Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfulness: Developing God's Heart

This season I am thankful for all of the usual things: my amazing family, my friends that God has so lovingly provided, my new ministry in Mexico, his providence in caring for me, my churches in Temecula and Porvenir, and for the daily blessings God uses to love on me. But I am also thankful for the huge heart change that God has wrought in my life. If you haven't read my post about Haiti (called The Important One) than this might not make much sense but I hope I can get my point across either way. These past few months God has been showing me what it looks like to have His heart for the world. I thought I had that figured out but He has been showing me that I don't really have a heart for the world in the way He does. Here is a letter I wrote that should explain it better:

---- "You said that I came to Mexico to develop ‘Your Heart’ Lord. This weekend at Shipwrecks you told me that to do that I need to have a bigger heart for people’s souls to match my passion for meeting their temporal needs. You showed me that in order to truly understand your heart I need to understand the cross... I need a heart for the lost to start developing your heart for the world. As far as head knowledge goes, I know what you sacrificed. I understand how much physical pain you went through. I know how much sin you had to bear. But I don’t really understand it. I can read about it all I want but until I see it in life I can’t grasp it. My salvation is still just a concept to me and I don’t quite see the gravity of your sacrifice. I take it for granted to the point of not truly desiring your salvation for everyone.

Except for today when you gave me a glimpse of where I would be without your grace. Without your grace I would be a hot mess. Without something higher to live for I would be chasing after all sorts of things that would destroy me and disappoint me. Why do I choose to not chase after sin? Why do I choose to redirect my thoughts when I am distracted from you? Why do I become patient without a husband instead of being frustrated? Because of my salvation and because I have something to live for other than my sins. I have your grace, your guidance, and your plan to rely on. I have your kindness and love that surpasses all worldly relationships and I have your promptings in my life to focus on you and follow you. Without these things I would be beyond frustrated with not getting to follow my plans to the point of living for myself and giving into sin more than I should. Thank you for saving me, for choosing me to be in your flock. Thank you for protecting me from myself and from a dark empty life. Thank you for helping me see, in this small way, how your large sacrifice affects my life and how hard my days would be without you in them. Help me transfer this gratitude to a passion for telling others about your love." ----

God may have taken away Haiti in my future or he may be giving it back to me. Either way I can see now why I need to follow Him no matter where he sends me. He has given me salvation! I can't desire for other people to know him enough. And yet I forget about the darkness people live in without Christ. That is what he wants to develop in me: eyes to see people's spiritual needs over their temporal ones and a heart to have compassion on those without Christ. I need to be broken for those who do not know the saving love of God, Haitian or not. I need to give Christ my whole life to be used how he can use it best to bring people to Him. I am ready to be sent wherever He desires, and that is huge. I am so thankful that He has shown this to me this season and I hope he will continue to work on me to develop His heart in my life.

Quotes That Spoke to Me on This Topic:
“Now, in my extreme weakness, I glimpsed what I would feel like all the time apart from His compassion and indulgent care. Under these circumstances, I faced poverty and absolute need for Him to work.” –Jean Fleming (“Feeding Your Soul,” pg 96)

“I feel there are two things it is impossible to desire with sufficient ardor—personal holiness, and the honor of Christ in the salvation of souls.” –Rev. W.C. Burns (“50 People Every Christian Should Know,” Warren Wiersbe, pg 83)

“It is a solemn and most momentous truth that our every act in this present life—and our every omission too—has a direct and important bearing both on our own future welfare, and on that of others. And as believers, it behooves us to do whatsoever we do in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.Very early in the course of His ministry, the Lord Jesus taught His people that they were to be the light—not of Jerusalem, not of Judea, nor yet of the Jewish nation, but—of the world. And He taught them to pray—not at the heathen, who use vain and unmeaning repetitions; nor yet as the worldly-minded, who ask first and principally (if not solely) for their own private benefit and need: “For,” said He, “your father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him.” After this manner therefore pray ye:
“Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done: as in heaven, so in earth.”
And it was only after these petitions, and quite secondary to them, that any personal petitions were to be offered. [...] Instead of honoring Him with the first-fruits of our time and substance, are we not content to offer Him the fragments that remain after our own supposed need is supplied?” (“China’s Spiritual Need and Claims,” Hudson Taylor, pg 3)

Coming Home

I arrived home this past Monday for a loooong winter break. I am in Temecula for 6 and half weeks and I am not sure how I am going to fill my time. I have a few goals (practice spanish, practice soccer, and grow closer to the Lord) but I still don't know how I am going to integrate those things into my life and relationships. Spanish is proving to be harder to practice then I thought already and I am sort of lost trying to get better at soccer on my own. But the Lord will use this break whether I am fluent in Spanish by the end of it or I only know three more words... prayer for diligence in seeking Him and following his daily plans for me would be lovely if you think about it! I also just wanted to share some more pictures of this last week of Mexico life in this post so here you go:
Here is a random video I have not shared yet about our food shopping days: Grocery Shopping in Mexico

We went to the Baja 1000 this last weekend and while I was bored after seeing two cars go by I am glad I went to experience it. I also got to hang out with my friend Laura's family who came down to see it. Her brother found me and didn't even know I was going to be there. =)
We went to a dinner together as a staff the second to last day and it was so good to send each other off to break that way. We had amazing food and really fun gift exchange. This is my lovely roommate Monique (Moma)... she is such a blessing to me!
This last week someone came on our property, siphoned our gas, and cut a foot long section out of our fuel line. So the guys rigged this system up with a garden hose so we could still use the van. It is so missionary! The second picture is everyone in the van on the trip home... before we had to go through secondary border checks. =)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mis Nuevos Amigos

You are probably wondering what my friends look like down here, or if I even have any? Well I finally have pictures of us from some of our outings and work days at church so let me introduce you to them. First off, the whole group at our 11/11/11 Cowboys and Indians party...
 Caleb
 Israel - one of my closest guy friends... this is at trash pick up day
  Yukiko (Caleb's sister) - my closest girl friend
 Adrian and Fabio...
 Sukye (I don't know how to spell that) and Simha (Caleb's other sister)...
Alisha and A.J.

Teaching Foibles

When you are in charge of 25 plus five-year-olds for an hour, three times a week, interesting things are bound to happen. I don’t know how teachers do it all day but I have learned to just shake me head, tell them to sit down please (seitate por favor!), and smile. Here are a few example of what I am talking about:
1. For our numbers unit we used jump-ropes to practice counting. Shelbi instead found herself trying to prevent the boys from tying the ropes around each others necks.
2. One of our Ventana students was playing a flashcard game with the kids using dice and found himself trying to prevent Carlos from choking on the dice after Carlos tried to swallow it.
3. They are constantly tattling on each other too, “Teacher, Teacher! Axel ????” I’ve adopted the phrase, “Oh, lo siento. Esta Bien.” Also known as, “Oh I am sorry, it’s ok.” I smile of course and they commence with whatever they were doing before.
4. A group of kids jumped on me all at once and were so overwhelming that I fell over. Not a very graceful thing to do as a teacher. I got them back in their seats but had to be very stern in Spanish which was hard.

Overall they are adorable, fairly well behaved, and unique kids. I know all their names and a lot of their quirks now and was sad to say goodbye to them since I will have some of them next semester but most likely not all of them. Here are some of their beautiful faces:
Uriel - one of my best friend's nephews
 Jesse - he eats markers
Josefh - I don't think he knows any English after this class.
 Alfredo - He surprises me every day.
 Ximena - The first to learn my name. =)
 Suelle - I told him to sit down about ten times a minute.
 Carlos - The trouble maker of the class.
 Christian - He learned the words in seconds.
 Uriel again... he is just too cute. =)

Shipwrecks

A few weeks ago we ventured a few hours south of Ensenada to what we loving call Shipwrecks to spend the weekend in some tents and trailers at the beach. It was farther south than I have ever been in Mexico, which I thought was a worthy accomplishment. =) It is named shipwrecks because there is an old ship on its side in the cove rusting and providing a home for many types of fish and sea anemones. It made for cool pictures and a really epic beach scene.
 The tide was really down in these pictures and there were amazing tidepools.
We found a sea anemone that had caught a fish... we were impressed. =)
This weekend was not just a weekend of crazy scavenger hunts and dune buggy races though. (see video here) God was working in my heart in heavy ways this past weekend. When he brought me to Mexico He said that I was here to develop ‘His Heart’ for his people. This weekend at Shipwrecks He told me that in order to develop that I need to have a bigger heart for people’s souls to match my passion for meeting their temporal needs. He showed me that in order to truly understand His heart I need to understand the cross. I need a bigger heart for the lost to start developing God’s heart for the world. As far as head knowledge goes, I know what Christ sacrificed and I understand how much physical pain He went through. I have a sense for how much sin Jesus had to bear. But I don’t truly understand it. I can read about Jesus’ sacrifice and my salvation all I want but until I see it played out in life I can’t grasp it. My salvation is still just a concept to me and I don’t quite see the gravity of your sacrifice. I take it for granted to the point of not truly desiring Christ’s salvation for everyone. Since that weekend though God had been faithful to show me what my salvation means and how important His grace is to everyone’s lives. I am now really in the process of developing God’s heart and I am finding that I like it a lot better than my own.
I got up two of the mornings before the sun and it was worth it! God’s majesty displayed:
 Day One
 Day Two
It was freezing in the mornings...so we layered up.
 This is Mo and Shelbi...

Pogs

Do any of you remember pogs? The little cardboard circles that you would hit with a slammer (a large plastic or metal circle) to flip them over? It was my generation’s version of marbles. Well, they are back in Mexico. Almost every bag of chips or cookies you buy at the store has a pog. Except here they are called Tazos (pronounced tasos) and there are no slammers. There are thin cardboard Tazos and metal ones with rims but you can only play with one kind at a time. I think it is a funny blast from the past. Especially since Brock thinks they are a new game that just came out. The guy students are all collecting them “to play with Brock” but while some of the guys won’t admit it, they think Tazos are just as cool now as they were in elementary school when they went by a different name. Here is what they look like, (they all have Spanish slang on the backs):

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Living in Mexico

I have been trying to think of things to write about that would give you a sense for what life is like down here. But I couldn’t think of anything since life is just that... life. I am so used to living here that it all just seems so normal and natural to be here. But I realized that the normalcy of it all is exactly what I should write about! I think it is a huge deal that I feel comfortable enough here that I will run to the copy store and have a conversation with Malena, or that I would go to the coffee shop and my friends would be there to hang out with, or that I would go to church and feel that it is my church. God has blessed me so much with community (both with the gringos and locals) in Porvenir and has enabled me to fit in and become close with people. I still have a long long way to go with my Spanish and I could be a lot deeper with people, but I already feel such a part of this city that I don’t want to leave for break. If I didn’t miss my family, friends, and home church (and the ability to communicate with people easily) I don’t know if I would come back at all.

Can you believe that? I personally am blown away that this is home for me though I can hear my parent’s saying, “I told you that you would like it.” But after everything with not wanting to give up Haiti and dragging my feet as God brought me to Mexico, to finally be glad that this is where God has me is huge. Starting with Haiti this summer, God has been showing me that to be a missionary does not mean epic outreach adventures everyday. It is all about the day by day relationships and tasks that go towards making an organization or group run well in His name. This life just requires living for God, where God has placed you. So what is life like here? Completely and wonderfully normal.