Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Too Much Information

This has been a wonderful spring and summer for me in terms of preparing for my seventh mission to Vietnam. Family and friends and brothers/sisters in Christ have contributed past my expenses to allow us to focus on several needed projects with the church and the English schools established by members of their congregation. One branch of the school is about three years old, two in its present location. The other has opened since my return last August so I'm excited to see how they are faring! Schools require libraries and last summer we were able to help set up one at the original campus, stocked with children's books in English. This year, through the untiring efforts of Pam Lehman and Jennifer White, we were able to purchase books to supply a library for the new campus. Pam and Jennifer, who work with our congregation's children's ministry, are also master school teachers. After deciding what we wanted, after consulting Ngan, who directs the schools in Can Tho, Pam economically ordered what turned out to be eight boxes of literature, using her own earned points in the process. The order arrived within several days. 

Jennifer took on the task of shipping the books half way around the world, accompanied by me and her wonderful kiddos, Madison and Drew.
After several stops at well-known freight companies, we ended up at a nearby US Post Office. The lady assisting us, Margaret, was awesome! She guided us through the meticulous process which took about ninety minutes. Besides addressing the eight boxes, there was also the matter of customs forms. When we finished, Margaret told us it would be six to ten days before delivery in Vietnam. It was tedious but we survived so we celebrated with Chick-Fil-A; I had my first peach shake! And then we waited.

About ten days later, I got a Facebook message from Ngan including the picture at the top of this page. It read:
Received one box! How many should there be?
That's not the message I was hoping to find! I replied and just assumed they must have been separated and would arrive shortly. They didn't. A week and then two and then three. And I became very worried. Then, I received a second message from Ngan who had received a message from the Vietnamese customs office. It seems the one box that was delivered had the address exactly as Ngan had instructed. The other seven? Well, as Jennifer and I were beginning the process of addressing back in Houston back at the Post Office, I got the bright idea of adding the name of the school to the destination even though Ngan did not include it. My thought process was that a little extra information would be very helpful to the delivery man. Unfortunately, the school and Ngan's house are several blocks apart. THAT'S WHY THEY DID NOT GET DELIVERED! Fortunately, the seven boxes have made it to the Post Office in Saigon and hopefully, will make it to Can Tho in the next several days. Also, hopefully, with no additional fees!

You know, I was just trying to be helpful! But when we add stuff that is unnecessary or erroneous, we can get into trouble. In his first letter to Corinth, Paul addresses a number of topics, including division. Here is what he wrote in chapter 4, verse 6: 
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written."
I highlighted that last part because that is exactly what I did and it caused the eight boxes to be divided. If I had stuck to Ngan's script, I would not still be anxious because there would have been no issue. I am well on the way to complete healing of my left knee, a common theme in the past week's devotionals. Do you know why? I did not add or subtract from Dr. Flores' orders. Everything he said to do, I have done faithfully. Not surprisingly, it has worked. He's a knee specialist and a great one at that. What if I had thrown in my own wrinkle into the process? Maybe some heat to go along with the ice? Back in the pool to get the blood circulating again? I can tell you what would have happened; DISASTER! That's the result of our not following the Word of God. We can all have different interpretations of the meaning of certain parables but Jesus taught His family consists of those who hear the Word and obey it. I added one line to those boxes and look what happened. I'm not going to lie- I'm still anxious. Next time, I'll trust Ngan- she knows best. Not surprisingly, so does God.

PS: I won't mind if you pray for a speedy delivery!

Applicable quote of the day:
I still giggle when someone asks for my address and I say, 'Hollywood, Los Angeles.' 
Ashley Jensen

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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