International Ministries

Saved by... rice?!

October 25, 2011 Journal
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I love to be lifted in worship to the contemplation of The Big Picture... especially, the big picture of God's love for humanity in all our amazing diversity.  I love to get a taste of that diversity as I travel.  But I tend to live each day less in The Big Picture and more in the concerns, challenges, struggles--and occasional victories--of The Little Picture.  Daily, it is important to me to celebrate life's little salvations.


For some years now--though not for nearly enough years!--I have used a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to sleep.  There is a story behind my use of this device, but I will spare you the details.  Suffice it to say that, by the grace of God, one day I finally truly heard--and acted upon!--the complaint of my poor suffering spouse.  For far too many years, Cathy's nights alternated between annoyance at her husband's impersonations of a 747 landing on the other side of the bed (even a King is not big enough to lessen the suffering of that!), and the fear that her spouse had stopped breathing not for a moment, but for good.  I had a pretty severe case of sleep apnea.


Fortunately, the CPAP machine has dramatically improved the quality of life, not just for Cathy, but for both of us.  So, though it means hauling one more thing (and a somewhat bulky addition to the suitcase, at that!), I always travel with the machine.


One of the things that has made the machine a blessing for me (and not just for those condemned to try to sleep nearby) is that it includes a small humidifier.  The air it blows into my throat is soothingly moist.  But, therein lies today's tale.


If one fails to empty absolutely all the water out of the humidifier before stowing the CPAP in the suitcase, those remaining drops of water can wind up finding their way not out of the machine but into it.  Once inside, they show an uncanny ability to find the machine's little circuit board & short it out.  I am amazed by how little water it takes to disable the gizmo!


I am even more amazed by the restorative power of... rice!  If you have ever had the misfortune to see your cell phone or other handheld electronic marvel go for a swim (I refrain from specifying the most likely locales for such immersions) and do not know about the rice cure, read on!


It turns out that one very effective way to dry out an electronic gadget is to throw it into a bag of rice for a few hours.  That is why I now know there is a supermarket (with about 12 different kinds of rice) just a five-minute walk up the street from the spot where the Baptist Union of Spain celebrated its annual convention, the Palace Hotel in Gandía.  I wasn't careful enough when I packed up the CPAP in Madrid before jumping on the train to the Mediterranean coast.  So, my nocturnal companion was DOA.  Not a great bit of news for one needing to sleep and to restore the voice from overuse during the day!


I am happy to report that, once again, my CPAP and I have been saved by rice.  Rice!  Who knew?  Now, if not before, you do.  May you never have need of this bit of information.  But, if you ever do, you will know how grateful I was on this trip to be saved by rice.


I am also very grateful for the opportunity to join, even briefly, the service of IM missionaries Carlos Bonilla and Mayra Giovanetti among our brothers and sisters in Spain.  (I almost wrote, "our Spanish brothers and sisters," but that would be a big mistake--not only because the UEBE has welcomed a very large number of immigrants, who are energizing their churches, but also because those from Spain's states of Cataluña, Euskadi (Basque Country) and Gallicia see themselves first and foremost as Catalanes, Basques and Gallegos, not Spaniards... wherein lies a story for another time!).  This is a fascinating situation, with many parallels to the diversity-unity opportunities and challenges we have in the U.S.


Thank you for making it possible for me to be here!  Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and gifts to International Ministries--both for my support and to support the work of all of us through the World Mission Offering (WMO).  WMO continues to be vitally important for supporting cross-cultural mission through all the partners, missionaries and staff of International Ministries.  Thanks for your support!!


May you experience some "little salvation" this day and every day!