Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride

"Roller Coaster" is how I would describe this past week. Everything just seemed to go up and then get knocked down over and over.

Starting at the beginning of the week, monday was pretty normal. We went out to our villages, and just sat and talked with some women and children there. It was a great relationship building time, and we got to hear some of the desires for the village. They asked us to teach their kids sports, and to also teach them some english! This is a great opportunity, and gives us a little direction as to what we can do for the remainder of our time.
Tuesday looked very different. My group started the Liter of Light project that we hope to implement into our shanty town village by the end of the summer. It was a great first attempt, but, as with any project, has lots of room to improve. The houses in our village are constructed of corrogated tin, and maybe a little bit of wood. They have no windows or ways for light to come in. So, during the day, their homes are very dark. This project will place a coke bottle light in their roof, providing light for their home. Here is a link to a video and you can check it out:  http://youtu.be/o-Fpsw_yYPg
Wednesday, my village team was beginning to get discouraged. We were questioning what our purpose is here, and how, if at all, we could make an impact. We had convinced ourselves in a way, that because we weren`t seeing success in the same way that other teams were, then we were not being successful. This day, we were supposed to work on the light project again, but ended up not doing do, because we were waiting on the correct tool to come in. So, this left us without a plan. We ended up running errands before having to be in our village at 8pm. However, throughout the day, God continuously showed us that we are not doing anything here. He is. We had four different encounters with people in taxis, restaurants, and at the Zocolo. Each one of these encounters were put in place by God to show us that we must not lean on our own strength, because without His strength, we are weak. After each encounter, we were encouraged to see that God will use us in our weakness. The day ended in our townhome village at a cell group through the local church we attend. We were so overjoyed to finally meet some people in this village, and to see the other believers there.
Thursday, we went into the villages with a changed view. We knew that if we gave it all up to God, He would be faithful and show us where we were supposed to go. As we entered the townhome village, we saw the entire soccer field full of men on break from work. Nick, who plays collegiate soccer, jumps right in to play, and Catherine and I sit and talk with those on the sideline. We found out that every weekday, they play on their break. So we are excited to return and converse again. After break was over, we walked the streets and met two people, a man at a restaurant and a lady that sells paletas on the street. Each of these were great chances that we had to make new aquiantences in that village. After all of this, we headed over to our other village. We sat with a friend we have there and her children, and had a great experience. Nick got to share a bible story with the kids, and the woman shared her testimony with us. It was so encouraging to her to have people share the bible with her kids, and it was encouraging to us to learn that she tries to set an example of Christ and share her story with all those around her.
As the village time rounded up this week, we found ourselves on our knees at the Throne. We are so in awe of how the Lord works, and have realized that we do nothing, but God uses us as His tools to accomplish His tasks.

Then, the downhill slope came. I got word on Thursday night that Kyle's grandma passed away. I was suddenly in a pit as far as struggles go, because I wanted to be home with the ones that I love for support. I found, and am still finding it hard to be away from my best friends and second family. Over this weekend, it has been hard to be strong, and hard to remember that I am supposed to be here. It is hard knowing that people I love are hurting, and I cannot physically be there with them.

Going into this next week, I am praying that I can focus on Mexico and my work here. I am excited to see what God has in store for our villages, and ready to be used as we are on the end half of our trip.

- Kyle and his family
- my focus to be here and knowing that this is where God wants me right now
- courage to get into deeper questions and relationships in our villages
- more relationships in the townhome village
- one of our taxi/bus driving friends and our relationship with him to grow and get to the gospel

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Transformation in Trials

Whew! This past week went by so fast, and I am just now finding a breath to post.

We had a team here from North Carolina. They did a sports camp in one of the villages we are working in. They were such a blessing, because they helped open so many doors for us. We had way over 100 children at the sports camp, and got to meet people who live in the villages we are in. God opened up so many potential opportunities for us to carry on this summer.

At our end of the week meeting, we went over Acts 17. There were two things that stuck out to me that I would like to share with you all: 1. we must contextualize the gospel, and 2. we should not be surprised when we face trials.
First, it is incredibly important to learn about the people and their cultural values. Then, use the things that you learn about them to lead into and relate the gospel. Paul does just this in Acts 17.
Secondly, trials will come if we are being effective. The people are fine and welcoming and open, until change begins to occur. When hearts begin to change and people begin to act different, others begin to fear and persecute those who cause change. At this time, when struggles are invading, this is when we must get on our face before God, and go through the struggle with Him. If we kneel before and cling to Him, He is faithful to bring us out stronger that ever before.

Going into this week, we are ready to dig deep with the relationships we have begun. We are ready and open for God to use us in ways that we cannot fathom.

- relationships from sports camp to grow
- strength when trials come
- openness and boldness to share the gospel
- encouragement for my village team to know that we are being effective

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love Like Him

Let me just start by saying that we serve an awesome God! I am so blessed to be a part of His work here in southern Mexico.

We started in our villages this week. We are getting aquainted with the culture there, and starting to build some great relationships. Our mission this week was to pass out fliers for the sports camp this coming week. It was a great foot in the door to meet the people we will be getting close with this summer. I am amazed by the Holy Spirit. Although none of us in my village group speak fluent Spanish, God truly used the Spanish we have to carry on some great conversations. Without Him, we would have been useless.

We met a lady in our smaller village who quickly became one of our great new friends. She was so helpful in showing us where certain people live, and introducing us all around. We met a woman who instantly offered to show us how to make "real" tortillas. Yum! However, we figured out when we came back the next day and tried, that it is not easy. It is a divine art.

On the second day in the villages, the same day as tortilla making, we met some women in the bigger village. We are very excited to see the relationships to come there. We ended the day with a hike to the top of the hill at the smaller villages. Some of the children lead us up so that we could see God's beautiful creation from high above. It was breathtaking! I was reminded that God created it all, including each individual and unique person. How simple, but amazing is that!

It is so easy to get caught up in the differences between people. However, we are ALL created in the image of God. Whether we are believers or not, we are still created in God's image. Therefore, I am reminded daily to look past any differences or first impressions, and to love each and every person as Jesus would. We are called to love, and in the way that Jesus loves, sacrifically and unconditionally. As I continue on my journey that God has given me,I challenge you and pray that I always walk in the way of love, never forgetting that Christ is my example.

In Him,
Alex Kate

"Keep company with Him, and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious, but extravogant. He did not love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that!"   - Ephesians 5:2

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Obedience is the Center of His Will


I have started my journey in Oaxaca. We arrived here Thursday, and we are all in love with the people, colors, culture, and city!

Let´s rewind just a little bit. Before we even set foot on the airplane, there were many hours of preparation that took place in Alabama. This past week has we were bombarded with tons of information, but it was so rewarding and challenging. One of my favorite things that we talked about at orientation has got to be: Going does not make you effective. Staying does not make you effective. Obedience make you effective. We who go to the nations are not any more spiritual or any better than the ones who stay, just because we go. It is incredibly important to listen to the Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and heed his calling or command. We are to be in the center of His will in all that we do, and to be obedient to His command.

In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus calls three different people to come and follow Him. However, each time the people make up some excuse as to why they are not ready to follow in obedience to what He is calling them to do. I urge you to tune your ear to the calling that God has for you. When He speaks, go and do as He is asking you. When you are in His will, He is faithful to carry out the work He began in and through you.

Thank you all for your prayers as God is taking me on this journey. I am encouraged by you, and I am so glad that you are going on this journey along side me.

- continued growth together as a team
- comfort zones to be shattered
- that God continues to go before us and prepare hearts
- that we will sieze every opportunity He places in our path
- language
- confidence and boldness in sharing the gospel
- comfort and peace in knowing that He fills every area in which we feel inadquate