Saturday, April 30, 2005


i've been learning a lot about the body of Christ in my time here in Guatemala. some of it has been amazing. it has been a blessing to find other Christians here and to know that we are family. the Church is an incredible blessing from God. i came to a foreign country knowing no one, but i have been surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ for much of my time here. there is a Bible study every tuesday at my school during our 30-minute morning break. there is an english worship service and Bible study on thursday nights - and though it is a bit different than the worship services that i am used to at home and at ACU, the most important thing is that this group of people gathers to worship the same Lord and Savior who loves and saves us all. we are family. when i have needed prayer, i have not hesitated to stop by the café where the church meets to talk to somebody. they even give away free Spanish New Testaments for you to share with other people. and i've had a couple of good friends in my time here who share my faith. we have been able to walk together, to help each other through the daily struggles of life. i have been blessed by the body of Christ here in Antigua.

on the other hand, some of the things i've learned about the body of our Lord have been heart-breaking. i've made friends who are not Christians and one of their biggest excuses for rejecting God's calling on their life is that they have seen the "church" and they want no part of it. there is a DC Talk song from back in the day that begins with a short monologue. it goes something like this:

the number one cause of atheism in the world today is Christians -
who acknowledge God with their mouths and then deny Him by their lifestyles.
that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

i shared those lyrics with one of my new friends and he said "yeah, that's pretty much been the case for me." he was only being honest. but it was like a slap in the face or a blow to the chest. i love the family of God, and i praise God for adopting me into His family. but where have we gone so wrong? "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God" but instead we have become a stinch in the nostrils of the lost. and this is not the scent that "to some is the stinch of death and to others is the fragrance of life" that Paul wrote about. this is the stinch of hypocrisy and sin that nauseates those who get a whiff. one easy example to support this train of thought: the crusades. but let's leave it there, because i wouldn't want to hit too close to home. i wouldn't want to talk about the racial divisions in the Church. or denominational battles that bring people of faith into positions of enemies. and i definitely don't want to approach the topic of "Christians" who go to church 2 or maybe even three times a week, and have happy families, and live in the suburbs and fulfill the american dream, and drive past the same homeless person or the same low-income housing project every day and take no compassion on the poor and the widows and orphans - and those sinners, the very people Jesus Christ came to seek and to save. and by no means do i want to get into a discussion of politics and faith - those two things should remain separate at all times. or better yet, just associate one political party or the other with our faith and support it whole-heartedly without critically thinking about ALL of the issues as they relate to our job of being Christ in the World.

it is a mystery to me. we are supposed to be Christ's hands and feet and voice in the world, but we are fallen people incapable of "becom(ing) the righteousness of God" - and yet i believe that He has already made us just that. He has given us the Holy Spirit and He works in the world through us - His very body. praise God that He is Sovereign, and He has overcome the world for us.

Jesus lived a pretty radical life. He touched people. He went to their homes. He got involved in their lives. and His call to us is pretty radical - pick up your cross and follow Me. be perfect, as I am perfect. go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them everything that I have commanded you. love those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you. love them, just as I have loved you.

i, for one, think he meant it.

so what do we do now?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Not so fast...

bad news for the day: i may not be able to start med school in the fall after all.

no, IU didn't rescind their offer. i think it is just a result of my over-ambitiousness (is that a word?). basically, because i started a masters in bioethics and decided to complete both degrees (MA/MD) i may have to defer enrollment in the med school for a year in order to get some bioethics classes out of the way. for those of you who know me, and know that i've been making this journey towards med school pretty directly for the last 2 years, you can understand that this news of having to wait ANOTHER year before actually starting med school is not too easy for me to swallow.

but i know that God will provide all i need. He will give me the grace to accept what i am given, and He will continue to open doors where He sees fit. so i would appreciate your prayers concerning my response to this situation. He has brought me this far - i don't want to jump of the wagon now.

more later

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

Many of you have been asking me for weeks or even months, and the answer has always been "I don't know yet." Well, friends, the time has come. The decision has been made. The medical shools made their offers, and the winner is....
(drum roll please)
Indiana University School of Medicine!!! (whistles and cheers are appropriate)
Some of you may be disappointed in this decision, while many of you, I'm sure, are exstatic about this news. Personally, I am at peace with the decision and excited about the next 5 years in Indy. It will be good to be at home, seeing as how I've been gone for the last 5 years. And for my friends who live in other parts of the country, you can look at it as another destination for a road trip - because truth be told, we all know I probably won't be taking many road trips for the next 5 years or so, so you'll just have to come visit me.

In other news, life in Guatemala has been full for the last month (which is the last time I updated this blog). I could write a lot of my reflections on events of the past month, but that may need to wait for another time. That sort of thing deserves it's own post, anyway, rather than being tied into the great news that you just read above.
Sadly, my friends from the last 7 weeks are beginning to trickle out of Antigua and move on to greener pastures. This morning my friend Laurie packed her bags and took off to parts unknown. She has been a good friend for the last 7 weeks and has been encouraging to me in many ways. Thanks, Laurie. We'll all miss you.
Such is life in a language school. People come and go. Friendships form quickly. And just as quickly, they slip away... hopefully not fully, but who knows if or when you might see these people again? Needless to say, this departure of friends (Rafael and his Grandmother leave tomorrow) doesn't help much with the homesickness. Today has been kind of rough so far. Not only do you think about your friends who won't be around any more, but you realize that they are returning to their homes, to their normal lives, to their friends and family, and you realize that you still have more than a month of being here... without your family, without your old friends, and now without your new friends.
The good news is, new people show up every monday. And they need new friends, too. So while the old new friends can't be replaced, more will come along to walk this path with me. And before I know it, the end of May will be here and I won't be ready to leave my new new friends and my Guatemalan family.
But I prefer not to dwell on that idea either.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for praying. Thanks for writing.
Check back soon for some reflections on the work of God all around me.
hasta luego