Wednesday, May 09, 2007

a genuinely good day

Tuesday, May 8 started early - not usually a good way to begin! 5:50am out of bed to lead a team bible study at 6:00. Coffee in hand, I pray that God will reveal to us the heart of his message. It’s been a while since I have regularly led bible studies, so I’m a little nervous as to how it will go … I have only known these folks for a week - will anyone contribute anything? Will they connect with what I have to say? Will my new theological college insights mean anything outside of the academy?

We are working through the book, or “synagogue sermon,” of James, my passage is chapter 1:19-27. I’m a little concerned that we will get through this too quickly, I have about an hour to fill … but we didn’t get past the first verse:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry

Lots of the discussion I directed, but I also learnt much from the team about the heart of what God is trying to say here … an hours worth of reflections, too much to share in this space. In an inadequate nutshell, I think this verse is about our state of being. Are we so wound up in self importance and frustration that when something is said or done, and we don’t like it, we quickly respond with rash words and anger? Or are we in a state that we seek further understanding through listening and thus loving those around us. From the Greek, a sense of the ideal being that we are slow to move into (eis – a preposition that describes movement into or among) words and anger as we are in (eis again) a good state to listen. The challenge to the team – this week, take a litmus test on your state of being by how you respond to others.

8am – EOC, where we are for 7 weeks, has traditionally done very little specific women’s ministry. So today is a first! 30 pastors’ wives arrive to be given a new outfit – shoes, handbag, make-up, smelly soaps for the road – the works! Coffee and fruit together, a bible message from a pastor's wife, a chance to get to know and encourage each other personally and in their ministries. A room full of women eating chocolate deserts is no place for a man! The constant women’s chatter was exhausting for me, even though I couldn’t understand 95% of it. Yet I knew a wonderful time was being had by all. Today I got to participate in ‘secret women’s business’ by ministering with my camera. I love it when ministry and things you are passionate about come together like this, it becomes joyful to do. Through my camera lens, I saw women dressed up in fine new clothes, looking and feeling beautiful and special – so important for a woman’s heart! More significantly, I sensed dignity being restored amongst these women who rarely get to be treated as special or have a day out put on for them. A great event! More photo’s on our Flickr.

In Mexico, you can't take for granted many of the things you did when you grew up in Sydney. You can’t drink the tap water, so drinking water needs to be trucked in and it runs empty. The roads where we are staying are dirt and horribly bumpy. There is trash everywhere, even on many of the beautiful beaches.

1:30pm – after hearing that the camp has to make an ‘exchange’ with the garbage man to haul the camp's extra trash away, and also that the camp is spending too much money in the kitchen, a lively bi-lingual discussion broke out in the kitchen with Jess working overtime to interpret both ways and contribute herself. For a country that seems to be covered in trash, I don’t see the logic in the camp having to pay money it doesn’t have for extra trash to be removed. The first step is to Reduce. Better purchasing for the kitchen, buy only what we need. Better communication with the campers: don’t serve what they wont eat; or serve too much; communicate that many people in Mexico don’t have enough food, so don’t waste food by taking what you cannot eat. Reuse - many boxes, cans and bags can be reused rather than trashed. Recycle and compost!

A fear that I have in my life, is that it is full of talk. Not today!
I researched, found cans, made signs, collected scraps and dug out a composting bin. It’s a start. It takes about 4-6 weeks to form a new good habit – that’s all the time we have here. It will be an uphill endeavor, but I’m going to try. As a result, maybe we will be able to achieve something: less Pesos spent, less trash added to Mexico’s pile; more healthy soil; education, awareness and new habits for our team and the visiting groups; operating with more integrity in a corrupted country; ushering in a bit of God’s good creation design by taking up his invitation in Genesis 1 to subdue his creation well. Small steps, but you have to start somewhere …

8:30pm – enjoyed Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue in The Saint

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