Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Seeing and Hearing

              "  A Brazilian Indian once told translator Steve Sheldon, "The reason you do not see the animals in the forest is because you have very small vision. We have large vision because we see, not only with our eyes, but with our ears, our sense of smell, with our total being. You look only with your eyes and so you have only tiny, tiny vision and you see very little."
                In all of life, we must see with more than our eyes, and we must listen with more than our ears. Maybe if we listened with our eyes, with our minds, and especially our hearts, we would spend less time lost in the jungle of misunderstandings and broken relationships. Perhaps this is partly what Christ meant when he said, "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them," Matthew 13:15

                If a child does not pay attention or does not obey, the Muinanes will accuse him of not having holes in his ears. Surely if he had hole sin his ears, so he could hear, he would obey. I wonder how often I have been accused of not having holes in my ears --not only in my relationships with others, but in my relationship with God. God gave us holes in our ears, the capacity to hear his voice, but we let the noise of the world ring too loudly, unconsciously blocking out the voice of God. Other times we deliberately put out fingers in our ears as we argue that God is silent.

                I imagine that I have been guilty of both charges at times. But in the jungle, I have learned the difference between hearing and truly listening, between perceiving and understanding.    "

--This is taken from the book we are currently reading "Sent to the River God Forgot" by Jim and Janice Walton.

During this school year I have read from a missionary book everyday during lunch to the children. Each one has taken place in South America.  It started out with the first few as coincidence and now at the end of the year, we have been seeking them purposely to keep with our South American theme.

Our First journey to South America was A Cry from the Streets: Rescuing Brazil's Forgotten Children (International Adventures) it took place mostly in the heart of modern Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It was a very serious book, which discussed the heart breaking plight that street children face today.
         I would not recommend this book for young children, without previewing it first to be prepared whether to skip over or be ready to discuss the many serious issues, from abortion- to drugs -to rape. I did both; skipping over some portions and discussing others with my kids. All in all it was a great read. We were amazed and inspired from reading about lives completely given to God and what amazing things he will do when one is obedient to his call.

The next was by Horace Banner, Rain Forest Adventures. This one was enjoyed by everyone and was a very quick read. This was not so much a missionary story as it was a book of parables, short descriptive chapters comparing jungle animals to the truths we can find in the Bible. The Missionaries located deep in the Amazonian jungle of Brazil ministered there for more than 40 years to the Kayapo people. This was one of those books the kids kept asking me to read another chapter.

Next was which I had found at a yard sale years ago, Sand and Stars: Missionary Adventure on the Jungle Trail by Ruth Stull, not knowing what it was about. Now that I have read it, it has become a real treasure especially being a first edition copy. It is beautifully written. The author felt that her eyes were always looking up to heaven and her creator, the stars, but her feet were always walking the earth, the sand.
         Her family was sent to an isolated people group in the Peruvian jungle, where the Amazon begins. They faced many dangers and sickness but God was faithful through it all. Most importantly they were able to bring light to a people sitting in utter darkness. There are a few parts in this book that may need to be edited for the small listener. I have also found out she has written other books.

Next in line was Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot. This was one that we were all very familiar with the story having seen End of the Spear and reading the account in several other missionary books. I wanted to read this from the source and get the full story. Knowing the ending it was harder reading for me. It was also harder for the younger kids to listen too because the first half of the book shares a little history on who the individual men were, their families and how they came to be missionaries. So the younger kids didn't think that half was too exciting. It was amazing to read the end and see the reactions and continued love for the tribal people, who killed the five missionaries. And of course the kids once again had to try to listen to me cry as I blubbered through the end of the book.

By this time the younger kids found out there was another book written by Horace Banner, Amazon Adventures and we needed to take a break from the serious. So we ordered it from Amazon. I must say many of the stories are almost the same as the first we read by the author but with a small twist and a little more missionary life weaved into the stories. It was still just as good and enjoyable, but the kids remembered a lot of it from the previous book. Since it had been several months since the first book it acted as a good review.

And the last book we are reading is Sent to the River God Forgot by Jim and Janice Walton, about a family that was called to the Colombian jungle, in the 60's, where previously the Indians were terribly afflicted by the Amazon rubber boom. We're reading about how God not only called these people to share the good news with the inhabitants of the jungle but to trust them, in turn gaining their trust in return and learning from them as well. It's humbly written. And we are enjoying reading about the lessons the family has learned and how they compare to our own lives.

We have thoroughly enjoyed this journey to South America through missionary stories. I almost don't want to leave. If we find more that take place in South America we will be sure to read them through the summer. Feel free to leave suggestions for us in the comments below.  And where will we go next year?

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