Chicago Countdown

I have exactly six weeks left here in Mexico, and it’s hard to believe that that this year is almost over. It has been quite the experience, and I have grown a lot. But I know that there are big things to be done and achieved within this terrifyingly short time span.

Tomorrow is the first day of our ADN (DNA) conference, which also happens to be the last event I’ll be a part of with La Fuente for at least another eight months. I posted a video of it on the Miko In Mexico Facebook page (where I translated the Spanish, too), if you guys are interested in what La Fuente is doing in the creative department. But the basis of the conference is in having a solid grasp of what the church is and does, and where we as individuals fit into the greater whole – it covers a Christian’s “genetic makeup,” so to speak, hence the name, “ADN” (DNA).

I really enjoy events like these, because Vanguard contributes a lot of time and work into these conferences, giving us a break from schoolwork and giving real jobs to do in the church to prepare for the work that God is going to do and the way He’s going to move in the span of three days. For example, we had the usual prayer at the main church this morning at 8:30, and then we were split into teams, tasked with doing specific jobs: cleaning the sanctuary, cleaning the information area and the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the area surrounding the church building (the sidewalk and the streets), painting, etc…

I helped with cleaning and organising the kitchen, and when I was done, I helped with basically everything else – anywhere they could put me. It reminded me how much I enjoyed helping in the church – and I continue to count down the days till I can come back and do what I initially came here for.

Until then, I have to focus on what’s right in front of me: Vanguard, the worship team, and how ends are going to be able to meet by or before December 20th. I know God will be faithful to provide for me, but I can’t help but worry about how things are going to work out.

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Clearing Up Confusion

It was brought to my attention that there was a bit of confusion regarding my last post, so I’m going to be clearing things up for you guys. 🙂

My last post was meant as a continuation of the post before it, where I specified that I’d be staying here in Mexico for at least another two years to continue on the path that God has called me on. I can see where and why one might be met with confusion due to my choice of words, but I know better than to go against what God has told me to do. When I said that ” I know that I’ll be finishing this season and starting a new one back in America,” I didn’t mean that my time in Mexico was finished, rather that going back to Chicago means that this particular season in Mexico (my season of growth and gentle molding, where God is primarily doing works in me, rather than doing works through me) is coming to a close. I can’t come back to Mexico without first coming back to Chicago, because God is going to use my time in America to reveal things to me, and probably to groom me for the work I’ll be doing down here when I come back.

I’ll be back in America for about six months, and in that time I’ll be working and otherwise trying to make/save money, practicing my Spanish, sharpening my theology, and basically preparing to make it down here in Tepic. Of course, I’m planning on spending time with my friends and family – I’m going to make sure I savour and enjoy my time there. I have to pray about some things, but I’m going to see if I can reclaim a spot on the worship team, and maybe even help out with Redefined and the Young Adults Ministry. It all depends on time, energy, and most important – it depends on God. I’m confident He will provide for my every need and He won’t let me lack in anything, especially since I’ll be preparing for a season of pouring out and into others.

I’m planning on coming home on either December 17th or December 20th (I’ll know for sure by tomorrow night). I have a lot to discuss with the church authorities here regarding housing and other necessities of the like (to figure out rent and all that fun, adult-y stuff) for when I come back. If anyone is willing to help me out, I sat down and found out how much money I’m going to need to make it through this last leg of this year, and after subtracting the money I have currently and can undoubtedly count on to come in, I’m still going to be about $430 short, so any financial help would be greatly appreciated. Again, I know God will provide, but I haven’t been getting very much financial support outside from a few people and some family, and it’s starting to get very tight. Thank you to those who have been sending financial assistance – I will be sure to thank you more personally when I get back!

A Season in Reverse

I’m nearly finished with my year here in Mexico, meaning I’m almost done with Vanguard. It’s been quite a year, and it’s kind of crazy that I’m ending it where everyone else began. But somehow, it’s fitting.

I have been told more than once that it’s pretty obvious that I’m not here for the Vanguard curriculum – the most recent example being the young woman who grades my homework pulling me aside one day and telling me that based off of my participation in class and the work I turn in on homework and tests, I’m not here to gain knowledge (which isn’t to say that I haven’t learned a lot in my time here, because I definitely have). I have a pretty solid grasp on biblical concepts, and I have an understanding of how to apply those concepts to my everyday life. She told me that while she’s pretty sure I’m here for something else, she isn’t quite sure what that thing is.

I, myself, have known this since I enrolled in Vanguard – I didn’t come here with school in mind. I had always known that it would be more of a underlying thing. It seems to be setting the groundwork for what I’m supposed to be here doing. Some of you may remember, if you asked me about the school, that I had the mindset that I’m here for missions work, but the school was for me to keep grounded in the Word and to have the grounds to form my personal beliefs, beliefs that I hold conviction for, rather than the beliefs of someone else that I can merely regurgitate.

While it may seem like I’m discrediting my time in Vanguard, this was all to say the complete opposite: my time in Vanguard was/is critical for this season.

I realise that I haven’t done much that would count as mission work, and this is why: in the same way that I started Vanguard where everyone else finished, I’m preparing/being prepared for my own ministry in a conventionally backwards way. You often hear that people are called to other countries to be missionaries, not the other way around. But I came to another country to discover and develop my calling. And as backwards as it may seem, this season, being a season of pruning and refinement, was more for me and my development than it was for me to pour out and give.

But that’s going to change when I’m ready to come back.

I feel like I’ve been going forwards walking backwards this year – it explains why things have been hard (especially at first), why things have, at times, been unnervingly awkward for me up until recently, and why I have had such a hard time seeing where I am going to end up in the future. But I realise now, that even though I’ve been walking backwards, the Holy Spirit has been walking right beside me, guiding me. While I’m walking backwards, He’s facing forwards, and as long as I keep my eyes on Him, I’m okay. He helps me through the twists and turns, the winding of the road, the bumpy, broken places. Only He knows where we’re going and what’s ahead, and recently, He’s allowed me to glance back now and again, but He’s been pretty clear with me on one thing: I’m not going to be able to turn around until after I come back to America. While I’m here, I can see all the things I can do to help (the mission work I came here for), but only after I’ve walked past the opportunity. And yes, it hurts me, and I want to be able to come here and tell you all that I’m doing so much missions work, but it’s not that time yet.

Now that isn’t to say that I haven’t done anything missions related. I’ve helped in the church; I’ve helped in a few of the extensions; I went and evangelised downtown; I participated in the mission trip/crusade hosted by Vanguard – I’ve done mission work. But it wasn’t what I expected, and I’m sure it wasn’t what you all expected either. I thought I would come home after a year here and have crazy stories documented on this blog, that I could retell to my friends, and use as anecdotes for devotionals, and I would make myself and everyone I care about proud. I had expectations. I’m sure everyone did.

But God specialises in a lot of things, and breaking and exceeding expectations is one of those things. This year didn’t happen the way I thought it would, but that doesn’t mean it happened wrong. I’m more than pleased with this outcome, because there is more potential for growth now than I ever could have dreamt of on my own.

And I couldn’t have done it without Vanguard – I learned a lot, saw and experienced a lot (like what happens when people practice what they preach and follow what they learn in Vanguard), and met/formed connections very important people that will be part of my ministry in the future. Not to mention I was put in an environment where I needed to at least understand Spanish to succeed.

I’m excited to come back to Chicago, not only because I miss you guys, but also because I know that I’ll be finishing this season and starting a new one back in America, and I can’t wait to see how God will exceed my expectations when the next season comes around.