Thursday, November 17, 2016

Facebook Update from Guatemala November 17, 2016 at 03:38PM

Today we began working in a new village called El Zapote in Esquintla. My friend, Rolando Monteroso, took me there to measure four people for wheelchairs. We visited Berta, Carlos, Gregorio and Maria to determine the style and size of chairs needed.


We thought we were done when a lady from the local health center asked us to visit one more man. Alfonzo was run over by a tractor six years ago, and the national hospital did surgery to repair his right leg. But afterwards, his circulation to his lower leg and foot was greatly diminished. Then he received a small cut to his shin three years ago that will not heal. It has spread to encompass almost all of his shin and calf. We found it severely infected and oozing puss. (I cannot share a photo or Facebook would shut down my account.) We have begun treating the infection and hope to address the circulation issues when I return next week. Please pray for Alfonzo, as his condition is quite serious. This type of wound is difficult to heal and dangerous to the person.

Then, on the way home, we had to dodge cattle while driving through a stream. Just another typical day in Guatemala.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Facebook Update from Guatemala November 16, 2016 at 09:29AM

Hope for Home Ministries  We are now connecting the Hope for Home Facebook Page directly to the blog. Now you can see more regular updates posted here, so follow closely!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Baseball, the Cubs…and Other Things That Don’t Matter

If you are my friend on Facebook, you know I love baseball. You also know that I love the Chicago Cubs and have been a fan of them since I was five years old. 

It is rather odd that I, a North Carolina boy, would be a fan of the Lovable Losers.  My dad was a Yankees fan (insert shudder here), so you would assume that I would follow in his steps. But at age five on a late spring Saturday afternoon I saw a Cubs game broadcast through a local station. I remember the green of the ivy in Wrigley Field. I remember they were playing the Cincinnati Reds. I remember the Cubs winning. And I was hooked!

And that has led to 45 years of disappointment and hope…
I believe!
I want to believe…
Hopes raised, then dashed.  
Not again!
That’s it! I’m done! (Not really.) 
Next year!
New season! Let’s go, Cubbies!

And, to make matters worse, I have passed this affliction on to my wife and children. They, too, now cheer and suffer alongside me. And, after the difficult losses, when I see the disappointment in their eyes, I feel that I have been abusive to them by passing on my Cubs addiction. After all, before this season the Cubs went 71 years without making it to the World Series and 108 years without winning one. That is the longest championship drought in US sports history.

But this year has been different. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the Cubs are in the World Series for the first time in 71 years. In fact, tonight they will face off against the Cleveland Indians in the winner-take-all game 7 to determine the 2016 World Champions. And, needless to say, our family is kind of excited!

Every game of the playoffs has included our family and friends filling our living room to watch, adorned with Cubs shirts, jerseys and hats. Our two daughters, Carissa and Taryn, are living in Uganda, so they are nine hours ahead of us. They are waking up at 3:00 am and watching the games on computer while doing group chat with us on Facebook. My daughter in San Pablo La Laguna is watching as well and doing the same. The cheers are loud, as are the groans. High fives and hugs are the norm. And, of course, I have been posting my excitement on Facebook. 

If you go back through my postings for the last eight months, you see regular comments and shared stories about the Cubs and their amazing season (103 wins during the regular season). And, as playoffs got closer and began, you see an increase in these posts. And during the last nine days of the World Series, I have likely become intolerable to everyone who is not a baseball fan in general and a Cubs fan specifically. And these posts have created a dichotomy on my Facebook page.

In other words, you can read through my posts and see me write about something that is really important, such as a child that is sick and dying, or a good mother having to fight for the custody of her child. Then, a couple of hours later, I might write about a Cubs player hitting a home run. It is the very important and life-and-death situations scattered with baseball. And this has cause some confusion and concern in some people.

I tend to be a very practical person in most areas of life. I am almost always cutting through the distractions to focus on the important things. For example, I have been very vocal in my belief that the outcome of the current election is not near as important as how the church will represent Jesus through it. So, as I have seen believers arguing, hand-wringing, and endorsing their candidates, I have sought to challenge believers to be more focused on loving others, sharing Jesus and trusting God. In many respects, I believe the church has elevated democracy and patriotism to the level of idol worship, and I want to help tear down those false gods.

So, here I am telling people to focus on the things that are really important while also posting about baseball. Am I just a hypocrite?

Over the last two years, I have had a couple of people write to me about my love for baseball. And both messages were remarkably similar and went something like this: “Daryl, you deal with life and death situations on a regular basis. You see extreme poverty and illness and are surrounded by deep and profound suffering. In light of that, do you really think baseball is important?”

And here is my answer:
Of course not!

“Then why do you watch it?”
Because it is not important!

My family and I have been surrounded by death, sickness and suffering for almost six years now. My children have watched other children die in our home. We have had four children lie in caskets in our living room while people enter to pay their respects. Since we moved to Guatemala, my children have experience death and grief to a level that many adult will never know. Our lives are frequently overwhelmed with the important things of life.

So, you would not believe how wonderful it is for our family to come together and celebrate and cheer together! Even as I type this, I have tears in my eyes from just thinking about the family times we have enjoyed in recent weeks watching the Cubs. From the youngest up, we have laughed, high-fived, wore rally caps, yelled, jumped up and down and fist pumped repeatedly. We have had so much fun focusing for a few hours in the evenings on something that just doesn’t matter. And I am hopeful that, in years to come, the pain of the losses that my children experienced will be softened by the joy of these kinds of moments together.

And, at the end of the day, while I really want my Cubs to win it all tonight, I know that it is not really important. No one’s life or health is hanging in the balance (unless the Cubs cause me to have a heart attack). And that is good.

While Christ calls us to dedicate our lives to things that really matter, that does not mean that we should not occasionally escape and enjoy down time. I want to do this ministry for a long time, but I will burn-out unless I have some time for the unimportant. But the wonderful part is when I can combine something really important (my family) with the unimportant joys (baseball). 

As a result, no matter who wins the game tonight, my family and I win big!

Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Cubs Crew
Go, Cubbies!