finally find his place in the world.
Motivated by his purpose he excitedly set out. As he went he looked around him. Most didn’t find anything especially appealing about the area, but for him it was home. No other place would do. It would be here that he’d find a place for himself to settle down in, get married, and have kids.
It came upon him suddenly. Could his eyes be playing tricks on him? No, here it was right in front of him. He was almost afraid to truly accept that he had found what he was looking for. It was an absolutely perfect home in every way. After losing himself in a dream for a few moments he shook himself awake. With one last look the decision was made. This was to be his home.
And so it was that the field mouse started making any and every necessary “modification” to the Quast’s washing machine.
Life in a tribal community 100 miles down a dirt road from town, outside of cell phone range, and without internet sounds like the perfect opportunity to settle down, learn language and culture, and…you know…dedicate oneself fully to ministry. After all, what could possible demand our time right?
We’re learning that is no end to possible distractions.
We truly believe that God has us here in Paraguay’s chaco region for an eternal purpose. With that in mind we quite often take stock of our lives and ask ourselves what we could cut out to dedicate ourselves more fully to the task at hand — an attempt to walk in the truth of Ephesians 5:15-17. (Yes, I’m going to make you look it up!) That process has yielded some fantastic results.
But some mornings you wake up and turns out the water tank has sprung a leak and emptied out. Sometimes you have flat tire. Occasionally the termites want to move into your wood house with you. And yes, every once and a while a mouse chews through your washing machine parts.
Big deal right? Just run down to the hardware store real quick…wait, there’s no hardware store. Ok, just call the local handyman…er actually there’s no handyman. Well maybe we can just grab the spare part and specialty tool…sigh…don’t have that either. So I guess we’ll just spend a few hours or so figuring out a way to make whatever it is work for now with whatever we got.
There’s two sides to the predicament that I’m describing. On the one hand we could throw our hands in the air and just be ok with everything that is fighting to rob us of our precious time. There’s some validity to this. After all, some circumstances our truly out of hands. Those situations are opportunities from the Lord. He’s constantly teaching us — molding us into the image of Christ. Recognizing this, refusing to walk in the flesh, and finding contentment in spite of our circumstances are crucial to our spiritual health.
But on the other hand, if we get too relaxed then everything out here can and will rob us of our time. We’ve had to learn to say no to a lot of things, so that we can say yes to ministry. Every hour away from language study puts us potentially 3-4 hours further away from learning the Nivacle language. Start doing the math and the implications are scary.
That said, we are really excited with how far we’ve come so far in the tribal language, but we aren’t as far along as we hoped to be. When we layed out our language learning plan, taking the gas stove apart to see why it wouldn’t light wasn’t in there.
I’d like to tie this blog post up with a nice little bow, but I’m not sure I really know where I’m going other than to say I believe the Lord calls us to faithfulness. If we believe that ministry in the village He has placed us in is our calling — which we do — then we need to commit ourselves to it. Not letting ourselves get pulled away by a love of the things of the world.
Now…where is that mouse?