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Words Of The Latter Rain

Volume 3, Issue 9, September 2010


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Ken Nix

Sunday, 10/3/2010

Travel Lessons Learned 

By Marcia Smeenk                 

Traveling to foreign lands not only provides new cultural experiences but also provides circumstances where new lessons can be learned and former lessons can be reinforced.


On a trip this summer to Peru with Bill and Julie Martin and Billís hiking buddies, we initially stayed in nice condos in Lima.   An experienced traveler always checks out the bathroom first to find such things as light switches and other necessities.   Upon entering my bathroom, I observed the sink to determine which faucet would give me hot water to wash my hands.  I saw a C on one faucet and an F on another.  I was immediately able to process that information correctly drawing from a Spanish class decades ago.  The word in Spanish for cold is Frio and the word for hot is Caliente, thus the  F faucet is cold and the C is hot.  Although that appears to be the opposite  of faucets at home,  I was able to store that information and use it as desired for the nights there and expected to use it for the entire trip.


Then we flew to Cusco and upon entering my hotel room  I expected to see the C and the F again, according to my recently stored knowledge.   But when I looked at the bathroom sink, I noticed that one faucet had a C on it and the other had an H.  So now I tried applying my prior knowledge and began sifting this through in my mind.  Was C cold and H hot, or was C hot  and H cold?  Why is there an H here anyway?  Then I began wondering whether or not these faucets were imported from the US.  But this was not a four star hotel (probably had no stars) so I decided the H faucet was likely purchased at a yard sale. As  it turned out,  H was cold, and the C was indeed Caliente, hot, however, all my years of prior knowledge would have led me to the assurance that C was cold and H hot.  So then I became suspicious of any faucet I saw on this trip.


I concluded that we must be careful about applying our prior knowledge to current circumstances.  We must not use the threshing instruments of old.  We must discard them and adhere to truth and  understanding that is being revealed to us now.  Holding on to prior knowledge  and applying it to all situations is exhibiting the spirit of the Pharisee.


Now as I write,  I am in yet another  room in the same hotel.  There is a blank faucet and a C.  I think again, were these made in the US or not?  I find I cannot tell so the only way is to test the waters first.   You do not want to jump into the shower and find it ice cold or burning hot and not know how to adjust it.


So before you think you are correct in processing information, gingerly test it out first.  Be sure you arenít applying old doctrine to new circumstances.  Watch your faucets for Iíve even seen some back home which were reversed.


Another lesson learned on this trip also involved these hotel rooms.  The lobby and interior courtyard were charming.  Then we saw that our rooms were akin to caves, basically stone walls, windowless and poorly lit.  But we quickly became accustomed to the situation and praised God for a good bed and hot shower.  Things such as a bathroom door which would not close nor lock because there was no door knob in place, only the hole, did not bother us but became a source of great laughter.  The noise of a dripping faucet was drowned out by the revelers in the streets until 6 AM.  A few days later, after having spent a night in a different town, we returned to yet another room in the same hotel.  Upon entering the door we saw only a bathroom but found the two beds up a staircase with no railing.  We had to leave a light on all night to avoid falling.  A blanket had been tacked to the ceiling over one of the beds.  Who knows what it hid.  But we praised God for all the inconveniences and for the portable radiator providing heat and for hot water.  On the final night there, I moved again into a single room since Bill was back.  The thin walls and a section of  wall consisting of two curtains separating two rooms posed no problem for I identified the voices in the other room, but there was no water Ė not a drop.  I praised God.  The desk clerk assured me there would be water in the morning, and there was, praise God again. 

It was amazing to me how quickly we adapted to much lower standards.  Had it not been for God continually telling us to praise in sunshine and sorrow, we would have been quite miserable.  Now we even look back at our hotel with fondness and agree that weíd stay there again. 



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