Thursday, August 18, 2016

Moses and horns

When we visited the Prado museum in Madrid, Spain, I was  almost overwhelmed at the incredible Master painters I saw.  From Degas, the Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso and Bosch, Rembrandt, Dali, and the like...I was in heaven!

In my dream state of seeing artists I could only have imagined, I came across a particular painting by Bosch.  Bosch is most famous for his depiction of the Garden of Earthly Delights.  It shows the Fall with Adam and Eve on the left side, the middle frame depicts all the sin "delights" of life, and the right panel depicts Hell.  It is quite breath taking, and a bit disturbing.  

While we were at the museum, the Prado had put his masterpiece to film and audio.  The video is quite disturbing, but incredible at the same time.

While I was looking over his other pieces of work, I noticed one, and in the middle of it I saw this:

Moses has horns?!

What is going on here?!  So I showed it to Mike and he was totally intrigued!  So he did a little research...

The depiction of a horned Moses stems from the description of Moses' face as "cornuta" ("horned") in the Latin Vulgate translation of the passage from Exodus in which Moses returns to the people after receiving the commandments for the second time. The Douay-Rheims Bible translates the Vulgate as, "And when Moses came down from the mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned from the conversation of the Lord." This was Jerome's effort to faithfully translate the difficult, original Hebrew Masoretic text, which uses the term, karan (based on the root, keren, which often means "horn"); the term is now interpreted to mean "shining" or "emitting rays" (somewhat like a horn). Although some historians believe that Jerome made an outright error, Jerome himself appears to have seenkeren as a metaphor for "glorified", based on other commentaries he wrote, including one on Ezekiel, where he wrote that Moses' face had "become 'glorified', or as it says in the Hebrew, 'horned'. "The Greek Septuagint, which Jerome also had available, translated the verse as "Moses knew not that the appearance of the skin of his face was glorified." In general medieval theologians and scholars understood that Jerome had intended to express a glorification of Moses' face, by his use of the Latin word for "horned."[6]:74–90 The understanding that the original Hebrew was difficult and was not likely to literally mean "horns" persisted into and through the Renaissance.

So the bottom line - it sounds like it was a BAD translation, but it persisted in of the most famous is Michelangelo's statue:

And after I took the picture, then we did a little research, we found SO many versions of Moses with his "horns" or showing him being "radiant":

Who knew?!  Anyway - Bosche was incredible/amazing, and I was truly in awe of his incredible art...but still...Moses with horns?!  Hmmm...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Taking a Deep Breath

We've been in Africa almost 6 months...I know...hard to believe.  We turned over all our ministry in Honduras, closed out our time there.  We encountered very difficult things when we left both personally and in ministry, and yet another move. I'm still reeling a bit over the hateful/spiteful mail I received, but I'm putting it aside and have forgiven this person in my heart although they have washed their hands of me.

In the time in Africa we've tried to figure out how to live.  Our new team mates said to us, "This country chews up and spits out missionaries..."  It's extremely stressful, hard living, we don't have a car, lose electricity 8-12 hours everyday, haul up well-water for our wash, live under mosquito netting, cook with very limited supplies, the slowest internet we have ever had, live on the equator, make everything from scratch, our kid is SO far away, and we are still trying to figure out our ministry.  I've already had multiple mobile clinics in different parts of the interior of the country, and Mike and I are both going to start teaching classes in a few weeks.  My mother passed away 4 1/2 years ago, and my dad just over 5 months ago.  All of that adds up to living under a constant state of stress!  I've had more head aches in the last 5 months then I've had in a long time.  We live in sweat, in a little 900-square foot brick house. was time to take a deep breath.

Madison came to spend the summer with us in Africa, and I said to Mike, why don't we leave Africa early, and spend some time together as a family.  There are no direct flights to the U.S. from where we live - most of them fly through Europe - so - that's what we did.  We left Africa 10 days before Madison needed to be back to start up in her third year of college, spending time in Madrid, Spain, and in Lisbon, Portugal.  It's the first family vacation we have had in a very long time.

Some people have said to us - that it must be nice to be able to travel to Europe for a vacation.  Yes, it absolutely is!  We make enough money to live in Africa, and not much more, so vacations are something we plan for WAY in advance to save up to go.

I was talking to Madison on the way to Spain and I wanted to see how many countries she had been to in her 20 years.  We came up with 19 countries!  Before we were missionaries, we were already world travelers!  We took an annual family vacation, and that typically meant out of country.  That, along with our time as missionaries, she's been to a lot of countries!  So, I then started thinking about where I had been and came up with 34 countries:

United States
Costa Rica
Puerto Rico
El Salvador
Dominican Republic
Sri Lanka
St. Thomas
St. Croix
Equatorial Guinea

Now, I'm not talking about lay-overs, I'm talking about spending a night, walking around, eating in a country...spending TIME in a country.  I've actually been to more countries then States in the United States.  My last passport had no space left in it, and I'm already half-way through this one, with new countries coming up including Ethiopia to add to my list.  So, I do live a stressful life, but I also have the opportunity to see some amazing places along the way.  I am grateful for this time to take a deep breath, take a hot shower, enjoy electricity 24/7, fast internet, and some amazing European food.  It gives me a chance to re-group and rejuvenate so I'm able to better do my ministry in Africa where all the stresses will come back as soon as I return.

In addition, I have some AMAZING supporters and friends who just want to love me and care for me.  I have so many gifts waiting for me when I get to the U.S. (Christmas in July!!!!!), gift cards to spoil myself, fun things to help me live life a little easier (frying pan, measuring spoons, etc), and some simply fun things - like movie gift cards to catch a movie (no movie theaters in the entire country of E.G.), and restaurants (Olive Garden) to eat a yummy steak and pampering (Ulta/Sephora).  In addition, I get to stay with some awesome friends who care for me and have a nice evening ride on a lake in my near future.

So taking a deep breath to allow me to continue on in a very difficult season of life, but where God has me to glorify Him and be His hands and feet.

 And...the last thing I want to think about, but know it's in my near future - I won't see Madison for a year and a half!  She won't be coming to see us until Christmas of 2017, and I won't be going to the U.S....this will be the longest time I've not seen her in her entire life...and we will be continents - I'm just not going to think about that right now, while I continue to enjoy the last week with my girl :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What is God teaching me in this?

About a month ago I received some "hate mail."  Well...I'm not sure you can actually call it that if it doesn't come in the mail - but who sends letters anymore (I LOVE letters by the way)?  But you get the idea...

It all started with a blog.

I blog for many reasons.  I'm actually excited that people actually read them!  My motive started when Mike and I were support raising to first come on to the field almost 11 years ago.  I wanted to guest blog on his blog and he said - "Why don't you start your own?"  Oh!  Now there's a thought.  It really was a way for me to chronicle my own journey.  Some times things happen that just need to be put down on "paper."  Emotional events that need to be spoken.  I've talked about sad things, happy things, crazy things, interesting things, and mundane things.  I like talking about what's going on in our lives.  I talk about what's happening in my ministry.  I talk about things that go on in my family.  I talk about things that are important to me, that I want to share with others.  I am not one to write something that is going to stir the pot.  I don't write political blogs, controversial topics, or anything to incite anyone.  I write them for my edification, God's glory, and to let folks know ways to pray for us and the ministry and to see how God is working.

That's what I thought this blog was...just talking about "stuff" really, nothing important.  Then I got some hate mail...about my blog...

I was stunned.  This came from a person who has known me for a long time, who knows my character, who knows ME.  It was unkind,  and I sat in shock reading the words that were coming my way.  I was called unkind, a slanderer, and that I attacked with my blog.  In the end, that other person ended our friendship - that was it - the end - final words from this person were, "goodbye."

So I sat on that it...for a long time.  Why did I get this message now?  I haven't seen this person in a fair amount of time, I was in Africa, and yet they still felt the need to reach out with this message.  So I looked for God in this...I looked to see what He wanted me to learn, to see how this would be used for His glory.  And then it occurred to me.

Guess what?!  I'm a sinner.  You are a sinner.  We are all sinners.  We work with sinners, we live with sinners.  We are going to sin, and be sinned against.  That's the reality of the Fallen world.  I get that - but this was up close and personal, and I had to look beyond the hateful words for what God wanted me to learn.  I prayed, I studied, I asked for wisdom from my pastor, from my former boss, a dear Christian counselor, and knew what I needed to do with this situation.  And so, I did what I do...I wrote...and wrote...and wrote...and now there will be an addition to my book - and that's all I'll say :-)  Guess you will just have to read it.

People say they hate conflict.  But the reality is - conflict is a way of life.  There is conflict in your family - between spouses, between parents and their children, between adults and other adults, between friends.  It can be a GOOD thing if handled well.  It can be a bad thing if handled poorly.  If you have known me long enough, you know that conflict is not something I pursue - but I'm not afraid to confront it when it comes my way.  The bible is riddled with conflict...and God's directions in how to deal with it.

I'm not sure when conflict became a dirty word?  If anything, in this last year we have seen what conflict has done to people's friendships.  On Facebook - I have seen people unfriend others because of their views on one political party over another.  I have seen people unfriend others because their views on which bathroom to use is different than what your neighbor thinks.  Because guess what...people are going to disagree with you (not possible), won't like you (GASP!?), and even have different opinions (say it isn't so?!).  Voice your opinion - that's the beauty of the world we live in.  By stating your view, and that it in fact may be different, is not being hateful!  I'm not sure when my personal opinion became politically incorrect?  When did my views become hateful because they didn't agree with your views? No one has been convinced to change their opinion about something fundamentally important to them by a Facebook post.  Seriously, people.  Don't give yourself that much credit.

How you choose to respond to this conflict is where things clash.  New denominations have been born because of conflict, directions of churches have changed because of's not about the's how we as Christians choose to deal with it, how we choose to respond.  We say, "can't we all just get along?!"  The reality is, no - we can't all just get along.  AND THAT's OKAY!  Strive for it?  Absolutely.  Pray to be that way...of course...desire it be one of your characteristics?  Definitely.  However, I am not going to be everyone's best friend...sorry...that title is preciously reserved for a select few.  Humans are passionate people - and I love how colorful our world is - if we all thought the same, did the same thing, were robots in this world, where would the beauty of God's creation be seen in the humans that He created?  It's why our mission agency focuses on the Myers-Briggs so much - understanding how people are so very different can help you work better with them.  I am a type-A, huge planner, meticulous, and focused.  I totally realize that I am going to work with people who are so NOT like me...and I love makes us better...too many of the same type of people can lead to a stagnant ministry.  But understanding that we are all different, find different priorities, think differently is also hugely important.

We can choose to be kind to each other in the midst of not getting along.  We can choose to hold our tongue and not lash out during conflict.  Is it a fight worth fighting for or can it just be overlooked?  Will you want to pull back the words that spewed from your lips, or will you go to bed knowing that you did the best you could do?  

So, how will you, as a believer, confront conflict when it occurs?  Will you flee from it?  Will you confront it?  Will you attack over it?  Will you look for reconciliation, or be forced to shake the dust from your feet?  We don't always do things the right way, but looking at the heart, and for the motive is so important when addressing filled with one another in the midst of understanding that we are not all going to always get along...that's not only reality, but truth, and if you think otherwise, then perhaps you've not been in enough conflict.