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Monday, March 10, 2008

Covered bridge and Amish buggy
Amish buggy entering into White Rock covered bridge in southern Lancaster County.
Nothing quite compares to the distinct sound of the clackety-clack of horseshoes on the wooden bridge deck!

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"Understanding Spiritual Things"

"Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving" (Isaiah 6:9).

Last night we sure had a nice surprise phone call. Marvin Estuardo Culajay Osorio was a five year old boy from Guatemala when he lived with us in the late eighties while receiving medical care here in the US.  He's twenty-five now and married with one son.  He "found" us on the internet last year and we have been in contact several times since. He has limited English and we only know a few Spanish phrases so our attempts at conversation are laborious, interesting and full of nervous chuckles.  Thankfully we need no interpreter for explaining the meaning of laughter.

He called to greet Ester on her birthday and we ended up "talking" for awhile. His wife, son, brother, and sister also greeted me, his Tio (“Tio” is the Spanish word for “Uncle”, the endearing title he gave me while he was in our care.  Brooksyne was Tia “Aunt.”) I heard his family members clearly over the phone but had a very difficult time understanding them. 

Even within a single language, depending on where you live, folks in other parts of the country may "talk funny".  Shortly after our move to Massachusetts back in the early nineties a lady stood up at the conclusion of a church service and asked, "Is anyone going to the potty with me?"  I sure thought it strange that she would ask such a personal question publicly. Brooksyne and I quickly looked at each other quizzically hoping for more understanding.  Well you probably  guessed by now what she was meaning.  The "r's" sort of disappear in the New England states and she was actually speaking of "going to a party." 

In the novel,"Grapes of Wrath" John Steinbeck expresses the same thought through the character of Ivy:  "Everybody says words different: 'Arkansas folks says 'em different, and Oklahomy folks says 'em different. And we seen a lady from Massachusetts, an' she said 'em different of all. Couldn't hardly make out what she was sayin!" 

Well, we eventually came to understand the local folks in New England a lot better the longer we lived up that way.  After living there over seven years even Ester began to ask, "Are we going in the caw?”

Far more important than the challenges of understanding other people’s languages or working through their particular accent, is coming to understand spiritual concepts.  The daily verse was a part of Isaiah's call and is twice repeated by Jesus and once by the apostle Paul.  It describes a spiritual condition common to the human race. 

Most of us are abundantly exposed to spiritual truths.  However Paul makes the following assertion following his citing of the verse: "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them" (Acts 28:27). 

Does this not describe our world today?  What about you?  Have you understood with your heart, turned and received His spiritual healing?  I sure hope so!  If not, why not do so today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, help our ears to be alert, our eyes to be open, and our hearts perceptive as we follow in Your ways.  May we be eager to hear Your teaching and apply it to our lives so that we may be found blameless before You and experience the joy You give to those who follow Your commands.  When Your meaning is clear help us to seek no other meaning to satisfy our own desires or to change the clear meaning of Your message.  Align our desires with Your own, that we might find genuine peace and wholehearted obedience as You bring spiritual healing to our lives.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Ester's 19th birthday gathering
Yesterday was Ester's 19th birthday and she had some friends over for cake in the afternoon.

Marvin's family
Here's a photo Marvin (middle) sent us of his family in Guatamala with his dad taking the photo.  He is doing well healthwise and now works for the Guatemalan Forestry Department.
Above all he is serving the Lord!

Here's a newspaper article about Marvin when he was treated in Erie, Pennsylvania you might find interesting.

When Marvin was six or seven we had dinner at his house in a small barrio outside Guatemala City.  His mother prepared a great feast for us.  

My favorite memory of Marvin illustrates the power of our example. Marvin had just come to the states, a very scared little five year old who could hardly breathe and of course we were unable to communicate. We took him for his initial doctor's appointment in Erie PA and I had taken him to the restroom (quite unlike the shared communal latrine outside his home.)

Whenever I use a public restroom I wash and then use the paper towel to dry and open the door upon exiting.  Little Marvin was carefully watching me and dutifully grabbed a paper towel before he left the bathroom and opened the door with it as well.

Uncle Jim & Aunt FrancesFriday I mentioned that my Uncle Jim was in a hospice situation. He passed away early Saturday morning.  Uncle Jim lived with Aunt Frances in Lincoln, Nebraska and I recall our visits to their home as a child. Often we would gather as an extended family at my grandparents in Harwood, Missouri and then for many years at family reunions. My last personal memory is assisting him back to his hotel room at our reunion this last summer in Branson Missouri.  He lived his life consistently and faithfully to the very end. This year he and Aunt Frances would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.  This August our annual family reunion is in Nebraska and I am sure we will all share a lot of great memories about Uncle Jim!

Uncle Jim entertaining the kids
Uncle Jim was beloved by kids of all ages.  He had a paper bag trick that was the highlight of every family reunion with the children and adults.  He'll be greatly missed at the reunions since he never missed one in the 33 years they've been held.   He was extremely weak last year but insisted on making the very difficult trip anyway, and we're so glad.

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"Open The Eyes Of My Heart"  (Audio)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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