Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I know I promised to continue the series on poverty and the story about the lady that knocked on my door asking for help.  I will very soon, I promise.  It has proven much more difficult than I thought it would be, but after wrestling to find the right word all week, I am almost there and Sam says it is half way decent.  So stay tuned, I think it will be worth the wait.  In the mean time, here are some photos of a recent mission trip two of our boys were priveleged to be a part of.  Both the boys bonded with the young MK who lives there with his family.

They drove about six hours into the mountians.  This included a lot of curves, dirt roads and some fog, donkeys and turkeys.

 Their objective was to help paint a literacy center.  People will be able to come and learn to read in their indigenous language.  This is very important, since many indigenous people in Oaxaca understand their heart language better than Spanish or only speak the indigenous language.

What a good looking group!  All photo credit goes to Donna Shaver and Anna Perez.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Messy, Messy Missions Series: A honest look at poverty

Missions is not about projects, it is about people and, well, let's face it, sometimes getting involved in other peoples lives can get messy.  Many of us know this from experience.  Maybe we have tried to help someone and it did not work out the way we thought it would.  

Like my friend in the Philippines who offered her box of take home to a homeless person on the street.  Upon opening it and inspecting it, he remark he did not like this particular type of food.  I think I understand better why he did that now, but we will get to that later.  

The focus of our ministry here in Mexico is not to those in poverty, but we are faced with it often.  The fact that it is not our primary focus does not give us the liberty to turn our heads and pretend it does not exist.  Just because the situation seems too large for us to ever see results, does not me we are excused from doing anything. 

So what do you do?  What is a good way to help?  What will help the most?

A little over a year ago, I answered a knock at my door.  A woman was telling me her young daughter was pregnant and they needed money for doctor's visits and the birth.  As I asked more questions, she stated her daughter was having contractions.  

The need seemed urgent and I had the means to provide what she was asking, about 200 pesos, which is less than $20 U.S. dollars.  I could give it to her, accept her thanks, send her on her way, and go about my day feeling a little better about myself.

As I spoke with her and asked questions, I began to pray about the best way to handle the situation.  How we deal with people is messy, but important.  We can hurt ourselves and those we are trying to help without even realizing it.  

In the next several post, I will tell you how we handled this situation, and open myself up to the judgement that may come with that.  I do it gladly and humbly in hopes that maybe a conversation can be started about what poverty is, how to best help and if we should even help at all.  

For today I leave you with a quote from When Helping Hurts.
"We must do our best to preach the gospel, to find cures for maleria, and to foster affordable housing.  But part of our striving is also to fall on our knees every day and pray, "Lord be merciful to me and my friends here, because we are both sinners."  And part of our striving means praying every day, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, for without You we cannot fix our communities, our nation, our world."  
What are your intial thoughts on poverty?  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Mamut Cake

Here on the field life is a little different, we are aware our children miss out on somethings their counterparts in the U.S. have and do.  In light of this, we try to create traditions that the kids can look forward to, that make life unique and special and create memories.  For example, we did not have room to bring Christmas decorations when we came to Mexico, so we have a tradition of making decorations every year.  This year we made Peppermint ornaments, which you can see by (clicking here).  We also do Tostada Tuesdays, which you can see by (clicking here).  Another tradition is letting kids choose what kind of birthday cake they want to be made for them.  One year everyone wanted ice cream cakes, the next year everyone wanted cheesecake.  This year Josiah wanted pecan pie.

So this week Haden and I walked to the store for some carrots I needed for dinner.  He asked if he could bring a few pesos to buy a treat.  As we were walking along and he was thinking about his treat, he said he wanted a Mamut cake for his birthday.  I was a little confused, so he explains this is his favorite sweet treat at the tienda.  I tell him I have no idea what it is and need to take a look before I can promise anything.  After two tiendas we find carrots and mamut, which is what we called Moon Pies when I was growing up.  A round cookie sandwich with marshmallow filling, covered in chocolate.  When we got home I typed "Moon Pie" into the Pinterest search engine and there were actually several recipes for homemade moon pies.  Figuring out how to modify the recipe to make it the size of a cake was pretty easy.  It turned out very yummy, very sweet, but very yummy.

The kids and I had fun with the PicMonkey edits.
Mamut means Mammoth, by the way!  Before you get too impressed with my Spanish, I only know that because one of the kids told me.  This is the blog where I found the recipe for homemade Moon Pie. (Click here)

Pinterest Fail

When we moved to Mexico our Christmas ornaments were one of the things that just did not fit.  So, we began a new tradition of making Christmas ornaments.  We have made popcorn chains with chilis, popcorn balls (very yummy, they make great gifts also), paper snowflakes, origami cranes, dried apples and oranges (bonus: they smell great), cute little peanut snowmen, gingerbread cookies, ect.  The kids love this tradition.  

I turned to Pinterest for inspiration this year and I found this neat idea that SEEMED very easy and staight forward.  The idea was to place peppermint candies in cookie cutters and place them in the over to melt together, producing {these} cute ornaments.  Honestly, I thought the hardest part would be finding peppermint candy in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Super, mega easy...right?  I mean, I'm crafy...right?  :)

I think this is when you say...NAILED IT!

In the end, we did get a few to turn out nice enough to hang on the tree.  

How about you?  What Christmas tradition do you enjoy with your family?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hopping Around the Internet Today

So, I'm kind of doing a fun and new thing today...well new to me anyway.  Some of my missionary blogger friends around the world are doing a "Round Robin" hosted by Baptist Mission Women.  So be sure and click the link on the bottom of the page to go to the next blog and discover a whole new mission field and missionary family.

As part of the "Round Robin", I am sharing 5 interesting (hopefully interesting anyway) things about myself.

Five Interesting Things About Me:

1.) I am an outgoing introvert...it's complicated...be patient with me when I do not answer your call.

2.) I have ridden in an ambulance in a foreign country.  {click here}

3.) I have jumped out of a military airplane...five times.  Sorry I do not have any pictures, but I do have the wings to prove it.  Here is a picture of one of my boys, who is now big enough to wear my old uniform. 

4.)  I have swam in the Pacific Ocean, but never been to California.  {click here}  And I can not completely confirm, but we may have been invited over to a pastor's house to eat iguana while living on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.  

5.)  One time we built a sun oven from stuff we got at the thrift store and baked bread using only the energy from the sun.  {click here}

So I asked my kids to list some interesting things about me.  This was the best I could get:

1.) You have a very ominous oder in the morning.  I think hope he was joking.  :)  But you kind of have to be proud of the creative use of the word ominous.

2.) You wax your legs instead of shaving.

3.) You can come up with games and activities at a moments notice.

4)  You can grow a garden anywhere.

5.)  You have six kids that are oozing with awesomeness who do the dishes.

6.)  You take great pictures.

Thanks for reading today!  Now {click here} to visit Johvi, Estonia where Rachel writes Rachel's Reflections: My life as wife, mom and missionary.