Thursday, January 29, 2009

So Strong!

Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

This is a favorite psalm in Mexico. I would compare it to Psalm 23 in the States..."Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil..."

Over the past week I've trusted in the promises of this psalm. The promises that God is strong and will never fail us. This past week, the spiritual darkness has become more real to us. People have been telling us story after story about their experiences with spirits here. Everyone has a story. And they all believe. Spiritual warfare is real here. One of the pastors we work with lives in a house where many people have seen or experienced the prescence of demons.

But I can't say it's dangerous. Because we have God on our side. And he is STRONG. And when you read this psalm you know that there's nothing to fear. Because as many demons as there are here, there are so many more angels protecting us and fighting on our side.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lots of Smiles

I just told Casey how I can't believe it is only 6pm. I'm already so tired. This morning we drove out to the Boys Home like we do every Tuesday and Friday. I brought along my camera because we had plans to learn how to make corn tortillas after class so I decided to take some pictures while we were with the boys. Teaching them English is slow going and sometimes it seems like they might not even want to learn. But they do their best. Usually. And it's been really fun to get to know them and know that they see a difference in our lives and what we live for than the lives of their friends and the gangs they have been a part of. Here are some pics and a video of our time today.
From left to right: Cozmel, Daniel, Jaime, & Miguel

Please pray for Daniel and Cozmel to realize Christ's love for them and realize there's nothing better in this world. They the draw their gang signs in class and still talk about going back to their same old lives when they get out of the rehabilitation center. Please pray that their heart would be softened to hear and understand the words of God they're hearing each day.

After class, we drove to Rosi's house. Last night, she invited us over to learn how to make corn tortillas with her from a woman named Ruth who goes to Roca Fuerte (the church I go to each week). We got there an hour late which Rose actually thanked us for. This is Mexico. So I can't say I'm any expert tortilla maker but it was a lot of fun.

Ruth...She was the expert tortilla maker!

That's my tortilla Sergio's eating. Doesn't it look good!

Ricardo being silly for the camera

Monday, January 12, 2009

Funny Story of the Day...

Actually, it's the funny story of yesterday...

Every Sunday I take care of the chiquititos (chee-kee-TEE-toes). That means the little little kids. About the ages of one to three or four. Usually there's between five and eight kids in my class. We play with playdough, sing songs, play musica instruments, read a story from the Bible, color or whatever. It's pretty fun. As long as I don't have a crying child. They drive me crazy. I'm not good at handling crying children. Just give me a crying child and I know immediately I don't have or currently want kids.

Anyways, the funny story doesn't have anything to do with that.

After I service ended, I went upstairs to see what everyone else was doing. We have the kids classes downstairs and church service upstairs. The worship team and pastor and his wife and all of their kids were all talking and hanging out at the front of the room. I walk up there and Rosi (Pastor Ricardo's wife) walks up to me with a pair of scissors in hand. I knew exactly what this meant. All summer she had been bothering me to give her some of my hair. Always half joking and always with a big smile on her face. I though she was just kidding at first but she was serious. Instead of saying yes or no, everytime she would ask, I would say, "Tomorrow". (I learned that little trick from Rick!) But this time there was no getting around it. So, I sat down in the the front pew of the church...and she cut it! It wasn't too much. Probably a quarter inch square. That sounds like kind of a lot, huh? After she cut it, she ran down to her house, hot glued the top end together and put it right in her hair! It was so weird to see all of them handing this long piece of my hair around and saying how pretty it looked on her. So weird!

But that got me thinking...maybe I can sell my hair! I'm thinking it's a pretty good idea...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy New Year!

So I wanted to share some pictures of my New Year's with you guys. We invited all of the churches to the Second Floor to have dinner. It was so much fun to be mingle and laugh and joke around. And the dinner was delicious. Faustino made birria which is a popular soup here. I told some of you guys we were going to put goat in the soup but that didn't quite fit the budget. Here, a goat costs about 1,000 pesos which is about $75 and one goat only feeds 30 people or so I think. So we had birria with beef which was still great!

Inside was packed with people. Here's a picture of people eating. There was about the same amount of people eating outside.
Reynerio (waving) and Faustino (in the back). They were the chefs of the night.
After dinner we started the fireworks. Rick was the master firework lighter of the night. Here's a picture of some of the kids hanging out downstairs watching the fireworks.
And the grand finale was lighting our Christmas tree on fire. While we were in the States we left it outside to dry out and it lit right up! The flame got higher than the Second Floor. It was sweet. And hot.
Here are some of the kids watching the crazy flames of the Christmas tree.

After dinner and the fireworks and Christmas tree, we cleaned up a bit and then went to a church service. Most all Christians here go to a church service just before the new year strikes. To reflect on the blessings of God the year before and ask for his blessing in this coming year. And to surrender this coming year to him and to his plan.

Overall, it was a very good New Year's with lots of good friends.

Happy New Year to all of you guys and your families.