This week has been a strange week for us here. After a couple of weeks of constant activity, we did very little.
The highlight was one day of the medical clinic I talked about a couple of weeks ago. I still love these. There was one lady who had extremely high blood pressure and blood sugar. We pleaded with her to go to the free clinic and prayed that she would get care before something catastrophic happened.
Other than that, not much going on. Part of this was because PROVEE closed down for the latter part of the week. That meant no Bible lessons and snacks at schools and senior centers. With the groups here, we go to more schools more often, so the break is for the schools as well as the PROVEE volunteers who have been doing so much recently.
On a sad note, that meant I didn't see many of my Guatemalan friends I saw so much of the past two weeks. Not only do they feel more like family than friends, but I'm more comfortable practicing my Spanish with them without being judged too harshly.
With the extra time, I have had the opportunity to rest. Of course, God pops up at this point like He does all the time. During our daily Bible reading of Leviticus (I know it's not some people's favorite, but it is part of God's word so it still has validity), the rules for the Sabbath came up.
Sabbath is not just for people one day a week. I have often heard of the importance of rest (the other part of the Sabbath is to keep a day holy but I'm only talking about rest this week) and have experienced this first-hand. My job before becoming a missionary was delivering medical equipment for hospice patients. This is a job for younger people and doing it for almost five years took a toll. It taxed all three parts of my being: physical, mental and spiritual. Even with some rest, my back was in bad shape by the time we were ready to leave.
I'm glad to report it is feeling better, which could be related to two things. I am losing weight (my dietary habits were poor) and I'm getting plenty of rest. Not only am I not carrying heavy things, which seemed to be the root of my problems, I am enjoying things around me.
Perfect weather during the afternoon the past few days gave me the opportunity to sit out on the porch in the sun, drink a cup of coffee and contemplate. The nice breeze leading puffy, white clouds across the sky will put your mind in the right place.
One of the things I kept going back to was the Biblical idea of jubilee. It is addresses in Leviticus 25: 8-12 "Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of 49 years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the 10th day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The 50th year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields." (NIV)
This is something we Christians gloss over. Actually, we gloss over most of the Old Testament, which is a shame because you can find Jesus throughout it. Imagine if you had to sell the family farm during hard times, but then got it back during jubilee (there are rules about money changing hands for this, but it still happens). What keeps this from happening is the idea of ownership and wanting to keep that which we view as ours. Here's a thought: nothing of this earth is actually ours; we are just stewards of gifts from God.
Those thoughts drifted away like the clouds and were replaced by a mathematical question. I turn 49 in a week so does jubilee for my life start then or when I turn 50? My first year of life, my age was tracked by weeks then months. After my first birthday, I was considered to be 1 but was in my second year of life.
Math is hard so I moved on like the clouds. As I looked out and marveled at the beauty of this land, I considered all the problems of this country, poverty being one of the big ones. When groups come, some have asked me questions about why and how these problems came about. The answer is easy: I don't know because I haven't been here long enough. I do know that it is something that can be addressed through prayer. After all, my God is so much smarter than me.
While I have enjoyed the time of rest (and have used it to get over a nagging cough that has affected me and several others the past month or so) I do crave the work we were doing. That much I know to be true.