Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Tale of Feb. 26

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Paraguay for a month. The time has slipped by although not entirely without notice. But were I to leave Paraguay on the morrow, I would count the last month as time well spent. The many confirmations that I have received from God coupled with God’s healing comfort has left me a stronger person. Battered, perhaps, but stronger. When one has been stripped of all his dreams, the future, when seen as being in God’s hand, dawns clear and fresh, like the morning following a summer’s thunderstorm. Along the way, I’ve picked up a sort of reckless, careless, abandoning type of joy. There have been times when I’m alone, thinking and wondering what I’m doing…..in a land of a strange tongue and employed for a service which I will learn as I go. And as I go on pondering the possibilities of a life back in Ohio, I tense, knowing that I could be pursuing so many different and interesting options. But then, a instant later, I relax. With a toss of the head, I’m tempted to scoff at the minions of uncertainty and doubt that try to tell me that I’m wasting my time. As the peace sweeps over me, I say…,

“God, it’s good to be alive”.

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I slept and dreamt

On my desk is this short poem. Well, it used to be on my desk. I removed it from my desk and it now resides in my Bible. This poem is not unknown to me; I’ve heard it before. Earl Nightingale mentions it in his best-selling motivational message, entitled “Lead the Field”. The poem itself is untitled but it carries a powerful message. It’s written by Rabindranath Tagore, a Calcutta poet.

I slept, and I dreamed that life was all joy.
I woke, and saw that life was but service.
I served and discovered that service was joy.

And to throw in another quote, this, a line from a song that, although it isn’t sacred holds meaning for me……but tomorrow may rain, so, I’ll follow the sun.

The Ericulean editor,
EJ

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The tale of the 19th

More random thoughts:

Although I’m at a general state of tranquility, my head is hurting. This could be evidenced by the fact that I have three different artists playing through my head at the moment. Off my laptop, I’m playing some Chanticleer spirituals and melancholy King Singers. And coming from my Zune is a Keith Lancaster P&W album. A interesting mix, no? But currently, I prefer the confusion.

This hurt, though, is not caused by my current music. Rather, this hurt is caused by the seemingly largeness of the Spanish language and a general frustration at my course book. Anybody who has studied Spanish in any degree at all knows that the bulk of Spanish is comprised of verbs, verbs and more verbs. You have regular and irregular, conjugates, perfects and imperfects as well as infinitives. And with a book that does not have the clearest teaching method, it makes one wish for a chip that can be plugged into one’s mind with the ability to instantly speak Spanish. But nothing comes without hard work and I’m finding this to be true for language. Prior to coming, I vowed to myself that I will learn the language and I will. And strangely enough, for all the frustration that Spanish is giving me, I find myself desiring to learn more languages….like Italian…or French…or German.

One final random bit. My youth group had all written 4 short lines of encouragement using the 4 letters in my name. I haven’t read all of them, partially because I didn’t want to read them all at once. So each morning, I read another one. Some of them have been really good and I’ll share some of the ones that caught my eye and encouraged me.

For E – Even though your far from home, God is still near (this is a real pat answer that became more real in my preparations to leave). Enjoy every moment.
For R – Remember those that are praying for you. And this one…Ouch! It doth hurt! Rejoice in the Lord even on the bad days.
For I – Impossible is not a word. Hoo-yah! That is definitely something I need to be reminded of. If we evah, a-needed, the Lawd befo’… One of my more favorite spirituals…wait…it’s rare that I meet a spiritual I don’t like.
For C – Continue to be a first-rate version of yourself. This shouldn’t be hard. Come back to God when self fails. This comes from a former VSer and I’ve already felt what happens when one does. Chances are great that I’ll come back to that one in the future.

This is not a reflection on anyone. As I said, just the ones that have jumped out at me. But sadly, I didn’t receive any that began with EJ. Oh well, I’m still blessed…and I know it.

Thanks for listening. This space is where I vent, rant, wonder and praise. If it seems random, so be it. These pages mean something to me. If desired, further elucidation may possibly be requested via email.

EJ

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The tale of Feb. 18th

Last night, the staff was out in the pavilion doing some singing and even though I wasn’t looking for inspiration, it’s hard to ignore it when it slaps you in the face. I forget who gave the selection, that’s immaterial, but as a result of a recent post, the 2nd verse caught my eye. I’ll just write the entire song here:

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on the side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief of pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, the heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All no mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord;
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone;
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed, we shall meet at last.

Be Still, My Soul. Words by Katharina von Schegel. Music by Jean Sibelius.

More random thoughts coming.

If one just looks around in the hymnbooks that are in churches, seemingly the majority of the songs have at least some mention of allowing God to lead, trusting in Him or some sentimental feeling like that. I’m not knocking it except I think it maybe over superfluous. Here is my premise for saying so. If my recent life has been relatively smooth and I haven’t had a circumstance that causes me to personally cry out to God, I can sing that text in a detached way and it is just a piece of music. But, when something has happened that causes me to seek God’s will and direction, cry out to Him for help or has caused me to rail against Him for His allowing circumstances to happen, some of these pat answers become personal.

When one has met God in spirit and received personal comfort, the storm stills. In comparison to the storm, the silence of that peace is almost deafening. This cocoon of peace can be almost other-worldly. Don’t get me wrong. Just because I have peace since this recent storm, this does not mean that my desires are completely removed. And although I prefer to not think of myself as being fatalistic, my current thinking does mirror fatalism. I’ve already said this phrase, Let the chips fall where they may; I must play the hand I’m dealt. I know that there maybe flaws with that statement but now is not the time to debate that. My point is this: irregardless of my dreams and ambitions, I’m not guaranteed to receive what I want. Therefore, it is up to me, with God’s help, to live my life to the best of my abilities. And whatever happens, happens. It’s in God’s will and timing. THAT is what I have the ultimate peace and highest confidence in.

EJ

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The calming of a storm

There rages no storm as fierce and as destructive as does the storm that rages in the breast of a soul unsure. Upon the Sea of Emotions, the winds of Doubt and What-If produce waves that destroy the shore of a once serene and steadfast soul. In this maelstrom, even the gentle wind of the Holy Spirit can be falsely construed as another contrary wind. And oft times, as on thinks the worst of the storm is past, a new, fresh gale sweeps along to test newly claimed assurances of safekeeping and guidance. But these promises, these assurances of safekeeping and guidance, are the very things that shelter us from this storm that is so prevalent in human lives today.

Such a storm was once mine. I had a ambition, a dream to pursue should God allow. This was not something that seemed to be impossible but rather it was totally feasible and even expected of me. Not that it was bad or unseemly in anyway, far from it. This ambition in its own right was pure and noble. But this ambition began to be opposed to by a parallel ambition, or desire, that grew to rival the ardor with which I sought to fulfill my previous ambition. In the due course of time, these two rival ambitions came to a head. Also at this time, I became increasingly aware of the still small voice of God. This was no coincidence. As I felt these 2 ambitions warring in myself, my sense of peace steadily eroded. So, for a proper Christian antidote, I began to pray. Make no mistake, I was a believer in prayer prior to this conflict of ambitions. But the harder these 2 ambitions fought, the more earnestly I prayed. As days turned into weeks and months, this struggle did not abate. In spite of my desire to fulfill both ambitions, deep within me I knew something had to give.

Less than a year ago, I distinctly felt God asking me which of the 2 ambitions I wanted the most. He didn’t promise I’d have the
opportunity to fulfill both; only which I desired more. The choice was hard. Bot ambitions were good; both were right; both were to be desired. But I had to choose….one over the other. The one I chose became my chief ambition; the other my desire.

The choice I made is irrelevant to those who may read this. But to me, it is relevant. When I made my choice, the storm stilled, the winds died and the gentle breeze of peace from the Holy Spirit wafted over my soul. Out of the peace that this tempestuous storm brought, for indeed it did bring peace, I have lived for some time. Peace never lasts forever and neither did this one. After months of peace, the same type of storm has begun to blow. But somehow, it’s different. Recent happenings have confirmed to me that the choice I made, my chosen ambition, is what God wants for me. And still the un-chosen choice, my desire, comes to me loud and persistently on the wind of What-If. God however has taken away my ability to pursue that desire, no matter how hard I may strive to fulfill it. Who knows, maybe I would choose differently if I would again have that chance. But I don’t have that chance. My ambition has turned into my reality. My reality is here.

EJ

if this post is vague and hard to understand, so be it. That was my intention

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The tale of Feb 10

A glorious thought ocurred to me as Joby and I were exiting Asuncion proper on our way back to the clinic. It was this.
No matter how hard the language looks at this point and disregarding some of the private turmoil that I’ve been working through the past couple of days, I wouldn’t trade my spot for anywhere else on God’s green planet. The ‘ifs’ will always be there; what counts is that at this moment I’m contentedly at peace, living in God’s will.

EJ

ps: this should be better. bear with me; i’m learning this.

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The tale of Feb 10

It’s virtually impossible to imagine a world with 30 inches of snow on it, considering the temp is currently resides somewhere north of 90. It’s also Tuesday so I don’t have language class this morning. But I did do some studying via Rosetta Stone and did one unit today. It should feel like a accomplishment but sometimes it only feels like I just gave the correct answers to the questions that were asked. It seems to be nothing that would stretch my knowledge of tenses, structure and verbs.

Tonight, however, is when it got fun. Joby had just sat down at the supper table when he gets a call from the clinic. Someone was wondering if one of us, meaning clinic staff, could run to Asuncion to pick up a bag at the airport. Mark and Joby both went down to talk to him and to inquire into further specifics. As it was, the inquirer was someone from the states who was helping his daughter move down. She is or will be teaching at another conservative colony. After haggling a little over the price of the trip, Mark decided it was worth our time to fulfill his request. From the clinic here to Asuncion is at least 3 hours, one way. Leaving at 1900 meant whoever goes wouldn’t be getting back till 0100 the following morning. Hmm, sounds like this could be fun. Plus, I need to become more familiar with the Asuncion streets anyway so I asked if I could go along. 45 minutes later, Joby and I were on the highway, dodging smoke-belching trucks and barely lit cycles.

Ah glorious fun! Night was just setting and this feeling begins creeping over me. The feeling that comes from having a mission in mind, equipment to complete that mission, a perfectly great evening to blow in accomplishing that mission and, finally, people to make the memory with. Even though we did accomplish what we set out to do, the second part of that latter statement proved to be, well, almost not true. We were about half ways to Asuncion when the van started getting hot. Even after pulling over and checking it out, we still couldn’t say what exactly was wrong with the van. Everything was checking out fine. But, nonetheless, the van still kept getting hot, requiring more than one stop beside the road to allow it to cool off. Eventually, this fever seemed to leave and we drove the final hour without any problems. Once at the airport, things went like they are supposed to. Meaning we got there, told them what we wanted, got the bag that we were after and left. 10 minutes later, we were at Burger King, getting some sustenance for the trip back.
And what more needs to be said? The drive back went just as well as our inbound run did, meaning that we still had the occasional stop to allow the engine to cool off. But other than that, it was great. Nothing like eating up the highway on a clear late summer night (or early summer morning, to be technically correct) when the stars are shining bright and as the wind whistles past your window, making conversation delightfully difficult.

We got back at around 0245 and shortly thereafter were in slumber land. Of course I didn’t have to work and this made a very handy excuse to sleep in late. So sometime around the crack of noon, I appeared once again to resume exploring this Paraguayan adventure.

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February 5

Written about the day of Feb. 5.

A unfruitful day. I didn’t have language class this morning because Maynard wanted me to go into Asuncion to get my fingerprinting done. This was needed to start the process of getting my one year card that ‘officially’ allows me to stay here in Paraguay. I had done it at the local county police station at home but had put Eric J Beachy as my name on that document. In the states, there would be no problem. But in Paraguay, your documents have to match. So because I had Eric Jason Beachy on all the rest of my documents, my passport, my visa etc., I needed to have my fingerprints retaken. Maria Nisly also needed to have her’s done. For some reason or other, the Paraguayans had rejected her fingerprints. There was 5 of us total on the trip out. Simiona, one of the national workers at the clinic, went along to visit relatives in the city and Malinda Yoder had a dentist
appointment. We left around 6 in the morning with Joby driving.

When we were about a hour away from the city, Joby started giving me a crash course on Asuncion streets and by-ways. I’m sure I didn’t remember it all but there will be time later to re-learn the streets. We dropped Simiona off at a bus stop somewhere in town and headed to the dentist for Malinda’s 10 o’clock appointment. We were early but she disembarked anyways and we remaining three left to do some shopping for the clinic.

With that accomplished, Joby took us through some parts of the city and tried, unsuccessfully I’ll add, to connect the dots for me. Since we still had some time to kill, we went to the Mennoheim and drank tea. Visitors who arrive in Asuncion on late night flights or who leave on early morning flights might be familiar with this hotel. Mennoheim is run by, as one can tell from it’s name, Mennonites and is familiar to the AMA staff in Paraguay. This is one of the locations that I will need to learn how to get to and depart from (to English students, pardon the dangling prepositions but they will remain). As we drank tea, Joby continued to fill us in about various facts of Mennoheim and of the city in general. We were there for about 45 minutes, maybe a hour, before we left again. Malinda was done with her appointment by the time we re-arrived at the dentist office but with her edition of ‘The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes’, I’m sure she wasn’t bored.

After lunch, we were off to the U.S Embassy to get our fingerprinting card/paper. In order to have it be official and recognized, you have to use ‘official’ paper, not just any 8 1/2 x 11′ blank printer paper. Maynard had been in Asuncion last Wednesday and said that the embassy opens at 1. With that in mind and after parking within a few blocks of the embassy, we set out on foot. But when we got there, the guard said that the embassy had reverted back to their morning hours, which were 8-12 Monday through Thursdays and 8-11 on Fridays. Bother, if we would have known that… It seems like the embassy has been doing some remodeling and were open in the afternoons instead of their usual morning hours. So maybe this is a good sign.
What else could we do but leave? Which is what we promptly did. We’ll just have to go to Asuncion some other time to do the fingerprints. One good thing is that I’ll have to be along and maybe the streets will begin making more sense.

Maybe.

Ciao, for now.

Authored by EJ

EJ’s note: since I’m not sure how this will show up, bear with me. My location this time is the clinic with dial-up @ 36K. Sometime I’ll get to the cyber cafe again and do the neccesary tweaking.

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