Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Mexican Family Vacation


About three weeks ago our friends Linda and Juan invited Erika and I to go to Guadalajara for five days because Juan had a retreat to go to. When they invited us I kind of brushed it off and didn’t really want to go. About a week or so ago Juan and Linda also invited Toño and Mari and all the kids to go as well. I really didn’t think they would go either, but to my surprise on this day, November 2, at five in the morning we loaded up Toño’s van and all got inside.


Our trip started in the dark with the kids singing songs in the back of the van none of which I understand. The parents turned the back of the van into a bed on top of the luggage. I love traveling in Mexico! We stopped to fill the van up and then took off. Toño said a prayer and then said we would pray a rosary later. Linda and Mari wanted to pray the rosary then, so we did. Toño began, “Padre nuestro que estas en el cielo….” An overwhelming peace filled the car as we all prayed together. Once we finished I was so at peace I fell asleep for a few hours. Once I woke up the van was filled with joyful children, great music, and smiles. This is Toño and Mari’s first family vacation ever. Toño told me this morning that once the clock hit 4:00 AM every kid, excluding the baby Mili, flew out of bed with excitement, ready for vacation.


Since I’ve woken up we made a stop for the bathroom, only when we stopped, we pulled on the side of the road and all of the kids hopped out and did their business. Why haven’t we done that all my life when I traveled with my family? It is so much easier and faster than looking for a bathroom. We loaded everyone back in to the van, passed around bread, and had breakfast. So far it has been such a pleasant trip.


At around ten in the morning we arrived in a city named Zacatecas. We parked and walked around for a little while. We visited an old Franciscan Convent that absolutely beautiful. We took plenty of pictures because like I said it is Toño and Mari’s first vacation ever. We walked around downtown and visited a few Cathedrals. They were breathtakingly beautiful, but unfortunately the pictures I took cannot do it justice. While we walked around downtown we looked up way in the distance to a hill that looked as though it had a little community up there. Juan said before we left he was going to take us up there to get the best view possible of this beautiful city. We drove on twisty roads for ten minutes and finally arrived to the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen. I also noticed as we were parking people gathered with a lot of harnesses. I thought it was bungee jumping so I asked how much it cost, because I’ve secretly always wanted to bungee jump. It cost only $150 pesos, the equivalent to $14 US dollars, oh and it wasn’t bungee jumping, it was zip lining over a canon. “Even better, and a little safer.” I thought.


Erika and I each paid $150 pesos and then the lady who worked there strapped on our harnesses and put helmets on us. We were ready. I went first. I’m not sure where my sudden courage came from. It was an amazing feeling floating in the air, and I didn’t have an ounce of fear in my body. After our zip lining experience we walked around the little town on top of the hill. It was really beautiful. There were many booths selling homemade jewelry and other things. After about thirty minutes of walking around, we finally loaded back up and drove down the twisty roads to get back on the highway.


We made a few more stops to eat and look at various things and arrived in Guadalajara at 11 PM. It was a LONG day in the car, but really blessed. Once we arrived at our home for the next few days, we ate dinner and all crashed. The next day we visited with Linda’s family and went to a small town two hours away. The small town was so beautiful. I regret not taking pictures. We went there to surprise Juan because that is where his retreat was. Linda, Toño, and Mari all went inside and Erika and I watched the kids outside.


I could go on with the details of each day, but I feel like this blog is already on the long side. Our little vacation all in all was such a blessing. We were able to see so many beautiful things and meet such wonderful people. The Lord provided many opportunities for us to pray with the sick and needy on this trip. We also made new friends. I left Guadaljara feeling refreshed and ready to return to my home in General Cepeda. God is so good always!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cenaculos

Lord, conform my will to Yours always.

Every Thursday I go to holy hour at church and after that mass. I am used to a holy hour being a time of silent prayer, but at my parish, here, it is not at all a time of quiet, but rather of time of singing praise and praying aloud in front of the most holy Eucharist. Because I am so used of silent adoration I haven't quite become accustom to this new form of adoration. Last Thursday I decided I was going to go to holy hour and take part in the singing and praying aloud instead of trying to pray silently in my pew. To my surprise last Thursday was Cenaculos which is when several groups take the most holy Eucharist to different houses for a time of praise and worship.

Last year I went to Cenaculos only once and because I didn't understand Spanish at all, I was confused the whole time. This time as I walked to the church to meet up with a group and begin our walk to the house we were going to, in my heart I was dreading the hour ahead because of my confusion last time. To my surprise, I was completely moved during this time of worship. As we walked in the streets with the holy Eucharist, men and women stopped to make the sign of the cross and give adoration to our Lord. We sang songs and prayed as we walked. Once we got in to the house, there was a simple, yet beautiful altar to place our Lord on as we adored Him.

If I remember correctly, last year when I went to Cenaculos we prayed a rosary but this holy hour was a time of discussion. The lady leading read the great commission in the gospel of Matthew and asked us questions about it. The best part of all of this, was that reading the great commission was conformation to a prayer I had prayed. Earlier that day I was praying asking the Lord what I should give a teaching on in the rancho we will be visiting on Tuesday of next week and thought maybe I should teach about missions. God said yes when the lady leading read the great commission. I love when He uses a situation where I am very hesitant, to touch my heart and answer my prayers. "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations....." Matthew 28:19a Go,bring Jesus to others! They are waiting!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Almighty God

There is so much to write about, I don't even know where to begin. At times I am so overwhelmed with this mission because there is so much need that we cannot meet. I am so glad that we serve an almighty God who can multiply food, heal the sick, and comfort the broken. Other times, I am just so blessed by the hospitality and generosity of the people here.

Last Thursday Erika and I decided to clean our van during our door hours because we park the van right in front of the door so that we can still see if people come to our house. Our friends Maribel and Sergio stopped to talk to us while we were cleaning and, as some of you may know, Sergio has a brain tumor. While we talking and laughing he all of sudden turned really serious. Maribel said, "He is having a spell, can we go inside of the house??" We ran into the house, made Sergio sit down and immediately began to pray. In a short while he was better again and this time his spell didn't turn into a full blown seizure. Praise you Jesus! He was smiling and making googly eyes at his wife again. I asked him how many times he has these episodes and he said about once a day, sometimes more. Wow! Again, I am blown away by the strength of the people we have the privilege of serving.

Friday was our fun day. We take a fun day once every two weeks and Friday we decided to go Saltillo. We took Sergio, Maribel, and the kids with us. While in Saltillo, they were able to buy a thing to hook up electricity in their house and a few other things they needed. We spent time all together in the plaza in front of the Cathedral to talk and visit in the shade. The last stop of the day was at Maribel's mom's house. She gave Sergio and Maribel a washing machine as a gift. I was so blessed to see them so blessed. They left Saltillo with electricity hook ups for their house, some groceries, and a new washing machine. It was a great day.
Saturday we had home visits, and actually we only visited Doña Elvira. In a previous blog I sort of told her story, but she is the sweet old lady that takes care of her five grand kids because her daughter sort of abandoned them. Doña Elvira was telling us about how her youngest grand-daughter is doing, as she began to cry. I cannot remember the little girls name, but she is only three and a half years old and has cancer. She has been in the hospital for two years now and Doña Elvira told us she was in need of a blood transfusion and if she didn't receive it she would probably die. At that moment in Doña Elvira's little house I was overwhelmed. It is so hard for me to see the needs some people have or the sufferings they have and feel like there is nothing I can do. Again, I know that I serve an almighty God who is capable of all things.On another note, we have had our youth group for two weeks now. This week will be our third week. Kids are coming, praise God! Each week we've had around 10 kids. The first week we played a few games and talked about their purpose in life. The second week we played a few games and talked about the importance of prayer. This week we are just having a fun day and are going to either watch a movie or play capture the flag. We want to do one fun day a month so the kids have a chance to invite their friends to come see what this group is all about.As of right now, I find myself so blessed with serving here in General. I am blessed each day by one or more of our ministries. I am blessed that the Lord has chosen me to be His little missionary.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Simply Blessed

So, yesterday was my birthday and I was blown away with the love I received. Last year in September my journey in missions began. When it came time for my birthday, I was sad because it was the first time I was celebrating my birthday without any of my immediate family with me. God knew I was a little sad and he made my birthday the best one I had ever had.

Last year I spent the day with my missionary brothers and sisters. After breakfast at Big Woods everyone honored me (it's a Summer's tradition) and of course I cried, and then people gave me gifts. I think all of the kids made me cards. It was absolutely perfect. Later in the day we went to the park to have a picnic and cupcakes to celebrate the feast day of St. Theresé. (She is the patron saint of missions and her feast day is my birthday...coincidence? I think not!)

The weather that day was perfect as well. I was able to run and play with all the kids and swing, which is only my favorite thing in the whole world to do. It truly was a perfect day. I didn't think anything could top it, but God really does love me so much.

This year for my birthday, I celebrated with my Mexican family. It was the first time without any of my family, but yet again I was blown away. Throughout the whole day, four cakes were made for me. I mean I'm pretty sure I had the biggest sugar rush I've ever had in my life. In the early afternoon we had invited the kids from our youth group as well as some of our friends children to have a water balloon fight. I wish I had videoed it to show you, but it was fun and entertaining. After the water fight we all ate cake together. That was the first cake of the day that Erika made.
When the water fight was over our friends Linda and Juan returned to visit and pick up their kids. When they returned they too had a cake. Of course I had to mordida the cake, which means to take a bite while someone shoves your face in it! It was strawberry with chocolate frosting...delicious. Juan asked if he could make us lunch and of course we said yes. We just hung out and visited with them while the food cooked and then sat down together, gave thanks, and dove into the yummy food.After the festivities ended with Juan and Linda, Erika and I went to Toño and Mari's house to learn how to cook one of our favorite meals and to eat dinner with them. Mari, to my surprise, had baked me cake as well. I don't why I was surprised because it was such a Mari thing to do. She even decorated it with hearts. Truly she is a saint. Again with the mordida, and we shared delicious dessert. Most of the time I feel more at home at Toño and Mari's house than I do at my own house here in Mexico. I think it is because their house always has kids running around and it just feel cozy inside.

The last stop of the day was with my friends Armando and Yolanda. They also had a cake for me. We chatted for awhile, watched a little tv and then ate cake. I mordidad again, and Yolanda and Armando being the quirky friends that they are, really shoved my face into the cake. It was okay though because it was a delicious cake! Like I said before, I was completely blown away by the love that I received on my birthday and cannot wait for next year!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hold On


This morning I woke up with a hunger and thirst for Jesus like I haven't had in a while. I feel as though my heart is ready for growth and change. I've been listening to praise and worship this morning and one song has really struck me and challenged me. Please read the lyrics and if you have a chance listen to it online. I hope it challenges you the same way it has challenged me. God Bless!

Hold On by Shawn McDonald

Another day gone by
And again I ask myself why
I question my sanity
Why I believe what I believe
Some might think that I'm crazy
For believing in something I cannot see

So won't you now
Hold on to me
Please don't let me go
Hold on
'Cause I am prone to wonder
Prone to leave this faith I know

Hold on
And now they say that the wise man
Well, he fears the Lord
And this fear is the beginning of all wisdom
And I must be a fool
'Cause I sure don't seem to fear you
'Cause the very things that you will me to do
Well, I just don't seem to get around to
The very things that you hate
Are the very things that I always stumble into

So won't you now
Hold on to me
Please don't let me go
Hold on
'Cause I am prone to wonder
Prone to leave this faith I know

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's a Cross-


Cross figuratively speaking: a thing that is unavoidable and has to be endured.

Last night was a rough one and my cross reared its ugly head. I’ve said now, for quite some time, that my anxiety is my little hell here on earth. It is the biggest cross that I’ve had to carry. I don’t battle with it as often as I did in the past nor does it paralyze me now as it did, but when it comes, it comes with a vengeance. Last night when it came, the littlest things like breathing became a battle. I prayed, but in frustration soon gave up, knowing that the night ahead was going to be a long and hard one. I finally

passed out and woke up this morning groggy wanting to sleep the day away.


After breakfast Erika and I prayed Christian Prayer and I felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me. “As they go through the Bitter Valley they make it a place of springs, the autumn rain covers it with blessings.” Psalm 84:7 After Morning Prayer I spent some time thinking about the above verse. I felt like the Lord was saying to me, although you feel like you are suffering right now, I will rain down blessings amongst your suffering. I felt Him say to me that it is my chance to be united with Christ in a very small way.


Everything I read after Morning Prayer spoke to me. I read from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis, “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace.” The whole idea of peace, having peace, and enjoying much peace started the wheels in my brain turning. I started thinking of peace in my life and what I expect it to be like. I have this vision of peace being my whole body, well mostly my physical body, being completely calm. The actual definition of peace is freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Last night and with every anxiety attack I’ve had, I often prayed for peace, and felt that the Lord didn’t answer my prayer because my physical body wasn’t experiencing the peace I desired. After last night, I realized that I am able to always have peace, and that is peace in my soul that cannot be disturbed or taken away by anxiety. I can rest in knowing that my soul is at peace because the Lord is right along side with me riding out the storm. After all, it is such a small storm in hindsight.


Of course I woke up this morning wanting to have a pity party. I wanted to keep an attitude of, “Poor me, my life is tough. I have this huge cross that I like to call my little hell on earth because it is such a big burden to bear,” but I was awakened to reality. A dear friend of mine, Lucy, came to the door. As she sat down, she told me she didn’t sleep much last night either. She began talking about why she came and what it boiled down to was she didn’t have food for herself and her family. As she continued to talk, she began to cry and through her tears praised God because even though she didn’t have food for herself and her family, she has legs and can walk. She looked for the blessings in her life and didn’t wallow in the ways she and her family are suffering. I was able to give her a little food, but I think she helped me more than I helped her. She helped me to get my perspective back. Even though I suffer sometimes, I am united in Christ as well as with all those who suffer in some way. I realized that what I thought was a big burden is actually microscopic.

The last thing I would like to leave you with is something else I read this morning. “If we strove to stand firm in the struggles like men of valor we should not fail to experience the help of our Lord from heaven. For He is ever ready to help all who fight, trusting in His grace; He also affords us occasions to fight that we may conquer.” Imitation of Christ. Stand firm in your struggles and cry out to the Lord in faith, knowing that He is an all-loving Father who hears your pleas and will rescue you. Fight so that you may conquer!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let My People Return To Me


I feel as though I've written about this over and over again, and I'm sure that I have, so if I'm sounding like a broken record to you, I apologize. In June 2010, after my big conversion and call to missions, I feel as though I was on the highest of highs because of the things the Lord was doing for me and in me. For the remainder of 2010, the Lord was so close, I could literally feel Him walking with me some days. Lately and actually for most of this year, it hasn't been like that, and I know that we don't always feel the Lord close. I know that this walk of life isn't about feelings, but something much more. I must admit that one of the reasons I haven't felt the Lord close is my own fault. I haven't been as committed to Him as He deserves. I know some of you might be thinking, "Well Sarah, you left everything you knew to follow the Lord. You moved to Mexico. You are working closely with the people there and serving the Lord." Well if you are thinking that, those things are true, but it isn't about what I'm doing, it's about my heart.

Somewhere during this year I subconsciously decided that my heart didn't fully belong to the Lord, and because of this I've become divided. I go into my prayer time, most of the time, completely distracted and sort of go through the motions. I feel as though my heart isn't in it. About a month and a half ago, the Lord started giving me scriptures about returning to Him, and I thought, "Lord, I'm right here, what do you mean???" Still the scriptures came. I started asking Him a month and a half ago, "Lord, show me what you mean by return to you, show me how you want me to return." I've known pretty much the whole time how He wants me to return to Him, but remember I'm stubborn, so I'm going to fight until I hit some kind of bottom. Well, the bottom has come.

In the middle of August I was privileged to spend two weeks with my family. I don't think words could express how good it was to see my own family and to just spend time with them. It was much needed. My last night in the States I was praying and just opened my bible. I opened to Isaiah 57:14 where it says, "The Lord says, 'Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready.'" I knew that He was speaking directly to me and asking me to return to Him. This time I also knew and decided it was time to surrender my stubborness.

The following morning I decided to reread the verse the Lord used to speak to the night before and also decided to read the full chapter of Isaiah 57. The title of this chapter is "Israel's Idolatry is condemned". The first two verses talk about how good people die and when they die, they rest in peace because of their good lives. Verse 3 really spoke to me. It says, "Come here to be judged, you sinners! You are no better than sorcerers, adulterers, and prostitutes." What a strong statement. I am no better than sorcerers, adulterers, and prostitutes. After reading about the idolatry in Israel's life, I began to see the idolatry in my own life over the last year. I've allowed sleep, books, movies, spending time with friends and family, amongst many other things to become idols in my life causing my heart to be divided. I'm not saying that any of the before mentioned things in and of themselves are bad, but if they are causing my relationship with the Lord to falter, I need to check myself!

I don't want you to think that I haven't been praying, because I have. Each day I do pray, but I haven't been dedicating myself to a set time, a "date", with the Lord, I've just been fitting Him in where I can. When I really think about that and imagine what a relationship with a friend here on earth would be like if I only fit the other person into my schedule when it was convenient for me, the relationship would die; of course it is the same with the Lord. "...love the Lord your God with all your heat, with all you soul, with all your strength, and all your mind..." Luke 10:27

For me to return fully to my Lord, I am dedicating myself to a set time each day to seek Him and read His word. I would like to challenge you, if you have turned away from the Lord, to return to Him as well, because the only place we can truly feel at home is in His loving arms. "Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with your WHOLE heart..." Joel 2:12

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One More Saint in Heaven

The past few weeks have been full and have had a few curve balls. I'm sure you are curious about the title of this blog, but I truly do believe it is true. In the last two and a half weeks the Lord has called two of our home-visits HOME. I believe that there are two more saints in Heaven praising our Lord Jesus and praying for us all that are still here on earth. Today I really want to share a little about Doña Raquel.

About three weeks ago Erika and I went to Doña Raquel's house for a visit. We normally visit each person on our list once every fifteen days. Normally when we visit Doña Raquel we also get to visit with her niece Doña Maria, but this time Doña Maria was in Saltillo because she was ill. Doña Raquel is the sweetest little lady. While we were visiting her this time she told us that she was 86 years old and that the Lord had given her such a long life. She showed us a special place in her room where she had placed several medals representing miracles that she has seen the Lord do. All the little bronze things on the red fabric are the medals.
During our visit with her, she started talking about wanting to go to the hospital because she was having pain in her head and legs. We asked her if she wanted us to take her on the following Tuesday. The day we visited her was a Saturday. She said sure. The following Tuesday we went to her house to get her and she started telling us how she normally goes to the hospital on Saturday and Sunday's because there isn't much of wait. Even though she was saying this she had all of her things gathered ready to go. Erika asked her, "Doña Raquel, if you would rather, we can come back on Saturday." Of course Doña Raquel replied saying, "whatever you want." We decided to leave.

We didn't even make it all the way down the street when both Erika and I had this strong feeling in our hearts that we needed to turn around and get her and bring her to the hospital that very day. Thank God we listened to that feeling. I'm learning the importance of following the holy Spirit when He nudges. We picked her up and headed to the hospital. We had to wait for about an hour and a half and the whole time Doña Raquel was making small conversation and acting pretty normal. As soon as we made it to a room and the doctor walked in Doña Raquel started coughing up blood and the vomiting blood. They immediately admitted her and said she would need to go to Saltillo in an ambulance. They asked us if we knew where her family was and we didn't.

For the following three hours or so Toñio, one of our friends, and I searched around town trying to find someone who was family for Doña Raquel while Erika stayed by her side. During this time I was so sad to think that this sweet little lady was so sick and didn't have one family member at her side. I kept thinking that she was all alone and of course this also made me think of my own grandmother who is sick right now and how much that would hurt my heart if she ever felt left behind or all alone. After all the searching we weren't able to find any family so Erika and I decided we would go with her in the ambulance because she was getting worse, needed better healthcare in the hospital in Saltillo, and couldn't go alone in the ambulance. We were all loaded up in the ambulance and started on our way when the driver suddenly stopped. Toñio had found one of Doña Raquel's nieces, so she took our place in the ambulance.

Erika and I returned home after about five or six hours at the hospital feeling spiritually, mentally and physically exhausted. I headed up to the chapel in our house to pray and cry before the Lord and he led me to scripture that comforted me. I was still so upset at the thought of Doña Raquel being forgotten by her family. I was reading Psalm 56:9 which says, "My wanderings you have noted; are my tears not stored in your vial, recorded in your book." I was struck by this and decided to read the footnote on this scripture. The foot note says that the saying "Are my tears not stored in your vial is a unique saying in the Old Testament. The context suggest that the tears are saved because they are precious; God puts a high value on each of the psalmist's troubles." Both the verse and footnote gave me so much peace because I felt that the Lord was saying, "Sarah, not once have I left Doña Raquel's side. Even though it seems that her family has forgotten her, I never have. I know each and every tear that she has shed and they are all precious to Me. I am right there with her and I will not leave her side."

We received news on the following Thursday that Doña Raquel had passed away. We were able to attend the small funeral and I know that she is now in Heaven without any pain at all praising her Savior. I know that Doña Raquel is watching over us all and praying for us.

"It is the Lord who marches before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Eat Goat Soup and Ride a Donkey :)


Sorry it has been so long since I've updated my blog. Time has just slipped away. It's not an excuse I know....I will try harder to do a better job of keeping you all posted! Where to begin....??? A little over a month and a half ago Erika and I bought food in bulk to make dispensas (little bags of staples foods). Your donations have helped to feed 18 families. With our home visits, we have a two week rotation and visit 18 different families. Each time we visit we also bring a dispensa. We still have enough food to last us for one more month. Thank you so much for your generosity.Sorry for the messiness in the picture above. This is only a little of the food that your donations helped to buy :) Again, thanks! So, skipping over a lot of time and jumping into last week. We had our first short-term mission group since I've been here in General. It was a group of seminarians and two priests. When I heard that they were coming, I thought this should be interesting. Only being re-Catholic for a year, I haven't spent much time talking to priests or seminarians so I had this preconceived idea that they were really boring serious people who only talked about theology and things that were way over my head. Boy, was I wrong! The guys arrived on Saturday the 9th and were already speaking Spanish. Such a blessing! The first night we just relaxed, ate dinner and got to know one another. The next day started bright and early with mass at 7:30 and then visits to different Ranchos following. What blessed me most on that day is one of the seminarians Tim. He handed out balloons to the kids and played with them. When it was time for us to go to mass someone commented saying, "I hope the kids put the balloons away for mass." My thought was, "Are you kidding?? The kids in Mexico run up and down the isles during mass." I must admit that it is very distracting for me when the kids are loud and run around in mass and I've had very negative thoughts in the past, but Tim said, "Let the little children come to me..." quoting Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Wow! That convicted my heart! The kids did bring their balloons in mass, but it didn't bother me this time when they walked around or played, I saw things a little differently. After mass some of the little ladies asked Father Tony to bless their houses. Several of the ladies also asked Father to pray for rain. When we got in the van and started our journey home, the skies opened up, it rained and hailed. We asked Father if he prayed for rain yet but he said he hadn't. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we had retreats in two different ranchos. My group went to San Fransisco. Father Jos accompanied my group, so each day we had mass. I soon found out that Father Jos loves to tell jokes, but they are very hard to understand. You see, Father Jos is Indian and English is his second language with Portuguese being his third and Spanish his forth. A lot of the times his jokes were a mixture of all three languages. Even though I couldn't understand the jokes, they were still hilarious. Father Jos has a contagious laugh. Father Jos also did some bird dancing to get the birds out of the Chapel in San Fransisco and it worked almost every time! Each day that we went to the ranchos, Father offered confession. On Tuesday we followed Father as he blessed the houses in San Fransisco. On the last day there, after mass, we had a small little party. After the party, one of the women from the Rancho invited us to her house to have goat soup. I can honestly say that goat soup was quite an experience and I am very proud of each person in my group for eating what was set before them! Did I mention right before the goat soup that I got to ride a donkey??? Pictures will be up soon of that!In addition to our rancho visit to San Fransisco on Tuesday, we went to Guadalupe on Tuesday afternoon for mass. Before mass we were able to play soccer with the kids and also Martino (one of the seminarians) played the guitar and we sang praise and worship songs in Spanish with the kids. It was super blessed. I think what blessed me the most in that visit to Guadalupe was that one of the little girls that I normally have a really hard time with wanted me to hold her the whole time during mass. She is only two years old and so precious. Several times during mass she would give me hugs. It was the sweetest! After mass was finished, she grabbed my water bottle and wanted water. I told here there wasn't any more water, because I had just finished drinking the rest of it. She said yes there is more water and took my water bottle and left the chapel. She returned shortly with my water bottle filled with water. It wasn't purified water so of course I couldn't drink it, but it was so sweet. Thursday we had our pilgrimage day to Saltillo. Once we arrived, we headed straight to the miracle chapel and cathedral. Before entering we spent a little time with my friend Hugo at the gate of the miracle chapel. I am still amazed at how beautiful his smile is.Friday we had our desert day, and this year it didn't rain in the desert or dessert for me. I also didn't pray for rain, so that might have had something to do with it :) When we arrived at Tejocote, the place we had desert day, we had mass, outside. It was amazing! We had to build an altar out of rocks, and I just completely felt like I was in the old testament!After desert day, we returned home and had about an hour or so to rest before several of us set out to climb a "mountain". James was our leader and pretty much ran up the "mountain" in his flip flops and shorts. My journey up wasn't quite that easy. I got stuck on a few thorns and about half way up was thinking, "What have I gotten myself in to? I think I'm ready to get down now!" Once I made it to the top of the "mountain" the view alone was worth all the work it took to get up there. It was so beautiful! We even got to watch a rain storm rolling in. It truly was breath-taking. We decided we needed a "special" picture on top of the "mountain", so I hope you enjoy it! If this picture doesn't show that the seminarian group was special, I'm not sure if anything can! Throughout our week of serving General Cepeda together, there was a lot of crazy miscellaneousness going on. They completely joined in to our lifestyle of simplicity and it shined through with the games they played. One day they played toss the frisbee to hit the bell, another day the game was hackey sac baseball with broomsticks. Another game was who can get the hackey sac into the window first? One day while it was raining they took soap to the concrete slide and made it extra slippery to fly down. There were also many games of the Great Dalmuti with weird accents.

All in all, my week with the seminarians was extremely blessed. Each and everyone of them challenged me by the way they have devote themselves to the Lord and by doing the work that He has for them. They each lived out their faith so beautifully and it challenged me to make sure that I am living out my faith each and everyday. By the way, did I mention that when the group left on Saturday it stormed so much so that it caused 150 kids from Saltillo to have to spend the night in our house?? They were in General Cepeda for a vacation bible school and had plans to sleep outside in a camp. I think Father Tony finally prayed for rain!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some days God asks you to color


Last night I wasn't able to sleep well so naturally I woke up this morning thinking, "Please God, can I just go back to sleep, I don't have the energy today." I got up anyway fighting the urge to roll over and pull the covers over my head. I ate breakfast the slowest I think I've ever eaten a meal and was half awake for morning prayer. After prayer I thought I would lay down for just fifteen more minutes, but instead decided to wash the dishes, get dressed, and buy purified water for us to drink. Once I got into the office to start our day working the door, I thought, "maybe no one will come and the time will fly by and the I can take a nap." but that wasn't the case. God always knows whats best for us!


This morning we have been supper busy and I have been so blessed by it. What I am experiencing today is the verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 Today I've been able to greet each person who has come to the door with a smile, and to my surprise, speak and understand Spanish better than I normally can. It is proof to me that when we deny ourselves, our humanly desires (in my case today sleep) God takes over as our strength. I feel as though today God is giving me super powers of grace to keep going.


Another morning last week, I woke up thinking, “man, I really don’t want to do anything today!” God proved me wrong, as he so often does! That morning two little kids came to the door several times and the last time they came I asked them if they wanted to color. They did, so I sat down and colored with them. God showed me there was one thing that I did want to do, color. It was so energizing to spend time with Toñito and Lupe and to hear them laughing and playing as we colored.


These last two weeks since I've been back from the United States, I feel like the Lord is reminding me over and over again of the reason he has called me to this mission, and that reason is LOVE. In the last two weeks I've spent more time playing with kids than I have in a really long time. I feel as thought I experience God's love the most when I am with kids. I've been able to share some of my passions with the kids like art and gymnastics. As you read above, I got to color with kids the other day, but I was also able to teach Rita's girls some gymnastics. It was fun to see them and help them learn how to do a cartwheel and see them want to do it over and over again, once they nailed it. It so reminded me of myself when I was little practicing cartwheels in my front yard.

Just last Tuesday as Erika, Toñio and myself were on our way to Guadalupe to give the class there, I was thinking, "wow, it's been awhile since I had to do something really uncomfortable to me." Be careful when you think that...because there is probably something uncomfortable to do right around the corner! Since my Spanish still isn't the best and it would be extremely difficult to teach the Defending the Catholic Faith classes, what I do is pray before the classes begin in Spanish. Normally I write out my prayer in Spanish and kind of read it, but this time I forgot my journal where I wrote the prayer. I kind of had to wing it and trust on the Holy Spirit to get me through...He did! Also, my newest ministry in Gudalupe is playing with the kids while the classes are going on; so much laughter! All in all, I've got to say that missions is the MOST blessed life.

I guess I'll say that the lessons that I am learning this week are that my weaknesses and shortcomings are so good because they are causing me to go beyond myself and rely on the Lord's strength. When we deny ourselves and take up our crosses, magical things happen and that is what keeps me going. "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacation, Renewal, New Found JOY

My vacation to the United States began on a bus from General Cepeda, Mexico to Saltillo, Mexico on May 31st. It was rather hilarious because Erika and my bags were too large to fit under our seats and too heavy to put overhead. For most of our bus ride we had to say, "Cuidado!" (careful) each time a new passenger passed by our seats. We couldn't help but laugh that we, the only Americans on the bus, were so ridiculous with our huge bags!

Once we arrived in Saltillo, we hung out with our friend Rosio and spent the night at her house. Our day of travel on the 1st of June started really early in the morning! Without receiving much sleep the night before, Erika and I got on a bus to Monterrey at 6:30 in the morning. We arrived at the airport about two hours later, checked in, and found a place to eat breakfast at the airport. We had a few hours to relax before our flight came. I thought our plan of travel was a good one; take a bus from Saltillo to Monterrey, then a plane from Monterrey to Houston, and then a bus from Houston to Lafayette, La. I knew we would be traveling ALL day, but I thought, I'll sleep on the plane and the bus....right about that! After this trip, I've learned that I'm not the best traveler. I get a little cranky after several hours of traveling. I guess I need to travel more to get used to it. :)

I must admit it was nice once we arrived at Big Woods. My old room in the two story brought me so much comfort and at 1:00 am on June 2nd, I couldn't wait to crash! That night, I slept better than I had slept in a long time. It was nice to wake up in such a familiar place and to know that I didn't really have much to do! That day I visited with Brooke and my new nephew-cousin (not sure what to call him (: ) Anthony Joseph. He is such a beautiful baby! I was able to visit some of my mission family and some friends I hadn't seen in a long time. Did I mention that when I arrived in the States I had a serious case of culture shock! It was so odd to be in a country where I understood the language completely and had comforts that I had gone without for the last three months!

The whole reason I took this vacation was to go to the wedding of Kristen and Jonathon, two of my friends I met through missions. Their wedding was beautiful and allowed me to see even more of my friends, visit, and catch up. I had the best date to the wedding too! My date was little Anthony Joseph. We danced so much at the reception, well, I danced as he slept in my arms! It was great! I didn't take many pictures because almost the whole time I had a baby in my arms. I do want to share with you one of the pictures I took. Not only did I get to visit with my missionary friends and few other friends in Louisiana, but I got to visit my brother Francis and his wife Brandi and my family in Florida. When I arrived in Florida my mom had made plans to surprise my nieces and nephews. My sister Angela and her husband Gus along with the kids arrived at my house in Florida at 6:30 on Sunday the 5th and my mom was already talking to me on Skype as if I were in Mexico, but really I was in my room down the hall. I started talking with the kids and Mom told Angela, "Hey, the stuff you needed is down the hall." Angela came down the hall and into my room and got into the camera shot on Skype with me. It was so great to hear the kids yell, laugh, and be so confused! I was then greeted with huge hugs and kisses. O how I love those kids! Abigail, my oldest niece said something to my sister later along the lines of, "Mom, remember when you went to Mexico?" because in her mind I was in Mexico instead of my room! Most of the time in Florida I spent with family and friends that pretty much are family and relaxing. I actually spent a lot of time with my mother; it was much needed time.I remember at some point in my trip thinking, "Wow, I really don't fit in anymore, like in the world." I didn't really feel comfortable in the world, not meaning that I wanted to hide away in a little bubble somewhere and not live, I just knew that the things of this world would not and could not satisfy me. Part of me didn't want to stand out and be so different. I didn't want to dress so differently and act so differently than others. Now being back in General Cepeda I've had time to reflect on my time home and realized that it was a beautiful letdown. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the time with family and friends and the time to relax, but most of the time I was there I was thinking about missions and missing it. It is a letdown to know that I no longer "fit in" with the world, but how beautiful is it that I don't "fit in" because the Lord has changed me and made me to stand out and shine brightly for Him. I know that missions has forever changed my life, and that change will manifest itself in different ways as my life continues.

My vacation to the States was exactly what the doctor ordered. I've returned to Mexico with a renewed spirit and a different kind of joy. I wake up in the morning excited about the possibilities to serve, about the adventures to experience, and the new things I will learn that day. I feel as though I'm finally learning how to lose my life, and it feels great! I'm learning to let go and let God.

"Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." 1 John 2:17

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Repost of last two posts!

A few people told me that they are having a hard time reading my blogs, so I've decided to repost my last two posts to make sure you can read them! Enjoy!

Untold Stories

I have fallen into a rut of not writing because I’m not feeling inspired to. I know that the Lord always wants me to proclaim the things he is doing in my life and the lives of those around me whether it sounds poetic and flows or is just reporting what my day was like. I know that He wants me to tell of the little things like seeing a child whom I’ve never seen smile before, smile for the first time and the big things like visiting a child who was once too ill and weak to walk before, walking, laughing, playing games, and telling jokes. I know that He wants me to tell the stories of the beautiful people in this special place and I am going to try my best to do just that.

There are so many people I meet each day that live with such sufferings, but yet have so much joy in their hearts and light in their eyes. I am challenged by the way these people live and it reminds me that the Lord sometimes calls us to suffer and we are to embrace it with trust and joy. Just this morning we decided to stop by our friend’s house Doña Marciana and her daughter Goya. Last week when we visisted and Goya, she asked if we could bring them to Saltillo because Doña Marciana needs to have a test done at the hospital because she constantly has terrible pain in her head and sometimes even has blood in her mouth. Erika and I randomly decided to stop in this morning to tell them we could bring them to Saltillo on Friday and to talk about what time we would leave. When we arrived this morning Goya told us we were an answer to prayer because just last night she was crying out to the Lord for help to take care of her mother, because she cannot do it alone. The people here trust in the Lord and his perfect timing. Goya could have come to our house to ask us when we could go, but instead, she prayed and waited for the Lord to answer her prayers and He did. God always hears our prayers and wants to answer them. Even in Doña Marciana’s pain, she always greets us with open arms, a kiss on the cheek, and a beautiful smile.

For the last two weeks we have been visiting all of our friends in General Cepeda, those who are sick, elderly and cannot work, and those who have no food. Last Friday we visited one of our dearest friends Doña Elvira, a sweet, feisty old lady who takes care of her five grandchildren because her daughter left a few years ago saying she was going to look for work and has never returned. Earlier that day Doña Elvira sent two of her grandchildren to our house to ask for food because they had none. When we visited her that day she said, "I am angry with you, I was hungry and you didn't have any food!" She said it in a jokingly manner because she really wasn't angry with us. We did bring her some food and was able to visit with her. She updated us on how her youngest granddaughter is doing. Her youngest granddaughter is four years old and has cancer. She is all alone in the hospital in Saltillo. Because of the cancer she is not able to eat and has to be fed through a feeding tube. She is the size of a one year old. I know that it is very hard for Doña Elvira to be so far away from her grandchild, but she has four others to take care of and really has no choice. Even in her many sufferings, she laughs and tells us stories as we visit her. The beauty and strength of the Lord radiates from her.

On Monday Erika and I visited Louis Angel, a little boy who has Lupus that is affecting his blood. Last year when I visited him for the first time, he was so weak from the disease that he could barely stand. He had an older brother, but he died from a similar disease. While visiting Louis Angel, his father was there laughing with his son and enjoying life. I know this family has suffered so much, but they continue to live, smile, and trust in the Lord for the healing of their son. During this visit, Louis Angel was not only walking but almost running. He told us jokes while giggling so much and also played hang man with us. He acted like a normal ten year old boy and it was so beautiful to see what the Lord can do to heal his people. He inspires me with the courage I see in his face. He is only ten years old and has seen more suffering than I will probably ever see in my life, and is still an innocent, joyful, normal little boy.

There are many more stories to tell but for now I'm leaving your with these. With each home visit I go on I am restored and my faith is strengthened but at the same time my heart is torn apart. The Lord is so near in this place and I see him daily in the faces of his precious saints in General.

"Come to me, all of you who are tired form carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light." Matthew 11:28-30


Oh the Adventures

Missions is unpredictable…and kind of funny sometimes

Do you see the picture above? Do you see the big crack in the door at the top? Our door is not supposed to do that. It’s actually quite funny. A lady (the street sweeper) knocked on our door this morning and told us, “you have a lot of trash between your door and sidewalk.” Erika said, “Yes we do.” The lady said, “I can clean it for you. Can I also have a cup of coffee?” Erika let her in and left the door to fix her coffee. When she returned, the door was as above. Actually it was opened more than that. The funny part to the story is that once she opened the door that way, we couldn’t close it. It made for a busy day at our door today. Praise God for the work! Raul, (a friend of ours) came by and fixed it for us. I still chuckle a little when I think about it.

Where do I even begin to update you all on the past week and a half?? Not last Friday, but the Friday before that, Erika and I went to Saltillo to drop off some friends at their family’s house. While in Saltillo we had the opportunity to go to the Cathedral for mass and visit our good friend Hugo. For those of you reading from St. Paul’s parish in Pensacola, you may remember hearing about Hugo, the man at the beautiful gate, when I shared missions with you in early January. I am always refreshed when I visit Hugo because when I look into his face, I feel as though I am staring into the face of Jesus. I am renewed by his faith and joy.

All of our ministries are picking up rapidly. Last week we began our classes “Defending the Catholic Faith”. We have a decent number of people attending at both ranchos that we go to. Last week our door ministry was very slow, but this week it has picked up a lot. We figured out a schedule for our home visits so that we don’t forget anyone and we visit everyone evenly. It is such a good feeling to have so much work to do in a place. Just tonight Erika was saying how she enjoys ending a day feeling exhausted. I agree with her. It gives me a since of accomplishment. I am so blessed and thankful that the Lord sees me worthy to do His work in this special place.

I know this blog is short, but next time I'll write more. I'd like to leave you with this picture of me and my favorite Mexican Baby. Until next time, God Bless!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oh the Adventures

Missions is unpredictable…and kind of funny sometimes

Do you see the picture above? Do you see the big crack in the door at the top? Our door is not supposed to do that. It’s actually quite funny. A lady (the street sweeper) knocked on our door this morning and told us, “you have a lot of trash between your door and sidewalk.” Erika said, “Yes we do.” The lady said, “I can clean it for you. Can I also have a cup of coffee?” Erika let her in and left the door to fix her coffee. When she returned, the door was as above. Actually it was opened more than that. The funny part to the story is that once she opened the door that way, we couldn’t close it. It made for a busy day at our door today. Praise God for the work! Raul, (a friend of ours) came by and fixed it for us. I still chuckle a little when I think about it.


Where do I even begin to update you all on the past week and a half?? Not last Friday, but the Friday before that, Erika and I went to Saltillo to drop off some friends at their family’s house. While in Saltillo we had the opportunity to go to the Cathedral for mass and visit our good friend Hugo. For those of you reading from St. Paul’s parish in Pensacola, you may remember hearing about Hugo, the man at the beautiful gate, when I shared missions with you in early January. I am always refreshed when I visit Hugo because when I look into his face, I feel as though I am staring into the face of Jesus. I am renewed by his faith and joy.


All of our ministries are picking up rapidly. Last week we began our classes “Defending the Catholic Faith”. We have a decent number of people attending at both ranchos that we go to. Last week our door ministry was very slow, but this week it has picked up a lot. We figured out a schedule for our home visits so that we don’t forget anyone and we visit everyone evenly. It is such a good feeling to have so much work to do in a place. Just tonight Erika was saying how she enjoys ending a day feeling exhausted. I agree with her. It gives me a since of accomplishment. I am so blessed and thankful that the Lord sees me worthy to do His work in this special place.


I know this blog is short, but next time I'll write more. I'd like to leave you with this picture of me and my favorite Mexican Baby. Until next time, God Bless!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Untold Stories



I have fallen into a rut of not writing because I’m not feeling inspired to. I know that the Lord always wants me to proclaim the things he is doing in my life and the lives of those around me whether it sounds poetic and flows or is just reporting what my day was like. I know that He wants me to tell of the little things like seeing a child whom I’ve never seen smile before, smile for the first time and the big things like visiting a child who was once too ill and weak to walk before, walking, laughing, playing games, and telling jokes. I know that He wants me to tell the stories of the beautiful people in this special place and I am going to try my best to do just that.


There are so many people I meet each day that live with such sufferings, but yet have so much joy in their hearts and light in their eyes. I am challenged by the way these people live and it reminds me that the Lord sometimes calls us to suffer and we are to embrace it with trust and joy. Just this morning we decided to stop by our friend’s house Doña Marciana and her daughter Goya. Last week when we visisted and Goya, she asked if we could bring them to Saltillo because Doña Marciana needs to have a test done at the hospital because she constantly has terrible pain in her head and sometimes even has blood in her mouth. Erika and I randomly decided to stop in this morning to tell them we could bring them to Saltillo on Friday and to talk about what time we would leave. When we arrived this morning Goya told us we were an answer to prayer because just last night she was crying out to the Lord for help to take care of her mother, because she cannot do it alone. The people here trust in the Lord and his perfect timing. Goya could have come to our house to ask us when we could go, but instead, she prayed and waited for the Lord to answer her prayers and He did. God always hears our prayers and wants to answer them. Even in Doña Marciana’s pain, she always greets us with open arms, a kiss on the cheek, and a beautiful smile.


For the last two weeks we have been visiting all of our friends in General Cepeda, those who are sick, elderly and cannot work, and those who have no food. Last Friday we visited one of our dearest friends Doña Elvira, a sweet, feisty old lady who takes care of her five grandchildren because her daughter left a few years ago saying she was going to look for work and has never returned. Earlier that day Doña Elvira sent two of her grandchildren to our house to ask for food because they had none. When we visited her that day she said, "I am angry with you, I was hungry and you didn't have any food!" She said it in a jokingly manner because she really wasn't angry with us. We did bring her some food and was able to visit with her. She updated us on how her youngest granddaughter is doing. Her youngest granddaughter is four years old and has cancer. She is all alone in the hospital in Saltillo. Because of the cancer she is not able to eat and has to be fed through a feeding tube. She is the size of a one year old. I know that it is very hard for Doña Elvira to be so far away from her grandchild, but she has four others to take care of and really has no choice. Even in her many sufferings, she laughs and tells us stories as we visit her. The beauty and strength of the Lord radiates from her.


On Monday Erika and I visited Louis Angel, a little boy who has Lupus that is affecting his blood. Last year when I visited him for the first time, he was so weak from the disease that he could barely stand. He had an older brother, but he died from a similar disease. While visiting Louis Angel, his father was there laughing with his son and enjoying life. I know this family has suffered so much, but they continue to live, smile, and trust in the Lord for the healing of their son. During this visit, Louis Angel was not only walking but almost running. He told us jokes while giggling so much and also played hang man with us. He acted like a normal ten year old boy and it was so beautiful to see what the Lord can do to heal his people. He inspires me with the courage I see in his face. He is only ten years old and has seen more suffering than I will probably ever see in my life, and is still an innocent, joyful, normal little boy.


There are many more stories to tell but for now I'm leaving your with these. With each home visit I go on I am restored and my faith is strengthened but at the same time my heart is torn apart. The Lord is so near in this place and I see him daily in the faces of his precious saints in General.


"Come to me, all of you who are tired form carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Monday, April 25, 2011

Living is Simple


Living can be simple, but it isn't always. I arrived in General Cepeda on the 16th and I've spent the past two weeks getting adjusted to life here. I am very happy to return to the place where I fell in love with missions, but it is totally different being here without twenty other people and not knowing when I am going to be returning to the states. It is a different feeling knowing this is my home. Missions is rapidly becoming a reality for me; don't worry, it's a good thing!

I am enjoying the simplicity of life here. I enjoy that there is no instant gratification like there is in the United States. I love that I am being forced to take life slower and really enjoy the time that I have. Things that are really different are doing laundry, as you can see in my picture above, getting around town, and grocery shopping. I must admit that I like my new way of doing laundry, and most days I like my new way of getting around town (walking), but grocery shopping is not my favorite! I am used to going to the store once every two weeks or so and buying a bulk of what I will need. I don't do that here, because everything is so fresh, and needs to be used quickly. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying how fresh the food is here, it will just take some time to get used to.

Spending Holy Week here has been beautiful to experience. Mexicans really know how to have fun! At the beginning of the week Erika, the Baquets, and I went to a few different ranchos to finish up Eric's classes he began last year. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we went to two ranchos a day (the same ranchos each day) to put on communion services. On Thursday afternoon the whole town gathered near our house for the pole climbing event. A pole that had been greased was secured in the ground close to our house and at the top was a piece of paper with $1000 written on it. Whoever could climb to the top and grab the paper would receive $1000 pesos. Each contestant had five minutes to try. We watched over and over again men trying with all of their might and sliding down the pole not reaching their goal. Finally when no one could climb to the top, two men were allowed to work together. It didn't take long after that for someone to win. As I watched this event I thought,"Surely it cannot be that difficult!". The next day I tried to climb the pole...and this was the result:As you can see, I didn't get very high at all!

On Friday Erika and I participated in a silent procession. It was beautiful to be able to mourn the death of Our Savior with so many other brothers and sisters in Christ. The procession went on for about an hour and consisted of people carrying Jesus' body, Our Lady of Sorrows, and a few people in the front walking with chains on their feet. One of the people with chains on their feet walked around without shoes. It was beautiful to see someone willing to suffer for the Lord, in memory of His death. On Saturday night we attending the vigil mass at 9:00 pm. It was beautiful to see the entire church being lit up by the light of our candles.

Returning to the ministries that are already in place in General, it makes me realize how much God is needed in this place. Our door ministry is one of the places where I feel a little discouraged because a lot of the people that come to the door think that once we pray with them, they no longer have to pray for themselves. We are trying to figure out ways to make sure the people know how important it is for them to have a faith of their own, and to pray on their own, while continuing to pray with them and read to them from the Bible. It is also hard when someone comes to the door and is really in need and we don't have the resources to help them. Most importantly, we can always share God with them, it is just difficult to watch them walk away knowing that they are hungry and have nothing to eat or in pain but without medicine. Returning to General has helped to put things in my life back in order, helping me to realize what is truly important.

I'm going to finish this blog up by asking you for prayers. Please be praying for my time in General. Please pray for peace in Mexico. Please pray for the protection of my mission team from the violence in surrounding cities. Please pray for the young woman's ministry we want to get started here and lastly please pray that my mission partner and I will continue to have good health. God Bless!

"If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:15-17