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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Struggles & Sufficiency

THOUGHTS FROM BRIAN

I caught myself struggling with something the other day and when I realized it, I became a bit frustrated with myself.  I thought, “As long as I have been a Christian, why am I still struggling with this!”  These imperfections don’t make it any easier as we continue to make plans for our move to Honduras.  On top of struggling with my own limitations there are times I struggle and wonder if we have lost our minds and wonder if we will be able to raise the money we need and leave the life we have always known.

As I thought and prayed about it, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 12:7 about a “thorn” in his “flesh.”  Paul states that the “thorn” remained even after he prayed for it to be removed.  Here is a man who had prayed over people to be healed and they were healed.  He prayed over people to cast out demons and the demons were cast out.  Yet, when he prayed for himself God chose to leave the thorn along with these words for Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I have come to realize that struggle is part of being human.  In my own struggles I have come to understand that it takes a greater faith to walk with God when things are not perfect than when everything is going our way.

If you are going through struggles that are causing you to ask God “Why?” know that you are not the first person walking with God to face difficulties.  Jesus did not ask Peter to walk on the water on calm seas.  Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat onto rough seas (Matthew14:22).  Which takes the greater faith, to step onto smooth waters or to step onto rough seas?  Which takes the greater faith, to pray for someone else’s healing when your own prayers for healing have worked or when your own prayers seem to go unanswered?  Which takes the greater faith, to tell others of the greatness of God when you have overcome or when you are struggling?  Which takes the greater faith, to praise God when you are happy or to praise Him through your tears?  Which takes the greater faith, to dance when there is strength in your legs or to dance when you are weak?  It takes the greatest faith to turn to God when there seems to be nowhere to turn and proclaim, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4).”  Don’t give up or give in.  Trust in the fact that God is with you and that he means it when he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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Lessons in Humility

Thoughts from Charity

I don’t consider myself an overly prideful person. (But then again—who actually does?) I would say that my struggle is actually on the other side of the spectrum with self-esteem issues. But lately God has been teaching me some lessons in humility.

I can remember throughout my life my dad teasing me with a quote from my toddler years, “I can do it.” And I must admit that I have been pretty self-reliant. I have been taught to work hard. Our society teaches us to “Go for it.” “Give it all you’ve got.” “You get out what you put in.” So, I’ve lived this life by striving for things from good grades to nice vehicles to clean house (somewhat)… Now, I do believe that God expects effort and work from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:10: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”) But, sometimes we have to rely completely on God, and others, and that takes a healthy dose of humility.

Asking for help, asking for support—financially and otherwise— just goes against my grain. I have come to realize this discomfort; having to humble myself and ask for help is like sandpaper, smoothing off the rough edges, scrubbing away the stand-alone-“I can do it” attitude. The surface is prepared so that God can saturate me, thus helping me to realize that He has all I need. God will provide—the funding, the strength, and the support system that will gird me through this new ministry.

How do you respond when a 13 year old friend gives you all her birthday money? You cry. And cry. And say “Thank You” which isn’t nearly enough to express the gratitude and the transformation that is happening in your heart. You thank God for providing. You swallow your pride and learn to live with more humility, realizing the truth written in Philippians 4: “My God will supply all your needs.”

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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!”

 

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Do What?

Early 2014:  Life as we knew it was changing quickly.  Decisions were being made for us that just didn’t feel right.  It seemed God was saying, “Look up from the daily grind!  I’ve got a whole new direction for you.”  So we began to look in many different directions, seeking God’s guidance.  After several questions of “What if…?”  “What about….?”  Mission work in Honduras kept coming around.  Our friends would respond with “What?…..Oh.  That does feel right, even as crazy as it sounds.”

For a week, Brian served at Hosptial Loma de Luz, Balfate, Honduras in 2002.  Then the regular newsletters in the last 12 years (following us through 4 addresses)  have tugged at our hearts.  But never so much as to actually move there.  In fact many years ago I even felt God saying, “You’ll go there one day.”  Which was met with my, “Sure. God, whatever you say.”  (With more of a “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.)

And here we are:  preparing to move in January.  For a year  (or more).

We’ve already been to visit.  Now the hospital is joined by a Children’s Home and a Bilingual School.  We feel called to work closely with the directors of the home so that a disabled children’s facility can be added.  I’ll be able to use my teaching skills in the school, Brian can also help in the hospital with his nursing experience.  Only the Lord knows what fruit will come.  We are simply seeking to be obedient to his call.  Perhaps God is calling you to partner with us?  Stranger things have happened.