Levi is now three and half. We had tried to get him potty trained about 3 or 4 months ago with no luck whatsoever. He would cry when we asked him to go to the bathroom. So we waited, all the while talking to him about being a "big boy". We have heard that dealing with boys can be difficult when potty training them. We started last Monday to try again. The whole day with no success at all. We had tried to bribe him with candy which can work with some kids. Not Levi, he was pretty determined to continue to wet his pants. So the next day, Jessie decided to up the anti a little thinking that this process would take weeks or months with an "Angry Birds skateboard". This was a great reward for a little person that has bigger sisters who ride bikes and scooters all the time. Jessie had also read that sometime all the little people need is a day or two of having accidents on so they could feel what it is like. Wednesday, no more diapers. I am talking every hour, announcing that he has to go, and that he was going to get an angry birds skateboard. Jessie and I had to laugh at ourselves and wonder what were we thinking. We both felt that it might be a long drawn out processes yet two full days and boom done. So on Friday night, we all went downtown and bought him an "Angry Birds skateboard". He had one or two accidents when he was to busy playing and forgot to use the bathroom. He is very proud of his skateboard that he even has been sleeping with it in his bed. We are also very happy to be done with diapers. It only took 10 years to do so. It is also a little.sad. We are now done with diapers but we are also done with the baby stage of raising kids. It was only yesterday that Jessie and I were finishing college with our first little bundle of joy Anna almost 10 years ago. Time seems to be going by faster and not slower.
So on Sunday, I was running a few errands after church, when Jessie's asked me to pick up something from downtown to have for lunch. It wasn't a big deal to do that. When I was downtown, I saw that the meat markets were selling carnitas which is fried pork. We don't have it that often so I though I would buy some of that. So I asked some and returned home to eat. As Jessie started opening the bag, to discover that it was not carnitas but chicharon. For those of you who don't know what that is let me explain. It is fried pig skin aka pork loins. So we had a bag of fried pork skin to eat for lunch. We ended up ordering tortas hogadas which is a sandwich made with Mexican bread and carnitas (fried pork) served in a bowl of cold tomato soup. From what I have learned this type of meal is traditional to this part of Mexico. Needless to say we snacked on the chicharon for a little while but ended up bringing it to La Roca in the evening so our youth could consume the rest of it. It will not be a mistake I will make again. I am ok if we get a little bag of it but a kilo (2 pounds) of fried pork skin is an awful lot especially when they mix it up with various other organs of the body not to mention some of the skin still has hair on it. You live and you learn.
I thought I would first share with you this picture. It was taken as I was driving to meet with someone a week or so ago. This area of town is a poorer area of town. But as you can see that you have to have your priorities. Notice the grey Ford Mustang just after the puddle. You can see an example of most of the roads here which are made with stones. Having a car here is more practical than anything else. Ask anyone who has visited Autlan, and they will tell you that you can't drive very fast here because of the roads and all the speed bumps that are placed through out the city to keep people from driving fast. A tank of gas (if you don't leave Autlan) can last up to five weeks or more depending how much driving you do.
We are enjoying a change in the weather. We had a few days of rain which is unusual for this time of year. We are now in our stretch of months with no rain. With the rain brought in cooler temps. Our kids are now sleeping-in until 8. Anna sometimes until 8:30. It is a chance for us to actually wear jeans without sweating. It still can get up into the 80's during the day though.
The other day, I had to repair one of our wooden kitchen chairs. They are considered "rustic" here because of the style they are. I had to fix the springs underneath so they wouldn't fall in the middle. As I was hammering the spring back in the wooden piece broke in half. What do you do with a chair that has a broken piece? You take the piece of wood and take it to a carpenter shop where they will make you another one for less than a buck. I put it back together and you wouldn't know the difference.
Because they work they are doing on the streets two blocks away from our house, they have been turning off the water during the days. Some parts of Autlan only get water on certain days of week and have to fill up big tanks infront of their houses. We on the other hand, because we live in downtown, have water all the time. So when they turn the water off,we have to get water from a smaller tank. It also means we have manually flush the bathroom toilet. We do have a tank on top of our kitchen roof that will last for 4 or 5 days of washing dishes and showers. It has been a challenge to wash clothes during the day. We have to fill the washer manually. It goes pretty fast if focus on loading it. It just makes you sweat though and you can't just leave it like you normally would.
This passage was taken from a book that I have been reading for my morning devotions. I thought it would be a blessing to you as it is to me. A practical truth for today.
The Cross and Sanctification by T.A. Hegre
Because most of our temptations are addressed to the body, its control is absolutely necessary. Since the devil cannot directly touch the soul's inner relationship to God, he spends most of his time attacking the outer man, the house in which we live. Therefore this outer man must be kept under control and bear a daily cross. The Apostle Paul, speaking of control of the body, says,
1 Corinthians 9:23-27
"Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (NKJV)
The real need in the human life is not only that we need to be cleansed from all sin bu that also that we need things back into God's order- making the body to be the servant rather than the master. So many have confessed that their prayer life is not what it ought to be and are trying to do something about it. Their only time for real prayer is in the mornings, for their days are so full. But though rising early for several days in succession is comparatively easy, yet soon all kinds of reasonings advise staying in bed for a few minutes longer- such as, "It was late last night" ; or "I was extra tired"; or "I did not sleep well." So because the body has been allowed to dictate, the eyes close again; prayer is forgotten. The body must not have that position. One version translates "buffet my body" "beat black and blue". I must keep my body in control, the spirit ruling, the body obeying and not ruling.
These days I have been looking at the things that I have been doing. The young men I have been talking to on a weekly basis. I see how just how important these times are. Yesterday for example, I spent time with Jorge doing a study. Like many times before, the study is only the starting point to conversations about what is really going on and how God is dealing with him in his spiritual life. Sometimes I wonder just how God is working, and then Jorge shares with me, about how God is showing him how he needs to get his life organize in the sense of being prepared for the things that God is calling him. It is the details of his heart are important in the process of what God is doing in him. It is the refining of gold, that Peter talks about in his letter. It says: 1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
This is different for everyone. I am honored to testify that this is what is happening in our church with the young people. The Lord is desiring to change us on the inside. He is looking for intimacy. How God works in each one differently. Like I titled this post, it is the small things that matter. When Jesus comes into our lives, there is a constant work of holiness in our lives. We will never be finished with the process. It is a constant moving process. When you think that you are done with one area, God starts working on another area. He is conforming into the image of His Son. Does not our lives reflect him more and more the longer we walk with Him?
I met with Rosendo last night and I thought I would at least share with you one of the things that we talked about. First let me say that Rosendo is a gentleman who was coming to La Roca church for about a year. He was coming without his wife knowing about it. Then to keep piece in the family he stopped coming because he was having difficulties with his wife who is extremely Catholic along with her family who do not to even discuss "Christianity" or study the bible. So like I said previously, Rosendo asked if we could spend time doing the study. So last night I was not sure how it was going to go. We discussed various scriptures about counting the cost and taking up our crosses. He mentioned that he needs to start studying the bible with family. I suggested that he start with the sermon on the mount. It was where Jesus addressed the people that it was not about appearances but about the heart. I made reference to the part about a man who looks at a women, commits adultery in his heart. Rosendo then brought up the trip to Guadalajara that we took a week before Levi was born over 3 years ago now. I was a little unsure of what this had to do with this scripture? He then reminded me of when we were driving in the car, I had a newspaper I wanted to read. It had inappropriately dressed women in advertisements throughout. I ended up giving the newspaper to Jessie where she began to rip out the advertisements and then gave it back to me. He said, "I didn't understand what you were doing at the time. Later I understood you were trying to keep yourself pure." Here I was talking to this guy who remembered something so small yet so profound 3 1/2 years later. He was bringing it up in a conversation. It was again one of these moments that you realize you never know what you do that will impact people. I didn't even remember doing it, until he started telling me the story. I was encouraged by our conversation last night. 2 hours went by very quickly. If last night was any indication of what the coming weeks hold, I am excited and encouraged. Please pray for him especially that he would count the cost of following Jesus.
Over the past two weeks, I have been thinking to myself, what would be posting about? Or what should I write about here? We are going through one of those times not a lot is happening. But then I stop to think about just the few things that have happened like having Laura's sister and husband over for lunch on Sunday after. Laura is the young lady who is living with us. Her sister has started attending our mid-week bible study for church. She beginning to grow in her faith. I would say that Julie does not fully understand what the gospel is about, but is starting to distance herself from the Catholic faith. So we had them over for lunch on Sunday. Laura has said that Juan needs more friends who don't drink. Also Laura has said to us that Julie is trying to convince Juan to come to our bible study and that "these people are different". So Sunday we didn't talk a lot but started to get to know them as a couple. My hope is that I will be able to continue to be with Juan as a good influence on his life and eventually bring him to Christ.
Then there is Rosendo. We went to a ranch a few weeks ago, and he told me afterwards he wants to start his study again of the life of Christ. He had been studying with another missionary here. So tonight I am starting to meet with him one on one to go through this course that he wants to finish. The last time I saw him when he came by the house he said "Yo tengo sed" which means, he was saying he has thirst to start doing it again. So these are two prayer requests that we have if you could lift us up in prayers.