Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Earthquakes and Hurricanes and Drug Wars! Oh, My!

…And what they “think” they know, they know very little about.  Pardon me for jumping in the middle of an unfinished thought from last week’s post.  (That's a risk you take when you let a writer publish minus an editor.)  We were talking about our loved ones who cannot relate to our lives because they have never seen where and how we live.

What they do know about our host countries often has nothing to do with us personally.  How often have you gotten frantic phone calls and emails about some disaster that made the news, but that didn’t affect you in the least?

The first time I heard about an attempted coup in Guatemala was when the letters started coming (back in the pre-computer age).  We lived within a few miles of where the incident occurred, but it didn’t touch our lives at all.

Here in Oaxaca we are seldom affected by hurricanes, since we live in the high desert.  We might get a lot of rain, and some bridges might collapse, but very rarely.  Still people hear about flooding in Oaxaca and envision us floating away in a makeshift boat with our few belongings.

Most times the “earthquakes” people read about are only “tremors” in reality.  Even the earth shaking, truly frightening quakes we have experienced have never caused any personal harm or damage to our house or recording studio.  If people only understood, they would not be so impressed.*

Back in 2006 Oaxaca was in the news due to ongoing riots in the capital city.  Short-term teams saw the news and cancelled their trips even though we live an hour away from the airport.  Nowadays it’s kidnapping and drug-related violence that grab attention, even though most of the trouble is far away from our southern state.

But what does it say to people when they perceive that we live in these hotbeds of danger and unrest?  Are we fools to live and raise children in such unsafe places?

My policy is not to judge people based on the news and crime in their cities.  If I were to focus only on the Associated Press for my information, I might question anyone’s sanity for wanting to live in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. (Shivers!)

The truth is that MOST people live in those places and are safe.  Most people can eat at a Cracker Barrel, attend public (or Amish) school or college, and visit the Empire State Building without witnessing a single shooting. 

The sad fact is that most people in the world have no option to pack up and go someplace safer even when danger is imminent and real.  I consider this when loved ones imply we should move “home” and be safe.  We are where God has placed us, and we will stay until He moves us on.

Even when the news stories affect us directly, we are better off in the will of God than in the safest town in America outside of God’s protection.

IRL:  If they only knew…..  Then again, maybe they wouldn’t pray so fervently if they knew how safe we are, so let’s leave them to assume what they want.

*On a serious note, were any of you adversely affected by the earthquakes in Costa Rica or China last week? I don't mean to make light of earthquakes just based on my limited experience.


  1. I remember getting a call from our brother-in-law in El Salvador when the US went into Iraq to get Saddam Husseyin out. He asked if we could hear the bombings!!! (And we live in Western Turkey, FAR from the border with Iraq.) And now Kurdish terrorist/activist bombings scare people. But I kind of think I'm safer here than in New York City...

    You're right though: safe is being in the middle of God's will!

    1. So, DID you hear the bombings? (Just kidding.) I do pray for your safety, but not fearfully, just knowing that things "could" happen in your neck of the woods.

  2. Oh my, this is exactly what happened last year when we had our earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan. Hundreds of emails, hundreds of hits on my blog, and people who never contact us (like a distant aunt) calling my parents to ask if we were okay. It was all made much worse by the hyperbole about the nuclear situation. Thankfully our families didn't bug us to get out of here, but many families of missionaries did. There was a huge exodus of foreigners (but many missionaries did come back after a week or three).

    You are so right in saying that most people don't have the option to leave. I figured (in the heat of "should we leave temporarily or stay" dilemma) that if anyone was to die, it should be us, not the unsaved Japanese. At least we are ready to meet our maker!

    I've written an article about how we judge people unfairly, related to this whole thing, but I'm struggling to find a home for it...

    1. "...if anyone was to die, it should be us, not the unsaved Japanese..." Good words.

      As for your article, could you send it to WOTH? They are still looking for material for upcoming editions of Connection. I think the old email address works again.

      If you send it to me at, I'd love to read it, too!

    2. Hi Wendy! We are always looking for articles for our Connection publication. You can email it to I look forward to reading your article!

    3. Thanks Jamie Jo and Kristy. It should be in your inboxes now.

  3. If one needed to judge most places by media reports I doubt we'd find a nice place to live. I often feel safer here than in big USA airports or cities because I know the folks here and know that they will help out in any way they can should an accident or problem arise.

    I try to remind my self when Haiti hits the news and folks start contacting us or our folks-at least they care enough to ask about us and lift us up! I'd likely feel a bit left out and forgotten if something big happened and no one cared to ask about us.

    1. So true. People checking up just says they DO care and at least they do know where we live. I have friends who thought I was in Taiwan the whole year I was in Thailand. :)

      And we do feel safer here partly because of the relationships. Any of our neighbors would come to our aid if we ever needed it.

  4. Amen to the safest place to be is in the centre of God's will, wherever in the world that might be. Amen too to the prayers of those who love us. There are risks in living anywhere. I love that I have people praying for me every day. I wonder how many Christian teachers in my home country can say that, and yet their work is just as important. Thanks JJ.

    1. Christian teachers everywhere should have prayer partners. So true! I do appreciate the prayer covering any time.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...