Friday, October 30, 2009

Sowing Seeds

After lots of preparation, hours on Powerpoint, and lots of study, Josh drove to Irapuato last Saturday to give his first class for the new Theological Education by Extension program for present and future church leaders in Central Mexico. He went in to the class a bit nervous knowing he'd be teaching for a total of 12 hours in nothing but Spanish and he'd be communicating deep truths and information about the New Testament to a group of 20 students. The class went really well. They purpose of the class was to give the students an understanding of the historical context of the New Testament so that they would be able to read it, interpret it, and apply it to their lives in a more complete and deeper way. The class appeared to be a success! The students were very participative and thoroughly enjoyed the group projects which included comparing and contrasting different hermeneutics, interpreting and applying the parables of Jesus, and identifying the different parts of New Testament letters.

The most challenging thing for Josh was of course the Spanish. Spending 7 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday teaching in Spanish is a bit taxing but it was also a very good exercise for him. In the end, both the students and Josh learned from the class. The most rewarding thing was seeing the students being challenged to think in new ways about the New Testament and to read it in a more historically grounded manner. The section on parables was probably the most fun as the students discovered the utter importance of keeping a text in its original context both socio-cultural and literary. Some light bulbs really went on during the parable section. All in all, the class went very well and Josh was able to learn more about how to be a better teacher while the students learned more about being better disciples.
This month Jennifer is preparing her course over Sects and World Religions and is proving to be quite a challenge as she is having to develop the curriculum by herself. She's working very hard but can't help but feel stressed. Please keep her in your prayers as she works on her course and pray for peace and guidance as she does so.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Happenings

Hello Friends!

This weekend is a big weekend for Josh as he teaches a theological education class for those preparing to be in ministry in Central Mexico. It is part of WGM's new TEE program that we helped start here this year. He is teaching a Panoramic of the New Testament. Please pray for him this weekend as he teaches and for his Spanish. Would you also please pray for Jennifer as she prepares for her World Religions class that she will be teaching at the end of November? While Josh is out of town, Jennifer will be hosting a dessert in our apartment for her neighbors. Please pray that this will be a good time and pray that we can learn how to better reach our neighbors with God's love!

This week in our small group we talked honestly with our friends about our discouragement in ministry right now and the need for people to stick to their word. We are finding out that culturally it is not common to follow through with one's spoken work. Thankfully, our comments were accepted kindly and we feel encouraged.
We've been hosting a dinner in our homes on Thursdays to provide food and fellowship for people in and outside of our small group. To our surprise, this Thursday many people showed up for dinner and we had a great time of sharing. One person even invited several friends. Please join us in praying that our Thursday night dinners would be a time of growth and community!
We just sent out our newsletter via -mail and it will be going out this week to those of you who receive it by regular mail. If you are on our mailing list and are not receiving the newsletter, please e-mail us: and let us know. We do our best to stay in touch with you, but if you do not feel like you being informed we would like to be made aware! Remember our newsletter goes out 4 times a year and you will not receive updates otherwise unless you are on our prayer team or check our blog.

Thanks for serving with us here!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seasons Change

God has embedded in creation the mystery of changing seasons. Spring turns to summer, summer turns, to fall, and fall to winter mimicking the cycle of life that we not only find ourselves in physically (birth, vitality, weakening, and death) but also the cycle we find ourselves in spiritually.
After having been here in Mexico for over a year we have passed through seasons of adapting to the culture. We have gone from the cultural adaptation honeymoon where everything Mexican is the best to wanting nothing more than to be home with family eating one of our favorite meals and enjoying the things we've enjoyed our whole lives. We find ourselves closer to the latter today. We are learning that when one ministers he longs for others to see what he sees, to know what he knows, and develop a life changing relationship with Jesus, but more often than not we as human beings have blurry vision, we're hard of hearing, and our weary legs don't often take us where we want to go as fast as we want to get there. We're learning that ministry is not always marked by great strides of success, by many lives being changed at once, nor by feeling successful. We're learning that ministry is often marked by great sacrifice, faithfulness in the midst of adversity, and heartache. Do we experience times where we will feel what we call "success?" Most definitely we will, but without growing stronger and more committed through the difficult times, how could we ever really be able to offer the depth of knowledge and wisdom required from us in times of success?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dreams Do Come True

It is amazing how God answers prayer! The youth camp went wonderfully and we feel honored to have been part of it. We were put in charge of a group of 8 young women from the town of San Juan de los Lagos which is about an hour and half away from where we live. There were several towns represented at the camp in addition to Leon. To be completely honest, we were a little nervous at first because youth ministry is not our strength or something that we are very experienced at, but the majority of the girls in our small group were actually young adults and we felt quite at home with them. Somehow God used us and the activities at the camp to change these young ladies lives. We praise God that four of the ladies of our group made a commitment to follow Christ. At the end of the camp we stood amazed at how God worked in just 2 1/2 days. Our time was jam packed with games, activities, lessons, and sharing. Together we explored the life of Joseph and how Joseph remained faithful to God and did the right thing even when he was rejected by his brothers. We learned that our dreams should be God's dreams and that no matter what our situation we are loved by him. Though we were tired after little sleep and exerting a lot of energy, the reward was great in the end. To top it all off our team came in second place in the competition that took place over the weekend.

We are grateful and humbled that we were asked to be counselors at this camp, and are thankful to our young friend Rene who organized it and had the vision to show Christ's love to a bunch of youth.

Last week we followed up by taking a trip with some other missionaries to San Juan de los Lagos to visit our friends and encourage them. We got to see the virgin of San Juan and understand more about the culture that our new friends come from. Most of the town is supported by the tourists/pilgrims that go to see the small statue in the main church of the town. Here is a link if you are interested in reading more:
Last year we posted something about this pilgrimage as well. Visiting this town was an eye-opening experience and a glimpse into the lives of those that live in Suan Juan. Please lift our friends up in prayer, that they will follow only Christ, and that they will have the strength to search for God's dreams for their lives. With him, their dreams can come true!