First, I want to apologize for not getting this post up sooner and to apologize for how long this is going to be. Our schedule these last couple weeks has been crazy busy, which is great! I just feel bad that I haven’t been able to keep up with friends and family as much as I would have liked. Our weeks pretty much look the same somewhat each week because we always have specific ministries that we are a part of, however, we do add in random events and outings occasionally which is why we’ve been really busy recently.
The week of August 22
Liesa took Rachel, myself and some other girls from our team out to learn the bus routes. We took two major bus routes that we would need to know in order to get to the main places we’d be meeting people. Before that though, we met up with a language teacher to set up language classes. That whole week was basically just us going and setting up times for us to start meeting with the people we’ve been meeting with the last two weeks. We visited two villages (that’s what we do on Tuesdays, all day), we were able to meet with the market ladies in a close by village to set up us coming to see them each week to teach them money and basic things that they sell in their little store, Elizabeth* to see her new baby (she’s precious) and Esmeralda* to continue teaching her English and to just give her Christian fellowship as her and her family are the only believers in her village.
The last few Wednesdays have been pretty mellow as the 24th of August we went over to another missionary couple’s home to learn about the indigenous people of Oaxaca and their different styles of worship and all the different dialects of the indigenous languages that are just here in this state. They later took us to lunch and that evening we had translation class. Thursday of that week, I met the Lopez family, Maria, Patricia and Pedro*. We meet with them every Thursday to teach them English while telling bible stories and playing games. The kids are a handful, but I love them dearly and only want them to know more about our Savior. That evening, Rachel and I started our tradition of going to Zumba class and follow it up with tacos at our favorite place to eat in the Zocolo.
That weekend we had team meeting, we started going to youth group at a local church here with Ashley (the Journeygirl), I was able to FaceTime one of my best friends and catch up on life with her, we had many language exchanges we went to, did some prayer walking about a new women’s ministry we’re praying about and starting to set up, and we started house sitting for the Holeman’s as they were out of town the following week for Liesa’s dad’s 70th birthday with his triplet brothers! It was a jam packed weekend but we made the most of it and we enjoyed ourselves. OH! That Sunday, we went to church and afterwards met up with some friends for ice cream (it was basically shaved ice) and I FINALLY got to see the new Bourne movie.
The week of August 29
This week consisted of the usual. Spanish class, English Corner, visiting the two villages with Esmeralda* and then with the market ladies and Elizabeth*. We were able to get to know the market ladies a little bit better as it’s just us girls who are there and they’re a little more open to us. Esmeralda, we were able to find out where she was in her English learning and was also able to get to know her a little bit better as well. Her family owns a bakery, so each week we’ve been given a meal after class and sent on our way with a bag of sweet bread.
The 31st was my daddy’s 50th birthday, so the whole day I was worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to talk to him at all because of how busy we were. We went to Casa Hogar, which is the children’s home and then translation class. After I got home from that, I had to make sure it wasn’t too late back home to call and wish him happy birthday. I was able to FaceTime him and my whole family as I hadn’t been able to because of being so busy, but I was so happy to see their faces and to just talk to them. Thursday of that week we had our English class with the Lopez family* and then since it was opening day for the Vols and the Cards, I sat at home with my ESPN app open trying to keep up to date with the football scores of my two teams. We also were feeling super American that evening and ordered pizza from Dominos.
That weekend was super packed full of fun things to do. Friday we were invited to the pastor’s house by his wife to learn how to make chiles rellenos (they’re SO good) and then later that evening we went to youth group. That evening at youth group we were playing a group game and my thumb got bent backwards and has been in pain for a week now. Saturday we met back up with the ladies who are in the process of doing the women’s ministry here (more on this specifically in the prayer request section) and actually went out and prayer walked the streets that we’re looking to minister on. Sunday we were invited to a friend’s little brother’s 7th birthday party after church. On our way there, we met our taxi driver, who happened to have lived in the states for a few years in Georgia. He was absolutely hilarious and was a great taxi driver. He told us to call him whenever we needed a taxi (which we’ve thought about doing several times if we couldn’t catch a bus home because it was so late).
Week of September 9
This week has been full of ups and downs. It’s been full of emotions and friends being encouraging. I’ve been in Spanish classes once a week for the last two weeks. They’re two hours long and only in Spanish. This past week was really frustrating for me because I wasn’t quite getting what was being said in a video. Learning a new language in that language is hard y’all. We later had English Corner that night and that put me in a better place with my emotions as we had fun with “Speed Dating” trying to find out who would be the best partner to go on a 12 country backpacking trip with. Tuesday I woke up to a text from one of my best friends asking if we could FaceTime. Of course I said “YES!” and we were able to talk, but while she was talking, she pulled out a Starbucks cup with “will you be my bridesmaid?” on it. After crying and getting my emotions together (I really have no clue why my emotions were so whack this week) I said “yes!” to being her bridesmaid. I couldn’t be more thrilled for her and her fiancee.
That entire rest of the day we were out in the two villages visiting with our friends. Esmeralda* really opened up and we really enjoyed getting to know her more and more. She’s doing really well with her English and is remembering the things that we go over. The market ladies are super precious and I was able to use some Spanish with them while playing a game. We later sat around the table and just listened to them talk (either in Spanish or Zapotec) and they tried marrying us off to their sons! Wednesday was our usual Casa Hogar day with Liesa. Those kids are so precious and they have souls that will never die. Many of them come from families who just don’t want them as many of those kids are handicapped or have disabilities that are considered shameful in this culture. I just want to love on them everyday! That evening we had Translation class and I so enjoy going to that because those are the people that are being trained to come out with American groups to do the translating for us. My favorite thing is though, is that those people are becoming some of my dearest friends here. They are all so kind and sweet and many of them have hearts sold out for God and it just excites me to see that I have brothers and sisters in Christ here in Mexico that are wanting to live their lives for the Lord.
Yesterday we had our usual Thursday with the Lopez family*. They did very well and they are receiving the Bible stories and learning sight words really well. We switch up the games a little just to keep them interested. The kids are unable to sit still for very long, but it’s encouraging to know that they are learning a little bit of what we teach them. Last night we were able to have dinner with Janna, our friend who helped lead orientation with us in Peru. She was here in Oaxaca for some meetings and I was so thrilled to be able to see her and catch up on life.
Today (Friday, September 9) marks exactly one month of being away from the US. Rachel and I decided that we’d go to team meeting and then go grocery shopping since we finally have a rest day to catch up on things. We’ve had so much fun together over the last month and she’s truly becoming one of my closest friends. I’m so thankful that God put us together here in Mexico. Tonight we’ll have youth group and I’m also so thankful to God that He’s given us a local church to be able to become plugged into and start serving in.
– My thumb: last week I was playing with the kids at youth group and my thumb got bent backwards. It’s been in pain for a week now and has continued to be swollen and tender to touch. I’m trying to not go to the doctor about it because I truly believe it can just heal on its own. Be praying for healing and no more pain.
– Language class: I have become very frustrated with this class as it is all in Spanish and I will sometimes understand what my teacher is saying and sometimes I won’t. Be praying that I will be able to continue understanding what the teacher is saying and that I will start to be more confident in using the Spanish that I do know out loud and in conversation with friends.
– English classes: Be praying for the Lopez Family*, Elizabeth*, Esmeralda and the market ladies as we continue teaching them English or just being their friend and visiting with them. Be praying that we will have opportunities to share the Gospel with those who are lost and that we would be an encouragement to those who are believers and just need Christian fellowship.
– Be praying that I don’t become burned out with all the ministry things that I’m involved with. I have close to 11 ministries that I’m involved with and it can be tiring at times, so just be praying for endurance to do ministry well and that I don’t become sick because I’m so busy.
– Ashley: She is still sick with a throat infection. She has been to numerous doctors for many different tests and they have said that they don’t know what is wrong with her. She was very discouraged by this news. Be praying that she will be miraculously healed by the Great Physician and that she would be able to continue to serve 110% for the Lord.
– Rachel: Continue to pray for good health. She also started classes online last week and she’s already under a lot of pressure and stress. Pray that she will be able to give 100% to ministry work but also 100% to her school work.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve made it to the end of this very long post and I wholeheartedly apologize for it being so long. Thank you for enduring through it. Also, thank you for your prayers over the last few weeks even though there haven’t been specific ways I’ve posted for you to be praying for us. This next week, we will have our usual weekly schedule, but I’ve been asked to start helping in some other ministries around the city and in some villages, so also be praying that those opportunities go well and that it doesn’t add too much stress on me.
*Names have been changes of our friends for security reasons so that you can’t stalk them on Facebook 🙂
“Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!” // “Aclamad a Dios con alegria, toda la tierra. Cantad la gloria de su nombre; poned gloria en su alabanza” (Psalm 66:1-2)