God Provides

Tragedy was narrowly averted when our teammates’ van was struck by a drunk driver. Gerardo and Carola, as well as their two children and a couple of other passengers were able to walk away from the accident. Their van wasn’t so lucky.

For some time, they’ve needed a new vehicle anyway. But what to do now? There just wasn’t support enough to go around. We shared their need with a few who we thought might be able to help and sure enough, God provided. A couple in Illinois has offered a 2001 van to the Garcia family. (For them to bring a car across the border, the vehicle needs to be 10 years old. Perfect!) But where would they get the money to get the vehicle back down to Guadalajara? Another who heard of their need but didn’t have a van to offer, donated $2,000 towards the effort. He had no idea that the Garcias needed that exact amount to travel to the vehicle, drive it to the border, have it legalized, and continue on to Guadalajara.

News, Notes and Prayers

We were blessed to be part of an annual
Mexico missionary retreat in early
November. When we got there, much to our
surprise, we were counted among the veteran
missionaries of the group. There has been a lot of movement among missionary families in Mexico this year. We know at least six that have moved to the states and met some of the newest additions to our extended family at this year’s retreat. We felt incredibly renewed by God’s work in those few days.

This week we said good-bye to one of our AIM
guys. Zach Montandon moved back to Texas
and we will really miss him. He has been like
an uncle to our kids and a great servant to God
in the work here. We are really proud of him
and expect to see God-things in his future. His teammate, Greg Bell, decided to stay on for a few more months. That is fun and exciting for us, as we also have a great friend and co worker in Greg. Both have pretty big transitions ahead.

Kim’s dad is being treated with chemotherapy
for lymphoma. His cancer is improving, but
he had to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital
with possible pneumonia and a blood clot in
his lung. Kim got to go home for a very
quick visit a couple weeks ago and passed along all your prayers and love to her parents. We’ve appreciated your notes, reminding us of your prayers for Don, and for us. (Apologies to Don for posting a picture of him in Cardinal Red, taken before we went to a ball game last year. He's a huge Giant's fan... which made for a nice World Series for him.)

Our kids are really speaking Spanish well again! This is a great praise, as they had lost a lot of their ability over the time in the states. Even Clark will pipe up in group conversations in Spanish and he can enjoy being with large groups of people speaking Spanish all day (which has not always been high on his list.) They still miss special friends and family a lot and Quincy has not found a really good friend within his new group at school. Academically, though, he is doing great. Karsyn has had another marriage proposal from her best friend, Axel. Don’t think that doesn’t truly scare us, since she is 6 going on 16.

Happy Holidays

¡Saludos! Greetings!
How quickly this year is passing by. We have been back in Mexico for almost 5 months now! Life feels normal, surprisingly enough. We are thankful for the ease with which the kids have slid back into school and how we feel at home in our new neighborhood. We had visiting teammates (Chadd and Nancy Schroeder and their girls) over Thanksgiving and so even that felt pretty normal.

In truly last-minute
Mexican style, a group of
our neighbors joined us
for the meal and brought
mole (a spicy sauce made
with chile and chocolate)
to put on the turkey. So
that was a little abnormal, but it was a delicious addition to our tradition.

El Gran Banquete

Partly as a farewell party for
Zach, several of the Christians
here hosted a Great Feast like
Jesus described in the book of
Luke. On Fridays the Aimers
and some of the youth group give
out sandwiches near a social
hospital in the Center. They
share the food with homeless people and family members of the patients in the hospital. On this Friday night, our brothers and sisters shared the cost of tacos and a Christian Mariachi band to celebrate with those who usually don’t have much to smile about. Joy was a tangible presence there; lots of laughing, singing along and even a little dancing!

There are some great God-stories
within the event. Fito’s mom
(the young guy who was baptized
a few days later) joined us for the
night. Her feelings about his
desire to be a Christian have
ranged through angry, depressed,
suspicious, and worried. She
made a huge macaroni salad to contribute to the food and she was truly amazed at how God multiplied the salad. It was the salad that could not run out! The same thing happened with the tacos. We bought 600 small tacos and in under two hours of serving, some one said they were gone. On more than one occasion, another person opened the box and found a few more
tacos at the bottom! Our church family here remembers a similar event when God supplied another kilo of tortillas in almost the same spot a few years back. They shared how that event has stuck with them and reminded them that God always provides for our needs.



Recent Baptisms

Two of the house churches have experienced
new growth recently, which has been a great
encouragement to all the believers among us. On different days Violeta (not pictured) and Fito were baptized. Violeta is a nutritionist and a co-worker of the Garcias in the Diabetic Foundation. She is the first person to come to Christ through the foundation and they feel like this is a first fruit after much labor. Their daughter, Melanie, just celebrated 5 years of living with diabetes. Most of you know that they started the only
diabetic foundation for children in Mexico after equipping themselves to help her adjust and manage the disease. They now share the love of Christ with other families experiencing this specific crisis.

Fito is a teenager who lives here in Mariano Otero and has been a part of the youth group for the last few years. He has grown up among us, although his parents are not Christians, so for many it was like seeing a nephew giving his life toChrist.

His parents have been a bit anxious about his baptism and almost didn’t come. Until the last minute, they did not think they were coming... until they decided to test God and his support for Fito’s decision. They had lost a large sum of money, searched everywhere for it and had laid it before God in a challenge. Just before our worship began, they came, saying that the money had appeared on the dining room floor. At one point his mom, Socorro, (pictured below) explained that she felt very humbled by God and was thankful that God made sure they did not miss that important day.

Socorro and Mario, Fito's parents, were encouraged by Manuela, who told them about her own son's baptism before she was a believer. Manuela had also worried about the choice her sone was making. She has been a christian for almost 3 years now.


August 28, 2010

Spiritual Seasons
Over the past month we have been visiting the existing churches to evaluate where they are and what direction we might take in helping them along on their journeys. Many right now are experiencing the growing pains of maturing in Christ and are frustrated by this. Relating the phases to the seasons of the year, it seems like a spiritual winter for many. No doubt the recent transitions (including our absence during the last year) have influenced these feelings. Not everyone is headed this way, but there is a large camp that wants to hunker down and huddle together to conserve heat and energy. We pray that the void they feel now will take them closer to God. At times it is discouraging for us as well, but we are hopeful that (just as the seasons change) God will bring them into the fun of spring and summer. Right now we think it is important that they understand that seasons come and go naturally, and that there is good that takes place in every season.

Prayers for Patience and Wisdom
In your prayers for us we especially ask for patience and wisdom. Although we have lived here before, today is new. Coming into this “second term” as missionaries we are aware of the blessing and curse of our past experience. Our goal is to empower disciples here to live deeply in God and in community with each other. More than ever we feel convicted that we cannot be the foundation that any group is built around. We want to encourage and teach without fostering dependence upon ourselves and our presence, modeling lives sustained by Jesus. Easier said than done? Definitely. We are trying to pray over each step we take and allow God to set our direction. We would love for you to share your prayers with us.


August 26

Hola everybody! It already seems like a long time since we’ve seen you. We are settling in here, slowly but surely. The weirdness of having been gone is starting to be replaced by a sense of normal. But we are still looking at things with really fresh eyes, the way that you do before you become comfortable in a new place.

Starting Over
This summer has been very productive. We’ve moved in and unpacked. We’ve reconnected with old friends and have begun to begin again. Schedules are taking shape and life is filling back up. This week the kids returned to school (3rd Kinder and 3rd Grade). Please continue to pray for our ongoing adjustment, especially as the kids try to return to the world of Spanish. Quincy seems to have picked up right where he left off but the twins have been a bit more hesitant. We know that after a couple of days of Kindergarten it will be as if they never left. Still, jumping back in isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Thanks for remembering our kids in your prayers.

Our New Neighborhood
We are renting a house from one of the Christian sisters, and her family lives just across the street. We are thankful that we get to be here. There is a lot of space, (even a yard!!!!) and we enjoy getting to be a part of their community. The socioeconomic level of the people in this neighborhood is lower than where we lived before and the feel is a lot different. There are people out walking and lots of activity on the street. There are some pluses and minuses connected with the change, but overall it seems like a great place to be living. The picture to the side, taken from our roof, is actually of the houses across the street.


Kaleidoscope -- by Kim

A little while ago God gave me a picture as I was reading about living stones being built into a spiritual house. It was a glimpse of a kaleidoscope, with bright flecks of color milling around. As I pondered the thought, it contrasted another picture in my mind of a stained-glass window. The two images have similar properties; beautiful designs made up of many small parts. You can only see the color because of the light that shines through them, and the differences are beautiful. Variety is what makes up the pictures and patterns.

In the past I have thought of a church as a stained glass window that reflects the light of God. He sets the design as a master artist, and creates whatever picture He chooses. But lately I think God is pointing me to the kaleidoscope to enlarge my vision and to give my heart peace. Part of the beauty there is in the way that the pieces move. It is a fluid system, alive with activity. It’s hard to describe the picture and the relationship between each part because the pieces are always shifting. The jostling around is actually part of the wonder. Flecks and shaves of color move in and out of contact with one another in intricate designs. Some are fleeting glimpses, never to be seen exactly that way again . . . even if you keep spinning and trying to get it to do what it has done before.

Our ministry is like this for sure, but I think life is this way. It is hard to describe exactly what is going on sometimes, as in a clear picture to report. Especially in house gatherings, people move in and out of contact with each other, although some stay close together for many spins. It is nice to see that as part of the beauty of the kingdom, where God keeps the flecks in motion. When I was looking for stained-glass, I felt disappointed at not being able to see clearly. But maybe I will be able to enjoy this ride. (And I like bumping into you guys.)


Quincy Rush... Mexico Missionary

This is a link to a video of Quincy, our 8 year old. He was interviewed for a kids' class at the Tulsa Workshop on Mexico.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0pmEPB3tG8 I think it does a great job showing how normal life is in Mexico while being totally different.


Feeling Just A Bit Awkward (from 1-17-2005)

I intended to post this on my blogging anniversary but I forgot what the original date was. So, celebrating 5 years and 1 month of awkward moments...

Another Awkward Moment…

After Kim and I bought a chiminea today we needed to find a stand that was just the right size. I looked a little funny using my belt to measure the base of the chiminea and the stand, but it worked. We found one that fit perfectly!

The only problem was that I only had a 500 peso bill and the stand cost 70. “Would this rather robust woman have change for a 500?” I thought to myself. And I don't mind saying, I was a bit shocked to hear her say yes. What was odd was that she had to dig into her bra to pull the change out. Of course I've seen this in the movies, but I don't think I've ever had someone, right before my eyes, make change for me out of their underwear. Then, as she's digging around in there, I realize that I'm still putting my belt back on. How could this possibly look to those just passing by?

Needless to say, I felt just a bit awkward.