Now that I have everyone totally convinced that our house is overrun with bugs and rats, that poop is everywhere, and that birds intentionally "decorate" people here... Let me set the record straight.
Admit it. You like to read about the crazy adventures. Reading about me getting attacked by Bazooka Jane the Mosquito is a lot more exciting than, "I learned to make wheat tortillas." And reading the skooty adventures where birds attack and a cow rear ends me is certainly more entertaining than, "We made it to church in less than twenty minutes today."
But let's look at the facts...
Yes, there are some tough things here. It would be foolish to paint a rosy picture without including the thorns. It is reality. But for every harsh reality, there are twenty bountiful, beautiful blessings. And I praise the Lord for them! Truthfully, I love the adventures... The good and the bad... Because I know I am right where I am supposed to be.
I am glad that I can laugh about sticking my foot in cow poop. No, I don't enjoy finding interesting ways to redecorate my shoes, and I certainly do not go around looking for steamy piles to entertain myself or you on a blog. So where is the blessing in cow poop? The laugh. And the fellowship. I love telling you these stories so you can smile. I loved sharing the laugh with Michaela and Dipikha.
As far as the rats? Praise the Lord, I think the situation is under control... I think Chief is making a great mouser. Rats are a hazard here because sanitation is so bad. We have a two and a half story home... Bottom levels are like an open invitation for rat friends. What's the blessing here? Honestly, a few years ago I would have been hard pressed to see the blessings. But today... I praise God for a large home. It is big enough to host fellowships, travelers, etc.
We have great neighbors. Many of our neighbors speak English. That's pretty handy when you are just learning the language! Many of these neighbors have demonstrated a desire for friendship. They have been very kind.
We have a yard and a garden and a carport for rainy days. A few bugs every now and then are a small price to pay to live in a place where my children can go outside and play and ride bikes safely. By the way, I think we had more spiders in our home in the States than we have had here. And Florida homes see more cockroaches than we have seen. That doesn't make me want to just let them come on in and live with us, but I am certainly thankful that I can count on one hand the number of cockroaches we have seen in the six months we have been here.
And our rent is half what this house is worth!
So, how can we find the blessings among a city that is filled with trash and noise and paganism? It is all in the perspective. Instead of seeing the pagan... I see the potential. He or she is pagan now, but what if God gets a hold of their heart? When these people get saved and freed from their religious bondage, they make the most faithful Christians. They are excited to go to church. When we arrive at church thirty minutes early, the church is already filled with people. When we go on tract distribution times, they aren't afraid or shy. They aren't worried about rejection. These people sometimes travel great distances to get to church, too!
I never realized how lazy American culture has become until I came here. I have never seen people work so hard... Without complaining! They are just happy to have a job!
The fruits and vegetables are so delicious and fresh here. And they are a quick walk across the street away. For five dollars I can walk away with two large bags full of veggies. It would cost $25 in the States! So, I could complain about having to string and break the green beans before cooking them... Or I can praise God that my green beans are fresher and healthier and tastier than the canned beans I always bought in the States.
Yes, the crazy adventures are fun to read. Rats and roaches disgust us. Poop makes us giggle like school children. Daring skooty rides keep us on the edge of our seats as we read... But the blessings are priceless. Sometimes they make for a boring blog post, but therein lies the treasure that makes it all worth while.