Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seventy times Seven

It's hard to believe that we have experienced theft, yet again.

Last month, we moved to a smaller residence since we no longer had youth living in our home.   We needed space to store the machines and tools used in the carpentry shop.   There were two rooms in renovation in the building that is now being occupied by the church of Pastor Santiago.  He gave permission for us to store the tools while we were completing the work on the building.

One day when Preston went to the building to do some work he discovered that all the machines and tools were gone.   The planer, the table saw, circular saws, sanders, plate joiner, drills, and other smaller tools.  Everything that was not in a tool box in our home was gone.

We talked to the neighbors but everyone had the same story, they saw nothing.  Even the neighbors living across the street, gave the same story; they saw nothing.   What makes this so unbelievable is that the thefts were happening during THE DAY.  How do we know this?  It's way too dark to work at night.  The thieves had to scale a 12 foot wall to get the goods out of the building and a week later, on a Sunday there was another theft.  This time chairs were stolen between the time the morning church service ended at noon and the afternoon service began at 4.

Back in December, we had many tools stolen by someone staying in our home.   It took weeks to assess all the things that were missing because Preston has so many small, medium and large tools.  He would need something for a particular job and when he couldn't find it, we knew that it must have been included in the December heist.   When we took a final count, the tools were valued at over $800.   This latest heist will cost more than $2000 to replace what was taken, not including the chairs.

Theft is an ongoing hazard for the missionaries living and working in Nicaragua.  We've experienced a dozen different incidents of theft in the years we have lived here.  We hear stories all the time from others from a whole house being emptied out while the family was home for the holidays to a pet being poisoned while the family was away so that the thieves could enter the compound.

We tell people, the nation is not violent, it's just a nation of thieves.

We have since cut away the shrubs and overgrown weeds from around the building.  We had our friend, Wilber, weld the razor wire to metal rebar at the top of the wall.

So, seventy time seven, that's what the Bible says.   That's a hard one when the offense is repeated over and over again.  Forgiveness has no limits.   I don't know if it's unforgiveness that we struggle with or cynicism.  

We were privileged to have grown up in the most wonderful country in the world and never in our years did we personally ever experience discrimination.  We encounter on a weekly basis behavior that could be considered modern day persecution; extreme rudeness because we are Americans and they know we won't retaliate, we are laughed at, sneered at, lied to, stolen from.

Every day, we have to prepare ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally for the work we do and life we live in Nicaragua.  BUT, those of us that continue to stay, this is home and in spite of everything we love the people that God has brought into our lives.  The work is HARD, sometimes the rewards are few, but we get glimpses of breakthroughs and we know we are on the right path.