Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easter Egg Hunt!

Today we had our giant community wide..... outreach event.. EASTER EGG HUNT!

This is NOT something that normally happens in Mexico, but, tiff and I thought it would be fun to do as a way to not only do something new for them BUT also a way to present the gospel!

We have been praying for this event for a while.... that God would bring a lot of people......... NEW people!

And boy did He answer our prayers! We had over 200 people from the community, and about 1/2 were new!

The activities were a ton of fun. We decorated easter cookies and dyed eggs at the begining. Then we shared the gospel using the Resurection Eggs, and finally we spread out 850+ eggs to hunt down!

But, the best part, by far, is the fact 3 people (that we know of) accepted Christ during the event! Please pray for them as Mayra invited them to the upcoming events!

Getting ready..

Egg Dying....

Easter Cookies Decorating..
Gospel Presentation..

The Egg Hunt......

and a random baby bird!

I have a ton more pictures on my facebook, go check them out!

Ok leaving now, I need to walk and take a shower at tiffany's ( a sign your not home enough--- when you dont have time to buy more gas!)

And for all of you english speaking people in mexico who read this tonight--- dont forget about daylight savings tonight!

Closing Program for the Community Center

Last night was the official end to this quarters classes in the community center.

During the evening we got to see what everyone has learned and celebrate the participants! We also played some fun games, presented the gospel message and watched a Rob Bell video!

We ended it with cookies and coffee!

It was a great way to end a great time of classes!

Here are a couple photos...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

eggs, cookies, and birthday parties!

Tiffany and I have been trying to get ready for everything coming at us in the next week.
Quick run down.
Tomorrow--- closing ceremony of the community center activities
Saturday--- GIANT community easter egg hunt
Sunday--- Church and youth group
Monday-thursday---- VBS, english, baking etc with a group from Canada

** Please be in prayer for all of these things. That people would come, that hearts would be open to hearing the gospel, AND that we have a great time! **

Today we spent the majority of the afternoon making 500 easter cookies to decorate and hardboiling 10 kilos of eggs for saturday.

Ever wonder what 10 kilos of eggs looks like?
and this is what they look like cooking!

and baking cookies... first the 12 reciepes of dough
the fun begins!

But the fun didnt end there, although we were both exhausted. Iris told us it was her sons birthday and asked us to bake a cake and have the party in the coffee shop tonight!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sendero de Vida 2--- 2 year Anniversary!

Today we celebrated the second anniversary of our little, growing church plant in Jesus Maria. It was a fun morning of worshipping our creator, having special songs or skits from the different groups in our church (kids, youth, women), testimonies about what God is doing in our lives, Rod put together a neat powerpoint to show all the God has done in the two years, and we had a special guest do the teaching (and it was a great sermon)!

We were able to celebrate with the first chuch plant in Ixtapaluca Sendero de Vida 1, we packed a rented tent (over 100 adults plus tons of kids and youth!)

Then afterwards... of course we ate. Thats what you do in Mexico! The ladies of the church did a fantastic job of organizing the food and serving everyone.

God has certainly done some incredible things in this community in these two years and I can not wait to see what else he has up His sleeve!

15th Birthday- quinceanos!

Last night, I was able to go to my first Quinceanos! Not only was in my first, but I got to do one of the special dances with the Quincenara!

For those who don't know what this is... it is a passing from girl into woman at the age of 15. and I think it is probably a bigger deal then most weddings here.

It was interesting because the birthday girl and her mom are christians... but dad and family are not! So, MOST people (besides the church family) didn't come until around 9pm.
Rod gave a great devo, the worship band played several of Claudia's favorite songs, Tiffany gave her the crown, Ishmael and Marta gave her the bible, and someone outside the church gave her the ring.

After the short service, there was of course Salsa Dancing. Then when the majority of the people were there they did the three dances. The first one is traditional... a waltz with her father and uncles, the second was a country line dance with Tiffany and I, and the third was a hip hop dance with the boys.

Finally around 10pm they cut the cake and had more dancing.

We left around 10:30 or 11:00 in order to get some sleep for todays festivities, but i bet the party went well into the morning!

Here are some pictures.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Jim posted about this first, I am just stealing his idea. Thanks Jim!

But, I thought this video was interesting! I never heard of this show before... and the episodes aren't "available"in our country apparently.

But, Trashopolis shows the trash problems in different cities around the world... and the next one is in Mexico City-- home sweet home ;)

The Mexico edition should air in the middle of April. Anyone at home want to tape it and send it to the people who live here and can't watch it?
You can view the first three minutes here...

Friday, 23 March 2012

How is that coffee shop going?

All  the time i get the question "how is the coffee shop going? So, I sat down to update you all... and Rod must have read my mind and wrote it first!

So, go read it!

But, as he said, it has been a great place to hang out, get to know people, plan weddings, laugh, cry, drink coffee, take naps on the couch, read, etc.

I love how we not only get the church people coming in, but some others as well. Even though we don't make a profit... really no profit, it has been a great outreach!

In other news,
We are gearing up for a CRAZY BUSY weekend.

Today we are practicing for the 15th birthday of a girl in our church. The 15th bday is highly celebrated here in Mexico!

Tomorrow is the Birthday party which will take most of the day through most of the night!

And then Sunday is our big 2 year anniversary celebration of our church here in Jesus Maria. I am sure it will be a great time of celebrating all God has done here in this community!

By Sunday night... I am sure that we will all be ready for a good long NAP!!!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Earthquakes and Other News!

Yes we did experience an earthquake today! My second one since being in Mexico! I come from the land of tornados... NOT earthquakes! =)

I kinda felt like I was going crazy when it was happening. Its not everyday that the ground, walls, windows etc start shaking!

It was a 7.6 earthquake... and I don't know much about what that means! But, i do know that it was a fairly big one! Felt throughout 1/3 of mexico!

Everyone here seems to be fine! Please pray for the people close to the epicenter, I am sure a lot more damagewas done there!

Here you can see the reports about it...

In other news...
These next two weeks are going to be CRAZY busy!
*Tonight Tiffany and I are starting a youth grils bible study at my house. (It will be at the same time the other 2 bible studies are going on)
* Saturday is Claudia(agirl in our church) 15th birthday. I am pretty sure that they pay for most quincianos then they do for weddings! But, I am excited, should be a GREAT time! Tiff and I are dancing with her as one of her dances. We are spending the week practicing!
*Sunday is our 2nd annivasary of the church here in Jesus Maria!
*Next friday is the closing ceremony of this set of community center classes!
*Next Saturday is our community outreach Easter Egg Hunt!

Please be praying for all of these events!

Jonathan Comes Home!

I know I am about a half a week late in posting this... But for all of you who have been praying for the whole Jonathan situation...HE IS HOME! =)

Last thursday night Rod and a whole bunch of people left around nine at night to go wait for him to be released. Read Rod's blog to hear about that!

Friday night, they had a big welcome home party for him at Tiffany's house. Unfortunately, i was not able to make it =(. But, i was told they had a great time! I stole some pictures from facebook for you to enjoy!

Please continue to pray that God uses this situation to bring others to Himself!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Community: a unified body of individuals, an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location.

I loved where I was living... Fremont. I felt as though, for the first time in my life, I was part of a real Christian community. In fact, those people are one of the things I miss most about home.

But, I have been in Mexico for a while now... and from the second day (the first day i was in a plane for most of it and exhausted by the time I got to my new home!) I felt completely welcome by the community here. God has been so gracious to provide for me in so many ways. I have a great team of people I work with. We all have our strengths... and weakness, and we fit together to serve and bring Him glory!

I can not say enough about the amazing people here too. They come together in any event, either good or bad, and do what needs to be done! They truly care about each other, look out for each other, love each other and welcome people in and make them feel loved and comfortable instantly. On any given night I can be hanging out with people at their house or mine or the coffee shop... just drinking coffee (just enough that i have trouble sleeping later that night) and laughing and talking!

I know, without a doubt, if i EVER needed anything around here, i would have 10 woman instantly willing to help... and believe me, that has come in handy when I didn't know where to buy something, or do something (especially when i first got here!).

In some ways, Jesus Maria (where I live) has shown me more about what a community should look like, then I have ever seen before!

God has provided all I need... and more!

It is fun to building the relationships with people here (both from our church and not!) Some relationships seem to take more time (especially when they don't go to our little church).

I still miss my friends/community in Fremont. However, it is nice to feel welcome and feel that same sense of community here.... in the new place i call home!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

New country. New language. New culture. New life.

New country. New language. New culture. New life.

That pretty much explains my last several months. 

I wish everyone could see what it is like to move to a foreign land. I am not talking about a week or two mission trip (although those are good too!)... but leave behind everything you know and go somewhere for a year or two or life.  Its an amazing journey. Its full of adventure, learning, new experiences. I can promise, you won't regret it!

People from home often ask me "what is a typical day like?" I feel like there isn't a typical day! Everyday is unique... different... and fun (usually!)

I thought I would just put a small update on what it is like to "move away".

Friends from home .... Still friends but somehow it is different. There lives continue without you there. They have milestones in life that you have to miss...Forunately through todays technology.... They are just a click away. But of course... I am fortunate to be able to make new friends as well! Friends who will be life long and  who are becoming like family to me here.

New language. This has truly been the hardest part of my journey so far. I pretty much came to mexico not being able to understand or say anything (i didn't even take it in high school!). At least now i can hold a small conversation... I can go to the store and be able to find what i need or ask about it, I can get around, if I'm lost I can ask for directions, etc. But there is nothing more frustrating then either not being able to say what you want when you want, or not being able to quickly and efficiantly thinking of the right word in the right form. 
I can pretty much understand and follow conversations but when someone turns the conversation to me, in Spanish... It is like my body panics... And i no longer comprehend what they are saying. Frustrating. 
I could keep talking about this... but I will stop here.
I know it will come with time and practice. And I thank God for the progress i have made.

New culture. This is actually a great part, mostly. It is an adventure every single day! New sites... new sounds... new smells... new food! I love it! (well... mostly love it. There are some crazy smells i don't typically enjoy... and some food I can't handle either!) There are some cultural things that make me laugh, some that make me just say..."really?", and some that make me smile and wonder why we dont do that specific thing everywhere. Of course there is always the times when i accidently offend someone by not greeting them.... Just last week, apparently there was a group of women in the park that i didnt greet...they asked someone if i didn't like them. Of course i do. I love them. But i wasn't paying attention. I didnt see them. It isn't the first cultural mistake.... And I'm confident it wont be the last!

Here are a few things I have learned along the way...
1. Communication... It may be hard for you to believe but it IS possible to communicate to another person without a common language! Even when I could only say a few words, I was still able to communicate. It teaches you a lot about how relationships and friendships work and how communicating is so much more than just the words you say.
2. Being Silly... Ok this isn't a stretch for me... because if you knew me before Mexico you know that I am willing to be silly. I am willing to do just about anything. But, moving to a foreign country where you don't really know the "rules" of the culture. You find yourself doing something that is dumb... and you realize that you have to just laugh at yourself and brush it off!
3. Being open minded... I am a whole lot more open minded then I ever was before. I am not just talking about people and places (I have always been pretty open minded about that)... But about cultural experiences... food... etc. 
4. There is no shame in saying "I don't know".
5. Be yourself. I will NEVER fit in here! I am white and stink at dancing! I just need to be me... and that is enough!
(I am sure I hit the "publish post" i will think of more i should have written here!)

And above all of that... God has taught me numerous things about MYSELF. It is pretty incredible.  I could write an entire blog on just that topic!

I could expand more on of those topics (if you want, ask!) but... I think you get the picture, for now at least! 
There have been some definite ups and downs on this journey. But the ups FAR out number and out weigh the downs! I thank God for the opportunity to be here... everyday!

But, this blog is long enough... and my dog wants to play! 

Saturday, 10 March 2012


If you live in Fremont, NE and especially if you go to Fremont Alliance Church, you recognize this lady (I stole this picture from her facebook!). That is Ruth. Ruth went to be with Jesus today. From what i hear... she had a sudden stroke this morning. She was an amazing woman of God who will be missed, here on earth, very much.
She was the first to say "hi".. give a hug... and was always smiling!

I love that she is in heaven now!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Photo of the day!

I think this would be super fun to drive, don't you?

Because I love Jesus!

Today, I traveled.... all the way to the Observatorio stop on the Metro. If you don't know where that is... I feel like between there and back I traveled approx. half way around the globe. It took me about 2.5 each way!

But it was worth it. There is a group from Wayne State in Mexico City serving for their spring break. A few of them came to see me here in Ixtapaluca on Wednesday and while here they told me they are doing a wheel chair outreach... so i decided to go check it out!

When I first got there we went up and down the streets handing out flyers to everyone we saw asking if they knew anyone who was in need of a wheelchair. Being with only people from Nebraska... I was the one who knew the most spanish... eeeek. But, I managed to hold my own and have some slow conversations!

When we got back they had already started the "ceremony" of handing out the wheelchairs. They had a skit... then the pastor of that church presented the gospel and told why they were doing this, then they had each person come up and say something.

I am not sure how many people came who needed wheel chairs... my guess is around 20.

ALL of the people there... from what I have been told... have never been to church there before! But, there were parents carrying children in and older people who could barely walk.... they all had a need and today their lives were made a little easier!

When it was all over everyone was kinda hanging around and waiting for the last chairs to be put together. I started talking to an older lady.... She asked if this was a gift or what she had to do to get it. When I said this was free... it was a gift, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked why. "Because we love you. and God loves you. And we love God" is basically how I replied. And she had no idea how to respond... but then the conversation had to end because her son (or i think it was her son) came to take her home, in her brand new--- and first... wheelchair! I handed her the book of John and she left.

It is amazing to see people coming together (i think four different organizations had people there!) to meet a need of a community!

Today has left me exhausted (I traveled ALOT, and I stretched my spanish speaking skills to the max...) and fully of joy and wonder at the amazing things God has up his sleeve around these parts!

I am hoping to be able to do one of these events here in Ixtapaluca in June!

Some pictures!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

sharing the passion

Today I had some friends pop by Ixtapaluca! (well, one is a friend ... she worked for me this summer at camp! And two others... who are NOW friends!)

Anyways, I got to go get them from Mexico City and show them around here.... what we do here in Jesus Maria, organized some of the community center stuff... and hung out!

It is always good to have people you know stop by and say Hi!

It is interesting that I can send out e-mails, write blogs, write facebook posts about what happens here... about what goes on... about what God is doing here.... but, when they come and visit... hear the stories, and meet the people themselves... that's when they "get" it!  That's when they understand. That is when see for themselves my passion. They see what God is really up to in this amazing community that I am living in.

I thank God for my time here in Jesus Maria. He is transforming a community... He is changing me and my heart.
And I am grateful for opportunities to share that with others.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


What is forgiveness? About two years ago I realized I didn't know what it really meant to forgive or HOW to forgive. So, I started researching it --- in the good 'ol bible.

"and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors" Matthew 6:12

He forgave us our debts, the sin that separates us from relationship with Him, a debt that could only be satisfied by the death of His son.

Because He forgave, He calls us to forgive.

"Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?...
 I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven" Matthew 18:21-22

When Peter asked Jesus how often He was suppose to forgive, he THOUGHT he was being overly generous by saying seven, since in the Jewish law they forgave someone three times. But Jesus says 70x7... basically, continue forgiving someone no matter how often they hurt you. Because, He forgives us over and over and over.

"Judge not and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned, 
forgive and you will be forgiven... For with the measure you use it will be measured
 back to you." Luke 6: 37-38

God wants us not to harbor anger or hold something against someone...., but to have a heart of continual forgiveness. Because, when we forgive, He will richly bless us.

"And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Luke 23:24a

Think about it, If Jesus can forgive those who nailed Him to a cross, how much more should I forgive others?

"bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each 
other; as the Lord has forgiven you so you must also forgive" Colossians 3:13

How can I think of not forgiving someone when, by Gods love, grace and mercy, I have been given WAY more then I deserve?

So, we must forgive.... because we received forgiveness at the cross. In forgiving, we set our hearts free from anger and bitterness.

Moon and the stars

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, 
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens; the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you take care of him?
Psalm 8:1-4

Monday, 5 March 2012


I was just about to sit down and write a blog about how our church watched the movie "Courageous" on Saturday night, when I noticed a co-worker blogged about it. So check out Rod's Blog!

If you haven't seen the movie. You should! Best christian movie yet!

It was a great night! Here are a couple pictures!

Friday, 2 March 2012

He is faithful!

So today I was reading my bible (shocker, I know!)

I was reading about Deborah.

God is faithful! He is worthy to be believed. There was a 350 year period when the Judges ruled the land. This was when Israel was pulling away, God remained faithful to them. God sent Israel a deliverer... Deborah.

Deborah was called by god to be a prophetess and judge. She was in tune with the voice of God. Not only could she hear God, but she also had the courage to ACT on what God was saying! Israel was threatened by King Jabin. Deborah sent word to her co-leader, Barak, and reminded him of the word of the Lord, "Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, 'go and deploy troops... and against you I will deploy Sisera.... and I will deliver him into your hand?" (Judges 4:6-7). Deborah felt God's presence in her life. She called back to the promises from God.That gave her boldness to act on what God had told her to do.

In the midst of life I want to remain in a place where I hear God's voice. I want to remember God's promises and act on what He is calling me to do.  Because He is faithful!

! Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass

Thursday, 1 March 2012

False Expectations

Just my thought for the night.

I definitely consider myself to be an optimist. I have a very positive outlook on life andI would typically describe myself as flexible and easy going. I would also define myself as visionary, with high standards for myself. 

I think that because I’m an optimist, I visualize myself overcoming incredible odds to achieve an idea I have in my head, or if for some reason I have aimed too high and don’t achieve the dream, and then try not to beat myself up for not to beat myself up for what I was not able to accomplish.\ This concept generally works better the more successful I am. Over the years however, I’ve noticed a tendency I have that seems to really work against me. It is the whole concept of false expectations. 

Having unmet expectations is probably hard for anyone, but especially for people who paint a picture in their mind of how something is supposed to look or how a situation is supposed to turn out, and then it doesn’t at all, not even close! I can think of a few very specific examples of this playing out in my life. 

I always had set my expectations high and had been disappointed. I’m definitely not saying we shouldn’t have expectations, but how do we have them without going overboard? There have been many times that shooting for the stars has really helped me thrive and accomplish many goals. You’ll be glad to know that I don’t throw fits when I’m disappointed anymore, but I still have to fight the disappointments I face in my everyday life, when plans don't work out, when I have to miss something I was looking forward to, when people don't cooperate, or one of my favorites- when I am not as good at something as i want to be.

Finding this balance is a quest I’m still on.