“I think God spoke to me in Spanish tonight!”
I have been going to the men’s group at our church for the past two months. It has been a great opportunity for me to stretch my Spanish as I don’t have my personal translator (i.e. Emily) with me and I have the opportunity to be immersed for two+ hours with men who are seeking to love God…and speak very little English. I have to rely solely on my own Spanish and the generosity and patience of my Mexican brothers.
It is a gloriously frustrating experience.
It is a glorious time to being able to sit at the same table as my Mexican brothers and hear how they seek to follow after Christ and what issues are on their hearts. They are burdened for their families, for their communities, and for their country. There are many similarities to issues facing men in our society but they are nuanced in the many differences that separate our American and Mexican cultures. Yet at the heart, we are all trying to seek God with our entire hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. It is always a glorious time together reading scripture, praying, and discussing about being men in Mexico.
And it is a frustrating time…not because of anything my Mexican brothers are doing or not doing…but simply because I still have so much to learn and because my Spanish is not yet at the level that I can freely share my thoughts (which I actually think is a good thing but that would be for another post I guess). I am at the place that I can understand more or less what is being said and track the major thread of the conversations but I still can’t yet participate in a way I would desire. I feel hopelessly inadequate to the task at hand and wonder why on earth God would lead me to a place like this.
It is gloriously frustrating.
And this past night God spoke directly to my heart through my Mexican brothers. We were discussing how to fight injustice in society and the role we as men need to take; starting by addressing the issues in our own lives. It was a heavy conversation…anyone who looks at the needs and injustices in Mexico can become easily overwhelmed…and easily frustrated at the task at hand…you didn’t need to know Spanish to see the weight on the men’s faces. Towards the end we were given five minutes of silence to sit before God and ask ourselves what we needed to do in our own lives.
There have been only a few times I have felt God speaking to me as clearly as if he was right there next to me…as if I could reach out and touch him…and this was one of them. “Be faithful” …God whispered in his quiet yet strong voice….”be faithful as I have been faithful to you.” I don’t know what these words mean to you, but to me they were exactly the words I needed to hear. “Be faithful.” God didn’t lead me here to Mexico be efficient, honored, respected, proficient, etc…but simply to be faithful to his calling to live a life of obedience to Him. He has been faithful to me in the past; I have confidence he will be faithful to me in future; and I need to rest in his faithfulness for the present.
…or for all you Norfolk Marine types…”Semper Fi!”
The Good: We live one block away from a fenced in park with a 1500 meter pathway along the circumference of the park.
The Bad: The park has been under construction for the past 4 months. Which means construction workers. And you have to run multiple laps around the park in order to run a decent distance. Which means running past said construction workers several times.
The Ugly: The ummm…shall we say “compliments” received every.single.lap.
The Benefits: The motivation to turn my music up louder, pull my running visor down lower, and run faster. Thank you, construction workers. Oh…and my desire to research at home work out videos.
The Winner: Of the best “compliment” of the construction running season goes to unknown workers today during lap 2…singing “you like to move it, move it” ala MadagascarAND performing a, well, dance (?), I guess.
Did you know that Guadalajara has her own virgin? This past Friday was the annual “Romeria” or processional for the Virgin of Zapopan, which is a tiny statue of the Virgin Mary made out of corn husks. Our girls had off school and large streets in the city were shut down for the Virgin of Zapopan to proceed to her home in the Basilica of Zapopan. It was quite the experience to watch.
Read the short following article to learn more about the Virgin of Zapopan, her origin, the miracles she is known for, and why this is one of the biggest religious events in the city all year.
Categories: Church, Mexico
Here are three more book reviews from books I finished this past week on break between language sessions.
Leadership is a great book exploring the issues of cross cultural leadership. I’ve been on the search for a book like this for some time and finally found a bit of what I was looking for. This book doesn’t just skim the surface of cross cultural issues like many books do but rather dives deeper into the philosophical, sociological, and theological issues surrounding the issues of leadership in a cross-cultural setting. I think anyone who is in a leadership position could benefit from this book whether they are serving “internationally” or not. The fact that our world is getting so much smaller and our culture so much more fractured into smaller sub cultures warrants this much needed topic. If you are in leadership today you will be in a cross-cultural situation more than once. Whether, ethnically, generationally, across social barriers, differing parts of the same country, differing professions, etc… This book can help.
It’s hard to argue with Barna and with facts. He certainly does his research and has a proven track record. With that said this is Barna’s interpretation of the spiritual landscape across the States today…in what Barna calls a Spiritual Revolution. Although I am certain many people will be dismayed by what Barna lays out in this book, I found it uplifting and encouraging. God is certainly still working but just not in the areas we traditionally think he is. If you are wondering whats going on with the next generation or where the Church is heading then I think you will find this book both challenging and helpful. I for one believe what he describes because I’ve seen it with my own eyes for the past 8 years working with youth in a church and now devoting the next segment of my life to what some may call a “revolutionary” new way of being the Church.
As an in-home counselor and youth pastor I worked with numerous kids you were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and now as a parent of one of those potentials I found this book extremely helpful and balanced. In the ADD/ADHD world opinions abound from parents, counselors, doctors, psychologists, and all the highly educated know-it-alls who post comments on message boards. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one!) This book is written from the middle of the road and gives a great holistic view of what ADHD actually is and how we as parents and educators can respond. It provides very practical tools and suggestions for parents about dietary concerns, medications, schooling, home discipline, and more. If you have a child who you think is on the ADD/ADHD spectrum or work with a child who is this book will certainly help point you in the right direction and help you be and sound more educated about the issue than most people talking on the airways. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one either!)
It’s official! We have officially been BRANDED with our sending agency’s (TEAM) new logo and websites! Check them out.
We love our mission and the people involved. They do a lot of work for us and are a tremendous resource for us from medical needs to education issues for our children to professional counseling and simply being a kind and listening ear. Some sending agencies often get a bad name for whatever reason perhaps because they can be seen as bureaucratic obstacles to get to the field. Perhaps this is true with some agencies but certainly not with TEAM. TEAM isn’t perfect (what agency is) but they strive to set up their missionaries for long term success and effectiveness in the field. Just ask several of our coworkers here in Mexico who have worked as missionaries for 20+ years with TEAM. We absolutely love our mission and the support and care they provide!
Check out these new sites…really…and no they didn’t pay us to say these things…we really do love our mission!
TEAM Mexico: This is our ministry area’s specific site. It’s a great way to see what we as an entire team are up to here in Mexico.
TEAM: This is the broader TEAM site and is a great way to see what TEAM as a whole is up to around the world.