Hola mis amigos!
Ensenada – que chilo B)
Haha, that’s a slang some of my friends from Mexico taught me, it means it’s cool (though it sounds like mostly the teenagers use that one, that means I’m hip now)
Anyway, thank you once again for all your prayer and support for our team!
Praise the Lord that everything went safely and beyond our expectations as always!
I know I always seem to write these letters late, but it’s never too late to share blessings! I just wanted to share with you the fruits of your labors of love, how your support has allowed great things for God’s kingdom.
God is awesome and never ceases to amaze me! You’d think I’d be used to the routine, I’ve been there twice already. NOPE, God always has new things in store. In my last two trips to Ensenada, our team stayed with Pastor Martin and helped mainly at his church. This time, we stayed at Pastor Jose’s church, a church I’ve only visited for about an hour my first time down. To our surprise we were also teamed up with another group! It was a match made in heaven 🙂 We were paired up with the youth group of a church in LA called Panorama. It was definitely a different experience, but a good one. The Panorama kids were amazing! Hard working, dedicated, and certainly a lively group.
Even though we stayed at Pastor Jose’s, we mainly worked out in Pastor Martin and Pastor Chava’s churches. We got a chance to lay down concrete in the dirt lot in front of the church at Pastor Martin’s and have a day of VBS with the kids at Pastor Chava’s again. What fun!
At Pastor Martin’s prayer service, we performed body worship to Son of God and sang for them Ante el Trono Celestial (Before the Throne of God). Then they performed for us! What a blessing! Some of their youth had the opportunity to go to a youth camp of some kind and so shared a body worship with us. Earlier, Pastor Martin shared with us the history of the church and told us about how our group has been serving them 6 out of their 8 years. The super special part of watching their youth perform body worship was that AACF LA had taught them that very body worship about 3 years ago! Of course I wasn’t there, but it was a blessing anyway. It’s amazing to see what God has done through our group and the strong bond we really have with their church. I had heard that we had built a relationship with them, but I guess I never realized how strong that relationship was. Now I understand why they made that nice poster for us last year.
At Pastor Chava’s I took a look at the field we weeded during the spring. Not only was the field still cleared, but a small house had been built where impossible weeds once stood! It’s really cool to see how God has been using the churches and seeing the little things we made a difference in. It was also really nice to see the family and the kids again and get to play with them. We were also blessed to get to pray for them. I noticed this time around I really feel like the people in Ensenada are family. I come back thinking of them and praying for them. It’s a funny feeling since I also know that at most I’ll only see them twice a year, but yet I love them so much 🙂
Once again we had the privilege of getting to cook for our family, though this time it was basically for the pastors. I didn’t know this, but Dave brought it to my attention that really, even though Pastor Martin, Jose, and Chava are friends, they never really come together except when we’re here. It was not only a special time for us to get to see them, but also for them to see each other. There was so much joy in the room.
Once again we sang Happy Birthday to Kaycee (I noticed that their birthday songs are a lot happier than ours), served almond jello, and had a great time of fellowship.
Last time I talked about how God was teaching me to be a Mary, building relationships with people and spending time with them. This time, God forced me to be a Mary and I’m very thankful He did. After our first day of construction, my shoes rubbed against two mosquito bites on my ankles. If you don’t know me that well, you wouldn’t know that I’m allergic to mosquito bites. Usually it’s not that bad… but when you scratch them… especially if you scratch them all day in the hot sun… well, let me tell you, amazing things happen. Anyway, my ankle became extremely inflamed and grew lovely blisters forcing me to wear sandals and limp so that I couldn’t help with construction. Instead God had me spend time with people. My spanish still isn’t very good, but just getting to sit with people has really showed me a lot. I was especially encouraged by Pastor Jose’s son Samuel. He is ever so bold with his English even though he’s never taken a class. It was a real joy to get to talk to him as well as his younger cousins and his mother (she’s super funny and the one who taught me my slang).
God gave me so much peace and joy during that week. For those of you who don’t know, my great aunt just passed away the Saturday of my return from Ensenada. I went to join the team on Sunday night after saying my last good byes to her. She had a stroke the Saturday before we left and was in the hospital, unconscious. She was like a second Grandmother to me, always at the family get togethers, always asking how I was doing, always giving a hug and a smile 🙂 It was hard to leave her in that condition and go off to Ensenada, but God gave me great joy. It was because of this that I realized how much fellowship, Ensenada, and serving the Lord means to me and I got another small taste of his overflowing love. When I left, she was sound asleep in the hospital, very comfortable; if she had been consious, I wouldn’t have wanted to go to Ensenada. I was feeling pretty down as our family drove to meet up with the rest of the team, but the moment I saw them all, I just felt a weight lift from my shoulders. When I saw my family in Ensenada, all my depression just washed away. How great it is that He didn’t leave me to wallow in my tears, but instead blessed me with the chance to be encouraged and loved by my wonderful family in Christ. I also learned that week that Hermana Nena’s father had cancer and that this was pretty much it, they couldn’t do any more for him. I was able pray for them and really understand what they were going through. He reminded me I’m not the only one. I hope their family felt just as encouraged to see us as I was to see them. Ensenada to me is a reminder of our need for fellowship, family, and encouragement in our faith. I used to think I could do everything alone. Now I know I shouldn’t.
I found soooo many blessings during the week. Blessings in everthing! Meeting the Panorama kids, keeping us all safe, letting us see our old friends and meeting a lot of new ones… there’s just so many! God really is great and it’s such a joy to serve him. Our theme verse for this trip was Isaiah 66:1-2. It talks about well… just how WOW God really is. The earth is His footstool. The earth is His footstool! Many times I feel like people go on missions or serve the Lord out of some type of idea that we really make an impact, like God really needs us or something. Like being a Martha, we need to do stuff for other people. But in reality, Missions truly is the overflow of our passion to see our almighty God glorified throughout the earth (or at least it should be). The goal is to see others glorify God and to lift up his name. I hope I can build a humble and contrite spirit, one that really trembles at His word and has a passion to see Him glorified 🙂
Now I just have to bring it all back and continue to remember and live it all out, or else God will somehow push me into it again. I’d prefer not to have gigantic bug bites on my ankles again, but I guess if that’s what it takes, its ok with me :T
😀 Thanks again for all your prayer and support! And remember to stay in His word!
“And so what we have learned applies to our lives today and God has a lot to say in His book!”
Your sister in Christ,
1 This is what the LORD says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?2 Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the LORD.
“This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.