Tuesday, January 29, 2008

honest wonderings

So, I had some thoughts the other day, I'll be honest, they went through my head. What if I had just decided to go to seminary instead of taking that first teaching job? What if I had agreed to be the pastor of our small church back in Virginia when they asked me? What if we had applied to go to Spain as a missionaries instead of Venezuela?
So what if...
That isn't where God has led me, but sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier. OK, so I'm honest I think such things. This road hasn't been very easy and the grass does always seem to look greener on the other side for some reason.
I think maybe these thoughts are for me to really think about what I am doing. What I do believe and where I am going. Right now, the wonderful goals of multiplication that I wrote about a month ago somehow slipped below the horizon again. I've been finding God in the Word, in Lectio Divina, but He's been hard to see in the ordinary. Maybe I haven't been looking enough.
This real life journey has been a little bit more of a daze lately. Who knows maybe if I had gone to seminary I would have all of the answers plus a nice little church to "pastor" and aside from that I'd probably even get paid to do it? Sometimes it sounds tempting.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

january trip to PA

We spent Martin Luther King weekend between Belleville and Danville, PA. My brother David and his wife Brandi just had a baby girl at the end of December and this was our first time to get to see her. We had a great weekend with family and friends and were glad for the chance to reconnect.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

i love teaching

The following is a quote from William Ayers that is in one of the textbooks that I am using for my current class at OSU:

"Teaching involves a search for meaning in the world.
Teaching is a life project, a calling a vocation that is an organizing center of all other activities.
Teaching is past and future as well as present,
it is background as well as foreground,
it is depth as well as surface.
Teaching is pain and humor,
joy and anger,
dreariness and epiphany.
Teaching is world building,
it is architecture and design,
it is purpose and moral enterprise.
Teaching is a way of being in the world that breaks through the boundaries of the traditional job and in the process redefines all life and teaching itself."

That quote captures so many things that I have though about teaching but says them so much better than I have taken the time to put words together to say. I love being a teacher and I know that in doing it I am following not only my talents and calling but my Spiritual gifting as well.
I recently took the time and spent $10.00 to take the APEST test. And guess what it showed that I am a teacher. BTW, Naty is a shepherd. This confirms a running joke between us. She also said that she thought it would be neat to be a pastors wife but I have always insisted that she is the pastor, not me. So that makes me the pastors husband! I guess it's true.
APEST stands for Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher, the spiritual gifts given to the followers of Jesus mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. My profile showed that I am first a teacher and evangelist is my secondary gifting followed by prophet, shepherd and apostle after that. Not really a big surprise, since I do love to teach. What this means as far as my present ministry is concerned I'm not so sure though. My teaching style has certainly changed and I'm endeavoring to teach much more by modeling and action.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

normal

To me there is nothing fun about that word. Vacation in Venezuela was so much more exciting and energizing, but it didn't last forever.
I am now back at work and back at OSU. My class this quarter is called Classroom Based Inquiry and is about how to do research in the classroom. I'm looking forward to it but based on the syllabus it is going to be pretty busy. Ever since my first education class at Eastern Mennonite University I've tried to become a "reflective educator" and take time to reflect and evaluate what happens in my classroom and school. Now I'm ready to try to take reflection a bit deeper as I take this class. Research is kind of a scary word, it seems all encompassing, but I'm ready for the challenge.
Naty and the kids are now safely in Miami with Rosanna and I am anxious for them to get home on Friday at midnight. In that sense, it will be nice to have "normal" again with them home.
Coming back from Venezuela this time I was a lot more reflective and affected by "culture shock" than after the previous trips. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe because I'm alone with more time to think? Maybe because this time I know that we are living here without plans of moving to Venezuela? Maybe because I saw more of the picture of what is going on in Venezuela than before? Maybe because here in the US we really do have so much stuff that we take for granted and we are so concerned about entertaining ourselves that we really do no have a concept of what reality really is? I don't know what it is but it hit me harder this time.
I know that I have a purpose here. I know that God is using me to help others here. I know that this is where the Creator has called me to be at this moment in history. I know it. But for some reason my heart still pulls me toward Venezuela. I pray that God will show me how I can channel my passion for Venezuela into action that is a part of my "normal" as well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

¡feliz año!

Happy 2008! My last few posts have been just Photos and videos so I thought give a few comments about the past few days. We really haven´t done too much, just hung out here at the house with family and enjoyed some beautiful sunny days.

Gustavo, Naty´s dad, celebrated his 40th high school class reunion the 27-29 of December and we went to one of the ceremonies that they had as well as a party that he threw here on the farm. Other than that we have just been here at the house and at the neighbor´s houses visiting, drinking wonderful coffee and eating hallacas (like tamales, but better).

I´ve been enjoying mountain biking and reading. Oh and on Saturday I spent most of the day mowing grass! Two couples who were some of Naty´s best friends from college came to visit on Saturday and spent the night, so we had a great time with them telling stories and playing Cranium (Latin American Edition).

Gaby and Marcus have loved playing with the neighbor kids here and getting all dirty!

For New Year´s Eve we had a midnight meal with some friends of Gustavo and Osiris that were staying at their hotel. It was great watching all of the fireworks that people were setting off in Bocono at midnight. Their house and hotel sit up on a hill above the town so the view was incredible. The novelty of the 31st was that it was actually quite COLD! The dining room where we met is very open and I only brought along a light jacket and I was pretty cold, wishing I had a heavier coat.

Today I finally checked E-mail and blogged and then we went down to Prisco´s house in the late afternoon to wish them Happy New Year and visit a while. Then this evening, the Briceños´ friend that gave us a helicopter ride came with his family for a visit.

It´s been great to relax and enjoy the people that we are with.

more pictures

congratulations David and Brandi!

As of December 29th I am now an uncle again! My brother David and his wife Brandi had a beautiful baby girl named Mackenzie Grace. Here are a few pictures and you can see even more if you click here. We can´t wait to see our new niece and cousin!



the day after Christmas

A friend of my parents-in-law has a helicopter and offered to take us for a ride around Bocono on the day after Christmas. It was quite an experience. The views were breath taking. Here is a short video and some pictures for you to see.