Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Better late than never!

Last year I mentioned that there were several really weird unexpected things that happened from cardboard cutout angels, emails totally out of the blue, tax demands from Denmark (we haven't lived there for over three years), shooting stars (I personally have only seen one before), our youngest winning a competition that he was not strictly eligible to enter and a stork spotted long after most storks have sensibly flown South for the winter. Well things had gone pretty quiet on that front until this week that is. Firstly I have found out that I was enrolled for a course that I strictly shouldn't have been enrolled for, unfortunately it could mean a hike in fees for me or a change of course which is really annoying as I only found out by chance. The other unexpected happening was a far nicer discovery, flowering twigs - not very amazing you may think but these twigs were cut from the tree last year before all the snow, they are also apple tree twigs, not the sort that readily root as far as I was aware. I had used the twigs to mark the rows for my seeds and as I was weeding the garden one morning I was trying to work out where the apple blossom had flown in from and how it had got stuck on the twig until I realised that it was actually flowering. The significance of this did not strike me for quite a while - the rain must soaked my brain as well as the ground I was weeding - then I realised that what I was actually seeing was what should have been a dead twig flowering. If the twigs had been cut recently I wouldn't have been surprised but to last all winter and still come back to life is amazing and not just once but twice as two twigs are flowering. This fills me with hope as at the moment things are pretty dire in Latvia so seeing something that should be dead flowering raises my faith levels that something is going to start flowering here even though the economy seems just about dead and we are surrounded by hopelessness. 

I was struck by this phrase in one of the readings I had to do with my course this week "Failure is disguised or hidden because of the need for future funding" This phrase could be talking about any number of things, honesty is rare in many fields. It reminds me of much of what happens on the mission field where "success" has to be measured in numbers and not in lives or communities transformed, that takes too long and isn't as sexy to report to congregations. There is just as much of a problem in the Development field where numbers talk, success has to be measurable, which in some ways is true but change takes a lifetime and we expect too much too quickly - we want results for our money or at least the donors do. Much needs to come to the surface to be transformed and whole systems do need transforming but we do ourselves and the communities we live in a disfavour in trying to go for the quick fix. I find this verse encouraging as there is an appointed time and we are better waiting for the Lord coming into the situation than trying to sought it out ourselves.

1 Corinthians 4:5 (New International Version)
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.


We had a great weekend away firstly visiting our youngest at his end of year art exhibition where we met up with his girlfriend and her parents again. I understand that he has a great career ahead in car design but should he have problems getting into that field he can always double up in cake decorating (only joking, honest Matthew it was a very good car design really)
 We also had a good bonding time as we sat and ate fish and chips in the car in the pouring rain. We also then travelled to see our other son and his fiancĂ© and we stayed at her Mum's house. It is kind of strange meeting people who are going to become our son's future family and I was a bit startled when someone mentioned "our future daughter-in-law", I hadn't adjusted to that and now it is only just striking me as I write this that I am the future mother-in-law - scary! I know it is obvious but it does take time to process so bear with me. 

We arrived back in Latvia to much rain but it was an interesting journey home nonetheless because it was late at night and there was plenty of wildlife roaming about, we managed to avoid the deer that decided to wait to walk in front of our car, and we also saw a fox and the usual number of cats but most interestingly of all we saw three wild boar. We have seen plenty of evidence of wild boar on the land we are working on but never actually seen any in the flesh here in Latvia and certainly never seen any on the loose on the road before; just glad I was in the car when I saw them as they don't have a particularly friendly nature so I am told and no desire to test it out.

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