In the interest of getting back to using this blog, I thought I would share an interesting sight from yesterday. We were in a small town outside of Loja to look at a potential rent house, and found sugar cane walking itself down the road!
Ok, well, it was not walking itself down the road. But, whatever is above those four legs doesn’t seem to be able to see the road.
Still can’t see…
Ok, you probably guessed by now, but there is a donkey under there somewhere.
The first donkey that the men are unloading had walked down the road without someone leading it…trained to the path, even without guidance…there is a sermon illustration in there somewhere.
I ended up talking to the owner for awhile. He is making panela (piloncillo in Texas)…an unrefined block of sugar. He estimated that he makes 2,000 pounds of panela per day!
And, we bought a block for 25 cents.
We are still searching for a rent house. We are looking for something healthy for our family, but also in the best place for ministry that the Lord might have us in over the next year and beyond. We appreciate your prayers toward this end.
Here is some of the landscape in this area.
I have begun reading, what so far has been, a really good book by Tony Reinke, called “Newton on the Christian Life”. Here is what I thought was a helpful metaphor of the Christian life by Newton that Reinke fleshes out in chapter 1:
“In a large building project the foundations are laid deep. Metaphorically, grace works below the surface of the soil and out of view to lay the sturdy foundations of the Christian life. Down under the soil the work seems slow, and then the walls begin to go up.But so does the scaffolding. The building progresses behind this scaffolding, and in broad daylight the mess and trash and broken stones and building materials lying around the site cloud the progress from many bystanders. The progress is obscured by the rubble. This is the perspective we often have of ourselves and other Christians. The Christian life is a hard-hat area, and we struggle to see God’s “good work” coming together in the mess of our lives.
How different is the view of the architect. The architect has done this many times before, and he perceives the end of the project from the first stone and to the final shrub. He can steer the progress along to the end he designed. He may need to adjust the materials or change the schedule, but even in the jobsite mess, the end product is clear in his imagination. In time, the project will be finished: the scaffolding will be removed, the debris cleaned up, the discarded building supplies taken away, the windows and floors polished, and the project delightful in its completion…
…Grace finishes what the divine architect planned. As the builder, grace never walks off the job or leaves the project unfinished. The Christian life is always progressing behind scaffolding and debris that clouds our vision and makes it difficult to gauge the work of grace in our lives and the lives of other Christians. Yet, we are confident that grace executes the Architect’s blueprint. Newton is confident that even when it feels like the construction has stopped, grace continues to labor. This trust in the active work of grace in the Christian life helped Newton keep his trust in God when his spirits were low or when progress was obscured. The work of grace progresses from behind the scaffold, until the great unveiling (1 John 3:2). This event is on schedule, and the infallible Architect will deliver the end product, all by grace.”
*I typed the quote from a paper book, so any typos are almost assuredly mine!
I have been wanting to learn to roast my own coffee for quite a while. Today became the day to try.
First batch lessons: 1)Make sure your thermometer works (I completely abandoned the thermometer for the second round); 2)Make sure you put enough beans in the roaster that the blades can move them; 3)Use the lower quality beans for the first round…in this case I ruined the better Tres Rios beans first. The secondary beans were still good beans, but I would have loved to try the others. The results:
Yikes! They scorched within the first 15 seconds. Glad I had more green coffee on hand. After setting the thermometer aside, and just guesstimating the temperature, I got started again. Here’s the handy popcorn popper method of roasting coffee.
After being ready to give up after the first round debacle, I was pleasantly surprised to see the beans roasting as they should! Here’s a couple more shots from about 5-7 minutes into the roast:
So you can see what happens during the roast, Tiff pulled a coffee bean out every so often during the roast.
Beans need to cool quickly so they don’t continue to roast…two colanders did the trick this time.
Sorting through the beans to pick out any scorched or under-roasted beans…came out to about a handful.
I broke a rule about roasting coffee. You’re supposed to wait about 24 hours after roasting before grinding and brewing coffee because the flavor continues to develop…but how can you not try your first batch of roasted coffee right away?
After the initial (really steep) learning curve, I was really happy with how this batch turned out. About 8 1/2 minutes on the roast. I look forward to trying it in the morning when it should be even better. Tiff even tried it her way…just mix a tablespoon of coffee with a tablespoon of sugar and a cup of milk!🙂
Last week I was able to go on a guys retreat with our church. Two hours outside of the city, 12 hours of Spanish, and a beautiful landscape of the Lord to behold. Enjoy!
Last week, we had the opportunity at our language school to participate in hosting a Christmas party for a group of 100+ kids from a nearby children’s home! Each child received a gift, plus we had games, food, and a devotional time. Our days are normally consumed with trying to learn Spanish, so being able to physically help with a program that tells kids that God cares about them was a refreshing. And, we were able to use, and learn, a little Spanish as well. Here are some photos of the event.