- Please give God all the glory, honor, and praise for working in the hearts of our families in Taj.
- Please pray that Dani and I are able to focus and stay strong in sharing the gospel these next several months.
- Please pray for the pharmacy couple (Juan and Rosie) to continue asking questions about God’s word.
- Please pray for our tlayuda-making family to continue reading the Bible. Pray that they would recognize their need to repent and have faith in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
During the month of December, I spent some much-needed time with my family for Christmas. It was the first time that I have been back to the good ole US of A. It was a very sweet time of music, laughter, fellowship, and prayer. I came back to Oaxaca in the new year feeling refreshed and supported.
Dani and I have both been anxious about visiting our family in Taj. We decided to go prayer walking in the village yesterday and stop by to see the couple working in the pharmacy. The husband Juan welcomed us into the store. We were very encouraged to hear that he and his wife Rosie desired to meet with us on Sunday afternoon. Juan has expressed that he is encouraged by our desire to share God’s word. He believes in the importance of hearing and discussing the word of God. Dani and I were unsure if this couple would be able to find any time for us in their very busy schedule. We have made sure that they are aware of our flexibility to their schedule and that we understand if we can only meet with them for shorter periods of time. We are excited about the possibility of this couple eventually joining the other family that we share with regularly. Juan mentioned that he and his wife could begin meeting with them while we share the Bible stories. Dani and I can see how God could bring this group together for the beginnings of a church in Taj.
Later that same day we stopped by our family of tlayuda-making women (our friend Betty’s cousin Lucia). Lucia and Doña Maria (Lucia’s mother-in-law) were both in the home, making and cooking the large tortillas (tlayudas). They were happily surprised by our visit and wanted us to sit and chat with them for a while. Don Carlos (Father-in-law) came outside to greet us with a friendly hello and smile. All my anxiety went away as I saw the gladness on their faces and answered their questions about my trip home. We sat by the fire-run ovens called comals which are used to cook the tlayudas. I felt great joy well up in my heart as Lucia shared how beautiful the Bible we had given her was. She shared that she had been enjoying reading the Bible while we were gone and that at times she was confused about what it was saying. She explained all this with a never-before-seen smile of joy on her face. Lucia had seemed to be the most closed to the stories when we would share. Usually she would leave the room and stay nearby to wash dishes or cook. Clearly God has been working in the life of Lucia all along. His faithfulness to her is shown even when Dani and I aren’t present. Praise God!
Ministry within the mission field does not only pertain to one particular group of people. I desire to minister to those whom God has placed on my heart (Oaxaqueños). However, I work with a group of missionaries who carry the same desire in their hearts that I do. Why do we have this desire? Because the Lord has given us a passion to bring the news of His son Jesus Christ to the nations.
But, if my fellow missionaries are ministering to the Oaxaqueños who is ministering to me? Brothers and sisters, our ministry goes beyond a hierarchy of whose “job” it is to minister to a particular individual or individuals. I have recognized that God has given me a unique skill set in order to reach others for Christ. The question is… how will I use my unique skill set to minister to those I come into contact with? I come into contact with all kinds of believers, including Oaxaqueños, Missionaries, and Church partners. I have a role to serve all of these different groups of people. These groups of people also serve a role in encouraging me in the ministry.
Regardless of what group we belong to, as believers we should be propelling one another forward in sharing the good news. Some of my most encouraging moments in the Lord’s work have been with Oaxaqueño believers. I have been prayed over by the missionaries that I work with as well as reminded of my purpose here in Mexico. I have been emailing back and forth with a Senior Sunday School class from a Baptist Church in Georgia. It touched my heart to hear that a church I had never met has picked my prayer card out of a stack of prayer cards and has chosen to pray over my journey.
We must break out of the confined way of thinking that the church ministers to the church, the missionaries minister to the missionaries, and the Oaxaqueños minister to Oaxaqueños. We all play a part in ministering to one another. My sending church reads my blog and hears from me, which encourages them to continue sharing the good news. My sending church also encourages me by sending emails, asking questions, and praying over me. In turn, my fellow missionaries encourage me and understand the struggles that I endure. But as a missionary I am also extremely encouraged by my fellow Oaxaqueño brother who is able to show me how to care for his people better than I could ever understand. I am thankful for the many ways and people God has given me in order to be involved in His ministry. What a blessing it is to have so many relationships through which I may be encouraged to minister.
- Please pray for the pastor and the baptist church located in the village to receive encouragement from the brethren during such a great time of loss.
- Please pray for the baptist church to reach out to their unbelieving neighbors sharing the truth of God’s word with them.
- Please pray that the villages on the coast continue to receive aid.
- Please pray for those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones during this time to find peace, hope, and love in Jesus.
- Please pray that God continue’s to open the hardened hearts of those in the village to see their need for Jesus.
My heart has been heavily burdened for the Oaxaqueños who have been shook with fear. It has been hard knowing of the devastation on the coast and not being able to do anything about it.
Last week the Lord provided an opportunity for Dani and I to visit the coast for a few days. We spent most of our time in one village that was severely affected by the earthquakes. I saw piles of bricks and broken glass that used to be someones home. Some buildings had two floors but seemed to only have one because the second floor caved into the first. Some homes had large holes through which you could see hanging clothes, pictures, and a bed. I felt a helplessness wash over my body as I ached to physically get to work. I wanted to help rebuild homes right there. I wanted to get in the rubble and start moving stuff. I wanted to do something!
We arrived at the surviving baptist church (seemed to be the only building still habitable) which was acting as a base for providing clothes, water, and food. The church daily provides one or two meals a day from their kitchen. However there are so many people who need to be fed and have no stove with which they can cook food.
The pastor’s wife and a group of ladies showed Dani and I some of the destruction. My heart sank as I realized many people had left and gone to live in other villages because their home and belongings were gone. My heart broke as I saw those who were living in the rain-filled streets with their family and belongings because they had no other options.
Dani and I immediately made a connection with a family whose crumbling walls were right next to the church. A young teenage girl named Sol had a sweet encouraging spirit in the midst of so much loss. Sol had a strength about her that came through having a relationship with Jesus. We encouraged one another as I realized that my physical help was less important than simply being with her.
The people didn’t need some gringa stopping by to move a few bricks, hand out some food, and take pictures. They just needed someone to listen, cry, pray, and laugh with them.
God willing I will return.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Two nights ago a violent earthquake (8.1) shook Southern Mexico.
Please join us in prayer for the lives and homes lost in Southern Mexico. All of our personnel and Oaxaqueño partners have been spared…give God the glory, honor, and praise…
However we still have hurting people who have lost loved ones, homes, and businesses. I encourage you all to lift up the lives of those living in Southern Mexico. Please pray that we take the opportunity to share the truth (Jesus) with our beloved people. Pray that our Oaxaqueño brothers and sisters take this opportunity to share the truth with others. Pray that unbelievers would look to Jesus asking how they might be saved.
- Please pray that Dani and I to continue to be intentional in sharing God’s word.
- Please pray for an opportunity to meet and share the gospel with David and his wife Sofia.
- Praise the Lord for our Oaxaqueño brothers and sisters in the mission.
- Praise the Lord that we have churches desiring to come to Oaxaca and serve.
- Please pray for the truth of the gospel to be spread by our brothers and sisters serving in Oaxaca.
I can hardly believe today marks a year of my term. I am so thankful and blessed to be able to serve the Lord here in Oaxaca. Recently I have had the opportunity to work with some church teams. It was really neat to see the teams from the perspective of being an on-the-field missionary. I have been on several short-term missions and know exactly what it feels like to be on a short-term assignment. I believe it was a God-thing that I was able to return to the mountain village I served in two years ago. I desired to go back and see the sweet faces of the people. I was also nervous about going back doubting many of my friends would recognize me.
I was thankful for the small amount of knowledge I could share with the team. I knew that this village seemed to be almost lifeless at times because people are in their homes. Usually the students go home after school in order to eat with their family. Both the men and women work. In general the men are working out in the field, or city, and the women are working at home. I was thankful that we would be teaching some English in the primary school because I had taught English there before. I was beaming when the director remembered me by name (my name is difficult to pronounce not to mention he had to remember it for two years). The team was welcomed into the school and I was able to see several of the students faces again. There were two girls in particular that I was so happy to see again. Two summers ago I played several games of basketball with Maria and Ana. Maria saw me in passing one day and stopped dead in her tracks running over to give me a huge hug.
The team did a good job of being flexible and getting ready to teach English. I believe this team helped make connections for future teams and for our Oaxaqueño interpreters to evangelize. We had three different awesome interpreters with us. I was thankful to have time to get to know these friends and their heart for missions more. A connection happened when one of our interpreters invited the director and his wife to play cards with us in our cabin. After Dani and I went home the wife messaged Dani telling us that they also have a house in Oaxaca. They desire to spend more time getting to know us. Dani and I are excited to meet with David and Sofia more and share the good news.
Cards with David and Sofia
Hike to the lookout
Maria and I ❤
- Please pray for unity between our Oaxaca Team as we desire to learn more about one another through many changes.
- Please pray for unity between Ashley, Dani, and I as we all desire to share Christ with others.
- Please pray for the two families that we work with in the villages to have open eyes and hearts to the gospel.
- Please pray for our Oaxaqueño believers to be bold in sharing the gospel and mobilizing the local evangelical churches.
- Praise God for opening doors in two villages for us to share His word.
Dani, Ashley, and I are working in two different villages (Taj. and Howau). God has paved the way for us to be able to share His word in these villages. Two weeks ago Ashley shared the story of Noah and the flood with our family in Howau. It was really neat because it was pouring down rain outside, creating little rivers in the muddy street. Ashley and I really enjoyed our time with them, chatting by the fire that was heating up the tortillas. They took care of us, providing us with hot chocolate, bread, tortillas, and a soup called caldo de res (beef broth with veggies). There are two women (the grandmother and Martha) that are very interested in hearing the stories. They desire to discuss the story after it is told, pointing out the characteristics of God. Sometimes there are several other family members present for parts of the stories. Recently we discovered that Martha and the grandmother each have their own Bibles, and attend a nearby evangelical church.
Just this last week Dani shared her testimony with these women and walked them through the book of Romans. Dani asked Martha and the grandmother if they had placed their faith in Christ as Savior. She also reminded them that there is no other God. Both Martha and the grandmother responded with a yes. Dani, Ashley, and I can all see that these ladies desire to hear more stories, and are hungry to hear God’s word. Our desire is to encourage Martha and the grandmother to continue seeking Christ, so that they may be transformed by God as they walk with Him.
Taj. is a village that the three of us girls taught English in when we first got to Oaxaca. Ever since then the Lord has allowed us to meet a few key people in the village (some of those being our students). I have a Oaxaqueña friend (Betty) who has family ties in Taj. She had introduced us to her cousin (Lucia) and her mother in law (Maria) a few weeks ago. We have enjoyed meeting Lucia and Maria and desire to share God’s word with them. Just last week we asked them if they would be interested in hearing some stories from God’s word. They both happily agreed. This also happened to be the same day I was served the grossest thing I have ever consumed. Placed before my eyes was a steaming bowl of soup with (pig skin, beans, and liver). At least that is what I had identified. I prayed that the Lord would help me to consume all of it’s contents without it coming back up. The Lord answered my prayer and I was surprised that it actually wasn’t that bad.
I am so thankful for a Lord who calls me to adventure with Him in new places with new people.