Thursday, October 17, 2013

Don’t sweat the small stuff...wait...What?

As of Sunday, we are now in our new home here in Venezuela! YAY!

I don’t know if I will get a chance to post this today because we have no internet in our home yet.

So, if you don’t see this on the 16th, then you know I didn’t get to post it until later.

How much later, I am not sure, as I hear that it takes up to 30 days from the time you go to the phone company and you prove that you actually live here and then after the phone service is established another 15 days before you can get internet. Or wait, you have to wait 30 days after the phone service is established to request internet service and then another 15 days after that, no that, that is right...waiting is the name of the game, no matter how it works here.

We haven’t had a chance to get to the phone company yet, because we don’t have a vehicle yet, and we aren’t sure if we will get one anytime soon.

So, we will have to ask our missionary friends to come and pick us up or get a taxi and meet our Venezuelan friends at the phone company with our rental contract and/or our letter from the person in charge of our neighborhood (there is a name for that) saying that we do live here at this house and then maybe the phone people will grant us favor and set up an appt. to put in our phone service, and then the wait begins until we can get internet.

But we could live in a shack on the side of a cliff and have DirecTV?! Go figure!

Funny how some things work. 

Like how it works when you go to the grocery store...If I want to buy rationed products, I have to ask how many I can buy, and each answer may be different because the guy in the back sitting by the products to make sure you don’t take over the quota may say something entirely different than the cashier who says you can only have this number. 

And sometimes there is nothing marked as to how many per person, but the cashier, for whatever reason, may decide that you need only a certain number and will tell you that you can only have whatever number they have decided on at that moment. And so you buy what they say and move on. 

Oh, and let’s not forget that as you walk out the door 5 to 10 feet away, there is someone there who will look through everything, and I mean, everything (not like in Sam’s or BJ’s in the States) you just paid for and mark your receipt carefully. So, with our family of 7 and the purchases we have to make at the grocery story...let’s just say we are there for a while.
Welcome to living in a country that is more communist than socialist and everything is dictated down to how much you can spend on your debit card each day...if you are allowed to open an account and get one...or how much you can take out of the bank each day, not the ATM, but in person. And do you really want to stand in those long lines at the bank that stretch forever, it seems?

But that is not what this post is about. It is about the little things.

Wait...that is exactly what I have been writing about. It is the little things that make life so drastically different here. Things that in the States we completely take for granted and don’t even bother with most of the time. 

But here, each and every one means a world of difference. 

Like the silver hose clamp in the picture below...

Without it, we couldn’t use our new oven and stove to cook. We had it sitting in our house, but it didn’t do us any good without that clamp, except for extra space to put things on in the kitchen.

I am thankful for my little silver hose clamp!

Or this tank, (which to us is a very big thing) but as small as it is, it provides us with nice hot showers when most people have to take cold showers every day. It is a small tank and we have to take quick showers or wait in 30 minute intervals between showers, but it brings us ‘hot’ water.

The next best thing is a ‘widowmaker’ which provides warm showers as it heats the water immediately as it comes through the pipe into the shower.

But, a word or two of advice...don’t turn on the water too high or the water won’t have long enough to get warm out sticking your arm up in the air above you or you might get a little ‘shock” and that is no joke. Those wires at the top are ‘live’ and will ‘light’ you up if you touch them...hence the name...widowmaker!

I am thankful for my little white water heater.

Or the industrial-strength zip ties that help hold bunk beds together when the bolts are too weak and break off.

Or the clothes-line that allows me to ‘get back to my roots’ and hang clothes out in our backyard until (and even after) we get a dryer.

Or the bean-bag chairs for our kids to have somewhere to sit until (and after) we get our living room furniture.
Or the two big water tanks in the backyard that hold water for the days when the city isn’t running water through the pipes.

Or the water truck that comes through my neighborhood bringing fresh, filtered, bottled water for our family to drink and cook with.

Or the voltage regulator plugs that allow us to protect our appliances and electronics from power surges!

Or the landlords of our house who love Jesus and are so very kind and generous and willing to help us, with our incomplete Spanish and all.

Or the phones that we were given that allow us to set up a very inexpensive plan that we can call internationally from and talk to friends and family back home and have internet and facebook until we can get it in our home! Although I find it very difficult to type anything fast or accurate on that tiny keyboard!

Or the financial gifts that we were given during our month in the States that have allowed us to buy most, if not all of our household furnishings here in Venezuela!

For all those seemingly insignificant things, I am so very thankful! To us, some are not small things. Some are bigger than they seem and some were made at great sacrifice!

The biggest small thing that I want to acknowledge here is....the Favor of God

Don’t take me wrong, I don’t say this lightly or as if we are more special and have God’s favor shining upon us because of something we have said or done...No! Never!

The Favor of God is so often overlooked and missed in our everyday lives. We don’t see it as something huge or grand when things simply fall into place in our lives. But don’t you see that when those things work out so perfectly or come together so accurately, it could only be God’s divine favor on our behalf?!

God loves to take care of his children and loves to shine His ‘favor’ upon us, not only in the big things, but in the small things of everyday life. 

When we take the time to ask Him for His favor, for His guidance and wisdom, just like Solomon asked, He will grant it and so much more. He loves us so much that He willingly shines His favor upon His children even when we don’t deserve it!

On our recent trip to Mérida, we passed more military checkpoints than I care to remember and God shined down His favor and we were not stopped once, going or coming. That is unheard of!

We had friends that went another way and were stopped numerous times and for long periods of time! Do I think they didn’t receive God’s favor? No! God just allowed us to see how He works on our behalf at different times and for different reasons.
Do I think we will never be stopped at a checkpoint? No! But I know that God’s favor will still be with us in the midst of the stop and He will direct our words and our steps if we allow Him to do so.

God’s divine favor is not about never having problems or life being easier for one over another. His favor is about trusting, walking, standing, waiting, etc. in His timing and His will and allowing Him to direct us in His paths.

He loves us enough to give us a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Will we look for it and follow it and be thankful for even the smallest of details in our life that He has so orchestrated or will we settle on going our own way and getting frustrated along the path?

I want to always be thankful for the small things, however they come and believe that God’s favor rests on me, as His child, who is trying to follow His path as closely as I can so that I don’t miss Him while trying to work out the details by myself!

Oh, and I did get to post this today, thanks to our great friends, the Nelsons, who let us use their internet for a little while tonight, late as it is! :D