Sunday, December 20, 2009
Last week was my last there at the school in Los Mochis. We didn't have too many full days of classes since two of the days were Christmas parties for the kids. Normally one party would have been enough, but in addition to the gift exchange and party that is tradition at the school, a church in Los Mochis offered to sponsor a Christmas party complete with pinata and games. The kids had a real blast and I wasn't exactly bored myself!
Apart from the parties, school went very well. Most of my kids finished all of their books and the ones that didn't were only missing a little bit. I can't help but think that I was bit of a softy that last week... I just couldn't get over the fact that I was going to be leaving!
On Wednesday we had a big pizza party for all of the kids at the house and then afterwards we went driving around town to let the kids get a look at the Christmas lights. In Mexico lights aren't as big a thing as in the States, but there was a really neat miniature town of Bethlehem that one of the colleges had set up for the city. They went the whole 9 yards and even used live animals. The kids loved it!
On Thursday after school all of the youth from the house went out to the Klaudts' ranch. Since it was going to be the last youth meeting of the year, the youth planned a big "end-of-the-year" hangout. It was really neat. We got to play games, eat "Esquite" (mexican corn off the cob served in a cup with lime, mayo, cheese and chile powder) and then we got to have an awesome study.
The message was divided into three parts -- each of which was giving by a different member of the youth group. The first message was on salvation -- what it means, how it works, and how to know you are saved. The second part was on not being conformed to this world, but rather transformed. Then the third part was on doing hard things for the sake of the gospel. It was basically a plea to the youth to just get up and DO SOMETHING! It doesn't matter how big or how small. Just get up and start living for God.
It ended up being a very powerful message. I think that it's so interesting how you can hear a truth so often that you almost become desensitized to its power. It's good to get a little bit of a waking up and to realize, "hey, maybe this applies to me. Maybe, just maybe, God is trying to show me something through this!"
It was an extra bonus, having the youth night on Thursday, in that I was able to say goodbye to everyone before I had to leave the next day. The nice thing to remember is that I will probably be able to see most of those people again. I mean, it's not like I live on the other side of the world!
Friday I left the school for the last time... at least for the present time. I am now, finally, home to stay. It is a strange feeling, waking up every morning and not hearing the banging of pots and pans in the school kitchen. I am starting to miss walking out into the hallway and seeing Kelly in the kitchen... going up the stairs in the moring to help Desirèe do the girls' hair... Michelle making pancakes... Petra scolding little boys ;)... *sighs. It's been wonderful to be home, but I can't avoid the occasional sigh when I think that I'm not going back on Monday. Still, I know that God has His timing and I truly believe that all things will come together and work for good. It's nice to be able to believe that!
These next few weeks won't be much less busy than what I have been used to at the school. Some friends of ours are coming Wednesday to stay through Christmas. The same day that they are arriving, we also have a team of people coming from Orange County, CA to do a construction project over at our church. Once they leave we have another team of people from all over the US coming to help us finish construction on our house. It's been amazing seeing God put all things together in His timing and His way. Everything we have needed to make this team happen has been provided! I feel so small and so weak. I know that I should trust God and I know that His faithfulness is tried and true... yet I still struggle trusting in Him. Yet! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I can and will learn to trust Him!
Alright, I need to get going now. Hopefully, now that I have time, you will be seeing a little bit more of me... one can hope! Until such a time as I am able to return I must say, "Au revoir!" or *waves her hand* that's how you do it in sign language ;^)
Blessings! If I don't see you around here before then have a wonderful Christmas.
Note: if anyone is looking for a good, family friendly, Christian Christmas movie with a good message, try "Christmas Shoes" and its sequel "Christmas Blessing". The first is the best movie I have seen in ages! Watch it!!!!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sarah, Dad and I are so proud of you! I wish we could be there to celebrate with you on your "real" birthday, but know that we're with you in spirit. Praying a blessed "last week" for you and your students and we'll see you on Friday!!!
's Mom and Dad
Isaiah 9:2-72The people who walk in darknessWill see a great light;Those who live in a dark land,6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
The light will shine on them.
3You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
5For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
And the government will rest on His shoulders;And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.7There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermoreThe zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Monday, December 7, 2009
40But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."41But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Matthew 6:31-3431"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32"For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
1 Thessalonians 5:18In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 95:1-51O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.2Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.3For the LORD is a great GodAnd a great King above all gods,4In whose hand are the depths of the earth,The peaks of the mountains are His also.5The sea is His, for it was He who made it,And His hands formed the dry land.Psalm 92:1-21It is good to give thanks to the LORDAnd to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;2To declare Your lovingkindness in the morningAnd Your faithfulness by night.Psalm 28:7The LORD is my strength and my shield;My heart trusts in Him, and I am helpedTherefore my heart exults,And with my song I shall thank Him.1 Chronicles 16:8-98Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;Make known His deeds among the peoples.9Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;Speak of all His wonders.
- My family. As always, my family has been such an enormous blessing in my life. They are such a great group!
- My friends. I couldn't individually mention any of them because they are all such wonderful people. I have truly been given above and beyond what I deserve in this respect!
- Food to eat and roof under which to sleep.
- Computers! It has been so awesome being able to keep in contact with all my friends near and far.
- Those little moments that make life so special. I feel so loved when God not only gives me what I need, but more than I could ever ask for in precious memories and beautiful moments!
- Being apart from my family. It's been hard, but it has taught me to value free time and family.
- For not having. It has taught me to appreciate little things more than I used to.
- God's provision of daily needs.
- For long walks on the beach during which I have learned to understand the worth of a "time in the desert".
- For trials. As God's Word says, tribulations produce perseverance and perseverance a proven character (Romans 5:3).
- For my Bible. I have come to see it as my best friend!
- For music. It's one of God's best gifts!
- For those who have gone before. It's such an encouragement to be able to see how others were able to go through the same things I am dealing with and, through God's grace, come through victorious!
- For hard situations in which I have felt under-qualified. They have taught me to rely more on God's grace and less on my own resources.
- For my Savior's willingness to die for my sins. That is the greatest gift and most precious blessing of all!!!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Anyway has been quite a nice week. It wasn't exactly easy with Petra being gone and all, but a friend of mine came to help out and she was a real blessing. Michelle got back into the swing of things Tuesday and that really eased the load. All week we were dealing with a stomach flu that was passing around the house from kid to kid. I am not sure what it was, but praise God it was really only a 24 hour bug and then it was gone. Still, I had to clean up a little bit more puke than I would have liked!
My class has been going very well. I feel like all of my students are making progress and one girl especially seems to have finally begun to understand reading. She isn't reading alone yet, but she is improving mby leaps and bounds! One thing I have noticed is that I am able to maintain a higher level of order in the class than I was able to at first. It's nice when I can tell the kids to do something and they do it without me having to repeat myself!
The week went normally until Wednesday evening when I got sick with the same bug (or food poisening, not sure which it was). It was pretty miserable. Did I mention that I hate the flu? Well, I do!!! When did I say that I would prefer the flu to a cold? ... actually, I think that I might, but at the time of being sick I would rather have had anything else... Ana (the lady who came to help out) was a real sweetheart and was really sympathetic even when I woke her in the middle of the night. In the morning I still felt bad and David and Michelle left me at the house. I pretty much slept all morning and when they got home David took Ana and I to the bus station so that we could catch a bus home. It could be that it wasn't that smart of me to travel home sick like that, but I figured that I could either be sick and miserable here or sick and miserable at home. And frankly, it would be more comfortable at home!
By the time I got home, I actually felt much better -- except for a monster of a headache -- and I even was well enough to consider eating some soup!
The next morning -- Friday -- I felt totally better and ready to face the day! We had a great Bible study together as a family and then everyone began attacking their various tasks for the day. Amazingly enough I never found myself board and I think that I might have even almost caught up on spending time with all of my siblings. All in all, I think that I spent my time in a manner worthy!
On Sunday we went to church and heard an awesome message about faithful reading of God's Word. The key verse for the sermon was Psalm 119:105. I suppose that the entire chapter could be the focus since it all speaks on the importance of God's Word!
Sunday evening my parents took me into the bus station and I was able to treat my parents to dinner. I don't get to do that very often, so it was special. We had a nice dinner albeit rushed since I had to get the the bus stop in time for my bus. When the time came I said my goodbyes, gave hugs and got on the bus.
When I got back to the house Petra was back. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And with her she had brought reinforcements. Ten people came back with her and will be here until we break in Decmember. They have been such a blessing even this one day that they have been here. It is so nice to have an extra -- or more -- pair of hands! It's because of this that I actually have time right now to update my blog! It is really nice! God is good and worthy of being praised! He brings circumstances that make us stretch, but then He is always faithful to bring those times of rest!
Well, I am going to leave of with this. The dinner bell is ringing and I must fly!
Be blessed and walk with God!
89Forever, oh Lord, Your Word is stteled in
90Your faithfuless continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.
91They stand this day
according to Your ordinances, for all things are Your
92If Your lawe had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my
93I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You
have revived me.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Deuteronomy 32:3-43"For I proclaim the name of the LORD;Ascribe greatness to our God!4"The Rock! His work is perfect,For all His ways are just;A God of faithfulness and without injustice,Righteous and upright is He.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So, anyway, if you would like to vote for my blog just give a click on the button below!
Have a great day! God bless your steps! Keep walking the path laid before you... just make sure that you are doing it God's way, not your own!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
School wasn't canceled even one day last week. I was surprised, but we didn't get a drop of rain after Sunday. Just big, dark, menacing clouds in the distance. With the "storm" also came the cooler weather!! Yeah! I am feeling ever so much better now that I can do most of the work in the house and not feel like I am melting... sigh... such a relief!
This past week I was able to move my class room into the garage. Up to this point it had been too hot to even think about moving inside, but since it had cooled off considerably, I thought it would be a good idea. It isn't the ideal place for a classroom, but I like the seclusion and quiet since it really helps the kids concentrate. I have had to deal with a lot less problems as far as distractions go... my slowest student has actually been able to finish most of his work in class rather than having to bring it home! Quite exciting!
As far as outside of class, this week has been... interesting? ... crazy? ... or maybe something in between. At the beginning of the week one of the kids ran away from his home and David ended up spending most of Monday looking for him. While that was going on, another one of the kids was taken into the doctor to have his foot lanced because he had been walking barefoot in dirty water and a cut on his foot had gotten a bad infection. The doctor ended up coming out to the house in the afternoon and doing it here. Juanito (the one with the infection) was not happy about what was happening... I don't know what the neighbors thought hearing his muffled screams coming through the window...
Later on in the week the splinter that caused all of the trouble finally worked it's way out and now he is on the mend.
On Wednesday we got the results back from a scan that was done on Jesus Melecio's (one of the younger kids) brain. It turns out that he had parasites on his brain. Supposedly it is from eating bad pork. From what I understand it isn't life threatening right now, but they are treating it. Keep this little boy in your prayers!
Lastly, on Friday one of the older kids, Marcos, fell down the stairs and broke his nose... needless to say, he isn't going to be in school tomorrow.
Now that I write it all down it seems like a lot less than what actually happened... but I guess that is really all of it. Wait! I do remember one more thing -- only this one doesn't have anything to do with the school. About four months ago, a friend of mine and myself began thinking about the possiblity of bringing a team of youth from all over the US down on a 9 day mission trip. At first it was just an idea, then it became a "perhaps someday", and shortly after that it became a "what about this January?" and now it has become a reality! It's amazing how it happened -- and I know it was all God. Slowly but surely we were able to get over all of the obstacles -- plus I really began to understand all of the work my parents put into these mission teams that come down ;^) -- and through God's grace everything just seems to have been brought together! As of right now we have about 7 people who are confirmed and coming on the trip. The scheduled day of arrival for the team is Jan. 3rd. I am so excited to see how God can move when you just take the step!
It is a little late, but if anyone is interested in coming down on this trip or in helping out by filling a duffel bag with toys for children to send down with the team, please let me know and I can send more info. I would love to see more people get involved!
Alright, I need to go. The kids are about ready to get up from their nap and I really should be done! Blessings upon you guys! Let me just close with a verse that really got my attention this Sunday.
1 Peter 3:13-15I remember sitting in the car that very morning when one of the kids came up to me with his Sunday school book in hand and asked me, "Why do you praise God?". What a question! I answered him that it was because I was freed from my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. As I sat it church later that day and remembered what the little boy had said I realized just how important it is to know, and I mean really know, why it is that I live the way I do. For, if I am going to live in such a way that I desire to glorify God no matter what the cost, I had better know what it is I might have to lay my life down for.
13Who is there to harm you if you prove
zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed
AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
15but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
Consider these following questions:
What is your defense for the hope that is in you?
Do you live as though you hoped in something bigger than yourself, your dreams and even your family?
If I were to ask you why you lived for God right now, would you be able to give me a firm answer without any shadow of doubt?
Just a challenge for you this week.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The beginning of the week started out like any other. After a weekend that seemed a lot shorter than it should have been I was ready to face the new day! Monday came and we all headed out to the school for a day of classes. My class went very well. I have begun reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" for about half an hour every other day. I think that the kids enjoy it -- though I haven't yet gotten a good system of getting them to not both one another while I am reading... I'll get there!
As far as the other subjects go, two of my students who were struggling a lot with Math finally seem to have gotten the hang of simple addition and subtraction. I think that I am more excited than they are!! My youngest student who is still at kindergarten level is starting to be able to recognize and write the numbers 1-20. That is going fairly well. He isn't much for doing worksheets, but I do feel like he is beginning to understand. Reading for most of my students is comingslowly but surely. Two of my students are already reading and two others are well on their way. The only one that I am struggling with is 10 years old and doesn't yet know all of her letters and their sounds. I have my work cut out for me with her... keep me in your prayers as I will not only need wisdom in teaching, but also patience and understanding.
On Friday I was able to go home for the weekend to visit my family. I had a great time, though it did seem like it was over before it had begun. I rested, though I didn't really sleep. I guess what I mean is that even though I didn't really spend much time sleeping, I was able to relax and I feel all the better for it. This morning -- Sunday -- I was able to play worship with my family before I had to leave. I enjoyed it ever so much! I had missed playing with them. When we got home we ate lunch and then my Dad, Jessee and I played a game of Scrabble. I was winning almost the whole time, but then at the end my Dad got a super nice word and left me in the dust... that always happens! Ah, well, it's a game! ;) Besides, what are games for but to create good memories?! Well, Mom and Dad, if you are reading this, I love you!!!! (((HUGS)))
I am not sure what to expect this week. Only one day of school was canceled last week due to the rain, but we are thinking that school might have to be canceled this week because of huricane Rick. It appears that we are going to be getting a bit of rain from this one!
I do have something that I would like all of your prayers on. For the past few months I along with one of my friends have been putting together a mission team of youth and from all over the US to come down to Mexico in January of 2010. By God's grace, things seem to be starting to fall into place and we have about three people as of now who seem fairly interested in coming. I don't know how this is going to work out, but I know that God does and I trust Him to be in control! If you would like to get more info just send me an email and I will get back to you! Thank you in advance for your prayers!
Alright, my battery is going to run out -- both literally and figuratively. Prayers that you have a blessed week! Let God COMPLETE a work in your life this week!
"I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in
you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This past week has been great. I am starting to fall into step here at the school. Michelle and David have been very patient with me as I ask question after question... but their patience has proven true and now I feel a little bit more like I belong here and less like "the outsider who just arrived last week". The kids all call me Maestra (teacher) and refer to me in the formal "Usted" form... kind of funny sounding. The children are all loud and rather full of energy, but I love them to more for it... yet I have really come to appreciate naptime! And I never understood when I was little and Mom would tell me that naptime was more for her sake than for ours! :P
On Thursday we started a new study at our youth group. It's called "The One True God" by Paul Washer. I feel like it is going to yield a lot of fruit! I am extremely excited!! Also we are wanting to start up a worship group at the youth group. I have been asked if I would be interested, but I'm not sure if I will be able to fit it into my schedule... it depends on whether or not the others will be able to practice on Saturday.
This Saturday we had a general cleaning at the church. We were finally able to put up the chalkboards and organize the office. Now we have more of an idea of where to find books and supplies for our classes... I love it! it is so much easier! After that I went over to a friend's house here in Mochis. We had a nice time just talking and -- for me -- resting. I enjoyed the quiet for those few hours!
On Sunday after church all the brethren went over to the school for the church's monthly fellowship lunch -- David and Michelle volunteered the use of the building. The lunch went pretty much all day. I was exausted by the end of the day, but it was nice to be "not a teacher" for an afternoon ;) .
As I listen to Paul Washer -- which I am still doing at this moment -- I am in such complete agreement with what he says. Some people call him judgemental and narrow-minded but all I see is a man who loves God and wants all that he does to glorify his Lord. That to me is true Christianity and that's why he is my favorite preacher!
Our Lord God Thou hast made the heavens and the earth with Thine great power! He is great and mighty and worthy of being praised!
Alright, I need to go now! Prayers that your week is blessed and that you remember whom you serve every moment of the day! Examine yourself!
"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Saturday, October 3, 2009
As I said, this last week was great. I was able to make it through one week of teaching and now I have a better idea of what to expect. I have 5 students as of right now and a sixth who might be coming in a week or so. The main objective for these children this school year is that they learn to read and work simple math. I have my work cut out for me, but I am excited... in a strange sort of way!
Oh, I did have this really awesome Youtube video that I wanted to share with you all. It's by a man named Nick Vijucic. Here's the link:
Petra (the other young woman who works at the school) and I got on the computer to watch a fifteen minute video and ended up spending more than an hour watching video after video of this amazing guy. God really has done as awesome work through him. It is such an example of how God uses our weaknesses for His glory!
As far as other things that I have been up to: on Thursday I went to youth group and we had a lot of fun following clues around the mall. At the end of each clue there was a Bible question from the book of Jonah. Once we found all the clues we had to sit down and answer the questions... they we anything but easy! After about 2 hours we headed back to the church where the youth pastor gave all the answers to the questions and we got to see who won. As it was my team and another team tied for first and then two of the others tied for second. The hardest thing about answering the Bible questions was that most of them were in-depth and required more than just reading over the book. I think that what helped me was that I had done several studies on the book of Jonah. Winning aside ;) , I really enjoyed it and I feel like I learned a lot about Jonah and the compassion of God... awesome!
Anyway, I hope that you all have a wonderful and blessed week!
"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might; put on the full armor
of God that you might be able to stand against the whiles of the Devil."
Friday, September 25, 2009
We arrived in Las Glorias safe and sound a little over a week ago. The heat was and is beastly, but I think that after the first three days we all got over the worst of it. I actually begin the think that it wasn't that it was hotter, simply that we had gotten spoiled while in the States. Anyway, the day after we arrived was spent cleaning and unpacking and all the other assundry chores one can find to do around the house. While we were in the States a friend of ours blessed us with the complete set of Little House on the Prarie (friends: if you are reading this, know that your gift has been put to good use) so when we were all sweaty and ready for a break we would retire to my parents' room and watch an episode or two... great times! And what laughs!
This last week I had the chance to help our one of the sisters in the church who just had surgery by cleaning and washing and then by taking her kids during the day for a few days! I had such a wonderful time doing it. I really love her children and I don't think that I would ever consider watching them anything but enjoyable! I pray that God would continue His work in her life and that He would be speeding the healing.
Now that a week and some has past I (on my own this time... though never alone!!) have set out on a new journey. God has opened the doors for me to be able to volunteer for three months at the deaf school in Los Mochis. As some of you may recall, I spent two weeks here about two months ago. It was amazing and I loved every --well, nearly every ;) -- minute of it!
My family brought me today and left me here at the school. I am looking forward to see what God is going to do in this time. I know that in many ways it will be a test of faith, but I am excited to see God give me opportunities to put all that I have learned into practice. It's going to be awesome!!
My duties officially start on Monday. From what I understand, I will be teaching a class for 1st grade and possibly second as well. I think that there will be 6 kids in my class -- though I could be off on the numbers. The kids that I will be teaching are hearing. Most of them either come from baad situations or are siblings of one of the deaf children in the school. About 25 kids stay here at the Bonsells' house and about that many more attend the school alongside these. The larger portion of the work is not in teaching at the school, but rather in feeding, watching and loving the 25 kids that live here. Keep me in your prayers! I know that the hardest thing for me is going to be the getting up early... I am not an early morning person. Once I am up I am up, but I have a hard time dealing with less than 9 hours of sleep. Oh well, I know that these next few weeks will cure me of that!
Here's a passage that I found to be very encouraging:
1O LORD, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
2For You have made a city into a heap,
A fortified city into a ruin;
A palace of strangers is a city no more,
It will never be rebuilt.
3Therefore a strong people will glorify You;
Cities of ruthless nations will revere You.
4For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless
Is like a rain storm against a wall.
5Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens;
Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.
6The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
9And it will be said in that day,
"Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."
10For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain,
And Moab will be trodden down in his place
As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile.
11And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it
As a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim,
But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands.
12The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down,
Lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust.
Aren't the promises that our Lord gives us wonderful and beyond all compare! Blessed be His name!
Alright, I would like to go to bed now. It's been a long day and morning comes quickly! I will try and be around again soon!
Until such a time as I am able, I remain forever in His arms of grace!
Blessings to you all!
Monday, August 24, 2009
As of my last post we -- my family and I -- were preparing to leave for the States. Well, we are now in the States and staying with some very good friends in Tucson, AZ.
Our trip was wonderful! We had no incidents, no excessive heat (praise God!), no delays, pleasant company and great sermons to listen to all the way up! The night before we left Mexico several friends stopped by to send us off. After they left I stayed up for a bit cleaning and getting food ready for the trip (just so that I don't take all of the credit, Annette did help with the food :P ). I think that I ended up going to bed at like 12am ... though it might have been 12:30am ... I don't remember *smiles sheepishly*.
About 15 minutes after I fell asleep -- it was more than that, but it sure felt like 15 minutes -- I felt my Mom shaking my shoulder telling me that it was time to get up. IT should have been quick to get out of the house, but there are always those "last minute details" that seem to take forever! We finally left the house at 4:30am.
Later that day I was commenting to my Mom that it always seemed so much easier to get out of the house when she and my Dad would get everything done and then wake me up when the van was running and we were ready to walk out the door. Now that I am older my Mom wakes me up earlier so that I can help her do the last minute stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to help out and I really do like organizing... but not so much at 3am! ;^D
Anyhow, we arrived in Tucson at 7pm, just in time for supper, and got settled in. The next day we had volunteered to help some friends of ours move. We had a great time getting to know all of the people who showed up to help and just fellowshipping with the friends who we hadn't seen in months. I firmly believe that the best way of getting to really know someone is working beside them... it can show you what the person is really like when they are sweating and out of breath yet still have a smile on their face!
On Sunday we rose early to attend church. My Dad was teaching that Sunday so I had the privilege of hearing the message that God had given him. God used his Word powerfully and I know that more than a few lives were touched and challenged. After the service some friends of ours invited us over for lunch. We had American style taco salad... it really tastes nothing like what I now consider a true "taco salad" but I liked it equally well, if not more! Annette (she is another missionary from Mexico who "hitched a ride" up with us. She'll be staying with us for a week or two) and I decided that as long as you don't consider the food that is called "Mexican food" as authentic, it tastes great!
Anyway, back the events of the day! At four o'clock all of us went over to the church for a picnic. I for one had an absolute blast! We played games, hung out, made new friends, caught up with old ones, ate hamburgers (I liked that part :D), and had a great time! Some of the games that they played were very interesting. There was the water balloon toss -- you can't have a picnic in the summer without that -- then the water balloon fight -- I still have a big bruise on my back where someone pegged me with a balloon that didn't pop -- then a game called "Wink'em" in which you make a fool of yourself by diving to the ground to avoid getting tagged (if you want a more detailed explanation than that you'll have to write me and ask me to explain it better! ;P ). Finally, we played a game called "Kijawbie" (don't quote me on the spelling). In this game everyone (well, we divided it into a team of boys and a team of girls) forms a circle with a little piece of rope with a know on each end between every person.
In the center of the circle you place a garbage can (plastic). On the count of three the whole group starts rotating around the can while trying to make someone else either lose grip on one of their ropes or touch the can. The object of the game: be the last one standing. The rules: no yanking, biting or kicking; anything else goes. The game was brutal! To my great surprise I ended up the last of two standing. The other girl won, but by the time the game was over all I wanted to do was flop down on the grass and stay there -- which I did ;) . If you will believe it, the game that I participated in lasted almost 20 minutes. Can you imagine? 20 minutes of feeling like you hands were going to fall off! I am sure feeling it today! Still, it was enough fun to make up for the aching shoulders and sore legs that I woke up with this morning!!
Today my parents and I went and applied for my passport. It didn't really take very long except for getting my photos. My Dad took me to Walgreens early to do that. I liked how the picture turned out, but my Dad says that it looks like a mugshot because I didn't smile. I replied that if he would have told me that you could smile, I might have! Then again, if I was completely content with the picture it would be just weird! lol
Alright, I think that I have got you all pretty much up to speed. I will only add that God has been wonderfully, amazingly, completely faithful in my life! He is so good and I can naught but praise Him! I hope that you have a blessed day!
21 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
24 Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
25 "To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?" says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Don't get me wrong, struggles still come -- and have come in these past weeks -- but it is such a blessed assurance to know that God is always there with you and never abandones you!
Preparations for our departure to the States continue. We are planning to Thursday morning early -- like 3am. Keep us in prayer!
Our weather here has been in a constant state of change. It has never really gotten cold, but we did have one day that was moderately warm rather than extremely hot. One night you are so sweaty that you can't get to sleep and the next you are sleeping with a blanket!?!? It's because of the storm systems up in the mountains... but as long as the coolness lasts I will not complain!
But you know, even the heat can be a blessing. Sure it's hard to deal with and sweating all the time isn't exactly my ideal, but it really tests your patience and God has used it to show me how my attitude is -- it's really hard to hide a bad attitude in frustrating heat and while doing hard work. The only way to avoid striking out in anger in a frustrating situation is to not have anger in your heart to begin with. For, as the Scripture says:
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is
good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for
his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
So, if I want to be a blessing to others it has to start with me first!
Last week we went to Los Mochis and while we were there a huge storm hit. Since it was raining too hard for us to drive home we ended up staying the night with some friends. I had never had that happen before, so for me the experience was unique! -- One thing that I absolutely love about Mexico are the thunder storms. They are AMAZING! We get winds and rain, but above all we get lightning and thunder! The lightning strikes and then... CRASH! The thunder sounds! My personal favorites are the storms where the thunders sounds something like a whip. Perhaps this is strange of me, but I can't help it. Every time I hear the thunder it just makes me think of how awesome and powerful a God I serve. The trees and plants might show His beauty, but the thunder and brilliant lightning show His might! -- Anyway, back to what I was saying...
We were originally in Los Mochis to visit with some of our friends and also to attend the youth meeting. The week that we were there the youth pastor had decided to show a video instead of giving a message. I really appreciated the sermon. It was called Return to Christianity but you can find it on Youtube under The Shocking Youth Message (Paul Washer). It was the most moving and convicting sermon that I have ever heard from a man. God used him powerfully.
There was one phrase in particular at the beginning that really caught my attention. Paul was talking about how watered down Christians and Christianity had become in the States. I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was something to the effect of "we have forgotten what true Christianity is and we need to change" and after he said that everyone applauded and some people even whistled. When the applause had died down, Paul look out over the audience and said, "I don't know what you are applauding about; I am talking about you." Ouch.
I recommend the video as an hour well spent. Even if you don't agree with everything that he has to say it really makes you think and, more importantly, examine yourself.
Alright, now I have done! I will try and get back on here soon with pictures... we'll see how soon "soon" really is!
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding be with you all!
Friday, July 31, 2009
No much has happened really. Days come and go, it is still very hot and humid and GOD IS GOOD!
Right now my Mom is preparing octopus for lunch... I have never had octopus, but everyone I have asked says that it is very tasty. Still, I would prefer to come to my own conclusion after I eat it. It makes me laugh to think of what I might have said three years ago if my Mom had told me that we were going to have octopus for lunch... very funny! I don't think that anyone in my family would have gone for it, me least of all! But now, I think that everyone except for Evie will eat it without comment (or at least without complaint. A favorite habbit of ours is to comment on the food; my Mom doesn't mind as long as all that we say is positive ;P ). Evie has never liked sea food. Oh well, that just means more for us!
The boys have been working on cutting wood for my Mom's new brick oven -- which, by the way, is now finished. It's sort of hard work, but it keeps them occupied and that means that I have some quiet time to, say, write a blog post!
Yesterday we went to a party for a friend's little boy. It was fun and it was only a few blocks from our house which means that we didn't have to worry about the distant storm clouds catching us on the way home! It was another pool party and the boys spent most of their time trying to climb a rope swing that was stationed above the pool. I think that Jessee holds the record, something that Caleb laments. He really takes pride in being the strongest boy. I wager he'll be doing push-ups for the next few days! Well, I might be exagerating a little bit, but it is true to some extent.
Alright, before I call it a day I want to share a passage in 1 John that I have found quite challenging these past few days:
1 John 3:5-9
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is
no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no who sins has seen Him or knows
Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices
righteousness is rigthteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin
is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son
of God appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. No
one who is born of God practices sin because His seed abides in Him, and he
cannot sin because he is born of God.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
As always, I have to excuse the lack of movement on this blog. And, as always, I do have an excuse. These past few days here have been nice and horrible at the same time. We had a huge storm which knocked down a good number of telephone poles and even more trees. The result of this was that we had no electricity for almost three days (this is my excuse). I was desperate by the third day -- mostly because I hadn't realy been able to sleep without at least having a fan. I slept enough so that I wasn't falling over, but not enough to avoid a headache. Thanks to God, we now have electricity, but the days without it are still fresh enough on my mind to make me quite happy and not at all discontent in the heat... I suppose that means that something good did come of the trial... but at what cost? lol ;^)
There's a really cool story to go with all this, though. I was trying to think of the best way to start, but I guess that the best is always to start at the beginning. Here goes nothing!
On Saturday we all woke up at the normal time, did our chores and other various odd jobs that were to be done around the house and then we had a few hours to spend as we so desired. I spent most of it practicing my guitar and clarinet... and, of course, reading, but I didn't really do much of that. At 1:00 we all got ready and left to a party for one of our friend's cousin's daughter's birthday (say that five times fast!) in Guamuchil.
It was a swimming party and they had rented a pool for the occasion. We had a great time hanging out with our friends and keeping cool (very important!). At about 6:00pm we started seeing a large storm system rolling in, but we didn't really think much of it. We ended up leaving about an hour later and by then the sky looked really dark. Still, it didn't look like the storm was going to hit us for a good hour and we knew that by that time we would almost be home.
After a bit of consideration, my Dad decided that we would take the back roads in order to get home sooner (just so you know, most of those roads are dirt or gravel). We drove for a ways on the road and then, all of a sudden, it got crazy still without even a little bit of breeze. It was like that for a moment and then SWOOOSH! the wind came blowing in. It was a lot like the movie Twister (if you have ever seen it. If you haven't just imagine the harshest wind you have ever seen and that's probably about where it was).
The trees whipped around like crazy and the dust swirled up making mini tornados. It was INSANE! After a little while, the dust got so bad that we could barely see the road, so my Dad had Esteban (a friend of ours who knows the roads really well) change places with him. The wind was so strong that when my Dad opened the front door of the van the wind grabbed it and flung it so hard that it almost came off the hinges (that's the next project that my Dad has on his list, fix van door).
I was a little worried by that time. Not the kind of worried where I was scared, but worried enough to begin constantly praying. We weren't more than 20 minutes from home on one of the gravel canal roads when the rain came. If it was hard to see in the dust, it was twice as hard to see in the rain. Garbage and tree limbs were flying everywhere and the rain was falling almost horizontally. We were driving about 10 miles per hour, but even at that pace we had to stop constantly in order to make sure that we weren't headed into the canal. We were about 5 minutes from the highway when we glimpsed the lights on a car ahead of us. It seemed like the car wasn't moving and as we got closer we realized that not only was the car not moving, but there was a tree on top of it!
From the looks of it, the tree had fallen a matter of minutes before we arrived. It was kind of weird how it happened, but we hadn't been there a minute and my Dad and Esteban were still discussing the best way to be able to help them when three girls (well, more like youth) and a lady carrying her baby rushed out from the bushes where the car was stuck and into our van.
They were all soaked, but no one seemed to really mind since all four of the women were hysterical (I have never actually seen someone go into hysterics, but this was really close). I tried to calm the girls down the best I could. After about 30 minutes of the two men who were in the car trying to get the car out from under the tree, we decided that it would be best to take the women back home and then have them send someone back with help to get the car out.
By this time the rain had calmed down and the road was clear enough to be able to drive on. We backtracked the way we had come and about 2 hours later, after having dropped the women off at their house, we arrived in Las Glorias. Not much of our stuff got damaged by the rain (mostly just some books of mine that were on my desk under the window). Nothing that couldn't be replaced. God really protected us and I hope and pray that we were able to be a testimony to that family. They even invited us to come by and visit them any time!
It's cool how God uses those kinds of circumstances for His glory and to bless us. We kept commenting that, "If we had only left 5 minutes earlier we would have made it through the storm." or "If we had only left 5 minutes later we would have chosen a different road." Then we realized that God used everything and worked it all together so that we would take that road and so that we would arrive at the tree a mere minute after it had fallen. Who knows why it happened, but I do know that it did happen for a reason. Maybe someday I'll know why, but even if I never do I can trust that God is capable and willing to take care of everything!
Alright, I am now going to release you, but only as long as you promise to come back -- or are you too scared? Mwahahaha!
Seriously though, I hope to see you around here again!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
As of right now it is 4:15 a.m. . Some of you might be wondering what in the world I am doing on the computer at such an insane hour... well, there is an easy answer for that too! We are being hit be a storm. Like most nights when we are hit by storms, the power is out, the roof is leaking in places -- there is one right over my head that is dripping constantly. I am already wet, though, so it doesn't really matter too much. I am wet mainly because I had to step outside to find the mop... took me a little bit because the only light I had was a cellphone and the occasional flashes of lightning.
Still, even though storms here do have their downsides, I can't help but love the wildness of them. There is something so magestic about the rolling of the thunder -- that is the perfect word; "rolling". It does sound like it is "rolling" across the sky... BEAUTIFUL!!
Anway, aside from the fact that it is 4 oclock in the morning and the power is out, lets just pretend that this is a normal update. Sound good?
My days have been pretty full this past week. If I am not doing one thing I am doing another. I have been trying to keep my hands busy. I find that when I have my hands busy I am less likely to fall into temptation.
The principal filler of my time has been the memorization of verses. I am trying to memorize the book of 1 John. Right now I am on chapter three. It is very fulfilling to be able to quote passages of scripture; it's nice to know that what I am putting so much time into is something that's going to be of lasting importance. I have also found that when you are memorizing passages of scripture it really helps in your understanding of it. Kind of like the "meditating on His word" that Psalm 1 talks about. I believe that when we take the time to really think about what a verse means, the Holy Spirit gives us understanding.
The best way I have yet found for "meditating on His word" is memorization. For those of you who feel up to it, I would like to challenge you to learn a book of the Bible. After 1 John I am thinking about beginning on the book of Romans. I know that it is a long book, but don't you think that it would be worth the struggle? I do! Take up the challenge, and don't put it off another day. It's a trap that we fall into, procrastinating. Live every day as though it were your last... such a hard motto to live by, but if we want to live lives that will leave a lasting mark on this world, we will have to do more than just plan. It's going to take action and sacrifice...
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me"
... are you going to take up that cross? Then take it up! And follow HIM to the end!! And this isn't just about memorizing verse -- thought that's a good thing -- it's about what you are going to do with the grace and mercy that you have been given through the blood of Jesus Christ.
God bless you guys! I hope and pray that you have a wonderful week! May te peace of God which surpasses all understanding be with you!