Mostly this blog is about news updates from our family, however while reading this morning, I thought I'd put some of my reflections of my scripture reading here regarding ministry.
One the one hand Jesus tells his disciples to go out and those who do not welcome them in, dust their feet off and leave. I read about this the other day. Then, however we have the parable of the fig tree, where the owner seeks fruit from a specific tree that has not given any for 3 years. He asks the gardner if he should cut it down so as to better occupy the land with a fruit-producing tree. The gardner suggests waiting one more year and putting more effort into this specific tree.
There is ground to be sown in ministry, sometimes it is difficult and dusty ground. There are times where ministry will not be received, and Jesus tells us it is ok to look onward and dust off our feet. This is a tough concept in ministry, because it seems like one is giving up on a person or location. In a similar situation Jesus lets the rich young ruler walk away. There are always people to visit and places to plant.
I read today, however, this parable about the unfruitful fig tree. It seems very clearly that it discusses how in ministry, one might look at fruitlessness and instead of walking away try to pour into it a little more. And if it doesn't grow fruit, then I guess it is acceptable at the time to cut your losses.
Working with people, as ministry is a relational vocation, emotions cloud the clarity of these scriptures. In fact, the scriptures cloud their own clarity in a seeming contradiction. This is where wisdom must be exercised in ministry. Knowing when to dig in deeper, water, nourish and spend the extra effort, and when to brush the dust off your feet or let somebody walk away.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
It’s just after nine in the morning and music fills our house. It’s coming from the street where they are setting up the weekly tiangui (an outdoor market -- similar to a farmer’s market, but much more extensive). Fortunately the music is a calm ballad, I am sure that by mid-day it will be something much more lively and celebratory as tonight all of Mexico is preparing to celebrate their independence with the “grito.” Besides shopping for our fruits and vegetables today, we hope to find something festive for Eliana to wear. Four years ago Kevin and I were in Mexico for the first time together. We celebrated by going to a party held by one of our Mexican family’s churches, then we went to one of the city’s main squares to join the ENORMOUS outdoor party and chant the grito of “Viva Mexico!” and “Viva los heroes!” (along with several others). This year we plan to join our family for a celebration at a church around 7, but then we’ll probably call it an evening after that.
Tomorrow will be our one week anniversary in Mexico. God’s hand has definitely been guiding us, (and at times carrying us!) through this whole process. When we arrived at the airport in San Jose on Thursday morning (amazingly fitting all of our luggage 13 suitcases, 6 carry ons, stroller and carseat into two station wagons), two airport workers instantly appeared to help when they realized the extent of our luggage. Below is a photo of Eliana climbing on top of our mountain of luggage that pretty much took up 3/4 of my mother-in-law's front room!
Our flight left at 7:20 am, so we had to be at the airport around 5. When I pulled Eliana out of bed at 4:30 I expected some crabbiness, but instead she sweetly laid her head on my shoulder and said "Hi mommy! I want to go to Meximo." I had put together a little back pack full of surprises for Eliana to open on the plane, and when she saw it she instantly loved her "pack-pack." Here she is at the airport terminal showing it off. In the second photo she is eating grapes (if you wonder what the weird green thing in her mouth is!).
When we arrived in Mexico we were prepared to have to open up every suitcase because we knew we were bringing more than you are allowed on a tourist visa. We planned to declare the items that were over and above the ones allowed and expected to pay duties on them. After we had gathered all of our luggage (four carts full plus) we wheeled ourselves (with some help from some friendly people) to the "declare" line. The woman at the front asked us if we were moving to Mexico and we explained we were here to get our FM3 residence visa. She then asked us if all of our things were for personal use. When we explained that they were, she directed us to run our suitcases through the x-ray machine and push the button that would flash red if we needed to be inspected and green if we could pass through. That alone was a miracle, perhaps there was a chance we wouldn't have to have every bag opened! After all of our stuff passed through the x-ray machine, we pressed the button and it was green! We were amazed and beyond thankful for the way God answered our prayers. I honestly didn't expect anything so easy. So thank you all who joined us in praying for our journey through customs! At the end of the day all we had to pay for was our extra baggage, which also ended up being a lower amount than expected. WOW!
We are now staying in the home of a Free Methodist missionary couple we knew from our time in Mexico before. We are thankful for a roomy, comfortable place to stay and a car to borrow. Our time has mostly been made up of looking for a place to live. We have found one that we really like, and the landlady is a believer. We are hoping that this one will work out, it was actually the first place we looked explored. We will meet her on the 20th in person (she lives in another state) and hopefully be able to confirm the house as ours. Please join us in praying that if this is the place God wants us that everything will fall into place.
Thanks again for joining us on this journey through your prayers, encouragement, friendship, and support. Many blessings from our family to yours.