Who is Ministering to Whom?

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.

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Aftershock…

  1. 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.
  2. Please pray for the baptist church to reach out to their unbelieving neighbors sharing the truth of God’s word with them.
  3. Please pray that the villages on the coast continue to receive aid.
  4. Please pray for those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones during this time to find peace, hope, and love in Jesus.
  5. 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.

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Prayer Alert!

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.

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God is Moving

Living in another country isn’t easy…

 

 

Pastor Uribe and his wife Luz Face Timed me from the States this week. After laughing about the difference between Colombian and Mexican slang, he asked (in Spanish), “What is the most difficult thing about living in another country?” I took his question very seriously because I knew about their sacrifice to leave their own country in order to reach the Hispanic population surrounding them. I told him that the hardest things were actually the smallest…that build up over time. I gave him an example of going through the checkout line at the grocery store and being asked a question that you can’t answer because they are saying what they always say to their customers. I am not a regular customer, so therefore I have no idea that he is asking me if I would like to purchase minutes for my phone (“una recarga?”). One more example would have to be the speed bumps (topes) that exist on ALL roads. At most every stoplight there will be a tope, meaning I have to shift down to second gear and back to third about every 5 minutes.

 

There are difficult days when the culture weighs on me more heavily than others. This is one of the reasons I know and am thankful that God has been working in the city of Oaxaca long before my curly red head got here. God has continued to work in both of the villages we visit. My heart is full and I have more than enough to be thankful for here.

 

On Wednesday this week, Dani and I visited the village of Taj. Dani and I have been praying for this village in particular, because there are currently no known professing followers of Christ. We took our Oaxaqueña believer friend with us, and Dani was prepared to share the fall of Adam and Eve with the women as they made the tortillas (tlayudas). Though they knew in advance that we were coming, the women seemed to have forgotten and were very occupied with work. I tried not to be discouraged. Our Oaxaqueña friend stayed calm, and we met the husband of the mother-in-law, Don Claudio. He was interested in chatting with us. Suddenly I became a little nervous that he would not approve of our sharing the Bible stories with his wife and family. I started to take a sensitive position as he began telling us that his wife had shared some of the Bible stories that we had told. I was happily surprised when he began asking us about our beliefs and encouraging us to continue sharing. Then Dani was able to share the story of the fall with Don Claudio. At that point, the women had finished their work for the day. We ended the evening gathered around a small table as we enjoyed a delicious zucchini soup, tortillas, queso, salsa, and Coke.

 

I am thankful God knows what He’s doing and that I get to be a part of it.

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Teams

  1. Please pray that Dani and I to continue to be intentional in sharing God’s word.
  2. Please pray for an opportunity to meet and share the gospel with David and his wife Sofia.
  3. Praise the Lord for our Oaxaqueño brothers and sisters in the mission.
  4. Praise the Lord that we have churches desiring to come to Oaxaca and serve.
  5. 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.

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Cards with David and Sofia

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Hike to the lookout

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Maria and I ❤

 

 

Village Life

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray for unity between our Oaxaca Team as we desire to learn more about one another through many changes.
  2. Please pray for unity between Ashley, Dani, and I as we all desire to share Christ with others.
  3. Please pray for the two families that we work with in the villages to have open eyes and hearts to the gospel.
  4. Please pray for our Oaxaqueño believers to be bold in sharing the gospel and mobilizing the local evangelical churches.
  5. 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.

Tej. 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 Tej. 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.

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Staying Focused.

 

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray that I seek God first in all things.
  2. Praise God for our new friends in Howau!
  3. Please pray for the salvation of the family we are working with in Howau.
  4. Please pray for a group of my Oaxaqueño friends to share Christ with the people of Peru.

One of the main tools of the enemy is to distract…

He would love for me to stay inside my own head or choose to let emotion guide, rather than the Holy Spirit. The enemy would love for me to become isolated instead of talking to those who encourage me to pursue Christ. These last few weeks have brought their own challenges and distractions. Getting through this time required being in constant prayer, reading God’s word, and worshiping in the midst of struggle.

Through all the distractions that these past few weeks have brought, I find myself continuing to face a choice. Will I choose to let myself focus on the distractions of man or will I choose to persevere, endure, and run the race that the Lord has set before me? This question seems simple and yet it is amazing how easy it is to focus on physical self, rather than the faithful eternal.

Despite the challenges, the Lord is working and moving in the hearts of the Oaxaqueños. The three of us girls (Ashley, Dani, and I) have been welcomed into the home of a Zapotec (Indigenous group) family in the village of Howau. Last week we made a drink called tajate (made from cocoa and corn) with the grandmother. I watched eagerly as she carefully ground the cocoa beans and the cocoa flour together on a stone grinding table called a molcajate. The grandmother gave each one of us a chance to use the molcajate. It was backbreaking work that took all the strength of my arms to crush the ingredients into a paste-like dough.

After spending a few hours eating and drinking with the family, I shared the story of creation with them. It was during lunch hour, so there was a full table of both men and women. I proceeded to tell the story of Creation (Genesis 1-2) with kids playing loudly in the background, and the sound of tortillas ripping. The week before, we had learned how to make tortillas, and Dani had shared the story of Creation up to Christ. No matter what distractions are going on around me I want to choose to be involved in the work of the Lord. I don’t want to miss out on what He is doing.