Tag Archives: Musings

Spanish For Everyone?

Pontious' Puddle
If we look around the world, where is Christianity growing the most? Christianity has a 6.9% annual growth rate around the world. There is a net increase of 79,000 Christians each day. Christianity is growing fastest in the developing world, specifically in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  The growth rate in these locations is eclipsing that of the Western church.  Additionally, the population of the world is growing fastest in Africa and Latin America.
 
But, it is not just outside the U.S. The Spanish language is now part of everyday life in the U.S. Spanish language advertising in the U.S. is growing at a rate of 12.5% a year.  In Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Houston, Spanish language advertisement is rapidly becoming more popular than English. A full 42% of Californians speak a language other than English at home, with 28% speaking Spanish. The U.S. population is 14.5% Hispanic. Last year the Southern Baptists started more than 300 Hispanic churches around the world.
 
What does this all mean? Should all missionaries speak Spanish within the next week and half?  No. Should we ignore the person across the street for the person across the border?  No. But shouldn’t we be a part of, “an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” (Revelation 14:6)?
 
In 1 Corinthians Paul says, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.”  Now, we all don’t have to become Latin Americans or Spanish speaking, but, it is important that we see that God created all ethnicities and languages for his glory.  Not everyone, nor even most, are called to go across the borders to take Christ to the world.  Some go, some send, and some pray. We all have an equally important role to play. The Pettengills will continue to learn the Spanish language so that we can reach Latin America…you keep praying. Amen.

Random Thoughts From A Missionary’s Head – Part 4 of 4

I want to conclude the year with a few arbitrary streams of thought. I have chosen these four issues not because they were great. Quite the opposite. In the grand scheme of things they are four minor events that for some reason made a major impact on me in 2007. Here is the fourth and final…
 
In December I visited La Carpio four times.  La Carpio is a neighborhood in San Jose, Costa Rica.  This is where tens of thousands of Nicaraguan refugees have created a squatter village in a municipal dump. This is the poorest of the poor living in homes made of scrap wood or discarded metal.
 
nose pusher in La CarpioOn my first day there I made eye contact with a young, skinny, little boy, who was maybe six years old.  He didn’t talk and stood over to the side with his “big” sister (maybe 8).  I tried to talk to him. He either didn’t understand or didn’t want to.
 
On my second visit I saw the same boy and his sister sitting over to the side out of harms way.  I walked over to them and tried to get him to play and talk.  No luck. However, I did get a smile this time.
 
On my third visit I spied the same two sitting off to the side.  This time I walked over to the boy and pushed his nose like a button. His face lit up with a smile. He stood on his tiptoes and reached as high as he could with his index finger.  I leaned way down to get my face close to him and he pushed my nose like a button.  This caused great laughter to erupt from him. I pushed his nose.  He pushed my nose, and, so on…for a good 10 minutes.  No words were exchanged but we both howled laughing the entire time.
 
One week later our van pulled into La Carpio for my fourth visit. I saw my little friend and his sister eagerly awaiting our arrival.  I crawled out of the over packed vehicle and made eye contact with him once more. He ran over to me as fast as his little legs would carry him.  He leapt into my arms and immediately pushed my nose like a button.  Laughter ensued and alternating nose pushes commenced.
 
After four visits I have yet to learn this boy’s name, share Christ with him, or even communicate with a word.  However, we are friends, and, he knows I care for him.  He has reminded me of something important about ministry. God has placed us where He wants us, when He wants us there.  We don’t often know why. But, if we share and love and laugh with everyone we see we will glorify God.  Even by just pushing on a skinny little nose.
 

If you want to read the previous Random Thoughts go here.

Random Thoughts From A Missionary’s Head – Part 3 of 4

I want to conclude the year with a few arbitrary streams of thought. I have chosen these four issues not because they were great. Quite the opposite. In the grand scheme of things they are four minor events that for some reason made a major impact on me in 2007. Here is #3…
 
Four men and a little carSince I have been in San Jose, Costa Rica I have not spent much time in privately owned cars. But, one day not too long ago I was catching a ride with a friend and he was taking us down a major expressway. Ahead of us we saw something that caused us to laugh. There was a municipal dump truck with four garbage men hanging on the back. And, as this mass of trash was speeding down the road we saw that the workers had tied a toy car to the back of the truck.
 
Trash menAs this toy car sped down the road at 50 mph, following the six wheels of filth, these garbage men were laughing and waving at all the other cars. Rock stars of refuse. The other drivers were laughing, and honking. These sanitation workers and their little car had created a chain reaction of joy and humor.
 
How dare they. Didn’t these guys realize they were socially and economically the lowest of the low?   What right did they have to be so happy? Didn’t they realize they were garbage men working in a poor, Central American country, no less?
 
It is this amazing positive attitude that has shocked me. I knew I was coming here to learn Spanish, and then on to Honduras to help others. But, I had no idea I was going to fall so hard for the Central American culture and its people. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect disdain from myself. But, I didn’t expect to be so enamored by the lifestyle I have recently been living in. The people here have so little, compared to the U.S., but, they love what they have and want to share it with everyone. They want their neighbors, friends and visitors to experience their lifestyle of joy and happiness.
 
They have passion, food, music, history, art, and an attitude of delight, love and pride. They are eager to share their culture with others and welcome them into their homes and community. I always figured I’d grow to accept the culture in Central America. But, I never imagined I would become so enamored with it so rapidly.
 
If you want to read the previous Random Thoughts go here.
 

Come back in the next day or two to further explore the scarred psyche of this missionary.

Random Thoughts From A Missionary’s Head – Part 2 of 4

I want to conclude the year with a few arbitrary streams of thought. I have chosen these four issues not because they were great. Quite the opposite. In the grand scheme of things they are four minor events that for some reason made a major impact on me in 2007. Here is #2…
 
Sean, Lindsey and Lucy McCann are our teammates on Team Honduras.  They are a great family from North Carolina who will be joining us in San Jose, Costa Rica on February 12th.
 
McCanns in New York CityWe have had a phone relationship with them for over a year, but, back in July we were able to spend a month with them in New York City during one of our missions trainings.  We were just a nervous to meet them as they were to meet us.  And, as God would have it, they are great people and we appear to be very compatible.  Don’t get me wrong…we are different: South v. California, boisterous and obnoxious v. reserved, tattoos and bald head v. clean cut. But, that is really what I’m writing about.
 
Sean, Lindsey and Lucy McCannIt appears to me that as we get to know the McCanns we have discovered that we are all very different, but, exactly the same.  This is the beauty of what the Lord does. He has taken two totally different families with different backgrounds and cultures and placed the exact same heart in them. We already trust each other, lean on each other, confide in each other and love each other.
 
Please don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that we were made to be instant best friends…only time will tell that.  What I am saying is that God has already shown us that He loves us so much that He will make the people who are destined to be the closest to us very compatible.  Compatible with the same open and willing heart to serve Him, trust Him and love Him.  I am sure that we will fight with, disagree with, and upset the McCanns.  But, the glory of all this is that we know we have a common heart to fall back on.  We all love God and want to serve and glorify Him.  The focus of this writing is that God loves us so much that when we trust Him and rely upon Him, He will give us EXACTLY what we need to succeed in our goal to glorify Him.
 
If you want to read the previous Random Thoughts go here.
 
Come back in the next day or two to further explore the scarred psyche of this missionary.

Random Thoughts From A Missionary’s Head – Part 1 of 4

I want to conclude the year with a few arbitrary streams of thought. I have chosen these four issues not because they were great. Quite the opposite. In the grand scheme of things they are four minor events that for some reason made a major impact on me in 2007. Here is #1…
 
Sanctuary of PraiseBack in January we visited Sanctuary of Praise for the first time. In fact, this was the first church we ever visited seeking support for our missions work. We absolutely fell in love with this congregation from the beginning.
 
They have only been in existence for four years and only have a congregation of about 30 people, yet, they are putting in a great effort to impact their local community and the world.
 
Mike at Sanctuary of Praise in JanuaryIn February, Sanctuary of Praise informed us that they would be supporting us through prayer and financially. What an absolute honor. In fact, they were the first church (not our own) to support us. This congregation which has so few resources cares so much about the kingdom that they wanted to help the people of Honduras by supporting us. This small congregation embodies the spirit of the widow and the two copper coins from Mark 12:41-44.
 
Since then we have visited this church again. In our two visits to this body they have fed us, given us gifts, loved on us and we have received dozens of supportive e-mails from them. They have given so much to us when they could barely support themselves.
 
No, this is not about money. It is about their impact, their faith, their God-glorifying confidence. Their faith has been an example to strengthen my faith. Their confidence that Christ would provide for them has forced alterations in my walk. These brothers and sisters have been so supportive of us that it has caused an embarrassment in my heart. Why could I have not spent a lifetime giving to others as Sanctuary of Praise has given to us? The only thing I can do is thank God for their Christ-like example and honor them by mimicking their love and charity.
 

Come back in the next day or two to further explore the bizarre psyche of this missionary.