- 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 (Tej. 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.
- Please pray that I seek God first in all things.
- Praise God for our new friends in Howau!
- Please pray for the salvation of the family we are working with in Howau.
- 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.
New adventures call for taking on waves of change. The question is…how will I handle it? After being in Oaxaca for a few weeks, I have met more people than I knew during my four months of language school in Chiapas.
I have been teaching third, fifth, and sixth grade English in a village on Mondays and Thursdays. When I first heard about the opportunity to teach English in the school, my heart sank…I don’t know how to teach English. I’m not qualified for this. I didn’t receive a degree in teaching. But the Lord is teaching me that it doesn’t matter what the world would say. It only matters what He makes available. If He says, “Here is an open door, walk through it,” I want to be willing to walk through it, no matter what. I’ve found that in my willingness, He moves. When I submit to His leading, He leads. However, it is His voice that reminds me, His love that lifts me, and His strength that sustains me. It is a relationship–the most beautiful one I will have in my life.
I walked through the door–maybe not willingly at first. But I trust that He will provide me and equip me with the necessary skills. The kids are sweet and eager to learn from our team. The main purpose of our team teaching in the school is to share the Truth that we have come to know. Oh, that they would know of the only Savior, that they would place their faith in Jesus the Christ, the provider of eternal life and real relationships. I desire to be an example, to form relationships, to proclaim Truth, and to encourage and disciple. I desire to be on mission for Christ all the days of my life. He will handle the rest.
And by “rest,” I also mean physical and spiritual rest… There is much work to do. There are several opportunities and not enough people. This is a struggle. The Lord recently reminded me of my need to rely on Him and not man (Colossians 3:23). I want to share with you what I felt during a recent retreat on a beach in Mexico.
February 26, 2017
As I’ve looked at the power of the waves crashing against the sand of Puerto Escondido…I was feeling two specific things: Power and Fear. I felt POWER. I felt Him in the ocean breeze and in the smell of the salt in my hair. I felt Him in the misty salt water that kissed my skin and tongue. I thought…He is Lord. Only He can cause the oceans He created to sustain such power. I could only think of how little I truly understand about God. Yes, His character is fixed, unchanging. But, His character moves my very being…lifting my soul up, high like the waves of the ocean; He sustains me. He is what continues my existence, breathes life into my body. He has all of who I am. He is all I need. But there is also FEAR. With each rising and crashing blow, the waves scream of life and death. He is Judge. He is King. He is OVER ALL. My life could so easily be taken by that which God has created. Do I fear death? NO! I fear, and am in awe of, a God in control of life and death–in a God who has provided life for those who are dead, those who need Him. I, too, am screaming out, like the waves. Oh, let me cry out, “He is Lord! He has saved me from eternal drowning…”
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:28-29)
- Please pray for two of my female teachers (Dalia and Monica) to continue reading God’s Word, that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their need for a Savior and that they would give their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Please pray for my male friends Jorge and Noé. Pray that Jorge continues to grow in his relationship with Christ and that their family finds a church community. Praise God for the new salvation of my friend Noé and pray that he continues to place his trust in Jesus to transform him into something beautiful.
- Please pray that Dani and I trust the Lord as we transition from language school to working in the city and villages of Oaxaca.
- Please pray for the unity of our missionary team in Oaxaca, new relationships to be formed, and listening ears to the gospel.
Time seems to fly by here, I have now been here for four months! Our last day of language school is tomorrow and then its off to the, “final destination” ha. It’s funny how your perspective changes when God brings new people into your life. It’s crazy how God prompts in you a heart to love those He’s placed right in front of you. I love my friends here in San Cristobal. This was so much more then a time to prepare for Oaxaca. Yes, my “primary” objective was to learn as much Spanish as possible…but God blessed me with so much more then learning how to speak Spanish better. I had the opportunity to draw near to those who need Jesus! I was given the freedom to practice my Spanish while sharing the truth of God’s Word!
Dani and I had 3 hours of School everyday followed by 3 hours of community time. God provided community as soon as we arrived here. I formed relationships with my teachers. Dani and I almost always spent time with our teachers out of class. We went on the walking street for coffee, pizza, and exploration. Dani and I are more skilled in racquetball. We also made some great missionary friends while we were here. These missionaries already had some wonderful things going on in the community. Dani and I attended or hosted a bible story cooking class every Thursday evening. This was a fantastic way to practice Spanish, and share the Word of God with nationals. We also attended or hosted a bible study every Saturday. I really looked forward to fellowship with my national and missionary friends on Saturdays. We sang songs, shared bible stories, ate together, and played games together. I had the privilege of sharing, Jesùs Aleminta a las Multitudes (Jesus Feeds the 5000) last Saturday. My time here has been productive and fruitful. I am excited to meet those whom the Lord is preparing me to meet in the city and villages of Oaxaca.
To be continued…
- Please pray that I take one day at a time, trusting that the Lord’s plans for me are real and good.
- Please continue to pray for the eyes of my friend Dalia to be opened to the truth, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord over her life.
- Please pray that new believers in San Cristóbal see the value in a Church family.
I had a discouraging moment during my Spanish class the other day. I had come to class excited and confident after translating a story from the bible from English to Spanish. I hesitantly handed the story to my teacher, and impatiently waited for him to tell me how great it was. He compared the story to my Spanish bible and then carefully proceeded to tell me that it was all in the wrong tense. Therefore, it was all wrong…
I wanted to cry, thinking things like, “How can I share the truth of God’s word, when I can’t write or speak the language correctly. Why can’t language learning happen through osmosis? I only have a month left of language school, and then I’m on my own.” During this whole time my wonderful teacher was staring at me with a confused expression on his face as I had my, “woe is me” moment. I was collapsed on the table, with my face under my arm saying, “I can’t do this.”
My teacher reminded me that I was expecting too much of myself. I was expecting myself to understand a tense I had not learned, written, or spoken. The true source of my frustration was coming from a lack of patience. Only the Lord sustains me with His gift of patience. As I seek Him, He calmly reminds me of my need for Him. Patience is a reminder of where my source of strength comes from. Patience humbles. Patience sustains. Patience allows change and growth to take place.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
I had a conversation with a sister named Irma over pizza and ping-pong. Irma got excited about Jesus. It didn’t matter to her that I was a student learning the language. She saw me as a sister in Christ. I was someone she could talk with about the most important relationship in her life. She spoke rather quickly as I desperately tried to understand everything she was passionately sharing in Spanish. She told me about her church. She loved her church family and the joy, peace, and comfort she had found in Christ Jesus. It was such an encouraging and wonderful conversation. Irma convicted me by the way she joyfully lived her life giving the glory, honor, and praise to the Father. The beauty of Christ radiated from Irma’s sweet face. Her parents taught her about the importance of the word of God when she was a child. She looked me in the eyes and asked, “Do you believe in the trinity?” I smiled and simply said, “Yes it is very important!” Then she leaned in and softly told me about the importance of believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for Catholics in Mexico. She said that the importance of the trinity is lost, specifically the significance of the Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts of the need for Jesus Christ who allows us to have a relationship with the Father. The excitement never left her face, as she told me about how the Lord had blessed her. Irma described how the Lord often called her to prayer. She said she felt the Lord tap her wrist in the morning and evening calling her to talk with Him. She enjoyed being in the constant presence of the Lord. What a beautiful and tangible description of the Father’s love. What an example.