Back to School

Round two! It’s good to see lots of familiar faces and much-missed friends. Setting aside the fact that classes haven’t started yet, getting back into the groove of things has been easy so far. I found myself trying to dry my hands on a towel that wasn’t there because that’s where it lived last semester, and then I tried to throw trash away where my trash can wasn’t yet placed. The new additions of an alebrije, new pics, and my pumpkin latte air freshener add some nice variety 🙂

My friends are still just as crazy as ever. Brooke just rolled out of my room in her desk chair saying “I’m gonna try something” and Meesh followed with the video camera… Hannah just sat on the bed and rolled her eyes because it’s not so abnormal. We’ve spent our fair share of time making fun of Aaron’s Southern-ness and phrases like “I don’t rightly recollect…” He knows we love him. And, of course, we’ve gotten our butts kicked by the hills. Every semester. I thought I was a lot more in-shape after jogging all summer. Turns out I’m only a little more in-shape.

We took the mandatory Walmart run last night… and of course added a detour of Cookout. Tonight we’re gonna get down to business and have a back-together celebration at the coffee shop. I’m definitely excited. Next order of business, get a job so I can pay for all these outings XD

Pray for all of us as we start classes tomorrow! Here we go.

Don’t be a Quiet Christian

I snagged this quote from a Dare2Share devotional:

“When I first came to the Lord, my take was that living a Christian life was more about planned defense. So for about 2 years, I just basically tried to do good things. What I hadn’t realized is that if you’re vocal about your faith, the pressure is then put on the people that you’re sharing it with. It was then that I realized how powerful the message was.”

Jase Robertson.

Back to the Norm

Well, here I sit, in my living room, in the States! It has been great seeing my parents and church peeps again. I’m looking forward to seeing my grandparents for dinner tomorrow and welcoming home the rest of my family/church family from Guatemala tomorrow night. I’ve already had steak twice–YUM–and I’m looking forward to some pedicure bonding time with the chicas. Also, reuniting with Velma (my car) has been wonderful 🙂

Unfortunately, coming home means getting back into the normal stress of things. The easy-going lifestyle of Mexico definitely doesn’t transfer. I have to get to work on doing my homework, filling out papers, paying for school, making money, and the rest of the not-so-fun necessities of life.

Above it all, I need to remember what God taught me this summer, and figure out how to use that. If there was one point he drove home, it’s this: when you think you’ve got your life all figured out, packed into a cute little travel bag, with a clear view down the road ahead, he’ll throw a fork into your path. There aren’t roadsigns; you just have to choose a route and trust him. So, here we go.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your prayers all summer long. Don’t stop–Mexico and I both still need them 🙂

Winding Down

Hello, all!

Although the trip is winding down, we aren’t slowing down yet!

This past week has been filled with fun. Wednesday, we held a soccer tournament in one of the villages for kids ages 6-12ish. We got to spend time with some awesome people who live here, and they took us in for a delicious lunch. We followed it up with another fun day of Mexico vs. USA soccer on Saturday and tlayudas with their family. They’re such a fun group of people!

Thursday, one of the villages was having a festival, so we went to it in the morning and then to our own villages in the afternoon. My team got to spend some time with our friends there, reading Bible stories and learning about Mexico. We learned a little more about the town and what there is to do there.

The biggest tourist activity we’ve done lately is the famous Guelagetza! We had a relaxing breakfast at the market yesterday morning and then, after loading up our backpacks with hours worth of food and drinks, we headed out to the cerro. We waited in line for a few hours, chilling on a wall and eating our snacks. It was a small price to pay for free tickets! About five hours after we left the house, the festivities began. Traditional dances and clothing from many different villages filled the stage with color and excitement. Between each village’s performance, they threw stuff into the crowd like hats, baskets, tortillas, and even pineapples. Yeah, that one was a little dangerous. The celebration lasted a few hours, and then we fought our way down the hill and back home. It was an exciting night.

Please pray that we will use our last week as effectively as possible. Also, pray for our health. Most of the girls in our house are going through colds right now–lots of runny noses and coughing and very little sleep! Thank you all for your continued prayers. As much as I don’t want to leave, I can’t wait to see all of you back home!!

Trailblazers

Everyone always says, “it’s not about numbers.” But who really believes that?

How many people attend your church each Sunday? How many came to VBS? How many kids were saved at VBS? How many hands went up? How many people did you baptize this year?

While these are all important things that the church does, it needs to be about the people, not the numbers.

In the month+ that we’ve been here, we haven’t seen a single person saved. They told us before we came that this would be a slow work. Sometimes, we get discouraged. Sometimes, it feels like we’re trudging through knee-high mud in flip-flops, and it’s turning into cement. But, we aren’t letting it get us down.

God is teaching our teams patience and perseverance. He’s showing us that what we think of as rewards may not come, but in the long run, He will make a difference.

Continue to pray that we can knock down walls and prepare the way for future ministry to these people. It’s an awesome work.

My beautiful city 🙂

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My beautiful team 🙂

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Long Time No Blog

Hey, everyone!

So, it´s been about two weeks since I`ve blogged… I´m sorry 😦 All of a sudden our whole team realized a month was gone and we still had a ton to do! We´ve been cramming our weekends full of stuff that everyone needs to do when they go to Oaxaca, and our weekdays have been full as well.

With each day that we explore the area and experience the culture, I love Mexico a little more. It´s so much fun winding down after a long day with elote or helado at the zocalo, watching guys breakdance and have rap battles, or just walking around and looking at all the pretty things. We´re surrounded by beautiful mountains and interesting people. I´m definitely going to miss this place.

This week and last, we´ve had the opportunity to exchange stories with a man in our village. He teaches us about Mexico, and then we share some Bible stories with him. It has been interesting on both sides, I believe. Pray that it opens the door to deeper conversations.

We´ve also been able to continue helping a couple of kids learn some english. They are so sweet, and their whole family is very welcoming. Pray for easy learning and open hearts!

The more we talk to people the more we realize how difficult it is to not be Catholic in this part of the world. People don´t treat us differently when we tell them we aren´t Catholic, but it´s a whole different story for family and neighbors. Believers are often cut off from their families and societies because they have given up their heritage, their culture. It´s no wonder that people are afraid to respond. Please pray that God will show these people how much more important he is than anything else. Pray that he will show US that as well as we overcome our fears and share the hope we have.

This Week

When you´re in another country, you just miss the little things.

Karen, Bailey, and I went to a little coffee shop. I got a bagel with cream cheese and iced cappuccino, and thought I was about to die of happiness.

Then, there´s this whole thing about how Americans eat more meat than… anyone else in the world. So, I´ve been craving a steak hardcore. I knew it was risky, but I ordered a burger from a restaurant. It was not a burger. I was very sad.

Can you say culture shock, anyone?

BUT, despite the little ups and downs, I am still happy to be here, and I love Mexico! Here are some real updates:

This week was another great week in the villages.

Monday, we met a new friend who showed us around the beautiful templo when we went back yesterday. He´s an artist and teacher, so his tour of such an art-history-rich building was wonderful.

We got to spend some more time with our awesome family as well. Every day is a learning experience. We taste new fruits we´ve never seen, help prepare a roof to add another floor, and–next week–will learn to make tortillas.

Through all the times of hanging out, we`ve been able to share our testimonies and some Bible verses. But, we haven´t had many big, gospel-sharing opportunities. Please pray that we won´t be fearful to jump into it!

Thank you all for your prayers so far. God is working!

Los Pueblos

¡Hola!

Oaxaca is still treating me well. I´m beginning to get down a few rules of thumb to survive in the city:

1. If you are asked a question in very fast Spanish that you don’t understand in a restaurant, smile and say ´si.´

2. If you are asked a question in very fast Spanish that you don´t understand on the street, smile and say ´no.´

3. Buy a raspa every chance you get. They´re that good.

But on a more serious note, we started visiting our villages this week! Melissa, Nick, and I hopped out of the truck and into the sight line of an awesome guy whose family has lived there for generations. He immediately invited us in to meet his wife and sons and dine on fresh fruit and spices. The plan was to explore the village a little, but we stayed at this family´s house for hours. It was far more wonderful than exploring could have been, I´m sure! The husband and wife both spoke their indigenous language fluently. Oh, and it is certainly a whole different language, not a dialect of Spanish! They began teaching us their native tongue. I knew I would pick up some more Spanish here and hoped to learn about the indigenous culture, but this was above and beyond.

After a great first day, the family insisted that we return early in the morning. We arrived at the village with enough time to hang out in a tortilleria with another really cool guy, explore a little, and then meet our friends. We visited their large garden area, and they invited us for comida–the large meal of the day. It was a delicous chicken soup with the freshest veggies and meat there can be.

So far, we could not ask for better reception! Please pray that we will be able to continue these relationships and others around the city, and pray that we will keep our focus on God throughout the summer.

Aqui en Oaxaca

Hello all!

I´m finally getting enough time in the internet cafe for a little update.

The trip here went well. Only one of our flights was cancelled, but we got on another one a few hours later, so that was smooth enough. Four of us arrived in time to walk down to the Zocalo for a taco and then get settled into our living quarters. Us girls are staying in a little house with bunk beds, a kitchen, warm showers, and a great roof hangout spot.  I really like it.

The first couple of days consisted of getting to know the city. We got to do a little browsing and try some local food. Jugo verde=mmmmm.

As for the best part so far, three of us were walking down the street when we ran into a couple of Oaxacans, one of whom wanted to practice his english. Karen quickly turned the convo to Jesus, and we had about a 30 minute conversation in the middle of the street about God. Karen and Bailey were able to talk to one of them with their advanced Spanish while I talked with the one who spoke pretty good English with my not-so-advanced Spanish. This was an amazing door that God opened! It taught me that he will use you and what you have, and you don´t have to know everything to be effective. Please pray that we will be able to meet with these guys again and share more with them.

Today, we got a glimpse of the villages we will be spending lots of time in. I am very excited! Please keep us in your prayers as I´m also nervous but very confident that God has a plan.

Also, please pray for my team in the area of spiritual warfare. We are surrounded by ancient superstitions, and we are perfectly vulnerable for attack. The devil always wants to sqaush what God´s people are doing.

I guess I can´t sign off without mentioning the two things I´ve heard about for months. First of all, no one lied; this place is BEAUTIFUL. Second of all, the food is good, but my stomach doesn’t appreciate it as much as my taste buds. Even they are growing tired of it already… This is not good after only four days! But, like I said before, the juice is yummy. And, I´m willing to try just about anything. Including chapulines. That day will hopefully come soon!

Thanks for all your prayers. God is already moving, and I know he will continue to!