Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Mission Trip for Missionaries

I had every intention of posting this back in May or June, but pregnancy and morning sickness really caught up with me.  I am posting it now, obviously.  :) Our missionary friends are in the U.S. on furlough and we really miss them, especially this time of year.  The following is just one of the fond memories we have with them.  

Early May we were honored to be invited along by some fellow missionaries on one of their out reach efforts.  The goal was to assist and encourage a national church planter, as he and his wife live and labor among a very closed neighborhood.  The neighborhood has permitted their children to come for daily after school tutoring and Bible studies, but the adults have been very reluctant to engage with Manuel and Glenda in anyway.  We offered very limited services; a very basic eye exam, dental care workshop, barber (turns out you can trust a bald barber), and ear cleaning.  I was able to weigh a few babies and go over warning signs in pregnancy with some of the ladies in the waiting area.  

All this gave the community a better opportunity to get to know Manuel and Glenda and to speak to some about spiritual matters.  We are thankful to our missionaries friends for allowing us to join them in part of their ministry.  It was a great ministry trip for our visiting niece and our kiddos.  They helped out in lots of areas.  Glamorous things like hauling water, sweeping up hair, and examining and cleaning out ears.  However, the best thing they did, the thing I am the proudest of is, they showed themselves friendly. Well done my young people.  

What do you think?  What makes short-term mission trips successful or not so successful?  What was the most important way you helped on your last mission trip?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

New Visas: Ministry Monday

Image courtesy of pakorn at

One of the less glamorous sides of long-term, cross-cultural work is immigration.  Last year we were finally able to go from tourist visas to year long temporary visas, temporary resident visas.  You can read about it here.  With temporary resident visas we do not have to leave the country to renew, but renew we must.  And the time for renewal has come.  Sam has spent much of the last two weeks buried under copies and copies of birth certificates, letters of invitation, passports and various other paperwork he had diligently been gathering for our renewal packet.  Due to changes in the process, some of our documents had to be translated this year.  Thankful, a missionary friend knew someone very good that could do it for us quickly.  In addition we have been working on getting Gracen a Mexican birth certificate and registered as a Mexican citizen.  This requires several trips to various offices and two witnesses to go with us for the final step, but it is now all completed.  Because Gracen is a Mexican citizen, we qualify for permanent resident visas, which means no more yearly renewal and more liberty for us.  We will now begin work on his U.S. documents at the American consulate.    

Image courtesy of scottchan at
Thankfully, only two trips to the immigration office were required this year!  Well, actually, they have accepted our packet.  We will still have to go in and get our cards and get finger printed and such, but getting our packet accepted is a big step.  Pray with us that the rest of the process is completed easily.  

Our little "anchor baby".  :)