Lady Wisdom vs Lady Folly

Proverbs 9:1-6, 13-17

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    To him who lacks sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways,[a] and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction[b] to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The Way of Folly

13 The woman Folly is loud;
    she is seductive[c] and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house;
    she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15 calling to those who pass by,
    who are going straight on their way,
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    And to him who lacks sense she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
    and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead[d] are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

As I was reading through Proverbs 9 this morning I couldn’t believe the clear picture that came into my head. In Proverbs 9 we see a picture of Lady Wisdom working hard and calling to the simple to come join her at her feast. Then we see a picture of Lady Folly yelling loudly, sitting alongside the road, promising sweetness and pleasantry, that will lead to death.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the Dominican Republic which made me really think about what it means to be a Mom. What does it look like for me to be a mom to my kids here in El Higuero (our neighborhood), La Vega (our city),  Dominican Republic (our Country)?

Every day as our oldest walks down the straight path of our street, trying to seek wisdom, and lady folly is calling at him from all sides. There are the boys calling to him to play who always end up fighting. There are boys destroying property, throwing garbage on the ground, and kids who just decided not to go to school that day because they didn’t feel like it. I know to our son it looks like so much fun. It looks like so much fun to play the fool with the other boys in our neighborhood. But we are trying desperately to teach him wisdom. We are trying to teach him to keep on the straight path that leads to life.

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The Straight Path 

A short example is this:

Yesterday as we were preparing to go to church our son was outside in the street. A friend passed by and said, “Why would you go to church on Mother’s Day? That’s stupid.” Our son in that moment chose to shrug his shoulders and walk away. But,  I know that as fools mock it is so much easier to want to fight, to yell, to argue back, but this isn’t the way wisdom.

Playing with the boys who always fight, may be fun for awhile as you run around and climb trees. But, it is not so much fun when they disagree with you and you get punched in the face. Running around with boys who are constantly destroying things is fun, until they destroy your stuff. It is hard to be inside learning how to think, how to read, how to do math; seeing your friends barely go to school and never studying.  It is hard having parents who have rules. It is hard for him when he sees his friends running wild in the street from sun up to midnight, knowing that he has to be home when the street lights turn on. I know all of this is hard on our son. But, we as parents know that wisdom offers life and abundance. Folly in the end only offers sadness and destruction.

Our hearts desire is that all of our children learn to follow lady wisdom. We cry out to God that he will help us teach our children this valuable lesson.

So much to do, so little time, so little resources

I feel that this is going to be the mantra of our life in the Dominican. ” So much to do, so little time, so little resources.”I feel that just about the housework, and that’s not even the beginning.  There is so much need here that it’s hard to know where to start. I feel so inadequate, but I am constantly praising the Lord that he is sovereign and he is fully adequate for all things that need to be done.

We have now been in the Dominican for 5 weeks. 5 weeks! How is that even possible? I can say that our home here is starting to feel like home.  Sometimes it is overwhelming for me even to comprehend that we are here in the Dominican Republic. The Lord brought us here, and we are so thankful. I feel like my Spanish is getting better all the time. I can understand what most people say, even though Dominican Spanish is still a little hard for me to understand. I can communicate what I need/want wherever I am, and I am no longer scared to enter into conversations with people, even if I only get about 80% of what they say.

Right now the most overwhelming thing to me is poverty and what to do about it. For the entirety of my life poverty has been an other world problem. There are poor people in the states, but there are also abundant resources for people in the states. Here people don’t have food, and that’s that. People don’t have food and they starve to death. THat is a fact of life.  It is hard to figure out when to help and where to help. I am constantly asking the Lord for wisdom and guidance in this area.

We have started to work with a Haitian school about 25 minutes from our house. It is really only about 8 miles, but with the roads it takes about 25-30 minutes to get there.  The pastor of the church has a vision of giving these children a Haitian education so that they can some day return to Haiti and help the people of Haiti. I am really excited to be a part of it. I will be teaching english there twice a week. Right now the goal is to find people to help us sponsor the kids who attend and sponsors for the teachers. Right now the teachers are working for free and they don’t even have electricity. Our goal is to be able find sponsors for the children so that the teachers can be paid, they can eat each day, and they can have adequate resources to run a school. We are really stepping out in faith with this, I am really excited about it.  But, the fact of the matter is that there is no money in teaching Haitian children. They don’t have any money to help pay for schooling. The pastor asked for 100 pesos ($2.50) a month, but most families couldn’t even afford that.  If the Lord lays it on your heart to help in anyway, please let us know.

There is so many blog posts I could write because I feel like every day is a new experience. Things like tropical storms where within 5 minutes the entire street is flooded and just getting into my car I get completely drenched and running out to collect all the laundry on the clothesline so it doesn’t get drenched. I have learned that here a horn is much more important than a blinker. I have learned the need to watch out for pot holes because if you hit one, you might soak the poor lady on the side of the street. I have also learned that cockroaches, ants, and lizards are part of life ( I have a lizard that lives within the electrical panel in my kitchen). I have also learned the benefits of having a “corner store” attached to your house; they have any basic you could every need rice, beans, juice, bread, eggs, soap, lightbulbs, shampoo… I have also starting to run the stoplights every once and awhile. I have become accustomed to three of my family members on a scooter to go to school. So much fun, and so much to do. 🙂

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Pictures of “Kinder B”. These are the older kids in the school.
You can really notice here that the lights arn’t on in the school.

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Here is “Kinder A”

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These are just pictures of Gibson that I found on the camera

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scooter ride

For those of you who missed it on facebook this is how the kids get to school.
Note: I did do Clare’s hair that day, but she decide to take out the bow holding back her bangs because the helmet didn’t fit over it.

Today I am giving a small tour of our home

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This is the outside of our house. I could of taken another one to filter out the sun, but this one had two cute little kids in it, and Addie is effectively censoring this picture so no one is offended by Gibson’s nakedness.

I decided the best day to give a tour of our house is the day after our maid came for the first time. She was amazing! She will becoming every Thursday. It will be so nice to have some help around here, because I feel that it is near impossible to keep completely on top of the housework. With 4 kids, no dishwasher, a labor intensive laundry system, and having to mop every day because it gets so dusty and this keep the bugs away; I was finding it near impossible to get any deep cleaning done. For me it was such a blessing to have her come. Plus, around here it is looked down upon, if you have the means,  to not hire any help.  I say woohoo for having a maid for an incredibly reasonable price!

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Here is a on our sidewalk looking down on our house, so you can see our street. You can also see our street a little bit if you watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAx_8ennoW0

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If you walk into our house and look to your left you will see this crazy Jacuzzi thing. The people who own the house won the Lottery and decided to add crazy things like this to the house. It is really sad because now they have no money and are actually in debt quite a bit. Behind the Jacuzzi area is my little laundry space.

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This is our entryway. To the left is the jacuzzi and our enclosed dining room and to the right is our carport.

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When you walk in the door and turn left you will enter our living room area. We are very Dominican with our bamboo furniture.

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This is our nice dining room. We put screens up so we have the feeling of being outside without being joined by flies and mosquitos.

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Once you walk past the living room you enter the area where the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are. Here is the kids bedroom. All four kids wanted to share a room. I guess after all sharing a bed for 6 months, having a boys and girls rooms was a little much for them.

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The third bedroom which is the playroom

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MIne and Randy’s bedroom complete with a little boy

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If you walk to the right of the entry way you enter a huge room that we have put our desks in and also the kitchen.

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Here is the room to the right of the entry way that feeds into the kitchen. It is a huge room that all we have in it is 3 desks and a bookshelf. If is nice to have such open space. But it is weird having so many living spaces. This is by far the biggest house we have ever lived in.

Praying at all times

I have been convicted lately about praying more. In Ephesians 6 after talking about putting on the full armor of God, Paul sums it up with this exhortation in verses 18-19,  “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.” This has convicted me that I need to be praying more for all the saints. I need to be praying for everyone I know that they will be able to boldly proclaim the gospel wherever we are. I mean it says praying at all times so I have a lot of increasing to do. 🙂

I have also been convicted of praying faithfully and daily for our support raising. Our goal is to be at 85% before we leave for California, and we really don’t want to buy tickets until we  are around 95-100%. It would be great to have tickets bought at least 2 weeks before we plan on leaving. We are 100% believing that we will be leaving for the Dominican by August 1st. We believe that the Lord is going to keep bringing in our support so we can leave before this time and I have committed daily to pray for these things every day at 7:00am. I have set my alarm to remind me to pray every day at this time.  Will you join us in praying for these things?

I was reminded this morning and last evening about the power of prayer. I have been praying for the last few months about a specific amount that I hoped a certain church was going to give towards our support. I didn’t know if this was going to happen because I knew they didn’t have a lot of wiggle room in their mission’s budget but I have been praying (maybe not always as faithfully as I should have) for a certain amount that they would give us. Today we are praising the Lord because we found out last night that they are going to give us the exact amount that I was praying for! Praise the Lord. 

We are now at 76.4%, we need $580 more dollars of monthly support.  We are so so close!  I am so excited that the Lord has brought us this far and I know that he is going to get us to the Dominican. I am so thankful we serve a God who his able to do abundantly more than anything we ask or think. 

When I woke up in the morning…

I woke up yesterday morning and checked my phone right away. The night before was the night we were suppose to meet our 65% goal of raised support. I was positive that when I checked my email I would have a handful of emails of people telling me of their decision to support us. I was positive God was going to provide and we were going to hit our goal of 65%. But there was nothing…

I couldn’t believe it, I was so sure that we were going to make it. At the beginning of last week we were at 51% but no hurdle is to big for God, right? We knew of $90 more of support so that but us at 54.6%, but that was a far cry from the 65% that we hoped to be at. As I got up I kept telling myself it was okay, our job is to have faith that God is absolutely able to provide, and if he says “no” our job is than to accept that. But I will be honest that I was bummed.

The whole day I kept to talk myself through what it means to have faith even when our expectations are not met. Which is a faith building exercise right there. By evening I can honestly say I was completely at peace with where we were at support wise. I was confident in the Lord’s provision towards the Dominican no matter where we were that specific day. That night we went over to our friend’s house for dinner when we received a text that more money had come in that we didn’t know about. What?!?!??!? We were actually at 62.6% I couldn’t believe it. In a matter of 3 days we had increased in support by almost $250 of monthly support.

As we drove home I reflected on how overwhelmed I am by the Lord’s provision. We didn’t make it quite to the 65% but pretty darn close, and way closer than we had been that morning. I am rejoicing like we made it to 65%. I am rejoicing that the Lord continues to provide for us to get to the Dominican. I am humbled that the Lord is leading us toward the Dominican and providing in amazing ways. He even provides within our timelines which blows my mind entirely.  I ask the question all the time, “Why me Lord? Why are you so good to me? I don’t deserve this blessing of being able to go on the mission field”

The answer is always the same, “You are right, you don’t deserve it. But, I love you, I chose you, and I am working in you. I am going to continue to work through you and bring you to the Dominican Republic. Not because of you, but because of me in you.”

Wow, I am so thankful for the Lord’s provision. I am thankful that he provides in his timing. I am thankful that he saved me and he is working in me until the day of Christ Jesus.

Friendship

As we raise support we have had the privilege of hanging out with a lot of people. It has been such an amazing experience. I love sitting down with people and hearing about their hearts and their lives. Sometimes however these visits make me realize how much we will miss our friends once we move. 

This weekend was one of those times. We were able to hang out with my best friend from high school and her husband. We had a really good time as we talked about everything under the sun. We got to their house around 3:30 and stayed until we had to leave because we had to catch the 11:15 ferry. The time went by way too fast. We talked, cooked dinner together, and talked some more. It seems that as I have gotten older more and more of my dear friends have stopped following the Lord but it has been a blessing for me to have a friend that no matter how much time passes we are able to start up right where we left off. I know that is because as we have gone our separate ways we have continued to grow closer to the Lord which has really knit our friendship close to together. In high school we use to joke that we would start our conversations with, “Oh but EM…” or “Oh but Jill…” like the conversation just continued forever. I still feel that way whenever we get together. I always wish that we had stayed in the same city so that we could see each other more, but the friendship is still a blessing to me all the same. I am so thankful for a friend who loves the Lord and whose life inspires me to do the same. (Plus she is incredibly creative, here is a link to her etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Jillianmade) I am so thankful for good friendships they are a blessing from the Lord!

As we look forward to moving to the DR it is hard to think of how much we will miss these times with friends. It is hard to think that each time you hang out with someone that you don’t see on a regular basis that it may the last time you hang out with them for a very long time.  But I am thankful that some friendships stand the test of time and will continue to be strong no matter if you live in different states or in different countries. 

 

Increase my faith no matter what

Yesterday was a rough day. We received news that some large support that we were counting on wouldn’t be coming. Crushing disappointment would be the first emotion that came.  But, then I remembered that I had been praying the day before these words. “God I feel that so far support raising has been fairly easy. You have provided support at unexpected times and raised people up that we had no idea about. I know that at some point this is going to get hard, please increase my faith even when it’s hard.” 

And then the next day God gave us a support raising trial. I remembered this prayer and I said, God please grow my faith. I have been reading through the old testament and the times when the Israelites keep forgetting to recall the great miracles that God performed in delivering them out of Egypt. The first trial that comes around they loose complete faith and start to complain. I want to remember the amazing ways that the Lord has been providing support, instead of dwelling on the discouragement in front of us. It is so easy to get discouraged by the immediate instead of remembering the great works of the Lord.  I pray that even in hard times God will increase my faith.