Sunday, January 22, 2017

robin & flipping 4-wheelers: life ministry is so good

just completed our first 2 weeks of our "life ministry investment program".  (6 young men - future leaders - living with us full time.)  i cant really describe how i feel...  tired?  in shock?

why are kerrie and i so exhausted?  why do we hit the bed and feel like we've just been struck by a truck - every single day?  why do the days seem like a blur?

i dont even know the answer.  i guess its because something is happening every second.  i dont know.  its just been nuts.

one thing i love...  are the unexpected, unplanned conversations that come up all through the day and night.  its the part that reminds me why we did this.  so we can invest more deeply.  even though we feel like we already have been, its just different when you're literally living in the same house.

robin (center) with jake and pato - 2011
one example of dozens over the last 2 weeks...

robin has been like my own boy for many years now.  here's a couple stories from years ago about him and his family, as a reference: aug 2011, sep 2011.

anyway, i sent robin (now 15) out to do some work for me on the 4-wheeler.  darwin went with him.  they were way up in the mountain, climbing a dirt road, taking a (fast) left turn.  as they rounded the turn, a truck coming down the hill appeared, and it was too late to even slow down.  they crashed head-on.

thankfully, the 4-wheeler has a monster front-rack, and the rack is what hit the truck.  however, the impact did throw the ATV into a flip.  the boys were thrown off, but thankfully no one was hurt.

except the pickup.  it had a busted headlight, dented bumper, and dented fender.

when darwin came in the house out of breath and said "robin needs you", i knew something was wrong.  when we arrived at the site of the accident, robin approached me with tears in his eyes.

"viejo, dejame explicar."  ("old man, let me explain".)  i was fully prepared to hear how he didn't do anything wrong, and how the truck came out of nowhere and nailed him.  one thing that is an absolute in this culture, is that men dont accept responsibility for their actions.  there is a big premium put on lying, cowardice, wiggling, and getting out of any situation - no matter what it takes.

but the first thing out of robin's mouth was, "it was all my fault."  i asked him to explain the accident to me (before i speak to the owner of the truck) to make sure we didn't have a potential 50/50 fault situation.

but robin insisted it was his fault.  finally i asked him, "robin, i appreciate your honesty... but if you were both coming around a corner, and neither one of you saw each other, maybe both are at fault.  could that be the case?"

he said, "brock, no... it was my fault.  i was flying.  i shouldn't have been going so fast.  there's no way he could have seen me.  he was going slow, but i was flying around that corner."

so we met with the owner of the truck, admitted our fault, and said we'd do whatever it takes to pay for the damages.  i had to hurry back home as i was in the middle of something, and never really finished the conversation with robin...  until dinner that night.

we all joined around the table as usual, and i could tell robin was still not himself.  when i consider the typical role of the "abusive man" in this culture, i could understand why.  he thought i was mad.  maybe he thought i was going to explode.  even though he's known me as a father figure for the last 6 years (he doesn't have a dad)...  nothing like this had ever happened.  he was definitely uneasy.

i told the group that something major happened today, and that i wanted robin to explain.  with a lump in his throat, he told the story.  when he finished he looked at me with giant tears in his eyes.  the whole table was dead-silent.  again, considering the culture, i knew why.  everyone thought the old man was about to detonate.

i looked him in his tear-filled eyes and said, "well robin, i want to tell you something.  (long pause.)  i am so proud of you."

i could literally feel the shock of everyone at the table!

i went on... "i am so much more concerned about your heart than i am about that accident.  your integrity means so much more to me than repairing that truck.  today is a day that you stood up like a real man, admitted your mistake, and said i'll face the consequences.  as far as i'm concerned, thats unheard of in this village.  God is so happy with you.  and so am i.  lets celebrate!"
robin with luci - 2016

from there we had a long conversation about integrity.

these are life lessons that the boys will never forget.  opportunities to solidify and "make real" so many of the teachings that we have shared with them over the years.

life ministry is so good.

even if every day is a blur, and every night ends in total exhaustion!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

big change!

things are changing around here in a big way.

6 months ago our 2 oldest daughters moved back to the states to go to college and be university missionaries.  it left our home kind of quiet and we all had to adjust.

last sunday we moved 6 young men into our home, with the idea that they be with us for a minimum of one year.  the girls' empty rooms are now filled with bunkbeds and teenage boys.  our home is now kind of insane and we're having to adjust.

for us, this decision was a question of obedience.  God has been clear over the last year+ in telling us to begin investing more deeply in a handful of young men.  specifically, those who show real potential to be future leaders here in the academy and in the village.  so, after much prayer and discussion, we picked 6 young men and discussed with them the possibility of moving into our home on a 1-year commitment.

we explained that it would be a year of deep investment in their personal and spiritual lives.  there would be daily devotions, responsibilities, and required sacrifices from their normal schedules.  more than anything, we just believe a year living under the same roof as "one family" will provide immeasurable ministry opportunities through daily life.

finally last november, we met with their parents and shared the idea.  we figured 2 or 3 would end up doing it.  wrong!  all 6 agreed.

so as of this week, our house just got a lot crazier and our grocery bill a lot heftier.

following God is a riot.  we're excited to see what He does with this!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

enrique is going to college

today i walked into the university of galileo with a young man from the poor village of Buena Vista to register him... for college!

enrique lopez will be studying business administration at the university of galileo while also working part-time in the boys academy in an administrative role.

its been a long road for this young man!  he has been with us in the academy since the first day we opened almost 6 years ago... has had an extremely difficult life...  has genuinely accepted Christ as the savior of his life, been baptized,  and committed to follow Jesus...  graduated from BVSA as well as from high school at CEDS...  and also slipped back into old ways and fell away from God. 
as of about mid-year last year he started coming back around.  he began expressing remorse for some bad decisions he had made.  he was struggling to understand grace and forgiveness.  as we walked him through those truths, the weight that had been heavy on him began to lift.  he started coming around more and began attending bible study again.  allan was also a huge influence in his life during this time.

i couldn't be more excited for enrique.  as we look towards the future, i believe his potential is limitless.  as he grows in his faith, there's no telling how God will use him!  

as he we sat in the office today and he received his textbooks for his first semester of college, i asked him in a whisper how he felt.  all he could utter was "nervous."

but as we walked outside of the registration office, he told me something quite profound.  he said "brock, no one from Buena Vista has ever gotten a college degree." 

wow - what a thought!  please join us in praying for enrique...