Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Blessed



Yesterday I had an experience that made me think of the words above.  I thought of how tritely I say them, and how little I acknowledge how truly blessed I am.  If I were to count my blessings, listing them one by one, I would literally be here all day.  I realised after yesterday that I take for granted that I have food on my table, 3 times a day, and I can choose what that food is!! I have clothes on my back, also of my choosing.  I have a roof over my head, that keeps me safe, warm and dry.  I was raised in a generational loving home that loved Jesus. I have health. I have, I have, I have.  But do I realise what a blessing those things are?  Do I acknowledge that not everyone has those things, those basic things?

Where was I yesterday? Sid Reimer took me to the dump in Ixtapa, where he is trying to help people with these basic needs.  There I saw a community of people that LIVE on the dump and scavenge through other peoples garbage to try and make a living (mostly by collecting and reselling recyclables).  There, amidst the rubble, sits a small school house where Olga, our little 'mother Theresa' pours her life into children and a hurting community.  People like Sid and Olga try to help these people and try to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
A "Mexican Mother Theresa" - Olga
  Here are some other pics from my morning on the mountain.  Please pray for Olga. There are days when she wants to throw in the towel.  Pray for Sid Reimer as he tries to help out with resources; that he would have wisdom from on high to know when and how to best help.  Pray for the community that lives there. And while you are praying, thank God for his rich blessings on your life.  I know I did.
Sid and Olga trying to work out putting up a fence (Ernie translating)
Explaining to the labourer where to dig the post holes

A young Seven Day Adventist missionary who teaches the small children
Olga teaching the Junior High students
We in the Western World are are blessed, or cursed, with abundance.  We tritely say things like 'clean your plate, there are people starving in Africa'.  But there actually are people starving, or just struggling daily to get by, to survive.  I saw first hand this struggle and I was reminded that I am blessed.  I was reminded to give thanks, to be generous, to be thankful for having been raised by loving parents who provided for me.  To be grateful for a mother who loved me.

No matter where we live there is probably someone nearby who is hurting and who doesn't have basic needs being met.  Not all of us are called to that ministry but we are commanded to be grateful.  I was reminded of that fact this week and am truly grateful for the reminder.  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ixtapa with MissionX

Good Morning Folks,
 After a long bus ride, 8 hours or so, we arrived safely in Ixtapa, where we were warmly greeted by Sid Reimer. The students had to immediately jump into the pool to cool off. The temps are much warmer here than in GDL.
Some of the boys taking a dip - Ah so refreshing!
Me at our hotel upon arrival
Ernie and Sid Reimer
The students will be spending 2 weeks here, joining the missionaries with their ministries. Ernie and I have joined them to help with translation. They would covet your prayers as they will now be stretched a little more. They will be amongst people who don't speak English (like many of our cell people in GDL do) and with people who have less resources. They will also be billeted, for 5 days,  into national homes during this time. This is often the scariest part of MissionX but also many times becomes the highlight. Pray for continued health (no one has been sick so far) and safety.  But, mostly pray that God would work in and through them all.

Mission Ex with Steinbach Bible College

For those of your who are not on Facebook, here is a little update of our time so far with the Mission Ex students from Steinbach Bible College.  They are here for three weeks, to experience, to taste, to see (to learn) and to explore another culture.  They will be learning what it is like to do cross-cultural missions. They are probably feeling a bit stretched already but have been willing to try.  Pray with us that God will work in their hearts and lives.  Here are some pictures from their time so far...
Who wouldn't want fried grasshoppers for Valentine's Day?
Lynette chatting with Julieta at our Sunday Fellowship time
Carl and Juan chatting, with Robyn listening in...
and floor hockey going on in the back!
Celebrating 2 birthdays with cake... and candles...!
Testimony and singing time
SBC students perform the 'Via Dolorosa' skit
what's a birthday in Mexico without a PiƱata?
Lynette and Cassandra chatting at the 'convivio' 



Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Update and MissionX

So let me update you all as to what has been happening and what is on the docket. For those of you who didn't know, Ernie left at the end of January for Alberta, where he taught a weekend course for Berean Schools. Although he left SBC over a year ago, he still enjoys teaching and so teaches the odd course for Berean. Then, since he was already in Canada, he hopped on over to Steinbach for a few days to do some connecting... .... 
Ernie and Jessy (my dear friend and the dean of women at SBC)
While he was reconnecting with old friends, visiting family, watching our son play hockey (caught the last two games of regular season - both W's), and just having a great old time with our sons, I was not exactly lallygagging around. Shortly after he left, a guest arrived from home. So I did some touring around with Carol and Emilie, (a new friend who is here to visit a missionary friend of mine).

Carol and Emilie in Chapala 
I also headed to the gym every morning for my workout and chatting with friends, celebrated a birthday with the Coto ladies, went to cell, hosted missionary ladies Bible study and the usual everyday activities.  Life here is busy and fulfilling.

What is on deck?  Tomorrow evening the SBC MissionX team arrives.  The new missions prof, Carl Loewen, and 7 students will be spending three weeks with us.  They will spend the first 4 days here in GDL and then Ernie and I will take them to Ixtapa where we will meet mission board member, Sid Reimer.  We will be down there for 2 weeks joining up with other missionaries and their ministries.  The students will also be billeted in national homes, during part of their stay, to experience Mexican culture up close. Finally, we will all return to GLD for the wind up.

So, we covet your prayers for safety, team bonding and unity, and that our team here would be able to share the vision for missions, abroad and where ever we find ourselves.  

I will try to post an update from Ixtapa next week.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Mi Casa Es Su Casa


Recently I asked some friends about this phrase, not because I didn´t know what it meant but rather because I wanted to understand what they really meant by it.  See, I almost never, so as not to say 'never', go through a week without being told this every thing.  Due to the frequency of the statement, I wanted to get my head around what they were trying to convey.

Whenever someone is telling me a story about something that happened (and it just happened to have taken place at their place) during the telling they make sure to let me know that ¨their house is my house.¨  If taken literally, I have a lot of houses!  

Now I have heard this phrase, as I am sure many of you have, and maybe even understand it to mean that I am to feel at home at their place.  But what I was asking my friends was, what they meant by it,  due to the fact that I got told it so often here.  And, not only often, but emphatically!  This was their answer:
People want you to know that they consider you a friend and they want you to feel welcomed - that whatever they have, is yours.  They are almost offering you their friendship. They repeat it often to you, as a foreigner, so that you catch it... really, my place is your place, feel at home, be at home.  

This is yet another thing that my family in Guadalajara is teaching me...don´t assume the relationship.  Repeat it often - the invitation to friendship.  Every story that has 'my place' in it, let them know that it is theirs too.  What I have is yours.  Feel comfortable and relaxed at my place.  We are friends.

That said, my next door neighbor, Ale, introduced herself to my children as my sister.  So that speaks to me of our friendship.  We have been left in charge of their adolscent children when they went to the states.  We have stated on occasion that we are friends, family.  Yet, this past week she came to my door, needing to borrow my oven,  because she had run out of gas while baking a cake.  She apologized for bothering me!  She came to my door Saturday, needing tools to fix something.  She apologized for bothing me...again.  I finally said, hey you can´t be my sister one day and then apologizing the next for being a bother!  Either we are family or we´re not.  No, no she said, we are family!  Okay then, I said, whatever you need, I´m here.  And you, I said, I know you are there too for whatever I need.

So that you know - ¨Mi casa es su casa.¨ Feel free to come for a visit.  But, as the joke gets said here, ¨since its your house, do you mind paying the rent and the water right away!¨