Only one week left… wow. I am in awe because  it seems like such a long ways away, yet at the same time, it feels like I’m boarding the plane tomorrow. And with time crunching down, it feels like there are a million and a half things for me to do and tie up in the short time I have left here, mostly to prepare for when I come back.

Tony found me after the last service this past Sunday, and asked me to come up with a plan for when I come back, (and they “totally want [me] back”) since I can’t be down here and be a “drifter.” I need to have a solid compromise with the church in order for them to accept me again. Little did he know that I had been praying about this for a long, long time, and already had a plan roughly laid out in my head regarding the two years I’d be returning.

He is one of the many people I need to find time to talk to this week. I scheduled a meeting with Pastor Mimix for today, discussing a few personal things that I was led to share with her. With her being one of my leaders, that was one step I needed to take before the decision to come back would be more of a reality than something that existed mainly in my mind. By the end of the conversation, she was telling me how she had already asked Pastor Tony to have me in worship full time with her, and working with her in the mornings.

The only problem with that is the fact that I’m coming down here to be a full-time missionary, and the hours that Mimix would be giving me are more “part-time/casual.” But it turns out things always work out for the best, because she told me she offered to give me to extensions when she didn’t need my help or need me on stage, and maybe even helping out with Casa Nana, working with the orphans.

Luckily for me, I was going to ask Tony and Mimi if I could do all of these things anyway, so all that’s left for me to do is confirm with Tony that I am totally down for a full, busy schedule.

Her only condition was that I need to really get my Spanish skills down. I’ve gotten a lot better these past couple of months – speaking more Spanish with my bilingual friends and asking them lots of questions, and speaking much more with non-English speakers. I fully plan on devoting a good portion every day to becoming truly bilingual, and while I know it will take a long time to get to the point of being totally comfortable with Spanish as a second language, I am confident in my ability to increase my vocabulary and diction and mastery of grammar to the point where I can hold my own in daily conversation. It’ll help that help is readily available online, as well as in the form of my bilingual friends back in Chicago (*hint-hint, wink-wink, nudge-nudge*), and that the roommate I have lined up to share a house with when I get back isn’t very comfortable with English – I’ll have lots of ways to polish up my second language.

Mimix and Tony made it pretty clear they wanted me back – Mimi even told me she wants me back as soon as possible – and it alleviated a lot of unnecessary stress I was feeling. But I still had a nagging feeling that maybe not everyone who should want me back, will want me back. Like Pastor Obed, or Pastor Diego.

And as though God were trying to prove a point (and He probably was, if only to let me know that He’s taking care of literally everything), Pastor Diego, who is teaching the afternoon classes this week, came up to me during a break and asked me, “so you’re thinking of coming back, right?” We didn’t have the chance to continue the conversation after I answered with a simple, “yeah -” because he had to take a phone call, but he said with such a soft, and eager tone that I knew exactly where the conversation would have gone.

We ended this afternoon’s class on a bit of an emotional level, with Pastor Obed asking us to unite in worship and prayer. He spoke to us during this time, and started giving a word to a few students, and I was one of those he got a word for – and he told me (roughly):

Vas a regresar a tu tierra – hay muchos demonios que te espera alla. Cosas con las que tú has luchado durante toda tu vida… pero no olvides quien tu eres… vas a cantar mas fuerte, Miko… Vas a vencer tu depresion… Tú vas a regrasar a tu tierra – para regresar aca. Dios tiene un plan, Miko. Confías en Él.

Which means: You’re going to return to your land – there are many demons waiting for you there. Cosas that you’ve battled/struggled with your entire life… but do not forget who you are. You’re going to sing stronger, Miko… You will overcome your depression… You’re going back to your land – to return here. God has a plan, Miko. Trust in Him.
*There were things I excluded for sake of brevity, which is the purpose of the ellipses.*

Okay, then. In one day, God has calmed a lot of fear/stress I was feeling concerning this situation, making any doubts I may have had about coming back shrink into basically nothing.

Seeing as how this is my last post till I leave, I now ask that you guys pray for safe travels and that I find a way to get everything I need to bring back into the amount of baggage I’m allowed to take with me on my trip.

 

Thank you for the read – don’t forget to like, comment, share, and whatever else you can think of to let me know you read and enjoyed this post! Love you guys!

Advertisements
white rose

Leaving: Tepic and a Legacy

Hey guys!

First off, I’m home in two weeks! Things are coming to a close here, and I am very excited to come home for the holidays. I am going to miss Tepic, but hopefully, my “home for six months” plan will work and I’ll be able to raise enough money to stay in Tepic for two more years, so I won’t have to worry about being away for very long.

Please pray that things go smoothly – that I will qualify for the Vanguard internship (that will give me a connection to the church and allow me to work here for a year before a decision is made where they want to put for the long term), and that fundraising will go better than I’m planning it to (and I’m planning a lot). I encourage you guys to take a look at my Prayer Requests page to find more things for which you can intercede in prayer on my behalf. That would be greatly appreciated!

La Fuente’s Women’s Breakfast

Next, I’d like to talk briefly about the Women’s Breakfast that La Fuente Tepic held this past Saturday.

la fuente women

It was really fun (and the tamales they served were amazing), and it was nice to see all the women in the church staff and of the congregation come together and fellowship with and encourage one another, and it was equally great to see the men help out, too – making sure everything went smoothly and helping to set up beforehand and clean afterwards.

The way the church here is so ready to serve one another is truly inspiring, and I am proud to be a part of it. Worship – as usual – was awesome, and I was honoured to be there with them.

mexico missionary la fuente

Vanguard was involved in a couple of ways: as always, we were tasked with helping with the set up and with the cleaning, and we were split into different teams to cover different areas.

We also put on a small concert and sang and “danced” to a song called “Ha Nacido El Rey (Es Navidad)” (The King Has Been Born (It’s Christmas Time)), which honestly kind of reminded me of those recitals grade-schoolers have to put on for school every year, but I had fun doing it. We all did, and I figure that was sort of the point. It was all-around a good day.

Dia de los Muertos

Finally, and I’m a little embarrassed to post about it now, since it’s been a little over a month since I participated in/observed the holiday, but I figured you guys would like to hear about Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Now, I get that it isn’t a very “Christian” holiday, but bear in mind that it’s a big part of Mexican culture, and the people of La Fuente celebrate it as part of Mexican tradition.

So November 1st, as I was told, is technically the day set aside for the children to celebrate the holiday, and the 2nd is for the adults. I celebrated on the 2nd, but ended up celebrating the next day, as well, so to be honest, I’m not too sure how long they celebrate the event.

But it was a Friday, so I went after Anormal with two friends of mine, Pepe (who you may remember being our “guide” from when Lex and Dulce came to pick me up) and Jonah (who is another gringo from Colorado).

When we got there, the place was totally decorated with Day of the Dead characters, and there were people with La Catrina face paint and dresses and the whole shebang. I was overwhelmed with trying to take it all in. There were stands that advertised the history of the holiday with notable historical figures, there was food everywhere, and at the end of it all was the graveyard. At a certain time, they opened the graveyard to the public and allow people to walk through it, taking pictures and videos, and paying respects to those who are buried there. Pepe even showed us where a couple of his family members were buried, which was… neat?

I thought the whole thing was really interesting, and I was so enthralled by the culture. For example, I saw HUGE mausoleums dedicated to well-respected families and individuals who I had never even known existed, but everyone else around me understood the history behind it all. Then there were the small, humble graves that you could very easily miss, or even mistake as open ground, and I found myself feeling a tang of sadness for the individual buried there. And finally, the ways the tombs were decorated definitely stood out. All of the things that people would bring to honour their loved ones, from flowers, to hand-knitted quilts, to full bottles of Coca-Cola – it made me think about where I would fit if I was part of the culture here.

The three of us made jokes and comments about how big our graves would be, and where they would be located, and what items would adorn them, and it made me think of how inevitable it is for every person to leave behind a legacy, whether it is made to be well-known or not. So I’ve been trying to pin down what exactly I want my legacy to entail, but so far, I haven’t quite figured it out. But I still (hopefully) have plenty of time to think about it. All I know is that I want there to be no question that I put everything I had into living my God-given purpose, and I think, at this point, that’s a good start.


Please don’t forget to share, comment, like, and do whatever else you would care to do to let me know you enjoyed the post!

The ADN Conference: Upon This Rock

Last week was the ADN conference, which, as I mentioned in my last post, was all about our identity as the Church of Christ. The theme was “Sobre Esta Roca,” or “Upon This Rock,” from the passage Matthew 16:13-18 – Peter’s Confession of Christ. We had guest speakers and guest worship leaders, introduced a new mission statement and new songs, and built on the unity we have in Christ as a church, as a congregation. It was only three days long, but it was amazing.

Check out the promo video from my personal page (shared from Jesiah Hansen‘s page):

Translation:
Twelve disciples. One question.
“What do people say about me?”
“Some say that you are John the Baptist.
Others say you are Elijah.
Others say Jeremiah.”
“And you, who do you say that I Am?”
And Peter responded: “You are the Messiah.” And Jesus said
“Upon this rock
I will build
My Church.”

And then some information about the event…

Yes, La Fuente makes excellent videos. Also, the main girl in the video was my old roommate, Andrea!

diegohansensobreestarocaadn
“Comienza a declarar quien es Él y Él va a declarar quien eres tú.”
“Start declaring who He is, and He will declare who you are.”
                                      – Pastor Dwight “Diego” Hansen: Sobre Esta Roca (Upon This Rock)

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday morning setting up for the event – cleaning, setting up decorations, making sure everything was in place, and going over schedules so everyone was on the same page to make the week go as smoothly as possible.

Our two guest speakers were Mike Connaway (preached in English) and Andrew Spyker (preached in Spanish). They were both awesome, but to keep things short and sweet, I’ll focus on my favourite teaching, which just so happened to be the only English service (it’s just a coincidence, I promise – I’ve gotten really good at understanding Spanish, so much so that it’s become nearly second nature with a few regular speakers). Pastor Mike Connaway taught an inspiring lesson on Matthew 13:12, “For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

AndySpykerADN.png
“A miracle, you receive in an instant, a promise you inherit for eternity.”
                                                                                                                              – Pastor Andrés Spyker

He explained that to the world and those who don’t understand how God’s word works, this verse is the most “un-Christian” verse in the whole Bible, on account for how unfair it seems. But Jesus spoke not of two different people, but of the same person. The verse is all about mindset – if you think you have nothing and speak so over yourself, you’ll find that God won’t bless that attitude, and eventually, you’ll find that you will always have less and “not enough.” But if you speak blessing over yourself and thank God for what you have, and you count your blessings so to speak, you’ll find that God does, in fact, bless this, and you’ll end up with much more than you have now.

mikeconnawayadn
Pastor Mike Connaway teaching on Matthew 13:12.

This was something I really needed to be reminded of due to my current circumstances: God is my Provider who won’t let me lack in anything, and as long as I live by this truth, He will honour my faith.

So what, on the surface, reads like the most unfair verse in the Bible, actually turns out to be one of the most empowering verses. Just a reminder: your words have power.

This is the first conference during which I was on the worship team, and those of you who have been here know first-hand that La Fuente takes worship very seriously. In a fun way, of course, but we spend hours on a Saturday as a whole team (meaning all singers and all musicians) perfecting any new song we add to our roster so that when we introduce the song (that Sunday), we can have fun and truly worship with it – no stands, no anything. And God is obviously working with and through these individuals, because they kill it every week. I am so blessed to have an opportunity to worship with them.

kellyspykerworshipadn
Kelly Spyker (Pastor Andrés Spyker’s wife) joining us Thursday night for worship, leading the song “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong.

We love to introduce new songs, and last week we introduced two new ones: Come Right Now by Planetshakers, and Open Heaven (River Wild) by Hillsong. I’m hoping to introduce these (and a couple more) when I’m back in Chicago.

And finally – La Fuente is a church that values and strives for growth. On Thursday morning, Pastor Tony Simon (who will be joining Church in the Word for their Thanksgiving service, by the way, and he’s very excited about that) introduced their revised mission statement:

“Existimos para alcanzar y guiar a todos a Jesús, ensañandoles a crecer y servir en su iglesia.”

“We exist to reach and guide all to Jesus, teaching them to grow and serve in their church.”

And I realised why I came here, and why I need to come back. I needed to learn this myself so I could pour into others in an efficient and loving way. When I come back, I’ll also be setting an example of how to grow and serve outside of church, where people least expect it, and I can’t wait.


Thank you all so much for the support and hanging with me during this season of internal growth. Though it’s hard to really showcase the progress I’ve made, just rest assured that it’s all leading up to something a lot bigger down the road. Please don’t forget to like and share, and as always, prayers and donations are much appreciated! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away.

Love you guys!!