Apr 20, 2010

An Eastertide gift of new life


Anyi Vanesa Garrido Santana, Luz Maria's eighth grandchild, was born April 13, 2010, weighing in at 3.65 kilograms. Anyi is her mother, Sarai's first daughter. Her two brothers, Edwar José (two years old) and José Ignacio (about one year), at first referred to her simply as "la niña" (the girl). After a time, they absorbed that idea that she has a name, although sometimes when they say "Anyi Vanesa", it sounds like "Angi Belleza" (Angi the Beauty). I am not sure whether that is what they intend to say or not.

That Wednesday afterward, I talked with the preschool children about Anyi's birth and also about the birth of Moses (Exodus 2:6). Once upon a time, I said, the people of Israel, the nation to whom God had promised the birth of a Savior, were slaves in Egypt. But their God was them and blessed them in that the women of Israel were strong and easily gave birth to many children, "not like the women of Egypt." So the Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, became alarmed at how the Israelite population was growing in comparison to that of the Egyptians, and ordered the baby boys of Israel to be killed.

Likewise, I said, there are people today who say there are too many people in the world, not enough natural resources to provide for everyone, and so maybe some children should not even be born. But this is contrary to the will of God, who is the true Giver of all life, to Whom every new life is precious and has a place in His design.

So we see in the story of Moses how God foiled the evil plan of Pharaoh to keep the Israelites under Egyptian domination. The baby destined to liberate Israel from slavery was placed in a basket to float hidden in the reeds of the Nile while his sister kept watch over him. And the sister's name was Maria, just like the mother of the Child destined to liberate all people from sin, death and the devil! (Maria, or Mary, of course, is derived from the Hebrew name rendered "Miriam" in English translations of the Old Testament, but the Reina-Valera Bible has it as Maria.)

When the Pharaoh's daughter came down to the banks of the Nile to bathe, she found the baby Moses and wanted him for her own son. So the man who one day would defeat the king of Egypt grew up in the Egyptian court, although his sister made sure that he had his true mother as a nursemaid.

A later chapter in the story of Moses was the theme of a presentation by the youth after the Palm Sunday service. We had a good crowd (between 20 and 30) composed of children, youth and adults for Palm Sunday. The youth communicated through drama, dance and art what they had learned about the Ten Plagues, the first Passover and the Exodus, and how these events prefigured the events of Holy Week.

There were about 10 in attendance for the Good Friday service, which consisted of our order of evening prayer with a meditation on the seven last words of Jesus from the Cross. For Easter Sunday we had between 10 and 15 in attendance. I was pleased with this, because most of the homes in our community were padlocked during Holy Week as the families went on vacation during the week-long holiday.

Pray for rain

After months of drought, we have entered Venezuela's rainy season. The arrival of tropical rains has raised hopes that water levels in the Orinoco River will rise enough to sustain normal levels of electrical power generation by the Guri Dam facility, which provides about 80 percent of the electricity for the country. However, it appears the government's electricity rationing plan will remain in place for another two months. In other words, we still are experiencing daily power blackouts of at least three hours in duration. We pray that the rains will continue and that by the end of this period, the blackouts will have ceased.
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