Sunday, June 21, 2009

a constant God.

You know, everytime I do a blog, I always tell myself to make it short and sweet. It never does what's going on here justice though, and a lots going on. this blog might be more "journally", but I hope that if anyone reads it, they will be able to see more of the depths of what God is doing.

Personally, a lot has been going on in my heart and mind. Missions seems to be such an up and down, sweet and sour kind of adventure. You've got those good moments, where you could cry out of joy and delight, and then those days where you want to cry out of frustration, weariness, or lonliness. For example, last night I had such an amazing time going to a play put on by some girls that I know here. We went John Wesley, the seminary school, and met a bunch of sweet people, including a Pensylvanian family with an 8 yr old son who moved to the seminary to teach. The boy, Ryan, is fluent in both english and spanish, and honestly I was jealous ;) We then ate at Pollo loco, which was delicious. Our car ride home consisted of an amazing conversation with a local, Marco, about VBS, reaching the children, and even about the state of the church and how we have lost our delight in God. I went to my bed on the roof, saw a couple of shooting stars, and was so satisfied in the fact that I am here and surrounded by such beautiful people.

Today was different. one of the downs. We had our normal sunday bible study at 9:30, and all was peachy... I was even being a little extra bold by sharing my heart on what was being talked about and all (which I've been having trouble being open and real and sharing my thoughts here with staff). Then we closed in prayer, and all of a sudden the guy praying thanked God for the fathers, since it is, I guess, fathers day... which maybe I tried to forget what day that fell on this year, and was successful until this prayer. Ever since that moment, the day slowly has been given way to lonliness. With the passing of my dad last year, and fresh wounds that still are healing, fathers day is no fun really. especially in a different country without family. With people that still seem a lot like strangers. No one to really process through the day with. And then it just makes me think of how much I feel unknown. Which is probably a regular feeling of any missionary who leaves home and family and settles around all unknown, feeling unknown. Such an unenjoyable feeling. So there is one very current "down".

However, with all of the ups and downs, there is a steady God. I'm so thankful for that. Especially in missions. Not that it can't happen elsewhere, but it seems I've never been challenged and stretched as much in missions. It's so messy. So many relationships to deal with, staff and locals. and trying to open up to a random group of people that have been placed here for the summer by God. and then personal things going on in my heart and head that long for a listening ear. But it's beautiful. It really is. The tough moments make the sweet moments sweeter, and the presence of God stronger.

So that's a drip, and I mean a tad bit, of what is going on in me. a lot of questioning and stretching. Needing to know that God knows the depths of me. he knows me in and out. and he is my constant. haha constant is such a beautiful word to us missionaries i think. It seems nothing is constant here. but He is. I am so excited for this week, and the team that will be here in about 2 hours. I feel that God has something planned, and that he really wants to move and catalyze not only the group, but me too.

Please be praying!!!!
-new team this week
-staff that abides in Jesus, resulting in fruit.
- relationships. honestly, I do feel a bit lonely. I feel so intimidated at the thought of being real with people here. and yet, I think God really wants to move through this kind of openess.
-the relationships of us and our fathers (or lack thereof). My friend just lost her dad last week, my pastor's wife just lost her dad yesterday, and numerous other families, including mine, have lost fathers just recently. Pray for God to use our stories, especially in the lives of the broken like here in croc.
-BOLDNESS. pray against the spirit of fear.

I love you all tons, and pray you are all doing well!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First team: Desperation Church

We just led our first team for the summer here in Croc!!! It went so quickly. So much fun though!

So the team consisted of 18 people, about half youth and half adults. A good mix. They arrived Sunday night later then planned because of issues at the border. We were so excited as staff to finally have people at the base. Our schedule looked a little like this:

prepare for VBS and English classes-9
English Class-10 to 11
VBS-1:30 to 3:30
More english classes-3:30 to 5:00
7:30-(m)game night (t)plaza/soccer (w)youth group (th)house visit (f)house dedication of the house that we built each week.
9:00-team meeting
11:00-sleep on the roof :) (this is the only time to cool off from the daily 108 degree weather).

Our first week of VBS was huge! we had over 70 kids show up, without doing registration or anything. The local staff of the afterschool program have it running super smoothly and I have been so impressed by them. Working along with them has been fun. The three of them, Joahna, Gris, and Marco have such beautiful hearts and a huge passion for the kids here. They know each kid by name, and have so much patience it's insane. I am in charge of leading the games and snack. This has been fun because after four different times explaining rules in spanish, my vocab grows in leaps and bounds.

I've also been helping with the English classes. It's so cute to see kids after their classes trying to say "how are you" and "hello" to us. It just makes them want to interact with us even more.

I have enjoyed the flex and flow of it all the most. Here in mexico time is nothing too important. Everything revolves around relationships. Almost nothing is on time, and usually plans change 20 times. However, the interactions are priceless, and usually happen during times that weren't planned. Whenever there is nothing to do, there are always locals just sitting outside of our base waiting to play or talk. It's so fun. Whenever we drive or walk anywhere, I see so many familiar faces... I pretty much know the whole village ;)

This week we have free because a team backed out. We will be going to a boy's (Juan's) bday party tonight and church tomorrow (I love the church... so many sweet people there). We'll continue VBS with the staff and also English classses. Our next team comes next Sunday.

I miss you guys tons! thanks for reading this :) Enjoy your weeks!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

love god. love people.

so this is going to be a more detailed update:

It's been a pretty long week. We have been having many meetings, mostly on different subjects such as poverty, immigration, theology, missions perspectives, an overview of the bible, politics, the economy, and more. All of these subjects stir up my heart everytime they come up, so it was so good to bounce issues and ideas off of each other. It's crazy how God encompasses all of these things and how he wants us to live out our WHOLE lives through him- every decision and idea saturated with who he is and what he's about.

Other than meetings, we eat at random people's houses almost every night. It's so so much fun. Think about big family reunions... that how every night ends up :) lots of tacos, salsa, and spanish!!! Last night we hung out with a youth group for a while, and played card games and ate hamburgers. I already feel like I'm best friends with half the village because of all of the fiestas!

and I'm having a continuous problem... I keep commenting on earings or bracelets that the girls where around, and they keep giving them to me. You see, here, when you comment on something, the person usually just takes it off and gives it to you. I feel so bad because you have to accept a gift, and yet they don't have much. haha, which brings up Jentry, one of the summer staff. She went to feed some dogs left-over spagetti and the girl just gave her the dog. GAVE it to her to keep forever. Later she found out we couldn't keep it and we all had to bring it back. The family was a little dissapointed.. :(

Prayer requests:
TEAMS come tomorrow!!! pray for unity, strength, and health. Pray that the hearts of the youth group teams would be gripped and transformed by God.
An abusive mother here with three troublesome kids that don't listen. Pray that the Holy Spirit would radically change their lives.
Health. My tummy is starting to hurt.

Our team is getting to know each other and finally talks. haha
Mexican people are beautiful :)
All finances have been raised!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

**travel and prep work**

Leaving Friday morning super early, me and 5 other new summer staff plus 3 leaders left from KC to Mexico. We traveled one of the longer more scenic routes, listening to country music, taking back roads with LOADS of wildflowers, and eating a BUNCH of yummy food like ribs.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and rested a bit. The week so far has been a lot of hanging out with people, both staff and locals, building relationships, and preparing for the teams that come sunday. We eat at different local's homes almost daily, and are filling up on amazing mexican food ;) We were assigned jobs, mine is VBS coordinator... pretty much communicating between the local after-school staff and the incoming teams what needs to be done. I will also be leading a VBS every wednesday night, hopefully recruiting a bunch of youth from teams to help me!

Connecting with all the new people has been a great stretch. It seems that I always place myself in positions that really stretch me, and I wonder... "what was I thinking?" haha. BUt God always uses it, in crazy ways. It's kind of funny- I feel almost more comfortable hanging out with and talking with the locals here in Spanish then I do with all of the new people on staff. But that will change ;) I guess it just proves that I am truely mexican in my blood, and that it should come natural to hang with my mexican buddies!

I should go, but will update more in future posts. God is already stretching me in my faith. I wonder how he wants to use me and what great things he will do and continue to do through this ministry in Croc. It's crazy to see how placing yourself in vulnerable and uncomfortable situations throws so much oil into the flames of our hearts. It's in places like this where we realize how much we need God to work through us. We are nothing without him!

I love you guys and mISS you already!!!