Saturday, August 18, 2007

Home Again!

After a long delay in the LA Airport, it was wonderful to put my feet down on Canadian soil again! A numer of friends were there to greet me, they were a sight for sore eyes, and I was a sorry sight for the eyes, 24 hours with no sleep and in need of a shower :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

God Never Disappoints

Saturday, August 4th:

Maria was back again today. I always know when it is her because the motion sensor beeps for a long time because it takes her a while to get up the stairs! I immediately said to the Lord "OK, can we do this again today? Do you have something new for her today, because I have nothing within me to offer her."

She said that she is feeling much better, but that she just wanted to come again for prayer. It made me realize that this is her only outlet, that she does not have a church to go to in order to be built up, and probably has no one to talk to about the Lord, so she comes to us.

We began to pray for her and again I felt the presence of the Lord very strongly in the room. After a while I asked Absalom to ask her if she had ever asked Jesus to come into her heart and her life. She said that she had done that 20 years ago, and that she had even been filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues before. She also mentioned that there were members of her family that were involved with sorcery, which I found very interesting because I have felt all along that she was suffering from the effects of witchcraft somehow.

I told her that I was going to pray for her that she would feel the presence of Jesus in every area of her life even more than she had before, and that she would be protected from the effects of sorcery in her life. I began to pray for her and bless her, and after a while she raised her hands and began to cry and speak in tongues. After that she took my hands and began to place them on every part of her body where she had a problem - her back, her stomach, her head. It was kind've funny, but I guess she wanted to get the full meal deal!

The peace of God totally filled the room after we were done. I had a Spanish bible for women that I had brought with me that I was thinking of giving to someone else, but the Lord spoke to me and said that I should give it to her. I know that she needs to be built up in the word everyday.

This has been a real learning experience for me. I've learned that healing can sometimes be a process, and not always something that happens in an instant. I've learned that we need to seek out the source for people's ailments; that they are not always just physical. And I've learned that God's mercy and His power are new every day, that each time we come to Him He has something new and greater that He wants to do in us. We may feel like we run out, but He always has that next higher step that He wants to take us to all ready and waiting. I've also learned that if you are hungry and seeking for Him, He will never disappoint.

Layer by Layer

I wanted to share with all of you the ongoing story of God's work in the lady that we prayed for before. I was sitting at the desk by the door, and when she came in I went over and gave her a big hug and I asked her how she was doing. She said "I'm not doing very well at all," and she just broke down and started to cry. I got her to sit down and I put my arm around her and asked her to tell me what was wrong. She explained (with Absalom's help) that she had gone to a chiropractor about her back, and that he had told her that she was going to have to spend 2 - 6 months in bed. She kept saying "There's no way that I can do that!"

There happened to be another couple from the church who were there at the time, and we all gathered around her and started to pray. I was leaning against the wall behind her and when I put my hand on her back, I felt like an electrical current was going right through my arm. I was glad that I had a wall to lean against! I kept praying and asking God to show me the source for all of her sicknesses, and again, just as from the beginning, I felt that somehow a door was opened into her life through idolatry or withcraft of some sort. I really prayed against those things in her life. She cried the whole time that we prayed, and then she sat very still for a long time. Finally she said that she felt much better, that she was at peace.

You know, it's funny, but even while all of this is going on, sometimes you have these thoughts going through your head like "is this really going to work?", "God, are you really going to heal her?" It's hard, but you just do what you feel God is telling you to do, and you have to leave the rest up to Him, there's no other choice.

I went back in my journal last night and read the entry for July 23rd and it was about the struggle that I was having over going to Puerto Vallarta, and how God showed me that it was about much more than just not wanting to go there. One of the things that He said to me was "What if I have someone in Zacatecas that I want you to pray for, and you are in Puerto Vallarta?" I think she may have been one of those people. What if I had missed it?

Maria came back again today! This time she had a big smile on her face and said she is feeling much better, that she is able to go out and walk now, which she hasn't been able to do very much of lately. She said she talked to her doctor and told him that her back feels better because she had us pray for her. She said he wants to talk to us!

She asked me to pray for her again, so I took her into the other room and got a chair for her. I went to see if Absalom was busy (he was on the phone) and when I came back in the room, she had her hands raised in the air and she was already praying. Now that's expectancy! Again, I think my arm got a little longer today! Sometimes I feel like I am going to push them right over. I really took my time praying for her today, and I believe that God completed something. (I was reminded of what Mahesh Chavda in his book, 'The Hiden Power of Prayer & Fasting,' said when he prayed for this woman over several days and wondered why she could not receive complete healing until the last day, and God showed him that there was this creature over her that had tentacles, and each time he prayed one of them dropped off, until the final day when the last one dropped off.)

She kept touching my hands and saying that she could feel such heat coming from them, and she touched my forehead and said "you are hot all over!" She said that she knew that God had given me wisdom in how to pray. She explained that she would love to come to church on Sundays, but that her husband is not able to walk and she does not want to leave him alone. She wants to try and help in some way with the feeding programs that they do here from the church. Something tells me that we will be seeing her again! You know, the Lord told me this morning that today was going to be really special, and I know that He was right.

What do you do with all of these blessings that He keeps pouring out? God told me a couple of weeks ago that I have to learn how to use what I have been given, and doubt is definitely one thing that I deal with. Is it going to work? Is it real? Am I doing something wrong that will hinder what God wants to do? I think He's showing me that it IS real, and it DOES work.

Wow, I've gotta catch my breath now!

Monday, July 30, 2007

His Timing is Perfect

"I can hardly believe that I have only two weeks left in México. There were days in the beginning when I thought I wasn't going to make it at all; that I would never last for ten weeks, but now here I am with only two weeks to go, and I have to admit that I am feeling very torn inside.

We spent last week helping Pastor Mere in Fresnillo with her VBS that she was running, and it was wonderful to see her again. She is an incredible woman who has started church works and feeding programs in four different communities or colonias in Fresnillo. We had worked with Mere on the very first trip to México, and I couldn't understand why it didn't work out for us to see her until almost the end of the trip, but I can see now that by working with her at the end of my time here, that I understand and am able to communicate so much more in Spanish, and our visit was so much better than it would have been at the beginning of my trip. God's timing is perfect, and I am learning to trust that.

On Friday we planned to help with VBS in the morning, and then to do an outreach that night with singing and a movie. We were just finishing up with VBS, and I was so looking forward to going back to Tim's house for a nap because I was so tired, and for something to eat because I was so hungry. Pastor Mere came over and said to Tim and I "I've just been talking to Martha, and she told me that her little sister Edith had been taken to the hospital earlier in the week with severe breathing problems and had to be given oxygen. She is staying at Martha's house and she has been asking to see Kellie."

Martha is a very good friend of mine that I met on my first trip to México, and Edith is her little sister. She is 21, but I say little because she is so tiny! I met her when I came to México a year and a half ago, and I loved her from the moment that I met her. I call her my "little doll." Life has not been easy for Edith, she has suffered much in her 21 years.

Tim said to me that we could go to see her, and that I might want to spend the day and stay with her until the outreach that night. My first thought was "I am too tired and too hungry to do that," so I told Tim that we could go see her, but that I wasn't sure if I would stay.

We arrived at Martha and Paco's house and I could tell immediately by the look on Martha's face that she was very worried about her sister. I asked her how Edith was doing and she said "She is very depressed, and all she does is sleep all the time." She led me back to the bedroom, and at first I thought that Edith wasn't there, but then I saw that she was curled into a little ball on top of the bed, asleep. I went and sat down beside her and said her name. She opened her eyes and I said "Edith, what happened?" These big tears started to roll down her cheeks, and I just started to cry along with her. I knew in that moment that I couldn't leave.

Tim and Melissa came and spoke with Edith for awhile, and then we prayed for her. She was able to share some of the problems that she was having. She asked if I would stay with her, and when they left, we had a meal together with Martha and Paco.

After she ate, Edith was very tired and said she needed to rest. We went and sat down on the bed and I put my arm around her and put her head on my shoulder, and for two hours I prayed for her and talked to her about how special she was, and that the wounds that she had received in her life were very real, and they were very important to God. I told her that God was able to change things in her life. That things could be different. I could feel the tangible peace of God fill the room as we talked.

We had to come back to Fresnillo the next day, so we stopped in to check on Edith again. This time she was up and around and getting ready to go out to church that night. She looked much better, but I know that there are many wounds in her life that need to be healed. I pray that the healing process has begun for her.

When I first came to México I desperately missed everyone back home, and I was counting the days until I would be back home again. Now I have been here long enough that my heart is going to be torn when I have to leave my friends here and go back home.

The other day we stopped in to see Ernestina, the lady who owns the ranch and who is going to give Tim and Lalo a piece of land for the children's home. She was so glad to see us, and when I told her that I would only be here for a few weeks more, she said "Are we going to see you again?" I was a little surprised as I heard myself say "Oh, I will be back again for sure." Tim said to her "She's been here four times already. México is in her blood now." I think he is right.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nothing Neutral

I went out and took some pictures the other day of the beautiful bougainvilla flowers that grow along the walls outside Tim & Melissa's house. When I look out my bedroom window, I can see the wall that surrounds the house, a little bit of the sky above it, and part of this beautiful purple bougainvilla that grows there.

When I look at these flowers against the concrete wall, to me it is a very accurate picture of what México is like - there is incredible beauty juxtaposed over harsh, bare, concrete reality. There are beautiful, warm hearted, generous people whose smiles light up the room, alongside poor people who suffer through grinding poverty every single day, whose eyes have lost the light of hope in them. There are beautiful cities with winding cobblestone streets that are filled with families walking and talking in the evenings, and that light up at night like the gorgeous medevial cities in Europe; and right outside of those cities are families who live and work at the dump, and as darkness falls around their homes, where often there is no electricity, their eyes scan the horizon, watching for something to break the monotony, whether it is something that will bring them hope, or something that will bring them danger. I have never experienced the extremes in Canada that they experience here in México. You cannot be neutral in this country.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finishing Well

Monday, July 23rd:

Only 20 more days and I will be home! Not that I'm counting or anything! Actually, I'm finding it a little hard to concentrate these days because I am thinking so much about home. I have been praying to the Lord and asking Him to give me the strength to finish well. I don't want to just put in time for the last three weeks that I am here. I read this verse in Acts 20 today, and it described exactly how I feel: "...if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me..."

I also read this verse in Haggai 2:4 today and it said this: "Yet now be strong, alert, and courageous says the Lord; be strong, alert and courageous..." I felt very strongly the other day during our time of prayer that I need to be vigilent and alert, and not to let my guard down and just try to coast through the rest of my time here in México. I know that the enemy is ready and waiting at the door to pounce if he is given the slightest opening.
We've had a very busy couple of weeks - I had the incredible opportunity to attend my first Méxican wedding. It was absolutely beautiful. I hope to have some pictures and a write up soon.
Then we took a team from Tennessee up to the mountains again for a few days. (Only 15 people this time, so cooking was a breeze! I'm thinking about going into the catering business!) And then we attended a conference at the church in Zacatecas on the weekend.

They decided to hold a healing service on Sunday evening, and on Sunday afternoon the team went out around the city and passed out invitations to people to bring anyone that was sick and wanted prayer to the church on Sunday night.

I have to say that I was amazed at the number of people that showed up for prayer. You just invite them and they come, simple as that! I saw one lady walk in with a neck brace on, and when she walked out her husband was carrying it in his hand. And we prayed for a man who was deaf, and at first he said that he could hear a very faint noise, so we continued to pray for him for a while longer, and suddenly he said that he could hear out of one ear! He and his wife stayed for two hours just watching what was going on in the church. I am believing God that he will be completely healed. There was another man that said that only a couple of days before he had found out that he had been cut out of his family inheritance, so he decided to leave his town and come to Zacatecas to start over again. He was out on the street in the afternoon and one of the team members handed him an invitation to the church on Sunday night. He took it as a sign of starting over, and came to the church and got saved!

Sometimes it's hard not to be depressed and worn down by all of the poverty and oppression that I see around me. I have to remind myself that in the midst of all of this God is doing an incredible work in the hearts and the lives of the people. And they are so hungry to receive it. God truly is more powerful than anything.

To 'Miss' or 'Not Miss!'

Things that I will not miss about México:

1. Cold showers and warm drinking water!
2. Brushing my teeth with a cup of water.
3. Not being able to flush the toilet paper. Enough said about that one.
4. Canons going off at all hours of the day and night. Yes, canons.
5. Instant coffee with coffee creamer instead of real cream!
6. Hot Dogs.
7. Tortillas. I think I've had one too many!

Things that I will miss about México:

1. Being greeted with a kiss by those beautiful Méxican ladies every Sunday in church.
2. Having the opportunity to pray for these wonderful Méxican people who have so much faith.
3. Singing worship songs in Spanish.
4. Having five year old Megan lean over for no reason at all and kiss me on the cheek and say "I love you!"
5. Walking the beautiful streets of Zacatecas.
6. Shopping on the beautiful streets of Zacatecas!
7. Sitting at the top of the mountain, watching the clouds drift by below me, and the eagles soaring over my head above me.
8. Tamales from the street vendor in Zacatecas.
9. My beautiful friends, Zayra, Edith, Paco & Martha
10.Watching the compassion and the power of God change people's lives right in front of me. (Hopefully I won't have to miss that when I get back to Canada.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A New Thing!

Wednesday, July 11th:

Those ladies came back for prayer today! Can you believe that?! To tell the truth, when they came in again I was thinking OK, can we do this again? Is God still going to move in the same way, or is the power gone now? And lo and behold God had something brand new for them today! We might run out, but He never runs out! It was different from yesterday, but God ministered to them in a whole new way. One lady said to me that she felt like she was going to fall down when I prayed, and she wondered why. I told her that it was the presence of God, and that it was very real, it was not just a feeling. God never ceases to amaze me; His power and His mercy is truly new every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Let It Rain!

Tuesday, July 10th (I think!)

I've been having a lot of problems with my throat lately, so I wasn't feeling too well today. I spent the afternoon cleaning the apartment that I've been staying in before I leave tomorrow. I came down to the church late this afternoon, and it was very quiet here so I spent a while writing in my journal.

After a while I heard the doorbell beep and I looked up and it was the same lady that we had prayed for the other day. She was back, and this time she brought a friend with her. She explained that her friend has been suffering from a lot of anxiety and has not been able to sleep. She told her how much better she has been feeling since we prayed for her, and encouraged her friend to come and get prayed for.

Absalom and I took the ladies into the other room and got two chairs for them to sit down in. I began to pray for the lady, and I felt such a surge of power go through me that it almost scared me. We prayed for her for awhile, and then I felt such a flood of peace go through me that I knew that God's peace was flowing directly into her. I've seen how the water runs down the streets here when it rains, and I just prayed to God that I would be a channel, and that His peace would run through me just like the rain runs through the streets here.

I felt such peace as I prayed for her, and I just took my time and let the Lord minister to her. After a while Absalom and I looked at both of the ladies, and I swear it looked like they went to sleep! The peace in the room was tangible! After a while, the lady who brought her friend told her to get up, and I thought it was because they had to leave, but no, it was because she wanted to sit in the chair and get prayed for! She explained that she had injured her back a few years ago, and has had many problems since then. So much so that she could hardly walk. I put my hand on her back and I could literally feel the Lord working on her. I've never experienced anything like it.

Again, the lady said that she felt like Jesus was right in the room when we prayed, and she encouraged her friend to get prayed for for the problem she was having with her leg. So they switched places and we prayed again, same thing! I don't think I have ever seen such faith in people. No wonder they received from the Lord. They just believe, and they just ask, and God touches them. It's incredible! They told Pastor Juan that they will be back on Sunday to church!

You never know when an opportunity is going to come up for you to minister the love of God to someone. You may be doing your job, you may be cleaning your apartment, you may be sitting quietly doing something, thinking that nothing is going on, when all the while God is working behind the scenes, preparing hearts and drawing people to Him. All we have to do is be available.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Spirit To Spirit

I realize I'm kind've jumping around a bit with my blog entries, but I just have to share this story with you: We went out yesterday afternoon and did a feeding program where we gave out sandwiches & drinks to the people who are working at the dump (that was an eye opener, and nose opener, let me tell you!) and then when we came back to the church I spent a couple of hours just reading and talking to the Lord. I was just thinking about going to change and get ready for the evening bible study at the church (if you ever want a challenge, try studying the book "Love Languages for Singles" with a group of people in Spanish!) when an older lady came in from the street and said "I have been sick, and I heard that this is the church where they pray for people to get healed."

Another lady from the church and I took her aside and the lady explained that she has had this skin condition where her clothes feel like they are burning her skin. She said the doctors could find no explanation for it. Even while we were talking, I felt the power of God come over me, and I felt that He was showing me that she was being oppressed by a demon; that this was not just a medical condition. We began to pray for her, and again I felt the power of God come over me and my hands begin to burn. I let the other lady pray in Spanish, and I just prayed along with her without a translator. After we were done, the lady sat and talked to the lady from the church for a long time. I was not able to catch very much of what she was saying, but I really felt that God had done something for her.

Well, today the lady came back to the church again and she said that she was feeling much better, but that she still felt a little uncomfortable and that the condition was not completely gone. She wanted to know if we would pray for her again. We agreed, and again I felt that same burning power going through me when we prayed. Sometimes it's a little difficult, because I can only pray in a limited way in Spanish, and then I pray in English for them, but I know that they can't understand what I am saying. But I just prayed that God would touch her and do whatever He needed to do.

After we were done praying the lady sat there for a while, and then she asked Absalom (the young guy from the church who prayed as well) if someone had come in the room and walked in front of her while we were praying. He said "No, we are the only two people here in the church right now." She said "I felt someone and saw a shadow pass in front of me when you were praying. I believe it was Jesus." She also told him that both times that I put my hands on her and prayed that she could feel heat coming from them and that it soothed her. She is planning on coming back to see Pastor Juan tomorrow, and would like to start coming to some of the church meetings. Incredible!!

This causes me to ask the question, are our prayers more powerful if they can be understood by the person being prayed for or not? Maybe understanding helps, but maybe sometimes we need to just get out of the way, bypass the mind, and let Jesus minister directly to their spirit. Something to think about that's for sure.

Table Talk

Friday, July 6th 7:00 p.m.

One of the ladies from the church here in Zacatecas invited Absalom and I over to her house for lunch. She came for us at 3 o'clock, and we walked up the hill through the winding cobblestone streets to her house (luckily she walked slowly or otherwise I would've passed out! Still adjusting to this altitude!)

We had "Pasole", a soup made with chicken and corn (no cow tongues this time!) and it was delicious. She and her husband had many questions about Canada (note to self: brush up on your Canadian History & Geography before travelling to another country!) We had a very enjoyable time together, and it was 6:30 before we left their house! These Mexicans sure know how to do lunch!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Spiders n' Things

The other day Tim, John and I were having our Spanish class in the living room when the kids came running down the hall making this big commotion about a spider that they saw. Tim and John went to investigate, and there was a big, black POISONOUS spider by the back door, with all kinds of little baby spiders on it's back. When they killed the spider, the baby ones were running everywhere. Gross! They finally killed them all (I hope!) and we went back to Spanish class.
Nope, Toto, we definitely ain't in Kansas any more!!

God Will Find A Way

I realized that I did not give a final update on the trip that our guys made to the Huichol Indian village when we were up in the mountains. Four of the guys from our team made a very dangerous trip to a Huichol village that they wanted to contact, that took two days of hiking through the mountains to get there and back.

We were all very relieved to see them come walking out of the trees on the day they were to return, looking very sunburnt, lame and a little ragged around the edges, but still intact, thank the Lord! They had some very interesting stories to tell us, starting with the fact that they were the first white men ever to go to this particular village! I'm sure the people were shocked when they saw them coming down from the mountains! They immediately began to seek out the chief or governor of the village to bring their greetings, and to seek permission to hold a meeting, which they received.

They had a meeting in the middle of the village and were able to share the gospel and tell the people why they had come. Some the Tepehuan Indians that had gone along as guides were able to share as well. This was a first time occurrence for this village.

There was one Christian family in this village, and they invited the team to stay at their house for the night. The wife is a teacher in the village, and she was ecstactic to have visitors to come and stay in her home, and to know that they were Christians as well. The guys had to sleep on the ground in this hut with scorpions and snakes outstide. (I would not be doing much sleeping I can tell you that!)

But the really neat thing that happened was that the Christian lady that they stayed with told them that two years before Lorenzo (the Mexican missionary in the mountains) had come to their village to bring them gifts from Samaritans Purse. One of the gifts that this lady received had a letter in it from a lady in Texas, written in English. She had never been able to understand what was written in this letter, and after two years the guys from our team were able to translate it for her, and she in turn wrote a letter back to this lady that we have translated and will send to her. How incredible is that? God saw that letter in a little Huichol village and provided a way for it to be translated and communicated back. How encouraging that must have been for that Huichol lady, and imagine the surprise of the lady in Texas when she receives a reply back to her letter from two years ago!

Lorenzo and the team are hoping that they will be able to establish regular contact with this village, and to eventually be able to build a church there. I am sure that God will make a way for it to happen.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Kingdom Encounters

Sunday, June 24th:

Tim decided that we should enjoy the experience of taking a Mexican bus into Zacatecas for church this morning, which was an adventure in itself! We arrived early for church, and Tim said that we should go out on the street and hand out invitations to church. I stayed behind to photocopy some invitations, and when I caught up with Tim and John, they were already talking to a man sitting in the doorway of the church. He had a cast on his leg, and I guessed him to be about 50 years old. I could tell he was in some distress, and I saw Tim begin to pray for him.

After Tim was done praying, he explained to me that the man (Jesús) was 31 years old, had severe diabetes, and had been addicted to cocaine. His blood sugar level was extremely high, and he did not have the money to buy the insulin that he needed. You don't always know if these people are on the up and up, but he did have several prescriptions that looked legitimate, and Tim decided to buy the insulin for him. They gave him the insulin, and invited him to come to the church service. One minute, he said he would come, and the next, he wanted to leave. He ultimately did leave, and you could almost literally watch the battle going on in his life. Looking at that man, I know his days are numbered, except for the divine intervention of God. I pray that divine intervention started today.

At the end of the service a lady came up for prayer because she had been suffering from a collapsed lung. Pastor Juan asked me to help him pray for her. I put my hands on her, and the same thing happened that has happened each time before; I could feel a surge of power that felt like electricity going through my hands.

After the church service was over, the lady and her sister invited all of us over to their family home for dinner. We arrived at their house, which was very simple and modest, and the ladies immediately began bustling around arranging the tables and chairs, and the sounds of chopping and mixing could be heard coming from the kitchen. We truly felt like the guests of honor, and they began bringing in plate after plate of food.

The first course they started with was "Menudo". At first, it looked like it might be tortilla soup, but I quickly found out that it was the infamous soup that contained cow stomach, yes, I said stomach. I knew that I couldn't eat a whole bowl, but that I had to try at least a little. After all, when in Rome (or Zacatecas)....and besides, how many people can say that they've eaten cow stomach??? The soup itself was actually quite tasty, but the piece of cow stomach tasted like you were chewing on a piece of white rubber!

Then, they started bringing out the tacos. There were a couple of different kinds, and they said that one of them was called "Lengua", which I found out was actually beef tongue. I found the beef tongue to be quite tender and delicious; better than the regular beef ones.

The food kept coming and coming, until finally I couldn't eat any more! All of the fellowshipping is done around the table here in México. Many times I've noticed in the smaller Méxican homes that they don't seem to have a living room, or even any living room furniture. But that is because when guests come over, a meal is served, and then all of the talking is done while sitting around the table. There is actually something very homey and intimate about it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Child's Laugh-Medicine for the Soul

Today, we took a group of street kids (there were 23 kids and 5 adults in Tim's van) on an outing to a ranch outside of town. There is a Mexican man and his wife who are working with kids who have single mothers, who are addicted to drugs/prostitution. A wonderful lady who used to live in California who now lives on this ranch has offered to give a piece of her land to Lalo and his wife to build a house for these kids.

We took them out to see the ranch today, and did some of our VBS program with them. I could cry just writing about it - those kids were so excited when they got in the van, you could almost touch it. The little boys were tough, almost all of them were dirty; you could tell that some of the girls had seen too much, and I fell in love with them all. They break my heart. Lalo pointed out some of the older ones to me (7 or 8 yrs. old) and said they all were addicted to sniffing glue when he first met them. He has taken some of them into his home to live with him & his wife. He showed me a picture of the place where one child was living, and it was a room filled with garbage, and nothing else. I wanted to break down and sob when he showed me that picture.

At first, they are a little leery of you, but when they realize that you want to give them your attention, they are all over you! I took pictures of some of the boys doing break dancing tricks for me; music truly is a universal language. The littlest children (2 or 3 yrs. old) got SO excited when I would take their picture with my digital camera and show it to them on the screen, it was absolutely precious!

I was in heaven when I saw this ranch - it was beautiful! Rich tones of adobe brick blended beautifully into its surroundings, with big beautiful shade trees to sit under. It was incredible! What a wonderful place for these troubled children to live. I know I was ready to stay! They had these goats and sheep there, and when you would walk over to the pen they would all start "Baaaaing" at once! It was hilarious, and I thought, "I bet that's what we sound like to God most of the time!"

We stayed until about two o'clock, and we must have played them out, because most of them fell asleep on the way back. There was one little one sitting right behind me (about 3 yrs. old) and I started playing peek-a-boo with her, and then she was putting her hand on my shoulder, and I would try to catch her. She laughed so hard she had everyone laughing around her. It was a great day, and I found it very encouraging. It's a very quiet evening at home, but it's nice and a perfect end to a day I want to savor. God is so good J

Friday, June 22, 2007

God's Touch

Thursday, June 14th:

I've been sitting up here this morning doing a little birdwatching. They have the most beautiful birds here. I saw a red one in one of the trees, and I kept praying that it would come closer, until it finally flew into the tree right in front of me. And my friend the eagle has been soaring around out there too. I'm actually going to miss sitting out here on the side of this mountain everyday. I was thinking that there are probably only a few hundred people that have ever been able to come here and experience this. It makes me realize how privileged I am.

We went and did an outreach in the town of Canoas yesterday. It is supposedly the capital for the Tepehuans that the Mexican government built, and although they do now have electricity, when you drive down into the little town, the homes are all these little buildings built out of planks, with a doorway, and one little opening cut out for a window, with no glass of course.

The people were already gathered and waiting for us, and Lorenzo's team began to sing some songs and do dramas etc. I walked around and took few discreet pictures, and then I went and sat down next to an older Tepehuan lady who was sitting along the front of one of the buildings. I spoke to her and introduced myself, and then I asked her who the little girl was that was with her. She looked to be about a year old.

The lady explained that this was her granddaughter, and that she had been sick lately and was not eating. I said to the lady that I would pray for her, and she immediately picked the little girl up and sat her over next to me. I explained to the lady that I was going to pray in English, but that God would hear me.

When I placed my hand on the little girl, it immediately began to burn, and I prayed against the sickness in her body, and I spoke the healing of Jesus over her. I commanded satan to leave her body and her life. A little while later, the lady began to tell me that she was having toruble with pain in her shoulder and across her chest. I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her, and she immediately agreed. I placed one hand on her back and the other on her chest where the pain was. This time the feeling was even more intense, and my hand began to burn and shake. I knew that something incredible was being released into her life. I commanded satan to leave her alone. I began to pray in both Spanish and English, and then I just prayed in tongues because the feeling was so intense. The lady took her shawl and put it over her head and began to cry. I was very touched by this because the Tepehuan people do not cry very often in public. I hope that I will be able to see her when we go up again in July so that I can hear about the incredible things God has done in her life.

The Thunder Roars

Wednesday, June 13th:

Well, it's been an interesting morning so far - we had pancakes on the menu for breakfast - pancakes have always been a problem up here, but when you have to make pancakes for 40 people it's even more of a problem! Kelly (from Houston) started out trying to make them on tortilla pans, which did not work at all. Then we switched to the two big frying pans they have, but we couldn't get them to heat evenly over the propane burners. I told them we had used small frying pans before, so I started to look for them, and when I finally found them, they hadn't been used in so long they were rusted! So, we switched to using one big frying pan on the big propane burner we had, and we immediately ran out of propane! Sammy brought another tank and hooked it up, and we started out again only to discover that the new propane tank was empty! The prospects for pancakes were looking dim, but the guys decided to go outside and build a fire to cook them over, but they had no wood, so they went to gather some, but the wood was all wet because of the huge thunderstorm that we had last night! I just heard that they did finally get the fire going, so I'll have to go see how these pancakes are going to turn out! We definitely ain't in Canada anymore!

I just have to say this about the thunderstorm - that you really haven't experienced one until you've experienced one at 10,000 feet up in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico! We are so high up that you are actually in the thunderstorm when it goes through. The thunder is so loud and right on top of you that it sounds like canons going off. And the lightning is constant, and lights up the whole sky when it flashes. I was so glad that we were safe inside the big building this time (we were in the cabins before - Tim says that the wind has actually moved them before!) And with no electricity, there were no TV's or appliances to blow up! I kept thinking about the guys who had hiked over to the Huichol village sleeping out in this, and about the hundreds of Indians who live throughout these mountains who have no homes whatsoever, who sleep in caves, or under trees and beside rocks. It rains so hard I don't know how you'd ever get away from it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Heartbeat of Worship

Tuesday, June 12th around 12 noon,

I´m just trying to catch my breath from hiking to my favorite spot at the top of the hill (we are at 10,000 feet, which is about two miles up.) I am sitting here looking out over the mountains, with the white clouds just skimming over the top of them, listening to the breeze sighing through the pine trees, and breathing in their delicious scent.

The sun has come out in full for the first time today, and it is absolutely beautiful. The birds are singing, and the breeze is nice and cool, which makes the temperature just perfect. When the sun is shining here you feel that you are only about two miles away from heaven, but when one of those big clouds roll in and you can only see for a few feet in front of you, you think that maybe you´ve been forgotten at the end of the earth.

I am just watching a little lizard that is about an inch and a half long sun himself on a rock. (I am hoping quite fervently that I don´t run into any snakes!) There is a big pile of rock not far from where I am sitting that Lorenzo says is a border marker between here and the next state. He also says the witch doctors have gathered around these rocks before and tried to put curses on the church and the bible school that he was starting. Lorenzo says that when they first started to clear the land for the church, that there were snakes and scorpions everywhere, but that there are hardly any now. Thank God!

I have to say that one of the things that touches me the most is the little prayer meeting that they have here at seven o´clock every morning. They ring a big bell and the people walk from all around the area to this little building with a tin roof and no heat, and they will sing worship songs in Spanish, with no music, maybe sometimes a guitar, and then they will break off into the song of the Lord, which sometimes may be in several different keys, but to me, I think it must be the most beautiful sound that heaven has ever heard. I just keep thinking, Lord, you hear these people, way up in these mountains that most of the world doesn´t even know about, bringing, to me, what a true sacrifice of praise is. I am sure that all of heaven goes silent just to hear it. It absolutely breaks me, and all I can do is weep when I hear it. I would fly for 12 hours and drive for 7 more just to hear that worship again.

Four of the guys from our team left this morning (including Tim, and he´d better make it back so he can drive us home!) to hike 9 hours through the mountains to a small Huichol Indian village that Lorenzo has made contact with. They will have to stay overnight, and hike for 12 hours tomorrow to get back. I knew that it was going to be a hard trip, but I did not fully understand the danger until Lorenzo had us pray for them this morning, and he warned them that they had to be very careful how they conducted themselves around these people. He said that a reporter had gone out there one time and taken some pictures of one of the little children. The men from the Huichol tribe chased him down and killed him. I thought to myself, this is the real deal. There are people right here in North America that have never been reached, that these men may be risking their lives to reach out to. My prayers for them and this trip have taken on a whole new dimension.

It is now 12:45 and I am supposed to go in and start preparing lunch, but I don´t want to! I could sit out here on this mountain the whole day.


Sunday, June 10th 2:00 p.m.

We are sitting here in the parking lot at the Soriana Dept. store, and the team from Texas has just arrived. I can´t get over how macho all of these gusy are! They´re just young, but they have that Texas swagger (including the big belt buckles!) to them. Dan´s wife´s name is Kelly, and seems like a very nice lady. We are going to be in charge of the kitchen together. We´ll have to see how cooking for 40 people on an ancient propane stove with no electricity goes!

We went into the Soriana while we were waiting, and on the way in, there was a young woman sitting on the ground with 3 or 4 children aournd her. All of their clothes were dirty, and I could tell that they were quite poor. But the thing that gets to me the most is the look on their faces. It´s something that I find hard to even put into words. It´s the look of survival. The look of hopelessness. I looked right into her eyes and smiled at her, and she just stared back at me. I gave her $40 pesos when I came out again.

Life is hard for the people here in Mexico. It is written on their faces. It makes me love them even more.

I was really excited this morning about the drive up to the mountains, but now I´m feeling a little homesick. I always find the afternoons the hardest, not sure why. The mountains and the countryside are absolutely beautiful, but so different from anything I´m used to at home. It makes me realize how far away I am from anything familiar. It also makes me realize how much I depend on all of the things that are familiar to me to give me a sense of comfort and a sense of who I am.

I can see the mountains looming up in front of us that we are going to cross. Tim says it takes about 6 to 7 hours to get there from his home. This really is an incredible opportunity that very few people get to experience. Tim says that the Huichol Indians are an almost totally unreached group of people. The vast majority of them have never even heard of God or Jesus, or even seen a white man. Tim is hoping to visit a Huichol Village that is about two days away from the camp to see about planting a church there. He said that one time a group of Huichols were walking through the mountains to visit Lorenzo´s church, and there was a little boy with them who did not show up when they arrived at the church. When they went back to look for him, they found that he had died along the trail. They think that he may have had pneumonia or something. How incredibly sad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mexico Adventure Begins!

Well I arrived in Mexico safe and sound! (Well, I don't know how sound I felt yesterday!) It was a really long day, and I was so exhausted all I wanted to do was go to bed. I felt really homesick, and thought that if the next ten weeks were going to feel like this, I didn't know if I was going to make it! I slept really well through the night; so I’m feeling much better today, and no headache, praise God!

We came in to the Vineyard church here in Zacatecas first thing to use the computers. It is a beautiful sunny day, but the air is nice and cool which is great. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to take a shower this morning because the water went off yesterday, but it was back on, so things are looking up! Oh, the things we take for granted at home.

I have been thinking about the missionaries in the old days, and the ones that journey to the middle of nowhere where they have no contact with anyone from back home, and I have no idea how they did it. I don't know what I would do if I could not be in contact with the people that I love back home. This ten weeks in Mexico is nothing compared to what they have done.

I can feel your prayers, and I have a whole new understanding of what it means to people who are away to know that people are praying for them. Sometimes that's all we have to hang on to. I would appreciate your prayers for next weeks planned trip to the mountains with a group of 25 people. I'll not be able to email updates while there, but pray the Lord lays me on your heart when I need it :-)

While I was typing this email the pastor came over and asked me to help him pray for this young lady in the church who felt that she was being oppressed by a demon - she felt depressed and couldn't sleep at night because she felt that something was coming in and sitting on top of her. We prayed, and I felt I should put my hands on the back of her shoulders as I did, my hands just started to burn, and after a while she told the pastor that she could feel something being pulled out from the middle of her shoulders, but that it was not completely gone. We started to pray and come against the devil by the blood of Jesus, and after a while she started to cry and said that it was gone.

Wow, not bad for the first day!
OK, I'm feeling much better about this trip already. God is so amazing. I can hardly believe that this just happened! I'm still shaking my head! I pray that I will not miss one of these opportunities by being caught up in my own uncertainty or feeling overwhelmed. Thank you Lord for what you just did for me today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

God's Provision

It is May 22nd, my job is finished and I‘m home visiting with my family for a few days because in less than two weeks I am leaving for Mexico! I can hardly believe it. I can hardly believe what has happened in my life over the last few months.

I can remember saying to my sister, Brenda, after one of my trips to Mexico that sometimes I felt like I could just give it all up and totally go for this missions thing. Wow! Be careful what you let come out of your mouth! Or sometimes have a real good listen to what is coming out of your mouth because you could be prophesying your own future—good or bad.

I have to say that since I made the decision at the first of the year to jump off the cliff and chase the lion, I have experienced the most miraculous confirmations to this decision that I have ever seen in my life. God has spoken to me over and over again through dreams, prophetic words and prayers, scriptures, and most of all, miraculous provision, beyond anything I could have imagined.

To those of you who have helped me, I am tempted to say that you will never know how much it means to me, but I hope that you will know, and that God will bless you beyond your wildest imagination. You have made a Kingdom investment that will pay dividends for many, many years to come.

There is a verse in Matthew 19:29, that talks about anyone who leaves their home or family for His name’s sake will receive a hundred times more. I can honestly say that I have experienced this verse and I haven’t even left the country yet! There is no one who can pay you back any better than God!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Can You Hear The Lion Roar?

"Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?" Yes, I know I'm starting another article with a question, but it's a good one, and one worth thinking about. This line from the book called "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson (I highly, highly recommend this book - it's a life changer) nearly jumped off the page at me, so I thought it deserved some thought.

Let me backtrack and say that back at the beginning of December, 2006 my sister, Brenda, sent me a copy of the first chapter of this book, and I can remember sitting on my couch on a snowy Saturday morning and becoming totally caught up in the story. It is taken from 2 Samuel 23, and tells the story of how a man named Benaiah chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killed it. Betcha didn't even know that story was in there - well, neither did I. The whole point of the chapter was that the biggest risks we face, the scariest lions, can be our greatest opportunities.

"When we don't have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him. Lion chasers don't let their fears or doubts keep them from doing what God has called them to do." - Mark Batterson.

I was absolutely captivated by the ideas that were being presented in this book. Little did I know why, or what I was being prepared for, because on December 13th I received an email that I believe has changed my life. It was from Tim Meyer, the missionary in Mexico that our Go Teams have worked with on several occasions, asking me if I would consider joining a team of people that he was putting together to work with him for ten weeks this summer.

I wish I could say that I immediately saw it as the God-authored divine moment that it was, but instead I have to say that I immediately dismissed the whole idea, and almost deleted the email. After all, it would no doubt be a team of high school/college age people, because no one with a full-time job could manage to take ten weeks off from their job, including myself. I would be the oldest on on the team, and besides, how could I ever come up with the amount of money that was needed to cover my expenses? I was concentrating on other decisions that I felt I needed to make as far as my future, and what my calling might be, and I barely gave the email any more thought.

But once again my sister Brenda was instrumental in causing me to stop and look at the lion that was staring back at me. (I could talk about the people who have helped me along the way to make the decisions that I have, but that's a whole other article - suffice it to say that you may think you are only sending an interesting article to someone, or just inviting them out for coffee, when in actual fact you may be one of the keys in helping someone to seize their divine moment.)

When I went home for the Christmas holidays, she kept bringing up this whole idea about Mexico, and kept encouraging me that I needed to think about it, and that it might be an opportunity that God was calling me to, and not something to just dismiss.

I could hear that lion growling at me. Was I going to chase it, or was I going to turn around and run away?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Taste Of Mexico- Missions Festival

Our church, Rock Church, recently held a Missions Festival, it's featured theme was "Tastes From Around The World." I had the fun of creating a booth representing Mexico. I had a great team, and it didn't take long for the food to disapear!

My team mates, starting from the left, Gwen McNeil, Me, Wendy Lee & Ashley Abbott

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mexican Journey

“What makes you come alive?” was a life-changing question that was asked of me by a very wise and dear friend about three years ago when I was in the midst of a job search and looking at a possible career change.

I had been sharing with her that I wasn’t really sure what direction to go in, and just didn’t know what I wanted to do. The question provoked me somehow, and when she asked it I thought “you know, I really have no idea what it is that I love to do, and what makes me feel alive when I do it.”

Later on that year I had the opportunity to return to Mexico on a short-term missions trip with a team from my church. I say return because 20 years earlier I had a somewhat disastrous experience as a short-term missionary in Mexico, and I have to say that as I returned this time I was absolutely paralyzed with fear that my experience was going to be a repeat of my first journey to Mexico. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I remember the moment exactly, and it is still as clear and vivid in my mind today as it was then – it was our third day in Mexico, and we had gone into a neighborhood to go door to door inviting people to come to the church for some groceries and a meal. We were walking down dirt roads, with dogs barking at us from everywhere (including the rooftops!) There were little boys driving cars down the roads, and we were struggling to communicate with people who were wondering who these foreigners were that were knocking on their door.

As I was walking down one of those roads, suddenly it hit me – this is it! I am in the middle of a dirt road in Mexico and I have never felt so alive in all my life! I was amazed, and continued to be throughout the rest of the week at how different my experience was from the first time, and how I fell in love all over again with these beautiful, resilient people of Mexico.

I have returned to Mexico three times since that first trip three years ago, and am now getting ready to leave my job and go to Mexico for a ten week mission term this summer. You may ask how I arrived at this point in my life; well, that story is too long to tell in one sitting. You will have to come back again and I will share a bit more of my journey. Hasta luego!