“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”

–Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIX, 1787)

Jefferson spoke of government. The same principle applies to missions. The primary tool for creating dependence is money. This is true of governments, who take it from the citizens to distribute according to what will give them more power. This is also true of missionary agents who, though in good conscience, become power brokers who eventually suffocate their own designs by methods that undercut their objectives. Against the argument of the good done by monetary support on the mission field are the countless churches who never wean themselves from looking to the paternalistic spout, the workers who line up in hopes of better support than their compatriots could ever provide them, and the sprouts of ambition watered by prospects of salaries from overseas.

If ever a quote fit the missionary enterprise, this one does, without removing a word. Think of that when you consider putting national workers on American salary and providing national churches with support.

I swam again today, first time to make major effort at getting back into the swing of things. I went last Friday but took it very easy and didn’t even count my laps. This time I did 36 laps for a total of 1008 meters. So I was pleased with that, considering the accident last week and being away for almost two months.

I got drafted at the last minute this morning in SJCampos to lead singing. I was on the reception roster, it was visitor’s day, and we had a new song leader up who doesn’t take too much care to work on his singing. So Otavio and the worship leader asked if I would do it. I probably should have declined, so as not to cause a problem later with the song leader. But I didn’t think it through and accepted.

After the meeting, I felt very tired. But eating lunch at the building helped recharge me. Still, we went home soon afterwards and I was able to nap for close to an hour before heading to Taubaté.

As usual, at Taubaté I led singing and preached. Today, I used — and acknowledged — somebody else’s ideas. Charles Box analyzed the Great Banquet Parable in Luke 14 as an opportunity offered, rejected, and lost (I’m retranslating from Portuguese). So I took the three terms and developed them myself.

Rarely do I use material like that from someone else’s articles or sermons. I don’t even reuse my own stuff. 🙂

Yesterday the insurance company approved a rental car for seven days. It’s a small Fiat, so I hope we can get all the baggage from camp in it when we pick up Leila and Vagner today.

I returned to swimming class yesterday as well. Took it very easy, lazy laps, did only free-style and backstroke. On the latter I could feel the tight muscles but there was no pain. But for good measure I took another pain/relaxer pill last night before bedtime. I feel pretty good this morning. The muscles have been tightest at the nape of my neck.

Very hard rain yesterday afternoon. Flooded the lower-lying streets and avenues, caused us problems getting past Thermas, but we made it.

I caught the bus home yesterday afternoon. What is normally a 12-minute drive took me just under an hour, about 50 minutes, I think. I have to walk down the avenue some 10-15 minutes to the bus stop, close to Santos Dumont city park. I only had to wait another 15 minutes or so before my bus came by. (I have waited close to an hour before, so I was fortunate.) I just kept praying all that jolting in the bus didn’t lock up any muscles or pinch any nerves.

My neighbor goes to work around 7:20-7:30 a.m., and earlier he’d offered to drop me off close to the office in the mornings. Last night I didn’t think to ask for an early ride, so I kept my eye out for him this morning. By 7:35 he’d not appeared, so I walked down to the bus stop outside our neighborhood. Today is a holiday in São Paulo (founding of the city), so I thought maybe his firm was off today also. But after some 15 minutes of waiting he drives by, stops and calls my name, so I caught a ride with him. He offered to drop me in front of the office, but I didn’t want to put him off course, so I had a 10-minute walk from the avenue where he let me off to the office. Feeling OK still, so far.

I’ve slept well every night since the accident. Probably the meds have helped. But last night I read the possible side-effects on the box; seems the cure might be worse than the malady. Anyway, I’m not as sore today. Yesterday, I stayed quiet at home, reread Marker‘s 600+ pages (by Robin Cook), got half-way through Edwin White’s, A Sense of Presence, for the second time. I kept moving from one chair to another then to the bed to keep my muscles from getting more sore.

This morning I left the car at the body shop recommended by my mechanic, from the choices given me by the insurance company. They were nice enough to drop me off at the office, so here I am, groggy from the meds, trying to see through the fog and get myself started today. That after I checked online and made some calls about rental cars.

We may be able to get a replacement car, maybe even on Friday, but it will be for seven days only. We have two kids to pick up from camp Saturday, Leila one of them, so if we can’t get the replacement car, I’ll have to rent something to pick them up.

And for the weekends traveling to the church meeting in Taubaté, we’ll also have to have wheels, so we may rent something just for weekend use and ride the bus during the week. Our area of town isn’t terribly well served by the bus lines, but it’s bearable.

The body shop said maybe we’d get the car back in 15 days, but my mechanic said the average is 30 and could stretch to 40. His shop is nearby so he promised to stop in there every couple of days to keep his eye on the progress.

“One Sunday, the Minister was giving a sermon on baptism and in the coarse of his sermon he was illustrating …”

Perhaps there’s more truth here than the writer intended. 🙂

The doctor yesterday put me on muscle relaxers which I hated to take, but a nurse friend of our family gave me a stern warning to take them, so I am obeying. (I’ve not taken commercial medicines for about 10 years. — And this relaxer-plus-pain-medicine has caffeine in it, go figure.) A professional masseuse came in last night and gave me a massage, which I think will help the muscles keep from freezing up on me. I’m a bit sore this morning, to be expected, I guess.

Vicki talked to her mother last night, said she sounded much better. Is getting more mobile. May be able to go home Thursday if she continues to improve.

I took X-rays this afternoon, nothing showed up there, but a brother with long experience in insurance says nerve damage can appear days or weeks later. So we’ll see what happens on that score.