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.