Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Next Steps

On the path to Spain

Next Steps

In January when we said YES to God's call for us to envision life and ministry in Spain with the goal of being there by summer 2016, we knew that a journey would be involved, both physically and emotionally. What we didn't completely realize was the physical journey that would need to happen this year. Our first step was to investigate potential ministry partners. As we walked through this process during the spring, one ministry in particular emerged.

In May, our potential Spanish ministry partner invited us to come to their annual conference this September. This visit will allow us to get to know one another's DNA, to fellowship, and explore how our programs might support each other before making a final commitment to work together. We are very excited about this opportunity.

Then, this past month the United World Mission leadership suggested that we go to the UWM Europe regional conference in Slovenia this August, as it only happens every 3 years. By attending the conference we will get to know our fellow UWM missionaries, their missional ethos, and how our program in Spain will benefit UWM’s work throughout the region. Spain is a new field for UWM, therefore it is even more important that we have the opportunity to connect with how God is working in and through our organization as a whole on the European continent.

Would you join  us as we continue this journey towards Spain? We believe these two trips will be critical in helping to bring definition to the calling God has given us. That said, we need to raise $10,000 in one time gifts by August. Approximately $7500 will be needed for airfare and another $2500 for conference and travel-related costs between the two trips.

Would you be willing to help in this special project as we lay the foundations to launch Avance in Spain? If you would like to give you can click on this link to give online. Simply choose "missionary" from the designation drop down menu. A second drop down menu will appear and you can choose our name: Kevin & Leah Book-Satterlee. |f you would like to give by check you can make it out to United World Mission and include a separate note with our names and donor number: #27606. Checks can be mailed to: 
United World Mission
PO Box 602002
Charlotte, NC 28260-2002

Thank you!

The Book-Satterlees

Monday, November 25, 2013

Latin America Mission: A Ministry of United World Mission

We haven't said a lot about the transition involved with LAM merging into UWM, mostly because our day to day life has been affected minimally and we weren't quite sure what to expect. Last week we met with John Bernard, our new president, as well as several other staff members from the UWM sending office. They helped us hammer out details over administrative issues (if you are a financial supporter hopefully you have already received information), and also to just listen to us and hear more about our ministries.

A few things we are excited about:

1. Expansion: Not every Avance participant who comes through our doors feels called to Latin America. Now we have the opportunity to direct them towards other opportunities worldwide after their training is complete, all while staying within the same family.

2. Networking: UWM has traditionally had very few/no short-term options, but they are begining to change that. We have the opportunity to share what we have learned in this journey with other programs, as well as learn from them.

3. Servant Leadership: Our overall impression, really from the first day that we met with UWM leadership, was that they are humble, good listeners, equippers, and overall wanting to support the legacy and mission of LAM and its missionaries.

Last week was a flurry of activity and most days we did not arrive home until 10:30 or 11 pm, but we are thankful for the time that we were able to spend with the UWM staff. Please continue to pray for us all as we look to become one family rather than two seperate distinct ones, and for the immense amount of administrative work that is necessary to make this merger happen as smoothly as possible.

Thank you!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day of the Dead: Part 2

Living in Mexico as parents is much different than living in Mexico as childless young marrieds. We experience this difference in many different ways all the time, but it especially hit home to me this past week leading up to the celebration of Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

As childless young-marrieds we were fascinated by the cultural phenomenon that is Día de los Muertos. It is so interesting to see the colorful altars strewn throughout the city and partake in the delicious pan de muerto, or bread of the dead.

On the other  hand, there is an incredible heaviness that accompanies this holiday which is intertwined with the belief that the dead actually physically come back to partake of the altar built in their honor. As I said last week, this celebration has prehispanic origins. It is a perfect example of the syncretism of indigenous religions with Christian beliefs that is a hallmark Mexican Catholocism. Mexicans embrace death in a way that is very different from most Americans, which is not always a bad thing, but the sadness lies in the fact that the victory over death and life through Jesus Christ is all but forgotten. Death rules supreme.

Now, bringing it back to the parenthood aspect, I find that because Día de los Muertos is presented so attractively to children it is hard to explain to a four-year-old why it is as Christians that this is not a celebration we embrace. After our museum visit Eliana surprised me by asking to build our own ofrenda, or offering for the dead. I asked her why she wanted to do so and she told me that she viewed the whole celebration as one big party, and she wanted to partake. I explained to her that as followers of Christ we believe that those who die are with Jesus in a place so wonderful they do not want to leave, and that one day all Christ followers will be together in that wonderful place. I struggled to explain it to her in a way that would not frighten her with some of the deep spiritual darkness that surrounds the practices and beliefs of this holiday. In the end I believe that this will be an ongoing discussion, one that  grows in depth as she grows older.

Kevin and I began to realize that, while it is easy for us to hold on to our beliefs as Christians and observe cultural celebrations that hold deep religious significance with objectivity, our children will be initially understanding these celebrations as teachings that they must accept or reject as part of their belief system. It will be impossible for them to avoid exposure, so as a result we must be extra prayerful and intentional about teaching them about Christ and his perspective on these aspects of life here in Mexico. Next time I want to be more prepared, not be taken by surprise. It is a reminder, however, that as a parent I am continually learning and continually in need of grace!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Field Trip: National Museum of Popular Culture

Next Friday and Saturday Mexico will celebrate the Day of the Dead. It is actually celebrated on two days, the first day remembering all of the children who have passed, and the second day the adults. The Day of the Dead is a huge deal here, it started out as a prehispanic tradition, but was incorporated into  the Catholic tradition as well. On the Day of the Dead people build altars filled with pictures of the deceased along with their favorite things, food they liked and certain cultural elements. Some of the cultural items are marigold flowers (the flower of the dead), a special bread (literally called bread of the dead), colorful paper cut out into different designs, candy skulls, alcohol like tequila or pulque (for adults), as well as some other regional items. Every region of Mexico tends to decorate their ofrendas (the altar honoring the deceased) in a little bit of a different ways. Paper mache skeletons are very common as well. Some of the altars are incredibly intricate.

Today Eliana's preschool went on a field trip to the National Museum of Popular Culture where they learned about the Day of the Dead.

There will be ofrendas decorating the entire city soon, and some are extremely unique and intricate. While the U.S. is preparing to celebrate Halloween, Day of the Dead definitely takes presidence here, although Halloween is growing in popularity. I hope to share a few more thoughts about this extremely cultural holiday next week. For now I hope you have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eliana turns four!

Eliana has now officially spent a little over half her young life here in Mexico! When I think of it that way it seems kind of crazy, our children are definitely growing up in an environment very different from the ones that we knew. We look forward to seeing how God will use this unique formation in this little person whom we love so much. On Saturday we had a "princess tea party" with a few of Eliana's closest friends. Eliana enjoys her toys, but more than anything she loves to "dress up." We arrive home from school and within minutes she is out of her school clothes and into her dress up clothes. We love her imagination, watching her play, whether it is on her own, or with others, is so fun. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tuesdays :)

Our first Tuesday meeting. Do you see our littlest Avancista?
(Hint she's hard at work next to Erik)
Just thought I would share this photo from our first team meeting last Tuesday. Every Tuesday morning we meet as an Avance team to give trainings (in this photo Paul is sharing a talk about ministering effectively in Mexico), and we discuss assigned reading books (we are currently reading this one), as well as check in and pray for one another. Thankfully most meetings happen at our house, and generally coincide with Owen's napping schedule. This way Kevin and I are both able to participate instead of "tag-teaming it". Looking forward to seeing our Avancistas tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pray for Mexico!

Some of you may know, and others may not, but Mexico has been hard hit by flooding as a result of Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel. All of Mexico is mobilizing to reach the affected, but recovery will not be easy and the loss is great. Here are some of the statistics:

* 139 deaths
* 1.8 million people affected by flooding and heavy rains
* More than 58 thousand people have been evacuated
* 12 states and 830,406 people have been affected by loss of power
* 43,000 schools damaged
* National highways closed in five states (in the State of Guerrero 50% of their highways have been damaged)
* There are still some towns that have not received any aid because transportation to these affected zones is impossible

It has rained more this September than it has for 125 years. While we are cushioned from much of the devastation here in Mexico City, my heart is breaking for the thousands who have lost loved ones, homes, and their livelihood.