by J. Christian Andrews
November 25, 2011
as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ
The first assignment Mom had when she arrived in Bolivia with the World Mission Prayer League was to teach at the school for missionary children on Coaba Farm. She was pregnant with me at the time. After Dad arrived in Bolivia following his nine months of language school in Costar Rica, they were assigned to live in the city of LaPaz where Dad pastored a church.
The farm was turned over to the Lutheran Chruch in Bolivia just shortly before my parents returned to the US for the last time when I was fifteen years old. Each year during the time we were in Bolivia from as early as I can remember until the farm was released, we would spend at least a week on the farm while our parents has their annual meeting. Sometimes our family would stay an extra week for vacation. A lot of great memories were made out on Coaba Farm.
One the stronger memories was of a poster that hung in the main room of the apartment where Marge and Henrik Ericson lived. The poster was a conceptualization of the rapture, that moment at the end when Christ will return to gather to our home in heaven those He has redeemed. The picture of Christ’s return certainly left an impression, but deeper was the impression that I needed to be ready for that day. The image did not bring fear but a sense of awe that raised the anticipation for that great and glorious day.
There really is no way of knowing when that day will be. We are told only that it will be, and so we wait. But our waiting is not empty or without purpose. That is why “in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
November 17, 2011
after destroying every rule and every authority and power
Within one twenty-four hour period four different men occupied the presidential palace, declared themselves president, and setup a cabinet. I know this dates me, but it’s no wonder Bolivia was know as the “long play republic,” thirty-three revolutions per minute. (For you kids, a full size vinyl record, known as a long play album, made thirty-three and one third turns on the turntable every minute–long play republic; thirty-three revolutions per minute.) The bloodiest of the revolutions was probably the agrarian reforms one in 1952 six years before my birth, but repeatedly during the time we were Bolivia we witnessed changes in government or attempted changes in government that could be classified as revolutions. The one where the nation had four men declare themselves president (though not elected) happened shortly before our final return to the US in 1972.
It may seem crazy, but we would stand at an open window facing the center of the city where there was a hill strategically occupied by those who fought against the military. With binoculars we would watch the untrained country rebels running back and forth in and out of cover on top of the hill as the soldiers in a barracks below fired upon them. We worried a little bit when an errant bullet sent up a puff of dirt as it hit the two story building in the lot next to ours. A junior high friend of mine watched the same battle from the attic of a house closer to the barracks. He stood on the attic floor and lifting a tile on the roof peered out at the same hill. He quit watching when a bullet ricochetted off the same roof just a few feet from his view hole.
Bolivia has 'stabilized' quiet a bit since the 1960?s and 70?s, but we still occasionally see news of unrest and rebellion against this or that government. It is so also with history around the world. Governments rise and fall. Empirers are built and crumble. There may be trends we can follow historically to get some inkling of what is to follow, but there is one truth we can know for sure. The end will come. When the end does come it will be because our Lord Jesus will deliver ‘the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.’ What a glorious day that will be when Christ will make us who have received Him, who have believed Him, alive. May we not be caught being just spectators.
November 10, 2011
children of the day
During my first through third grades we lived in four rooms in a row along one side of our courtyard. The room that was sometime bedroom and more often living room doubled as the fellowship hall and narthex for the church were Dad was pastor in the little country town of Apolo, Bolivia. When we first moved into the house the room that became the kitchen had only a roof and the wall on the street. The room that became Mom and Dad's bedroom had a mud dome oven. Mom never learned to use the Bolivian country oven which was torn down to make room for their bedroom.
After a couple years living in those conditions, my parents decided to build a "US" style two story house. They used adobes with a corrugated tin roof, but the floor plan and style was typical of a north American home. The upstairs had four rooms: one for Mom and Dad, one for my Grandma Andrews who spent a year with us, a room for my three sisters, and a room my brother and I would share. The "boys'" room was to be divided by a bunk bed Dad would build.
While the house was under construction, Dad used the living room as shop space to build our bunk bed. He had all the pieces cut and fitted ready for assembly. All that was needed was the room to be ready. He would take the pieces to our upstair room where he would assemble the bed. But a night shortly after the bed was finished, before it went up the stairs, we were visited by a thief. Though we suspected the person who took the bed was an acquaintance who would have watched the progress, we never found out who it was.
Being surprised by a thief is a fairly common experience which is likely why it is a common Biblical illustration. Jesus said His return would be like a thief in the night. While we don't know the day or the time of that day, we don't have to be surprised by its coming. As a matter of fact, Pastor Paul reminds us that because we who believe in Jesus are children of the light and children of the day, we are not in darkness. Since we are not in darkness we will not be surprised by the Day of the Lord. Instead we can look forward to that day, the day when our salvation will be completed and we will live forever with Him.
November 3, 2011
and so we are
We called it furlough back then. Now they call it 'home assignment.' Every fifth year as missionaries we spent 'Stateside.' Our rotation was mixed up a bit by an emergency medical leave we took when I was five. That six month leave put us on a rotation different than the one we would have had, so we were back in the US for my fifth grade year and then again for my tenth grade year after which we did not return to Bolivia.
The purpose for the change of labels for that Stateside year was to take away the impression that it was a year-long vacation and reemphasize that the year was to be spent doing deputation. Dad did a lot of preaching that year we were in the US when I was ten, and we most often went along. The four eldest of us five were regularly asked to sing for the congregation a Sunday school song or two in Spanish, a display of which we were not all that excited to be a part.
I remember once grieving to Dad about some part of this ministering we were asked to do. I suppose there was not much excuse I could give, so my complaint took the form of telling Dad that we didn’t know anybody. He most likely instinctively drew on something his mom or dad may have said often to him and replied, “Ya, a monkey doesn’t know anybody, but everybody knows a monkey.”
There is something comforting about knowing and being known. Maybe that’s why the Holy Spirit inspired Pastor John to remind us that we, the children of God, would not be known, would not be welcome in this world. The world does not know us because it does not know God, but we don’t need to be known or accepted by the world because we are known by and know God and are indeed His children.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.