Thursday, August 05, 2010

Back to normal?

8/5/10 Thursday
This afternoon Ron flies out of here. I guess that means things get back to normal, whatever normal is around here. I’ll be able to get back to working on and around this farm, the never ending job that has few short term rewards but many long term promises. Ron’s visits always renew my faith, bringing to the fore the realities of this world we live in and fortifying my understanding and belief in the bible with the archaeological and historical verifications he has uncovered in his more than 30 years of research. For those who don’t know, Ron is an archaeologist, historian, and author, who’s books include the 600 page “The Search”, which is used by many colleges and universities in their curriculum. He has many degrees, is a PHD, and has accomplishments in many areas of life, including, as an engineer for Owens Corning, developing the technology to create Corning Ware. This was actually based on his archaeological study and digs at ancient Babylon, where they uncovered the furnaces used to create the unusual blue glazed bricks and tiles that had confounded scientists for years.

Ron gave up all of his success to serve God. He always served God. He was Cherie’s Sunday school teacher way back when and was in our first marriage. I had the privilege of being under his tutelage and helping as he founded and built a church in Oregon, Ohio. He did this while working as an engineer for Owens Corning Glass. Being a pastor was hard on Ron, harder than dealing with Islamic fundamentalists who actively seek to kill him. As an archaeologist Ron can get into countries that are totally shut off to traditional missionaries, and thus is able to minister to the severely persecuted Muslims who converted to Christianity. “How can that be easier than being a pastor in the states?” you might ask. Here in America Ron had to deal with all the compromise and hypocrisy that is almost an accepted part of church life. Actually in many churches it is accepted and in some doctrine has developed that makes it ok to sin. It was a constant dealing with peoples petty problems, with midnight calls over nothing from uncaring and selfish church members, that created ulcers and other health issues in Ron.

So while his life is often in danger and he sees what I can’t even reveal here, things are much more black and white overseas. It’s life and death, good versus evil, with not a lot of gray areas. You don’t find the greed and petty egos in the midst of such hard life. There, when a Muslim accepts Jesus as his or her savior they know it will cost them everything and in the midst of such hardship they band together in support of each other. Ron has told me of how he watched as one person stood in the way of police, literally giving up his life to save others as they escaped. In that instance Ron was held and forced to watch as this man, along with his son and a pregnant woman, was killed. Ron was told that this would happen to him if he kept helping and ministering to these “enemies of Allah”. Enemies of Allah and pigs are how those who were born Muslim and convert to Christianity are referred to. Because they are now considered to be no longer people and refuse they are taken to the garbage dumps where they struggle to survive the best they can in the toxic filth. Life expectancy is only two or three years there. It’s estimated there are 4 million of them in the five garbage dumps of Cairo, which itself has a population of 28 million.

So my problems pale in comparison. Sure I must deal with petty, arrogant, self important people with fragile egos who’s little worlds are all that’s important to them but the hurt and pain they cause is nothing compared to what the garbage city people endure daily. It’s good to put things in perspective. I will pray for those who are so easily used by the devil here and trust that God, who raised me from the dead and restored my life, wife, and mind, is greater than all that oppose us combined. Like it says in the bible, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”. Ron told us that it’s pretty clear to him that God has a plan and purpose for us. He said that anytime you are doing what God wants the enemy comes against you and he believes that God must have something special in mind because we are attacked in so many ways. If there was no opposition then it would mean that we are no threat to the devil, thus don’t earn his attention. But it’s been uncanny, and hard, how so many good people turn, seem to change and end up causing harm and blocking forward progress. Disheartening would be the word for it, along with discouraging and a lot of other “dis” words. But there are always good people who encourage and help us, and invariably, when things seem bad something comes up just in time and at the last minute to pull us through the crisis. So we get kicked in the teeth all the time and God is always there to pick us up. So I will trust in the Lord regardless of what comes against us.

Ron flies out at noon today. He will be back with his wife at the end of September and we so look forward to that. I’ll go get some weeding done while it’s still relatively cool out and then run to take him to the airport. It’s going to be hot again, as it has been, but there is more humidity coming, which will only make it worse. Ron told me that it was 122 degrees in Cairo when he left, hot even for there. He joked that he came to our 100 degree heat to cool off.

Gotta go. There’s work to do.


Gwynne said...

Reading this is a powerful reminder of how our faith is strengthened thru tests. Ron sure sounds like an extraordinary man! You are blessed to have him in your life. Thanks for sharing this!

Bob said...

Ron is the real deal, a man who truly puts his life on the line and who gave up riches and comfort to help those who are often considered the least. Jesus spent his time with those who were rejected and despised, the poorest and least liked and said that we should follow his example. The Son of God washing His disciples feet was just one of them. Humility requires denying self.