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

Advertisements

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.

Lenten Challenge: Wishy-washy

I spent the afternoon at a friend’s house doing laundry b/c she has a washer & dryer. These are things I took for granted in the states, and even complained about the chore.
My guess is you might be similar, so I’m offering a Lenten Challenge. For the days leading up to Easter, put a nickel, quarter OR EVEN a dollar in a jar every time you do a load of laundry. (Hey, and all the change you find in the washer/dryer too!) Each time, say a short prayer of thankfulness for the modern conveniences that we enjoy. Then during Easter, give the money away…to your favorite charity 😉 (Whomever that may be!)
May the Lord bless you with a happy heart and clean clothes!IMG_20150216_191904

The “In Between Time”

Acts 28: 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

Now that we are back in Honduras we have begun the task of setting up house, renewing friendships, and beginning the ministries to which God has called us here in Honduras. Setting up house and renewing friendships is easy. The hard part is beginning the ministries.

The ministries to which we are called are (1) fostering children and exploring starting a children’s home of some kind and (2) training pastors to start new churches. These are both things that take time to establish. Working with children requires establishing legal residency and meeting federal legal requirements for working with children. Starting churches is a labor intensive process of making local contacts, seeking people called to helping start churches, evangelism, and meeting legal requirements for establishing churches.

We know in part what we want to do and are called to do, but what do we do in the in between time. That is the time in between our arrival and when we really get to start our ministries.

The scripture listed above comes from the last chapter of Acts where Paul is in prison waiting to go on trial in Rome. In the “in between time” Paul does not just sit idly around waiting for his trial. Even though church tradition teaches us that Paul loses his life because of it, he continues to show hospitality and to “(proclaim) the kingdom of God and (teach) about the Lord Jesus Christ…” as he waits to go before the court.

We too are engaged in seeking ways we can proclaim Jesus as we are in the in between time in our ministry.

We have talked to our back door neighbors about the possibility of doing some devotions together. Brian is meeting with some retired Americans for breakfast a few days a week to see if their is a possibility of starting an English speaking church for them. We are also exploring the possibility of starting an English service for missionaries and their families because they have expressed a desire for this. We are interviewing missionaries to learn from their experiences. We are taking this opportunity to practice and learn more Spanish. As this blog is being written, we are preparing to take part in a missions conference here in Siguatepeque to make more connections, explore our calling, worship God, and to learn as much as possible.

Sometimes we get a little anxious and aggravated as we wait upon God’s timing, but we are certainly not idle.

We really appreciate all of you who are praying for us. Please continue to pray for us in the in between time as we pray for God’s direction and provision. Also pray about what God is calling you to do in your in between time, that is the time between now and Christ’s second coming. Be bold, seek God, and move forward in His grace.

Because of His Extravagant Grace: The Scotts in Honduras

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.

The Strength in Being Vulnerable

 Our oldest son Ethan left his pet tarantula for us to care for while he is at college.  Yesterday when I went to toss her a grasshopper, I found her on her back looking very dead.  After a brief moment of fear, I realized this is how tarantulas look when they molt. 

 About once a year an adult tarantula will outgrow its exoskeleton so it must shed the old skin or it will die.  In order to slide out of the old skin, a tarantula must put itself in a vulnerable position, exposing its soft underbelly to predators so it can be in a position to slough off the old to expose the new.  Once the old is gone, the tarantula then has room to roam, to grow, and to live.

 As I watched her caught in this state of vulnerability I realized we are not much different than she.  We often think that growing in God’s grace is to place ourselves in a safe cocoon protected from the outside world.  The truth is that to box ourselves into safe places keeps us from growing.  A church caught in doing things the old safe ways often chokes itself to death in its tight little box that makes no room for new ideas and new people.

 But, to follow God is to make one’s self vulnerable.  It means we have to come out of our safe places and try new things with new people.  Scripture does not change nor does God, but the way we present the same old faith just might.

 My family and I are moving out of the local church; a move that makes me very nervous.  There is no security anymore.  No more churches to provide houses.  No more denominations to provide insurance and retirement.  No more family and friends to just pop in on for a visit.  No more familiar cultural norms to lean on.  We are utterly vulnerable.

 Yet, God continues to show up in powerful and beautiful ways.  We were told it can take up to two years for new missionaries to raise funding.  God has helped us raise a great deal of the funding we need in three months.  We thought we were going to be alone, but our journey has led us to meet many new friends of varied Christian traditions.   I cannot wait to see what God does when we actually leave home!

 By watching that tarantula God has reminded me that we cannot become strong until we first become vulnerable. 

 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The Next Stage of the Journey

We want to share with you, our ministry partners, a major milestone in our journey to the mission field of Honduras. We recently put down a deposit on a rental and bought plane tickets to leave the third week  of September 2014 for two months of language school in Siguatepeque, Honduras. After our short stent in school we will return home in late November where we will be until mid January when we move to serve with Loma de Luz.

This adds an additional $8800 to what we need for our first year in the mission field,but it is absolutely necessary for us to begin learning the language of the people we are trying to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please keep us in your prayers and if you feel so led, please help us with any additional donations you want to share with our ministry.

Thank you to all who have made monthly pledges of financial support. If you have not done so already, now is the time to begin your monthly giving. Also, if you have been intending to pledge, but just have not gotten around to it, please send your pledge cards in so we can have a more clear view of our budget.

God has been so good to us by giving us friends like you. May God richly bless you for your faithfulness.

You can send your pledge cards, pledges, or one time donations to:
Clearwater Ministries, 2524 Newman Rd, Mobile AL 36695

Make checks out to Clearwater Ministries and put Scotts in Honduras in the “for” line. Also you can send a private message to us on Facebook, and we will give you information on how to set up an automatic bank draft. 100% of all donations sent to Clearwater Ministries in our name go directly to our ministry.

In Christ, Brian, Charity, and the kids