Sunday, July 27, 2008

Soaking it in....

Knowing that we are entering our last full week here in Mexico, Kevin and I are just trying to soak up every minute. This morning we went to church with our family (since we said good-bye to our church right before Compass week). One of the really convenient things about their church is that it is about two minutes away driving, and about fifteen walking. This afternoon we all ate pozole together to celebrate Nereyda's (one of our Mexican sisters) birthday. Pozole is a very yummy, and very Mexican dish. It is often eaten around Mexico's independence day, September 15/16. It is sort of like a broth with either pork or chicken, and something that seems like really extra large kernels of corn. You then add lettuce, chopped up onions, sour cream, avocado, and oregano. All of that is topped off with a tostada (which is like a really big tortilla chip). It is super yummy, hopefully we will be finding a pozole place when we get back to the States. Another cultural tradition here for birthdays is to have cake and jello (instead of ice cream). I never knew that there were so many creative ways to do jello, I have definitely learned a lot of them here in Mexico! We sang happy birthday, the traditional Mexican version, and the Mexican Christian version and then ate our cake and jello. I love our family so much and will really, really miss them. However, I will always treasure memories of days like these when we can all get together to eat and just enjoy one another's company.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Compass Week

This week Kevin and I are eating, sleeping, living and serving with a group of 19 high schoolers! It has been a great experience, but a little exhausting. I am actually not with them now because I am feeling a little sick, so if you read this blog soon, please pray that I feel better and am able to finish the week out strong. We are working closely with eight of those students. We act as translators and guides for their experience here, we are working at a home for street boys that is located more or less close to our church. It has been an amazing experience. We feel very privileged that we have this opportunity. On Tuesday we talked about the parable of the prodigal son, and it was cool because one of the house uncles interjected to let us know that many of the boys really have lived out this parable. The home where the boys lived is open, they can come and go as they wish, they are not forced to be there, and there is not limit on their time. Some boys have literally grown up there and now live on their own and have their own families. When Tio Martin (the house uncle) asked how many boys had left the home and then returned, about 15 or so of them raised their hands. The two main house parents/uncle and aunt (as they call them), are absolutely amazing leaders and teachers who really are like the father in the parable. I have learned a lot this week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Drum roll please..........

The Book-Satterlees are heading back overseas! So, after a lot of prayer and thought, Kevin and I have decided that we are going to take the initial steps towards moving to Spain and beginning a Spearhead program there. For those of you who do not know what Spearhead is, it is the short-term mission program that Kevin and I have been participating in for the past year. It has a year component, and also a summer component. After thinking for quite some time where we could best use our desires and skills together, earlier this year Kevin and I concluded that a dream would be to have a study abroad program connected with students from Christian universities. Soon after that our boss approached us about starting a Spearhead program in another country. We were interested, but at the time felt that it would be something further off in the future. However, as we were weighing all of our options, we felt like this was the one in which we together had the most interest, and felt the most peace. So, we are going to begin to walk forward in this path and see if God continues to open doors for this path, and if so we will keep walking! :) Our plan is to head back to California in August. We will spend a little bit of time with our families up North, and then head back down to the Pasadena area. We plan to go on an exploratory trip to see if Spain is indeed the country for us, and begin the process of raising support and going through Latin America Mission's (LAM - the sending organization) long-term missionary process. We are excited and both very much at peace. Please be praying for us as we begin to walk forward in this new direction. If any of you know of extremely cheap housing in the Pasadena or Azusa area, please let us know, because this is going to be our next concern. Because raising support will be a full-time job, we are not sure exactly how we are going to manage the whole making money and having another job thing. :) Consequently, we are hoping to find somewhere where we can live very, very cheaply! So, for those of you who were waiting on pins and needles, this is the culmination of many months of soul searching and lots of prayer! We are excited to share this journey with you! :) Leah

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Calling and Character

In the Spearhead summer program every week has a theme. It just so happens that this week's theme is calling and character. Funny, huh? Needless to say, it has generated quite a bit of discussion about what it is to be called and to have character. :) There have been several statements made this week that have particularly hit me, some of which I want to share with you. But first I wanted to comment on my last women's group meeting.

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

Turning Point

Now that we are officially into July the summer is at a turning point. The first half of this summer was really dominated by organizing Spanish classes, group meetings, and individual coaching sessions. On Thursday all of the Spearheaders graduated from their Spanish classes and are moving into a time of full-time ministry for the rest of the summer. The graduation ceremony was really neat, every class presented a skit or a project and it was really cool to see how everyone had grown, especially those in the Basic class that came with practically no Spanish.

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.