"You better remove that cyst in the OR just in case you bleed a lot."

28 Mar 2017

I'm in Lima for the regional meeting for the SIM Americas directors (the field directors for countries like Peru, the US, Uruguay, etc.).  One of the Lima missionaries has had an annoying cyst on her back for a couple of years and last year went to a Peruvian clinic to ask to have it taken out.  They told her they'd need to do it in an operating room in case there was a lot of bleeding!  So I threw a laceration kit into my luggage and her husband picked me up at the airport.  It took me about 10 minutes to remove the cyst (I could look up the exact time since they filmed it so she could watch her own surgery later!) and there was less than 1 ml of blood.  Clearly the 'too much blood' excuse was a ploy to be able to charge a lot more money than I did (which was a ride from the airport)! 

¡¡Fuerza Hermanos!!

26 Mar 2017

Today, SIM missionary Chris Conti visited the Vitarte (a neighborhood of Lima) Evangelical church to meet with the pastor and his wife and others.  The church feels called to help an area called Carapongo where most of the people lost their homes and everything they owned.   There are about 40 families affected in this way.  A 'community pot' (someone cooks and everyone eats) has been started but many don't even have plates or bowls to eat off of!  Relief funds will be used to provide tents, blankets, repellent, food and medicines as soon as possible.  Your donations to the SIM relief fund help make this possible.

A can of tuna with 'Fuerza hermanos' (Stay strong, brothers!), one of the mottos of the flood relief, being written on it.

 

 

Pumps for Huarmey

25 Mar 2017

One of the churches that SIM Peru is partnering with in the flood relief efforts is the Lima Calvary Chapel Church.  Yesterday, SIM used your donations to purchase three gas-powered pumps that will be used to pump muddy water out of homes in Huarmey, one of the cities hardest hit by the flooding.   Huarmey is located about four hours up the coast from Lima.  Calvary Chapel planned on distributing clean water, food, medicines and the physical labor to help remove mud from homes in Huarmey starting today.  Pray that all our relief efforts can be done in a loving way, meeting the needs of those who need it most. 

Flooding in Peru

19 Mar 2017

Peru is currently experiencing some of the worst flooding in years.  Riverbeds that are often dry are spilling over their banks in the capital city of Lima.  Many people, including missionaries, are ironically without water as the canals have been damaged.  The death count is currently (18MAR17) at 62.  Please pray for opportunities to use this crisis to share about the Living Water that Jesus provides and to show compassion to our fellow man. I am currently helping coordinate funds for relief efforts in Lima to help provide food and water to those that have lost their homes.  

Please pray for those who have lost everything.  Give praise that our water came back last night after being cut off since Tuesday (except for a couple of hours Thursday morning).  Pray for wisdom in knowing how we can help most in this crisis.

 

Studying the Bible in the Darkness

13 Mar 2017

In Peru, expect the unexpected. At the moment, we’re visiting lots of churches to share our about the University ministry and invite students to join. On Saturday night, we visited a church youth group and peering in the front door, it was completely dark inside. I looked back out on the street and there were no street lights on. I looked back into the church and I could vaguely see a small group of young people at the front.

We enjoyed a Bible study from Exodus, led by the pastor. He had someone standing behind him with his phone, slightly illuminating the Bible so that he could teach from it. At the end we shared about our university ministry called "Comunidad Bíblica Universitaria” and I showed a short video from my laptop. After the meeting we chatted with students who were applying to enter university and got their details. Several had their entrance exam the following day so we took the opportunity to pray with them.

Here are two photos I took that night with my phone in the darkness. For the second photo we used the light of a mobile phone.

 

Please pray as we visit churches and connect with students, that many will be keen to study the Bible on campus. Pray that Christian students will be bold and not be afraid to identify with Jesus, in universities where many are embarrassed to stand out, especially with their faith.

 

Adventures in Biblical (Mis)Interpretation (Aventuras en la (mala) Interpretación Bíblica)

13 Mar 2017

Welcome!

This will be a blog to report on our adventures in Ethiopia (expected arrival: Aug 2017), as well as an occasional post on the challenges of biblical interpretation. 

For example, a common temptation is to ignore the original context and meaning of a biblical passage. A good example is found in John 14:26: ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν [ἐγώ]. (Eberhard Nestle et al., The Greek New Testament with McReynolds English Interlinear, 27th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Jn 14:26).

"But the Counselor/Defender, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, that one (he) will teach you (all) everything, and will make you (all) remember everything that I spoke to you (about)." (John 14:26; my wooden translation). 

After reading the passage, and being asked of its meaning, most will respond with something like, "It is a promise that the Spirit will guide us and give us wisdom." But they have ignored the meaning most important--what the passage meant for its first hearers. (Some may even take it as if it is not necessary to study and read--the Holy Spirit will teach us directly).

While it is true that the Holy Spirit does, in fact, teach us, it is doubtful that this is the principal meaning of the passage. It is better to understand this as a way to remind the disciples (who were the first to hear these words of Jesus) that the Spirit would play a very important role in the process of compiling (and writing) the New Testament. The responsibility to write down the teachings of Jesus was crucial and carried significant weight, and these words of Jesus would have been a tremendous encouragement later on, during the long process. They would have been able to preserve faithfully and accurately the words of Jesus because of the ministry of the Spirit that would "make them remember" all that Jesus taught (See also Richard Schultz, Out of Context (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 34). 

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¡Bienvenidos!

Este será un blog para informar acerca de nuestras aventuras en Etiopia (llegada esperada: Agosto 2017), tal como un artículo de vez en cuando acerca de los desafíos de la interpretación bíblica.  

Por ejemplo, una tentación constante es ignorar el significado y contexto original de los pasaje bíblicos. Un buen ejemplo: Al leer el versículo de Juan 14:26 (ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν [ἐγώ]. (Eberhard Nestle et al., The Greek New Testament with McReynolds English Interlinear, 27th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Jn 14:26); "Pero el Consolador/Abogado, el Espíritu Santo, lo cual el Padre enviará en mi nombre, aquel (él) les enseñará a ustedes todo, y les hará recordar a ustedes todo lo que (yo) les dije" (Juan 14:26, traducción demasiado literal)), y ser preguntado de su significado, la mayoría responde con algo como, "Es una promesa que el Espíritu va a guiarnos y darnos sabiduría." Pero, han pasado por alto el significado más important--lo que el pasaje significaba para los oyentes originales (Algunos incluso lo toman como si estuviera diciendo que no sea necesario estudiar ni leer--porque el Espíritu Santo va a enseñarnos en manera directa). Mientras que es cierto que el Espíritu Santo sí nos enseña, es muy dudable que esto sea el significado principal del pasaje. Mejor está enseñando a los discípulos (los que recibieron primero las palabras de Jesús) que el Espíritu jugará  un papel muy importante en el proceso de registrar (y escribir) el Nuevo Testamento. La responsibilidad de escribir las enseñanzas de Jesús fue bien importante y pesada, y estas palabras de Jesús hubieran sido un ánimo tremendo (más adelante) durante el proceso tan largo. Iban a poder preservar precisamente las palabras de Jesús debido al ministerio del Espíritu que les haría recordar todo lo que Jesús les enseñaba (ver también el libro de Richard Schultz, Out of Context (Grand Rapids, 2012), 34).

I'm a welder. Why do I get sick when I heat up leftovers in plastic containers?

09 Mar 2017

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of teaching a basic medicine course at the Bible Institute that SIM partners with here in Arequipa.  The main subject was, "How to stay healthy and productive in the ministries God has called us"  We were discussing all sorts of subjects from filtering one's drinking water to immunizations.  I like to keep my classes interactive, so I let the students ask any questions that they might have.  Sometimes I have a hard time hearing because they are so timid and soft spoken and other times, despite 17 years in Peru, I just don't understand some Spanish words that they choose.  One question in particular left me baffled as to what he was asking, "I'm a welder.  Why do I get sick when I heat of leftovers in plastic containers?"  His question was kind of out of the blue and it didn't seem to make sense.  "I'm sorry.  Could you repeat your question?" I asked as I moved closer to hear better and maybe get some clues from his body language what his question really was.  He repeated the question.  That really was his question.  I briefly discussed the lack of studies on microwaving food in tupperware and told him to use glass or ceramic in the microwave before surrendering with, "I don't know."

I guess they weren't too disappointed with my  lack of knowlege about leftover food as they invited me back in two weeks for a course on first aid!

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