Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Adventures of Missionary Man

In the wee hours of the night (2 a.m. to be exact), I’m laying wide awake in my bed, paralyzed with fear… something is making a skritchy, skritchy, skritch sound and running from one side of my bedroom to the other. I’m lying as still and as quiet as possible. I’m thinking, “Maybe it will go away. Do I really want it to go away? It might go to Sarah’s room if it leaves my room.” And I’m remembering the stories from class today… stories about rats. First, Matt said that he had a rat run across his foot while watching TV last night. That ramped Dixi up and she told us a story of when she fell asleep on the beach and woke up with a rat on her face licking her lips (she fell asleep eating cake… I’m thinking there was something stronger than cake involved). Then Matt told us about the time their family friends found a really ugly, scruffy puppy on the beach and took it home, only to have it kill their cats, get wounded in the process, which caused an emergency vet visit, at which they were told that this was not a really ugly, scruffy dog… it was a giant ship rat! (I’m thinking that they might have had a drinking problem, too.)

So anyway, I worked my “lie really still and quiet plan” for about 15 minutes, listening to the skritchy, skritching and thinking about rats. Then I realized that Billy was awake, too. He asked, “Why are you awake?”. To which I answered, “I think there is a rat in our room.” He said, “I know. I’ve been listening to it, too.” So we lay there for a few more minutes. Then mild mannered Clark Kent (I mean, Billy) crawled to the end of the bed and said, “Get ready to turn on the lights. NOW!!!” I flipped on the lights, and much to my surprise, Missionary Man had jumped out of bed, attacked a pair of jeans on my floor, grabbed a near-by flip flop, and was viciously attacking the skritchy, skritch sound. He then threw his hands up into the air in victory (hitting our 7 foot ceiling in the process) and proclaimed the deed “done”. I had been saved from the evil that lurked in my bedroom by my hero, my knight in plaid pajama pants and Spam-A-Lot t-shirt.

Returning to his mild mannered self, Missionary Man crawled back into bed, donned his earbuds and fell asleep listening to a Dallas Willard podcast. My hero!

Stay tuned for more exciting episodes with Missionary Man… coming to a neighborhood near you…

By the way – the skritchy, skritchy, skritch sound was actually a nuclear-sized cockroach. I have no doubt that it could have killed us all if given the chance… you never know.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reflections of Chaos

Lo siento... I have been MIA for awhile from my blog and I apologize. My brain has been muy lleno (full) lately and I have been really overwhelmed with trying to deal with language learning, family, ministry in La Carpio and San Carlos, etc. I know... excuses, excuses! All I can do is say that I'm sorry and that I will try to do better at keeping you updated... starting now! Here are the random reflections of chaos in my mind...

Right now it is raining. It has been raining for two hours straight with no signs of letting up. It rained last night for quite awhile, too. I hear that the rainy season is starting early this year - what luck! During a normal year, it wouldn't begin until late April (which is when we would graduate from language school and vamanos por Los Estados). How lucky are we that we get to experience an abnormal year with more rain than usual?! Yippie! So we are back to carrying our umbrellas 24/7 and having terminally wet feet and always being chilled.

I think that at this point I should insert a disclaimer - The rambling opinions expressed in this blog do not in any way reflect the opinions of the entire Drums for Christ family. In general, they are the sole opinions of me (Laurie). Billy reads the blog after I post it and usually approves... usually. Just clarifying that I am not speaking for mi esposo in any way...

School is rapidly "going South". Actually, I only take issue with my grammar class. Not that I take issue with the teacher in any way - I think he is a great guy and I like his personality. But the Subjuctive form in Spanish grammar really stinks. This is definitely not the fault of my teacher, but whoever invented this form when Spanish was being birthed as a language should be courtmarshalled! I'm trying to figure out a way to exist in Spanish without ever having to express my desires or wishes or the future of the past in subjunctive form. Is it possible to live my life in Peru without this??? I'm determined to find a way, because I don't think I can deal with one more language rule regarding this form. If it weren't for a couple of incredible classmates, I would totally bail out of the last four weeks of grammar class -- this really stinks! It probably doesn't help that I'm very ready to get to Peru and I'm very tired, physically...

On the flip side, conversation class totally ROCKS! Okay, at this point I can hear my mother saying, "Of course it does! Your report cards always said 'Talks to much in class'. No wonder you are excelling in Conversation class!" Okay - touche' Mom. It's true... I do enjoy talking. And I do wish that my Conversation class was 4 hours long. I have absolutely the BEST classmates (there are only 3 of us in the class) and we have an excellent teacher (Dixiana - see photo of her 50th birthday party). I admit - at first, I thought this woman was crazy and evil... she really pushes us hard and demands a lot from us, and at first, it was really overwhelming. But it has really paid off! Nowdays, she has trouble keeping us under control because we get off on "rabbit trails" and we talk all of the time about everything under the sun. You name it, we have talked about it! We have compared social security in the States & Costa Rica, discussed our faith, argued about politics, and joked with each other A LOT, just to name a few. We rarely stay on the topic or theme of the week, and we rarely finish anything that we start because we have too much to say and discuss to finish when the bell rings. Now, I love this woman and I totally respect her as a teacher and a friend. It has been great to see our progress during this trimester. We went from being a little timid about using our new language to being able to give presentations over just about anything at the drop of a hat and debate our opposing viewpoints readily.

Billy is having a great time with school... mostly because he changed his education plan and he is attending conversation classes at the institute, then attending a private tutoring class outside of the institute which is geared especially to him and his needs and educational desires. His teacher is phenominal and he is really learning a lot. They focus on specifically what he needs to be effective in the field and he is so much happier and has so much less stress than he did at the beginning of the trimester. This was the best thing to happen for Billy's language learning!!!
Our class has grown so close to one another. The plight of missionaries... always making strong bonds and relationships with people, only to have to say goodbye and break your heart yet again. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to these dear friends/family. I even cried about it in class one day - how pitiful is that!? I can't believe that in 5 weeks, we will graduate and go our separate ways to our new countries and new missions... always in each other's hearts. I just don't know what it will be like to not have coffee with Matt in the mornings and watch him eat his 500th package of Oreos this year! And what will I do without Shay's incesant laughter - it's like living with Tickle-Me-Elmo! Without seeing Matt Damon every day (Matt McClain's twin), or without hearing Mike's jokes and sarcasm and "Stupid Spanish! Stupid, stupid Spanish!". Or without the ever calm, ever pleasant, ever smiling Britt in my life every day. Or without Heath and his competitive edge and drive to succeed and beat this language into submission. I'm definitely not ready to say goodbye...again...
So maybe the fact that I'm rapidly facing yet another major change in my life and circumstances, and maybe because I'm tired, and maybe because I'm just a poco depressed and overwhelmed... maybe these are contibuting to the fact that my personal reflections and devotionals lately have been extremely deep and have left me a bit broken and bruised. My goal in life and in ministry is to reflect Jesus and be the Light of Christ for others to experience and witness, but I'm am woefully inept at this and I see that my reflection is WAY LESS THAN PERFECT. Okay, I know that no one is perfect and there is no way to "become Jesus" and find perfection on this side of death. However, I also don't think that I should reflect impatience or abrasiveness, either. Lately, I feel like I'm wearing a not-so-fashionable outfit made of the finest sandpaper. I'm trying to pray through this and see if there is anything within me that is worth reflecting to the world... please pray through this with me. I'm pretty triste (sad) over this right now. I don't want to be a poor reflection of Christ. I want to reflect love... beauty from ashes...

It's now been another hour... still raining.

Lots to do this week, with lots of time to do it. Next week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) and all of this country is closed, including the churches. Go figure! Easter week and there are no church services! We don't have classes until the Monday after Easter, so we have plenty of time for rest and getting things done that we have let slip. I have lots of Thank You notes to write to supporters, I need to print lots of photos for La Carpio kids, we are going to take 30 La Carpio kids to the Children's Museum (an opportunity that they would NEVER have otherwise), Billy and I are going to take some much needed time together to try to reconnect, etc. I plan to attempt to sleep past 5 a.m. each day and possibly stay in my pajamas till 8 (heaven forbid). I long to drink coffee on the back porch and read a book without having a time schedule or constraints.

Till next time... Nos vemos!