The Glory of the Mundane

Have you ever asked yourself why we The Scotts in Honduras do not post things every day? The truth is that a lot of what we do is really pretty mundane and not that exciting.   If we posted every day the posts would read as follows:

Today Isaiah and Lydia worked on their computers the biggest part of the day finishing their school

OR

Last night we got up once with Baby x and twice with Baby g to feed them bottles.  Today we changed Baby x and Baby g’s diapers four times each, two of which were number twos.

OR, the ever exciting…

Today I spent an hour in the bank waiting in line to pay my water, light, and cable bills.

Finally

I AM posting that I spent time writing a blog post today and I had to stop a few times because Baby x, our mobile foster child was no longer at my feet and I know he likes to sneak in the bathroom to try to play in that large ceramic bowl full of water or pull all of the clothes off the shelf in the bedroom onto the floor.

Mundane…

We often feel like we have to have mountaintop experiences or great explosive worship to experience God, so our mundane lives can make us feel like God is distant.  It is true mountaintop experiences are great ways to experience God, but God does not just live on the mountain top.

The Psalmist writes:

Psalm 121: 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—  where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—    he who watches over you will not slumber…

According to Psalm 121, where do we find the Lord?  God is not on the mountaintop where He would be of no help.  He is at the feet of the believer in the middle of our mundane circumstances guiding our steps.

In the New Testament Jesus does not make His disciples find him.  He seeks them out and invites them to follow him along the way as he interacts with people in their mundane lives: Matthew at his tax collector’s booth; Peter, Andrew, James, and John at their fishing boats; at weddings that were running out of supplies; at funerals filled with mourners; and with the woman at the well as she gathered water at the hottest part of the day.

So in changing diapers, cleaning house, standing in lines to pay bills, helping our kids with school work, AND the occasional mountain top experience, we experience God in many varied ways.

As we have posted on Facebook, we are seeking to join Mission on the Move in helping start and staff a children’s home.  We are starting the mundane task of setting up house on the property.  We will be moving into a strip of small apartments to oversee construction, hire and train staff, and eventually oversee the foster families on site.

Though setting up a house is not all that exciting, it is necessary to do the work God is calling us to do, and we need your help.  We need $7000 to renovate the rooms, put up safety rails to protect the children, and buy furniture.  Will you please pray about how you can help us do what we need to do to bring children out of dangerous situations or to prevent them from going to large group homes?

Please pray about how much you can help.  If you want to help, make your checks out to Scotts in Honduras and put “renovations” on the “for” line.  Then send your donations to Clearwater Church at 2524 Newman Rd, Mobile, AL 36695.  Thank for helping us turn the mundane into Christ experiences.  Thank you for helping us glorify God in all areas of our ministry.  In Christ.

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A Funeral Interupted

Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know?    Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

She was beautiful in her little box.  I know it is a cliché to say that she just looked like a baby sleeping, but that is exactly how she looked.  I had not planned to spend part of my afternoon with the emotional roller coaster of helping with the funeral of a four month old baby girl, but that is exactly what I was asked to do.

Her name is Tania and she was born on May 12, 2015.  You did not read about her birth in the newspaper nor hear about it on Fox News or CNN, but she was born none-the-less.

She lived out her days in a transitional home for abandoned and orphaned children waiting for placement with a foster family.  Our connection with her was that we were asked to consider being her foster parents in August, but her multiple health problems and care needs made us realize we were not capable of giving her the care she really needed.  This past weekend she was examined by a neurologist and it was determined that her brain had not developed and she only had a functioning brain stem.

Today, September 21, 2015 Tania died.  You did not read about her death in the newspaper or hear about it on Fox News nor CNN, but she died none-the-less.

As I had my friend Jorge Garcia read the Isaiah 40 passage above to the staff members of the transitional home who had gathered to mourn and as I spoke a few words of God’s grace over little Tania’s body I was reminded of exactly what we were doing.

Over the bodies of the deceased we say that though we are committing the body to the ground, we are commending their spirit to Almighty God.  We are proclaiming that we are not entombing a lost soul into the ground.  Rather we are releasing eternal souls to the God who created them.  We are expressing our faith that Christ has set them free.

On the first Easter morning, the empty tomb in which Jesus was buried is a sign of the freedom that is in Christ Jesus.  It does not matter if anyone anywhere ever knew Tania was born.  It only matters that God knows.  Without God,  her life and anyone else’s life is meaningless.  Because of Jesus Christ her life is meaningful and beautiful and valuable and more eternal than the stars of the heaven.

What about you?  Where does your faith lie?  Is it at the bottom of a whole filled with dirt, or is it at the entrance of the empty tomb of Christ?

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  Amen, amen, and amen.

Lessons Learned

1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

A Few Lessons I Have Learned in While in Honduras

1.  Motorcycles and cows have the right of way.

Anytime you go to turn or change lanes, make sure there are no motorcycles in your area.  If you slow down you will probably be passed by two motorcycles on your right and three on your left.  Besides being constantly on the lookout for motorcycles, one must constantly be on the lookout for cows.  The other night we were forced to take a side road behind the local soccer stadium because one of the national soccer teams was playing in town.  Any hope of gaining time bypassing the crowds of people was dashed by the 12 year old boy driving a small herd of cattle directly toward us.  This would have been ok if the cows had been staying in their lane.  Needless to say, cows do not follow the rules of the road.

2.  All times are variable.

If you are a punctual person who requires punctuality of other people, stay out of Honduras.  A friend of ours always says he will meet us at a place at a particular time in this way, “I will be by your house at 6:30 HVT.”  HVT stands for “Honduran Variable Time.”  That means he will be there at 6:30 OR possibly 47 minutes later.

3.  Car Horn is a language unto itself.

A short horn toot means, “Watch out I am coming around you.”  A couple of short blasts at someone’s house or business means, “I have arrived.  Come on out.”  A little longer solo honk at a pedestrian or the car next to you means, “Hey man, I haven’t seen you in a while.  How’s your family doing?  Did you catch that soccer game last night?  That was a great game!”  A Long sustained honk means… well, I can’t repeat what that means.

4.  All traffic laws are optional… except for #1.

The law says, “No right turns on red.”  Well, all that rule does is help point out who the Americans are since we are the only ones who actually follow this law.  Also, at any stop light you will see many people treat it more like a stop sign than a traffic light.  If you are stopped at the light and can beat the other guy who has the green, then you take it.  The other guy can always hit his breaks and of course, blow his horn.  Just do not forget that motorcycles and cows have the right of way.

5.  A background check means you have not been arrested since you moved to Honduras.

When we got our background checks to become foster parents, we had only been in country for 1 month.  Since we had succeeded in not getting arrested for an entire month after our arrival here, you will be glad to know our record was clean.

6.  The greatest lesson I have learned here is nothing new, but it is something that I seem to forget and need to be reminded of day after day.  God will not call you where His Grace will not sustain you.  Why am I surprised that God is always there when I need Him?

God, in the midst of my daily comings and goings, help me to remember that no matter where I am, there you are.  Help me remember that whatever my surroundings, You are always my greatest need.  Amen

Speed Bumps

Matthew 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

Siguatepeque is a city of speed bumps.  To attempt to slow traffic in certain areas, the city places speed bumps in random spots.  Many of the streets in our town are not paved and in addition to the city sanctioned speed bumps, some people construct their own speed bumps out of the dirt and stones in the street to make sure traffic around their houses moves nice and slow.  Most of these speed bumps are not marked because you cannot paint dirt.  If you are not watching you can come across a speed bump you did not see and take out the axle, and possibly lose a few teeth in the process.

This city is filled with other road blocks not found in the street.  Trying to get registered as a foster family leads you into some of these road blocks.  There is one particular medical physical form that you must have a physician complete on every person in your home.  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  You go to the doctor, get and exam, and then he pulls the form up on his computer and fills it out… right?  The answer to that is “No.”

First you have to go to the bank and buy the form.  Yes, that is right, the bank.  The problem with this is that no one can give you a straight answer as to which bank has the form you need.  So we started going to banks and stood in long lines.  When we got to the teller at the first bank and asked for the form, she told us they do not have the form we need.  When we finally found a teller at another bank who knew which bank has the right form we went to THAT bank and stood in line.

When we finally got to the teller to ask if they have the form, he told us, “Yes, but it can only be found at another branch.”  After we finally got the right branch and the right form, we then went to the doctor, waited in line, and then let him/her fill out the form.  AND that was just for one of the forms.  That does not count the background check form that we had to buy at another bank and drive to another city to get filled out.

Speed bump after speed bump really tries one’s patience.  It is only by remembering that God has called us here to serve these people that I relax, smile, and let it all just wash over me like cool river stream.

The passage quoted above tells about how John the Baptizer was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus, to help clear some of the speed bumps to help Jesus (the Son of God) do what he was sent to do; to do more than just remove a speed bump for us.  Jesus created a path to God that had once been destroyed by sin through His death, burial, and resurrection.  Think about this, this happened in part because John was sent to remove some speed bumps for God.

I was reminded that we all need people to remove speed bumps from our lives from time to time in the last few days.  Yesterday we got a call from Tara Garcia who told us that she and her husband Jorge were coming through Siguatepeque and going to meet with the Honduran version of the child welfare system.

Their desire was to meet with us and take whatever paperwork we had with them to help expedite the process.  We made a mad dash and put together much of the paperwork we need.  One speed bump removed.  We needed reference letters for the process, so we called and emailed some folks and within a few hours we had the letters we needed.  Another speed bump removed.  That which was going to take a few months to gather was done in an afternoon and morning.

In life we have the choice of whether we are going to be a speed bump or remove speed bumps from the lives of other people.  Thank God for good Christian friends who, “prepare the way for the Lord (and) make straight paths for” Jesus to pour His grace into my family’s lives each day.  Jesus help me do the same for others in your name as well.

When Beauty and Poverty Meet

Thoughts from Brian

Honduras is a country of contradictions.  As I walk to language school each day, I look out to the mountains that surround Siguatepeque and see the beauty of the hand of God.  To see the sun peak over the ridges in the morning or to see the thunderheads creep over them in the evening increases the beauty of God’s work ten fold.

Yet at the same time, I see the affects of poverty all over the city and more so in the hills around us.  I see among the neatly dressed children others in worn out clothing.  As I walk, I have to step around the filthy water pools in the dirt streets.  Here in this wonderful place, beauty meets poverty every day.

Today (Saturday, October 04, 2014) my son Isaiah and I were given the wonderful opportunity to help relieve a little bit of poverty.  We traveled from Siguatepeque to one of the poorest and roughest areas of Tegucigalpa Honduras.  We had to carry the lumber we were using to build a crippled man a new home about a quarter mile through the narrow steep steps and many turns of the ally ways that lead to the spot where the man’s old shack of a home once stood.

When we arrived at the spot we were treated to the view of a gorgeous valley that overlooks a small river that runs through the area.  As far as you can see the man’s home overlooks hundreds of simple structures with rusty tin roofs that are the homes of the people there.

There was a mixed company of people, both local Hondurans and Americans helping to tear down the man’s shack to build him something new.  We worked together for just over four hours before the man’s new 16×18 foot home complete with a wood floor and a shiny tin roof stood complete.

Charlie is the 70 something year old retired pastor from the states who called the team together to help build the home.  He has lived in Honduras for seven years and ministers to the people in this area.  I asked Charlie, “Who are all these people who turned out to help?”  Charlie admitted he was not sure.  Some were from his church, others were family members of the crippled man, and the rest were missionary friends who responded to Charlie’s call for help.

The house is nothing fancy, but it was a blessing to stand among the mixed and matched group of my brothers and sisters to take a picture of the completed home.  It was a beautiful thing to both experience and behold.  This is what happens when beauty and poverty meet.

Poverty is not always a bad thing.  There is a kind of spiritual poverty that brings the believer to a special place of grace in his or her life.  In the sermon on the mount Jesus mentions the type of poverty of which I speak when he says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).”

When we reach the point in our lives when we realize that we need nothing more than God, our poverty comes in contact with his beauty, and when this happens we hear God say to us that He has come “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (61:3 Isaiah ).”  This is what happens when beauty and poverty meets in God’s Kingdom.  When this happens, our only response is to let the beauty of Christ in us touch the poverty in the hearts of others.  Go in Christ and let His beauty in you touch someone today.

Genesis House

Thoughts from Brian

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In this time before we will leave for the mission field, I have found myself in need of a job and place to live.  The people at Hurley United Methodist Church in Hurley MS, have generously offered us a house for the price of paying the electricity bill.  Thank you Hurley UMC for this act of love and hospitality!

They call this home “The Genesis House.”  The word “genesis” means beginning and this whole journey into the mission field thus far seems like a new beginning for me.  The inside of the Genesis house looks just like the house we lived in after I graduated nursing school.  Then we only had two kids, as Ethan and Noah were born while we lived in the “little red house.”  In a month, Ethan and Noah will move off to college and we will be left with just two kids (Isaiah and Lydia) once again.  Then, I was working as a registered nurse.  Now I am working as a registered nurse again.  Then I was waiting for God to launch me into the world of ministry in the local church.  Now, I am waiting for God to launch me into the ministry of world missions.

 

Can you see why I think that it is appropriate God has prompted the people of Hurley UMC to let us stay in the Genesis House?  You see, God is not just the god of the beginning.  God is also the god of new beginnings.  Just look at the lives of Abraham, Moses, the original apostles, and Paul and you can see how God brought them to new beginnings.  I can’t wait to see what God will bring about in this new beginning of our lives as well.

So, whatever your life has brought to this point, just trust in God and he can bring new, brighter, better, and bigger things to you.  Trust in His grace and His grace will never let you down.  In His Grip, Brian

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”