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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is it about the rain?

As I am sitting in my room in Cuernavaca, I can smell the refreshing scent of rainfall. Now in Cuernavaca, is the dry season, meaning it is not supposed to rain. How is it that rain finds me when it is not supposed to; don’t get me wrong, it’s completely refreshing! I almost feel as if the Holy Spirit is providing the rain to quench the thirst of my dry soul. My time in Cuernavaca is coming to an end, and my heart rejoices because I am excited about the adventure to come. Erika and I bought our bus tickets to General Cepeda today and will be leaving this Friday. I am excited to be returning to the place the Lord first called me to missions. I also think it totally appropriate that it would rain right before I leave this place. It reminds me all the more of last summer in General.

The last few days I’ve been reflecting on the places I’ve been, where I am now, and where I am going. I’ve realized that a year ago today, I was in college studying pre-physical therapy, working hard at Starbucks, and very active in a Baptist church in Pensacola. It is crazy for me to think that in only one year my life can be turned upside down for the better. At this time last year, I was anticipating a summer without work, and possibly visiting family in Louisiana. It’s funny to me that the Lord leads me to the places that He wants me, but always has a different plan than mine. (His are always better!) During my time visiting family in Louisiana last summer, my cousin Brooke offered me the opportunity to go on a Mission trip. After some time in prayer, I felt peace about going on this mission. Little did I know that that yes would lead to an even bigger yes in the weeks to come. It was there on that mission that the Lord broke the chains of fear that had ruled my life, renewed and set my heart on fire for Him and His people, and gave me more freedom than I thought possible to experience. On that mission, I truly became alive.

Once experiencing such a high in the Lord, it is hard to imagine life any other way. Since September 15th, I’ve experienced some serious highs in the Lord and some serious lows. Both times have been crucial to get me where I am today, here in Cuernavaca. Since my training ended in December, I have been anticipating getting onto the mission field. I spent way too much time wishing time away without realizing that my mission field is where I am presently. Being in Cuernavaca has shown me the importance of having my eyes opened to the mission the Lord has for me, even if it is something as small as smiling at greeting the people I pass in the streets, which I do everyday.

Upon arriving Cuernavaca, I didn't have much hope of a mission after language school because of the disturbances in General Cepeda. I know now that when we have difficulties or things that are getting in the way of our mission, it means that we are really needed in that place and that the enemy is trying everything in his power to keep us out. I am confident now that General Cepeda is the place the Lord is leading me and in His timing. Things are, of course, always better in His timing. By the way, did I mention that I am excited to be returning to General Cepeda??? :)

I know that this post is short and sweet, but maybe next week I will have a longer post when I reflect on my traveling journey to General, but I want to leave you with this:

"Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12

Keep your head high, your eyes focused on Christ, and let your faith shine brightly! You are all in my prayers! God Bless!