My wife may have the opportunity to go to Haiti next month, helping with earthquake relief through Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod World relief. She recently received some descriptive information to help her prepare for the trip: there are rats in Haiti the size of small dogs.
In response, she reflected on our home in Baltimore, MD, during our vicarage year. Married three months, we moved into a row home in the inner city which had been through some pretty rough times and refurbished on the cheap. The home included a shower where the bathroom tiles were held to the wall with a plastic garbage bag duct taped in place, a basement which I only dared venture into once the entire year, bars on every window, and rats in the backyard which we initially mistook for cats. “Is that a cat out there on top of the garbage can?” “I don’t think so. Cats don’t have skinny, hairless tails, do they?”
Twenty-five years ago it was pretty hard to figure out why God had us live in a place like that. Now, my wife’s reaction to “rats the size of small dogs” is, “been there, done that, bring it on.” So God was acutally preparing us for future ministry we never dreamed of.
Oh, one more thing: we also used to have a small dog the size of a rat.