Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Marti, thank you for the update yesterday on the strike. I don't have confirmation that the team made it back but I assume that they did in the early morning hours this morning.

Our executive director and I went to our local city bus shelter to pick up a just-retired 12 passenger bus that is being donated to the camp where I work. We were told that the bus was 5 years old and that the retired buses of this type averaged about 150,000 miles at retirement. Now that I think about it, that sounds low in that it would mean it was only getting 30,000 miles/year which doesn't sound right. It wasn't.

We arrived, signed the paperwork and were directed to the location we should go to get the bus; "it will be running and ready for you to drive it home" is what we were told. I noted that the odometer reading on the title was over 233,000 miles. As we pulled up behind the bus barn to a row of the small buses we saw one bus running with its door open and another nearby where two men had various hatch doors and the hood open working on it...guess which one was ours?

Someone had apparently left something on inside the bus so the batteries (yes, plural) were all dead. I walked around the bus and noted where the decals had been, the wording still very readable from the adhesive residue still very much in evidence. There is rust running down the sides from the extension mirrors, paint missing, what looked like ground in dirt you get on your knees as a kid, etc. We didn't even get to see the inside before being asked to come back later to pick it up. I kept thinking, this bus is only 5 years old? Somehow, the return trip won't hold as much enthusiasm for the gift as the initial trip down did.

On the way back to camp I kept thinking about how I would get the adhesive off of the van now that they had peeled the decals off without using a heat gun...that method would be all but useless to me now. Hopefully, WD-40 or GooGone will work (maybe in a hyper-industrial strength).

What I should be is thankful for the gift, regardless of condition.

In contrast to my disappointment, I thought of how excited Christ would be when he comes to receive a life given to him. When he looks at our scarred, battered and stained vessels he is seeing the beauty of the 450 cubic inch V8 engine and the heavy duty transmission - not the ugly adhesive and rust showing on the outside. He knows how we were engineered and sees beyond the physical, emotional and spiritual scars to the beautiful soul inside. This is what matters and this is where we should focus our attention as well.

OK, so I still can't generate lots of enthusiasm for all of the elbow grease that is coming our way with the bus, but I'm thankful that we have been given something that we couldn't have had otherwise. I'm even more thankful that Jesus Christ accepts me as I am, seeing the potential inside rather than the failings and shortcomings I carry with me.

Be a blessing to someone else today,



At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great analage of the bus. Sorry it isn't in better condition.
Also glad the strike ended and the team could get to the airport.
Aunt Maralyn

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

Brad, you're rapidly joining your brother as the analogy king. He'd better hurry back to the blog or his throne will surely be in jeopardy!

All joking aside, this made me think about the gifts I offer. Do I give him my best or the rusty, dusty, decal-covered leftovers? But you are right, Brad. Christ not only sees the best in us but His love compels us to see--and to love--others that way, too.

All the teams came safely "home" to Dallas for debriefing and leave tomorrow while Brent's Panama team arrives for training. This team flies out Sunday for the field. Thank you all for your prayers. I know Brent and Deanna will have many stories for us once they catch their breath!

with tender love
and prayers in pink,



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