A Tale of Two Youth Groups
Cottowood, Texas… I believe the population is less than 200.
And no stores or gas stations. Just a church and a town hall type building. And a beautiful historic cemetery with big trees and an old log cabin at the entrance. Oh, and two or three stop signs that may or may not be in place at any given moment.
I grew up on County Road 4084 where this beautiful historic church sits. When I was a little girl, my neighbor friends (both of them) and I would ride our bikes about a mile or so down the dirt road to sit in the old wooden pews (that are still in use) and wait for the sweet “old” ladies in the congregation to ask us to stand up and sing a hymn or two. Which we quickly learned to practice on Saturday so we would be prepared.
Now, this little church is still there. Still a small congregation, but big-hearted and catching on fire for missions! As they have taken on new ministries and missionaries to support (including me), their youth group has gotten motivated as well. When the pastor’s wife came to visit me and to check out the ministry they support, she took back images of the neighborhood and the people here. This sparked even more of a flame in them, and they wanted to give something more than their regular support. So, over a two week period, these kiddos raised $1,400! I am overjoyed at what God is doing in this tiny congregation and their desire to be involved in missions!
One of the things they wanted me to use the money for was to purchase a clothes dryer. They saw some photos of me hanging clothes out to dry, and couldn’t get over the idea of doing that. And the relief came just in time, because it has been raining a lot lately… hard for clothes to dry in the rain!
As for the rest of the money… well, you have to read about the second youth group to see what I mean.
Jesús María, Ixtapaluca, Mexico… population around 10,000
Jesús María is the community where I live and serve here in Mexico. The church I attend is the second of two church plants in Ixtapaluca (which is a “suburb” of sorts…close to 700,000 people… of Mexico City, apx 30 million people). Most of this congregation of about 100 people consists of new and/or first generation Christians. They are on fire for the Lord and at this early stage, are uniquely interested in missions. I love it! A church planted through missions outreach with a huge desire to multiply in the same way! The youth group in particular has done several outreaches beyond the scope of their neighborhood and they want to do more! They are planning a mission trip to Veracruz, MX this summer (one of the families has connections in that area). They have been working hard to raise money so they can cover expenses and purchase materials to use in street ministries while there. I benefit often from these fundraisers as they pass by and sell me fresa (strawberry) empanadas and breakfast tamales (yes, I have gained a little weight since I have been here).
So when my Cottonwood church youth group sent money to use for ministry, I knew exactly how to use it! How fitting for two youth groups that are so dedicated to spreading the gospel to work together across hundreds of miles to glorify God! My mind is blown just thinking about it! God is so cool that way!
Well, in case you missed all of my Facebook activity, my fiancé came to visit me, along with a good friend of his. I got to show them where I live (and they got to experience life here as well… for a week at least). We did all kinds of sight-seeing… The pyramid in Cholula, lunch in Puebla, Teotihuacan Pyramids, El Nido (the 3rd largest bird sanctuary in the world… just a couple of miles from my house), the Zocalo in the center of Mexico City… during a Mexico vs. Cameroon World Cup game as it was shown on several gigantic screens in the middle of the square. I am sure I missed something, but we did so much in so few days. I wish they could have stayed longer. And many thanks to Rod & Mayra Fry and Tina Barham for being “taxi” service and tour guides! We had a great time!
Quick Trip to Texas
I also was in the states for a few days as my sweet Amanda had to have her tonsils removed to hopefully keep her from getting sick so much in the future. She has had strep throat every time she turns around! I stayed with her the week following the surgery so Casey wouldn’t have to miss work. And a sick baby needs her momma anyway, right? Thank you so much for your prayers. She had minimal reactions to the medicines (only had to change one prescription). She is back to normal (at least it seems like it) and ready to come down here and visit me! She and Joe will be coming July 4th. I am sooooo excited!
There is a lot going on right now. We have interns here and lot’s of activities, outreaches, and excursions planned. Pray for the people we will be reaching out to, as well as for those of us serving… interns, missionaries, and local church members. Be looking for photos of the upcoming events! We are all excited!