These last few weeks have been busy, but oh, so good in many different ways. Since our weeks are pretty much the same every week except for the fun stuff, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. 🙂 I left you last post with some prayer requests and I’d like to update you on those first.
Last Posts Prayer Requests:
– 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. UPDATE: My thumb feels better than it did, however, there are still some days where it gets really stiff and I can’t move it. There really isn’t anything that can be done for it at this point, but I’ve convinced myself that I just pulled something and it’ll work its way back to normal.
– 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. UPDATE: I missed the last two weeks of Spanish class due to people being out of town or bloqueos not allowing buses to get through and me being minorly sick. Today (September 26th) I was able to finally get back to class and learn some more Spanish 🙂 It’s still harder than I thought it would be, but according to my friends here, it’s starting to flow naturally whenever I do speak and they’re saying that I’ll get the hang of it by December. So keep praying that this will happen and that confidence will continue. I’ve realized that I freeze up because the only conversations I know how to have are small talk, and small talk terrifies me. So also be praying that I’ll be able to start having less small talk conversations and the right words will come to me when having deeper conversations.
– 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. UPDATE: Because of Dia de Independencia for Mexico, we missed class September 15th with the Lopez family and September 22nd, Rachel and I both were ordered to stay home and rest due to us being sick. We’re hoping to reschedule with them soon. September 20th, we were able to see Elizabeth and share the story of Abraham with her and her family. It seemed to be received really well. Esmeralda has started working on how to tell her personal story (childhood and her testimony) in English. She’s also agreed to come with us to visit the market ladies to translate from Spanish to Zapotec if we’re able to share a story with the ladies.
– 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. UPDATE: I was able to talk to my supervisors about all the ministry work I’m doing and my supervisors have said to not add anything more to my schedule. The only thing that I’ve added now is I teach English by myself on Mondays to a group of young girls from a village.
– 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. UPDATE: Her mom was in town two weeks ago and I think that lifted her spirits a little bit. She’s officially been diagnosed with Mono (which in Spanish means “monkey” so we’ve had a lot of fun with that) but the only cure for it really is rest, which she isn’t getting. Continue praying that she will receive the rest she needs and that other people would be willing to step in for her in places that can be covered by someone else.
– 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. UPDATE: Last Wednesday (Sept. 21) Rachel ended up in the ER with an intestinal infection. She’s still having some issues, so please be praying that she will make a full recovery and be able to give 100% to ministry and school.
Two weeks past
Week of September 11:
Sept. 11 we went to church and afterwards went to El Tule (this is where the world’s tallest and fattest tree stands). We ate lunch and then walked through the market and saw the tree. We went with Ashley, her mom and friend who were in town, and some of our local friends. This week was the week that Independence Day was for Mexico. We continued going to the villages on Tuesday to meet with Esmeralda and the Market Ladies and also went to the children’s home. September 15th at 11pm Rachel and I met up with some friends and other team members for the “grito” which literally translates into “scream”. It was explained to me that it’s a war cry and it’s basically a reenactment of what happened the day the war of independence from Spain was started. I’ll post what they say at the end of this post. September 16th is the actual day of independence. They have a parade and some other fun things to do. We went to the parade and had a good time.
Week of September 18:
This past week we sat down with Christy (our new supervisor of sorts, there’s a lot of leadership transition going on here in Oaxaca) and planned out the next month’s worth of teaching for each individual thing we go to. September 20th, we went to the villages and were able to talk to Esmeralda about working on sharing her story in English and asked her to translate for us into Zapotec (one of the main indigenous languages here) when we go to the other village to visit with the market ladies. We’ve been praying for an opportunity to be invited into the ladies’ homes to be able to share more about us and get to know them better. Last week, one of the ladies invited us to come to her home to learn how to make tortillas. Needless to say, we’re pretty stoked. We also learned that one of the other ladies is the mother of the pastor of the church in that village. Wednesday is when Rachel woke up sick, so I quickly prepared to tell the story at the children’s home (it went surprisingly well) and even though it ended up raining that day, I was able to connect with some of the children there which made me extremely happy. One of the little boys reminds me of the little boy I bonded with my first time in Ecuador and it just really warmed my heart. Wednesday night we had translation class with our translators. We talked about when to translate for the American teams that come down here and when it’s appropriate. We’re also working on transitioning the translation class to a bible study in English. We’ll start studying the book of John this week (Sept. 28th). Afterwards, Ashley had been invited to go to a concert in the park, so we all went with her. it ended up being screamo bands (which neither her nor I can listen to) but we made the most of it and tried to enjoy it as much as possible. Thursday, we had to cancel classes because I woke up sick that morning and the nurse who is on our team was very clear about Rachel and I both just staying home and resting to get better. Friday was our “day of rest” that we’re supposed to have every week so we had team meeting, then made muffins all afternoon for youth group that evening (they were a big hit). Saturday (the 24th) we invited some of our local friends to come with us to a language exchange (intercambio) and we had a really good time with each other. We went to lunch afterwards and then Rachel and I had the meeting with the women’s ministry.
Week of September 25:
This week (current week) is full of exciting things. Yesterday after church, Lidia, the pastor’s wife and our friend’s mom took us to her village Tlacochuhuaya that she grew up in. We had a TON of fun with her just laughing and getting to know her better and where she lived in the village. We were able to try rabbit for the first time and surprisingly, it does taste like chicken. Today (Monday) I went to Spanish class by myself and am now sitting in a coffee shop working on my blog waiting for some friends to meet up with. This week we get to learn how to make tortillas, join Esmeralda and her family for the “grand opening” of the church in the village (they were just able to get a building to meet in, so they’re having a big worship service), and possibly go to a soccer game 😀
– Be praying that this week will be successful in being welcomed into the village while we’re making tortillas with the market lady. Pray for opportunity to share our story with her and to learn more about her and her family.
– Continue praying for good health for all of us on the team since we all seem to be getting sick.
– Be praying that English classes with the girls from another village will go well and that I’d be a good teacher to them.
– The first full week of October, Rachel and myself will be going out with a US team to a village to share stories. We’ll be living in the village for the week so be praying that we’ll be preparing ourselves mentally and physically for that week.
– Be praying that we will continue building relationships with the locals here and that we will be able to encourage each other in ways that Christian brothers and sisters should.
– Be praying that the Lord will continue to show me where He wants me to serve long term. He’s been showing me more and more that Oaxaca is a beautiful place to be and that there are broken people here that need to hear the Lord’s love and the Gospel. I’ve been able to plug into a lot of different ministries here and I’m continuing to have ideas for other ministries to possibly start up, but since I’m only here right now for short term, I’m not able to. I’m praying, and I ask you to join me, that I’ll have more opportunity to come back to Oaxaca to be with the people I love and to serve them in many different ways.
You’ve made it to the end! It’s been a whirlwind of the last two weeks, but the Lord is SO, SO kind to His children. So, reality is, my life here is very busy. It is not a vacation. I am able to do ministry and what I love while also having fun with friends. I hope to keep you updated more often, but I can’t promise anything.
Galatians 5:13-15 // Gálatas 5:13-15 (ESV, English; NVI, Spanish)
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” // “Les hablo así, hermanos, porque ustedes han sido llamados a ser libres; pero no se valgan de esa libertad para dar rienda suelta a sus pasiones. Más bien sírvanse unos a otros con amor. En efecto, toda la ley se resume en un solo mandamiento: ‘Ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo.’ Pero si siguen mordiéndose y devorándose, tengan cuidado, no sea que acaben por destruirse unos a otros.”