Friday, February 28, 2014

So My Soul Pants For You

The past few weeks in Oaxaca have flown by! I feel so blessed that the Lord has brought me back to this place. The new Hands On students arrived 3 weeks ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. They are pictured to the right: JD, Nathan, Jose (national partner), Holly, Heather, and Lilia (my roomie/national who is living with us and studying English). I have had the privilege of participating in all their training as well as teaching them the ropes of public transportation. I have gotten to sit in on all their ministry firsts too..first day of ESL classes and first day at Casa Hogar (the children’s home). It was so great to go back and see my kiddos there! I have also been able to go out to the village I worked in last fall several times. Rosa and I have had several great conversations with different families there. Lupe is a man that I met in the clinic towards the end of my stay here last time. We were never able to meet up due to time constraints so I was super excited when the Lord allowed us to meet with him. He speaks English very well and it was refreshing to be able to share with him about the Lord in my heart language. Praise God He was very receptive to the Truths I shared with him and is already currently reading from the Word aloud to His family! Pray that we will have more opportunities to meet with him before I leave and that the Lord would continue to work in his heart and save him and his family.

Rosa and I were thrilled to be invited to Sylvia’s home. Sylvia (pictured to the right with her husband Juan) is the lady who sells tortas (sandwiches) in the plaza. We ate at her stand every Thursday last fall. She was our initial contact in the village and the Lord used her in a big way to open up the door for us into this village. She was open to reading the Word then, but my first week back she invited us to come visit her in her home. This was so huge! We have been able to meet with her and her family twice and have had some great conversations with them about the Lord. She even wrote down the passage references that we shared with them and called it “tarea” (homework)! I’m so excited about the Lord opening the opportunity for us to deepen this relationship and go deeper in sharing Truth with them. Please pray for their salvation as well!

These past few weeks have been so great and I am so happy being here..literally, I love it here! But, I have to admit the first few weeks wore me out! So much so that I wasn't able to focus as well and go as deep with my time in the Word. Well, the Lord brought me to Psalm 42 as part of my daily reading. Verses 1-2 say: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” Wow! So good! I had been feeling dry. I wasn’t getting enough rest and because of that, my brain wasn’t functioning well enough for me to get much out of what I was reading. My time in the Word was suffering and I wasn’t getting fed like I needed. And on top of that, I realized how easily I am tempted to try to satisfy that hunger and thirst with other getting on the internet or watching a movie or anything that will give my brain a rest. And that’s sinful. It’s like being super thirsty after a long run in the middle of Summer and then trying to satisfy your thirst with soda. It’s not going to work. It might taste good at first, but it’s not going to make you less thirsty. In fact, it’s going to make you more thirsty. My soul was panting for the Lord, but I wasn’t giving it what it needed. So, then I thought, if I’m so tired I can’t focus on the Word, how does that work? Well, we are going through the Transformed Bible study as a team and last week’s lesson was on physical health. Usually, my automatic thoughts when it comes to physical health are “I need to eat healthy” and “I need to exercise”. But, this week I felt convicted because part of being physically healthy is getting adequate rest. In the lesson, Rick Warren points out how one day we will stand before the Lord and give an account on how we cared for and used what He gave us..and this includes our physical bodies. Christ bought us with His very life when He died on the cross. Therefore, our bodies don’t belong to us. But, He has entrusted us to care for them. The Lord created our bodies to need rest, and we are not caring for our bodies well when we don’t get the rest we need. And think about how much more we are prone to sin when we are tired. Getting adequate rest is not only good for our physical health, but it is also good for us spiritually. For me, getting enough rest helps me focus and dig deeper into God’s Word.

I’m grateful the Lord has shown me the importance of deep, fruitful time in the Word as well as the importance of rest so that I can be focused and learn the most when I am studying His Word. It’s also been good for me to see how these verses in Psalm 42 apply more broadly to us as human beings, made in the image of God and created for relationship with Him. After the Fall, when sin first came into the world, man’s relationship with the Holy God was broken and we became separated from God. Apart from Him we are condemned to eternal death. We are dead/in need of watering, and we have a desire/thirst for God..even if we don’t realize it. Joel 1:20 says “Even the beasts of the field pant for you...”. If even the animals desire God, how much more do we as His image bearers? So, apart from Christ, our state is one who is doomed to eternal condemnation and panting for a restored relationship with God. What’s beautiful is God made a way for us to have a restored relationship with Him. Christ is our Redeemer. He gives us the Holy Spirit which is our water. He is the way we can be restored to God. In John 6:35, Jesus says: “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” When Jesus was speaking to the Samarian woman at the well in John 4, he says: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become to him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Christ died in our place on the cross, taking upon himself the wrath of God that we were due. He has given to us the most precious of all gifts...the gift of redemption. Our souls are panting for the Living God and when we put our faith in Christ and turn away from our sin, we find what our souls have been searching for. Our relationship with God is restored and our thirst is satisfied through Christ. 

If you know the Lord and are in a dry place, turn to Him. Isaiah 41:17 says “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” He is faithful and He desires for us to come to Him to be fed and watered. Seek Him and find the satisfaction your soul is panting for.

If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, search His Word and see how He has given His very life in order to restore your relationship with God. There is nothing you can do to earn this...Christ did it all for us. Listen to the words of Isaiah 55:1-3: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me.” Christ freely gave His very life to wipe away your sins. Don't waste your life on things that don't matter when it comes to eternity. Rather, turn away from your sin, trust in Him, and find the satisfaction that your soul is searching for. "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oaxaca: Round 2

I returned to the United States on December 10th, and was blessed to spend several weeks with my parents for the holidays. It was a sweet time of visiting with friends and family as well as figuring out what was next.

The Lord was so gracious to me and provided me with a PRN (as needed) position at St. Vincent's working on my same floor. I was able to work the month of January as much as possible (maybe even more than I wanted..thank you snow storm!). With this position, I have the flexibility of making my own schedule and the Lord has given me an opportunity to return to Oaxaca for 7 weeks! The main reason I was hoping for this position is because I was not ready to leave Oaxaca when it was time to go in December. I felt as though I still had work to do here and that we were just getting going. My heart just wasn't ready to be done with this place and these people. And, so the Lord worked it out for me to come back! I arrived in Oaxaca on Saturday, February 1st, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be here..literally my heart has been overjoyed! I will be working with the same 2 missionary families doing a variety of different things. One of my tasks will be to help orient the next group of Hands On students that will be arriving in a week and living/serving here for the next 4 months. I'm looking forward to meeting these 3 new team members and hopefully easing their transition into a new culture. I am also super excited to continue working in the indigenous village where I spent most of my time last fall. I feel so blessed that the Lord is giving me this opportunity and am grateful at how His hand has been over all the details to work everything out so smoothly.

Please join me in praying for my time here over the next 7 weeks:
- Pray that I would make the most of every opportunity the Lord gives me to share truth, show love, and build relationships.
- Pray for the new Hands On students: Heather, Holly, and John David. Pray that they would have a smooth transition, the Lord would use them in mighty ways, and that He would teach them many things.
- Pray that the Lord would use this time to give me clear direction on His plans for my future and that I would be patient in waiting for His guidance.
- Pray that He would save many...all for His glory!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mighty to Save

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Throughout our time here, the Lord has been continually reminding me that He is mighty to save and He doesn’t need me in order to work. It is purely a privilege that He chooses to use His children in advancing His kingdom. It has been truly humbling to see the Lord at work and participate in what He is doing here in Oaxaca, and particularly in the main village I’ve been working in.

The Lord has clearly shown himself to be at work in this village. He has opened the door wide open for us to have legitimate access into the village through our background as nurses and working in the clinic every week. So huge! But a few weeks ago, I began to feel a little discouraged that we hadn’t developed more relationships through our Community Transformation Training (CTT) visits. The goal is to use lessons of basic health care/prevention to help meet physical needs in the community. We pair the lesson with a Bible story to begin to meet spiritual needs. The idea is that this gets us access into homes, but it doesn’t stop there. The goal is to build relationships, make disciples, and form house churches over time. Well, we had been having some great conversations with people each week, but none that seemed to be leading to longer term, deeper relationships. I began to feel discouraged because I felt like our time here was rapidly dwindling and we weren’t seeing any deep relationships form that the nationals would be able to continue building on once we leave. During this time, the Lord reminded me that He is the one who saves and He works in His ways and in His timing. He showed me that my one job is to be obedient to him and that I have to trust Him to do the saving. 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 says, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” The Lord has commanded us to proclaim the Truth. That’s it. He is the one that transforms hearts. And it makes sense..He is the one who breaths life into people who are dead in their sin and therefore He is the one who gets the glory! Praise Him!

I was also reminded that sometimes we don’t get to see the fruit of our labor. I long to see the Lord save these people and form house churches among them, but He doesn’t need me in order to do those things. He can and will continue working in the lives of these people after I leave here. He is mighty to save. 

The Lord has also been teaching me the power of prayer. I have learned to ask Him to do bigger things than we can imagine because He is capable! Last week a friend from my home church emailed me a picture of the church bulletin from Sunday. Everyday of the week, the church was praying for me and the people of Mexico. I go to a large church..maybe about 4,000 members. So, even if just 1/4 of the people were praying..that’s 1,000 people! Well, the Lord was listening and He did some big things during this last week! Here are 2 examples of how the Lord has been at work:
  1. On Thursday, Moi, Rosa, and I were able to meet with our friend D. and her husband M. in the village we have been working in. She was extremely open with us when we met with her a month ago and invited us back to her home but it just hasn't worked out until this past Thursday. We had a great conversation with them for 2 hours! They were completely open to talking about Spiritual things. M. seemed very familiar with the Word despite some mixed up beliefs. They invited us back to talk to them more about the Word! This is so HUGE! The Lord is clearly working in them! We hope to casually model house church with them through prayer, sharing of the Word, even singing, etc. PLEASE be praying that the Lord would continue moving in them and that He would save them for His glory and use them to save others in this village!! Please pray that they would both be available to talk when we go back this week.
  2. So, about 2 months ago when we were going from house to house in the village, we talked with an older lady named C. who suffers from anxiety/nerves. Think she didn't even understand Moi's Spanish because she only speaks indigenous tongue! Well, praise God, Rosa was able to speak to her in indigenous tongue even though they speak different dialects. We prayed with her and shared with her, but she was not interested in discussing spiritual things and did not invite us back. Well, a week ago at the clinic, I was able to share a Bible story in Spanish to a lady named K. She ended up inviting me to her house to practice English and to bring her a Bible. So, we were able to go and meet with her on Saturday. I had been praying that the Lord would allow us to find her house because her street was not on the map and there aren't always street signs or numbers on the houses. Well, (praise God again!), we were able to find her house and it was the same house where we talked to C. 2 months awesome!! C. is K.'s mother-in-law! We were able to talk to the whole family..we practiced some English and they taught me some indigenous tongue! And, then we shared with them from the Word. K. openly admitted that she doesn't go to church but that she does talk to God and that our conversation with her was helpful! They were eager to invite us back and so we will be going again in a week! Pray that the Lord would be working in them and transforming their hearts this week, that they would spend time reading the Word, and that the Lord would save them! 

I can’t express how amazing and encouraging these interactions were! This village is a hard place, but He is clearly working and He is mighty to save!

"To him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oaxaca Fun

We've gotten to experience some really awesome things over the past few weeks. Our friend Moises is in theater and invited us to see him perform in a play in one of the villages.

They did a great job! Even though it was all in Spanish we were thoroughly entertained and able to follow the story line. It was definitely a fun experience!

We spent some more time with teams from the States that have been here on vision trips as well. This usually involves showing them around the Zocalo and helping them barter in the markets. It's been so awesome to meet fellow believers from all over the States here in Oaxaca.

Hannah and I filled in for Shelley and helped Jasmine with one of their intercambios for a couple of weeks. Intercambios are exchanges where we basically just talk in order to help them with English and in turn they help us with Spanish. This has been a great way for us to make friends and share stories from the Word.

Our friend Marianna took us to a really cool free museum in downtown Oaxaca. 

Our neighbor, Noemi, took us out hunting for chapulines (grasshoppers) and then taught us how to cook them. It was a truly authentic Mexican experience and so much fun!

First, she took us out to some open fields where we caught the chapulines and put them in plastic bags to take home.

We boiled them until they turned brown.

And then we rinsed them and picked out any grass.

Next, we fried them with some garlic and lemon.

They actually tasted better than the chapulines we tried from the market!

A few Sundays ago we took a team trip to Hierve El Agua which are sedimentary falls and the name literally translates as "boiling water". The water bubbles up from below and there are places deep enough to swim. It is absolutely gorgeous!

So beautiful!

We had a free morning one day, so we decided to take a trip to the nearby Zoo!

This one is for my Auburn Family..a big "War Eagle!" and "Go Tigers!" from Mexico!

I have been missing Fall a little bit and I've been dying to have a fiesta at our apartment, so one night we had a Fall Fiesta! Several of our Mexican friends came and we had tons of fun playing games in Spanglish! Praise God that He surpasses language barriers and that He helps us overcome them as well!

This Lord has continued to bless us and teach us and show us favor among the people here. Continue to be praying for the rest of our time here, that we will be obedient in all that He calls us to do, and that He would save many!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


We have officially reached our half way point to this season of life in Oaxaca. I have to admit, it makes my heart somewhat sad to know that my time here is coming closer to an end. The Lord has given me a heart for these people and this place as well as a heart for missions. I am so thankful to the Lord for how He has sovereignly brought me to this place and for all the many things He has been teaching me.

One of the main things the Lord has been teaching me the past few weeks is about obedience to Him.  I have been reading in the book of Deuteronomy lately and it’s been so good to be reminded of the holiness of God and the gravity of our sin. He is our Creator and as such He is worthy of complete and utter obedience and praise. And any sin, even what we may consider as seemingly small, is grievously offensive and warrants eternal punishment and separation from Him. I love reading from the Old Testament because it helps me understand these characteristics of God more and reminds me of the weight of my sin. One example I read recently is in Deuteronomy 13:6-11. It says: “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Wow. On first glance, it seems harsh that it would be deemed necessary for the Israelites to have an active hand in killing their loved ones that were seeking to draw them away from the Lord. But, that is how Holy our God is. He alone is worthy of our obedience and praise. Do you see the gravity of our sin against an infinitely Holy God? Anything that is pulling us away from serving and obeying the One True God is sin and should not be taken lightly. It has reminded me to look at my life and get of rid of things that are hindering my relationship with Him.

Not only have I been reading about how the Lord is worthy of our obedience, but the Lord has been showing me that he uses discipline in order to bring about obedience in our lives. Proverbs is full of verses that show the value and purpose of discipline. Proverbs 13:24 says “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” And Deuteronomy 8:5 says “Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.” Parents discipline their children out of love in order to show them what is a good and right way to behave. In the same way, the Lord loves us and brings us through times of hardship and discipline in order to show us our need for Him and remove sin from our lives. Times of discipline and suffering in my life have often been times in which I have grown the most and have produced an obedient spirit in me. I have learned to praise God for difficult seasons in my life, for He is worthy and He uses these times to sharpen me.

In Deuteronomy 11, we see how the Lord blesses obedience and there are consequences to lack of obedience. Verses 26-28 say “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” We can often see physical/emotional/relational/etc. effects of sin in our lives, but ultimately the result of sin in us is separation from the Lord. In Genesis 3, we see how Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden away from the presence of God as a result of their sin. We see in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Prior to salvation, we are all dead in sin and deserving of punishment for our sin. That punishment is eternal death - condemnation and separation from our Creator. It is clear from the beginning of scripture that disobedience results in curse. But we see hope in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. He was obedient when we were not. And He obediently sacrificed His life on our behalf, paying the price we owed for our sin. We deserved death and yet He, the perfect lamb, took all of God’s wrath that we were due upon Himself in order to provide a way for us to be brought back into the presence of God. As believers, when God looks at us, He sees the righteousness and obedience of Christ. It is through Christ alone that we can have communion with God and because of Christ we are free to be joyously obedient to our God. What’s sweet to see is that perfect obedience results in perfect blessing. Philippians 2:8-11 says “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Christ is perfectly obedient and receives the ultimate reward..eternal exaltation and glory! 

But, obedience isn’t always easy. In fact, it may mean enduring hardship and suffering. Christ Himself endured a shameful death that He didn’t deserve, but He deemed the Father worthy of His obedience and His sacrifice. I recently found myself telling the Lord that something could not happen because it would be hard, and I was soon convicted about it. Who am I to tell the Lord what He can and can’t will for me? If I can most glorify Him by obeying Him and walking through something difficult, then that is what I desire. He is worthy of me enduring hardship if He so chooses to glorify Himself in that way. What an honor it is to identify with my Savior in suffering. And just think about this: as followers of Christ who have been saved by faith, “we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17). How incredible is that!?! By grace we can identify with Christ in obedience, suffering, and glorification! 

So, as I begin the final half of these 4 months in Oaxaca and am unsure of what life will look like next, I am encouraged to know that my identity is in Christ and there is freedom and blessing in obeying whatever He has planned. May He be glorified in and through my life over these next 2 months and whatever is yet to come!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Do we have any bug spray...?

So, a few weeks ago I was calmly and quietly sitting on my bed when I noticed a giant spider crawling towards me on the wall. It wasn't a tarantula, but it was huge! I'm talking giant size...the biggest spider I've ever seen in real life. And if you know me, you know that I'm afraid of spiders. Well, thankfully in the midst of my not so small freak out, Shelley came in, killed the spider, and saved the day. The girls have enjoyed pretending to see spiders around me just for the reaction. Well, since that time we've had several other little visitors. My roomate nonchalantly asked if we had any bug spray the other day. Upon further questioning I realized she meant spray to kill bugs (a.k.a. the giant spider living in our screened door to the back porch). Unfortunately he was a good hider and got away. We have yet to see him resurface, and I'm praying he found a new home. This picture is of a spider we found today and is a baby compared to the granddaddy of them all that first came to visit. Considering the number of encounters we've had and the size of these things, I think the Lord is trying to teach me to appreciate His creation and get over my fear!

Meet Mariana: This is a picture of Hannah and I with our new friend Marianna. She is 17 and is neighbors with our supervisor. We were able to get together last week and help her practice English. It was so awesome to get to know her and share our faith with her. The Lord is clearly stirring in her heart and we have planned to incorporate some Bible study into our weekly intercambios (exchanges where we help her with English and she helps us with Spanish). I'm so excited about getting to know her better and for having the opportunity to study the Word with her! Please be praying that the Lord works in mighty ways through this opportunity!

This past Thursday was Hannah and mine's 2nd day to help in the clinic in our village and we were the only nurses. The doctor's name is Iveth and she was so patient and helpful to us. She helped us organize the order of seeing patients and pull charts, and then we were basically on our own while she saw patients. The Lord was so good to us and it went so well! Praise Him! We were able to communicate with all the patients, take all of their vital signs, give some shots, and assist them with their questions. It was such good practice for my Spanish, and I even learned a few indigenous words!

Saturday was a real treat! We took two of our indigenous friends, Rosa and Raquel, to the movie theater. It was our first time to the movies here in Mexico and it was their first time to the movie theater EVER! They were so cute and giggled throughout the entire movie. We watched a Mexican film in Spanish and it was encouraging to see how much more Spanish I understand now than I did before I came. I'm so grateful for all that the Lord is teaching me through this experience including the language.

On Sunday, before church, I took stitches out of Hopey's head...with a Swiss army pocket knife! No joke! I feel like I've been officially welcomed in to medical missions! Hopey is the 3 year old daughter of one of my field contacts and she is absolutely precious!

The Lord has been doing some big things in my life personally this week. He has been showing me how to more fully trust in Him in so many different ways but particularly with His sovereign plans. I've been reminded that my job is to be obedient in proclaiming truth and making disciples. It is the Holy Spirit who saves and there is nothing I can do to save anyone. He doesn't need me at all and it is an incredible privilege that He chooses to use us for His kingdom purposes. I have also been learning to desire whatever is going to give the Lord the most matter what it is. At the end of the day He is all I have. A.W. Tozer said, "The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oh, Magnify the Lord with Me

Last week the Lord gave us an opportunity to meet up with a girl we met our first week in Oaxaca. Her name is Caralina. She and her friends interviewed us for an English project and the Lord has placed them on my heart since that time. Well, we visited her church two Sundays ago and the Lord sovereignly worked it out so that she attended service in the morning when we were there rather than go to her usual evening service. We were able to make plans to meet up last Monday and the Lord surprised us with a whole day of fun with her and her parents. We met for coffee and watched part of the Independence Day parade.

Then, they took us to the tree of Tule which is over 2,000 years old and is the largest tree I've ever seen in my life. It was incredible!

The Lord used this family of believers to show me what it means to live generously, love fully, and imitate Christ. They have reminded me of Ephesians 5:1-2: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." They could not have been more kind to us - from sharing personal stories about how the Lord has worked in their lives, to giving us their time, to buying our lunch/tickets, to being eager to help us learn the language. It was truly humbling to be shown so much love. What is so special is that this has been a common theme among the Mexicans I've met here in Oaxaca. They have been so gracious, so generous, and so loving. Oh how much I have to learn from their example of imitating Christ and walking in love! 

It was a truly special day with a special family!

Tuesday is our weekly day to visit Casa Hogar which is a children's home. Many of the children are from indigenous families that cannot properly provide for them. Since many of them do have families they live at the children's home throughout the school year where they get physical needs met as well as an education. Those that have families go home for vacations and holidays. The home receives government funding but is run by believers and the campus has it's own church. We are blessed to love on these children each week, help serve lunch, assist in kitchen clean up, and share Bible stories with them.

On Wednesay morning, Jenny took us out to her friends house where we learned more about spinning and dying wool for tapetas (tapestries). This family was so kind to open up their home to us and teach us in this intensive process. First, they buy the wool. Then they spend a couple of days carding the wool as seen in the picture below. This is a long process that involves two paddles to disentangle and clean the wool.

Then the wool is spun on a loom. This process is amazing because the wool quickly goes from fluff to string instantly. It requires skill so that the entire strand is the same thickness.

After the wool is spun, they wash it and then begin the dying process. They collect small branches for several days in order to have enough wood to keep the pots boiling for several hours. They use different organic objects such as nuts and flowers to die the wool different colors. It takes several hours of constant boiling and stirring in order for the color to set in.

After the wool has dried, it is ready for use. This entire process of getting the wool ready to use takes approximately 2 weeks (from sheep to loom). And then depending on the size of the tapeta, it can take another week to 2 weeks to weave it. This was a truly remarkable process to learn about and has given me a whole new appreciation for the art of weaving. I asked what they do when they mess up during the process of weaving on the loom and was informed that you don't mess up because there is no way to fix a mistake. The designs are so intricate and so perfect. It is no wonder that their faces light up when you take notice of the tapestries they've completed!

Last Thursday was the first day that Hannah and I served in the clinic in one of the villages. We were blessed to be able to attend a youth event held at the clinic last Wednesday where we were invited by the municipal leaders to eat dinner with them at their table. This was a huge deal and the Lord showed us so much favor during this evening! We were able to meet and talk with all of the important community leaders including the president, sheriff, and health administrator. It was so neat because when the doctor of the clinic introduced us to them, she told them that we are Christians. It was so neat to see the Lord opening up this door for us and showing us favor with these men. In many of the villages, protocol and formality is extremely important so getting approval and favor from the community leaders is huge. In addition to a great time at the youth event, the Lord gave me the opportunity to share the Gospel in Spanish with our taxi driver. It was a truly humbling experience and a great reminder that the Lord doesn't need us to save. He doesn't need us to say X amount of words, or speak eloquently, or even share in our heart language. We are purely called to speak the Truth and the Holy Spirit is the One who does the work. And praise the Lord for that! It is truly incredible to see how powerful the Lord is and how He chooses to use us for His kingdom purposes. I am amazed because it was nothing in me except for the Spirit that could have shared with this man in Spanish. It was a divine appointment that served as a humbling experience as well as motivation and encouragement for me to speak openly even if not eloquently about my faith. "Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

The clinic time on Thursday went well and we were able to use our observation skills in addition to our limited Spanish to learn what we needed to do in order to assist the nurse. We took a lot of vital signs, administered some shots, and changed some dressings. I was surprised at how busy we were and how fast the time went by. The nurse informed us that she would not be at the clinic this week so Hannah and I will be on our own to handle all of the nursing tasks as we work with the doctor. Needless to say, we are a little nervous considering the language barrier. But, I know that the Lord has sovereignly placed us in this situation and He will equip us with what we need to do what He has called us to do. Please be praying that we would rely on Him, make few mistakes, be able to communicate with our patients clearly, and that we would show them Christ's love as well as share Truth. 

After working in the clinic, I met up with my CTT team - Moises and Rosa. We went out into the village from house to house in order to share health lessons and Bible stories. Due to the rain we didn't get many takers but several families asked us to come back at a later time. We were able to spend an hour or so talking with one lady and her elderly mother. It was beautiful to see the Lord at work! We were able to discuss some health concerns with them, pray for them, and share stories from the Word with them as well! It was so encouraging to see the Lord working in the lives of these 2 nationals, giving them a heart for missions and boldness to proclaim the name of our Savior to these people. Continue to pray for our team as we continue to go out into this particular village. Pray that we will form strong friendships with each other as well as build relationships with families in this village. Pray that the Lord would show us favor among families and individuals, that He would be preparing their hearts, and that He would save many.

Saturday night was Fiesta night! We celebrated Jeff and Natasha's birthdays with hamburgers!

This is a picture of Natasha and me! We are so blessed to have Natasha here during this season. She was in the Hands On program throughout the Spring semester and has stayed to help over the Summer as well as the first half of the fall. We LOVE her and are so grateful for how she has helped us learn Oaxaca and transition to life in a new culture!

 Here are just a couple glimpses of my view on my morning runs! How blessed I am and how beautiful is God's creation!

"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!" Psalm 34:1-3