Friday, December 24, 2010

Organic Church

Hello Everyone!

Imagine a church were every member was functioning, where the body was lead by Christ, where buildings and building campaigns were not on the agenda, and where all spiritual gifts were being used. That is Organic Church. Over the past few years we have been reading books by the author Frank Viola. He and his colleagues coined the term Organic Church to represent a form of church very different to the average church and even from the mainstream house church. Frank Viola and a few others travel around the country and plant these churches. We had the opportunity to visit one for 10 days in Gainesville, FL. We also took time to visit supporters and family. Most of the people in the church had moved to Gainesville just to be a part of it and thus they were serious about doing church this way and serious about Christ. We were overwhelmed with their hospitality as they invited us over for meals and alike. Having read Reimagining Church, we had an idea of what to expect in their coorporate meetings. They take the priesthood of all believers very literally and there is no functioning pastor or worship leader. Christ is the head. Worship is spontaneous and lead by the body and so is the teaching. We were very refreshed to be a part of something truly organic in nature and something that felt very much like what we imagine the New Testament church being. We are thankful we had the opporunity to visit not only the church, but also with Frank Viola. Our desire is to plant an Organic Church/New Monastic Community. While in the States we might even take more time in Gainesville because we were told we really didn't even begin to get a taste of what the church life is like. Plus, how are we going to plant something that we have never experienced? The thing that impacted us the most was the obvious sense of community among the people of the church. There are about 40 or so people and they love each other deeply. They fellowship during the week and seem to be very close. It is an attractive community because the members love one another and that love draws you in. Isn't that how church is supposed to be? Once you experience church like this you don't want to have it any other way.

Thanks for your prayers and support in the New Year!

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May Christ's birth be real to you today and always!

Feliz Navidad,
Josh and Jennifer

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Getting Back to Mexico

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent ours in Wilmore with a lot of family. One day was spent with the Reynolds and next with the Seitz and Traina clan. Needless to say we had our share of turkey.

We wanted to give you a ministry update so that you all know how to pray this holiday season.

Josh and I are eager to get back to Mexico, but after much prayer we have decided to wait to go back full-time until we can have a team of two other families, or a few singles who want to join us in our church planting endevours. What does this mean? It means that while we are raising support we are also raising up a team. We need both things to happen before we can return as full-time missionaries. In the meantime we are involved and will be participating with our mission agency in taking short-term teams to Latin America and Mexico, being involved in local hispanic ministry, learning about house church planting, and, of course, raising support and now a team to go back with us.

We realized that in order to be healthy on the field we really need a ministry team that is a little larger than ourselves or one other couple. Would you please pray that God would bring in 100% of our monthly support needs and that he would raise up several friends who want to commit to church planting in León, Mexico. After talking to a friend in Mexico today we were reminded how much we are needed there. Please pray that we can get back soon. We will be taking a trip to Mexico in January, but in order to go and stay we still need our support and team.

Can you participate with us and help us get back to Mexico? Here are some things you can do...

You could make a special end of the year donation to our ministry.

You could commit to supporting us at $15, $25, or $50 a month.

You could go on a short-term trip to Mexico (contact us about how).

You could contact us about speaking with your small group or at your church.

You could even join our team.

And last but not least, you can pray with us and help us reach Mexico for Christ!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Quick Update

Last week and the week before we were in Michigan for a program designed for missionaries and pastors. It is called Alongside. Our time there was beneficial as we shared with others about our time in Mexico both the joys and difficulties. We found it healing to share with other missionaries and be in a mini community with other Christian workers for two weeks. One of the highlights was being able to spend time with Trish and Dave. They have attended three of the same programs we attended this fall and have become good friends. God has guided us on a similar journey and we are thankful for being able to know them.

Thanks for your prayers for our travels and for Jennifer's family as we've mourned the loss of her grandfather.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Us at Jennifer's grandfather's funeral
The guys making a simple healthy dinner at Alongside
Our group at Alongside

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Robert Angelo Traina, One of Our Greatest Supporters Passes

We are currently at a two week program in Michigan and we received the news yesterday that my grandfather passed away. For those of you who are interested viewing hours will be Friday from 6-9pm at Kerr Brothers off of Harrodsburg Road in Lexington, KY. His memorial service will be at Estes Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY at 3:30pm on Saturday.

As a child when asked “Who is your hero?” I would think of my grandfathers and I often responded, “My Po Po.” My Po Po is my grandpa Traina.

When I think of my grandfather I immediately think of his accomplishments. He wrote and printed a book by the time he was my age and that book is still used today as a textbook in many Bible classes at seminaries.

My grandfather came from a poor, formerly catholic Italian family. He grew up in inner city Chicago. His parents converted to Protestantism when he was young. And later in his life his love for the Bible grew. In his graduate work he took 36 hours of Bible courses and dedicated his life to studying and teaching the Bible inductively. In my parents’ basement lay notebook after notebook of my grandfather’s personal inductive Bible studies.

Over the years my grandfather’s work influenced many including Eugene Peterson who claims his work would not be possible without my grandfather’s influence. Who knows…Maybe the Message might not have existed without my Po Po. His work also greatly influenced Dr. David Bauer who teaches at ATS. Dr. Bauer’s teaching has enormously impacted my husband’s life and one of my college prof’s who’s class changed my life forever. Josh and I would not have our great love for Bible study if it weren’t for my grandfather. He has left us a gift more precious than any earthly possession.

One thing that few people know about my grandfather is how generous he was with his money. He was extremely good with his money and he and my grandmother saved all they could to give away. Their goal was to save so that when they died they would have a significant amount of money to give. He gave large amounts to support our ministry over the years and most recently blessed us with his car because he didn’t want us to get into debt buying one. He paid cash for his cars.

I can think of no other person I know that I’d rather be like. He had a sense of humor that I admired and loved to talk about the Bible and theology. Though he went through some very difficult times near the end of his life, he was a humble and kind man, never afraid to stand up for what he believed in. Recently, his words comforted me as he told me that he was proud of me for doing the right thing, for thinking outside of the box, and taking the road less traveled. He always encouraged us in our ministry and in our lives. If I could only come close to leaving such a legacy I would be happy.

Thanks Po Po for forever changing this world with you presence and for impacting the life of this granddaughter.

Jennifer Rebecca

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prayers Please

Greetings Friends, Family, and Random People checking out our blog!

The last Saturday we were in Colorado Jennifer received the phone call that her grandfather Traina was very ill with an infection in the hospital. She was told that he might night make it over the weekend. We couldn't change our travel plans so when we got home we were surprised to find out that we was recovering and has been ever since then. He has now been in the hospital about two weeks. He has good days and bad days. Right now he is having trouble eating and thus is very weak. We ask that you would please pray for him and Jennifer's family during this tough time. Robert A. Traina wrote Methodical Bible Study and was Eugene Peterson's professor. He just fiinished his second book that he wrote with David Bauer. Over his lifetime he has influenced numerous people with his teaching and writing on Biblical studies. He is a wonderful and special person to us all!

This Monday we are leaving to go to Michigan for a two program called Alongside. It is especially geared toward missionaries and pastors. Please pray that we have a beneficial time there and that we would be able to further process our two years in Mexico with the staff there. Pray that the sessions will be helpul to our future ministry as well.

Praise God that we found a place in Lexington where we can learn more about intentional communities and home church. We are thankful we came across Communality and that it will be a great resource for us when we are in Kentucky.

Today, as always, we thank you for your prayers and support! We cannot minister without your partnership.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

School of Spiritual Formation and Care of the Soul

Have you ever picked up the phone and called one of your favorite authors? One day in August Jennifer did just that. After reading the book Soul Custody by Stephen W. Smith she decided to call him up and tell him what an impact the book made on her life. We met Steve in Colorado back in 2008 when he shared with our group at Mission Training International. In August of this year Jennifer left a message on Steve's office answering machine thinking she wouldn't hear anything back. A few days later, much to her surprise, Steve returned her call. He mentioned that he thought it would be beneficial for us to attend a school that he had started called the School of Spiritual Formation and Care of the Soul. They hold it twice a year. Steve and Gwen have a ministry called Potter's Inn outside of Colorado Springs, CO and we decided to sign up for their newsletter. Several weeks later we saw that there were two spots left for the October school and we quickly made the decision that we would attend. It was the right decision.

Our five days in the school were full and challenging as we explored themes on spiritual transformation, Christlike rhythms in our lives, and God's love. There were about 15 students from all sorts of backgrounds and denominations, including other missionaries and two benedictine nuns. We had the priveledge of learning, crying, and praying together all week. Of course we did some laughing too.

One of the challenges set before us was to have more solitude in our lives. In solitude we can hear the voice of God. We were encouraged to spend time in nature and "let the birds be our theologians." Often times we are too caught up in our busyness to be still and know God, too occupied by noise to stop and hear his voice, or we are stuck in a pattern of life that brings death instead of life to our souls. Sound familiar? In ministry, where the burnout rate for pastors and missionaries is 75%, it can be tempting to be so concerned about the doing we forget what life is all about. If we do not truly know God, how can we minister? What is our source? We can be busy "doing" things for God, but if we don't stop to spend time with him we will not be able to transmit his love. If our desire is spiritual transformation we need healthy lifestyle rhythms! Good stuff!

Our desire is to implement what we learned, and in doing so help those to whom we minister.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Growing! Raising! Planting!

We can hardly believe that we have been in the States since late June. Time has flown and gone by slowly all at the same time. Our desire is to give you a brief update on our ministry so that you would be aware of our plans for this year.

After much prayer we have decided to take some more time stateside before going back to Mexico so that we can continue in ministry with more experience and broaden our horizons. Originally, we were going to be here for only about three months, but realize now that is not enough time. Usually missionaries spend six months to a year on Homeland Ministry Assignment (furlough) before going back to their country.

As you already know we are currently serving with GO InterNational after ministering in Central Mexico for two years. During our time there God brought about and cemented in our hearts, the call to house-church planting among the urban poor. At the present time we are in the U.S. for support raising, training in urban church planting and intentional communities, and waiting on God’s guidance to know exactly when he wants us to begin church planting. Our desire is to serve holistically through ministries of compassion, Bible study, creation care, and the arts.

We need your prayers right now more than ever!

Please pray for:
-Our monthly financial support to come in and be met every month with Go InterNational
-Rest, rejuvenation, and direction while we are in the States
-Opportunities to grow and learn
-Time with family, friends, and supporters
- Our friends back in Mexico, some of which are struggling with health problems.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support. Without them we could not minister and fulfill God’s calling!

Our supporting Church in Davisburg, MI and the Pastor, Uncle Bill and family

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Simpler Way

On our journey we've been looking for a simpler way to live and on our trip to Philly we were invited to go to The Simple Way in the neighborhood of Kensington. We were there for their Labor Day block party and back to school giveaway.

Here is the link to a short video. If you look closely you will see a glimpse of Jennifer in her green tank top.

It will be our favorite Labor Day for years to come we are quite sure.

Simple Way video

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Takes a Little Time Sometimes

During our time here in the States we've slowed down and realized that we needed some rest and rejuvenation so that we can be ready to serve with full hearts. We did not realize what a toll the past two years took on us. Filled with joys and sorrows, and many learning experiences, we found ourselves back in the U.S. tired, weary, and ready to follow God where ever he leads. That is what we have been doing over the past few months. We've put some of the traveling we planned on doing on hold for a while in order to rest, renew, and take advantage of some opportunities that came before us.

One of those amazing opportunities transpired when we were sharing at Hollow Rock Camp meeting. On missionary day an older gentleman approached us after we shared and started asking us various questions. Right away we clicked with him because he understood our desire to reach the lost through planting house churches. We knew it was a God thing, for lack of a better cliche, because we spent the whole afternoon talking and talking with our new friend, Jim DiRaddo. Jim said that he'd like to invite us to Philly, where he lives, to make some connections with others that are planting churches among the inner city poor, and with others involved in missions.

That initial conversation took place back in July and we kept in touch with Jim during August. Last Tuesday we returned from our 10 days in PA. God worked out many divine appointments while we were in the Philly area. We were able to meet with some people who are involved in training missionaries how to do house church, we met the president of Herr's Food who is starting a different type of church in his community focused on serving the poor. We had the chance to go to the Simple Way where Shane Claiborne and others started an intentional community in a very run down part of Philly with the hopes of reaching their neighbors with Christ's love. We visited the Circle of Hope and met with it's founder Rod White. Rod's desire is to reach the unreached generation with a circle of hope. We had many deep conversations with many people who are discovering what it means to live simply, serve the poor, and be the church in a hurting world. We were encouraged by the diversity of ministries and people that God is using in the Philly area. One Sunday we went to Lancaster, PA to attend a house church meeting that reminded us a lot of what we were doing in Mexico this past year.

God used our time in PA to break our hearts once again for the urban poor. We did not realize how much poverty and diversity existed in Philly. Also, our time confirmed our calling to church planting among the urban poor and Latin American communities, and it brought us new friends for the journey. Many of us are experimenting with new ways of doing church that don't include a building, overhead, or the like, but rather concentrate on relationships, radical discipleship and service. We are seeing a movement rise up around the world to reach the lost. Much of this is happening in home church settings. While the home church model is not the most popular, it is growing, and we too are growing as we learn more and more about it.

Thank you for supporting us in our calling to make disciples and radically follow God's call on our lives. We appreciate you.

More to come...
Josh with our gracious host, Jim.
Jennifer with our new friend and hero, Liz.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Coming Back to a Land That Is No Longer Your Home

We have been through much since we arrived, and God has made our next steps more clear to us than ever. More on that later...

The most common questions we have received after being back have been things like "How was Mexico?" Or "How are you? Isn't it great to be home?" While these questions are innocent in themselves they stir up all kinds of emotions in one that he could only truly begin to understand if he has lived in another country for at least a year. We've been gone for two years.

So since you've been asking when we mention the pains of reverse culture shock "What is reverse culture shock?". We thought we'd dive into the topic. Why not?

When you move to a forgein land you expect culture shock. You expect learning life's ins and outs and starting from scratch. In essence you are a child in your new country--Learning everything from how to get your groceries, to how to communicate, to how to pay your bills. Eventually you adjust and you find a rhythm in your new country, it now becomes your new "home." It feels like home, tastes like home, and smells like home. Sure you miss your family and friends from time to time, but you have new friends now and at least your immediate family comes to visit you.

Now imagine that the time has arrived after two years to leave your new "home" to go back "home." Mmm...Wait a minute... This hasn't been a vacation or short-term mission trip. And we aren't going to visit the States for a brief period of time either. We are going to be back in our "home" for a while. No one prepared us for this coming "home." No one prepared us for the tough but good thing called "reverse culture shock."

You see reverse culture shock is worse and hits you harder than regular culture shock in another country. Why? Because coming back to a place where you grew up and once called "home" no longer can be "home." In just two years your country, i.e. the U.S. has changed and you haven't been there. All of the sudden the majority of people have an iphone and some even have an ipad. Technology has advanced, but in Mexico those things are only for the extremely wealthy. Politics are different and you haven't been around to experience these changes. The home you left is now somewhat of a foreign land to you.

Also, during those two years your friends have changed, culture has changed, and so have you. WE have grown and learned, but in a completely different environment and cultural setting. The States no longer feel like "home," and we have become foreigners in our own land.

We cannot summarize two years of living in Mexico in five minutes. Remember, we weren't vacationing and it wasn't a "mission trip." The question "How does it feel to be home?" is a complex one. While we are enthusiastic about seeing friends and family at the same time we know this is no longer our "home." Neither is Mexico. Instead, we are world Christians who don't truly belong anywhere except in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Another popular question, and a good one at that, is "What is the biggest contrast you notice between Mexico and the U.S.?"

Some answers:

1. The excess of material possesions and the unlimited choices that exist for what you can buy, eat, and consume. Whatever you like is practically available. This contrast has been the most difficult to deal with because we have friends in Mexico who are struggling to survive and have very few options in their lives.

2. The individualistic culture vs. highly relational culture and the rush to always get to the next appointment, meeting, or patient. We get the feeling sometimes that everyone is in a hurry and no one has extra time to spare. This is a huge contrast to Latin American culture in general, but especially in Mexico.

So, while we are here, we may seem a little strange to you and we are because we no longer have a "home." Jesus didn't either!

Pictured with some of our favorite missionary counselors from Mission Training International at our debriefing and renewal program.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Church through the Eyes of a Child

“The church is not a building the church is not a steeple the church is not a meeting place the church is the people…

I am the church. You are the church.

We are the church together.

All of the people all around the world.

Yes we’re the church together.”

I remember a long time ago my parents teaching a song that went something like that. We are the church.

Last week we had the privilege of speaking at Hollow Rock Camp Meeting in Eastern Ohio and sharing what we’ve been doing over the past two years in Mexico, and Josh confessed that he can not minister without God and challenged the audience to do everything through Christ.

Later in the day we had the opportunity to share with the children (1st -3rd grades). While we were slightly leery of doing so we hope that what we said stuck with those sweet kids and we learned more than we expected to from them.

We started off by singing a song in Spanish together and then Jennifer shared that one time in Mexico she got the verbs for ¨pee” and “bake” mixed up when she was speaking. And of course we had all the children laughing like crazy.

Josh went on to talk about the church. He asked the kids if they knew of a time when their church did not exist? He told them that every church has to begin from nothing, from scratch. So he asked…”How do you start or plant a church?” One child responded that you buy some seeds and watch them grow, but then the majority responded much differently. The first really brave boy said “well first you go to Lowe’s and you buy as much wood as you can and then you build a great big church.” Then another one responded “yeah and you need lots of bricks and materials.” Yet another “lots of paint and things.” But Josh didn’t ask them ¨what do you need to build a church?” He asked, “How do you start a church or begin one?” There was no concept in these children’s minds that the church would need people before a building, none whatsoever. In fact, though they memorized Bible verses and were taught to give money to missions, they viewed church much differently than Josh and I have come to view church.

Josh soon explained that we the people were the church and in order to start a church you have to have people. There was silence in the room. We explained that you can “have church” in your house or meet anywhere. WE are the church. Of course we went on to challenge them more on this idea of church being the people, and then Josh asked them “what is a church?” Their responses saddened us because all of them said it was a castle, a big beautiful castle. That was it. After all of our explanations the church was still a castle. One kid finally said he would go out and buy the materials necessary to build a house and have church. Mmm…Maybe he was a little closer than the others who shouted church is a castle!

Josh and I walked away sad in our hearts because the idea that church is a building is very much ingrained in our culture. We must spend money to build it, and in their own words “it is a castle.” Later we digested the conversation with Jennifer’s grandfather and he said yes, church has become Disneyland.

God has been trying to teach us over the past few years that church is not a building and it is the people, and it certainly is not Disneyland. We’ve been around a lot of needy people. We’ve seen how sharing meals and studying the Bible in homes changed how we view church, and we know that God is calling us to live in such a way that our family, our friends, and those around us know that we are the church!

Thanks for your encouragement and prayers as we’ve been back in the States and needed some time to adjust and rest. We hope you all received our newsletter okay. =D

Please be in prayer for us as we travel across country in our 1999 Camry. Right now we are in Kansas and are on our way to Colorado. We will be participating in the program at Mission Training International called DAR. It is a debriefing and renewal program. If you would like to check it out please feel free to look at their website We won’t be back to Kentucky until August 17th and then from there we will probably be off again traveling after spending a little time in KY. If we come your way we will be sure to let you know so that we can connect. Thanks again for your prayers and support!

We celebrate 7 years of marriage on July 25th. 7 years. YAHOO!
Our names appear in front at Hollow Rock among other missionaries
We pose with some of our supporters and Asbury friends for a foto

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick Update

We've had some rest and are SLOWLY adjusting to life here again. Please check out our schedule that you will find updated on the left side of the blog. Be in prayer for us as we look how to begin scheduling our calendar after August 17th and be in prayer for us as we will be traveling lots over the next several weeks. (That is why you won't see us around Wilmore).

We love each of you and have felt God's presence through you over the past several weeks. THANKS!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back in the States

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time” --John Lubbock

God is good and his grace is wonderful! Our switch to GO International is official and the staff has been nothing but a blessing in our lives as we've made our way back to Kentucky. God has used GO to be the body of Christ for us as we take a slightly different path in our ministry by switching organizations. If you support us, please understand that any money sent to WGM will not reach our account and that gifts for us should now only be sent to GO International

We are back in Wimore. We don't know if we should call Wilmore or Mexico, home, or whether to say we feel like we don't know where be belong at the moment. Currently, we are going through the process of readjusting to a culture that we haven't been emerged in for nearly two years. This adjustment period is not easy as we face a mixture of emotions. Our original plan was to hit the States running with speaking engagements and visiting all of you wonderful people. However, we arrived to the States poured out and worn out. We are now much better healthwise and are thankful for your prayers, but have decided that we still need some time to rest, be filled, and adjust to the culture before jumping into talking about our ministry in Mexico. Soon there will be a newsletter coming your way explaining this a little more. Thanks for your patience as we are learning the ropes of cross-cultural ministry. As the quote above so beautifully captures the fact that there is a time for rest.

Thanks again for your continued love and support as we minister in Mexico and in the States. You minister through your gifts, tythes, and prayers.

PICTURES: Celebrating Josh's birthday with neighbors and friends and our last event with WGM as part of their official missionary team.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Safe arrival

After two really great retreats, we have arrived safely in Wilmore. Unfortunately, we didn't calculate how much time and energy we would be expending on all our preparations and travel. As a result, we both got sick before and during our trip. We're recovering, but Jennifer's strength and stamina are no where near what they should be. We're thankful for family who have taken care of us. We've decided to pause and take time to rest and get strong again before we move forward. We appreciate your continuing patience if you haven't yet heard from us. We're thankful for all of you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shared Enthusiasm

This past weekend we went to Saltillo in Northern Mexico for a New Testament class that Josh taught for the theological education program. One of the couples that took Jennifer’s class, and who also took Josh’s, shared with me part of their story. They explained that they have only been Christians for 8 months but that they opened their home to hold a Bible study for their community. "It keeps growing" they explained. "People don’t want to enter a church building, but they will come to our home. We don’t discuss religion, we just talk about Jesus and study the Bible" they said. As I listened to this beautiful couple share their enthusiasm I was encouraged by their new found love, their hearts for ministry, and their decision to study despite the obstales they face. Fifteen years have passed since they’ve had to write a paper or attended school. While talking with Eloy and Edith, I was moved by the reality of the challenges before so many Mexican students who are ministering and are studying to become educated leaders. They are juggling their jobs, their families, and their ministries to dedicate time each day and one weekend a month to learn and get a degree from this program. Some of the students have not had any formal education beyond high school, but that is not a barrier to their determination. Eloy and Edith touched us with their lives and dedication. They are reaching out to their neighbors and have found, like us, that home groups are a wonderful atmosphere for discipleship.

We are thankful that this year we had the opportunity to be a part of WGM’s theological education program and that next year we will as well. We hope to be able to reach more Christians with various forms of theological education in the future.

In other news...
This weekend we are having a retreat for our small group and our theme is “How Deep is the Love of Christ.” Please be in prayer for us as we lead the retreat. Also, pray for those who are attending! We long to have a powerful weekend of growth and fellowship!

Jennifer (for us both)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


As we have been calling our supporters several have asked..."What does a normal day look like for you?" Answering this question is not easy because it changes day to day and week to week. But we would like to try and describe what we do or have been doing.

In the mornings we dedicate time to study and exercise before we start our day. Mondays we prepare for our group all day by writing a child's lesson, finishing the adult lesson, cleaning the house, and getting a snack ready and sometimes we pick people up at their house. Tuesdays we try to have people over or make home visits in the afternoons and evening. Wednesday we have had Spanish lessons, Jennifer teaches a very small English class and Josh sometimes teaches Greek, and either on Wednesdays or Thursdays we often have dinners in our home for our small group or we invite people to do something with us. Fridays we have had two Bible studies, one with a neighbor and we have had another marriage study in partner with a WGM pastor. On the weekends we try to take one day of rest and spend time in fellowship with people. Sometimes we have days in the park with our group. Spare moments are spent preparing classes we are teaching or studies we are giving. Random English classes are mixed in their as well.

Those are the "scheduled activities.¨ The truth is most ministry happens in between. We spend a lot of time with people. Whether it be dinners, visiting, counseling, and alike. There are the late night phone calls that we get because a friend needs someone to talk to and pray with, there are the breakfasts that turn into lunches, or dinners that last till late at night. There are the days when we are babysitters and days when we are chauffeurs, days when we are counselors, and days when we are teachers and friends. To say this country is very social is an understatement! When you spend time with people you gain their trust and build relationships that make a difference. One friend just came to us about some serious marital issues because she said she knew we would be there for her and understand when others wouldn't. If we had not invested time in her life first as a friend, she would not have confided in us and looked to us to help her come to know God. Now we are studying the Bible with her and are helping her through her marital difficulties.

Before coming to Mexico we remember hearing in our missions training "be flexible" and "you will only get a small fraction of the things on your to-do list done." True indeed! We have learned to take things as they come, and that sometimes it is better to plan fewer activities or we won't have time for people and their needs. Flexible is the key word!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Long Overdue Update

Somehow the time is running away from us and we can't catch it. Our deepest apologies for not staying in touch better...

After several calm and encouraging weeks in ministry the hurricane arrived. We have come to realize that like life, ministry has its ups and downs. Sometimes the ups are way up and the downs are way down.

Currently we are working with another missionary couple to make church planting plans for this coming year. We are trying to schedule our time while we are in the States and wrap up things here before we leave. Life has been hectic because in the middle of our daily routine came several crisis that we needed to help our friends overcome.

Please pray for:
-Us to be wise in our time over the next month
-That our friends in our small group would love each other and learn what it means to follow Christ
-God's widsom and guidance as leaders and in church planting
-Encouragement in ministry
-A family who are close friends of ours and are dealing with a devastating situation and that God would guide us as we meet with them for Bible Study and counseling
-Maturity and growth in our lives and in our small group
-Success in scheduling our months in the States
-That our financial needs will be met as we switch from WGM to GO International

-One of our neighbors is finding Christ in the middle of her pain
-God's peace that is present in the middle of the storms of life
-Good friends
-David and Kristina, another missionary couple who share our calling to church plant here in León and with whom we are going to partner
-We are going to be able to take a vacation soon and get some rest
-Each of you and difference you make in our lives and in Mexico
-Good health and safety
-Jennifer got to perform ballet in a little presentation for the first time in a long time

Thanks for praying for these things and keeping in touch!

True Love

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Why is this verse so difficult for us to grasp? Why do we find it hard to love? Why is love so hard to teach to others? Can it be taught? Or only demonstrated?

These are some questions that have been going through our minds lately. Last week we went to San Juan de los Lagos to see some youth that we are fond of, to share a reflection with them, and to play games. We were talking about love and that Christ calls us to love one another and to love our enemies. When we asked if that was easy to do we received varied responses. One young woman said "Yes, for me loving is easy." Others said that if they hadn't received love it was hard to love others. We wonder "is loving easy?" Our conclusion lately is that maybe for us loving is easy, but it is not easy to love someone when the love is not reciprocated. If we risk loving and the person hate us back does that change our love for them?

This past summer when we were in the States for a few days we shared how much love changes things. And it does. We are convinced of that. Christ's love for us makes a difference in our lives and allows us to love the broken, hurting, and our enemies. Lately we feel as though we haven't seen much love around us. For months we've been living out the love we have through serving others, but we wonder if it has payed off. We wonder is the love reciprocated? Do people understand that his love comes from God? That they too can experience it and pass it on to others? At times we have received nothing in return. Then it dawns on us...That doesn't matter. Jesus didn't say true love is that you lay down your life for a friend so that you get riches in heaven, or true love is that you lay down your life for a friend because it is the popular thing to do. He just said true love is that you would be willing to die in place of your friend. Are we willing to die for someone else? Are we willing to love everyone even if they reject our love, if they reject us, if they reject Christ?

Jesus came and showed us how to live and love. He taught, performed miracles, and ate with sinners. He was called names and hated by many. In the end the world rejected his love and his message. He was killed by those he loved. Does that mean his life was worthless? Does that mean that his love didn't make a difference? Maybe it means loving is not popular, maybe it means that Christ's example in laying down his life is one that challenges us to do the same.

Join us in loving Mexico, loving our friends, our enemies, and those who reject the message of Christ.

PICTURES: Fellowship in the Park!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Clearing up Confusion

Hello All,

We wanted to clear up some confusion...After talking to many of you on the phone we realized that some of you are not sure when you should switch your support over to GO International. We recently sent out an e-mail with the info and it is also on our blog here how to transfer your support. We are asking that you PLEASE TRANSFER your support NOW in APRIL. WGM and GO are aware that we are doing this and have suggested that we ask our supporters to go ahead and make this change. Our WGM account will cover our expenses until June and in the mean time we MUST build up support in our GO account so that we will not go without support in June and July. Thanks for understanding and following us to GO. Without you our ministry would not be possible. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail us at:

Thank you!
J and J

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Week

There are some weeks when we are discouraged in ministry, and then there are weeks like this one when we are super encouraged.

This week is Holy Week or in Mexico, Semana Santa. Here people get off work at least for several days and all the schools have two weeks off. Good Friday is a national holiday and most things are closed. Thursday looked like Christmas Eve at the supermarket because it was so packed full of people. Sadly, the essence of Good Friday is often lost and the day turns into a time to get together and drink too much. Yesterday, we got invited to yet another get-together with our neighbors. They are always looking for an excuse to have a party and we are thankful they include us. We were a litle aprehensive about going, but we are so glad we did. At 3pm the family who's house we were at, and our neighbors, got together to pray. They recited written catholic prayers and at the end the big surprise came. They asked Josh to share something about Jesus' death. He didn't have anything prepared, but said a few words and we were shocked that they responded so well and affirmed that Christ is risen and living among us. We should follow his example in our lives they said. What an exciting moment that was. How special that before eating we took time to pray and talk about Christ. And they included us, the "evangelicals." Later Jennifer had the opportunity to share her faith and her vision for planting a church with another person that was there for the get-together and it was received very positively. What a great Good Friday we had!

So many wonderful things have happened this week... Here is a resumen.

Monday we had a great small group time of sharing and studying.
Tuesday we went to the place where we are having our small group retreat in June and put down a deposit. It is beautiful and the perfect spot. We had someone over for lunch and then we visited with a couple in our group who needs lots of prayer.
Wednesday we talked with another person in our group for hours about her experience over the last few weeks and her commitment to Christ. We had a wonderful time of sharing and this friend expressed her interest in being baptized. Yeah! Later we went to Irapuato to see a group of highschool kids that is here from Michigan. We worked with the group last year so it was great to see them again. We got to see their drama and meet a lot of new people.
Thursday we spent most of the day running around and getting ready for the seder meal we had in our house with our small group. That included lots of cooking and translating of liturgy into Spanish. We had an amazing time and more people showed up than we expected. We had enough food and shared a specail time as we had our passover meal and then took communion. Complete with candles
Friday, well you see the description above.
Today we are eating lunch with some people we haven't seen in a long time and preparing our Easter reflection for tomorrow.
Tomorrow we are meeting in the parque for lunch and an Easter reflection with those from our small group who are in town.

Thanks for your prayers! God did some incredible things this week!

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Small group, a few people are missing
Last week's dinner. The topic was the resurrection and Josh made Indian food
This week's dinner the traditional seder plate
Jennifer and Tori, one of the highschoolers from Michigan
The leader of the group Sue, giving presents to kids in Irapuato
The puppet show in Irapuato by the group from Michigan