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Beneath the Surface

The sun setting in a remote village in Venezuela. Just looking at it makes me turn nostalgic. Memories of 18 years as a missionary in Venezuela come bubbling to the surface.

Tamatama is a beautiful village in the middle of the Amazon jungle along the Orinoco River. There are no roads leading to nor from Tamatama. The river is the lifeline. A grass airport provides the only other means of entering or leaving this beautiful village.

I could show you picture after picture revealing the beauty of Tamatama. The sunrises are as beautiful as the sunsets. The river is gorgeous. The jungle is a mixture of intense greens. But pictures are one-dimensional, never showing the full reality. You could look at those pictures and imagine lying down at the Orinoco River’s edge listening to the water rushing by, feeling the sun on your face, and enjoying the closeness of the jungle. What an experience!

But then you’d discover the gnats. Visitors to Tamatama soon found any exposed skin covered by itsy-bitsy itchy red dots left by the biting gnats. And those were the lucky ones. Many reacted to the bites leaving slightly infected, not so itsy-bitsy spots, that irritated them even once they escaped to the houses.

Just as you can look at this one-dimensional picture and not see below the surface to the ‘hardships’ that also come with visiting such a beautiful place, sometimes we look at people’s picture-perfect lives as ‘snapshots’ of their existence without seeing the depths of their struggles. My prayer is that I would look past the snapshot of people’s lives and be sensitive to their heart struggles.

  1. February 7, 2009 at 2:11 am

    >Wonderful analogy, Rosie. I vetoed many a trip to TT just to avoid the gnats.:{

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