Oct 21, 2016

Mission Life Update

Life here at JUCUM Guadalajara is settling in to a nice pace. The kids and I have found a school routine that accommodates all our needs. They have resumed their gymnastics classes twice a week. We have started a weekly playdate on Saturday mornings which helps fill in some much needed time with friends, and we have implemented 'Family Fun Night' on Friday nights. Last week Marcus accidentally called Friday night 'Happy Kids Night' which made us feel great about the whole thing! We have found a church home that has a small group of young kids (mostly boys), and a women's Bible study I have been able to attend. I even found an organic market on Tuesdays (clearly the Lord loves me!!)  Luke is officially on staff here at the campus. Generally, he can be found doing something plumbing related (the fountain, the well, or the leaks), or computer related (the website, the printers, or the troubleshooting).  Most of my time is spent tending to the needs of the kids and the house. Last week I was able to make about 40 beanbags for the kids in Chapicolte (and some for my little hijos as well). I feel blessed to be able to take part in the kids ministry in Chapicolte, but lately I have really been convicted that my mission field right now is in my own home, with my own children.  The more I lean into what God wants from me during this season of our lives, the more I feel called to my 'domestic duties' as a wife and mother. It's amazing to me how the Lord uses the simplicity of being a wife and mother to draw out conversations that lead to Him.

On Tuesday I had all the children with me to take Mandie to her gymnastics class, and a woman approached me to ask the same four questions I seem to be asked everywhere I go: "Are all of these little blondies yours?", "Are you going to have any more?", "Do you live here?", "What brought you here?" At which point I was able to say how blessed I am by God to have all of these kiddos, and that I don't know if I'll be blessed with more or not. Then I get to tell them that we are living here at the mission because the Lord called my husband and I out here for the purpose of "knowing God better, and making Him known" (as they YWAMers say). It turned out that the woman I was speaking with was a Christian, and I believe that God was glorified in our interaction.

I hope the Lord will allow me and the kids more opportunities to give Him glory and to shine a light to Him as we school, work, and play here in Chapala. I hope I will be brave to point to Him every chance I get.

Luke's life as a missionary is probably much more 'missionary-like' than mine. He regularly leads worship here on campus, and he has even led worship at the rehabilitation center down the road. He attends / leads Bible meetings, gives his testimony, attends prayer meetings, and helps make future plans for this campus. He also works very hard to maintain the campus in the form of yard work, carpentry, mechanics, cooking, cleaning, etc. He is a hard working man, and I know there is nothing he wouldn't do. He is God's 'man on the ground' and I'm so proud to be his wife.

Right now our campus is sort of at a crossroads. The staff is new, the ideas are fresh, the calendar is flexible, and we are looking up to see what the Lord has for us and this place. We are wanting to fulfill the plans he has here, and we hope we hear a clear direction that we are all in agreement on as far as what our time, resources, energy should be spent on. Please pray that the Lord would use us to do His work, and that we would all be in agreement on what the future holds for this place. Also please pray that we would have the strength and courage to carry out the plans He has.

I am so grateful to be living this life that I have. I believe in my heart this is what the Lord wants from me, and I am relieved that my life is not contradicting my beliefs about God's will. I have lived with the contradiction before, and it was torture! He has freed me to live for Him, what a good God we have! Blessings to you all back home!!

Oct 4, 2016

Paper Tigers VS Lion of Judah

My friend Jennifer Lane at Citychurch is writing every day for the month of October about how we as Christians often fall before "paper tigers", as they are referred to in Galations 4 (the Message), instead of trusting and serving the one true God. This is my contribution to her blog.

8-11 Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God—or rather since God knows you—how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years. I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke!  ~The Message

Paper Tigers vs. Lion of Judah

As much as I wish it wasn’t true, many years of my life in childhood and as an adult have been spent fearing paper tigers. I was a huge people pleaser, parent pleaser, teacher pleaser, youth minister pleaser, coach pleaser, friend pleaser, put on a happy face, “everything’s perfect here I don’t need any help from you but I can help you if you need me” type of girl. This attitude served me well in my youth, I did well in school, had lots of friends, and my parents were generally happy with my behavior. However, these traits began to feel more like chains as I progressed into adulthood. I became a secret keeper (a.k.a. liar at times), because I was scared to bring to light the darkness that was in my house. I was a pretender, going on for many years as if I didn’t have any skeletons in my closet. I was an enforcer, requiring my children to uphold this pretend world I had created. The truth was that I was always afraid. I felt incredibly guilty about who I was, and how I was behaving. I knew I was far from God. The scariest part of it all, was the reality that I didn’t know my way back to Him, and if it depended on me, I was toast. 

At that time, with nothing to offer, no good deeds in my pocket, my family life was a mess, my heart was hard, my parenting was ugly . . . I had literally nothing going for me spiritually . . . that was when I cried out to God. 

Jesus saved me. 

Jesus saved my marriage.

Jesus saved my family.

He is no paper tiger, He is the LION OF JUDAH! 



When He moves, it is undeniable. When He creates, it is undestroyable. When He saves, there is no vulnerability. When He loves, there is no pride left in me. There is power even in the mention of His name. 

Wow.

My God pulled me up out of the slimy pit, I was rescued from myself . . . not because of my redeeming character qualities, or my good deeds, or my positive attitude. All glory to Him. 

Because of the way He rescued me, I understand that it simply doesn’t matter very much who I am or what I do . . . as long as I’m with Him. I don’t need to be “happy”, or “good”, or “cheerful” as if He needs me to be that way. He doesn’t need me. I hope that I would never bow my knee and serve a “god” who needed something from me. If He needed me, then I would be the god. NO! I need Him, He is worthy, He is Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior! If I am happy, good, or cheerful it is because He loved me first, not because I’m doing Him a favor.

Jonah wasn’t “good”. He didn’t cheerfully fulfil is Christian duty by happily going about with the “joy of the Lord” on him in service to God. He was no people pleaser. God used angry, spiteful, bitter Jonah . . . because God chose Jonah. God gave Jonah what he needed because God had what Jonah needed. Jonah didn’t have it . . . but God could use Jonah because God is more than able to account for our shortcomings. 

So why are we prone to make God so little and paper tigers so big in our hearts? Why do we let fear of men override fear of God. Why do we believe that the physical world is more real than the spiritual? Why do we allow ourselves to be slaves?? We are free, under the care and grace of our loving Father and Savior, the LION of Judah, the worthy one, Jesus Christ. I encourage you to bow your knee, look up, and find salvation!