Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 21, 2009

This morning Maddai’s parents had trouble with their car so Miley, Danielle and I walked to church. I’m getting some good workouts here!

When we got there we went to Sunday School. I haven’t been to Sunday School since I was in high school, well and in Latin America. We learned how to show the evangecube. It was about the 5th time I’ve been in a place where we have learned how to show it but always educational.

Then we went to Maddai’s grandparent’s house and had Sunday lunch with them while Maddai and her family went to buy bus tickets for our vacation later in the week. We just read a lot and slept and went to Maddai’s to prep for the service. I forgot how much I absolutely love prepping and planning services. It’s so fun! So I wrote and planned the service and the verses. Maddai’s dad, Samuel, did worship along with one of his buddies. You could tell they were having so much fun jamming together.

At 6 pm we went to the neighborhood and set up for the service and went and reminded the people that there was a service. And it turned out since it was Father’s Day that no one we originally invited could come. Many were having parties and were just not able to make it. We did have a good group of people anyways, we had: Mario (the DS) and his wife Judith, Samuel (Maddai’s dad), Samuel’s friend, Momita, Miley, Maddai, Miguel, Danielle and Lupitha (a woman from the community that just happened to be able to come). It ended up being a really beautiful service. I haven’t been a little frustrated lately with some things here and it reminded me of the beautiful wonderful hearts and people that I’m with and how beautifully amazing God’s love is. It was an intimate service and Lupitha became a new sister in Christ tonight. Mmmmm, I love it!

After, we went home and went to slept, much needed for the days ahead!

My Team:

I just realized that I haven’t introduced you all to my teammates yet.

This is Danielle:

She is 19 (turning 20 in less than a month!) and is so incredibly sweet, great and very willing to have God envelope her this summer as He has called her to this summer in Mexico. She is going to be a Junior at Olivet in the fall. Yep, she is a smartie and is graduating early. She speaks a lot of Spanish, but is still learning just like me.

This is Mayuli also known as Miley:


I gave her the nickname Miley. She is 24 and in the fall going to nursing school. She has a developing passion for God’s people and missions. She desires to have it be a strong part of her life and is just learning what that means by being involved in Youth in Mission this summer. She is so sweet and doesn’t speak much English, but is so willing to learn. We are getting close, she has a beautiful heart.

This is Maddai, our leader:

She is 21 and the evangelism coordinator for her district in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. She has an amazing passion for broken and lost people and desires like no one else I’ve seen for them to find their way home again. She is learning, making mistakes and learning how to be a great leader in Christ. She is young and it is usual here as well, for her to have the job she does but she gives a fresh new face to missions and a new outlook on the things she is doing and accomplishing. We could use more people like her in the U.S. She has a beautiful soul and we have been friends for over a year now. We are so similar in so many ways, mostly because we have very similar passions, helping people.

She has almost become fluent in English in less than year, which is an inspiration to me.

Then there is me:

My Spanish is definitely improving in the 2 weeks since I’ve been here. God is stretching me as a person more than I would have expected and my desires and passions as a person are changing and being transformed into something that I hope is more of Him and less of me. I’m learning a lot. And learning how to be more like the servant in Philippians 2:

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”

June 20, 2009

Today we went to the market a little later in the morning. 

Danielle and I went to Oxxo to get breakfast and buy batteries. It ends up being a good time in the morning that we can talk about things that are going on and kind of debrief in culture shocks and what not. We are making a list of all the culture differences and funny things that are happening. I’ll make sure to post sometime soon.

After Maddai’s mom dropped us off at the neighborhood and Maddai went to visit her sick grandpa. I’m glad she is finally spending some time with her family away from the team. She is ALWAYS working and putting things together for the times ahead. She has a wonderful and beautiful passion and heart for the broken and lost people. Just sometimes she needs to take a break. I swear she is going to get sick.

Miley, Danielle and I went to the neighborhood and rallied up all the people that could make it to the service and the times that would work for them and then set an exact time and told everyone that could go. There weren’t many at all!

After we went back to Maddai’s house and waited for a total of 5 minutes for Maddai, who wasn’t suppose to be back for another half hour (FYI: Maddai isn’t always the most tactful person and is almost always at LEAST a half an hour late) and then went on an adventure. We took a taxi to Walmart and an electronics store. It was a successful excursion. We all got something useful. Miley: bathing suit for vacation. Danielle: card reader for her pictures. Me: batteries for my camera.

When we got back an hour later than expected Maddai still wasn’t there. She was 2 hours late! We are going to try to teach her to be tactful and prompt this summer. TRY.

Elizabeth (Maddai’s mother, or like we like to call her Momita) made us lunch and by just about the time we were done Maddai came back.

Oh also! A few days ago Miley, Danielle and I got to make corn tortillas, it was so much!

Then we waited for Maddai to get ready, because they were going to a service at their church that night. Maddai dropped us off at the DS’ house and we dropped our laundry at the laundry mat as she went to the service at her church. We had to drop it off because the water at the DS’ house was dirty because of the rain. That’s different! They even said that our shower water might be dirty. Then we came back and dropped off our stuff and went on another adventure, mostly to get dinner. Over all it was a really fun day, full of lots of adventures!

June 19, 2009


We slept in! We slept in until 11! I didn’t get out of bed until 11:45 because the book I’m reading, My Sister’s Keeper is so good!

We went to the store with Maddai and found her mom there and bought sushi. Then we went to Sarah’s (wonderfully sweet sister in the church, we ALL LOVE her!) and are almost an entire platter full of sushi, whoever said that its sketchy eating it here is wrong, this was my 2nd time and it was delicious.

 After some good hang out time, we went to the “handy craft market”.Did I mention its been pouring rain lately?! All day rain. After we went to the plaza well the mall. Its where Samuel –Maddai’s brother- works. We ate American food today too! Then we just went home and went to sleep. 

June 18, 2009

This morning, Danielle and I, like usual, went to Oxxo in the morning while Maddai and Miley did discipleship lessons in the market. We ate breakfast in Oxxo. We went to the neighborhood to find one of the puppies we oogle over ever day- DEAD! It was SO SAD! They don’t take very good care of their animals here, its so sad. Maddai and Danielle called the Health Service Department to get the body taken away and they went and bought dog good for the remaining puppies and momma dog. RIP: 

While the rest of us (Samuel, Miley, and myself) made paint and painted trees until started it raining. Then we walked back to Maddai’s house and ate lunch.

After we walked back to the neighborhood to do discipleship lessons but most either weren’t home or didn’t have the time. So we used the time to talk about/plan the days to come with the church. We are mostly on lessons 3 with all the new believers, which talks about being the church – how to be the church. So on Sunday, we want to have a service and talk about what that means with everyone together and how we can help.

After said conversation and planning we went and did a discipleship lesson, then off to Office Depot. Which may actually be Danielle and Maddai’s favorite store, so funny. I think we all got something too. I got new headphones- they have a 24k gold plated plug hahaha so ridiculous!

Then we went back and listened to music and watched funny videos and ate dominoes pizza! Tomorrow is our day off! So excited! 

June 17, 2009

Was sick and creating self-entertainment most of the day. I watched the fashion channel in English, very enlightening- HA! Funny that that’s the channel in English here.
The team came back at 5 and we went to Maddai’s grandma’s house and ate cake. I swear cake is nothing special to this culture. I’ve had it twice, maybe more, since I’ve been here, less than one week.
Then we went to the neighborhood and cleaned up the paint and moved it to shelter from the rain, then subway. And then had a beautiful night downtown at the park and went to Miley’s favorite, The Italian Coffee Company.
Heres our group: From top left- Samuel, Miguel; Bottom left: Maddai, Miley, me, and Danielle:
When we went home Danielle and I read the best of CL (craigslist, its one of our new favorite nightly activities) and all went to bed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16

I am sick, sick, sick! 

I stayed home from ministry today :-(

At one point during my day of rest and sickness the District Superintendent's wife (Judith) came in and woke me up and asked if herself and her husband could pray for me. It didn't quite register that they would be entering my room and not just praying for me alone. Mario (the DS) had me open to the book of James and read chapter 5:13-15, which says:

"13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven."

After they anointed my forehead with oil and prayed over my body. It was different! At first thought, OH MY GOODNESS! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Then I thought ya know they really do this here and they are so kind and wonderful people. 

Anyways, not much else happened on my end during the day. I had a great conversation with my dad today, finished a book (Black by Ted Dekker), watched part of a movie, slept, got a really encouraging and clearing of the thoughts email from my missionary friend Scott Armstrong, and was sick all day. I'm not much better now unfortunately. I'm hoping it will change by the morning, though I've obtained a fever recently.

Some things to keep in your thoughts and prayers for the team are:
*Good communication within the team
*Healing of the body and mind and spirit
*Joy and passion in everything we do and with everyone we serve

Love you all! Blessings!

June 15

This morning Danielle and I made flyers for the day's events in the neighborhood instead of going to the market in the morning with Mayalou and Maddai. 
Then we all met up and went to a few stores collecting the supplies we needed for the day. 
We went to the neighborhood and made paint and painted trees (just the bottom half) to prevent insects from eating away at them. We painted 11 trees and then took a break for lunch around 1:30 pm. We have 64 trees to paint total! And today there were only 5 of us painting. It was still fun!

We started set up for Remi at about 3 pm and I learned more songs to the routine to teach the kids and we practiced a little. At first no kids showed up until about a half an hour after Remi was suppose to start and then the kids started appearing within thin air. It was fun and less awkward to be Cometa this time, though some of the kids stared at me with something that resembled fear or question. 

Me as Cometa:

Afterward we got ready for the Jesus Film. Took down all the REmi stuff and carried all the chairs up the stairs and the hill (for the Jesus Film set up) - I think I am getting some serious muscle from the hills. The Jesus Film unfortunately didn't happen (due to lack of sound) but I'm getting pretty good at scaling concrete walls to set up for it. Mayalou preached instead of doing the film. 

Then we just went back to Maddai's house for dinner around 9 pm. Their meal times here, are so different! It's hard for the stomach and brain to get used to. But we didn't stay as long as normal because I wasn't feeling well.  I think Danielle was excited to get back too and take showers-we were all covered in paint-and rest. Did I mention her Grandpa died earlier this morning? So rough. So sad, we're just trying to be a strong support. She just wants to keep busy and wants a passion and joy to be here, she is struggling to find that right now. 


June 14

Today was our first day in a neighborhood in Xalapa (about 15 minutes away from where we are staying) where we will be working for the next week, I believe. 
At 7:30 am we all headed to the market. Danielle and Mayalou went to meet a woman we've been talking to there and building a relationship with and Maddai and I went to the store and got some things for the next week. 
I learned the new Remi -a puppet and clown show about a traveling missionary- routine a little bit before we actually set up and started. I was kind of proud of myself for being so flexible and learning so quickly. We were told lots of people from  the church were going to come and help but they didn't show up until much later in the afternoon. As Danielle and I set up for Remi and they rest of the group did some evangelism around the neighborhood with the evangecube. Danielle and Danny (one of the kids from the market) did the the puppets. Danielle does a good Remi (the traveling missionary puppet), Mayalou was the presenter and I was Cometa (the clown who can only talk through her radio spacial hat - the program thats on a CD). It wasn't as hard as I thought it was in the past or as I thought it was going to be, because I never wanted to be Comet last summer. It's still kind of hard because I'm not allowed to talk and kids are starting to wonder if I am Cometa outside of the puppet show time. But I guess my very and active and excited expressions/emotions are being put to good use. I can just make lots of faces (funny of course). It's different, but in a way, I'm used to it. I love, love, love, love working with the kids! We played games with kids after Remi and I made ballon animals for them. After we went to Maddai's house and had lunch. Then Miguel, Danielle and I went on an adventure and walked to the store.
When we got back we went back to the neighborhood and some groups went to go evangelize while Danielle and I stayed behind to set up the Jesus film. And got some good time to talk. 
The Jesus Film was good and we went to sleep soon after.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I am sick! Not fun, but I will have lots to update soon. So much has happened in the past 2 days. Everything requires much flexibility but its fun.

Also, please keep my team in your thoughts and prayers. 
Here are some prayer requests:

*Danielle, the other American here, lost her Grandpa today and her other Grandpa earlier in the week. I'm so sad for her and we are just trying to stay busy and be a good support. Pray that we can be a good support for her and do anything we can to help her. Also, pray that she can find the passion and joy to be here during this time.
*I am sick and my leg is infected. 
*Please pray for good time management and good communication. 

Thank you everyone! Love you all! Hope all is well!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I made it!

I finally got to Xalapa after 23 hours of travel- from my house to finally the District Superintendents house in Xalapa. Which is where we're staying for the next 2 weeks.

I first arrived to Mexico City, Mexico and Blanca Sierra picked me up from the airport (her and her husband are missionaries in Mexico City and are both from Puerto Rico, Ramon-her husband- was raised in NYC). They both spoke English fluently, but often forgot what language they were speaking to me in. They are so nice! 
Ramon was teaching an intensive masters program during the day and I took a 2-3 hour nap (after a sleepless trip) at their house. Then after he was done teaching we all ate lunch together and hopped on a bus to Xalapa, in which the movie Spiderwick played and I definitely wished it was in English/knew more Spanish to understand, because I've always wanted to see that movie. 
Maddai, her mom and her brother Miguel picked the 3 of us up at the airport. Lets just say it was a tight car ride and a good welcome into Mexico. I started to get really excited to be in Mexico and to go during my travels.
I still have a lot of mixed emotions but I know that God has a lot left to teach me, yet I feel like the short 24 hours I've been here I've learned so much. 
It was really great to meet Danielle, the other American here. She is from Michigan and goes to Olivet Nazarene University and so so sweet and fun. I think we will have a great time of learning and giving to God's people. She is about to teach me some of the things we're going to be doing tomorrow. We are going to be working across town with a community and doing vacation Bible school (puppet shows, clowns and singing) and I think other things working with the community. I will find out tomorrow. 
Today we sat in on some Discipleship Lesson lectures that Blanca and Ramon taught which was interesting but still kind of hard to understand. I'm picking up things already though, which is great!
After that and a little bit of rest and a big lunch we went to her cousins birthday party, Tinkerbell themed party. So cute. Most all of Maddai's family was there and it was so great to see them.

For those of you that don't know. Maddai is the leader of this trip, she is the evangelism coordinator in her district in Mexico and we met last summer on our team serving in Guatemala. She is a wonderful friend. 

I need to be up at 6 am and still have some training to do. 

Goodnight and blessings to all!

P.S. Would be great if you could pray for my heart and my stomach, its been hurting.  Thank you!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Packing and Sewing

I can't believe I leave tomorrow night. I don't feel rushed like I usually do going away on a trip. I know I still have a lot to accomplish and lots of faces to see but I'm confident. Not that I haven't had a few tears fall over the thought of leaving my friends and my brother who is going to China! right before I return but God has provided the way.

Well almost, I'm getting ready to set up my online donation site. I just found out I need to try and raise $1,000. It's more than I thought but covers the plane ticket and some extra costs along the way. I really hope I can raise all the money over the summer. I will post a link here to that website once I get it worked out. Don't feel a pressure to donate, though gifts are much appreciated. I just love that you all can feel a part of this adventure with me.

I am leaving Friday @12:30 AM and get into Mexico City @ 10:15 AM on Friday. A missionary couple who I believe grew up in the U.S.A. are going to be picking me up from the airport and then we will all be going down to Xalapa in the state of Veracruz at 4 or 5 o clock when the Ramon (Mr. of the missionary couple) gets done teaching class. I'm not entirely sure what's going on after that. I believe its a 4 hour drive to Xalapa from Mexico City. Pray for safety. But I'm hoping to get a nap in between all the travel times.

I will let you all know that I got in safely. I think at this point, it would be great to have your thoughts and prayers heading this way as I get prepared to leave all of you for the summer and head down to build relationships and be the hand or foot of God. 


Monday, June 8, 2009

The Beginning

Well, folks, it’s been an interesting twist of events the last couple of months.

I guess it all started about a year ago right around now.

Almost a year ago, I followed a call God had given for my life. I went on a trip to Central America and lived for the summer, doing mission work, learning, living with God's people and being the hands and feet of Christ (especially for those that couldn't actually transport themselves down there). 

When I got back to the United States in the fall I missed my home, my home in Central America. Where part of my heart will always lie. I never wanted to leave the beautiful country and stop doing such in depth work with God and His so friendly people. So I made a deal with God -well more like, I knew what He wanted for me and I just needed to wait and have patience- to wait for a while before I went on another mission and work on my degree. Even though I so strongly desired to go on missions and be home.  

About 4 months ago I went to Mexico and followed the cry of my heart and my purpose in life. I again never wanted to leave because I could feel Christ so strongly calling me to that part of the country and to His people there. But I knew I would be back again, actually a little less than 5 months from that date in December. So I was at a peace because I knew I would be home again.

This is how I feel when I am living the cry of my heart and where I am suppose to be: 

"Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

Hebrews 11:16 

I felt the most at home. 

My heart is broke, because of the swine flu. Not just because I wasn’t able to be there, but because I knew I couldn’t be there. My friends and my family, my heavenly country was in trouble and I couldn’t help. I had to just pray. It's not that I hadn’t given it all to God and put it in His hands. I have.  (Or so I thought).

I had never felt such a strong call upon my heart from the Lord. At the time that my emotions were at peak (ultimate frustration, disappointment and sadness), during particular time, I hadn’t slept in 2 days because I couldn’t seem to let this fall and die and let it rest. I had too much on my heart and too much to think about and pray about to sleep. I felt so close to God and was so happy about that. I just wished I could be there. My heart really hurt.

Since that time, God has given me peace. I have realized that I need to create that Heavenly place where my heart resides here (in Portland) and allow myself to grow and mature in Him and be able to be this person that needs to grow and become the person I've grown so far from. I decided that I needed to work on myself and this person and just areas in my life. I decided that that’s what my summer was going to be dedicated to. And it took me an entire year to get to this point of realization and growth.


On Tuesday, June 2nd Joel Tooley (one of the heads of Youth in Mission- the organization I traveled with last summer to Central America) and Scott Armstrong (a missionary that lead my group in Central America) called me. Telling me that one of the two girls on the American team going to Veracruz, Mexico for the summer had a emotional break down (it’s ended up being a really good thing for her and she has totally peace about it and feels that its in God’s plan for her to be home and I’m proud of her) when she got to Mexico and went home two days later. So they offered me her spot. I told them I didn't have the money and they said I could have her money she fundraised and pay for my ticket. While I was in Mexico I could just try and see what money I could raise and through that pay them back for the plane ticket.

I told them I'd think and pray about it and let them know the following morning, and talk to my parents about it.

Then a camp that I applied to the previous week called me, about an hour. The camp director asked me asked me if I was still interested in working at camp and I was at a loss for words. So I told him the situation and he told me to go. He asked me if I had to choose between Trout Creek and Mexico in the next 5 seconds what I would choose and I automatically said Mexico...I didn't really even think about it. So I told him I was praying about it and he essentially told me I should go but said that if I didn't there would be most likely be a place for me at camp.

After so much prayer, thought, reading the Word, talking with my parents, praying with my parents, and talking to friends. I made a decision that night: not to go to Mexico, to stay home and really plant roots where I am meant to be. I told my friend Steve this whole story and he asked me who needed me the most. I really struggled with that and decided that my attitude going into serving from last summer in Central America to what I was about to do now was entirely different. My pastor, Jim Wicks, talked with me a few months back about having a servants heart and going into places and serving. Not trying to get an experience or “camp high” out of the serving but really giving your heart to those people and giving to them. I knew that if I chose to go, I wouldn’t have a “camp high” in Mexico. I knew that my heart was where God wanted it to be. After praying so much that He would prepare my heart for the service ahead and get it ready, He really did. And with that, I decided, they really needed me in Mexico. So as much as I desire to plant seeds and roots in Portland, it can wait. And I’m going to Mexico this summer to serve the community and love like Christ did. So I hope you will read my adventures and the way that God is stretching me and still preparing my heart for what is to come but most of allowing me to simply be a tool and Him to really be at work.  I hope that you may also partner in prayer with me for this summer and the things to come, that I can really be the woman of Christ He desires and my heart will be in the right place all the while.

I know so long, almost done!

I leave on Friday morning at 12:30 am and arrive in Mexico City at 10:15 am. I am being picked up by some missionaries there and later in the evening driving to Xalapa, which is where we will be stationed/be able to call home for the summer well parts of it.

I will let you all know what I’m up to as often as I can through this blog! And pass the link on to your friends and family!

Blessings to you all!