Monday, March 17, 2014

Ministry Minday Week #8: Mexican Baby Showers

The short devotion was well received.
Here in Oaxaca, Mexicans have adopted the U.S tradition of a baby shower.  They call them "Baby Showers" with a slight Mexican accent.  They like to have fun and play some of the usual baby shower games.  Like most Mexican celebrations there is usually a meal involved even if it is modest.  They have decorations such as balloons and signs, often homemade, but usually not a cake.  Dessert is often jello based or something similar to tres leche.  If the family is Christian there is often a small devotion on family or motherhood.  I have had the privilege of doing a devotion at a Mexican baby shower before.

Recently I was invited to the baby shower of one of the ladies at the newly formed church here in Huayapam.  It was unique in that both non-Christian family and church family attended.  It was a good opportunity for her family to see how much her church family cares for her, for them to see us pray and hear a few gentle scriptures about the blessings of children and motherhood. 

Above we are playing a "multitasking game" in which you have to hold your baby, talk on the phone and hang up your clothes.  I tied my baby on rebozo style and was really moving along until I dropped the phone!  That was not mine!  That splatted in pieces all over the floor!  Turns out I am a little rusty at multitasking.  The ladies thought it was hilarious and the phone worked fine after they got it put back together.  You can see my reaction.

One interesting game they have played at every baby shower I have attended is the "lip stick" game.  No one marks their gift.  The new mama opens the gift and then she has to guess who brought it.  If she guesses correct she gets to mark their face with lip stick, but if she is wrong, the person who brought the gift gets to mark her face.  I have never gone to a baby shower were they have not guessed my gift and this one was no exception.  I guess no matter how hard I try, something screams American or maybe my face gives it away.  I guess I probably should not try poker anytime soon.

I was also able to be part of a little private baby shower.  When I gave the prenatal class to all the ladies at the church in the city they brought a gift for a young pregnant mom in my village.  I have done some of her prenatal care and knew she was probably not going to get a shower.  She was supposed to come to the prenatal class with me and we were going to surprise her with a mini shower, but she could not make it because she had to stay home and watch her younger brothers and sister, so I got the honor of taking her the gifts.  Please pray for her and her family.  They are dear to our hearts.  I hope the gifts were a demonstration that others care for her.  Someday I hope she knows how much Jesus cares for her.  

Those of you who are interested in all things birth, will probably find it interesting that she was told by her doctor that her pelvis was too small and that they needed to schedule a c-section.  The c-section rate is around 80% here, so this is pretty par for the course.  I told her there was no way to know until birth.  She gave birth naturally just three days later.  Mom and baby are doing well!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Growing Luffa

Sam has set up a garden for me in almost all of the 15 or so houses we have lived in.  It is where I like to go to quietly work and think and pray.  It is where I can catch my breath and breathe deep.  Unfortunately, as of late it has been hard to have enough time to do even basic garden chores.  The saga of this garden is long and interesting only to me, so I'll spare you the details.  We moved into this house September of 2012 and I finally have a bit of green in the garden.  If we can only survive the dry season, we will be golden.  I wanted to share one of my successes from the garden and a new plant for me, Luffa.  It survived much neglect and powdery mildew when almost all other types of squashes and even the cucumbers perished.  

You can eat them in stir fry when they are green and young.  We haven't tried that yet.  We allowed ours to dry and turn brown.  Then we gave them a good shake to harvest all the seeds.  That was super fun and made a neat sound.  Once most of the seeds were out we soaked the dried luffa in water for about 45 minutes.  Below you can see Haden easily peeling off the out layer.  Once that is gone we laid them in the sun to dry.  

They work great for scrubbing both your body and your dishes.  I can't wait to include them in little gift baskets with some homemade soap.  We are loving the low maintenance, useful luffa plant.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day by Day

Thank you God that no matter what today holds I know you are with me! 

"lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  Matt 28:20


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ministry Monday Week #7: First Outreach Efforts

Well, I could say, look what we are doing down here in Mexico.  However, that would be not be truthful.  Truthfully, I would have to say, look what God is doing in Mexico of which we get to be a part.  Saturday night the small, but growing group of believers that just formed into a church a few months ago decided they wanted to show a historical movie about the life, conversion, and ministry of a Mexican missionary who spent his life reaching many remote villages.  They planned it, they invited their friends, and they even prepared food for their guest.  

They gave Sam the honor of bringing a small salvation message after the movie.  I think they were intimidated to do that part, so Sam did it together with one of the other men.  In the end it was the other brother, who summed up the message and pulled it all together.  Sam was able to step away from even that.  As you can see it was full and most seated were guest.  Follow up visits are planned.  We had three adorable little guest, who even came back with us for church the next day.  It warms my heart to see the church folks show love to those we bring, even when they are children.  

 Pray for those who came, that the seed planted in their hearts will take root and grow.  What exciting things did you see God do this week?  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Giveaway Winner! & Recap 2013

Coffee and Cup Giveaway Winner!

And we have a winner!  Congratulations Emily from Oklahoma.  She got extra entries by posting a comment.  Can not wait to hear what you think of the coffee.  

June, July and August 2013 Recap

Even though our time on the coast was very busy, it is hard not be be a little more relaxed when the beach is within walking distance. 
The end of June we found ourselves packing up and heading to the coast of Oaxaca.  The mission was two-fold; level three of language school and aiding a national pastor with his church.  Pastor Victor and his wife were receiving hostile treatment for refusing to abort their baby.  An apple size tumor was discovered by ultrasound during a routine prenatal.  The timing was perfect, they were able to stay in our house in the city and see a specialist and we were able to help with their church on the coast.  

At first the tumor caused pain, but mom and baby were doing well.  With time, the tumor unexplainably began to shrink!  She was even able to give birth naturally, where months before a tumor blocked the way.  I know many were praying for this baby, her mother and family.  It was a joy to walk beside this family and see their strong faith during this difficult time.

A grateful mother giving public thanks for the precious baby she is holding.
Meanwhile, on the coast, Sam did his best to teach and preach to the small congregation, while keeping up with his Spanish studies.  He used the opportunity to do lessons on how to study the Bible.  We knew God was using this situation to move Pastor Victor to the city to start a church in an area were the is almost no evangelical work.  The coast was Pastor Victor's home area.  He moved there several years ago after a successful church plant near the border.  He has a burden for his home town.  A lot of people knew him, but they did not except that a boy from their little town could know anything about the Bible.  In his own puebla, he was threatened with jail several time for starting a church.  We are praying God sends the right person to take over the work he began with much adversity.  You can CLICK HERE to see what life on the coast is like.

It was a privilege for Sam to translate for his brother during a service.
We are thankful Lindsey was with us.  She stayed with Samuel, Adelina and Haden while we at language school and two children of another missionary family.  Her servant's heart was such a huge blessing.  

One treat for us during this time was the visit of Sam's brother and his family.  We had so much fun while they were with us.  The time flew by.  Sam got to interpret for him at one of the church services.  It is always an encouragement to have friends and family visit.  

We hosted a Fourth of July celebration.  Teachers, students, neighbors and friends joined us.  Above we are getting the fire ready.  Testing out our marshmallow substitute and warming up the instruments.  
The language school we attended is designed for missionaries, so there are missionary families from all the world.  They will serve in various Latin American countries when they complete the four levels of Spanish training offered by the school.  Since we live in Oaxaca, we have chosen to do a seven weeks level whenever we can.  We began in 2012 at level two and completed level three this time.  I do not know when we will have the opportunity to do level four, but it is a very important level.  We are so encouraged by how much our Spanish has improved through the school.  This time God provided funds for Hannah and Josiah to attend level two.  CLICK HERE for more info on the school.   

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ministry Monday Week #6: Recap 2013

This week we sang in Spanish as a family for the family conference of a national pastor and close friend.  In September or August of last year he felt led to start a church in a large area on the other side of the city.  You can find out more about it by reading under the heading Pueblo Nuevo - Oaxaca, just CLICK HERE. I am working on a blog with a recording of the songs we sang for next week.  It was not great.  It was the first time we have sung in public in quite a while, I think we were nervous and it was in Spanish.  But, it is hard to say no the Pastor Victor.  At least the song had a good message!

Meanwhile, I wanted to try to finish up the 2013 Recap.

April was a short trip to the U.S. to try to gain residency status in Mexico.  The visas were a mission fail, so we returned on tourist visas a little wiser.  I attended the Christian Midwives International Conference during our trip and even spoke on the topic of midwifery, missions, and being culturally savvy.  I called it "Culture Clash: Things to know before you go on mission".  I didn't get invited back...mmmm...

May and June were busy with a lot of the same.  It always takes a little bit to recover from a trip.  The great thing was we added our niece, Lindsey to the mix.  She was a trooper.  When she arrived we were in serious water rationing mode.  We were only flushing toilets when necessary, we were taking cold sponge bathes and hauling dishes outside to wash.  Every few days when we heard the water come on, everything would stop and we would run around flushing toilets and taking showers.

She didn't bat an eye.  She hauled water in and warmed it up for Haden's bath, no complaints even when she was sick or spider bitten.  She was a huge blessing to the church where Sam does the Bible Institute.  She gave violin lessons and Adelina translated for her.  Although she was starting to get by on her own before her three months were up.  We were so sad to see her go.  She was a huge help and blessing to all of us in different ways.  She was a tutor to Adelina and Haden, a friend to Hannah and an amazing assistant.   

Lindsey, if you are reading this...we are on water rationing again, so be prepared!  Can't wait to see you in May!