Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ministry Monday Week #12: Children's Church

We are really loving the new church here in Huayapam.  We feel so blessed to be a part of what God is doing here.  They have asked me to help with children's classes on occasion.  I am so grateful my Spanish is finally good enough to do classes comfortably....note I said comfortably, not perfectly.  Some sweet friends sent us an old school flannel graph set the first year we were on the field, so I've busted it out and use it sometimes.  The first class I used it, one of the kids said, "Oh!  Que Bonita!"  (How pretty!)  They really like it.  Sometimes I let them come up and retell the story using the flannel graph...big hit!  Kids are always fun to work with!

Lena is usually my helper, because we can practice the night before and make sure everything is smooth and we have all the right characters.  

One of the really sweet things they do is prayer time. Each child writes their prayer request on a piece of paper, then they exchange papers, and pray for each other.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ministry Monday Week #11: Resurrection Sunday

Hope you had a great Easter.  We did!  We got to show off the grandparents at our church here in Huayapam.  What a blessing!  Everything was great from the prayer service to the song service to the preaching.  Sam preached a great message with a strong emphasis on the glorious victory that is summed up with three beautiful, powerful words, "It is finished". (John 19:30) 

I took a few snap shots of the kids doing a small craft of the empty tomb with a banner across that say, "Jesus Cristo ha resicitado!" (He is risen!)  

It is finished!

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

For This Child I Prayed: 1 Samuel 1:27-28

I know that every child is a gift from God, uniquely placed in our care for such a short amount of time.  However, there was a time when it seemed if my husband looked at me the right way or held my hand long enough, I could get pregnant.  It seemed mostly in our control.  Our youngest was born four years after the other four and we thought it would be wonderful for him to have brothers and sisters around his age, so we started making plans in that direction almost as soon as Sam returned from Iraq.  But God had other plans and for seven years we have prayed and waited.  Just this year I really began to think that God was clearly saying the ministry we have here in Mexico and our five children were more than enough.  I almost gave away the cloth nappies in January, but decided to wait just a few more months until my friend's baby was born and we would go visit her.  Then in February we got this almost unbelievable, surprise blessing!  After a few weeks of letting the news settle in and really become real, we are ready to announce that a new baby will be arriving later this year!

So in the grateful words of Hannah we say, " For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:" and let us not forget that as parents we should also strive as Hannah place our children back in the hands of the Lord.  1 Samuel 1:27-28

Have to say, our kiddos are really good sports!  :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ministry Monday Week #10: Pure Religion

I know some of you may have read this in our prayer letter or on Sam's blog, but I wanted to share it here also.  I have not included any pictures here, because we try to walk a fine line between sharing and not exploiting as this is actually a very delicate situation.

In late January, we received a knock at the gate by a lady asking for money to take her “laboring” daughter to the hospital.  It is not our practice to give money, so Carie being a midwife volunteered to go with the lady to check on her “laboring” daughter, Lupita.  To no surprise, Lupita was not in labor and was only in her 7th month.  However, that knock on our gate has changed our life, added to our ministry, and has re-taught us a scriptural truth, “Pure religion and undefiled.”

Since that knock, Carie and I have made many visits to that family and the mother has since abandoned the family, once again, and has been on another drunken hiatus for more than two months.  They are unsure when or if she will return.  What does that mean?  Lupita (18) has been left to care for her newborn and her 1 year old, 4 year old, 6 year old, 9 year old, and 13 year old siblings, as well as her grandparents, grandfather (92) and grandmother (80).  Though the grandparents try to help, their age limits them greatly.

We are always mindful and careful to not establish a dependency on us or American dollars, but we have been heartbroken for this family, their lost-ness, and the affliction they are going through.  We were at a loss, for what we should do, so we prayed.  So one night on visitation I took one of the couples of the church to visit the “Luz” family, as we left they too were heartbroken.  They have since motivated the church to gather food dispenses and gathered for a work day to clean and repair the small home of Lupita, which included the burning of old mattresses and purchasing of new ones.  Many brought clothes and sheets, clean supplies, etc.

The CHURCH has felt the call to reach out, the CHURCH has been praying and working with this family, and GOD has received ALL glory and honor for what has been happening.  However, they are still lost.

Please be in prayer for this family as we continue to minister to them.  Carie has been providing post partum Carie to Lupita and the baby.  The kids go with us every Sunday to church, and I plan to start “listening” to the bible with the family by use of a “Proclaimer” one or two afternoons per week since the grandparents cannot read.  Somehow I have earned the respected name of “Don” Samuel, please pray for me as I continue to share the gospel and the love of Christ with this family.  Please pray for their salvation.

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  James 1:26-27               

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ministry Monday Week #9: Celebrating Four Years!

April 3rd marked the four year anniversary of the eventful trip from Rogers, Arkansas to Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico!  You can read about that trip by CLICKING HERE and HERE.  It has not been the easiest four years, but we are still here and hopefully it is God who has gotten the glory.

You do not have to do a very thorough search to find the hard fact that missionary attrition is very high.  Some say as many as 80% will not finish their first term (traditionally a term has been considered four years).  We would like to send a huge and humble thank you to all who have supported us and prayed for us.

On one trip back to the US we were visiting my grandmother's church way out in the country of Arkansas.  An older couple came up to talk with us, both faithful, humble Christians of many years.  They said, "We want you to know we pray for you everyday."  I could not hold back the tears.  I thought to myself, that is why we are still on the field, because you pray for us everyday.

To celebrate our four year milestone, we tried a new restaurant.  Not just a new restaurant, but a whole new experience.  We had "sopa de piedra" or "rock soup".  It is a traditional way of preparing soup in which all the ingredients for the soup are placed in a large gourd bowl.  Then a very hot rock is placed in the soup and immediately served to you.  When they bring it, the soup is boiling and bubbling. By the time it stops, your soup is cooked and ready to eat.  Now that gives a whole new meaning to fresh!

Hey Samuel, I think the dog chewed up your boogie board.  WHAT!  Just kidding!  LOL!  Sorry about the picture quality.  We only had our phone camera with us.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Faith and Love: Let God Handle the Rest

Do you ever read a portion of scripture and just fall in love with it, because it speaks to your heart and situation so much.  I love when God speaks to me in that way.  A week or so ago, I was directed to 1 Thessalonians 5:18 during a devotional and because I like to get the context of what is being said I read all of chapter 5 and because I was so touched and encouraged I went through my day chanting, "I am putting on the breastplate of faith and love" (1 Thes. 5:8) and I read it again the next day and I cling to being obedient to faith and love.

Faith that God would use how I love others to do His work and the product was rejoicing (1 Thes. 5:16), prayerful meditation (1 Thes. 5:17), thankfulness (1 Thes 5:18).  Then I branched out and read the whole book several times.  I listened to it as I drifted off to sleep.  I refreshed it in my mind in the morning, the beautiful book of faith and love.  The simple truth of faith and love.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 says:
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God our Father.
This is the whole theme of the book.  That we labor in love throughout our day, towards our spouses, children, friends, and neighbors, that we have faith God is using this labor of love in our lives and in theirs, that we do this because of the hope we have in Jesus Christ and the salvation he brings.  (1 Thes 1:3 and 5:8)

In the middle chapter Paul demonstrates the walk of faith and love and hope.  In the final chapter he encourages us again in this principal.

But let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for and helmet, the hope of salvation.  (1 Thes 5:8)

Read and be encouraged for "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."  (1 Thes 5:24)

Love people, Have faith, Praise God for your hope!