In life, there are many opportunities to try new things. To see new sights. To smell new smells. Warm lands south of Mexico provide opportunities exploration into a world heretofore unknown. Some things are just different in warm lands.

For example, when electronic equipment breaks down, a quick replacement is not just a web page away. Well, yes, you can buy a replacement easily, but it might be a month or three before it arrives. Just saying. Also, after you do buy, it can take quite a bit of coordination to receive the item purchased. The difficulties only escalate when there is no one at your “home” in the states to help coordinate the arrival and departure of the expected package. Ok, so this is how the story goes. Wait, a little more background first. I am officially the clarion editor for Calvary Bible School this year. So, in order to do design work, a good computer is needed. Keep that in mind as you read further. As I studied in Antigua, my trusty laptop decided to quit offering its services. I say trusty because I had in mind that Lenovo was a trustworthy brand. And since it was only about three months old, I had no reason to doubt. Anyway, so one day it refused to start. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. No lights, nothing. Some research was done on the web. Motherboard was googles diagnosis. I refused to believe. A kind sir in Antigua checked it out. Power cord. Fine. Ram. Fine. Battery. Fine. Motherboard, he said. Sigh. After arriving in El Salvador, I took my laptop to a good friend – a computer genius. After breathing on it, it revived. Really, I don’t know what he did that I had not tried. So I used it for a week and it decided that that was it. Same deal. Dead. Dead. Dead. Unfortunately, my friend, Kevin, was not able to work his magic this time. To eBay I did go. A new computer was purchased. It was not quite that quick and simple, but I did purchase a new design machine. The now “old” laptop was sent to the states. Lenovo agreed to fix it and return it to my place of abode in the states. (By the way, if anyone is searching for a powerful laptop, let me know.) So yeah, since my parents were at CBS, I did not want to send this new design machine to our empty house in Ohio. So I decided to send it to CBS. Unfortunately, PayPal decided that since the shipping and billing addresses were different they would not allow the payment to go through. A shout to my dad for getting this straightened out with PayPal. So now my new design machine is en route to Arkansas. I begin to ask around to see if anyone is coming to El Salvador soon. Sure enough. A group of Amish from Ohio are coming down in a couple weeks to work at the orphanage. Ok. So this design machine is going to arrive in Arkansas on a Tuesday. The next Monday the guys are flying down. Another shout to my dad. He had it all figured out. When the ups came, my dad shipped my design machine out on the same truck. It arrived in Ohio on time. Now to get this design machine from the orphanage to the deaf school. The children from the orphanage go to school close to the deaf school, so it was arranged to have them bring it over. So Tuesday, I was able to have a new design machine. Picture me smiling. A month of time had passed since my “old” laptop gave out the first time. And only two weeks before, I had purchased this design machine on eBay. Coordination. Shouts to all who helped a needy designer south of Mexico.

Another example of things to learn. To anyone who is coming to El Salvador for an extended period of time; here is some advice. Find out before leaving the states exactly what documents you will need. This is important. Thankfully, my sister knew what I needed. So I brought all the correct documents and their apostilles. See you need to do research, because you don’t even know what an apostille is…However, may I offer another piece of helpful advice. Something I am learning by experience. When I went in to get my residency, there was a mistake on the paper. It was the right paper. It was not outdated. It had all the correct signatures. Everything. Except. My name was wrong. The paper said my name was Matthias P. Beachy. Yup. They could not verify if that was actually me, because my passport says that my name is Matthias Paul Beachy. True story. Even though my states driver’s license says that my name is Matthias P. Beachy, it would not work. The officials said that I would have to obtain another paper or something. So make sure every i is dotted and every t crossed. Make sure every jot and tittle are in their place. Otherwise, perhaps your residency will be denied until you take the correct steps to make things right…

All things in life teach lessons. It is wise to learn from experiences in life. Thus, I will draw life lessons from experiences in the warms lands south of Mexico. First of all, patience is an art. As with all arts, the art of patience requires much practice. It requires much skill to wait patiently. Thankfully opportunities arise often; making time to practice easy to find. Something else you need to begin practicing today: Every time you receive an official document of any sort, even unofficial documents, make sure that your name matches your passport exactly. Wait. Forget that. If you always have every right in life, it might rob you of chances later on to practice patience.