Motivation

This being my last week in Oaxaca, my mind is spinning. We will be spending our last times in the villages over the next couple of days and I cannot even believe it. One of our missionary supervisors warned us this past Sunday that we shouldn’t ´´check out´´. We shouldn’t become enveloped in future ideas, whether that be going home in the next week and waiting anxiously for that or perhaps something bigger. I’ve found that it is all too easy to do that. I’m ready to be home. I’m ready to see my family, friends, and boyfriend. I could easily allow myself to dwell on the fact that I’ll be with all of them soon. But I won’t. My prayer for this time is that I wouldn’t be distracted by that idea. I want to remain fully here, with my  mind dedicated to the ministries I have. Please be in prayer that I{ll continue to be just as diligent in my work for the Lord and that I will continue to seek Him in my motives and actions.

I want this to be my motivation:

”However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, of only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me– the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Acts 20:24

Soccer Tournament

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Soccer Tournament

This past Wednesday, my team and I planned and implemented a soccer tournament in our village, It was open to children 6 to 12 years old and we had more than 40 kids show up. We divided into 4 teams using facepaint to distinguish who was who and the kids seemed to love it! While some teams weren’t playing, we had a bible story and snacks being shared. It was indeed a very fun day and a great way to reach the community 🙂

Faith in Action…

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Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Hebrews 11

A prayer

So I know that last week I talked about how much I was learning to appreciate the small things while being here. Well, the devil surely took that and used it to work against me rather quickly. I began to doubt God and all his ability but as always he quickly reaffirmed me. 

This was a prayer from my quiet time just yesterday:

Okay Lord, I see what you are doing. Why have I so easily turned from your promises and fallen into the snares of the evil one. I’ve doubted you. I was so caught up in seeing you work wonders and having lives changed that I forgot to take joy in the small things. I was expecting to feel you so strongly this summer that I wouldn’t be able to doubt you. But I did. And because I hadn’t seen those expectations met, I began to rely on my own ability. It’s as if I knew whay you could do this summer, but doubted if you would do it. I then took things into my own hands, relying on my understanding of Spanish and what I know I can do. Then it wasn’t long after that, that I began to doubt my myself. I felt inadequate. I felt like I was going to finish this time of ministry having accomplished nothing. I was fearful, I was doubtful, and I was frustrated. And of course that was the exact time that my God chose to intervene. Just when I need you Lord 🙂 You reminded me that as long as I´m acting in obedience and remaining faithful to you, I’m fulfilling your purpose for me here. For in Acts 17:26-27 it says, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” God truly you are sovreign and always remain true. You are ever faithful to your children. You are teaching me, molding me, and guiding me. May I forever trust in you!

A servant of the Lord

This week I think has been an eye opener for me personally. Since being here, I haven’t felt God moving in clear and distinct ways until now.

We started off the week doing our first test run of the liter light project. This involves taking a two liter bottle and applying it into a roof so that the water and chlorine inside will better reflect and exude light in a home. We plan on using this in the village without electricity so that we will have more ways of reaching the people and building relationships with them. Our first try, however, was not so successul. We didn´t quite get all the measurements right and we didn´t have all the right tools either. We had used straight cutters for a lack of being able to find curved ones here in Oaxaca and had somehow managed to puncture a small hole in the bottle. It was a bit discouraging to us as I think we had begun the day with very high hopes but it was just a reminder that practice makes perfect.

The next two days were mostly filled with random encounters. Tuesday, I went to the children´s home again and spent the morning laughing and playing with those sweet children. Afterward, we travelled to our villages and this week another guy on our Nehemiah team joined us. He made a great addition because he takes initiative in talking with people and is not shy about bringing up the Gospel. I admire his boldness a lot. Anyways, he came with us and we walked looking for children to play soccer with or just people with whom we could carry on a conversation. After some time in the first village, we hadn’t accomplished much and thus headed over to th other instead. We ran into a young girl that had attended the sports camp the week before and she told us a boy in the village was looking for us. None of us knew exactly who this boy was, as there had been many children at the camp, but it didn´t take long for us to find him. We visited for some time with he and his family as well as with our friend we met the first day. They fed us atole which is a mixture of corn left over from tortillas, some form of fat, and chocolate all served as a hot liquid drink. It didn´t taste bad at all but one of the girls on my team couldn´t finish hers so I took on for the team and drank hers too. We conversed with the two families for a while and found out that they´re interested in learning english and that the kids would love for us to play sports with them sometime soon as well. It gave my friends and I a bit excitement to know more ways in which we can serve the people there.

Wednesday was intended to be spent working on our liter light project again but we had to plan for next week as that was when we would have the curved cutters needed. At first, the other girls and I were unsure of what to do with our day but knew that we were going to attend a cell group/bible study that night in one of the communities. So we just relaxed and God still provided. We took a trip to the grocery store and amazingly enough on our ride there, we had a conversation with our taxi driver about the differences between Catholics and Christians. He had some distorted views but we tried to share with him that we are Christians. Then later on, the Lord provided another opportunity for my teammates Alex and Ali. We were on our way to the village and they had some good discussions with the bus driver as well.

Thursday was probably the most encouraging day for all of us. We went to the more suburban type village at first and managed to run into several different people. It has been rare for this to happen for most of the time this community seems dead and empty. But our friend Nick played soccer with some men, we met a mechanic in a “comedor” and we ran into a lady we had once asked for directions who seemed really happy to see us again. Then for the second half of the day, we visited the other village. This time, we went to our friend J´s house, she´s the one with whom we made torillas. We sat and talked with her and her children for a while and it was beautiful. Nick asked her younger son if he remembered any of the stories from the sports camp. His face lit up as he retold the story of the Good Samaritan. It was precious! Then we told them the story from Mark of the demon possessed man and somehow she shared with us her testimony. In that moment, listening to her say the time of crisis her family was in and that they turned to God, praying for help, I almost cried. She spoke so strongly of how God had saved them and provided health, and she emphasized the example she wants to leave for her children.

At this moment, I realized that this work was fully worth it. I knew that God had brought me here to Oaxaca for a purpose. I´m here to hear the hearts of people and to bring glory to the Father above. I´ve begun to recognize that even the smallest things matter in my time here. I may not radically change someone´s life, I may not lead anyone to Christ, but I know that after this is all over it will have been worth it for me. I entered the mission field this summer, expecting to find my calling. But I think that that is just it, my calling isn´t neccessarily to be a missionary or to be a counselor or whatever but my calling is forever to be a servant of God.

The weekend was full of fiestas and goodbyes. We celebrated the nights with 3 of the summer girls that had arrived here sometime before us and their service was over. In the short time I was able to interact with these three, they each provided me with wisdom and words of encouragement to be strong.

I have also noted that this week just about marks the halfway point of my time in Oaxaca. I cannot believe how fast the time is going by. The other night, I was walking in the zocalo with Karen and Katie, just eating some icecream when I realized how short my time is here. It hit me that I won´t ever have this same experience, with these same people. I need to make this time count for sure.