Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The swine flu

Hello All! We've received some notes of concern about the swine flu outbreak that started here in Mexico. You wonder how are things where we live? First off we are not making light of the situation because it is serious and spreading, however, the number of infected people and deaths is still small in comparison to the shear number of people that live here in Mexico. The main problem has been in Mexico City where 30 million people reside. We cannot explain to you just how many people live here and live close together in these cities. For example in the city of Leon, where we live, there are over 2 million people. That puts things into perspective. Also, 6,000 children die of hunger daily, that is one every five seconds (hunger facts international), unclean drinking water kills 4,000 people a day, and in 2007 2 million people died of Aids. Last we checked the swine flue has killed 149 people. Once again we are not trying to make light of the situation as we know it is a real concern, but what if the papers and news made a big deal about how many die daily from hunger, dirty water, or Aids? Aren't those things that could be stopped or prevented? How sad that they are ignored.

There have been two confirmed deaths from the swine flu in the state we live in called Guanajuato. So far none in our city. Schools are closed for at least a week and many public events and museums have been cancelled or closed. The ironic thing is we had a trip planned this coming weekend to Mexico City with a lady that we are discilping because she is from the city, but of course we aren't going now.

Thanks for your prayers and concern. Keep praying and pray for the epedemic of world hunger as well. =D

Much more to come soon...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Up and Down and All Around

Hello All! Whew so much has been going on and we have many pictures and stories to share that it is hard to pick a few.

Last week we traveled north to the city of Saltillo to the annual WGM conference in Mexico. There the pastors and missionaries met for a few days to share about their congregations and talk about important matters. Our time there was very informative for us as we got to know the national pastors and learn more about the history of the the Mexico field. Currently the field is small and struggling, but we hope God will use it for his glory as it moves forward into the future. One of the highlights of our trip was getting to know one of the northern pastor's and his family. One night he took us to a very poor part of Saltillo where his church has an outreach to the poor who live in houses made out of boxes. There we sat at a table of a kind lady's house and talked for hours as we watched the sunset behind the surrounding mountains. In that humble atmosphere this national pastor shared his heart with us that he has for this country, his struggles, and hopes. We shed some tears and came away with a burden for the pastors of Mexico who are struggling to get things done and make ends meet.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to share Christ's love with several people. On Saturday Jennifer went over to one of our neighbor's house to talk with her about our pregnant cat (that is another story) and our neighbor brought up the fact that Jennifer was a different kind of Christian than many Christians she knew. Our friend talked and talked with Jennifer for a long time about Christ and the church and what we believe. She was encouraged and mentioned that if we start a Bible study she'd be interested in it. God works in amazing ways and uses us when we least expect it. Praise God!

Sunday morning we were on our way out the door to church when a young Mexican man approached us and started speaking perfect English with us. He shared with us about his story and how he recently got back from the states and was looking for a job so he could eat. We talked with him for quite a while and were able to give him the job of washing our car. =) He looks for jobs in our neighborhood and we hope we can build a relationship with him and feed him if he is hungry.

Sunday afternoon we had a single mom and her daughters from the church over for lunch. They stayed and talked all afternoon and it turned into a very long and delightful Bible study. This friend of ours is hungry to know the Bible and God and has so many questions. We are thankful we can be here to support her!

This weekend we head to a nearby city where we will visit with some other missionaries and Josh will share at a new church plant.

Thanks for praying for us and our transitions.

Sending each of you a hug from Mexico.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Semana Santa

Greetings this Saturday before Easter. The thought sometimes crosses our minds that we have no idea how many people read our blog, but we hope you find it somewhat interesting and helpful to catch a glimpse of our world and be a part of what we are doing.

This week we said good-bye to the group from Michigan that spend 10 days here in Central Mexico with us. It was a sad parting at the airport because the group was a mature group that brought us many smiles and reminded of us home. We're thankful for their visit, their help, and there attitudes. =) We didn't realize how much energy it takes to work with a short-term team. It was a challenge, but a good one. Jennifer enjoyed working in the kitchen and Josh enjoyed helping with projects. Unfortunately Jennifer got sick and had to stay at home a few days, but overall it went rather smoothly.

Here in Mexico, and in Latin America in general, this week is called Semana Santa. It is a very big week here as all of the schools are out and many people are on vacation. The catholic churches celebrate in a big way and mainly they celebrate the death of Jesus on Good Friday or Viernes Santo. Since we love Latin America we have always wanted to see a famous procession on Good Friday. Many towns have processions were they reenact Jesus' walk to Golgatha and his crucifixion and processions where they take Jesus' body and reenact taking it from Golgatha to the tomb. Much like there are many passion plays in the states, there are many processions here in Mexico. Some of them are rather eery as there can be a lot of self flagellation etc. Yesterday we were thankful for the opportunity to travel to the nearby city of Dolores Hidalgo with one of our Mexican friends and see a procesion del silencio. One of the processions where they walk around the city with Christ's body after he died. For us it was an extremely eye opening experience as we stepped into a new world and culture. Much of it was very beautiful and reverent. However, we were struck by the homily in the middle of the procession about Mary the mother of Jesus. We knew that the catholic church here puts a huge emphasis on her, we'd studied it, seen the evidence in churches, but we where shocked when a priest in the middle of the procession spoke about her. He said nothing of Christ and his sacrifice for us, but rather he spoke of Mary's sacrifice and her example that we should all try to follow. We were saddened by the more or less worship of Mary and the lack of emphasis put on Christ and his example for us. Sadly, the catholic church doesn't give much attention to Christ's resurrection and that he is alive. We are glad that this Easter we can celebrate his sacrifice and death, as well as his miraculous resurrection!


Chichimeca children in the mountains. Josh went with the team to visit a Chichimeca congregation.

Josh with the indigenious Chichimeca pastor

The group from Michigan, us and other missionaries

Suffering Christ in the cathedral in Dolores Hidalgo

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Michigan in Mexico

Hello this Saturday! Jennifer here, I just wanted to check in quickly and give you and update.
Monday morning a group of high school kids from Michigan arrived to spend their Spring Break helping out at the church and sharing prepared skits etc. in some poor neighborhoods. We've had a very busy schedule as we've been co-hosting our first short-term team. Josh has been helping out lead projects and I've mostly been in the kitchen preparing meals for the team with a Mexican, Honduran, and sometimes a Brazilian. Quite an experience and very good for my Spanish. Last week we had a very full week preparing for the team and we are thankful we also had the opportunity to help one of our friends in need when her six year old daughter had to go to the hospital. Praise God she is just fine. All that to say we've had some long days the past few weeks and sadly, the lack of sleep caught up with me and I started getting sick this week. Last night and all day today I unfortunately had to step out of my role and stay home. Though I've had stomach problems over the past year and half, I have not had a fever and sore throat at all. This is the first time in so long. Please pray that I will recover quickly so I can jump back in to helping and go on a trip that is planned for the group on Monday. I have a hard time sitting at home when there are other things I could be doing ;).

Muchas Gracias!

We hope you have a wonderful week as you prepare to celebrate Easter!

Jennifer Rebecca