Learning more than Spanish
April was a CRAZY month! I started language school in Puebla, Mexico at the very end of March and was there for three weeks. While learning Spanish, the school also encouraged us to learn more about the culture. So I went on every school sponsored excursion (all in Spanish of course) and to several events in the town. I stayed with an amazing host family who fed me and treated me like family. And since I was sick for half the time I was there, it was comforting knowing that God had hand picked our connection with each other.
I came to realize (as is true back in Ixtapaluca) that lots of walking is necessary in Puebla… especially since I don’t have a car. Even utilizing public transportation, you still have to walk a LOT!
Each morning, I would walk about 25 minutes to school, walk to lunch, walk to the zocolo to meet my conversation coach, walk back to school, and walk back to my host home on the third floor (25 more minutes). And the days we had excursions… well, let’s just say I didn’t need to go to the gym during these three weeks! You can see some of the photos from the excursions and just imagine the walking and climbing involved! (Side Note: notice, I said third floor. There was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake while I was on that floor. That’s a first for me. Very freaky experience!)
When it came to the stairs, I just knew there had to be some sort of lesson gleaned from doing all that climbing. In Scripture, there is Jacob’s staircase (or ladder) where the angels went to and from heaven (Genesis 28:12). But after going to all the ancient pyramids and beautiful churches, I kept going back to the idea that we always feel the need to keep climbing… keep working… keep “earning” righteousness. Those stairs reaching to the sky to please the gods of the different societies are not much different. And yes, obedience in our faith is important, but it is not what grants us access into God’s presence. Only total perfection can get us there… and no one is perfect (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12). Thankfully, Jesus Christ, God’s son is totally perfect and he gave his life to cover our sins so that God looks at those who believe through Christ’s righteousness (John 3:16). Read more here.
So this brings us to grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). I understand it in my brain, but why do I always fall back on the old stair climbing ritual to “get me closer” to God? I think that is why I shy away from traditional “religion”… because I don’t want to reinforce the feeling that I might be able to work my way to righteousness. It is such a fine line to walk… maintaining obedience without thinking I am earning brownie points toward heaven. But I know one way to keep grace in front of me is to stay in God’s word. That way he is always in the forefront… always speaking to me… always refreshing my thoughts and directing my days. And here as I am writing this, I am feeling very convicted about the small amount of time and effort I put into listening to Him. But still there is grace!
I was honored to have some sweet crazy Texas ladies visit me after I returned from Puebla. Andrea (“Old” Country Bible Church friend who now lives in Fredericksburg) and Kathy (supporting church, Cottonwood Baptist Church “representative” and close friend) are long time friends from Scurry and they brought gifts and love from home! Thanks to everyone who sent items with them. They were such a blessing to me and they did so much stuff for me. Besides all of the things they brought from Texas for me and for ministry, they also made my yard a little more attractive (my dogs are very thankful) and got a cupboard for my kitchen. Both things I probably wouldn’t have done for myself. They totally spoiled me. It was fun showing them around and getting to do a little sight seeing.
Busy summer coming up!
Summers here get very busy between visitors and summer interns. These are the months that everyone is able to take time off of work and school…so we get busy! But it is a good busy. Although I am not “in charge” of the activities, there is lots to do. I have visitors coming the second week of June (very excited to see my fiancé!). Near the end of that week, the interns arrive. So on the week of June 16th, we jump right into the community center classes and community outreach activities (focusing on three different communities: Jesús María, Acozac, and Palmas). Please be in prayer for these communities and the people who will be attending. Right after the 4th of July, Amanda and Joe are planning on visiting. They will definitely be put to work while they are here… but they have served here with me before, so it is not new to them. There are cultural activities for the interns scattered throughout their time here, and near the end of July, they will return to the states. Whew! Ready. Set. Go!
I get to hear from many of you through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I would love to be connected with each of you there. You get to see daily updates, happenings (and even frustrations) on those social networks, so I encourage you to connect with me there. This way you will know how to pray for me… and I will know how to pray for you in a real-time way. Here are the links: Facebook (ministry page), Facebook (my personal page), Twitter, Instagram.