Friday, June 17, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Ministry

Yesterday was a tearful day as we said good-bye to Jennifer's close friend who had been with us since the time we arrived here in Mexico on June 1st. It was not an easy good-bye as bidding farewell to one of your closest friends ever is. But alas, we are here in León on our own once again. Not to mention yesterday was Josh's 29th birthday.

Many people often ask us "What is ministry like for you?" "Or what does a normal day look like for you?" We think our friend got a taste of real missionary life as we eased back into it here. You NEVER know what a day will hold. Someone might come by at 10:30pm unexpectedly or maybe a day will be full of visits, dinners, breakfasts and alike. Mostly we live life alongside others. We try to show them the love of Christ through our daily actions as well as through our group time and Bible studies.

Ministry sure does have its ups. One of our close friends and neighbor suffered a severe problem in her marriage just over a year ago. Yesterday, while Jennifer was at breakfast with her and some other neighbors, this neighbor whom we will call Rosa, decided to confront one of the other neighbors about her marriage, testifying that God was the only one who helped save her own marriage. She also said that we are responsable for our own actions and we cannot control our spouses. Jennifer was amazed as she sat there and listened to a very deep conversation that she thought would never take place. God is working through Rosa and her family and we believe he will use them to eventually reach the rest of our neighbors. God is amazingly good and is answering years of prayers for Rosa and for our neighbors. Yesterday the women at breakfast had never opened up as much as they did with one another and Jennifer knew that her many hours spent with them were not in vain. Praise God for what he is doing!

Ministry can also be discouraging. One day an old friend whom we tried to help years ago suddenly showed up at our door. We will call him José, though many of you have heard his name already and know who we are talking about. It was amazing to see God bring this young man back into our lives. You see José is an alcoholic and he is now expecting a baby out of wedlock. He has always had a sensitivity towards God and a desire to follow him, but the temptations of alcohol and his friends have always been stronger than his desire to change. We were shocked to see his face and have him back in our lives. We've spent quite a bit of time with him and tried to help in every way we can, but of course we cannot baby-sit him. And when or if he fails it can and will be discouraging and disheartening. We love José and to see him fall breaks our heart. Let's pray that God will sustain him and that the Holy Spirit will change him!

Would you join us in praying for all our neighbors and for praying for José. It doesn't matter if you know their real names or not. God knows. And pray for us as we minister out of the fullness that Christ has given to us so that we can persevere in the encouraging moments and in the discouraging ones.

Pictures: Jennifer with our friend Jennifer in León, group time, us in the capital of our State.

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