Friday, February 21, 2014

What's all the fuss about?

I'm not going to lie.  I feel like things got a little crazy.  Crazy, as in dramatic.  Yes, the things that are occurring in our neighborhood are not normal.  Nor are they good.  But I don't feel like we're in danger.  Sometimes I'm not sure if I live in reality or some sort of fantasy land.  Bart and I like to switch between those I think.  We balance each other out.  But that leads to feeling a little bipolar at times.

So let me just give a little update.  To let you know that we're not in danger.  Or at least that's our perception.  Yes, yesterday was a little ridiculous.  There were a lot of people setting up "road blocks." These road blocks consisted of anything from trash to tvs to mattresses to hot water heaters.  And then they set them on fire.
This is a view from our living room

Here's the thing.  It was peaceful.  Not normal.  But peaceful.  I can say that it was strange.  Creepy.  Wasteful.  Unproductive.  I'm not sure what the goal is.  I'm not involved honestly.  Thankfully.  What we could gather is that the opposition and the government (these seem to be the two opposing sides) want to "claim" territory.  So the opposition was claiming our neighborhood.  In the form of blocking the roads and burning things.

The goal is not to hurt anyone.  It's not to strike fear into the hearts of the people.  I think.  They are trying to make a point.  Businesses are closed.  Restaurants are closed.  It's all a form of protest.  The people are rallying.  Rallying behind the only thing they know, and that's to protest.  I can't blame them.  In the year and a half we've lived here, inflation has gone up by probably 300% (don't quote me on this though).  Basic goods like milk, flour, sugar, toilet paper and butter are hard to come by.  And when you do find them, you stock up because you don't know when you'll see them again.
This is a view from the girls' apartment

The people are hurting.  And they feel like they have no other choice but to protest.  Our hearts break for the state of the economy and the lack of joy that people have here.  Honestly though, what else can bring them to their knees in recognition of Who can save them from their circumstances?  I'm not saying Jesus is a quick fix or a fix all.  He doesn't magically go around waving his wand fixing our problems (not that I wouldn't be ok with that sometimes, or most of the time, or actually all of the time).  But he is what and who gives us hope.

So this morning, by faith, I went to the grocery store with two other people on the team.  We felt fine and safe and we were surprisingly in and out within 20 minutes.  It was packed and a little chaotic, but that's normal at 7:00 pm at the store anyways.  But it was 8:00 am.  Whatever.  People need food and it's hard telling when the grocery would close.  So you go when it's open and you get what you can.  There were police out.  They had reclaimed what was a chaotic mess of an intersection the day before.  Traffic was flowing.  People were out and about.  Some breakfast places were even open.  It felt normal.  Sort of.
This is a view from the stairwell
But the reality is that Venezuelans are hurting.  They don't know where to go or what to do.  We've heard of numerous people who are leaving the country, who just can't live here and deal with what is going on anymore.  And that breaks our hearts.  Our end goal is that people here would love Jesus and want to stay here to share with others about Jesus.  So don't go.  We need you here.  Jesus wants you here.

I feel like a hypocrite saying that.  I'm not staying.  I'm leaving.  I'm selfish.  I have boundaries.  I'm not justifying it.  People here need Jesus.  How can I hold them to a standard I myself will not even hold to?  But my honest desire is that they would would want to see their own country reached.  In their own language.  In their own way, in their own culture.

So the healthy middle ground is probably somewhere in between this post and the previous post.  It's not entirely safe.  We're not really free to roam as we please.  But we are in our apartments and there isn't the threat of danger inside our apartment complex.  This is real.  It's messy and complicated and not cut and dry.  Oh we wish it were.  Reality is our friend.  It may be painful.  It may be messy.  It may involve physical harm or fear or unrest or any other number of things.  But isn't walking with Jesus worth it?

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.  Philippians 3:8

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