Thursday, July 25, 2013

why we do excursions...

rhinos excursion to the beach
we've done this a handful of times now.  taken the rhinos (the 30 boys in the academy) to places where supposedly they don't belong.

we've played in elite soccer academies in wealthy parts of guatemala city.  when we enter the facility its like a "hush" comes over the entire place.  everyone is looking at us. we get asked questions like "where do you guys come from?", and "are these boys indigenous mayan indians?"  (i'm not even kidding on that one)

we've taken the boys to a fancy mall, to the movies, and to a high-end amusement park.

monthly excursions have become a very cool part of our routine.  they're not all over-the-top...  sometimes we just do a movie night in the gym (projector on the wall), and sometimes we go to the park and fly kites.

why do we do them?

first: exposure.  seeing new places, things, ways of life.  it gives the boys a perspective that no one in their village has ever had.  it helps them to be more well-rounded.  it gives them confidence.  simple things like being in a car, eating in a restaurant, using a public restroom, riding an escalator, ordering a meal, leaving a tip ...  all things that they had never done before being in the academy.  while we are careful not to teach them to "strive for wealth", we believe that all these experiences will better prepare them for life, and help them to possibly one day raise their village up out of poverty.

second: learning the appropriate way to work hard and earn something.  we have a point system each day and we use the excursions to reward those who earn enough points at the end of the month.

lastly: why not?  my family goes to the movies.  i take my kids to the beach.  we go out to eat occasionally.  but these kids and their families could NEVER do any of those things.  isn't there just something unfair about that?

luke 14:13...  "the next time you have a nice dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich people, the kind of people that can return the favor...  invite the poor... people who never get to do it...  it will be a blessing...  they won't be able to return the favor, but oh how it will be returned by God in the end!"

next week we're taking the boys ziplining at a ridiculously fancy coffee plantation/resort in antigua.  a friend who works there is hooking us up with a huge discount, and a friend from the states is footing the bill.

at this place, you'll only find BMW's, Hummers, and Mercedes in the parking lot.

i can't wait to roll up in there with my boys.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

post accident thoughts...

the accident (blog post below this one), scripture, a book i'm reading, visiting my friend cesar, and lots of conversations with my wife as well as the davis' - have all left me in a new place spiritually.

i just haven't been able to "shake" the feeling... the closeness i felt to God during the heat of the moment of the accident.  i have been praying about it, thinking about it, studying, reading, and talking...

some of the things that the great apostle paul wrote in scripture have taken on deeper meaning.  my friend cesar - his daily life of joy in suffering - means even more to me.  there is just no denying the fact that God works powerfully through sacrifice, suffering, and moments of desperation. 

after all, we know that God ultimately saved us all, and demonstrated His most outrageous love for us, through the brutal suffering and death of His own son.  before Jesus went to the cross so that God could be glorified through his death, he called us to be willing to do the same, to suffer alongside him.  its a concept that i think deserves more attention than we (as christians) give it.

i was talking with pablo a few days ago.  after recent taking a bullet that almost killed him, i asked him, "would you take it back?  would you trade what happened considering what we experienced?  after seeing God work the way he did?"  his answer was "in a way, i want to say 'yeah' - but in reality there is no way... i wouldn't trade it for anything."

i asked my wife recently if she thought i would be crazy to pray for more suffering if it meant i could feel as close to God if i did that day.  she admitted that the thought makes her nervous, but totally understood. 

we settled in on the thought that we'd pray for a stronger relationship with Him - whatever it means.  whether life is a seemingly mundane daily grind, or whether amazing/ridiculous things are going on - whatever His will may be, whatever sacrifice necessary - help us know you better, connect with you deeper, and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in deeper ways.

in the meantime, i will keep pursuing Jesus.  maybe this experience was preparation for what lies ahead.  life on earth is short.  eternity is forever.  i want God to use my life for His glory - whatever that means