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Baptized by Fire

24 Jan

Okay, so I know that verse (Matt. 3:11) is debated about its actual meaning, but it was the first thing I thought of this week as I experienced my “Welcome back to Managua and real life” gift. Only in Nicaragua can a person be literally baptised by fire. I can fully appreciate why my showerhead heater is called a “widow maker.” Do you remember that I told you about it in the first month? Well, this week, it was blissfully cool here with a wonderful breeze (don’t mistake me – still 30s, but with a wind), so I thought a warm shower might be a nice change. B.a.d.  i.d.e.a.  It started steaming.

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Some of my kiddos and I at the Thanksgiving Program

I turned it off. I realized it wasn’t steam. Within 5 seconds the entire bathroom was so thick with smoke I couldn’t see. I jumped out the shower, ran out of the bathroom, and as I looked over my shoulder, the whole showerhead was a deep, fiery red. So that was that night. However, this caused a hole in the shower hose that I did not see, so the next day when I got in the shower, I got the entire bathroom soaked. Not a drop on me. Later this week I showered with a gecko. I think I may avoid the shower for a week to play things safe. Stay 100 feet away from me to avoid any smell. Which leads me to a summary of my learnings from 2015. Choose Joy. Even when you’re smelly, baptized by fire, and feeling less than joyful.

 

While I was at my home church at Christmas, I had the wonderful blessing to be able to prepare and share a message that encompassed my lessons, experiences, and a welcome to the new year. The theme that has continually come up over and over again during my first semester as a missionary teacher has been about choosing joy. I will summarize here:

  1. Joy is NOT a feeling. You can feel happy, and that’s fine, but happiness is not lasting. Joy is not the presence of happiness- it is a choice to focus on God’s role in the joyful gifts that I am given. It is never only a feeling. It is a choice (such as to participate in joyful worship) and a gift (such as joy in my salvation).
  2. A huge portion of verses say to be joyful in our King, have peace and joy in our Maker (Psalm 149:2), peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Countless. Always IN God. That doesn’t come from feeling good. That’s choosing to live in joy.
  3. Teaching is hard. Life is hard. Missions is hard. Schools and organizations are hard. There is so much to get bogged down in, and I can tend to. But asking for the ability to choose joy at each turn is a responsibility and a privilege that I have.
  4. Sometimes joy looks a lot like happiness – and I am so overjoyed to have been able to be loved and pampered over Christmas, coming back with my suitcases and heart full for another semester.

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    The beautiful Granada

So, I would like to wish you, not a Happy New Year, but a JOYFUL one! Thanks for all you do and who you are.

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