Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pictures are of:
-Christmas outreach at Cañon de la India
-Our church's couples Christmas dinner
-A group photo at a seminar our church held on Bible translation sponsored by Wycliffe
-One of our Spanish classes at language school
-Our pastor talking about Operation Christmas Child

The Gift of Love

The Christmas holiday has come upon us like a thief in the night! We have been so busy going along our daily routine of language school, studying, working out, and church services, that it's incredible that Christmas is already here. Christmas is celebrated quite differently here in Mexico than in the US: very few people decorate the outside of their home, radio stations don't play Christmas music 24-7, churches may or may not have special Christmas services, and, although people know about Santa, he plays much less of a role in Christmas than in the states (and we think that's a good thing!). One great experience we had this past week was being able to bring some joy into the lives of the children at La Cañon de la India. One of our friends from church works at Sam's here in Leon and she facilitated the organization of a tree like Salvation Army does every year to get gifts for the kids of the neighborhood we work in every week. Although it was lots of work to keep order with over 70 kids eagerly awaiting gifts, we were overjoyed to see how touched and happy these kids were to receive something special for Christmas.
We are also excited to have the news that this year our church received hundreds of the shoe boxes from Samaritan's Purse (Operation Christmas Child), and we will be able to use them in the neighborhoods in which we have active cell groups. Pastor Carlos has told us many great things about how these simple gifts can truly be useful tools for showing people the love of God. This year it will be special to be on the other end of the project. In years past we've helped our church collect shoe boxes and fill them to be shipped overseas. This year we are a part of a church that ordered the boxes to distribute. They will be given before the Day of the Kings which is the 6th of January and is a big holiday for children in Mexico.
More exciting news is that tomorrow we are driving to the airport to pick up Jennifer's family! They will be visiting for a week and then Josh's parents will be coming for a week! We are so excited to be able to see our family this Christmas and can't wait to share Mexico with them.
Feliz Navidad!

Josh and Jennifer

One more thing...
We hope you received our December newsletter without any problem. We also wanted to let you know that we wrote an article that is featured in the Jan./Feb. Call to Prayer magazine put out by WGM. Be looking for it in the mail if you are on their mailing list.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do You Have Anything Good?

The other day I went to take the trash out to the dumpster beside our apartment building when I saw, as I often do, people rummaging through the trash in the dumpster. Immediately my heart sunk while I watched two adults and two children search for something worthwhile, though I'm not sure what would be considered worthwhile amid a pile of smelly trash. Then the little boy approached me as I was putting my bag of trash over the fence into the dumpster and asked me "do you have anything good in there?" Wow I thought. How do I respond to that? Of course I don't have anything good I thought. That is why I'm throwing it away. In that moment I wished I did have something good to offer him. He must have been really desperate to be searching through the trash for something good. We cannot imagine the difficult life that so many around us are living. It is very common to see people rummaging through trash. One thing that we often comment about is how people create their own jobs here out of necessity. Many times you've heard us say that in Mexico there simply aren't enough jobs to go around. Everyday we are reminded of the need for jobs as we are at stop lights, in a parking lot, or at the grocery store. When you are stopped at a stop light you might see someone selling roses, juggling, selling gum, begging for money, or passing out an advertisement. The list goes on. In a parking lot we usually have someone approach us and ask if we want a car wash. And there is always someone helping us find a parking spot and directing us as we pull in and out of our space. At the grocery store there are people who help you unload your groceries onto the checkout counter, people who put your groceries in bags, and people who offer to take your groceries to the car for you. Everyone expects a tip of some sort and depend on tips to make a living. Many of them have created their own jobs in hopes of providing a living for themselves. At first it really annoyed me that we had to have pesos on us at all times to give to the person that helped us back out of our parking spot for example. But, Josh helped me realize that many of these people have no other option and they are trying to do the best they can, and we in turn can do our part by supporting them. Now we give joyfully in these random situations. Though it never ceases to amaze us what people will try to sell at a stoplight, we even give to the begging handicapped person sometimes because there is no government aid available to them like that in the U.S. Every day we are reminded of how much we have and we are compelled to ask ourselves "do we have anything good to give?" We cannot offer money or food to every person in need, but we are thankful that we can offer the hope of Jesus Christ to those we meet. He is the only one who can meet their every need. We all have good news to share and something to offer a world in need. Are you sharing what you have?


Prayer and Praise

Feliz Navidad

Be looking for our latest newsletter in your mailbox or in your e-mail soon.

Here are some praise and prayer requests for those of you on our prayer team.

-Josh preaching in Spanish and making lots of progress with the language

-A good Thanksgiving with a wonderful visit with our missionary pastors from WGM

-Safe travels to and from language school everyday

-Jennifer's family coming for Christmas!

Prayer Requests:

-Progress in language learning. Especially for Jennifer as she has been struggling!

-Future plans for language learning after our first few months in school. Also for the resources needed to continue studying.

-For more friends, especially for Josh

-For continued adjustment to our new church home

Thanks for praying!!!!!!!!!

Josh and Jennifer

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Greetings from sunny Mexico on this Thanksgiving Day! We are spending our first U.S. holiday away from home, and though we miss our families, we are enjoying our time here.(Right now we are especially thankful for the warm sunny weather.) Today we aren't doing anything special, but Sunday we will celebrate with two families from the states. And yes we found a turkey that Josh is anxious to cook.
Yesterday we had a wonderful Thanksgiving service at our church. No, they do not celebrate Thanksgiving here, but our pastor has made it a tradition in the church to celebrate the holiday giving thanks for what God has done throughout the year. Josh gave the message with the theme of suffering, and we are excited to announce he did it in in Spanish! At the last minute he changed his mind and decided to preach in Spanish. Wow! He has come a long way in three months considering that he hardly could complete a sentence when we first arrived. After the service we shared a meal together and enjoyed a time of fellowship. This Thanksgiving we are thankful that we are here in Mexico, that we are adapting, and learning more about who God is. Also, we are so thankful for each one of you and the role you play in our lives and ministry. Thanks for praying and giving! You are loved!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We've been in language school for two weeks now, and we are enjoying our classes which prove to be challenging. During the past few weeks we have experienced many ups and downs and realize we have a long way to go in language aquisition! Some days are frustrating for us as we feel like we can hardly communicate and other days we can't believe how far we've come.

This week in one of our classes we had to write an essay about a topic of importance to us. One of the students in our class wrote about truth. He stated that there was no such thing as absolute truth and the world would be better off if everyone realized that and respected each other. We agree that respecting others' ideas and cultures is important, but to us there is no significance in life if we are not constantly in search of truth wherever it may be. This idea that the only truth that exists is the truth that every person has for his or herself is becoming more and more common in our generation. As King Herod asked, "What is truth?" Is there anything worth living for if there is not some kind of absolute truth to be found? Or is everything relative? These are important questions that many people struggle with. We hope that as we study and work here in Mexico we can point people to the way, the truth, and the light! There are many here in Central Mexico who do not know the truth, but as we sit in our Spanish classes with students from all around the world we've become more aware that there are poeple all over the world who do not know the truth and think that it doesn't even exist.
John 8:32 "You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

Thanks for continuing to pray for us as we adapt to our new culture. We especially need your prayers for our language studies and our relationships with nationals.

Much love,
Josh and Jennifer

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Beginning

Last weekend we traveled ten hours to the border for our annual meeting with the other missionaries from the Mexico field. There are not many of us (please pray for more workers), but we had a wonderful time meeting with one another and fellowshipping together. We had a safe drive to and from the border, and we are thankful for the time we were able to spend with our colleagues!

Monday of this week we stared language school in Guanajuato. Yeah! We are incredibly thankful for our classes and how God is providing the resources we need in order to attend for several months. As you pray please pray that God would give us the ability to learn Spanish well and that he would direct our steps after these first few months of language school. So far classes are going smoothly and prove to be challenging. Please pray for safety as we have an hour commute one way every day.

We have started working regularly with our church's outreach in La Cañon de La India on Saturday mornings. We see some beautiful children there who we wish we could take home with us and make their lives easier. The children in this neighborhood have so little, but we hope that sharing the love of Jesus with them gives them hope to see beyond their circumstance. As you think of us pray for this outreach and that we will be able to reach families with the love of God! One praise is that Sam's (as in Sam Walton) is partnering with us to do an angel tree project for these children this Christmas. We desire all of the children to be able to have a nice gift for Christmas through this project.

Thanks for your prayers and support! Keep in touch because we love hearing from you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting Moving!

This past week we feel like we have really made a jump in progress towards getting further accustomed to our new culture and making Mexico our home. Thursday and Friday we were able to get away from Leon and go to Guanajuato for an extended date and time to reflect on the nearly three months we've been here. We were able to see not one but two dance performances (one by Pilobolus), relax, look back, and look forward. Not only was it a time we needed to simply be together but we know God used it to bring peace to us.
Before coming to Mexico, we learned that our hardest moments of adjusting to a new culture are when our expectations do not meet reality. We now know this is true. We have a new perspective and more realistic expectations after our time in Guanajuato and, more importantly, more peace. We are becoming more plugged in to the pulse and ministries of the church and have begun to forge some friendships with some great people. Saturday we had the humbling honor of being invited by Pastor Carlos to the leadership meeting for the church. We are excited that he has invited us and look forward to this time of learning more about the church and where God is taking it.
Josh was also honored to have the opportunity to preach in Irapuato (a city about an hour from Leon) on Sunday on the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven. After the service we were able to have lunch with Pastor Martin (the pastor of the church in Irapuato and the President of the WGM church in Mexico) and his family, Bill and Lydia Allshouse (our field directors and friends who minister in Irapuato), and Dany and Carminda (new missionaries in Irapuato to Honduras. We truly had an enjoyable day with them and look forward to going back!
Monday we start language school in Guanajuato. Please join us in prayer that we will be able to study well and pick up the language quickly!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Change of Plans

Hello praying friends!

Thanks so much for praying for us and sending us encouraging e-mails. We love getting e-mail and kind words from you all. They make our day!

This week was not an easy one, but we are hopeful. We were working with a local university for our language program, but unfortunately it wasn't working out and we will have to find another arrangement. It doesn't look like there is good place for us to take language classes here in Leon. So most likely we will have to travel daily to the nearby city of Guanajuato where there are several language schools. This week we are hoping to pick one. Would you please join us in prayer as we look for a school and try and figure out which one is the best option. Having to change our language program is not ideal, but we think it will be better in the long run.

Also, we are getting to know more people and building relationships in and outside the church. It has taken longer than we expected to make friends, but slowly we are feeling more at home. Thanks for praying for us in this area as well. Please continue to pray for us as we build relationships and get involved in our church.

*The pictures were taken from a high point over looking the city of Leon. This is the huge city we live in.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Apartment Pictures

Hello All! Several of you mentioned wanting to see some pictures of our apartment. So here they are. We were able to get all our furniture here for a very reasonable price. =)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quick Update

Hello friends on this warm sunny day in Central Mexico.
We are happy to announce that we had a full week of langauge classes! Yeah! Soon we will be starting our exchange program by helping with several English classes. Please continue to pray for our learning situation and that we will get sufficient time in Spanish everyday. We need as much time as possible studying Spanish. Also, this week we start our mentor program with another missionary couple. They will be mentoring us and will be meeting with us weekly. We are excited about this time of growth! Thanks for praying for our relationships. We had several people over for meals last weekend and are slowly making friends. Thank you for your continued prayers in this area because as we mentioned making friends has been more difficult than we thought.

More later...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The past several days we have had the opportunity to experience more of Mexico and to celebrate for various reasons. Saturday we had the opportunity to travel to nearby San Miguel de Allende one of the oldest cities in our state to learn more of the history and culture of Mexico. We traveled there with our good friends and language helpers Rosi and Manuel. We had a great time visiting the city and practicing our Spanish.
Sunday we celebrated the completion of one year in our new building as a church. There was time for personal testimony and special music to give thanks for how God has provided us with ways to serve him. Afterwards we shared in a huge potluck with tons of delicious Mexican food! In the evening we had about 25 of our new friends over to our apartment for Jennifer's birthday and we enjoyed tres leches cake and Josh's homemade Nutella gelato!
Monday was not only Jennifer's 25th birthday, but also the day in which we celebrated Mexico's independence! In the late afternoon we went downtown with friends from church to see a ballet folklorico, to eat amazing street food, and to witness the "grito" ("shout") commemorating the moment when Mexico gained her independence (see the video).
The past few days have been quite festive. Hopefully, tomorrow we will be able to celebrate for yet another reason. Tomorrow is supposed to be the day that we finally and officially begin our language classes at the university. It has been a painfully slow process getting the classes and schedule set up and we hope that this all comes together tomorrow. We are very ready to have more time in structured learning to compliment the daily lessons we are getting through PILAT and life. We are hoping and praying for classes to begin and begin well.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Over the past few weeks we have been quickly learning the meaning of patience. The way time is viewed here is far different than in the states. We knew that before we got here, but you cannot really know something unless you experience it yourself. This week we had hoped to start language classes in the University. Instead, we found out the day we were supossed to start that we would be starting this next week. Please pray for us as we hopefully begin classes tomorrow. Thankfully we've been working with a language helper every day using the progam we learned in Colorado (PILAT). Our language helper, Rosi, has been a blessing to us. She's gone out her way to help us with Spanish and also help us get acclimated to the city.
Saturday we had the wonderful opportunity to participate in one of the church's ministries. You probably heard us discuss the outreach our church has in one of the poorest neighborhood's in the city. In the neighborhood "La Canyon de la India" every Saturday several women from the church teach the children a Bible lesson as well as a school lesson, and they feed them a meal. This ministry has grown immensely as many children from the neighborhood flock to the house that the church owns there. We were humbled by these sweet children who run the streets without much direction from their parents. They were not only hungry for food, but hungry for our attention. We are excited that the work with the children is growing and that the church is dedicated to reaching out to neighborhood.

We appreciate each one of you and your participation in what we do here!

Ways you can pray:

-That our language courses go well at the Univeristy (both taking and teaching classes)

-That we will be able to pick up Spanish quickly and dedicate much time to studying

-That we will make more new friends both in and outside of the the church (we've had some lonely moments)

-That we can adjust smoothly to our new culture and our church culture (our church is very different than what we are used to at home)

Josh and Jennifer

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Warm Welcome and Warm Cookies

Today was a special day for the churches here in Mexico as we celebrated together the beginning of our relationship. Our field directors, Bill and Lydia Allshouse, and their daughter Ariel drove down from Texas where they were making preparations for the final work team of the Summer, and the president of the Mexico churches, Martin Salazar, and his wife Blanca and son Daniel, drove from nearby Irapuato to share in the moment. Today we were not just celebrating the beginning of our relationship with the churches of Mexico but also the beginning of a relationship between the churches and Dany, Carminda, and their son Samuel. Dany and Carminda are missionaries from Honduras who arrived to Mexico just days after us. We enjoyed meeting Dany and Carminda. They are wonderful people and we are excited to be able to work with them here in Mexico.
Later in the afternoon, after Josh played football (soccer) with some of the guys from the church, we had several of our friends over to our apartment to bake American Chocolate Chip cookies. We had such a fun time together baking, eating, and talking. It can be difficult sometimes to break the ice and to begin building relationships through the language barrier, but we are learning more and growing more confident in our Spanish little by little. Times like these are valuable for us as we want and need friends here in Mexico and are trying to learn the language well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And It Rained...

We are in the midst of the rainy season here in Central Mexico and boy has it rained! Wednesday evening we returned home after two hours of language learning under very gray skies. We knew it was going to rain, but we had no idea how much. When we visited Central Mexico and Leon in January 2006, we came during the driest time of the year when the mountains are brown and the skies are completely cloudless. We thought that it never rained here (kind of like in Southern California as the song goes). We were wrong. As we were preparing to leave for Wednesday night prayer meeting at our church it began to rain and the wind began to blow. We knew we couldn't go out in that kind of weather, so we tried to wait it out but 7:30 came and it was still storming tenaciously. We knew many people wouldn't yet be at the meeting due to the weather, but we also didn't know just how long it might rain before letting up. So, we decided to get our umbrellas and walk to our cars through the creek that used to be our street. Once we were in our car and our feet were thoroughly wet, we set off for church. We had no idea the roads would be flooded to the point that the curbs and the various speed bumps along the way would be invisible to us. There were times we were concerned about the water coming in through our doors, but it didn't and we made it safely to church and it's a good thing we did, because the torrential rainfall had completely overwhelmed the gutters of the church building and the top floor where our sanctuary is was flooded with water. When we arrived, several of our friends were hard at work with squeegies, brooms, mops, and whatever was on hand attempting to push the water towards the drains in the bathrooms. We eventually defeated the invading water with manpower and also by unclogging the gutters! Thankfully, no major structural or property damage resulted, and the new sound system we just purchased was fine.
We are learning more and more about Mexico and this great city and the language everyday. On Wednesday we learned that it does rain here and rain hard!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gearing Up for Language Learning

Probably the most exciting news of the week is that we have found someone to be our PILAT helper (you may remember PILAT is the language learning program we studied in Colorado and it really works)! Friday afternoon we went to the capital of our state, Guanajuato (it's the beautiful city at the top of the page), to get more exposure to our surroundings and the culture. When we returned to drop of our good friend and guide, Rosi, we stopped in to talk some more. We were talking about language learning and the difficulties of finding someone to help in the process. Rosi is trying to learn English so she can speak to her family in the states, and, of course, we're trying to learn Spanish. Then it hit Jennifer and she said, "Why don't we ask Rosi to be our PILAT helper!?" Our language partnership would be perfect because we could help Rosi learn English and she could help us learn Spanish. This is truly an answer to prayer not only for us but Rosi as well. We are looking forward to our time together. Our first meeting is tomorrow afternoon.
Since our official language studies at the Universidad Tecnologia de Leon do not begin for another week, this past week we spent most of our time trying to listen to others speak and speaking what Spanish we already know as we go to the market, look for a place to exercise, and interact with those around us. Our church has meetings three times a week: Wednesday and Saturday evenings and Sunday morning/afternoon, and these times have been great opportunities to work on our ears. Our language learning plan is gradually coming together too! This week we began working with Vicky Castro (our pastor's wife) on some of the pronunciation rules and grammatical points of Spanish by reading and writing. We are excited to have time to focus on reading and writing in Spanish because we want to be able to communicate in this way as well as through speaking.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Giver of all Good Gifts

We arrived, after several long days of travel and one long drive from the Texas border to Leon, last Saturday morning at midnight. The next morning we were hard at work buying the many things we would need to furnish our apartment. We were pretty successful and now have everything needed except for our living room furniture! Through our move to this new land, we have seen and felt the provision of our Lord in many things. He has provided us a wonderful apartment in a secure neighborhood only a few minutes walk from Pastor Carlos' house and a few minutes drive to our new church.
The evening of the Saturday in which we arrived the church threw a welcome party for us at the pastors' house. Several of our brothers and sisters expressed their gratitude to God and excitement for us joining them here. They have been praying for years for laborers to join them and finally God has answered! God has given us to the church and He has given us a great family to be part of.
Thursday we went with Antares to the Technological University of Leon where we will be studying Spanish. She has set us up with the language department at the University so that we will be able to study Spanish for free by assisting them in their English program. This is a great opportunity for us to learn Spanish free of charge, make new relationships with young adults in Leon, and gain more experience in teaching. God has provided us with a school and a ministry already!

Us with new friends at church, with pastor Carlos, on the road to LEON, and the view from our apartment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good Good-byes

God has truly blessed us with deep relationships with great people. Today was just more proof that we are surrounded by people who genuinely love and care for us. We had a farewell get together at the WGM Student Involvement Center in Wilmore tonight. We have definitely felt the love and prayers of those who support us and our ministry in Mexico, but had no idea so many people would come by to bid us farewell before we leave. As we looked around at all the smiling faces and talked with our dear friends, we felt joy and sadness. We felt joy because as we go we are able to take them along with us as they pray for us and support us. We felt sadness because we will be leaving such great friends behind. Words cannot express just how much our friends mean to us and just how empowered we feel because they believe in us.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...

Start your engines! As we are eagerly awaiting and preparing to start our engines Tuesday, August 5th and head to Mexico, we were treated to the amazing opportunity of seeing the Brickyard 400 in Indy today. Neither of us had ever had the chance to see a live racing event before and it is so much better live! Going to the race capped off a very enjoyable weekend of spending time with great friends, meeting new ones, fellowshiping, and sharing our call at Plainfield UMC. We are glad to have made such wonderful memories before we leave for 2 years.