Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Mexico Trip to "Village M"

Here is an overview of our trip to "Village M" in Mexico this week!  We wanted to give you some pictures so you could visually see what we did and where we were as well.  Thank you so much for each of you who were covering us and our children in prayer this week.  We had a very good trip into the village this month and our kids did great with the sweet couple they stayed with here on campus as well.  Now to share about our time in "Village M".  For safety & security purposes, we have been asked not to use names.
(Our suburban after the drive into the village)
We arrived in "Village M" in the late afternoon.  It had rained quite a bit in the days prior to our arrival so the roads were pretty muddy and the potholes were really bad.  We had decided that our team would provide dinner tonight for a family of believers in this village so we quickly unpacked and started cooking the food we had brought.  
(Enjoying meals together)
These are a family of believers in the village who often have us to their home for various meals and activities.  For dinner, we made carna asada (meat), beans and rice and enjoyed the fellowship with them on the night we arrived.  
(Breaking down I Thesalonians 
during team Bible study)
The next morning, we woke up and ate breakfast and then had a team Bible study. We went through I Thessalonians chapters 1-3 during this time.  After our Bible study together, we spent time walking around the village and talking to people within the village. 
(Spending time with one of the villagers)
 Some of the people we simply invited to the Bible Storying we were doing at 4:00pm down by the ocean and others we spent time sharing the gospel with as well as following up on studies the team had done last month with certain people in the village. We talked to "Mr. T" & "Mr. S" (who are both believers as well) and encouraged them to continue studying the Word and following Christ.  We met with "Mr. U" who has been studying but has not yet made a decision to follow Christ.  We spent time in "The D's" home with her and her husband.  They are an elderly couple and "Mrs. D" recently became a Christian.  On this day, she told us that she wanted to be baptized out of obedience but her husband (who is still a practicing Catholic) told her that if she got baptized again she would have to leave their home.  We spent time sharing with her and praying for her and her husband as well.  Please pray for "Mrs. D" to have strength in the face of persecution.  
(Mole Chicken lunch)
The family of believers invited us to their home for lunch and we had a delicious dinner of Mole Chicken, rice and corn tortillas.  Mole (pronounced moe-lay) is a very famous Mexican dish and there are lots of variations of it. I had never eaten Mole before but it was really tasty and I loved all the different flavor combinations in the sauce.  There is even chocolate in it!  Here's a Mole Chicken recipe if you want to try Food Network's version of it.  I really enjoyed this lunch!  
(Bible Storying) 
Later that afternoon, we had a Bible Storying time at one of the buildings down by the water.  We had walked throughout the village inviting people to come hear our story and had a decent turnout considering that a lot of people in the village had gone back out to fish again.  Matt shared the story of Jesus crucifixion with them and then asked them a few questions.  We also had some cookies for the people to enjoy while they listened.  

We ate dinner with "K" that night.  He is a man who lives in sin and yet he has spent a lot of time this year studying the Bible both on his own and with the team when they go into "Village M" each month.  He even quoted Psalm 23 in English to us after dinner and did a beautiful job! Continue to pray for "K" that the seeds of God's Word that have been planted will continue to grow in his heart and that he will turn from his sin, repent and seek a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  
(David & I with the family of believers)
The next morning, we spent more time as a team studying I Thessalonians chapters 4-5 and then looking at the book in its entirety. After team Bible study, we went to the family of believers house and spent some time with them.  We gave them Paul Washer's "One True God" Bible study workbooks in Spanish and asked them to start working their way through them this summer.  We (as team members) will also be completing this same workbook ourselves and in September (when we go back to Village M) we plan to go over this material with them.  In true Mexican fashion, the husband wanted a siesta so we took that time to go back and eat lunch while he rested.  
(Playing UNO)
After his siesta, he invited us back to his house to play UNO with him and his daughter.  I must admit, I enjoy playing card games but 9 people playing UNO is really fun and a little competitive too.  We had lots of laughter and good times just sitting around playing a game together.  
(Dinner of fresh fish and shrimp)
For dinner that night, "Mrs. M" cooked fresh fish and shrimp that her husband had caught while we were there.  Now I am not a fan of fish fillets at all, but this fish was so delicious and did not tasty "fishy" at all.  They served it with limes and a fresh, homemade salsa too.  I ate 2 fish fillets and 4 shrimp because it was so good. After dinner, David & I spent time in the kitchen area with the wife and her daughter and 2 of the villagers.  Their daughter can speak a little English and our Spanish is "un poco" (a little) so we had a good time trying to talk to them in Spanish and them trying to talk to us in English.  I have learned this trip that we need to work on our Spanish a LOT more but also that just getting in there and trying to communicate with them (even with limited knowledge) helps people feel like you care and want to get to know them at the same time.  We also watched the first 45 minutes of a soccer game with the husband but we were pretty tired and couldn't stay up to see who won the match.  
We loved getting to go to "Village M" and serve together as husband and wife.  David has been going to "Village M" each month since August 2012 and he has formed great relationships and friendships with the people there.  Since our kids do not yet have passports (we are still waiting on finances to allow us to purchase those), we have not been able to go into Mexico as a family each year.  The sweet couple that lives above us at the apartments offered to keep our kids so David & I could go together and that was such a blessing.  It was wonderful to get to see "Village M" personally, meet the people we have been praying for the past 9 months and experience life there myself.  In just 4 days, I felt very close to the family of believers and they were so welcoming and inviting to me during my time there.  David & I greatly desire to be able to bring our entire family to "Village M" at some point this summer so the kids can experience it and meet the people there and so we can continue to encourage them in their Bible studies and encourage them in their Christian living.  
We went 4 days with no showers, no running water, no air conditioning of any kind and very limited electricity but it was a wonderful 4 days despite those conditions.  The one thing that was still hard for me to get used to on this trip was the Federali (the police) that drive these type vehicles on the roads.  It was always weird to see men in the back of trucks with M16 machine guns in their hands going down the road! 

Please continue to pray for "Village M" in Mexico.  Pray for strength and continued steadfastness for the believers in this village and pray for those that our team has been studying with throughout this year but they have not yet made decisions.  Pray for continued protection and safety for all those in "Village M" as well.  Pray that our family will be able to financially afford passports ($345.00) for our 3 children so we can go as a family into "Village M" and serve the people there this summer and within the next year.  Thank you for all the prayers lifted up on behalf of our family this week while our kids remained on campus and while David & I were gone to "Village M".  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

April Update

The month of April offered wonderful classroom training.  David Depew taught a week long course on Team Development - something that is vital to missionaries as we prepare for the field and once we are on a team serving in the field.  Chad Bresson presented a TNT course (Training National Trainers) on the book of Psalm.  Realizing that the Psalm were written to be sung together as one unit and we are actually declaring to the Lord that we will do what the Psalm teaches was not only a very informative training but also a very worshipful one too.  Greg Van Court also presented a very engaging theological study.  We touched on church history, the history of the Reformation and how God has dispersed the church throughout the world was an amazing study.  Our prayer is that the church will unite under Christ!  
A few months ago, we had applied for a Training/Tuition Assistance missionary grant through the Veit Foundation.  In April, we received a letter informing us that our family had been selected by them to receive a grant in the amount of $1,000 to be used for the purpose of tuition assistance.  We were so excited by their generosity and so encouraged by this blessing. We still have a ways to go on our tuition but every penny helps us reach our goal of getting it paid off.  
(This is what Giardia Lamblia looks like)
April also gave us a "missionary first" for our family as David was diagnosed with Giardia Lamblia, a parasite that attaches in the small intestine.  Everyone joked that this would be the first of many parasites we would probably encounter over our time as missionaries.  While we are not sure exactly how he obtained the parasite, the doctor felt like it was more than likely from his trips to Mexico.  The blessing of this parasite was that because of his sickness, we found an amazing family doctor here in Texas that is a Christian and even prayed with David at his appointment.  The treatment for the parasite was a really strong antibiotic for 5 days. Thankfully, he is all well from the parasite and back to feeling good again.  He said having a parasite was a blessing because it made him rely on the Lord more too.  
Due to David being on medication for the parasite at the time of the April Mexico trip, we did not get to go on the trip this month.  However, our team went into "Village M" on a cold and rainy trip but there was some more progress made and encouraging news as well.  Oscar is making much progress in his growth as a Christian and enjoying the discipleship time they are able to spend with him on these trips.  He asked us to pray for his oldest daughter to be saved as well.  Continue to pray for Erbano and Kiki that God will reveal Himself unto them and set them free from the bondage of sin and death.  

The cartel is making its presence known more and asking questions to villagers about our team.  They also know what our vehicle looks like now too.  Because of this, our housing situation in "Village M" is still not secure.  Above all, continue to pray for our ministry in "Village M" and that God would be glorified in everything we do during our time there each month.