Saturday, November 19, 2011
Ah! I got up this morning and actually prayed, and I felt like a chain had been broken that had me tied to the flesh’s way of doing things. Praise God!
I was struggling between getting up and yielding to sleep. Oh, I almost, almost yielded. But everything put together, all that God has been doing…Ah! He succeeded!
The Lord reminded me of the picture I had first seen a long time ago: Christ is in the midst of the fire, and he beckons me to come. The flesh refuses, flees, resists, but the Spirit is made of sterner stuff and resolutely steps forth into the “certain death” that the fire threatens. However, the spirit is made of inflammable material; only the flesh burns up. That’s why the flesh didn’t want to go there and why the spirit didn’t mind.
So this morning when I sat up and partially emerged from the covers and a blast of cold air hit me, I very nearly turned back to warm, cozy comfort. But the Lord whispered a thought to me that was enough to tip the balance toward obedience: “It’s a very cold fire this morning.”
(Ha! I like that on so many levels. God, I was just wishing for an intellectual conversation with someone and didn’t see any potential immediate source—but I forgot about YOU! You—who can meet me exactly on my level, converse intelligently and knowledgeably about any topic (!) and always have something more, something tantalizing, something so cool and multifaceted and satisfying to think about—YES!)
So I had 45 lovely minutes of communion with my God, my love, my Savior, my life, the Spirit that lives in me and works His mighty wonders according to His will.
We had breakfast a little later since it was Saturday. Devotions were simply gathering in the salon, saying a simple prayer, and scattering to our separate jobs.
U came up to me at breakfast and said, “Can you cook?”
“Yes,” I replied.
So I got assigned to cook lunch, with A2 as my helper.
U said it was “stewed meat and potatoes,” any way I wanted to make them. The meat was lamb ribs, about 10 pounds, which I had no idea how to make, but I just cut it up into chunks, made a broth, made twice-baked potatoes and a salad…and it turned out fine.
As I was cooking, there naturally were things to hand wash, but I couldn’t find any soap. “They must have it around here somewhere,” I thought. “Don’t tell me they wash the dishes without soap.” Finally, I asked one of the girls, and she said, “It’s right there,” pointing. “Oh. This.” I said. It was toilet bowl cleaner. “Okaaaaay—we wash the dishes with toilet bowl cleaner,” I thought. I fought down a rising sense of grooooooosss.” Gulp. I forged ahead, squeezed the toilet bowl cleaner into the sponge, and washed the dish.
One curious thing about cooking lunch was how much time I had to do it. I started at about 9, or a little after, and I had to have it ready by 3. However, all the time I was thinking it was supposed to be ready at 2, and even still, I felt like I had tons of time.
A2 made a soup and cleaned the pantry somewhat and disappeared. D, who is Polish and barely speaks any Spanish, finished what she was doing and came to help me. She has only been in Betel for 2 weeks and misses her home terribly. She also doesn’t like to get bored and tends to stay active doing something or other.
While D was cleaning out the refrigerators, working very fast and being as efficient as possible, I kept hearing U say to her, “D—we’re not in a hurry. D, tranquia. I was trying to be fast and efficient in the kitchen, too, but when I heard U saying this to D, I thought, “I’m going to have to calm down, too, if I’m going to get this food made slowly enough.” What a curious thing to have to do!
After we ate lunch, the girls brought in all this food that they had gotten through recuperación (pickimg up food donations at grocery stores, butcher shops, and bakeries that donate to Betel. They had to open up all the bags and put the food away. This included organizing all the meat so that similar types of meat were stored together and so forth. Y (not my old roommate) was taking notes on everything we had, E was cutting up leeks and filling freezer bags, O was cleaning little sardine-sized fish, and the whole kitchen and dining room area was a swarming bustle of activity.
It was R’s turn to wash the dishes, and I offered to help. “You can dry and put away for me,” she said. “Here’s the towel.”
I looked at it with what must have been an obviously disapproving gaze. That towel had been used for everything from a potholder to a hand towel since I had been in the kitchen, and it was already damp when I arrived, so who knows what it had done before that.
“What, is it not clean?” R asked.
“Not really,” I said. It was damp all over and streaked with visible dirt.
R took a closer look at it. “It’s fine,” she said. “Go ahead and use it.” So I gingerly dried the dishes using the least possible contact with the cleanest part of the towel I could find.
When the dishes were done, I helped R take out the garbage to the van, where they were going to take it to a dumpster. There was a ton of garbage, from a broken exercise bike to a broken dresser to full, stinky bags from the kitchen trash to bags of stale bread that we hadn’t eaten. We filled up the entire back of the van, which was about the size of the area in our 15-passenger van when the two back seats were taken out, and drove off.
When we got to the dumpster, we unloaded all our stuff into and around it. It was empty when we started, and it was full to overflowing, with stuff piled on the street beside it when we finished.
Later I found out that what we had done was illegal. Apparently you can get a big fine for filling up a dumpster that isn’t “yours.” So that’s why they were in such a hurry to dump the trash. But I guess they do it every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, looking for a different dumpster each time.
After taking the garbage, we drove over to Betel’s mechanic shop for some work to get done on the van. I guess it’s always using water. On the way to the shop, R pointed out several groups of girls who were standing in roundabouts and said they were prostitutes. How sad!
We drove back to our house in another van that had followed us to take us home, and I got to talk with Lucy all the way back. She is just wonderful, and we had a great conversation.
We got back to the house and I helped R hang up some laundry. Then I went to our room and watched Q for a while. She was playing with her hair and some makeup samples, because she’s going to church tomorrow, and she’s quite excited about that. She wants to look pretty.
At 9:00, it was time for dinner. Marlene and Lucy had made homemade Mexican taquitos, which were really yummy.