Saturday, April 23, 2011

One Month Today:

It's my one month anniversary in Morelia, and what better way to celebrate than to share pictures with you from our trip to Patzcuaro today. I am so blessed to be here, in the company of these beautiful people.
My heart overflows with utmost joy and love, that could only be from my Maker.
I could go on and on, but the pictures tell the story of joy upon my heart,
because these people are the reason for my joy.

Erick, Luis, Juan and Marco:

Luis and Marco:

My sister, Montse:

"Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken,
but your life was changing..."

— Elizabeth Gilbert

Today, my heart is full, well and alive.
I have overcome the grief and the mourning that was upon me when I arrived,
all thanks to these beautiful people God has given me to love...
for they welcomed and loved me without knowing who I was.
Praise be to Him, who makes ALL THINGS NEW, including me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The people I have been given to love...

Time for another update, dear friends and family :).

Many things to recount for you. On Friday, at 7:25 we finished up our last class before Semana Santa, a two-week break celebrating the Resurrection. My last class was quite the adventure, since we only had 25 minutes to complete our lesson. My students in that class love to laugh and joke and many arrive I don't think much was accomplished it seemed as though there was a knock on the door every other minute. And two of my students in the earlier class decided to knock and pretend to come in and sit down for class. The running joke here is that I would definitely be unable to teach all of them at the same time, because we would never stop laughing!!!

At 7:25 we loaded up the van to venture to our campsite/water-park. Once we arrived we set up the campsite and went over rules, and then we went to grab dinner. Burritos de bistec! So good :). After that we went back to the campsite, the boys sang and dance on the way back; and then Hugo gave the message about the importance of knowing God today, rather than waiting for tomorrow. And then...we played games in the dark. First we had to search for Yael, and our group miserably failed at finding him. Then we played ultimate frisbee, but I just walked around and watched :). Finally, we played Capture the Flag and I was in charge of guarding the flag. I got so caught up in the game that Nadia, a teammate of mine, and I ran right into each other-her head met my chin...full force. Capture the Flag turned out to be my favorite game of the night. We returned back to the campsite to sit by the fire, play mafia and have smores. My sister and I a few others got next to no amount of sleep, because we just stayed by the fire.

The next morning we woke up and went down to the pool and watched the boys play football and chicken. We were bundled in our blankets :). Then we had breakfast and Ryan gave the message of the importance of knowing what this break really means, and acknowledging the importance of it all year round. After that we watched the guys play soccer, and then most of us ventured down to the pool and played games for a few hours. We returned for my favorite meal, tacos de carne asada and spent the rest of the afternoon playing games and chatting over coffee and taking many, many pictures. All in all, it was a beautiful time, so much fun.

The next morning Montse and I went to church and met up with Nadia. The message was centered upon hospitality, and I have seen the truest of hospitality since being here in Morelia. We then came home and ate carnitas and rested for a time, and went to the Ranch to visit her family. This time I was much more comfortable with everyone and I was able to practice a lot with my Spanish! It felt so good to be able to hold a steady conversation without much trouble. We had a lot of laughs while we were there reminiscing some of what happened while camping and then making new memories while we were there.

And yesterday, we cleaned around the house and then went to Bible Study where I gave the message...I was extremely nervous, but thankfully God spoke through me. I was able to share part of my story and what brought me here and leave them with the thought that God hears them, He sees them, He loves them and that He fights for them.

Again these are my rambling strings of thoughts, and I write with over-brimming joy upon my heart, because God is blessing me so much. I feel that these dear students, family, friends of mine are doing more for me, than I for them. I am just four days away from my month anniversary of being here in Morelia, and each day my love for these people and this place continues to grow all the more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Brought Me Here...

Faraway from all she has ever known,
Yet you are taking this place and making Yourself shown.
You are gathering all of her and gently gracing her with whispers that this, this is another home.
And so the days they pass, and the departure seems too close in reach, with not a need to roam.

Because You are all she sees,
You are all she needs.

You have been found in the fragmented sentences of attempts,
You have been found in the stillness and laughter, every moment has beheld a sweet glimpse.
You have been found in a city that just weeks ago, was just another name.
You have been found in the doors of a church, claiming Your renown, Your beautiful fame.

These people have taken such a great hold on her heart,
And so she’s living these days in the moment, and not looking to depart.

You’ve awakened her spirit, breathed life into the recent hurt and pain,
And the fullest, the sweetest, the purest, of joy is being attained.

She is beholding Your daughters and sons,
Become undone…
And walk into Your open arms of love.

She is beholding new life, abundant life in Your’s children’s eyes,
And as she sits and watches all this take place, she cries-

All this, from the pages of a book,
Praise be to You, who brought her to look…
And then to come, to stay-
With no words, to properly convey. . .

This love she feels for this place and these people, who just days ago, she never knew.
That, in itself, speaks that this is all, this is all from You.

"Pero a los que buscan al Señor nada les falta."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Photo Journal

Coffee Outing:

Un Espacio:

I see YOU everywhere, here...

So in the meantime, my classes have been going exceptionally well! We are having a blast, learning the language. Friday all of my classes played games and the students were so much fun! I was kind of worried that somebody might come in our classroom, because of our crazy, mad laughter.

We're conquering the word lieutenant, and when I went to correct of one my student's spelling mistakes; I ended up spelling it incorrectly and that got a whole lot of laughter...among other things the verb to clog, became known as to clop, and qualified became classified.

And in my adult class, our communication is continuing to improve on both sides. We are all patient with each other, because we are all learning.

Friday, I accompanied some of the boys to Plaza de las Americas, a huge mall, and downtown to some of the museums. They have already pegged my style, by placing a fedora and a sun hat on me. I guess I am too predictable. We practiced a lot of Spanish and laughed at the times when some of them were talking way too fast for me to be able to comprehend!

Friday night, Un Espacio, we played water games and I managed to get soaked all thanks to one of my students, within the first couple minutes of the first game. It was so much fun :).

Then yesterday, I went to the mercado to get food for the week, watched Gol with Fer, and was picked up for church. Following that a large group of us went out for coffee and crepes...we took a lot of pictures, laughed a lot, and danced on the way home. Yes, they all now know my signature dance move of "clawing the rooftop."

And today, oh today! The Lord moved in worship this morning, a sweet daughter has come to know the love of her Maker. I am absolutely awestruck and overwhelmed with all-consuming joy; the difference can be seen in her eyes-and I am blessed beyond words.

Afterwards, we went over to Erick's house and were graced with lovely fellowship and a meal...and then my sister and I ventured home quickly to change for her game. And stopped for coffee on the way back :)

I am smiling as I type all of these rambling strings of thoughts to you, because I am just in awe of all that He has already done, here. God is moving here, and I am being blessed to just sit here and be able to see it all happen. He is strengthening my relationships with the students, as I write, and last night I couldn't sleep- I was bombarded with ideas as to how I can further be spent for these dear students...and I am hopeful and joyful at what has yet to come, because I know that beautiful things are to come to pass.

He is more, more than my words could ever say, and to think that He brought me here from the pages of a absolutely and perfectly, the very works of His hands.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

estoy encontrando propósito en Ti...

It's that time again to tell you stories of what all has happened before they are lost, and forgotten.

On Friday, I shadowed Sharon for the last time and before my second class I was asked to accompany some students for ice cream. I wasn't sure I had enough time, but one of my students was going along-and Sharon insisted that it would be alright. So we went in search of ice cream about ten minutes before class was scheduled to begin, and I tried agua fresa comparable to a strawberry milkshake. And turns out, we were indeed late arriving, but there was so much laughter and fun that I wouldn't have traded it for anything...

After my last class I went to Un Espacio, youth group held at the Ark every Friday night. We played games, and yes, after much convincing I actually participated in them :). We then sat down and Juan talked to us about living without fear, in the moment. How appropriate, right?

It seems that everyday God is giving me yet, another reminder of why He brought me here. Today, it's always easier to say tomorrow-to live in the waiting, but God doesn't desire us to live content, stagnant lives-He desires lives that seize the day, take in the beauty of the moment, and live, live without fear. Vive sin temor, en este momento. Lucha ahora, no esperas por un buen momento, porque nunca llegaba. Live without fear, in this moment. Fight now, don't wait for the right moment, because it will never come...

The next day I watched a movie, Harry Potter in Spanish, with my youngest sister and we ate dinner-after our usual venture to the mercado for the week's bounty of food. Later Monse, Fer and I ventured downtown in search of gaspacho: pineapples, watermelon, mango, and some spices-that's my best interpretation of all the ingredients. We walked the whole way home from the Centro, quite a long walk, but I got to take in more sights of the city... And a side-note, I am pretty sure I discovered my favorite plate up to this point, milanesa with fresh pico de gallo and salsa! So good!


On Sunday, we got to sleep in and then went to San Miguel del Monte, the ranch. It reminded me a lot of Vicente Guerrero, a lot like home. It was nice to be able to see the grandeur of the city and then travel into the country. We visited with family, walked around the ranch and ate dinner. The stars were a sight to behold on the return trip.

And yesterday, was my first attempt at classes without Sharon, and they went great! No nerves accompanied me this time, so I think I have finally been able to rid myself of them in regards to teaching! My classroom was full of laughter as we stumbled through more embedded questions. Surprisingly in all of my three classes we got through the lesson with plenty of time left over, so hopefully I will begin to master the timing of everything.

Following my last class, we all piled into the van and traveled to the orphanage for Bible Study. We listened to John tell his story of running away from God, himself and purpose, only to realize that He would never be able to run from God, because when we run from Him, we run to him. It was another beautiful reminder of purpose and once you have found your purpose, allowing that to become your reason for living.

If you are reading this and you find yourself lacking purpose and hope, listen to this song, someone is praying you through- Pray You Through, Sixteen Cities. The Lord is not done with you, dear son and daughter, He is just beginning to fulfill His purpose for you. So walk with Him today, don't wait until tomorrow. It will be the best decision your heart could ever make.

This morning I stumbled upon a very fitting scripture in Psalms 138:8- "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever-do not abandon the works of Your hands."
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. The Lord's purpose for me is to understand and speak the Spanish language with utmost confidence, and live on the field for which He has chosen me, Mexico. The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me, and what a beautiful truth it is to tell you, He is fulfilling His purpose for me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"She's not leaving alone because you go with her..."

So hmm..before the days are lost upon the both of us, I should probably recount the latest happenings here in Morelia, and my heart:

This week was the first full week of classes, and thankfully, I was able to take in some more shadowing of my three highest level classes. Which meant I just had to prep for my youngest class and the adult beginners; both of which have been going really well. I am grateful to have some help in Nadia, who is fluent in both Spanish and English, to help me in the adult class...having her willing help, puts me at ease.

Yesterday, I went to a surprise breakfast for Sharon, the woman I will be replacing. She has been such a blessing to watch and learn from in these first few days, and it was nice to have that time to just be with the other teachers and staff at NOE. And, I successfully found the restaurant by myself! So I am learning how to get around my neighborhood, at least!

  • I am really confident that the classroom is where these relationships are going to grow, and it's such a blessing to have that assurance, and definitely so soon. There has already been so much laughter shared, and we have just begun-so exciting!
  • My family continually seeks to make sure I feel right at home. Teaching me, one word at a time, and patiently waiting as I stumble to complete a sentence.
  • I am so, so grateful for each and every message and every email from everyone back at home! Your prayers are most certainly at work and I promise, more pictures will come soon-so you have an idea as to where you are serving, and the people you are loving.
  • I have 1 full note-card of words I have just learned and at present, committing to memory. I don't want to miss anything or any word.
So if i one word could describe where I am, it would be: grateful.

1. Grateful for the little things like Karen Kingsbury's latest book I just finished that reflects this time of my life, in a God-orchestrated way-reminding me of healing and home, all at the same time.
2. Grateful for this placement, time gifted to me to learn the language, without fear.
3. Grateful for this family who has opened their home to me and their patient, encouraging hearts.
4. Grateful for all of the students at NOE that I have met and yet to meet, for letting me feel apart of them, so soon.

5. Grateful to you, the reader-my friend, my family, because you are just as with me in Morelia, as you are when I am in your company. Thank you for believing in me and praise be to God for believing in me too.