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Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday on mission

Long day equals long blog. If you get bored just skim for the funny stories and read the last paragraph about what I learned.

Our day started early for many on the team. Montezuma's revenge hit all but three or four team members in the wee hours of the morning. They were passing around immodium like after dinner mints. Needless to say we got a later start than usual. However, I will say that God is good. Only two of the team members struggled with their sickness in Mexico. And they pushed hard and worked through it all. Had a kid throwing up but he still did a lot of work.

Speaking of kids. All the kids with us worked sooooo hard. No whining, just lots of sweat and hard work and sunburn. Last night while we were handing out supplies I put one of the teens in charge of my group. I helped him brainstorm ideas for how he wanted to organize the task, but he did it and recruited his own volunteers and did a better job than i could have. It was beautiful to see him discover that at 13 he could organize a huge task and accomplish it. My kids made me proud. They worked like crazy!!!!! Grace and I cleaned bathrooms this morning. She volunteered to do toilets. Remember the issues the team was having.... She picked the least desirable task so that others would not have to do it. Love that attitude!!!!

We went to a different settlement in the morning called La Capilla It was a very clean, well kept village. The houses were spread out. We walked lots of miles inviting the children to come for vbs. (glad I been working out.... Helped lots with my stamina level).

This was the only vbs we did in a church building. There was even a piano. Not a Steinway, but I was glad to see it anyway!!!! We had about forty kids show up in that little village and also nearly twenty adults. I worked with preK. I did not know what to do since we did not bring any curriculum. They had been just coloring but I wanted them to learn about jesus. So I decided to do a story about Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm. I sketched out some pics of the story and found a translator. Worked great to talk about fishing and storms in a fishing village. Regret that i didn't think about it until the last day. I heard that there were four decisions for Christ among the big kids.

We stopped off at a mission church where we were at Christmas to visit the pastor. He wasn't there. Our missionary showed us some construction work that needs to be done there. He also told us that pastor Keen was probably across the border in Texas sitting at the HEB store in the air conditioning. Not sure if it was a joke or not. I did pick ip pastor Keen's guitar and strum around a bit. "it had strangs and everythang," to quote pastor Keen at christmas.

We went to the market next. It was an interesting contrast to visit the market in Las Higuerillas after years of going to the one in Juarez. Like the difference between goodwill and Macy's.

We ate supper with Leslie's family again. This time it was grilled chicken, beans, rice, and tortillas. Leslie's mom was so upset that we had been sick. Missinary boy Aaron is such a man. Can't believe he would tell her that we had been sick!!!! It was nice to relax for a few minutes before heading back out again.

We went around inviting people to the movie. One of our Spanish speakers kept giggling everytime Shawn would say "you are all invited to come....". It would seem that when he said todos it sounded like torro. "All the bulls are invited to come...". Way funny!!!!

We had about two hundred people show up for the movie. We fed them all hot dogs and nachos. After the movie we handed out baby kits and school supplies. We had enough to give everyone double supplies and still had tons left over that Leslie is taking to her church to hand out to more needy famies. I was working on sorting supplies all night. We had everything pre sorted but I kept finding more boxes of toys and supplies and new testaments that had somehow gotten overlooked. One of the local pastors gave the invitation. Two adult men accepted christ and we do not know for sure about the children because when one comes forward lots come forward to pray to receive Christ. Some of those are probably very heartfelt and genuine and some are probably just going forward with their friends. But any step toward God is a great thing.

We cleaned up about midnight and headed back. We unloaded Missionary boy Aaron's truck at Leslie's house. The truck bed was filled to overflowing with leftover school supplies. It took a long time to get back across the border. We pulled back into the dorm at about three in the morning. Got up for breakfast at six and now heading home.

This may have been my favorite mission trip ever. I loved going to a variety of locations , and I loved working with the missionaries Dewayne and Aaron. Two lessons I am bringing home: 1. I need to strategically plan a variety of mission opportunities back home. Ministering to those in desperate need should not be a rare event. 2. I need to learn the language. Whatever people group we decide to focus on long term, I want to be able to communicate without a translator. We had lots of salvations this week. I have lost count of how many. But how many more people could we reach if we could speak the language? I am excited about coming home with renewed focus and being refueled and reenergized and ready for more ministry!

Thanks for all your prayers. It made such a huge difference! To those of you who came with me... It was an adventure of a lifetime.... Thanks for the journey!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday on mission

This morning we were running a bit late so we skipped canvassing and went straight to the home of the family that was feeding us lunch. Leslie's family was cooking fish for us today. We had planned to give them Money to buy the fish but did not give it to them ahead of time . They realized that they did not have enough money to buy the fish since we had not left any with them. They simply prayed that God would provide a meal for our team and then went fishing. They cAught 180 pounds of fish. Enough for us. Enough for them. Enough to sell to buy plates, napkins, and cokes for the Americans. And the day before they did not catch any fish. God abundantly provided in a miraculous way.

We went out to an island after lunch to do vbs. It was not the same one we went to at Christmas. We found a pavilion to set up under. Then we went from house to house on the island inviting the children to come to vbs. Turns out there was a pastor on the island. He sat up chairs in the pavilion and loaned us his sound system and some Spanish music. God went before us. Did I mention that it rained hard during the bible story. Not game time when the children were outside but during the bible story. That forced all the Adults to also gather up under the pavilion and listen to the story.

Interesting story - we met a gringo from Ohio who was staying on the island. Living and fishing with the locals. He wanted an English bible and none of us had one. We had Spanish ones instead. Hopefully he will come to the movie tomorrow and we can give him one.

It was cloudy and rainy which helped with the heat and kept grace from sunburning more. She would not stay at the dorm. Did not want to miss anything in Mexico. However my face is quite crispy. Through two applications of sunscreen.

Pray for us tomorrow. We will do one more vbs tomorrow and then show an evangelistic movie tomorrow night. Pray thAt God will be at work in people's hearts.

One more day. How is it nearly over already? And yes I have funny outhouse stories..... Some of them even happened to other people this time. Like my friend Liz got her butt stuck in the hole and shook the whole outhouse trying to get unstuck. I got trapped in one when the outer latch fell into place while I was inside. No problem except everyone else was on the van and could not hear me yelling for help. I finally jiggled the door around enough to be able to squeeze my finger out and unlatch myself. Oh And I danced with a yellow jacket in the outhouse. It flew in. I went out . It flew out. I went in. It went back in. I came back out. Finally just prayed against getting stung and went on in. Safely used the facilities.

Getting ready to preview movie we are showing tomorrow and spending some time praying about the people who will come. And praying that it will not rain tomorrow night during the movie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday on mission.

This morning we had the chance to spend some time at the beach in las higuerillas before we did our mission work. The water was warm. The sky beautiful. Loved watching Shawn and the kids riding the waves. I had no swimsuit but I waded in as far as I could by rolling up my skirt. We enjoyed the down time.

At lunch time we moved to our vbs location. Today we were on the very tip of the peninsula close to a naval base. A family graciously set up a space for us in their yard under some trees. Unfortunately it was next to the chickens. Smelly! I prayed hard and ate my lunch and kept it down.

About forty kids showed up for vbs. I love to see our people playing with the kids and loving on their parents. Several people today made decisions to follow Christ. Some adults and some children. Of course with the kids it is harder to judge the nature of their decision. Are they just following friends? But any move towards God IS a positive decision.

My favorite part of the day was having a translator to help me talk to Leslie. She is the mission intern's fiancé. A native from the village. A beautiful woman inside and out. I love seeing her ministering and singing with the children. She also spends a lot of time visiting with the other women to find out if Any of them don't know about Jesus. It is common to see this nineteen year old praying with woman to accept Christ as savior.

Funny moment : Shawn was sharing with the children that Christ died for their sin. The spanish word for sin is pecado. Shawn told the children that Christ died for their pescados. That would be fish. They all laughed pretty hard at the silly gringo.

Prayer needs: Grace and James badly sunburned. I did not remind them to reapply after their swim in the ocean. They are feeling some better after cool showers and aloe lotion and rehydrating.

Pray that God would continue to go before us. Tomorrow we will be on an island off the coast and on Thursday we will be showing a movie called the cross and the switchblade.

Pray that God will send more missionaries here to spread the good news.

Pray that Leslie will be able to get her papers to go to the states with Aaron after they are married. There is a hang up since her parents did not file a record of a birth until she was five.

Thanks for all your prayers. We are seeing incredible things here. I know that your prayers are important.

Ph pne

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday morning on mission

Even though we had an incredible day at the crossroads, i am skipping my Monday morning update and talking about our Mexico trip instead.

Blogging from my phone. We will see how this goes. There are so many details it is impossible to share it all. Thanks for your prayers. We Are seeing God at work.

We crossed the border this morning around nine. The first order of business was to put up a big tent in the middle of the road for classes. Then we went from house to house inviting people to attend vbs. One lady accepted Christ as we gave her a small gift and told her about God's love.

We have prayed for God to go before us. Today as we were canvassing a neighborhood we bumped into a maestro from the local school. God prepared an exponential contact. The teacher asked if he could invite all of his students. So in just a few minutes we made contact with a man who could reach most of the children in the neighborhood. That is God sized economics right there.

Every person we met today we viewed with kingdom eyes. A common question today was "has anybody told them about Jesus yet?". What if we lived our American lives this way? If every person we laid eyes on we asked ourselves " I wonder if anybody has told them about Jesus?"

We bumped into a man who accepted Christ when we were here at Christmas. He was sober and anxious to relive with us the moment of asking Jesus christ into his heart. Over and over he repeated "muchas gracias muchas gracias."

After lunch we hosted a vbs. Over fifty children attended. A lady at a nearby store accepted Christ and I don't know how many children. We are very excited about tomorrow. Thursday night we will be showing a Christian movie about gang members who find christ. Our missionary wanted us to show that one since he has done the Jesus film recently.

We are sitting on the side of the road waiting while some of the men have gone back to talk to a man that looks strung out on drugs. We stopped everything we had on our agenda to see if christ has a work to do in that man's life.

Shawn returned to the van weeping. The man on the side of the road was deranged. He wanted to sit there in that one spot and eat the ants. He would not eat the sandwiches we gave him even though it would have been infinitely better for him than the ants. Instead he was more interested in eating ants and just starving to death. And he is not far from that fate. How often do we do this to God? He wants to offer us something much better than our own plan for our lives. But instead we cling to our own plan. Pray for this man. Carmen.

This trip I am seeing that what makes Mexico so special is being able to live a kingdom lifestyle for a week. My question for myself now is why am I not living this kingdom lifestyle daily in America? How can I change my heart? It is time. Time to look for God moments and opportunities every day every where thar I go. Pray that my eyes would be open and that I would not be afraid.