Friday, November 2, 2012


About three months ago, we received a team from the states.  We had planned for them to have an event with the community in Santa Rosa and share some good old fashion s'mores, you know, the chocolatey, graham cracker goodness around a bonfire.  They were to provide the dessert and we were to provide the fire.

As the day approached and advanced, it was clear that a fire was not going to happen.  Winter in Lima is not extremely cold, but it is wet and cool.  And, as Geoff used to say when he was in the military, you aren't cold until your wet and cold.  Needless to say, every piece of wood in Santa Rosa was wet and would not have burned with any amount of coaxing.  So, we had to come up with plan B.

Below is a picture of what winter looks like in Santa Rosa, foggy, wet, and cold.

Plan B included a service inside the church with music, games, and a message, all without a bonfire.  The new plan was to make the s'mores in the kitchen next door and serve them to the attendees...boring, I know.  But, again, the plan changed.

Below are a couple of pictures of the worship leaders and the message being presented.

As the team progressed with the service, I sat next door preparing plates of uncooked s'mores.  I had planned to cook them over the stove and carry them over.  As I was assembling, Elita came to see if I needed any help and suggested that we carry the burner (stove) over to the church and roast the marshmallows there.  I was thrilled with the idea, already wondering how I was going to roast around 50 marshmallows over a stove and get the s'mores to the church in their gooey goodness.  We all know s'mores need to be eaten warm to be fully appreciated.  The result of plan C was delightful.  S'mores are not a common dessert in Peru and marshmallows roasted over a fire are eccentric as well.  The Peruvians were amused with the entire presentation and willfully jumped in to help roast, especially the children.

Below are a few pictures that show the roasting and assembling process.

It was adorable to see the Peruvians embrace this all American favorite.  The look on the kids' faces was priceless as the marshmallows glowed over the fire.  And then again, as they devoured their sweet snacks and asked over and over again for "s'more."  We all grew up with this snack and, although I love s'mores, it had lost its allure for me.  Their amusing reactions caused me to think about what it might be like to have a s'more for the first time.

A few pictures of Peruvians savoring their s'mores

This story is timely as we prepare to transition home.  There are a lot of unknowns for us in the near future, and we have been talking to the kids about flexibility (i.e., not setting our affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others).  One of our dear children has been externalizing what each of us is wrestling with in our own way.  He/she has broken down in tears every time she/he overhears that previous plans may be altered.  This kiddo has made an idol out of his/her imaginary future and is convinced that any disruption of her/his sovereign plans is tantamount to certain and extended suffering.  No middle ground, no reasonable consideration of pros and cons, simply her/his way or the sky will fall and the world as we know it will cease to exist.  (Please forgive the hyperbole and set aside the apparent insensitivity and harshness for the sake of rhetoric.)

Our anonymous child is simply expressing what the entire family is dealing with as we construct our utopian plans for our ideal future, avoiding the nasty details of reality and ignoring the diverse needs represented by a family of six.   We each have expectations, and rarely are all of them met the way we envision they will be (or better, should be).  We often think that happiness is just around the corner, as soon as the world submits to our wise and perfect ambitions.   We give lip service to God's sovereignty and sing songs about His loving faithfulness, but when His will infringes on ours, our reverence and joy are overshadowed by discontent and frustration.  It may be subtle, but we all do it.

What is the take home point?  In a word, flexibility.  As mentioned above, flexibility requires not setting our affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others.  It doesn't mean that we don't have expectations or that we don't make plans.  Flexibility simply denotes the character quality of holding these expectations and plans in open hands before a sovereign and gracious God.

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