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.