Monthly Archives: July 2012

Birthday Bash

Have you ever wondered what to do for a 5 year old’s birthday party in Guadalajara, Mexico?…well here you go!

Dress up the whole family like the latest Disney movie…

Give everyone pony rides…

Feed them all really great food…

Let all the kids have the time of their lives…

Hire clowns for entertainment and face painting…

Put on a theatrical performance…

Smash 4 larger than life pinatas…

Give every kid their own take home pinata head stuffed with additional candy…

And then soak in the aftermath…and figure out a way to let your soon to be 5 year old down lightly (no, sweetie, you will not get the same type of party)!

Categories: Family, Mexico | 2 Comments

Why We Fight

[This post is dedicated to Scott Hill, my friend, brother, and co-laborer who is the Latin American Director of Operation Blessing. Check out all their cool work at their website HERE.]

It is very easy to be overwhelmed when we think about all the injustice and systemic ills that plague society around us…especially in Mexico.  So, why do we fight against the brokenness in this world? What do we think we can realistically accomplish?

We do not fight because we think we can make a difference or because we think we can change things…we are simply too small, too weak, and too self-centered to break the systems of this world.

We DO NOT FIGHT because we think we can overcome the brokenness…

WE FIGHT because we believe brokenness has ALREADY BEEN overcome at the foot of the cross and that a new covenant has been birthed, is at work in our midst, and is seeking our participation!

When we fight for change we testify to this fact.

We testify that light has broken into our dark reality. It has made itself manifest and is coming. The old order is passing away and the new is being birthed.

When we fight we testify that one day, “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4)

When we fight we testify that, “creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed…that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19,21)

When we fight we testify along with our Lord saying, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

When we fight we testify to our Savior saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

When we fight we testify that “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they can be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

When we fight we testify along with Christ saying, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. Change your life and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

When we fight we seek to “bring all things in heaven and on earth together” (Ephesians 1:10) and pray along with our Lord and Savior “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

This is why we fight. This is why we cry. This is why we bleed.

Categories: Mexico, Mission, Vision | Leave a comment

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Why you should choose your soccer jersey carefully in Mexico

Categories: Mexico | Leave a comment

Church Planting and Social Justice

Hello bloggy world…so you may have noticed that Pete has been doing the bulk of the writing on this blog lately…I think I have a pretty amazing husband, right?  He loves to learn and study, and before he says anything he has usually spent a lot of time thinking about it.  I also love to learn and read, although in a different way…and I tend to speak before I think too much about what I say, although I’m working on that.  Haha…well, let’s just say I’m also great at apologizing…so, welcome to an “Emily” post.  I confess to you now…I have not overly researched this.  What follows is just what burns in my heart, so I cannot keep silent…

Did you know that missionaries argue?  Apparently there is a conflict between “church planting” and “social justice” missionaries, which to me seems to be a bit silly.  First of all, to even define “church planting” you’d have to read a ton of books, which, quite frankly, don’t interest me (Pete has read them, so does that count for me?  I mean, if he’s the head of the household and all it should…and those who know me just did a big ol’ LOL at that!)…because all these different people have different ideas about what it even means to plant a church.  Then there is “social justice,” which, honestly, might need a new name, because for whatever reason if you care about that these days you’re not into church and theology…I don’t think you’d have to look very far to debunk that idea…finding someone who digs so-called “social justice” AND church and theology is possible.  In the interest of full disclosure…I actually do read “social justice” books from beginning to end…about the only kind of non-fiction book that I read cover to cover…but let me get to the point…

When we drive from our house in Guadalajara to an outlying neighborhood called Tonala, we pass neighborhoods where poverty is built on top of poverty…

Every week I look in the faces of children asking for food or money or selling trinkets on the streets…

Moms with children on their backs stop by my house asking for old clothes…

A woman blind from cataracts sings in the streets for money…

A man with one arm asks every day to dust our car at the intersection where Pete goes to school…

I could go on, but the point is this…some people are telling me I’ll get used to it…that I won’t “see” it anymore.  I cry just thinking that something like that could happen.  When I look, when I pray, when I cry out to God asking that He extend His hand and that these I see in front of me and so many more I don’t see would know that God sees them and that He yearns to cry out to them, “Live! I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10), when I do those things, God does this for me…he makes the following words burn in my heart to the point that I CANNOT look away.  I am compelled to act, to learn, to love, and to work for whatever renewal Jesus wants me to offer in the now moments of this life while at.the.same.time sharing the reality of the kingdom yet to come for those who believe in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you. [That sentence especially strikes me as I look at moms trying their best to care for their kids.] Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ” (Luke 6:29-31, 36)

“Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:32-34)

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:13-14)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.  Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” (Ezekiel 17:49-50)

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

It seems to me that Jesus should be our example in church planting…and he didn’t just “evangelize” in one way, right?  I mean, he did lots of stuff besides just leading Torah studies in the temple…so what I’m saying is this…all those verses (and so many more…) BURN IN ME when I think about what I want to learn and do in Mexico.  In my opinion, activities like starting a school for under-served kids or working with abused women or counseling drug-addicted teens have an important place on a church planting team; all alongside friendship evangelism and in-home Bible studies.  What I think would be COOL is if we had teams composed of people whose hearts burn like mine, but also people whose hearts burn to teach theology, to ensure that a Sunday morning corporate worship time is honoring to God and beneficial for the body, to disciple new converts, etc., etc.  We are, after all, called the body of Christ…”so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Rom 12:5-8)

To have a church planting team or a church without “social justice” is, in my opinion, short-sighted, just as “social justice” acts without anchors to a local body of believers is also short-sighted!  We need each other.  Dear friend who likes to read Romans and 1 Timothy once a month…I need you.  I LOVE that you love theology and church structure, because, quite frankly, those areas are a struggle for me.  BUT…you need me, too.  We need to work together, as the body of Christ.  We need to be on teams together, to fill in holes we both have, to have great discussions in meetings and then pray and forgive when we annoy each other, to seek God’s will together, to free each other up to work in our areas of gifting FOR THE GLORY OF GOD and for the growth and edification of His body, the Church.  Diversity in a church body has to start with diversity on the church (planting) leadership team.  I think traditional methods of church planting are a GREAT fit with people who want to do “social justice”…we just have to be flexible, humble, willing to work together and think outside the box of our perspective “camps”, willing to recognize the gifts each of us bring to the table, and willing to live in between the tension between the two.

Categories: Church, Mission, Unity, Vision | 4 Comments

Mexico in Moratorium

Here is a journal entry from this past month.

I sit here in a mall waiting for my car to be fixed. It is by far one of the nicest malls I’ve ever seen. I’m reading a book about Mexican culture, history, and politics and a dominating question throughout has been, “What does it mean to be Mexican?” It is a simple question with a complex answer or at least the 700+ pages of the book say so. I’ve heard it said that Mexico is still in its adolescence, figuring itself out and trying on various identities to see what truly fits them as a nation. They are in Erik Erikson’s “identity crisis of adolescence.” They are working out their identity and in an almost continual state of of what Erikson calls “moratorium” or a holding pattern till their inner identity is found.

This concept is most striking to me as I sit here in an extremely wealthy mall while kids peddle gum on the streets just to have some food to eat. For a segment of Mexican society it appears that they are embracing and seeking their identity in the idea of the “american dream” that has invaded their country; wealth, materialism, and their version of the white picket fence. I’m not one to believe that all progress is bad but I pray that in all their seeking they do not get caught up in progress, materialism, and the latest fad being peddled by marketers like we have in the US. If we know anything in the US it should certainly be that progress may solve some, and some much needed, societal problems (e.g. sanitation, food quality, available education, etc…) but progress will never solve the inner problems of our hearts. No amount of wealth or technology or entertainment will solve the restlessness and inner yearnings of our hearts. The reality, it seems, is to be quite the opposite. These things only serve to distract us from our inner selves and the ultimate end result reminds me of the great and classic book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” by Neil Postman.

We may be an “advanced” people in the US but we are still an empty people on the inside. If Mexicans are in their adolescents we in the US are the retired 45 year old millionaire who plays golf everyday. He is enjoying the fruit of his hard labor but is continually looking for the next thing to spend his money on or be entertained by because he has quickly become restless on the inside wondering what good all his hard work and money has truly earned him. He is amusing himself to death and the said fact is that he doesn’t even know it.

However, I do pray for progress in Mexico. I do not begrudge them that. We have had our turn and they should have the freedom and be allowed theirs. However, I pray that in in the midst of their progress and development they would not neglect their souls and in fact I pray that they may find their turn center and soul. May they find the One who can truly satisfy their inner being. It will not be found in Starbucks, exotic vacations, fancy cars, or the latest Apple product…but only in the very present and future reality of the Kingdom of God.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fares. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” Isaiah 55:1-3

Categories: Mexico, prayer, Vision | Leave a comment

Girls Ballet Competition

We have had the girls (Ali & Ava) enrolled in ballet lessons and they have been loving it…especially as everything they do has been princess related. Being involved in the community in this way has been a great way to meet other families. We have had many great conversations while waiting/watching at our girls ballet lessons. Here are some photos and a video of the girls first ballet competition.They got third place in their division!

The Girls Dance Class: Las Princesas

The Aspiring Ballerina

The Ballet Competition

The Girls Competition Routine: They were by far the youngest group there!

Categories: Family, Mexico | 1 Comment

Frutas! Frutas!

There are many things we are becoming accustomed to here in Mexico, but one that Emily and our family has very quickly come to enjoy is the wonderful fresh fruit and juices readily available almost anywhere you turn. (Seriously…we might be ruined for life.)  In fact we don’t have to look beyond our front door!  A  man drives by almost every morning selling fresh fruit and vegetables right out of his truck. Here are some pics of Emily buying us some fruit from our friendly neighborhood fruit man!

Categories: Mexico | 1 Comment

Blog at