Very encouraging. Very funny. Very challenging.
I especially commend to you Sean's thoughts on prayer... & the dog story.
Today is Monday, Aug 13
I (Sean) had my first conversation in Spanish today. It wasn’t pretty, but it was legitimate. We talked about being in language school, the United States, Patience, and a few other things. It was encouraging to see some progress.
The Lord answered our prayers. We have a baby sitter. Just another reason to trust in the God who is faithful.
Today is Tuesday, Aug 14
There is some serious animosity between the family we are staying with and their maid. I hear both of them whispering about each other to other people. Sometimes the Senora of the house tries to talk to me (Sean) about her. I try to change the subject as quick as possible. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least. Praying for wisdom on how to handle this situation.
Today is Wednesday, Aug 15
So, as you may know (if you’ve been following along regularly), I go for a walk every morning. Typically, I just pick a direction and start walking. I walk until I’m good and lost. Then I try to find my way back. It’s a fun way to see and learn my way around the city. Well, today’s walk was....unusual, to say the least. Let me tell you about it.
You see, there are hundreds of ferrel dogs roaming around Arequipa. Some of them are sweet and cute. Some of them....not so much. Sometimes, during my walks, I find myself in dark alleys and other uncomfortable positions. But hey, I’m like Bear Grizz baby! Raw adventure is the name of the game. Such an adventurous spirit, of course, sometimes means that you end up wishing you would have been less adventurous and more of a home body. Sometimes you find yourself in tight circumstances with not-so-nice looking dogs. Today was one of those days. I’ve never felt like I was truly in danger...until this morning. Let me tell you about it.
As the story begins, I’ve been walking down a random road for, oh, I don’t know...30 minutes. I happen along a dope graffiti piece, so I stop and take a picture of it. It came out well. Yay me. I then proceed down the road like a character out of Bunyan’s masterpiece, not knowing what hell I’m heading towards. Then it happens.
I see a lovely elderly lady standing by the gate of her casa. She looks sweet, but I can’t shake the feeling that she is more ominous than butterscotch. She’s trying to control her dog. It’s not going well. Poor woman. Before I look down to see the creature, I can hear his deafening growl. A low roar from the larynx. The growl turns into a bark...growing more vicious with every second. I stop to observe. Why? I don’t know. But I do...
I then see her hand moving towards the gate latch.
At that very moment I felt what I like to call “Combat Syndrome”. Let me explain: When I was in the military, I used to train constantly. I was a medic, so we were always working on trauma evaluation and treatment. Trauma because, well...I was in the Army. Not the Air Force. Anyways, during training, the exercises were always taken half seriously (to say the least). It was a joke, really. When it came time to test the skills we had “acquired” during training, the energy shifted. Now you’re under the microscope. Pass/Fail. Everything is hurried, jumbled, and messy. Even though no one’s life is at risk, you feel a tremendous amount of pressure.
Enter Iraq: The bomb goes off, the building shakes, you get ready for incoming casualties. Your adrenaline starts pumping. They bring the patient in.....and.....every....thing.
Back to Arequipa: As I see the gate open, “Combat Syndrome” kicks in. I see her hand unlatch the gate. I can see every muscle and tendon glide under the aged and wrinkled skin of her right hand. The gate opens. The hinges creak with a deafening squeal. The Beast, eager to escape, shoves his head through the newly created opening. I’m thinking about all the scenarios I’ve imagined in times past. You know what I’m talking about. You see a wild dog...he’s barking at you...you’re thinking “am I going to have to try and fight off this dog? What am I going to do, kick it? Punch it?” If you’ve never been in this situation, you need to get out more. Or revisit your childhood...
As the Hound of Death pushes the rest of his body through the open gate, I think about all these things in a matter of a millisecond. “Yep, I’m gonna have to fight this dog”. I can see the look in his eyes. The drool from his saggy jowls. What if it bites my foot because, well...let’s face it...I kick with the speed of a man ankle-deep in a pool of tar. Whatever. I can’t just let him attack me. Can I? Time is slower now than it’s ever been. I can almost feel the aggression coming off of the Beast in waves. I can hear his sturdy paws press the ground as his haunches thrust him forward. Forward towards the inevitable altercation between my foot and his face.
I love dogs. “God, I don’t want to die from an infected dog bite.” Time is slower now than before, if that’s even possible. I’ve been living in these two seconds for what feels like an eternity. Every bark is almost deafening now. Ok, it’s time to react. I put one foot back. I assume my karate stance. I guess all that work in the fifth grade is finally about to pay off. Right foot cocked. Ready. Deep breath. The beast is so close. 3......2......1........
He comes to a dead stop. He sniffs me. I’m waiting, right leg still ready to roundhouse at a moments notice. He looks at me for what feels like an hour. I’m breathing like a locomotive. Suddenly he turns and runs over to the neighbors dog and sniffs his intimates.
Ok. Ok. I look up at the lovely lady who owns the Hell Hound of Death. I quickly realize that I look like I’m on the brink of murder. I wipe the psychotic look off of my face and try to smile. My heart feels like it’s going to beat it’s way up through my teeth. She smiles back at me. A big smile, too. I start to decompress. I laugh a little. Very little. “Ok, you’re good”, I tell myself. Time to get moving. I look back at the Beast once more before departure. Chihuahuas. Absolutely terrifying.
Today is Thursday, Aug 16
Random thoughts for the day
- My Ipod broke. Tragic. I was using it to listen to sermons, among other things. Those long boat rides are going to be a little bit longer now. It’s all good though, more time for prayer.
- I know like....100 words in spanish now. I’m pretty much fluent. ;)
- Prayer life has been picking up. Figuring out how to systematically implement prayer. It may seem like that kind of approach would “quench the flame”, so to speak, but it actually helps me immensely. I’m undisciplined by nature, even after years of military service.
- Some short term missionaries came to Arequipa today. They’re here to help the people we are staying with do some work in the village. They brought six jars of peanut butter. Extra crunchy. Have I died and gone to heaven?
- Oh, and Ambers pump got here. That’s great and all, and we’re thankful, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to the peanut butter.
- At 8,000 feet, just walking down the block will leave you out of breath. The air is thin up here.
Today is Saturday, Aug 18
Four things worth mentioning
- Amber’s sick...again. This time she’s got a temp. Oh, she’s throwing her guts up all over the place, too. So far it’s Sean-3, Amber-2, Patience-3. Me and Patience are tied, but I think Amber might pull through in the clutch.
- We had a set price for the baby sitter. She is asking for more money now. Praying for wisdom on how to handle this.
- Went to EVERY STORE in Arequipa. I did not find one shirt that fit me. Not one. The closest to “fitting” made me look like someone saran wrapped a meatloaf.
- If anyone is familiar with my knee problems, they’re back. My right ACL feels like it’s gonna shred any minute. Stairs are becoming difficult. I’m 25, I shouldn’t be having these problems.