My 8 year old daughter wants to make a surfboard. She has been talking about it for a couple of months now. It isn’t so surprising, really. Her older
brothers have gone through surfing stages. She spent a significant portion of her youngest years watching them carry their boards out into the waves, first in South Padre Island, Texas, and later in Costa Rica. When she could only crawl, she was placed on her hands and knees on her brother’s board and gently floated around in the shallows. Surfing is a part of her good memories of her brothers. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that she wants to build her own surfboard, right?
The irony here is that we are missionaries in the Andes Mountains of Peru. We live at 11,400 ft. I laugh when we are in planes sometimes and they announce that we are flying at 11,000 or 12,000 ft. “We LIVE at that altitude!” I
always silently comment. We are FAR above sea level, and this kid wants to build a surfboard! There is no water in sight up here. In fact, we frequently have no water in our pipes, much less water enough to surf or even float somewhere. We don't even have a bathtub!So why does this kid think she needs to build a surfboard?
I still can’t give you the answer to that question. I’m trying to be a supportive mom and be encouraging of creative endeavors, so I haven’t squelched the idea. We’re just not ready to move forward on this project yet, so to speak. But it continues to be in her plans, so it continues to be on my mind.
What is she thinking? What is she going to do with a surfboard?
I was contemplating this when it came to me that Noah’s family probably had some of the same concerns.
What is he talking about? Why does he think we need a boat? There isn’t any water in sight! We obviously aren’t going to need to float anywhere. Has Noah lost his mind?! What are we going to do once we finish building this monstrosity of a boat?
Maybe she knows something we don’t know. Maybe the next big flood is coming (although highly unlikely and unbiblical – God promised not to do that
again). The people here believe in the flood story. There is no denying it, in their minds. Daily we find reminders that this mountain was once covered by the sea. Fossilized shells and sea creatures abound in the rocks that we walk
on. Fossilized coral shelves form layers on the mountain, giant white and grey stripes on the rocky landscape. Yes, the Quechua Wanca people whole-heartedly believe in the flood story. They live amidst solid proof that it occurred. I have always loved that a piece of the Bible story is right here and so real for the Quechua people, and that those connections have always been there for me to use as springboards to sharing more about God and his Word.
Maybe my daughter and Noah have a special spiritual connection,
something that makes them both look out at giant mountains and no water and seepossibilities. Maybe in today’s
world, Noah would have had a surfboard.
I don’t think I’ll suggest that to Sarah – she will try to balance two
goats on her board, then two chickens, then two guinea pigs… Come to think of
it, had she been a boy, we were going to name her Noah James…
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!