Lately, life on our little mission farm has been a little crazy. Okay, it has been A LOT crazy. Along with the everyday ministry responsibilities of running two
education centers, feeding the abandoned elderly in our village, discipling and
empowering our Peruvian team, and other daily life duties, we have had a few
added issues in the past weeks. Short-term mission teams have been visiting and serving alongside us and The Mission Society has been in Peru hosting their annual 3-week missionary training event. But the thing that has really caused my life to go completely out of whack has been these crazy goats that we are raising!
This month has brought the birth of 3 new kids. I can't tell you how cute and sweet baby goats are! They have been such a joy. And with babies comes
increased milk production, which means increased work load on us each day to
milk goats and make cheese. However, life with this small herd of twelve has now become more than stressful. For example:
We came home one day to find one of our adolescent goats with her head stuck in a hole in the fence. We sprang into crisis mode to free her head as several of her goat friends eagerly and curiously watched the commotion. The very next morning, we were awakened to a very pained cry from one of the babies. He had gotten his leg caught in a feeding stand and in his panic, he snapped his own leg. So we became emergency vets and fashioned a splint from a wooden fruit crate and duct tape. The next day, one of the mama goats decided to give birth to her baby directly on top on a rock hill, which resulted in the tiny newborn immediately rolling down the hill and into a ditch full of water (our mornings have been 28 degrees). Her first breaths were under freezing water. Luckily, we were coming into the barnyard as this occurred and we were able to rescue her and dry and
warm her and restore her breathing. We have another goat that is so paralyzed by fear and is so timid that she crawls on her knees and lives under the feeding manger, only eating what she can catch as it spills out and falls to the ground. Our male "billy" goat can't decide if he is going to be a full grown male or if he is still a kid... If he is near his mother, he wants to nurse; if he isaround the other females, he is more than interested in making baby goats; if he is near the babies, he wants to play, but he plays too rough. So poor "Elmer" spends most of his time separated from the general population and playing with the chickens in the hen yard. "Sunny" thinks that she is a human and is constantly glued to your leg when you are working in the goat yard. If she isn't given the proper amount of attention, she butts you, pushes you, paws you... She has even been known to chew a six inch chunk of hair off of the back of my daughter's head when she wanted attention! Two days ago, we woke up to find our full grown pig in the goat pen. She is in heat and she decided to tear down her pig house and her fence, break open the gate to the goats, and spend her evening wreaking havoc on the goat herd. Most recently, yesterday brought the early death of one of our new babies. Only four days old, she never would nurse from her mother. We milked out the mom and tried to bottle feed the baby, but she never accepted the bottle either. We watched for days as her mother worked and worked to care for her, to clean her, to coax her to nurse, and cooed to her continually, but she finally became too weak and stopped breathing.
The above is just a sample of what our last two weeks has looked like with the goats. As I was feeding and tending to the animals today, I was thinking about how we feel about them - how we love them, how we care about their well being, how we lament when they do crazy things and hurt themselves in the process, and how we worry for them and mourn them when things don't work out like we wish they would have. It made me laugh a little to think about how God probably looks at us in the
same manner... We don't generally get our heads stuck in the fence or chew off our friend's hair when they don't pay attention to us, but we have our own issues. Some of us seek attention from others in less than appropriate or annoying ways. Some of us panic and do further harm to ourselves, when staying calm and trusting others would have been a better plan. Some of us haven't decided to fully grow up yet. Some of us navigate our lives with such timidity and fear that we are not really living life at
all. Some of us have been less-than-perfect parents. And some of us have been the best parent we possibly can be and things still haven't worked out like we had wished. I know that sometimes He has laughed at our antics and situations, sometimes He shakes his head at our decisions, and sometimes He cries with us. Above all, He is the Good Shepherd and He wants what is best for
the lessons I have learned from being a first-time shepherd... Now if I could
just figure out what to do with the 20 chickens and the crazy pig...
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!