Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Invoking our inner Macho Man Randy Savage



Seriously, what would you do?

So we were waiting for the drunk guy to stumble past the car, when all of the sudden he starts yelling racist comments and stumbling toward the car.

Before I continue you have to imagine the scene.  We just came from a wedding, all dressed up, and we are taking some friends back to their house.  Our friends, an older grandma, a 30-ish mom, and her adolescent son are all sitting in the back of the mini-minivan.  My beautiful wife all dressed up and looking hot in shotgun.  We are parked on a very steep hill right in front of their house. And there we are laughing and talking a little in the car while our soon-to-be uninvited guest makes his way towards our mini-minivan party.  It is a Chevy N200 mini...mini...minivan.

And we are back.  So this dude (or any other D-word you prefer to plug in) actually opens the door and reaches his hand in toward my wife, all the while yelling and screaming angrily.

Why?  Because I am white.  Seriously.  That was the only thing that made him angry (we will leave it at that for now).

Back to the question.  What would you do?

My reaction definitely won't end up on my highlight reel.  I immediately invoked my inner dad/husband/Macho Man Randy Savage instinct and in one step had the door open, I was around the front of the car, and had my fist clinched in on its way towards the soon to be victim.

DON'T YOU EVER!
EVER!
GO AT MY WIFE!

All of this happens within a few seconds.  Then God intervenes, but it was the drunk lady "helping out" that yells "tu carro!  tu carro!"

And there is my car rolling backwards down the steep hill with my wife now sitting in the middle counsel (and the emergency brake causing the emergency).

An hour later.  Security.  Police.  Rocks thrown.  More drunks yelling.  Family home.  It's over.


So I got to thinking later in the early morning.  This guy wasn't angry because I am white nor because he was drunk.  This is just his outward expression of so much retained anger, hurt, and pain caused by years of suffering and impotence.  These moments of anger allowed him to be in "control" and actually have an effect on something.  Though it is negative and only makes things worse, these are the moments that allow him to feel alive and free.

It was a clear and vivid image of the work that still awaits.  God has great and mighty plans to change, restore, and transform us.  This man was face to face with one of God's ambassadors and unfortunately instead of restoration and transformation, there was only more pain and anger piling up on top of the dung pile called life.

Or maybe not.

So seriously, what would you have done?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Constellations



This is the biggest photo ever taken.  It is many stars, planets, universes, solar systems.  It is simply beautiful.

I have been reflecting on families lately.  In many ways families are like constellations. We are all a part of some constellation and we identify ourselves as such.  A constellation is a group of related things, or what we know as a group of stars.

I am a child of God.  I am a husband and a father. I am a Ridenour.   I am a coffee lover (and roaster). I am a Packer fan.  I am a Kings fan.

These are the ways that people can identify me.  Most people do not know nor understand what all that means, but it is who I am and the way I relate to everything to do.  It is where I am.  It is who I am.  It is the group that I am a part of.

When it all comes to an end we will be known by who we are identified as, what group we form.  We are one star but we are a part of something bigger.

Who are you?

Mom! Stop freakin' out!

When summer comes most people are excited.

Going to the beach.
Heading to the river.
A cookie dough ice cream dripping down your hand...or even an ice cream mustache!

Unfortunately, that is not usually the case for most families here in Tacna.  Summer means financial troubles are on the way.  School starts the first week of March and that means some families will be spending up to a couple months salary in order to pay for their children's school supplies.

It is a sad reminder.  Not so much of how good we have it, because we might not all have it that good, but rather how tough many other people do have it.

We have been blessed as a church and organization to provide help to over 30 families (over 60 children) with school supplies and an after-school program.  Alliance Exchange, a non-profit in the Boston area has been giving $3,000 a year to help this cause, but next year will be the last as they are closing down.  It has been great to be able to help out so many over the years, but now we are at a crossroads where we need to seek out more supporters and organizations that can partner with us.

We seek to eradicate poverty by educating children, thus providing the ability to move ahead.  Each sponsorship is a year closer to a child being enabled. Each child is a future family.   Each smile and A+ is blessed reminder that God is good and he is moving!

If you or anyone you know can help in any way (being a sponsor, knowing an organization, doing a fundraising activity, etc), please contact us for more information.  Thank you for reading this far down!