Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Three Rascals

Reuben, sweet smiling Ruby Tuesday, Toos, Roobs (he goes by many names!), is enjoying life. He's learning how to walk; five steps at the most (well, the last two are usually in a falling fashion), and has a favorite game, "uh-oh". In "uh-oh", he drops stuff. Says "uh-oh" and laughs. And I pick it up. And he drops it. Ad nauseum ; ). He also says "nana" for anything that looks good to eat (from "banana" which he LOVES with all his baby passion). He's at a very crazy age as he can get into everything and yet doesn't know that buttons are not for eating, one shouldn't play splish-splash in the potty and so on. He keeps me on my toes!

Edison is enjoying his homeschool curriculum, "Fiction, Fun, and Fairy Tales" and now spends vast stretches of time sitting on the couch looking at his story books. He is very good at entertaining himself and has an active imagination. My favorite things he says to me are:

1. "Mommy I just want to watch you." -he loves to sit at the peninsula in our kitchen and watch me chop, cook, and even wash dishes; peppering me with questions, singing me songs, and making conversation. He's also a first-rate garlic clove peeler!

2. "Mommy, I want to hold you!" -not, "hold me", but "hold you!" I love it, and I'll be very sad when he learns to say it properly.

3. "Mommy, you're locked." -This is said when he has wrapped his little toddler arms tight around my neck when I hug him goodnight in his bed. Only serious tickling "unlocks" me! He's so sweet!

My sweet Sophia is growing up so fast! She too is enjoying homeschooling; I've been delighted to see how she's relating her new knowledge to the world around her. She loves to draw and her and I make coloring pages relating to the stories in her curriculum. She is such a social creature and is recently learning that Edison won't play with her if she bosses him around (he's content to go play alone), so she's out a playmate if she isn't kind! She's enjoying her ballet classes and her Chilean friends in class and in the neighborhood. Her Spanish is improving by leaps and bounds. Soon she'll be speaking much better than we do!

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the wee Gingrichs : ).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Mathematics Of It

I am a most terrible mathematician. Even straightforward long division requires complete focus, total silence, and a substantial eraser. The oddity is that I actually like math. When I get it, that is. Otherwise I am a ball of impotent rage, begging my late-twenties brain to remember foggy concepts from high school days.

I didn't get the church split; the division. It seemed so contrary to all that had been worked and hoped for in the last few years. And worse yet, it was long division. Not a squabble to be mended, a wound to be patched up, but a permanent rending. Considering the multiple exhortations in the New Testament, and Christ's own prayer for believers, that we would be "one", this seemed disastrously out of step with God's will.

Nearly a month ago Steve Shank and Antonio Ulloa traveled here to listen. They met with each family involved in the church. They heard their hearts, their hurts, their dreams for what is next. After meeting with all involved, they called a meeting of the former church. This in itself was quite a stretch as some of them have disagreed sharply and hurtfully with one another. Words have been said that were not easily forgotten. And some frankly resented EMM and wondered what we could possibly think we'd have to say to them.

Beneath the veneer of courtesy and charity, tensions were high as we gathered for that meeting. Many of these people had not spoken to nor seen each other for months. Steve and Antonio spoke. They addressed what passed here. They addressed how we've failed them in certain ways. They addressed forgiveness. They spoke about how it is important to close this fellowship in an honoring, forgiving spirit, so that, they can go on with clean hearts to their next area of ministry and fellowship.

Then they left it open for a final "airing out"; it words needed said, let them be spoken. What followed were outpourings of confessed resentment for past hurts, people asking forgiveness for their parts in what happened, the giving of blessing one to another, tears, smiles. Steve spoke something to the effect of, "Guys, I think what we're seeing here is not a division...but a multiplication". To that effect we gathered round and prayed for another, blessing each family's work in the kingdom; extending the love and acceptance that bitterness had sapped.

A multiplication. I get that. I finally understand a bit more Paul and Barnabas's dividing quarrel. These very gifted, strong minded people were pulling in different directions. Steve used the example that they were like horses trying to pull a load together, but each having a completely different direction they thought they should go. Hence, lots of annoyance and not much pulling.

In this equation, Dustin and I lie at a neutral point. We work with Eduardo and Juanita in the church plant in the mountains. We work with Voni and Gigi and Kati and Marcelo in a church plant in Puerto Montt. Eliana has joined me in my rowing club ministry, woohoo! And to the rest we are friends.

There's been some astounding developments as of late in this multiplication. Eduardo and Juanita have teamed up with Ricardo and Eliana and the municipality to do an awesome kid's club every Saturday on Isla Tenglo. Eduardo and Juanita are organizing a church in Alerce (a poor neighborhood), where they plan to move within a year. Two men came to the Lord on the last mountain trip Eduardo and Dustin took, and the believers there want to build a church building! My rowing kids have agreed to study the Book of John with us each week and brought family along! Dustin and Voni and Marcelo are doing a men's Bible study with our neighbor! Four people have come to know the Lord through Gigi's work with the Animal Protection Society and through Cole's work, and are now faithfully coming to fellowship with us.

I think I'm getting it now. God's mathematics rock. Praise be to Him, who doesn't think as we do, whose ways are different than ours.

Your Most Devoted,