Saturday, December 13, 2008
The first we visited the other day, Malasaña, has tight narrow streets and is full of life and youth. Apparently it is where the artists live.
For the washed up artists, or those trying to make it, we toured Lavapies, a bario with a HIGH concentration of foreign immigrants. We saw people of African, Asian and Arab descent while walking through the narrow streets. It was intriguing to say the least and quite fun to see the diversity. We strolled in the cold around the other areas as well, mostly with wider streets.
I (Kevin) think Madrid is beautiful (I think Leah agrees), and may rival my fascination with Portland. Today was a good day to compare the two as when the snow stopped the rain persisted into the evening.
After a little Spain style Mexican food (which was so-so), we headed of to Museo del Prado, one of the more famous art museums in Europe, second probably to the Louvre. We got to see some Rafael, Velazquez and many other famous artists and their beautiful work. I (Kevin) liked the Flamenco work. Leah did not.
After the museum, the rain had stopped, it had warmed up 3 degrees, and we strolled again in the breeze with many evening walkers to see the Christmas lights around el parque Retiro. It was very nice and beautiful.
Pictures to come. Tomorrow Church.
Friday, December 12, 2008
So apparently Madrid has been experiencing a drought for the last few years, and people here say that it hardly rains. However, Kevin and I seemed to have perfectly picked the rainiest time of year! :) The forecast for the next few days is light rain, heavy rain, then snow/rain! Kevin, the lover or gloomy weather is in his element!
Today we are going to head down to one of the poorer areas of Madrid to pass out sandwiches to the homeless. Wednesday we met up with a couple who are missionaries here, but live more towards the center of Madrid. Last night we helped out at our church's homework club and attended a Bible study. All in all we have been getting a small taste for life here in Madrid. Saturday we hope to walk around the city doing a prayer walk. Please pray that God continues to give us discernment with all of the information and opportunities that we are learning about.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This is a picture of one of our worship times, which were really neat.
It is not super warm here in Spain, and has been raining our drizzling quite a lot. Still that did not keep us from venturing out to try to go to see the famous monastery of El Escorial, where all the Spanish kings are entombed. We did not go in as there was a really long line, but enjoyed it from the outside.
Our conference ended on Monday, and we are currently living with a Free Methodist missionary family in Madrid. We will keep you updated on our adventures!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
As we approach this time, we do so with increased prayer.
We’ve been blessed to be able to stay with missionaries while we are there, reducing our costs dramatically, and, to boot, we get to see how to be a family while ministering in Madrid. Please be praying for us as we learn more about the culture, the nuances of bringing the Spearhead ministry to Madrid and to help us envision in which part of the city we would live and minister from.
We begin our journey by quickly testing out our mass transportation knowledge and getting ourselves to a conference which begins the evening we arrive. Jet lag will be our largest contender there, which will make it difficult not only to function, but will make it all the more difficult to understand. Please be praying with us for as little jet lag as possible. (Neither of us are good airplane sleepers!)
Aside from exploring the city and discerning which area we would like to base ourselves, we will be meeting with a bunch of contacts that will help us develop our ministry and understand the culture to best serve Spain. One of these contacts will hopefully be our home church, a Free Methodist Church doing amazing community work in the area. We are excited for this opportunity to meet them and I (Kevin) am especially excited to see how Free Methodism takes shape internationally. This will be a crucial point of understanding for me as I move through the ordination process.
We also plan to meet with some other missionaries in Madrid and we are excited to begin to develop our friendship as communication with them thus far has made it evident we have many common interests and ministry visions.
We thank you for your prayers.
Please email us at email@example.com with your prayers that we may partner with you in ministering to the world, not just from where we are, but from where you are also.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Plans for our exploratory trip to Spain are coming along. We have made some contacts and are watching the schedule fill up with invites, though navigating the calendar and finding places to stay are still being worked out. Here is a quick overview of what we hope to accomplish.
- We will be heading to a conference pretty much the day we arrive. This is a three day conference of Evangelical leaders throughout the country. We've been invited to attend by a future partner in ministry, Decision Espana. We'll be off and running upon touch-down.
- As I'm in the ordination process with the Free Methodist Church, we hope to meet up with the missionaries and leaders of the Free Methodist work going on in Madrid to plan on how we can be a part of the community. We will be blessed to meet face-to-face people that we have been conversing with for almost 6 months through email.
- We are also going to decipher a budget, which includes looking into areas in which we want to live and base the ministry out of. We will be doing some city exploring and ministry mapping during this time.
- I have also spoken with a missionary there who hopes to begin a Spanish-speaking international intentional community. This has been a dream of mine for some time now, and I look forward to learning how we might be able to get involved.
- We spend our last days with our future boss from LAM and our partners with Decision Espana to learn how we can be involved while we are becoming inculturated and going to language school.
What an exciting time for us. We go on faith expectant for God to show us a glimpse of what he has in store for our future. I personally have never felt so confident or at peace with my career as I do now.
Thank you for praying for us now and during this exploratory trip.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I feel like winter is arriving, whether I am ready or not! You can't see it very much in this picture, but the day has given us a steady dose or rain, combined with some strong winds.
I feel a little like we missed fall, I thought we were experiencing it for a while, those cool days, leaves falling, a certain crispness to the air.... mmmm! But then it got hot again. And now somehow we have transitioned from hot to cold!
This weekend Kevin and I made the trek down to Pasadena. We were able to visit with some of our friends, and attend our home church down there on Sunday. It was a really fun time overall, even though it was a long drive. On Friday night we went trick or treating with the family that I used to nanny for. It was really fun overall, though I missed hanging out with the oldest, Jacob, because he was with his friends. Here is a picture I took, you can kind of get an idea of how much energy the night required by the look in the boys eyes!
I know you can't tell from this picture, but there were hundreds and hundreds of kids on the street where we went to trick or treat, it was unlike anything I had ever seen. People go all out to decorate their houses as well, some of them were a little on the scary side, which I wasn't a real big fan of. One woman was dressed head to toe as a mummy and ha done of those crystal balls with a head floating in it. Hmmmm. A little scary for small children, or adults! :)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Help Us as We Prepare for Spain
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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Hurdle #1: To bake a turkey you put it on a roasting rack. The only roasting rack I had ever seen was the one that Kevin and I got for our wedding, which was of a triangular shape and rather large. So anyhow, when I went to look for the roasting rack I found nothing that met that description. I called my uncle and he told me where the roasting rack was, but after pulling everything out of that cupboard, I found nothing that fit my image of what I was looking for! One of the nice things about living on a farm with all of your family members is that you have several people to borrow from. So, because I knew I had to get the turkey in the oven soon, I went house to house looking for a roasting rack. Well...no one was home, so I had to poke through everyone's cupboards by myself. (I hope they don't mind!) Finally, on my third and final house, I found exactly what I was looking for. I went home and set the bird in the roasting rack and put it in the oven to brown.
* It turns out that we did have a roasting rack in that cupboard, when my uncle got home he showed me two little flat octoganal things that looked more like cooling racks to me, but are apparently another form of roasting rack! Now I know.
Hurdle #2: After the turkey browns, you are supposed to take it out and put a double layer of aluminum foil over the breasts. When I pulled my turkey out I realized that putting the aluminum foil on was going to be trickier than I thought b/c the breast of the steaming hot turkey was the part facing down. Fortunately for me, my cousin Lawrence was home, so he took tongs on one end, and I on the other, and we lifted the turkey up as I quickly slid the foil under. It was quite a "to do" and I wondered how in the world the recipe expected that one person could possibly do that on their own!
* I later found out (later as in when my uncle got home and the turkey was supposed to be done), that I had the turkey upside down! Suddenly everything made much more sense! The foiling would have been leaps and bounds easier if I had figured that out a little sooner!
Hurdle #3: The Gravy. So because I had put the turkey upside down, almost nothing had dripped out! There fore basically what was at the bottom of the pan was burnt. Oops!
Hurdle #4: Timing. Once we figured out the upside down problem, about the time it was supposed to be coming out of the oven, we realized the breast of the turkey was not fully done so we had to flip the turkey over and bake it for another half hour. By the time dinner rolled around we were definitely hungry!
Result: The turkey actually tasted really good. Lawrence said that it was his favorite turkey ever. He doesn't generally like turkey b/c it is on the dry side. This one was definitely not dry considering all of the juices never seeped out as a result of its upside down position! We didn't have any gravy, but all in all it was a yummy, much anticipated :), dinner in which I learned a lot of lessons.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Class time last week was with professor Jason Clark of England. He is a Vineyard pastor in the emergent conversation, but he stands back from the conversation with very healthy criticism as well. I learned a lot about how to do church from him, and it restructured some ideological paradigms that I had.
What I took most from him however, was our potential future context and religion. He mentioned how when people invite members of his congregation to do something and there is a church event, likely the person will say, "No, I have something else planned," (thinking they are going to church). "Oh yeah? What?", the parishoner's friend asks. "Oh, something," is the response. Did you catch that the parishoner was ashamed of going to church. Actually going to church in his context in London is pretty tough, so tough that it is easier to be misleading about it than to say, "I'm going to church," and deal with the pressure that comes.
What an extreme situation, no?
But wait, religious apathy is prevalent throughout all Europe it seems, and Spain will be of little difference. I came to realize that my brothers and sisters who I will befriend and join into community will likely have a hard time with their Christian identity. That also shapes my identity. Another hard aspect is the fact that to be Protestant in Spain is tougher than being religious.
Despite the realization of how difficult our community will be, I was more encouraged. The Lord has blessed Jason Clark's church and continues to bless his ministry. I know He is with ministries in Spain as well.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I am happy, loving school, but pondering the future. Pondering Spain. In the ponder, I see that our dollar is raising against the Euro. As a missionary, relying on payment in dollars, a weaker currency, this should be a relatively happy thing. Yet I'm sad, because the global economic situation does not effect us all equally, and it is an excercise in loving the communities that I will be a part of, while also loving and worrying about my own community. I watched 7% drop out of the market in the States yesterday and over 7% in most of the European markets. I'm glad I'm not happy that my dollar will now go a little further. I'm glad because I am happy to begin identifying with people I don't know yet, and I'm grateful to God for allowing my heart to soften even now for people we will be in community with.
This pertains highly to the mission of the world. We are not just a country at crisis. We are a world in economic crisis. We are interdependent upon each other. I am sitting in class with "missionaries" to the US. I put that in quotes, only because I know many people can't see missionaries as local practicioners. Yet they are. Their target population is an unchurched people group in their local cities. I love my colleague and hope for greater interdependence with him, and I hope that at some point he will send students that he's leading, to us in Spain so that we might be able to share a new world-view and an entirely different struggle of the Church.
When in crisis, we tend to find community a little bit stronger. Though I personally don't want to see my retirement fall, I want to take this opportunity to be involved in God's mission for the world by recognizing our global interdependence and work cross-culturally, cross-globally to be involved in what God is doing.
(Can you tell that class-time is wonderful for me!) (But I really, really miss my wife.)
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
We are really excited about our exploratory trip. We will probably finalize details this week, but it is looking like it will be from about the 4th/5th of December until the 17th/18th. Our goal for this trip is to meet with other missionaries, churches and ministries in the area to get an idea of what it is like to live and do missions in Spain. Our prayer is that God will use this trip to either solidify our calling to Spain, or make it abundantly clear that he wants to use us in a different country. We will be able to get an idea of the cost of living there, the neighborhoods, the city, etc. Please pray with us as we prepare for the trip. There are three specific ways you can pray:
1. That God will use this trip to finalize our call to Spain, or direct us elsewhere.
2. That our meetings and conversations will be fruitful.
3. That we will be able to raise enough financial support for the trip.
After we leave Spain we will not be returning to California, but rather to Florida where my (Leah) family is for Christmas. My sister is due to deliver a baby boy on Christmas day, so we plan to stay in Florida helping out and getting to know our new nephew until our LAM orientation, which begins on the 19th of January, and is a two-week deal. It works out well because LAM's offices are in Miami, Florida, so we will either drive or fly down from Ocala to Miami. We are excited about the orientation because it will be a time to come to know more about LAM, as well as answer many different logistical questions. We are hoping that after orientation, we will also have a budget firmed up that will allow us to raise support more specifically. The orientation also is costly, so please be praying that we will be able to raise enough support to cover that event, as well as our exploratory trip.
Kevin is in Portland this week for his first round of classes. He feels excited to be able to spend some time with his classmates (which are scattered all over the country).
Back on the farm we have a big weekend coming up. Although we are not having pumpkin patch this year, we will be having one weekend to raise money for the California Fire Department where we sell pumpkins, have wagon rides, and other harvest festival type events. I am hoping that it will be really successful and that it won't rain!
Anyhow... I just wanted to share with you guys a little about these two steps we will be taking in the near future (the trip and orientation) so that you can be praying alongside us in preparation. Thanks!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
But Chico is going well. I have been doing some landscaping to make some money and Leah some odd projects. I pop in my Itunes University and get educated while I work. As work comes through odd jobs, please keep praying for work to be done. If anybody needs help with anything, please let us know.
Community is going well for us also. Community is a slow building thing upon moving, which makes it tough, but we have Leah's family here on the farm, which is nice. We have been participating at a small-group at a local church for young marrieds and also have been attending Foothill Community Church (ironically the same name as our church in Azusa) in Oroville as well and have started to get in touch with their young adult group.
School has been going well for me and I look forward to seeing my classmates in person in just over a week and a half in Portland.
As for Spain, the plans are on the move. Our application is in process and Leah and I have been mapping out some preparation items, including an overhaul on the blog and how we use it. Stay tuned for that...
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Right now we are in Northern California, and will be until mid/end of August. We still hope to be living in Southern California, but as of yet have not found an option that will work with our travel schedule (we have a two week orientation with LAM in January, at least a two week exploratory trip, probably in November or December, and Kevin has two weeks of classes up in Portland for his Masters degree). Please continue praying that God will give us wisdom in this and will open up the right opportunity, in the right place, at the right time! :)
Meanwhile, we are enjoying visiting with our families, right now we are with Kevin's parents and on Saturday we will be going to visit my (Leah's) parents and grandparents. It is nice to re-enter life a little slowly and have time to process.
Please e-mail us, we would love to hear from you and reconnect when we are either up in Northern California, or back in Southern California. :)
Friday, August 1, 2008
- The chance to spend a great deal of time together. I do not know too many married couples that spend so much time together and get to know their spouse. What a blessing.
- The chance to learn to minister and learn what God is doing around the world and in another culture.
- The opportunity to communicate well in another language (though Kevin still has a good ways to go.)
- The opportunity to make strong relations with people from another culture. These people will be like family. (This means we have three families - our parents, in-laws, and Mexican family.)
- The opportunity to explore missions as a full-time career.
All these things grew our personal lives, our marriage and our faith.
As earlier posts stated, we feel the call to begin a program, similar to the one we just completed, in Spain. This is a very exciting time for us as we have already run into many potential contacts to help our ministry there.
Yet we have to say goodbye to what we have here in order to follow the current call of God. This means tearing ourselves from a family that took us in and loved us. We are not so unique, however as our Mexican sister and her husband, and their two children are also moving away, almost as far as we will be (before we move to Spain). This is hard for our family, but it shows us that our Mexican family, like our own parents and siblings will be our family forever. That is fantastic. It still hurts to say goodbye.
WE ALSO GET TO SAY HELLO!!!!!
Upon returning to Los Angeles we get to see my sister, Jennifer. We will also get to see some friends. Then after a day or two, we head north to stay with Kevin's parents in Cupertino. Some time with them, then we head to Discovery Bay where Leah's parents will be flying in and staying for a week. In that time I (Kevin) get to fly to Portland and say hello to my virtual classmates who I have yet to meet, and spend time with a very long-time friend (I've known him since he was born.) After this we will head to Los Angeles and decide the next portions of our lives.
With every change there is a sour side. The more intense the experience the more intense the pain when leaving, but the more you've been changed. It also means a sweet return.
It is a trying time, but necessary and beautiful. Sometimes shedding beautiful tears helps to grow even greater smiles.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
About five or so months ago the women in our church started meeting on Wednesday mornings. It was originally Janette's idea, she is one of the missionaries at our church. It started off slowly, gained some steam, and then cooled down a little bit again. Janette started off teaching, but then after a month or so handed over the reigns to the group to decide what the would do and how they would do it. Now Janette and her husband Joel are on furlough for a year, and the two other missionary couples at our church have been out town for the last few weeks. Women's group has continued, and it is really growing. Today I was the only guerra (white girl) there, along with twelve other Mexican women. The woman who was originally going to teach did not show up, so another woman who is a strong leader in the church just went ahead and led a discussion from the book that they are reading.
I have learned so very much being a part of this group. First of all I have found it very different from any of the other experiences I have had in women's groups before. There are definitely some cultural differences, but I think the main one is economic. I think that people are people, and everyone has the same basic needs, but I am really finding that one's economic status really changes how one reads scripture, and lives out your Christian life.
For instance... The other day we were speaking about submission. Part of that talk included speaking about the man as a provider. One of the women stood up and shared one of her difficulties with the submission issue. She and her husband have two adorable little girls, but life is difficult because her husband does not always have work, and when he does the money does not always go straight to feeding and clothing their children. This woman earns a little money through cleaning houses etc., and with that money she basically provides for the needs of their children. In her life whether she has ten pesos (roughly a dollar) or not, makes a huge difference of whether her children will eat or not. What does it mean to submit to her husband who is not caring for the needs of the family in a very practical way? A second instance happened today. The lesson was speaking about how the mother is the heart of her family, and has a big influence on whether one's dwelling place is just a house, or if it is a home. The discussion went on to teaching one's children to little by little contribute to the running of one's home, but not to expect them to do everything. One woman shared in tears about her difficulties when her husband left her with nine young children to care for. He had claimed to be a Christian, but then ran off with another woman, leaving all of his children and his wife with nothing. This woman, now a grandma, shared about how she had to choose which of her children was the most responsible and mother-like, and then leave all of the mothering duties to that child while she went out and worked. Later on her children shared stories with her about those years when they often had nothing to eat, or were not cared for well so the neighbors would lend a helping hand. How, this woman asked, do you create a home-like environment for your children and your family when you have all of the responsibility on your shoulders alone? They were living in small huts, and the landlord came weekly to claim the rent. Now, this same woman is 64 and the company she worked for cleaning bathrooms basically made her quit by requiring her to travel further and further to the workplace. She tried to go and collect social security, but you have to be 70 to start receiving it. There are not a lot of jobs in the city, and most people are not keen on hiring someone who is older. As she sat there crying I marveled at the way in which the other women in the group rallied around her helping her to think of creative solutions in which she could generate money, all of them willing to help. I am amazed by the faith of these women, many of which are very new believers.
The book that we are doing our study on is called (something like) A Woman After God's Heart. Almost every chapter we have read I have been aware of the vast financial difference between the woman who wrote this book and the women in our group who are reading it. Sometimes those differences come up in conversation one way or another. But the coolest thing has been watching the women share how God has touched their lives, and provided for them, how they are seeking each day to be a woman after God's heart, even with all of the challenges that confront them. I am so amazed what I have learned through the privilege of being part of this group, and find that as I read Scripture, I see it through a new light.
Because today was my last women's group meeting, I just wanted to share a little about that experience. But before I sign out I wanted to leave you with a few thoughts that have been shared with me this past week when discussing calling and character.
1. Your calling is your character: What is important to God is how you live your life, not necessarily all of the details of what you do.
2. As Christians, our primary calling is to Somone, God of course :), rather than something.
3. Our desires can be good indicators of the way in which God is calling us, but they are not the end-all indicator of what we should do.
4. When you are doing what God has for you you will have peace.
5. DO SOMETHING! Don't just sit around forever deciding what you are going to do, step out in faith and let God guide you from there.
So that is it for now, this is a pretty long entry, but I just wanted to share some of the stuff that has been going through my mind. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers! :) Leah
Monday, July 7, 2008
With Spanish classes behind us, Kevin and I will have a week to get a lot of little details done. We are working on how we want to say good-bye to people. That may sound strange, but it is really important to us for a couple of reasons. First, here in Mexico both greeting people and saying good-bye is extremely important, no matter where you are (church, visiting a friend, a party etc.). If you do not greet or say good-bye to pretty much every person, it is almost like a personal insult. Second, everyone here is really precious to us and we are going to miss them all a LOT! I have definitely gone through different stages of homesickness in this past year, but for the past few months I have been incredibly content to just be here. I love Mexico City and I love the people here. It will be a big adjustment to move to whichever place is next for us.
On the "what's next agenda" please be praying for us this week, because we have made a commitment that we are going to make some narrowing down decisions by Friday, and are also hoping to buy our plane ticket for wherever that might be. We really covet your prayers in this process. It has been long and arduous at times, trying to figure out what is next. I have definitely had a couple of break down moments, but overall I thank God and give him praise, because mostly it has been marked by a sense of real peace in both of us. I have definitely been learning so much about being patient, about hope, about prayer, and about praise. God is so faithful.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Forage through all that people discard
Pull out rancid and good fruits;
One in the compost heap to be redeemed
The other consume as a treasure for strength.
Pull out old, stained and dirty clothes
De-thread them if need be to make something
New; cut them as wash rags or patches for
Torn clothing; redeem your own wardrobe.
Assist the cowarding homeless woman,
Abused, stained and discarded by abusive men.
Help her to her feet. Separate the sins from the sinner
And love. Let Christ come to redeem her.
Feast and dine with the whore, bearing the redeemed
Fruits. Clothe her with the fine thread reused.
Reclaimed. Let God’s treasures mimic your own
And pull them from the refuse for redemption;
For life anew.
Do not hide from your own kin
Your own flesh and blood
Breathed into by the very Lord
That rose elephants form the dust
Planned the mechanics of the moon and sea
The creator of the waves
And beating hearts
Do not hide from your own kin
To be tender in rest
Is to be holy on the Lord’s day
Sabbath is not to not work
But to forget about your worries
Religious laws become the stumbling path
For those that count their Sabbath steps
Be devoid of selfish interest on this day
And be in tune with the father
The sun-down fast in not piety
But preparation for the Word of the Lord
Keep Holy the Sabbath by forgoing yourself
And see to it the Lord’s day is for
Friday, June 27, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
It is a bright, beautiful Saturday morning, and Kevin and I are in the LAM office getting some work, and some long-needed catch up done! Mexico City has really been quite beautiful the past couple of weeks, the smog has been at a minimum and the weather has been beautiful. J We are in the process of changing gears. Mid-May we had our final homework club session and said good-bye to our World Vision group, because for the summer we will be part of a team that facilitates 14 young people who are coming to the city on a short-term mission trip. These fourteen students, mostly college age and a little older, will be here for two months, and will be experiencing a condensed version of what we have been doing this past year. In pairs the students will be living with Mexican families, taking Spanish lessons, and working with local churches and other outreaches, such as World Vision, and a home for street boys. We are excited for everyone to come, they arrive on Wednesday! Kevin and I are still involved in our church, and I will be trying to keep up with my women’s group. Some of the things we will be doing this summer will be acting as a mentor for the summer students, helping with Spanish classes, in the office and acting as resources for the students in their ministries. The students will be here until August first. At this point Kevin and I are planning to return to the States mid-August so that Kevin can finish his Masters degree. Please be praying for us as we prepare for this summer and for all the transitions an decisions we are making.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
In mid-March, Lawrence, Leah's cousin came to join us for a week in Mexico City. It was great to be able to show family our life here and we really were excited that he was so excited about things. We did everything you could possibly do in a week, which means he missed a ton, but then we've been here nine months and have missed a ton. Some of the highlights were taking him to the community center at a trash-dump community for a medical brigade that we help translate for. Lawrence is quite a good on-the-fly optrician. We hit the pyramids and the center of town and a new attraction for us, was that we went to Tula, an ancient ruins about 2 hours from our house. It was quite fun.
The day Lawrence left, we too left on a plane bound for California. My (Kevin's) 180 days was almost up and I needed to leave the country to enter again with 180 days. We had planned on taking the time to do some fundraising, but with all that has come in and the way we've been able to cut our budget for the year, we did not need to do any of that. It was great to see family and friends, though the time with each of you was waaaaaay too short. Our little trip home was quite the adventure, because a nearly midnight we found out that we booked the wrong date without knowing and missed our flight! Oops...but we worked it out with not a little trouble and are here jumping in the swing of things.
Upon returning, we'd been off of our duties for homework club for two weeks, so we were excited to return to our kids. That also meant last minute planning.
On top of that I (Kevin) was scheduled to preach at church, in Spanish, the Sunday after we got back.
About that...I DID IT...well to be honest I read the sermon I prepared rather than preached it, because though I'm picking up the language fairly well, it is still difficult to flow in my thought process, especially for 30 minutes in front of a crowd. The experience was difficult, and I learned a lot about my language and cultural limitations, but it only makes me want to do it again and better. Everybody has been generous and said I did a good job, so that was nice.
We have now generally settled into our routine again here and after about three weeks of craziness, it is a nice break.
Hopefully we will be better at our time here on the blogosphere.
Congrats friends about to get married, and ones who are about to have children! We look forward to sharing that with ya'll when we come back!
PS - another aspect of the title of this blog comes in the fact that we have hit the smoggiest time of the year...hot and no breeze. Plech. A beautiful city hidden. It only means that it is time for the rainy season to come shortly - my (Kevin) favorite type of weather! Woo hoo (although it makes line-drying clothes a bit difficult.)
Friday, March 14, 2008
I was very impressed by the guy's talent in writing, and for Christian publication, I was even more impressed. My only complaint is that the book seems to switch voices in the middle of the book, but it switches for his own intent, and I can respect that. I am most impressed by how he writes the theological insights that he has, and I feel it is a good read for many people.
Check it out!
We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lawrence, Leah's cousin to join us in Mexico City on Sunday. He will be staying the week with us and we are excited to show him around our currentl life.
Our Mexican brother and his family have also arrived from the north of the country, so it is a full house, but very fun to have another baby around and just good family times.
We will be heading to the States primarily because we have to change our visa before we can stay longer here in Mexico, but we will be meeting with friends and family in So. Cal. as well. We are looking forward to it.
Please be praying for our family as our Mexican nephew has health problems and could use all the prayers he can get. It is tough for the family, but praise God he has a LARGE family who loves him very much and he is a pretty happy little guy.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
With the future intentions of being long-term missionaries, it was great to see the difficulties and the life commitments people have made to serving the Mexican people. It was quite inspiring and humbling.
One of the greatest things for me (Kevin) was sitting with an old man, who grew up on a farm in Indiana. He and his wife have been in Mexico for 45 years, and though I'm sure we have millions of differences, he was a great man to learn from. We sat at dinner and talked about what it was like to be a Christian in the south (where he studied) during the civil rights movement. Very disturbing experiences he had ministering to African Americans while living in the south. Praise God for an active faith to share.
We have a crazy month ahead of us. Leah's cousin is coming for a visit for a week, which will be great and then we go to Los Angeles for a week to meet up with some people, share with our church and maybe (hopefully) do a few interviews for jobs.
Homework club is seeing more and more kids coming and our abilities more and more stretched. It is difficult to give the attention we would like to give to each kid, but we rejoice that they have a safe place to play and that our relationships with the youth are growing.
Leah's involvement in the women's group is great and Kevin just began a Bible study with some of the boys from the morning homework club.
As for future options, we are currently looking for positions that begin in August or early September. Kevin has recently applied to a few universities to be a resident director and Leah is looking for community organizer positions.
We would like you to be praying with us as we are praying about our long-term future here in Mexico. We are interested in student ministries, both American and Mexican and are praying about beginning a study abroad program for youth, similar to the program we are currently in, but that would also give university credits. This is a long-term future with a lot that can change, but please be praying with us about these things.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
On Mondays we hold our homework club. We have a session in the morning from 10-12 and one in the afternoon from 2-4. Some students here in Mexico City attend school in the morning, others in the afternoon/evening. It is a little bizarre seeing some students just arriving home from school at 9 at night. Our mornings are typically light, which is nice. We have a smaller group of students, all of which are quite smart. We arrive at our church around 9:15-9:30 each day to start setting up. Our church is about a 20-45 minute micro bus ride from our home, depending on traffic and our driver! Afternoons are a little crazier. We typically have between 12-18 students, most of which are in Kindergarten-3rd grade. We also have some older students. We now have a girl from our church which helps us out at the homework club, her name is Alejandra, and she is great. We so appreciate having her. We generally plan a craft for the kids at the beginning, and then move into a time of reading. (On Thursdays we have a small English lesson in place of reading). We then move into a homework time, and finally usually finish up with a game. Many times students come without homework, so we have math sheets and other exercises for them to do instead.
Tuesday is our World Vision day, although it has been a slow start. Our main purpose will be to help them in some interviews and documentation of those interviews as they are planning to close down the particular project we are helping at in September. The interviews are aimed at understanding what the project accomplished, how it fell short, and how it might do better in the future.
One Tuesday a month we have a meeting with our supervisor, and the rest of the missionaries that are here for a year. This is a great time of fellowship and encouragement.
In the morning I (Leah) have my women's group. I am so encouraged by the women who have been coming. We only began a few weeks ago, but the women are really opening up to one another, which is so exciting to be a part of. The goal of this group is to disciple. It is mainly made up of women from our church, but there are also several who do not attend our church and are seeking. One young woman is a neighbor, and though her family is Catholic, she has become a regular attender at our women's group, English classes, and also is offering to help in the kitchen when short term mission teams come to town. Please pray for the women in this group. Many face incredibly difficult challenges relationally, financially, and from past experiences.
Our Wednesday afternoons are mainly dedicated to homework club prep, or any meetings we might have. Kevin, who now is officially on the ordination track for the Free Methodist church, often meets with his supervisor on Wednesdays.
Thursdays are our marathon days. We are at the church around 9ish to prepare for homework club. After homework club the Millers, the missionary couple that lives next to our church, generously has invited us to share dinner with them. At 6 we have a prayer meeting, and then at 7:30 English classes begin. We don't normally get home in the night until around 10. English classes have been really encouraging for Kevin and I. We love our groups. I have all girls between the ages of 16-18. They are so great. One of them came to our church on Sunday which was a real encouragement. Hopefully she will continue coming and want to become more involved in the church body.
Our day of rest (and cleaning)!
We leave the house early Saturday mornings to make it to Ecatapec where the World Vision office is (about an hour and a half trip). We give English classes for an hour to the young people who are promoters of human rights in their communities, and then join them for a work shop on emotions. (which we do not run) Generally we get home around 3-4 in the afternoon and then spend some time hanging out with our family. Often we have late nights on Saturdays.
Sunday mornings are really peaceful for us. Because we have church in the evening we wake up late, and enjoy breakfast together, usually the house is empty because everyone else goes to church in the morning. We then spend the rest of the day doing this and that until church at 5. I know I have mentioned it before, but we really love our church. The people are warm and inviting, and our pastor and his wife are just amazing examples for us. I always come away feeling like I learned something new.
So that is a little look into the Book-Satterlee's week. Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts, we really appreciate them!
Friday, February 8, 2008
Ministry stuff - going really well. The English class is already underway and Leah is loving her class which is full of younger girls. A great time for connections. Kevin has taken the advanced class, which includes the pastor of our church and a friend who lives across the street from the church. It is a great class as well.
Homework club is coming along and we are starting to see some good relationships grow with the kids and their parents. We hope that the homework club will get the kids to come to the other events at the church and that their parents would come too. Our pastor has a dream sometime in the 10-15 year future that the Free Methodist Church in Mexico would have the best schools in the country. The homework club is a far cry from that, but everything has to start somewhere and he is very excited about it, so that makes us happy.
World Vision is really coming under way, and we've been asked by the youth volunteers to come early and do some English classes, which will be a great time to connect with them. Our office work has not yet begun with World Vision...not the most exciting thing in the world, but really needed, so we are glad to be of help.
Now, after downing a few more glasses of Mango Juice (Mexican food and drinks are great!) we will be heading into our full weekend with World Vision and church on Sunday.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
We began working with World Vision again also, since our break from the new year and just committed ourselves to doing some English lessons with some of the youth that come on Saturday mornings. We are excited at the prospect of contributing more with World Vision and getting to know these youth better. We also see it as a great opportunity for ministry as our experience with WV has not been much on the ministry side.
This past Thursday we began our weekly English class at our church in Iztapalapa. Kevin is facilitating the program an excericise he enjoys and it helps relieve one of the other missionaries who on top of her work with the women also has 4 children that she cares for. This is also a great opportunity for Kevin as he is in the ordination process and is gaining practical experience in leading a ministry. We had almost 20 people come on Thursday. One of the great things that comes from this, though we hold the classes for cheap, the money that we charge goes to covering material costs and the extra will go straight into programs for the children that come to our church, including the Homework Club.
Leah also began to meet at the Women's Club at church a prospect she was really excited for when we came to Mexico City. It has finally materialized.
Language learning is still going on, little by little. We are accustomed more now to the city and are excited to be in a more regular routine.
Things to be praying for:
Many of the students that come in the afternoon have learning disabilities or have been passed along through the system without learning the basics. This is obviously detrimental to their ability to learn and their desire to do so. Our goal is that they would love to learn and grow in the basics while they are in our Homework Club.
Another prayer request regarding our homework club has to do with the vision of our pastors here. They want fifty children regularly attending church by June. Right now we have about 20. The interesting and opportunistic thing is that about 15 of our homework club students do not regularly come, so please pray that they will get involved in other activities in the church as well. This goes for their parents whom we are developing relationships with as well.
For the English class that we will see a good turnout and be able to continue to provide what the local community wants.
Regarding World Vision, that we would be able to show the love of God in the midst and help to communicate that the human rights come from God and that it is through God that we have the strength enough to excercise our rights. Please pray for connections with the youth as well, and for our boss.
Things up and coming:
We are excited for the Latin American Mission retreat. It is a mandatory retreat to meet up with all of the LAM missionaries in Mexico and to also learn more about cultural learning and share our experiences. This will be a fun time happening at the end of the month.
Lastly, sort of silly, we are routing for the Giants this year, known as the Gigantes, because we have a Mexican friend who is a huge Giants fan. Frankly since the 49ers didn't even come close this year, we're happy to share in another friends' joy.
Monday, January 7, 2008
We have come back from our trips with our family to Guadalajara and Monterrey, where we saw more of this beautiful country and learned more about the culture. It was great. Christmas stuff was great at church and then we spent Christmas day both with some missionaries and then the evening with our Mexican family here. It was a lot of fun. We spent the new year in Monterrey, up by Texas, and crossed over for a shopping spree, because believe it or not, it is cheaper in the US for things like technology and clothes.
Now we are back, and besides a little (or a lot in Leah's case) of under-the-weather-ness, we begin our ministries again. We are looking forward to what this time will bring with our church and with the children in the neighborhood.
Happy New Year!