Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sweet Friendship

      Sometime within the last year, I began praying that God would give me a love for our ZK people of Southern Mexico. I guess the desire to work with them began almost 3 years ago, but it's really been the last 6 months that I have fallen love with the people of Pine Hill.                                                                                        
   For starters, I wanted to introduce you to Elena. We met her when we were visiting Don Isabel, her father. He runs a telephone booth in his home and Elena often helps "man" the phones. You see, there are only 100 phone lines into the whole town, and Don Isabel has 3 of them. He charges 7 pesos per minute for you to receive a call on one of his phones.
    From the day that I met Elena, I was attracted to her sweet smile and friendly demeanor. She's the mother of two girls (ages 11 and 9) and her 8-month old baby boy, Iker. She has often wanted to invite us to her home for coffee, but we've yet to be able to go. On our last visit, I shared that we had our house and soon I would be able to invite her to my house for coffee! She said, "I rarely get out of the house. But now, I will have a friend to go visit."
     Guadalupe is another sweet friend who I can't wait to invite to my home! She has been so hospitable to us every time that we've been in her home. I admit, it wasn't easy at first. We first started visiting her father-in-law, Don Justo in August of last year. He was the first man of peace to welcome us.
     Soon, I was venturing across the street to visit with Guadalupe and the other women. It wasn't easy to build a rapport because they speak ZK amongst themselves, and therefore I understood very little. Okay, I understood nothing. Except for the day that Guadalupe shared with the rest of the woman that I was not Catholic. I understood that...and the stares that followed.
     But, we continued to faithfully visit. And to share stories! Guadalupe has come to expect that we will share a story from the Bible, and she looks forward to it.
    On our last visit, I shared with Guadalupe that we had our house, but it wouldn't be for another month until we were moved in permanently. "That long?!?" was the response! I assured her I would invite her to my house soon, and that her daughter Irene would eventually come to love me. Or at least not cry when she looked at me! (Yes, she will let Clay pick her up...but cries if left in the same room as me without her momma!)
     Today, I am thankful that I have these two beautiful women to invest in and to learn from. I am thankful that we've had the last 8 months to get to know one another...and love one another!
Please pray for these two women and the friendship that they have extended to me. Pray that I can continue in faithfulness to share the Gospel with them through my words and my actions. Pray that they can come to know how to have a personal relationship with the Father, and not just a tradition.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Flat Meghan--Day Two

We took Flat Meghan to Pine Hill with us last week. The kids truly love it there. There is plenty of room to run, jump, and climb...

Flat Meghan climbed the orange tree
with Ryan and Levi!

Then Flat Meghan climbed the
orange tree with Ellie!

Orange Blossoms
Some of our first oranges!
Can't wait for them to be ripe!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Flat Meghan--Day One

Recently, we had a visitor arrive at our house all the way from the state of Washington. Her name is Flat Meghan and we are delighted to get to show her around southern Mexico. Our first outing was on Sunday. We took her to church at a small, rural mission church. Clay had been asked to preach, so we loaded up and headed out by 8am. It was an hour and a half trip! The first hour wasn't too bad, but the last half hour was a rough, bumpy, dirt road.

The first part of the trip...

The last half hour...
glad we weren't walking!

We were all happy to get to the church! Once there, the people were very friendly. The ladies prepared us breakfast...they made scrambled eggs and corn tortillas! The tortillas were so yummy. They make them by hand and cook them over the fire. (Unfortunately, we had no idea they were cooking or we would have tried to venture into the kitchen to watch.) They told us that all girls know how to cook by the time they're 10 years old! And they don't have stoves like you and I do. It's all over the fire...kind of like camping, but it's every day.

When we were done eating, we entered the church and took our seats. It was kind of different because the men all sat on the right side of the church and the women and children sat on the other side. Another major difference is that although we are in Mexico where most people speak Spanish, here in the town of Tenejapa, they speak tzeltal! When Clay preached in Spanish, another man had to translate the message to tzeltal!

Clay and his tzeltal translator

After church, we went outside to sit in the warm sunshine. Again, we didn't really know what we were waiting for, but the ladies were in cooking again. They served us scrambled eggs and handmade tortillas again for lunch. It was very humbling, knowing that this church was sacrificing the small amount that they had to feed us.

The girls were making necklaces and crowns by
braiding flowers together.

After lunch, we visited two families from the church. We sang and prayed, and then Clay shared a story from the Bible to encourage them. It was a very long day! Not at all like we would experience in the States. We didn't get home that night until 7:15, and then it was time to shower and go to bed!

**We recently read the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, as did our friend Meghan. It's about a boy who is flattened by a bulletin board, but not hurt. He has many adventures while flat, like being flown as a kite and mailed to his friend's house in California for vacation. And that's how we got to have Flat Meghan with us!**

Friday, March 15, 2013

For Love

We finally got to spend our first two nights in our new home in the "village." Really, it's more like a small town, but it's literally at the end of the road. No Walmart in sight. Just lots of rain clouds...

I spent the first two hours in my new home cleaning--sweeping up mouse poop, making a mental note to buy mouse poison, mopping. Scattered amongst that was caring for 3 of the 4 little ones. (The fourth was with Daddy, buying lumber.) Finally I sat down to rest and work on my embroidery project.

It was naptime for Matthew and movie time for Ryan and was quiet.

Well, at least it was quiet in my house.

Outside I heard
     the rain drops dripping on the leaves
          the roosters crowing               a baby crying        the twang of the neighbor's machete
                   from somewhere music was blaring             churchbells ringing    
                               dogs barking              a child's squeal                         birds chirping        

                    All that mixed with the smell of bleach...and roasting coffee.

I had never noticed just how much noise there is in Pine Hill. But I'd also never had the opportunity to just sit and contemplate why I'm here.

In August of 2010, Clay and I took a trip to San Francisco to attend a Mission Expo with our mission board. It was during that weekend conference that we heard about a people group in Southern Mexico who had never heard of the Gospel. God awakened our calling. We always knew, deep down that God was calling us to go to Chiapas, to work with indigenous people. And we were waiting patiently for His timing.

Here we are, two and a half years later. At the "beginning" of the next step of our great Adventure. All because God began a work in us years ago. He gave us a LOVE for His people. A yearning to share with them the Truth.

Pray that God will grow this LOVE in our hearts, that we will be burdened for a lost people, and that He will give us wisdom as we share the Story.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Counting my Blessings

A View of Pine Hill...
pray that God's Word with penetrate the hearts of the ZK people!

     The last few weeks have been so full of blessings that I just had to share. We have seen God answering so many prayers from the last year, and I don't want to overlook all that He has done and is doing...and all that is yet to come!

The lady in front, hugging Ellie...that's one of my Mexican Mamás
from years gone by. And the guy on the far right is my Papá.
About 2 weeks ago, I received a message on facebook from a teenager who said she knew Clay and me when we lived in Yajalon, Chiapas in 2001. She sent a picture of me, dressed as a clown, hugging a 5 year old host sister! We chatted back and forth via internet. Since it's not uncommon for folks to make the 6 hour drive from Yajalon to San Cristobal for shopping, I told her to let us know if they come to the city. A few hours later, she sent a message saying her parents were coming the next day! What a blessing to see Miguel and Oralia...and baby Miguelito, who isn't a baby anymore! (He was only a year old when I lived with them...and now he's almost 13!)
We took Don Guadalupe and Blanca to the caves
at Rancho Nuevo while they were visiting us.

The following weekend, we had visitors from Pine Hill! It was a special treat for Blanca who had never been to San Cristobal. (She is completely enamoured by the kids!) And it was very special for us to be able to host them in our home. 
My little monkeys!
Over the past few months, I have prayed that Ryan and Ellie will be best friends. God has been good to me. Yes, they still fight from time to time. But they enjoy being together.
We have been praying for a house in Pine Hill, and God has answered that request too! And it's not "just a house."  It's a house that fulfills all the requests and then some. I felt kind of silly asking people to pray for two bathrooms. But it wasn't too silly for God. This house has two toilets and two showers! (No toilet seats yet, but we can take care of that!) It also has a wonderful, private yard where the kids can play and the dog can run.
Does it get any more precious?
My silly Levi
Ryan turned 7 in February!


Matthew, just shy of 2 years old.