Saturday, September 20, 2008


Early on in our study of Spanish we learned the word "desvio."  It means "detour" and has become an important expression in our everyday vocabulary.   The constant repair of inadequate roads in Lima force us to take "desvios" nearly every week.  A main road can be shut down completely without notice, plunging traffic into chaos.   The sign "desvio" means travelers will arrive late or not at all.  It can also mean danger since people are forced to use an unknown route.  It is easy to get lost in a city of 9 million people.

We also find ourselves using the word "desvio" when we are talking about life and ministry.  "Desvio" can mean we have taken a more difficult route to arrive at our destination.  Sometimes it means we have taken the wrong path, never to arrive.  Another translation of "desvio" could be the English word, "destraction."  As missionaries we have discovered that it is often difficult to accomplish our assingment because modern life is filled with distractions or "desvios."  Some "desvios" are not necessarily bad things like over concern for family situations back home.  Other "desvios" can start as interests that grow into habits which eventually can fill our time and use our money.  We have seen people become too absorbed with technology.   It ceases to be a means to an end.  It becomes an end.  

Still other "desvios" appear to be easier more direct ways of reaching the goal.  In the long run, they take us to another goal far away from the original.  Many times we have tempted to just go to another spot in Lima where we know people of another social class are hungry for the gospel. They are desperate and ready for the hope and peace that comes with knowing Jesus Christ.  It would be much easier and we would see quicker results.  And yet it would be a "desvio" away from our call to reach the middle/upper class with the gospel, even though the task is slow and at time arduous.  One final understanding of "desvio" appears when we are under attack and in the middle of difficulties.  This "desvio" can cause us to become so preocuppied with problems that we can no longer move forward to reach our goals.  Sometimes people become so discouraged, they give up. That is the ultimate "desvio."

Over our 13 years has missionaries we have been faced with every type of "desvio."  The key to overcoming the "desvios" of life and ministry can be found in John 15.  Here verse 5 states "I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  Once again, we are reminded of the need to stay constantly connected to the source of life and the source of our calling.  If we neglect our time with the Lord each day, we will easily find ourselves on a "desvio."