Tuesday 29 October 2013

Halloween, its so different here.

I think one of the hardest things to do is go into a completely foreign culture (whether that is in your own home country or in a different one) and accept all aspects of that new place. I am not saying that we should adopt all of the values, behaviors and aspects of the new culture that you are in, especially if they aren't biblical.

But sometimes it is hard to wrap your head around why people don't act like you, value the same things you do, etc. It really makes you take a good look as to why you believe the things you do, why you act the way you do, why you value certain things over others. So much of our own culture isn't directly taught but it is what we observe the people closest to us doing and it is what we subconsciously adopt.

Anyways, I was thinking about it this morning when I was sad that I am not free to buy a whole bunch of pumpkins, have the youth over, and carve them. How we can not have a costume party. How Halloween is not the innocent thing it is in the United States (I know, a lot of Christians do not support or participate in Halloween in the states--- instead they call it Fall Festival).

Here in Mexico, Halloween or Day of the dead- which are basically the sameish thing- is very different than anything I experienced before coming to Mexico.

In the United States we are free to have a party with pumpkins, fall themed activities, drink hot apple cider, have a costume contest, watch non realistic scary movies and go to haunted houses.

Here in Mexico, people set up a table either inside of their house or right outside, cook a whole bunch of food, and hope that the spirits of their dead relatives will come back and be pleased with their offerings... they also do that to the grave sites... You may chuckle at that, but it isn't the fun innocent thing that your Spanish class taught you about. It is sad, creepy and disturbing.

I wrote this blog last year about Day of the Dead, take a look. 

So, it completely makes sense why Christians in Mexico do NOT support any part of Day of the Dead or  Halloween.

Of course, I still wish I could do the fall fun stuff that I grew up with, with the innocence that I use to think that accompanies it all. But, I can't and I understand why. Please pray for Mexico this week as alters to the dead are going up, as people celebrate and worship the dead.

Friday we hand out candy and have a time of evangelism followed by a kids "Celebrate Life" party (instead of celebrating death). You can pray for all that too, we would be grateful!

Also, Rod wrote this blog about Halloween--- it's in spanish. 

Saturday 26 October 2013

cleaning, movies, and english

Wednesday evening we got back from a team retreat about an hour or so from where we live. It was a cute little place, had a pool, we played lots of board games, ate lots of tacos, had some meetings. Good times had by all.

Last night was our monthly movie night at the community center.... Monsters University was seen. love that movie!

So far today--- I have gotten lost in Chalco taking a neighbor to visit a family member in the hospital, got food for youth group, visited the people working on cleaning the land, helped a girl with her english homework, and listening to the Nebraska football game (hoping for a comeback win!)

By the way, I am not confident in the English taught in most schools here! The girl I helped, Lupe is her name, needed help pronouncing and memorizing a paragraph from a text book. One sentence was "A girl of five years is eaten soup at night late". 

Here is a photo what our land currently looks like ( wanna come down and help us, as you can see there is plenty of work to be done!)

And some people showed up to start cleaning up outside the property, Thank God for servants in our little church!

Monday 21 October 2013

Good Morning from Jesus Maria

Wanna know what I see when I look out my window in the morning?

Last night was the first night for the youth leadership study- five youth have committed to this study. Last night we studied what the bible says about leadership, using a shepherd and how he cares for his sheep as a example. Please pray for this study, it is every Sunday night at 6pm!

Now to get ready for our team retreat starting today.

Friday 11 October 2013

This week.

A little "what happened this week" update.

I am pretty sure I could teach individual English lessons and do nothing else.  Alas, I can't but I do have three people I help individually every week, all people not in the church and really people I have just met. A lot of conversational English, help with pronunciation, and grammar stuff-- you know all the fun things that come along with learning a new language. Anyways, its fun doing the conversation help because it nearly always leads to conversations about why I am in Mexico and how God brought me here.

Community Center classes went well this week.. well all except Jim's drama class. Wanna learn some drama type stuff, come visit us on Wednesdays at 6pm! Anyways Rod has had good turn out for his English and guitar classes-- even taught some police officers! Below is my craft class and my country line dance--- I still feel weird about taking pictures of the exercise classes ;) It is encouraging that new people are coming this block and some people that have been coming for a while have been asking questions about God and faith! Anyways, I love the community center.

Things are still happening with the church land. Hopefully soon we will have a non profit standing and a roof up? Anyways read Rod's post.

It is great to be back in the swing of things after being in the states! =0)

Tuesday 8 October 2013


I have been debating for a few days about if I should publish this blog post... but, then I thought, why not?

When I was in the US, people would ask me the same questions, even if I didn't even know them (actually, it is probably at least half the people). First they would ask, "How is Mexico?" then they would some how ask "So, are you still single?", "But why?" "Isn't there any cute Mexican men?" "Would you marry a local?"

At first these questions caught me off guard...."um, yes I am still single, and uhhhh I guess God just hasn't brought the right guy along". But then I started getting a little wittier with my answers (who me?).

Anyways, at first I thought they were more concerned about my love life and less about what God is doing in Mexico (and some of my friends are =0)  )  but, i think some people just don't understand why someone would want to go to the field "alone". And I don't understand that sometimes too.

For the record, when you work on a team and live in a community like the one I live and work in--- you don't have to worry about be alone.

Some people think (and I have been told several times) that single women shouldn't be on the field, for various reasons. I have also been told "God will honor your commitment to Him and you will find a husband", "You have the gift of singleness" (GAG), "Its good to go on these adventures while your still single" "don't worry your young" and a whole host of other responses that are all meant to make me feel better (?).

The reality is that I  learned at a very young age to be independent. Relentlessly independent. I never apologize for it. I am thankful that I know how to survive on my own. And while I have always been grateful for my independentness (new word!) I have always had the desire to get married and have a family. And it definitely was not my plan to be 30 and single.

I remember the first time I told God that if He wanted me to be single forever He needs to take that desire away from me. And then I am pretty sure I didn't breath for two minutes. ;0)

Anyways, 80% of the time, I am completely content with being single, at least for now. There are also some pretty great advantages of being single and on the mission field. I can do things at any time- any day of the week. I can drop what I am doing when someone needs something and only worry about leaving the dogs. I can be more flexible with my time, money and resources. I can travel easier and cheaper! And the list goes on and on and on

Of course there are times when I am lonely. I think loneliness is not a constant state of being, but more a feeling which comes in seasons and waves, sometimes worse than others-- at least for me. There are also time when I feel like it would be easier to do some things with a male partner.

I would also be lying if the idea of going "full time" and being on the mission field, as a single, doesn't scare me every once in a while. Sometimes I wonder if following God's calling on my life means I will never be a bride. But I then remember that God is bigger then my fears and the borders I cross.

I am grateful for the past experiences that I have had and the current situation that God has placed me in. I desire a husband in the future. If that is God's will that is great, if not, then I plan to be content in that too.

Saturday 5 October 2013

And now....

So what going on here in Mexico?

Well, we are in going on the fourth week of our community center classes. This block we are offering english, baking, country dance, guitar, soccer, keyboard, drama, exercise, movie night etc etc.
Tiffany taught the first three weeks of my class and now I am jumping in and finishing out the block!

Baking had 10 people plus Shari and I on Thursday, 10 people for the country dance class, a couple for all the exercise classes... and Rod's english and guitar classes were pretty full!

I love the community center!

I am happy to report that things are some what coming along on the church property now! There is some cement poured (eventually that area will be like a multipurpose area but for now we will use it on sundays!) and Ismael told me we should be able to meet there within a monthish (hopeful). There are still issues, so please don't stop praying for all of that!

I am also getting ready to start a new bible study with the youth on Tuesday nights. It is for those who are 15 years old and older and want to help with the youth group. Hopefully it will not only give the older ones more responsibility but also raise up some new leaders! Please pray for me and the preparation of this AND that the youth come (they said they wanted to before I left) and are committed!

Things are happening and we all appreciate your prayers!

Friday 4 October 2013

And now I am back.

This week has been a little bit of a whirlwind.

Monday: I spent it packing- packing when you come back to Mexico is like jigsaw puzzle, trying to get everything to fit together and NOT be over the 50lb weight limit! Also, when I go home everyone says "hey i want to see you before you leave" and then they wait until the last day! haha I also had to get rid of the last stuff in my storage units and say some goodbyes. It was harder to say goodbye this time then normal.

Tuesday: Travel. Travel. Travel. Want to know what the benefit to buying the cheapest possible plane ticket? You get to spend the whole day traveling! Basically up at 6am and to Mexico City around 11:30 (got a green light in customs so didn't need my bags gone through!) Thankfully Tiffany and Fabian met me inside the airport to help carry my stuff out for me. And finally back to my house around 12:30ish. Stayed up about an hour chatting.

Wednesday: Up EARLY for exercise class, went to buy stuff for Tiffany's going away party, got ready for the party and had the party. The best part? The inflatable! Oh and celebrating Tiffany's time here in Ixtapaluca.

Thursday: The dreaded "goodbye" to Tiff. I won't go into details on how i feel about that, but she will be missed! Spent the day at baking class (10 people), getting ready for country dance class, community center stuff etc.

Friday: And today I am attempting to get my house back in order and catching up on things. And really just want a nap.

Basically, from one country to another. Saying goodbyes that were hard. Jumping straight into everything happening here in Mexico. Dealing with two dogs who don't want to live together (I have bruises to prove it).

And tomorrow, part three of three of my update series!

Thursday 3 October 2013

Ready for a recap?

Life can speed past and details (even the important ones) just become another ‘forgotten’ detail.  So I thought that I would motivate myself to write my blog tonight to get back into the swing of it. It has been about a month since my last post, so here goes.

I spent the last monthish ( a little less than that) in the states. There were several reasons for going back one being that I wanted get rid of my storage unit in Nebraska (CHECK- that will save me several hundred dollars a year). I needed to raise some more support to continue with the journey that God has placed me on here in Mexico (partial check?- hey, wanna support me?), and a few other things that don't necessarily need to mentioned on a blog- you wouldn't be entertained anyways!

Some points of interest from my time in the US:
* I got to reconnect with a lot of people in my home church and share what God is doing in Mexico and in my life.
* I traveled to Indiana to hang out with the Netzley and Gross families. I was able to see their hispanic church, shared about church planting in Mexico and laughed a lot.
* I saw Kendra when I was in Chicago.
* Was a part of one of my best friends (Bailey) wedding.
* Hung out with some old friends and made some new ones.
* Was able to spend a lot of time with Ben and Jamie. Their family is a blessing to me (and even 1 year old Mark!) and it is encouraging to see their faith even in such a difficult time.
* Spent a little time with some family.

All in all a fairly decent trip.

This week has been a whirl wind, more on that tomorrow. ;)

Now, enjoy a few pics from the states: