Wednesday, May 25, 2011

GREEN SPHERES


We are fortunate enough to have several fruit trees in our yard. The unfortunate part is that Molly isn’t a big fan of citrus or tropical fruits. I love fruits of all kinds but, being from Iowa, I know absolutely nothing about the growing process of the fruits in our yard. All I know about these fruits, I have learned by observation. I found out that a papaya starts out as a bud, turns into a flower, then from the middle of the flower sprouts a small green fruit that grows and grows and one day fully ripens and turns orange. This is a fascinating process to behold, but it takes a long time and papaya flavor is kind of hit or miss. It is either incredibly refreshing or it tastes like feet.

Along with papaya, we also have bananas, a mango tree, and up until this past week I thought we had two orange trees. One morning, this past week, I went outside and looked under our two orange trees. I saw that under each tree were a few green spheres. I went over to gather the fruit and bring it inside to clean. You might be asking, “Did he say green spheres”? Yes I did. One learns quickly here that you can’t judge an orange by the color of its rind. 
After I cleaned the fruit I started to peel an orange from the first tree. Inside it was some of the sweetest and juiciest orange colored citrus I have ever eaten. I was so excited that I decided to peel an orange from the second tree. As I picked at the rind I realized a few things. The fruit inside was far more yellow colored and the sweet aroma that I smelled from the first fruit was not wafting from this citrus. I thought to myself, “Perhaps I was mistaken. Is this a lime tree?” but had to taste the fruit to be sure. As my teeth bit down, the juice trickled down to the back of my tongue and there it settled on the taste buds that trigger the bitter sensation similar to what you might feel if you accidentally inhale bug spray. Then I knew that we most certainly do not have two orange trees. I asked different people what they thought the fruit might be and the most common answer was, “That is one of those good for nothing fruit trees. It doesn’t even make good juice.”

How could this be? The bases of the two trees are only about four feet apart. The trees stand almost the same height. The fruit on the branches looks quite similar with just a small size difference, but what lies beneath the outer layer is completely different from one tree to the next. Then I thought to myself, “I have heard this story before”.

  Matthew Chapter 7
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Like I said before, the trees in our yard look the same. It isn’t the appearance of the tree that matters, but the fruit it bears. So what kind of tree are you? Do you bear fruit that is sweet to savor or a bitterness that God wants to spit right back out? Take some time to ponder.

Blessings,
Bryan

Monday, May 9, 2011

HE IS RISEN!!!



As usual I’m a little bit behind with keeping our blog up to date. There has been so much going on in our lives since getting to Bolivia. The first few days here we “hit the ground running” as our field director, Gordon Elliott, promised we would. Gordon was a great help to us in running us all over the city to different offices for everything from blood tests to finger printing and all the seemingly endless paperwork involved with moving to another country. We had to get everything in process right away and Gordon wanted to help us while he could because he took a visit to the states just a few days after Easter to attend his son’s college graduation and will return May 19 or 20th. You can read all of Gordon’s updates at his blog “Ch’airo for the Soul”. The link is in our “Blogs to Check Out” section in the right hand margin.

Aside from paperwork and unpacking/settling into our house, we also joined our fellow missionaries in La Paz for the Bolivian Easter Junta (celebration). You can read accounts on both Gordon’s page and The Guerrero Clan blog (also linked in the right hand margin). One main highlight for Molly this year was that she did NOT get food poisoning. It was a few years ago when she made the trip up to La Paz and unknowingly ate some tainted rice for lunch one day. Luckily this year we had only good food, but both had some trouble adjusting to the altitude change and found that neither one of us slept super great while there. We are back in Santa Cruz now and sleeping much better. Just to give you the perspective, La Paz is roughly about 13,000 ft. while Santa Cruz is only about 1,300 ft. above sea level.



My highlight of the trip came on Easter Sunday morning before any of the services actually started. The Bolivians have an amazing tradition of marching the streets in celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Some even start marching as early as 5 am and march for 4 hours. Some of the missionaries wanted to be involved in at least part of the march and so I joined in. We didn’t march at 5 am, but just got in on about the last ¼ mile. I have to confess that my attitude was totally not in the right place when we started the march, but about two blocks into it God got a hold of my heart. There was a band marching behind us playing “Where He leads me I will follow” and I just started to think of those words. I had been acting like it was some huge sacrifice to get up a little early and walk just a short distance. Then I thought about Christ marching up the hill to His own death and the huge sacrifice that He made for all mankind. I started to get a knot in my throat and by the time we reached the tabernacle I had tears streaming down my face because I was so overtaken with the joy of my salvation. 

Molly & Bryan at Lake Titicaca

Disney Family Fun magazine gave us a
great tip for dying eggs with grated crayons.
The eggs have to be hot so be careful.
The results were pretty cool.
And a good alternative to dyes
because you can mainly get only
brown eggs in Bolivia.

just a portion of the crowd that was gathered on
Easter Sunday morning



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