The Garden and Compost by Kim Rush

We have lived in the same house these last six years in Mexico and have a small yard space that we share with the two other houses on our lot. It seems like every family picture we have taken here has been in that little yard. You can see the progress of the garden as our family grows from year to year. The garden has reflected the seasons of our life in Mexico as much as it displays the rainy and the dry seasons of the climate. Periods of time have passed when life demanded too much and the garden was neglected, lacking water and care. But as the kids got a bit older, and life became easier, that shows in the garden as well.

A couple of years ago, we started to compost our organic trash. The burial of the trash was really a decision Tim committed to, and my part was the saving of scraps. (If you know me, you know I am naturally good at saving scraps of all sorts). This decision is also a reflection of what had been growing in us; more simple, organic principles at work in ourselves and our churches. It seems that so much of our growth and faith can be illustrated in the compost, so much that I cannot explain everything God has taught us there. The garden, and especially the composting time, has become a favorite spot of refuge and prayer for both of us.

The most exciting principle God has shared is the promise of life. The house church we have spent the most time with in Jocotan came from such a rough past. Their lives were full of pain and scarred by cycles of hurt and abuse. From the time we met them (and with growing certainty even more today), we felt that only God could make a difference in the bitter reality they were living. But sometimes we saw nothing good happening, and it was discouraging and sad. At those times, some struggling seed would sprout from the compost . . . something that could have been trash sprouted to become a healthy, amazing plant. It never ceases to bring hope in our hearts for the Kingdom of God to reign over the chaos.

We have had countless spontaneous plants pop up: pumpkin, jalapeƱo, avocado trees, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, beans, flowers and most recently a pineapple plant! We try to do our best with what God has placed before us, and some have matured to produce fruit. Many we have given away, in hopes that the same seeds we are planting will begin to reproduce in other places. There is a small garden in Jocotan with Serrano chili, cucumber, pumpkin, tomato and avocado. These were not the first plants growing there, and hopefully will not be the last. Spiritually speaking, we pray that the plants mature to bear fruit and that the fruit is shared to nurture the whole neighborhood. We pray for more gardens to grow and spread.

More wisdom God imparted through the garden (for us seeing it has been more meaningful that hearing it): The best soil has plenty of fertilizer, (which left to itself would have been a stinky mess). Unless a seed dies and is buried, it will not grow. We need to give over our trash to God, he certainly has better things planned. The plants must have light and water. The ones that have sprouted in the shadows will stretch across the yard to the sun. We make mistakes. Sometimes our best efforts to help are damaging, like when I tried soap suds for organic pest removal (suggestion from another gardener) and all but killed off three big, beautiful tomato plants. But God revived them. What we watch other gardeners do, we will imitate. Home grown fruits taste better and has more meaning to us than what someone else has grown for us.

The most recent chapter is that we have a new neighbor after a year of having the garden to ourselves. Since the rainy season has not begun yet, this is another promise from God that He is really the one taking care of our garden. She wants to learn to compost, and she loves plants. Ha, I just realized that her name is Eva (Eve). Coincidence? In addition to caring for the garden, she is buying all of our potted plants from us, with the promise that we can buy whatever back if we have space when we return. One of our first cucumber plants is almost ready to be enjoyed. I was showing her the plants she was buying and she said excitedly, “Oh! I have a cucumber!” My insides said, “What? You have a cucumber?” She has not paid us or done any of the work. But God says that while one plants, another waters, and still another reaps the harvest . . . only He provides the increase.

I had some verses hanging on our bedroom wall as a banner, (now they are in Eva’s house). “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it sprout and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11.

There is a modern proverb that says “More things grow in the garden than the gardener sows.” Very true. Thank you, God.


Family Update for June

Celebrating Six Years
At the end of May, we celebrated our sixth year anniversary here in Guadalajara. It has been a wild and crazy ride to say the least. We are so thankful to God for all that he’s provided along the way. We’ve been blessed to be a part of a large simple-church network in Guadalajara, while focusing the majority of our attention on a the house church in a neighborhood that is marked by violence and addictions. We want to say thank you for all of your care, support and prayers. Especially in the scarier moments, we’ve been reminded that you are with us on our journey, lifting us up. Thank you so very much.

Each time we gather with our brothers in Jocotan, we prepare ourselves for a whole new adventure. One couple continues to face very difficult struggles. They are at odds with one another constantly. The one good thing about their struggle is that they don’t try to fake anything. They are real and honest so problems are dealt with as a community. We do not know if they will choose to be faithful to God or to each other. This makes are hearts very heavy. The other couple seems to be maturing more and more. They’ve also encountered a lot of stress. After time of fear and uncertainty, they’ve continued moving forward with Jesus. They are ministering to friends and have family members coming closer to God along with them. Please pray for all of us to place our hope and trust in God. There has been so much godly transformation and so much attacking from Satan.

Math Class in Jocotan
My Math class in Jocotan is coming to a close. It has been a learning experience on many levels. (I want to track down my high school math teacher and apologize for any and all distractions I caused in class.) Kim joined me this last week for a school party. We were touched to see all tha t the school is offering to this neighborhood and were encouraged to be a part of such a ministry in the name of Jesus. We don’t know what the harvest will hold, but seeds have been planted. Please pray for Sadai and Lupita, my most faithful students. Their lives are in such chaos that it often leaves me speechless. (Lupita’s dream is to be a drug runner and her dad is the manager of a famous strip club in Guadalajara.) Only Jesus can change their life’s course.

All-Church Farewell
On the last Sunday in May, all of the churches gathered together to say goodbye to us and the Pruett family. The Pruetts were a part of the original mission team that arrived in Guadalajara in 1998. When we arrived in Guadalajara in 2003, the Pruetts opened their home to us for our first month. They have been a great encouragement to us and to the churches in Guadalajara. They will be returning to the states (San Antonio) in July.

Sunday was very good. It was wonderful to be with the Christians from all over the city, gathered together as one family. We pray that our guys from Jocotan will stay connected to the body and continue to grow in their relationships with other Christians. We also lift the other groups up to God and pray that He be a powerful force that unites them together and fills them with His character and Spirit. We pray for our co-workers who will remain here to be surrounded by God’s presence, protection and blessings.

Crafts in the Park
Our good friend Adriana has begun a ministry in the park in her neighborhood. Each Saturday night she gathers the kids together for a Bible story and a craft. We love that God placed the needs of the kids on her heart and she obeyed His call. She is an answer to your prayers to the Lord of the Harvest. She’s been cautious to stay on the good side of the parents. This last week she asked Kim to join=2 0her to make cards with the kids. She was excited and surprised when a dad approached her afterwards to thank her for what she’s doing. He said he is afraid to let his girl play in the park by herself. But he is grateful that Adriana is making the park a place that his daughter can learn about the Bible.

Car Trouble and Headaches Galore
This last month has been horrible on our vehicles. The Taurus, which is the newer car with fewer miles is also our least reliable. This worries us all the more since it is the Expedition that was just released from the shop after a 40 day stay. During that span, the Taurus has been in and out of the shop due to a problem the mechanics were unable to diagnose. We’re hoping that if it breaks down on us, it will do it here and not while driving across Mexico later this month. Hopefully the Expedition is ready to make the trek north as well. Please pray for our safe travel and peace of mind.

What’s The Plan?
Our plan is to leave Guadalajara on the 25th of June for a year furlough, or for what some call “home assignment”. We will drive to Tulsa so that we can leave a load of our stuff, as well as the Taurus, before heading on to California for the month of July to be with Kim’s family. We will return to Tulsa at the beginning of August in time to get set up before the kids start school. Tim will also begin taking masters courses in communications at the University of Oklahoma. To do this, he’ll spend two weekends a month in Lawton as the courses are designed to be weekend intensive. Our plan is to return to Guadalajara in June of 2010.