Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spring Loves

Some things that made me smile this month!

New and improved Calvin and Hobbes! Gandalf and Frodo, the best of friends.
 Temecula Hills' college group came to visit and work on our campus. It was wonderful to have them!
Our skitzo dog unable to cross the tile... she is afraid of everything. 
This conversation left us laughing so hard we couldn't breath. I don't remember why but I love you dad! 
The third picture of Amanda (my older sister) in my grandparents house... where none of Kimberly nor me can be found.
Amanda - 3
Other Grandchildren - 0
 Brock's new hairstyle to match his new teeth.
 I love his little red wellies.
 Our new grass! We were so Gringo to put it in but so Mexican to sit on the porch and watch it being mowed for the first time.
Neon Green moth... oh the critters of Porve.

The End of My Soccer Career

I played indoor soccer. I got aggressive (probably to compensate for lack of skill). I stepped on the ball. I rolled my foot. I ended up on the ground. I hobbled off the court with my arm around my coach. 

I didn't walk for two days. I started hobbling around. Walked on it for two weeks. I played softball and ran. I felt ok-ish. 

I went to SLO. My grandparents were concerned (with reason). They took me to their physical therapist who saw me for free. He told me I had torn ligaments or a broken bone. I got an x-ray with another doctor. My foot was broken. Generous grandparents paid for visit. I was given orders to wear a boot for 6 weeks. I have two weeks left.

Still not 100%. Sick of the boot. Want to run. Trying to be good. Can't wait for the 11th! Getting back into shape is going to stink. Need a patient running partner. Kimberly be ready. 

Grandma driving the gimp to the physical therapist.
 Turns out it was broken! Sorry foot!
Boot donned for 6 weeks!
 It's quite the fashion statement... don't you agree?
Patterned Socks + Boot = Patterned Legs (no bueno) 

Missionaries in SLO

A few weeks ago Carrie and I had the opportunity to go to San Luis Obispo for SLO Crusade's Missions Night. I was nervous to return, as an outsider, to the group that I had been so involved in for four years. I was nervous that our booth would not be artsy enough for the immense amount of talent that is SLO Cru. I was also nervous I would be disappointed that it wasn't the same. Truth is, it wasn't the same at all. I didn't belong. But that wasn't a bad thing...
Our Booth!!!

It was almost like having closure on that chapter of my life. I was excited to see Kimberly (my little sister) take the charge as the new Mustang of the family and I was able to see how much God has changed me since then. It was so nice to see how I am not a college student anymore but have matured past that point in my life. I am more confident in the Lord and completely content with where I am in life. It was so cool to see new students taking the charge to run Cru and witness to Cal Poly's campus. And I was so blessed by the interest we had in our booth.
The weekend was also a fantastic time to catch up with Kimberly, her friends, my friends, my grandparents, and Carrie... all such wonderful relationships!!! Now for some pictures...
On a walk with Kimberly, our Grandpa, Kimbo's roommate Liz, and Carrie...
Sally Loo's for lunch... with the perfect table number for our family!
I could use an Acai bowl right now... =)
A crafty squirrel has been storing nuts in the barn, in a box, in this jar... sneaky!
Grandpa with his tractor. =) Happiness.
Carrie and I all cowboyed out for our booth! 
(Please note the Angry Bird face on my grandparent's dog...)
Our cute little Mexican Cokes to give out to the people who visited our booth!
All set up and ready for visitors! By the way, my dad made that table in a couple hours for us. He rocks.
From the other side...
It's all in the details... that's what makes it fun. =)

Family

As of today, I have not only been visited by my parents, sister, and brother in law, but also by my grandparents who so bravely charged through the border to come to Porvenir. Driving through Tijuana was a daunting experience for them but they eventually got to the dirt roads (too bumpy for their taste) and fresh air of the valley. They loved the views and the food seemed to hit the spot perfectly. Mexico has the habit of worming it's way into your heart that way...

It was so good to have them see what I have been talking about for two years now and to show them a few of the places I love. They were even able to come to church on the day that I led worship (which made me sick for days with anxiety... something I need to work on) and be greeted by everyone at church. Their feedback was incredibly encouraging and I felt God move so much as I had to rely completely on Him to work around my nerves.

My grandparents have been invaluable supporters of me in everything I have done and this visit, which was outside their comfort zones, was the icing on the cake. Or the salsa on the enchilada... Thank you guys for making the trip and experiencing just a little taste of why I love living here!


One quick story from my family coming to church... my dad received the headset at church for the translation of the sermon and said to Javier...

     Dad: Hola. {turns to our student Jessica} That means Thank You, right?
     Jessica: bahaha No, it's Gracias. You said "Hello."
     Dad: Dang, the only two spanish words I know and I mixed them up!
Only in Mexico; only my Dad. Good college try, I love it!

My dad brought them down for an overnight trip and while it was super fast, it was worth it. 
We didn't have time for pictures so this is at their house in Templeton, CA... with Pasha their dog.

Power of the Word

When giving people advice or comfort in hard times I have found there is nothing more powerful than scripture. Not only does it say everything I want to in the best way but it has the ability to touch us in the most secret parts of our hearts. So this week, for worship devotional, I knew there was no better way to express myself than go to scripture. Besides, when someone else is reading in Spanish I don't have to say as much! I shared these particular verse because of the impact they have had in my life and in how I see God as the powerful God that He is...

So I let God speak for Himself to the team and it was so incredible. You could tell in people's smiles and looks at one another that God was moving in their hearts. I hope you can take the time to look them up for yourself!
Colossians 1:15-20
1st Timothy 1:17
Luke 8:25
Job 38

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reflections on The Lord's Prayer

Luke 11:2-4
"And he said to them, 'When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.'"

To wrap by brain around this prayer I broke it into 7 parts and looked at what each phrase acknowledges about God and us. I was blown away by the implications and depth of each part of this prayer. It is short, but Jesus had a lot to say when giving it to us. He didn't speak it lightly, or flippantly come up with the words. They were all chosen with care and purpose. So without further ado, what God revealed to me about this short prayer...
----------------------
1. "Father,"
     - acknowledges God's authority
     - shows our sonship/inheritance/adoption/closeness

2. "hallowed be your name."
     - acknowledges God's holiness/power/perfection/honor/supremacy
     - reveals our need for respect/reverence/to keep God sacred

3. "Your kingdom come."
     - acknowledges God's reign/eternity/control/power
     - shows His complex plans for everything/omniscience

4. "Give us each day our daily bread,"
     - acknowledges God's provision/care/contant love
     - shows His consistency and willingness to give us what we need everyday

5. "and forgive us our sins,"
     - acknowledges God's mercy/grace/love/patience
     - shows we are chosen and set apart

6. "for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us."
     - acknowledges God's teaching/patience/challenges/heart for us
     - shows our sanctification/duty/necessity

7. "And lead us not into temptation."
     - acknowledges God's protection/love/power
     - shows our flesh/weakness/desires/need

Monday, May 13, 2013

Working Through a Sinner

When I joined the worship team I thought it would be easy. I knew the words after a year and half of singing them, and I was confident enough to chill in the background with some harmonies when I had them. So I joined and saw smooth sailing ahead. God on the other hand, had a myriad of challenges in store for me. Those first weeks, I waded through a lot of struggles stemming from cultural differences and pride. Every week it seemed I was thrown into something new that I was unprepared for and seemingly incapable of doing well. 

For instance, the first week I was on stage was not the day I was supposed to start. I had walked into church on Easter ready to sit down when I was rushed to the stage to sing because they needed me. I was comfortable with this turn of events until I realized I was dressed horridly inappropriately. Shorts on stage are a huge no-no in my church, and mine weren't even the long ones. I felt like I might as well have been in my underwear for how awkward I felt in front of everyone. After apologies to the pastor and worship team, and explaining to many people that "I didn't know I was singing today", I learned that lesson well. Our pastor even joked that I remembered pants the next service when I showed up completely covered.

The next week our other singer was missing again and I had to try "Harp and Bowl" or "Harpa y Copa" on the fly. This is a way of singing the prayers and verses spoken during the prayer time in the mornings. Meaning I had to hear prayers in Spanish, understand them, and make up my own melody and words as I sang them back. It is actually a really cool practice but I was terrified and felt my lack of fluency keenly. This was a step up in difficulty from the shorts fiasco.
The third time that I recognized God was specifically challenging me, was the next week when Melo, a bible trafficker to closed countries, came to speak at church. Our two leaders were both going to be gone on that Sunday and before I knew it I was volunteered and signed up to lead worship at church, in spanish, without a practice beforehand... in front of an epic missionary who had been all over the latin world hearing worship. I have never felt so sick from nerves before that day. I had a few days to change the keys to fit my voice, learn the signs to signal changes to the team, and show up to church feeling like I would pass out. The prayer time in the morning was almost a complete disaster which made the looming service seem impossible. So many people came up to me beforehand to pray with me and give me words of encouragement. I felt so loved and cared for by the church and God that morning, but I still felt sick. The worship team was all pats on the back and smiles and didn't seem nervous to have me leading them. I applauded them for their faith. Maybe they saw what I couldn't... that God can work through a hot-mess-of-a-sinner like me and make incredible things happen.
The first song I might have thrown up if I didn't have to get words out of my mouth instead... and then the it was over. And we were onto song two, and three... and then I had forgotten to be nervous and was worshipping God and praying to him in Spanish and succeeding! I don't say this to toot my own horn. I honestly didn't even have a kazoo to toot... This was all the Lord and His work through me that made the service possible. I can never take any credit for those songs coming out correctly and for the music blending together. God worked it all out to His glory. After the service, I received some of the best compliments from people saying that, "I really felt the presence of God today," and "I was really able to worship today." PRAISE GOD for that! I was blown away by God's ability and desire to use me to glorify his name. And I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of bringing His people before the throne. 

I get to lead a few other times before I leave in June and I pray I will recognize that, even with a worship practice beforehand, God is still in control and deserves all the glory. Thank you Lord for always showing up and being bigger than we can imagine! Thank you for working through a sinner like me!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mexican Fare

I love that despite the lack of flavor, you will still find pan dulce in every grocery or corner store you enter. It's the perpetual sign that you are indeed in Mexico. I also love that the lack of food regulations allows vendors to sell candy in open air push-carts on the beach. And allows unpackaged coconut candy, in a rainbow of colors, to be sold in buckets.

Counters can be covered in baked goods from the house behind the store or filled with unwrapped candies and snacks that have been there for weeks. It lends to a sense of organized chaos and reminds me that I am home. No where else can you find empanadas filled with anything from pineapple to squash to nutella. No where else will colors be found in every combination, popping off of bags and jars and the food itself. Mexico is an eclectic mix of people groups, cultures, and food choices... all united by a love of chilé, chamoy, and Coke.