Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Higher Pastures

The farm in Delta (the name of the region), is located on the banks of a river which floods every year. Like much of the Amazon basin, the land is actually highest at the riverbanks, sloping gently down into swamps and lagoons as you move farther from the river. Parts of our farm are high enough that they only flood by a few inches, while other parts can be submerged up to waist or even chest height.

Our cows need a place to rest at night where they can be dry, and because of this need, we are currently in the process of building a mound of earth which will act as a base for our future corral. We began the process by hauling old and rotting lumber into a large rectangle that is roughly 8 meters by 10 meters. Using two shovels and a wheel barrow we have spent the last few days hauling earth from different parts of the farm in order to raise the level of the ground by as much as two feet in places. When we finish, we will start construction of the corral that we need and eventually we will build a roof as well.

I feel like so little of my time actually goes to working on spiritual matters. On Sunday we lead a church service, and we do spend some time with neighbors, but it is a difficult transition for me to go from spending 20 hours a week working with students through Campus Life to spending about 5 hours a week leading a church service. It is such a different pace here.

I would love to be in the schools leading bible studies, but we have certain jobs that we must get done quickly before the floods arrive, and to travel to the schools and talk to the teachers in Jobo and Zapotal is an entire days worth of work, and costs about $20 worth of gasoline. We are going to try to talk to the teachers this Sunday, but even if we can get permission to start, we wont have time to visit all the schools until we have finished the corral, and Juan has finished the boat that he was contracted to build for the neighbors.

I have been praying and I ask that you also will pray for opportunities to share the gospel and talk with people about the word of God throughout the week. Also please pray as I am making decisions about whether to start teaching (English, and maybe math and reading) in a local school that currently has no teacher (they may not even want me to teach).

One neat thing did happen this week. One of our neighbors has a 15 year old sun named Alfredo. Alfredo loves to be around gringos, and the other day we invited him to eat with us. Before eating, we asked him to pray over the meal. He claimed that he did not know how, but after we explained to him that praying simply means talking to God, and gave him some ideas about things to pray about, he lead me and Juan in a wonderful blessing over our meal.

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