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