Friday, August 1, 2008

Vacation Time!

Matthew 9
Crowds of Sinners, by Dr. Everett Curry

It has been quite a week around the Buthe home. A good one, overall, in fact.
Last Monday night, near midnight our church mission team from El Salvador returned home. They were tired and a few were a bit worse for wear, but it appears to have been a good trip. Some stomachs remain in recovery. Ana (my wife) and our three daughters were part of the twelve person team. For Amanda (our 18 yr old) it was her third trip. She says it was the best yet, and our other two daughters loved it equally well. It was our church's fifth trip since 2001, and the first time I have not gone. In total, 26 people from Cedar Hills have now traveled to our sister church, Shekina Baptist in Santa Ana, El Salvador.
Most of the next couple of days for my girls was spent recounting all of their adventures and sharing dozens of pictures and memories. They have informed me that, if I take a sabbatical, it had better include a significant amount of time for the whole family in El Salvador. They recommend a month. We'll see how that goes. The wonderful thing for me was simply witnessing their joy and a shift, at least for now, in how they see the world and what is most important. We'll be working on a report to the church of the trip from the entire group which will take place on Sunday, August 17th in worship. Stay tuned!
Along with the normal visits and Kids Summer Fun responsibilities of the week, I have a wedding this weekend. It has been a joy to work on in many ways. The groom has waited 10 years to marry his special bride - for she required that her children be grown and on their own before she would remarry. He waited. And so their wedding will be a sweet beginning to a new life together.
Just to make things more interesting for me, I had a dental appt today at 1 PM. A couple of months ago I found out that I had a deep cavity in an old wisdom tooth (a hole in my wisdom), and the dentist said it was so deep that it would likely either need a root canal, or that it might just be best to yank the sucker. Since it was an especially deep cavity that shouldn't wait too long, they scheduled me 2.5 months out - August 23. After bugging them, they moved it to today. Ana thought I was nuts for scheduling it the same day as the aforementioned wedding rehearsal, but I thought, "Hey, what's the worst that can happen? They pull it and I swell? I'm already got a big fat tumor on that side of my face - who's gonna notice a bit more puff?" However, I wasn't looking forward to 1 PM today. It did occur to me, though, that a richer prayer life is often a spiritual side effect of fear.
Anyway.. it is true that testy tooth is on the same side as my tumor and I've had some nasty complications with previous dental work on that side (let's just say that hearing your dental surgeon say "Uh-oh, we have a problem!" when he pulls a tooth can be a bit disconcerting). But God is good. After numbing me up and drilling away, my good dentist, Mimi, said, "I think we'll be able to simply do a filling and hope that the tooth can be saved." Amen, I said. And so, 45 minutes later, I was out of there and my anxiety was significantly lowered.
I'm back to wedding message writing and getting things tidied up before vacation. We're heading down near Lake Shasta to meet up with Ana's brother and his family for about a week of camping, swimming, and hopefully a river-raft trip with our clan. It should be interesting and, I hope, fun. I always feel like God is a bit more visible in the midst of mountains and lakes.
I'm deeply grateful for people like Everett Curry and Peter Clay who will be preaching while I'm away. They always offer fresh perspectives on life and God's Word. We are fortunate to have their leadership.