Hi everyone. As usual, I am behind in my reporting. The following story is from last month. Also, I have attached a link for the March newsletter. We have a student in charge of preparing a monthly newsletter, which I supervise and edit. Usually our student newsletters are only in Spanish, but this session we have one in English as well!  The April newsletter should come out some time next week, and I will try to get it to you in a more timely fashion. Oh, if anyone would like the Spanish one, let me know and I’ll be happy to send it to you as well. (It’s content is different than the English newsletter).


The Smoke of our Torment. 3-4-19


Lyli and I arrived from evangelism and visitation late Sunday night, and as we cut across the grass toward home I caught a whiff of something raunchy.

“Something stinks! What is that?” I wondered out loud.

“Maybe it is the sugar factory” Lyli ventured. Although it is several miles away, it is not unusual for strange smells to visit us from Belize Sugar Industries.

As we neared the entrance of our driveway, however, the stench worsened.

“It smells like something burnt!” I exclaimed.

“Ooh!” Lyli inhaled sharply. “The lentils!”

Sure enough, during our rush of activities before getting out the door we had forgotten to turn off the burner.  The pot on the stovetop was black as tar, and even the trim on the neighboring countertop matched and was too hot to touch.  Inside the kettle was a smoldering mass of roasted lentil crisp, as black and porous as volcanic rock. I carried the whole molten lump out and away to the garbage pit.

If only the smell were so easy to take away! Caustic smoke seemed to saturate every molecule of matter in every article in every nook and cranny of our abode. All things fabric had wicked up enough odor to out-stink an apartment of chain-smokers. Worst of all, not even a puff of a breeze did blow, and the smoke hung over and around the house like a pall.

We opened all the windows and doors, turned on the fans, boiled vinegar, set out backing soda and slices of onion, took down the curtains, and started scrubbing doors, walls and windows, but it was already late, and we finally fell into bed exhausted, only to have our noses sting and our scratchy throats gel over with mucous, and good sleep flee as from a burning. “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no rest day or night” Revelation 14:11 thundered through my head.  If nothing else, this experience definitely reaffirmsmy decision to never worship the beast or his image!I thought wryly. I’d rather keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus by God’s grace! 

In which case, you had better not complain, had you,another internal voice seemed to chime. For the faith of Jesus would joyfully trust that this trial has been allowed for your growth and benefit. Besides, this trial is merely smoky. You’ve seen nothing yet of the fiery trial that is to try you!  I had to concede on that one, and praised the Lord that our house hadn’t burned down. Otherwise our pot of lentils would have been almost as costly as Esau’s!

In the morning we went back to cleaning. In between classes and other responsibilities, we washed clothes, scrubbed walls, and put the mattress and furniture out to air, but the house still reeked like scalded lentils all week long! We pitched our tent in our front yard for two nights. Sleeping on the ground was still much more restful than breathing smoke all night.

So, whatever you do, don’t boil things when you’re in a rush to leave the house! Also, when you smell something terrible, be careful what you say: you just might be the culprit! You might be trying to do great things for God, but don’t neglect the little things. The damage of one moment’s forgetfulness and negligence may take many days of hard work to undo!




Kody & Lyli Kostenko