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When the odds are against you

Melissa Hedding

Remember Gideon?  He was that judge God picked to lead Isreal's army (32,000 men) to defeat Midian (133,000 men) who was stealing their harvest.  And God was all "You have too many men.  I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Isreal would boast against me, 'My own strength has saved me" (Judges 7:2).  Well God had some good lessons for me as I'm following along with my sweet ladies' group in Pricilla Shirer's Gideon Bible study this week about strenth and weakness.

See, we're planning this trip back the the US in November which means we've been in Nicaragua almost a year now.  So I have been thinking a lot about how we're doing on our 'goals' for coming down here.  Have we done 'enough' in a year?  I was all going to do a blog update to tell the world our progress... but I think I'm just too struck with how we are to "boast in our weakness"(2 Cor 12:9) because our weakness is the platform upon which God's strength can be manifested to try to write about the 'great' things we've done in 'our' strength.

The fact is, moving down here has shown me just how weak I am.  So rather than an update of our progress per se, I want to give God some glory for how he's shown up in those weaknesses, by transforming us, using our lacks, and changing the circumstances in ways that we just knew it was Him.

We came down here hoping to learn Spanish more throughly, buy a home for our family and our business, build relationships, and bring some economic opportunities through the business by employing people here.  It was a high bar, but we'd be tempted to say it was 'doable' somewhat like those odds Gideon started with (1 Isrealite to 4 Midianites).  We moved and promptly discovered that our 4th child was on the way, found that establishing long term residency would take a bohemoth amount of time and energy, and had a tough time fitting in language study for my husband which left pregnant me doing a lot more errands and translation for a longer time.  Sure started to feel impossible... maybe a bit like Gideon's reduction in troops to 300 men (1 Isrealite to 450 Midianites).  There's really no doubt that anything good that comes from us being here comes straight from God!  My hands have felt more than full since day 1! 

So praise God for His strength and timing in all our little goals... and for rearranging them to His goals as needed!  What have we done this year?  We've begun a lot of relationships, some long term and some just for an afternoon, in which we've hopefully been able to reflect God's light.  We've lived our normal and overwhelming life in front of a very watching world as we stick out so much.  We've learned a lot about how to 'do life' in what was once a foreign land and is becoming much more our adopted home each day.  Lucas has studied Spanish faithfully despite a lot of distractions.  Our children have gotten vaccines in a foreign country, gained some Spanish fluency (David is conversational, Elsie can say short sentences).  God sustained a healthy pregnancy and brought us sweet baby Peter in his perfect timing.  I have somehow had the energy to accomplish each day's tasks and sometimes the patience and maturity to do them in a God-honoring way.  We bought and renovated a home for our business and family.  We've got our business officially registered in Nicaragua and learned a lot about procedures for running it well here and the tax structure and all.  Lucas was able to travel to the US for a conference and make a lot of connections with potential clients as the business grows.  He's also been able to build some solid relationships with men at Church who are interested and well qualified to work with us.  We've filed for residency and should be officially not tourists here in a few more months.  

Buying Bananas
Buying Banans

We'd still certainly love prayers for God's strength to be made perfect in our weakness as we hope to continue to move 'forward':

1 - We hope soon to have employees for the business.  Training workers and having clients who are OK with having their work done by trainees is a place we'd love to see God's hand and timing.  

2 - God's provision for time and ability for Lucas to improve his Spanish a bit more.  He had been doing an online learning program to get gramatical structure and is now looking do do one-on-one lessons at the nearby cultural center.

3 - God's hand and direction in the relationships we establish in our new location (we moved into our long-term home a few weeks before 1-month-old Peter was born).

4 - Wisdom and direction as we prepare to establish some new household routines at the new year, which is also when the new school year will begin.  We'd like to homeschool the kids after a first year of preschool to establish Spanish fluency at least for the older two and I really hope to be able to school in Spanish so we don't lose it.  There are also some opportunities for extra curricular activities or possibly ministry involvement to help maintain those language skills.  Lots of unknowns in things that are near to my mama's heart there.

Thank's so much for your prayers!  And I'd love to know how I can be praying for the lives and ministries God has called you all too also!  Please really do send me a message of how I can pray for you and I definitely will!