Oh Sweet fall air you fall so fair
On my grass like my falling hair
Nothing rhymes with thee
You make me want to pee.
If you just read that than I'm sorry to have taken half a second out of your life that you could never take back. Now on to better things. This is a little insight on to my world as a part time stay at home father. So I get up whenever baby gets up which is about the same time momma leaves. I like that however because I get to have a good start on my day. I have a sweet smelling diaper that I have to change and a beautiful smile from my daughter as I do this task everyday. Seriously I'm not kidding about the smile. Its as if she's saying YAY I get to hang out with daddy again, he's the best. Well just like her mother she's never wrong. And then it varies from this point with only one constant me and Adah are attached. I rarely put her down and we just bond through our time together. The house is quiet and we spend a few hours a day just learning more about each other. Never leaving ones side for less than a few moments to either sleep or make coffee. I thoroughly enjoy every millisecond being at home with her. While to some, men and women, Its all about sleeping, eating, and pooping. To me its watching a life grow with a little help from dad and a lot from God. I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This has been such a weird week so far...and it's only been two days! I had to go to school yesterday and today for meetings and such, and tomorrow is the first day of classes. I teach at 8.30 and 9.30 with some other office hours during the week. The past couple of days have been a huge adjustment...making sure that Adah has enough milk before I head to my meetings, Linn taking care of her, me coming home with lesson planning to do...it's actually been harder to adjust to this than being in Mexico...probably because I have to be away from Adah for a bit during the day. I am so thankful for my job and KNOW that it is where God wants me right now, which is really encouraging. God gives me so many opportunities to talk about YUGO and what God is doing in Mexico with the people that I work with at the University...just looking to be used by HIM. That's all I want.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Well, we are back home and taking it slow for a little bit. Just adjusting to not needing to help run the outreaches is difficult. One night I woke up and wasn't sure where I was, I thought I was still in Mexico. We are missing the ranch but are glad to be back and continuing our work to spread the word about Mexico and YUGO. We are working on getting our house in order right now and praying that our Jeep doesn't need transmission work done. It was giving us some problems driving back but God got us through and me and my friend had a great time hanging while we drove for hours and hours and hours. Please keep praying for us and specifically more people to come and serve as we approach a new year of outreaches in Tijuana and Mexicali.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I've been back at my Columbus home for about 2.5 days now. I might be tempted to say, "I haven't done anything." But, what I have done is so important. I haven't left the house and gone out to do stuff, hang out with a bunch of people, go to movies, out to eat, and the things I did before having Adah, but I have been able to experience some silence and solitude like never before.
Having time to ourselves is something that our spirits crave, but somehow seems so elusive sometimes. It has not been easy to put aside my desire to turn on the TV, to take a drive in the car, to walk to a store, to spend hours on Facebook or the internet. I have been trying to use this time while Linn is on his road trip home and Adah needs me exclusively to just rest. This is something that is hard for me to do, but I have been enjoying it. It feels strange to think that I have been at home all day today and all day yesterday, living life simply. Taking care of Adah, eating, napping. It has been beautiful really. It feels amazing to embrace the opportunities that life affords us. Rather than wishing that something else were going on, or that I had more activities to do, I have been attempting as much as possible to abide in the love of my Savior while extending that love to my precious daughter.
I know that these days will not always be with me. I know that the next breath that I will breathe is not promised to me. So I am thankful for each one that the Lord gives me and gives to my daughter, my husband, and all of the people that I love in my life. I have experienced so much love, peace, and joy for a thousand lifetimes and my heart is in a continuous state of thanksgiving because of this joy and inner peace. Sometimes I think to myself how amazing it is to feel at peace with yourself, with others, and with God. This peace only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ, I am convinced. Through the Holy Spirit we are able to have constant communion and connection with the creator of the universe. What does that even mean? It is hard for me to fathom it! That the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, wants to know me and have an intimate relationship with me...and with all of us. I could spend an eternity pondering that concept.
It is not easy to abide in Christ. It takes a constant effort and choice on my part. I have to bend my will towards God. There are so many distractions in life. I have been trying to think about the things that I do in a day. If the things that I do don't draw me closer to God, then why would I do them? I am evaluating what it is that God gives us to do in life. Learning, cleaning, working, singing, eating, playing, showering, creating, these are all things that God created. I want to enjoy God in all of the activities of my life. Whether it be through the laundry that I do, the bedroom that I remodel, the time walking around with Adah, visiting family, shopping at the mall, buying groceries, cooking dinner. In all of the seemingly mundane activities, I want to see where I can find God in them.
You know how in the Bible it says that God sees the things that are done in secret? I think that is one of the greatest joys that I have found in parenting so far. That I can be alone with Adah, all day, tending to her needs, and I know that my heavenly Father sees me and approves. Nobody else can experience our moments together. It's just me and her. I think that is one of the greatest difficulties in parenting as well. It is hard to be alone without other adults around, talking to the baby all day. I have been trying and striving though to find out what it is that God wants for me in these moments, and I think it is for me to find him in it all. That I do all for Him and Him alone. Whether it be winning a soul for Christ or changing a diaper.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
We left the ranch this morning. It was bittersweet, and always is. Linn, my mom, Adah and I are in a hotel in San Diego because my mom, Adah and I are flying out tomorrow morning at 6:45am. Linn's good friend Keo is flying in tomorrow morning at 11:00am and they are going to start the drive home Monday. It was hard leaving Claudia because she became like a little sister to me while we were there. She is going to be staying at the ranch with another missionary family. Next week Pastor Martin (President of YUGO Mexico) is going to see if she can stay at the Children's home after that. Pray that God continues to open doors in her life. Her 15th birthday is on this coming Wednesday, and so we had a surprise birthday party for her last night. It was so amazing to see her get showered with love. The interns did such a good job putting on the party for her. We all have grown to love her so much. This morning before we left she handed me a rose and said, "You are like this rose. You are beautiful like this rose." She is so gifted in poetry and I'm excited to see where that might lead in her life.
We taught her how to use the computer and the internet this Thursday. She had never used a computer before. She took to it right away and began looking up poetry to write down. I hope she gets the opportunity to go to school soon!!
God has blessed us so much this summer. I am looking forward to the ministry opportunities that God has for us in our second home in Columbus. I feel like I go home at the end of August to Columbus and I go home in June to Mexico. It's pretty awesome.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today started with a drive from San Dimas (which is in the LA area) down to San Diego. I have been feeling really extra tired lately, so I decided that I wanted to drive the 15 passenger van. I thought that it would be good for me to overtax my brain driving in So Cal. (Is my sarcastic tone coming across?) About an hour into the trip, I started seeing spots in my vision. This usually means that my hole field of vision will be invaded my spots and squiggly lines soon, I'm going to get a super crazy migraine, so I decided that it would be best for me to get off the freeway and let Linn drive, thus ensuring the safety of 4 interns, my husband, my 4 month old child, and myself. So I'm a little nervous, thinking at any minute I'm not going to be able to see, so I get off the freeway and (try to) make a beeline for the nearest gas station.
As I am about the pull into the gas station, I see a police man turn on his flashing lights, and pull behind me. I said, "oh great! what did I do?" I had no idea what happened. So he asked me for my license and registration. I'm from Ohio, driving a YUGO van, in some small town between cities, headed to San Diego, but eventually headed to Tijuana. So he asks be where I'm going and where I've been, and I honestly had a hard time answering the question! He proceeded to ask me if I noticed the three signs indicating "No turn on red" at the intersection that is right off the freeway. Pretty embarrassed, I honestly answered "No." In that moment, I remembered that Linn told me that it's always best to try and get out of your ticket as a woman, because a lot of times the policeman will have pity on you and let you go. So I proceeded to tell him that I was on the freeway, thought my vision was going, and decided that it would be best to get off the freeway, thus honestly did not see the signs when I got off the freeway. Thankfully, he believed me, and understood my dilemma, and said, "Well, I'm going to let you go with a warning, but I just want to let you know that it would have been a $400 ticket." I was REALLY relieved!!!!!! As a side note...what craziness is it to charge a week's salary for a ticket?? I guess that'll teach ya to ever try to drive again if you ever break a slight law.
Anyway...so I didn't end up getting a migraine, which was awesome. I haven't had a headache like that in a long time, so I'm kind of holding my breath waiting for it to happen again.
We got to San Diego, went to a mall to hang out for a couple hours, then headed to our hotel for the night. Tomorrow we're going to take the interns to the San Diego Zoo, and we're going to get some work done.
My stomach has been hurting...I have been having a hard time sleeping the past few nights...we're trying to leave Saturday...finish up caring for Claudia...cook food for the board meeting on Thursday...care for Adah...take interns to the airport...have meetings...pray for peace in the midst of all that God has for us.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
So today was pretty much amazing. I got to buy Claudia her first Bible. I wanted to get her a Bible that she could understand. She had been given one, but it was in a language that was really hard for her to understand, if not incomprehensible for her. It was also old and had someone else's highlightings in it. So we went to a Christian bookstore today and got her a leather bound NIV for teens. (NVI Nueva Versión Internacional in Spanish) It also has colorful pages in it that are basically like devotionals. They explain things like, "Why should I love my parents even when they're wrong?" and "Where does the Virgin Mary fit into Christianity?" Stuff that's pertinent to the Mexican culture and teens in general. It is really colorful and just something that a teen would like. It's hard for me to remember that she's still a young person because she has experienced so much heartache in her life. I am learning that Mexicans are really modest when you give them things. When we got in the car, she said, "This is the most beautiful gift I have ever received!" Later on she said that she was always going to keep the Bible in its box so that it could stay nice.
Keep praying for us for wisdom as we try to help her with her situation. It is really hard to explain it all here, but just know that she needs lots of prayer and we need lots of prayer to know how to help her best in our final week here.
God has a wonderful plan for her life...I just know it!!!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Please be in prayer for my new Mexican friend, Claudia. She is 14 years old, and will turn 15 in about a week or so. She has had so much pain in her life, and we are praying that God will soon begin to open up some beautiful opportunities for her. She came during Mexican outreach week, and has been with us ever since. This is her 3rd week here with us. She has said that it is amazing to be around people who aren't yelling at each other all of the time, but are happy and loving. She accepted Christ one week before she came to the Ranch to do outreach. Now she says that she wants to be a missionary. Last night we were looking up some verses in the bible and she didn't even know what the Old Testament or New Testament was. I was like, "Duh!!!" She just became a Christian! I am hoping to take her to a bookstore here to find her a nice study Bible. The Bible she has uses "vosotros" (which is a verb form only used in Spain) and she does not understand that verb form. It's kind of like us trying to read the King James version of the Bible, but worse.
I could write so much about what we have experienced with her. She needs prayer for safety and that God will help us to help her and that he would reveal his plan that is far better than we could ever "ask or imagine."
It's hard to believe that the summer is coming to a close. This week the interns are out working on some roofs in a nearby village. I have been enjoying being at home with Adah this week. There aren't any teams here this week, so it's been a nice change of pace. I think I'm learning how to hang out with Adah. It has been an adjustment because pre-baby I did different things than I do now with her. I am learning to go with the flow of the day and not really expect to get a lot of things done, but just focus on taking care of her and what she needs. She eats, then we play for a little bit, then she usually takes a short cat nap, then we take a bath, then I make some food for me, then more playing, maybe some diaper free time, experimenting with a bottle, laughs and tickles and little baby/mommy conversations.
It has been amazing watching her grow this summer. She has gotten so big! I eel so privileged to be a part of her life. At times I am sad that she is getting bigger, but then I think, why am I sad? She needs to grow so that she can go out and conquer the world! I would be really upset if she wasn't growing!!
This summer, 127 Mexicans made first time decisions for Christ. This has been a different summer, with the lack of teams coming in. But because it was different, we were able to do some new things. Having the Mexicans come and do ministry for two weeks was one of the best results of the lack of U.S. teams. I'm not really sure why we never did this before, because it was amazing to be able to partner with them, watch them grow, and equip them to reach their own people. The Mexican evangelical church has a lack of leaders, so these youth will be tomorrow's leaders. They learned how to work with children, adults, and young people. The effects of their time here will have a lasting impact for all of eternity. I could see Rancho YUGO having many more Mexican teams in the future. The key will be to figure out how much it costs for them to be here, because our normal $250 fee is too much for most Mexicans. It will be neat to see them start to raise support next year for their time here.
I am looking forward to the next months back in my Columbus home. I feel like I am starting to get a grip on how quickly that time goes by. We get back to Columbus, rest a bit, I start back to teaching, then comes the holidays and Mexicali. Then we come back, Linn usually goes to the YUGO staff retreat, then two weeks of outreach in Mexicali in April...then time to go back to Mexico in June. I am praying that God uses us to raise up more workers for the harvest field this year.
Monday, July 27, 2009
This week we have a group of 40 Mexicans staying at the ranch. They are formed into three teams and ministering at three different churches this week. Linn and I and Matt and Amanda were in charge of figuring out the schedule and getting them going. It has been a lot of work but has paid off because they are doing well. Tonight we had a prayer and share time and we had quite a few of them share what God is doing at their churches. It is really amazing to be able to equip the Mexicans to reach their own people.
Adah is doing really well. She is smiling so much and even laughed the other day. I'm waiting for the laughing to be really constant! I love it so much. Today I gave her the nickname "Sunshine" because she wakes up with a smile on her face. That is the best way to wake up.
One of our interns, Kylie, has been sick for the past few days with stomach issues. I have her here at the house trying to nurse her back to health. So I have a baby and a teenager right now. I love it!
After this week, we have three more weeks. Next week we have 4 teams coming in from the states to do outreach. The last two weeks of the summer we don't have any teams coming in, but we will be doing construction with the interns during on the of the weeks and the other week we'll be debriefing and may take a trip up to LA to begin moving the office down to San Diego.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Adah is 3 months old today! I am so excited. She is getting so big and strong. I am so happy to see her smiling, holding her head up, and standing on her own two feet. Last Thursday and Friday she was eating almost every hour. Going through a growth spurt for sure. I am so thankful that I am able to feed her. It is such a blessing to see her growing everyday after eating from Mommy.
We took a break this past weekend and went up to San Diego. It was really relaxing. Last week was really busy for both of us, but Linn worked 16 hour days. I am so proud to be his wife. He helped to lead the outreach to the church, and also helped direct the camp. We had an amazing worship team here last week, called Out of Hiding. Check them out at www.holyfireministries.com The lead guitarist went to High School with Linn. On Friday night we had a staff worship time, and it was the most powerful time of worship that I have experienced in years. I love Jesus so much. I just want him to live completely through me. I don't want what I do to be about me at all, but all about HIM.
Today the interns are going to Mexicali to visit YUGO's work there. Linn and I and Matt and Amanda are going to brainstorm for next week. We will have 45 Mexican youth coming in next week to do ministry. They will be going to three different churches. It will be an amazing thing to be able to mobilize the Mexican people to reach their own people.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Linn and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary this past Thursday. What a blessing to celebrate with our daughter. She was our anniversary gift this year. Our friends, Matt and Amanda, who are here on staff with us this summer, celebrated their 2 year anniversary on Wednesday, so we got to go out to eat together on Thursday night. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves! That's not really a good thing, though, because it means that there is absolutely no tourism in Rosarito right now, which is a huge part of Rosarito's economy. In some of the poorer areas, children are going hungry because of the downturn.
This coming week we have one team here from the San Jose area. They have come to Mexico every year for at least a decade, if not longer. It will be awesome having them here...we always have lots of fun with them. The YUGO staff is also doing an outreach this week. The team will be made up of the interns, Matt and Amanda as leaders, the band Out of Hiding, and the Canote Family. We are a pretty big team, but the church we are going to this week always has lots of kids. So we're looking forward to a REALLY busy week. I'm not planning on going out with the team this year. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to be taken care of, so I'm going to be doing that. I'm thankful that God has been so faithful to provide the extra staff that we needed this summer in order to make up for what I'm not able to do on the front lines this year. God is using me as a major support system for Linn and for the other leaders, which is the vision I had from God for this summer. I really enjoy being unseen...it's kind of fun watching things happen and knowing that I played a major part in making them happen...but nobody else knows what I did!
Pray that many people would accept Christ's message of hope this week. We've already faced many obstacles, so we know that this week is going to be amazing!!!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
So I stepped out of the house today, landed weird on my foot, and rolled my ankle. It immediately started swelling! I was holding Adah in her sling, and thank God, she didn't fall out onto the gravel. The angels were protecting us. I just landed on my bum. My ankle doesn't hurt unless I walk on it, put weight on it, or move it. Other than that, it's all good. : ) Having gone through a long labor with Adah only 2 1/2 months ago, it really doesn't seem that bad!
I still have a cold, but I'm more focused on my ankle, so it's not as bad. We have one team coming in this week from Canada. They just arrived and will be headed to evening chapel, then to bed. They DROVE here from Canada on a big bus. That's what I call a long drive! We're thankful that they are here to do ministry this week. There are so many churches here that are desperate for teams to come and help out at their church. They don't get a lot of support, so they are so thankful when the teams come to help them out. And we always end up getting blessed so much in return! One of the team members from the US a couple weeks ago said that he feels like he spends his whole year planning for the week he comes home to Mexico. It does feel like a spiritual home. The Mexican people are so warm and loving.
Ask God for wisdom if you lack it. I have the privilege of leading and mentoring three young women this summer. At times it is hard to know how to help them and guide them, but today I asked God to pour out his wisdom and he did. I love being here, in the middle of God's will for my life. I pray that all of you who read this will find his will for you. Really the center of God's will is just loving him, and following what he says to do each moment. It's really as simple as that, although it seems so hard to live out sometimes! It is an amazing feeling in those moments when we can get it right.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I have a cold, I'm probably overworked. Adah is doing well. She is finally taking a pacifier, which I am happy about because it makes her happy and contented when she is fussy! I'm also happy that she has found her fingers...also calming to her. I would rather her use her fingers or thumb because she always has that with her! I sucked my thumb for many years, and it provided me comfort, so I hope that she will too. I know some people might not think that's the best idea, but I think it's cool.
Life here is amazing. God is so faithful. This year our good friends from San Diego, Matt and Amanda House are here with us working with the interns right alongside us. They have been an amazing blessing from God. They have just jumped right in. Amanda is so much like me that it's actually rather creepy at times. Like...we got married in the same week in July (but different years), we have the same flip flops, same clothes style, same way we talk to babies, same fear of looking at our bank statement, etc. It's so awesome to have a sister here...I miss mine so much! We would not be able to do what we're doing this year without them.
Today the kids from YUGO's children's home came and played at the ranch. They had a good time here.
That's all for now.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This will be a quick one. Today was our beach day! It was pretty fun we had lunch on Coronado Island and hung out all day there. The water was freezing as always yet better than sweating out in the hot sun. Basically every one here this summer went and we all had a great time. I being the cool guy that I am decided to wear my old swim trunks that were a little worn. While playing a little team game of lets keep the volleyball up for a long time the shorts finally had enough and ripped where else but by the crotch. Thankfully I had another pair of shorts to wear over them and crisis averted. There was a time actually two times when it seemed like the ocean decided not to make a noise. The waters would constantly crash against the sand giving this white noise. However there was a time when it seemed as if the waves stopped. It was eery and I seriously thought to myself for the 2 seconds the noise stopped "is this the end?" You know like the end of the world. It was pretty neat. I'm not sure why I'm sharing this. I guess cause for that very brief moment it felt like the world stopped. The ocean decided to quit and I just made me think of could the of the world be like this. Everything even the oceans themselves pause and acknowledge the Master. God is that great and I am so blessed to be able to serve Him. He is so powerful commander of all things here on earth yet He takes the time to speak to me and listen to me and help me. Wow what a great God we serve.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Last week was awesome. God gave visions, provided healing, and showed us just how powerfully he is using us in people's lives.
It was amazing to see the people that we trained in ministry last summer return to Mexico this summer to work with the church that we worked with last year, Nuevo Pacto. We were able to see first hand just how powerfully God uses the teams in the lives of the churches and how powerfully God uses the churches here to encourage the teams from the United States. They had even more children this year than we did last year! More people are hearing the gospel, and that is exciting.
This week we have no teams here, but are planning what we will do when we do an outreach as a staff in two weeks.
Pray that God would protect us as a team as we prepare. The enemy does not want us to do an outreach as a staff, so he is going to try and bring as much division as he can.
Adah is doing well. Last night she slept from 9 pm to 4:30am and then slept again until 8 am! Wow! She is growing. Yesterday I weighed her and she weights 10 1/2 lbs. She has been putting her hand in her mouth on her own to suck it, so that has been cool. I am so enjoying watching her grow and thrive. I am incredibly thankful to be a mother of such a beautiful child. She truly is a gift from God and a beautiful addition to Linn and I.
I will post more pics as soon as I get a chance...so much comes up down here that it's hard to find the time to hook up the camera, load the pictures, upload them, etc.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Well its so good to get some thoughts out there and let you know what's been going on. I'm just going to tag on to what Dar said in her blog. This group of interns are great! Its amazing how it seemed like we picked them to come but really I see more and more how its just God working it and putting things together. Hows it having a baby here with us you ask? I feel like its one of the greatest things I've ever done. Adding to the firsts this is my first fathers day and I really can't think of anything more cool than having my daughter here with me. So far the only trouble we've had Adah wise is a little bit of gas because momma had chinese food. It seems to give baby a little gas. Something I'm proud of and not to toot my own horn but I have gone out into the city by myself to run errands. I went out the 2nd day we got here to get groceries from a local store and when I got back I told Dar all about it. Like a 2 year old who went potty for the first time. I said "I went to Comercial all by myself I'm a big boy." Darlene just said thats good but not in a patronizing way. Our summer is just beginning but it already feels like we've been here for a long time. However it doesn't feel like we've been doing nothing on the contrary. We've been working hard and are very thankful for your prayers. Having a baby makes balancing the things we do a little bit harder because it was just us before. Its still better than anything so far because I can play with her when I'm bored and talk to her father daughter stile, whatever that means. We've been doing an amazing video series called the truth project they have been going good also. Even though the numbers are down it feels as busy if not busier than years past. I praise God that we are here and that we can minister despite the low numbers and other distractions. He is still the same and still shows Himself worthy of praise. Well thats all for now thanks for your prayers and seriously you should Come cause God is doing some great stuff.
Another day of firsts today...first day of the outreach season! We have two teams here this week. One team from Texas and one team from Ohio. The team from Ohio is made up of some of our really good friends that we were able to serve with here last summer. Two of my former students are here! One of them, Mo, is an intern for the summer, and the other, Christine, is leading her own team this summer. It is amazing to be a part of encouraging the saints.
We have a new cook for the summer, Ron Struska. Patti (who has been our cook for 7 years) is training him this week. He is going to be awesome! His family is coming later this week.
Adah turned exactly 2 months old yesterday. She is cooing and gurgling and smiling a lot. Each day is filled with the beauty of new life. People have been asking me, "What's it like having a baby in Mexico?" I don't really know how to answer because I don't really know what it's like to have a baby yet! She was only about 6 weeks old when we got here! So it just feels normal and natural to be here with her. Thank you for all of your prayers because that is why she and we are doing so well.
We are thankful that the news is improving in regards to traveling to Mexico. "They" are saying that it's safe to travel to Mexico...so that's an answer to prayer. Maybe some teams will still sign up to come down in August!
Pray that MANY would come to know Christ and be encouraged in their faith this week.
Pray that the efforts of the FEW would be expanded to reach many many people. God is so powerful!!!!! : )
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
We started the Truth Project tonight with the interns and some other YUGO staff members. It was pretty awesome to go through the first "tour" about the question, "What is truth?" "Truth" is reality, and God says what reality is in his word. It's pretty neat that God has laid out the world and our lives to have order and to make sense. God is truth. Jesus said that he came to testify to the truth. Truth is important to God, so it's important for us to understand what truth really is.
I had an idea today to start a blog in order to keep in better contact with people about our ministry and what we're doing here in Mexico. We have been here for 9 days and it has been great. It's hard to believe that only 8 short weeks ago Adah was born, and now we're here in Mexico! God is good to give us the amazing strength needed to do his work.