Into the Moutains

     Being a missionary helps you learn what’s important in a certain culture. For instance, the Mexican culture centers around relationships, they are a very relational people and love to spend quality time with their friends, neighbors, pastors, family, etc.  That’s how we have found our way into their hearts.  My parents have learned to drop everything for relationships.  For instance, my dad was building bunk beds for teams that come to the base and our neighbors come over to talk. My dad stops running his tools, leans up against his truck, and invests relationally.  Women stop by our house to see what my mom is doing and sometimes it turns into counseling times.  

A missionary has to drop what they are doing in order to invest in people and strengthen their relationships. 

     I explained all this relationship stuff so you can understand how it is here with most of the people/pastors.  One of the pastors, Constantino, from the YWAM Queretaro Bible Institute that my parents started, invited YWAM Queretaro (that’s our base) to his church’s sixth anniversary celebration.  Pastor Constantino also asked my dad to preach at the anniversary.  In Latin America, church anniversaries are a huge deal, so it was a great honor to be allowed to come and preach there.  

Very curvy mountain roads.

    The team that went was me, my dad, two of my brothers, my sister, and a short-term team of four from Illinois.  It was about a three hour drive, and we picked up another pastor from the mountains, Antonio, at a half-way point.  One hour into the drive, we saw the mountain that we were gonna be on. The church we were going to was on the other side of the mountain, but we had to go around a mountain range to get there, so it took another two hours.  The view, though, was amazing. The village we were going to was actually called, “Piñones,” meaning pinecone seeds.  

     We left the base at 6:30, and arrived around 9:30. When we got there, we went to the pastor’s daughter’s house to eat breakfast.  I don’t drink coffee unless they give it to me. Well, they gave me coffee and I don’t want to be rude, so I drank it. (Praise the Lord for sugar and milk!)   After we ate, we went to the church that had a big tarp over the front yard, so a bunch of people can sit down in the shade and not get rained on.  In rural Mexico, many people, due to deep Catholic roots, will not go into an Evangelical church.  So, Pastor Constantino put up the big tarp so everybody in the village would come to the event, and not have to go into the church building.

You can see the pole and tarp at the very top of this picture.

     The service began, and we sang some older songs which I knew. (It kinda surprised me that I knew them!) After that, my dad started preaching in Spanish, which was really out of his comfort zone, but he did it anyway. (Way to go, dad!) Then, Dominic, a YWAM-er visiting our base, gave his testimony and we went to lunch.

       After lunch, I thought there was going to be more preaching, but it turned to be more like a concert with different people singing Norteño/Huapango. This type of music is similar to what you hear when you go to a Mexican restaurant. It’s often played very loud and has a lot of accordion in it, which I liked. A lot of the other people on our YWAM team weren’t used to this kind of music, so they got to have a new experience!  

      The second half of the day was more relaxed, so we kind of walked around the church grounds and talked to people. At 9:00 p.m.,  the concert and celebration ended.  We thought the service was going to take 3, maybe 4 hours, but it lasted 11 hours!  

     After a very long church service, we set up our sleeping bags and hammocks in the church building and slept very well that night.  We woke up the next morning, and ate at the pastor’s daughter’s house again. Then we led the Sunday morning service. The team from Illinois (the DeSotel family), ministered to the church, and we promptly left at one o’clock to drive three hours back to the base.  

      That is one of the things I love about being a missionary. We often think of missionaries preaching on streets, visiting houses, orphanages, and preaching in parks, but missionary work isn’t always that way.  

     Sometimes, you’re drinking coffee with a pastor; other times you’re entertaining guests because they made a surprise visit to your house.  Sometimes, being a missionary is sitting through eleven hours of Mexican-style music and listening to sermons.  In these situations,

I have to remind myself, “It’s not about me!” But, my main goal in being a missionary is just to love on people and show them that Jesus loves them.
Cowan, Jesse, JonDavid, and me.

God Speaks

Every Tuesday I’m going to try to get a blog out. If, for some reason, I do not get a blog out, you can assume:

A. I am at a place where there is no internet,
B. I never got around to writing one, or
C. the super old excuse: “My dog ate my computer.”

I suggest you go with the first two and save option C. for desperate times.

While we have been visiting our family in Joplin, I have been attending a tiny Christian school. It has altogether 25 students, and each Tuesday we have chapel. The first thing we do in chapel is sing a few songs. Every week, they have a guest speaker who speaks for a while. This week, who better to have for a guest speaker than: (drumroll please…) my mom!

Mom pointed out some great tips about being a missionary, and she talked about hearing God’s voice. After about an hour of discussion, she told us to bow our heads, and let God speak to us. When someone felt like God showed them something, they would tell my mom, and she would share it with everyone. If there was someone in the room that wanted prayer for that specific need, they would raise their hand, and the other kids would pray for them.

I really wasn’t too surprised and I actually felt kind of proud that my fellow students were hearing God speak to them. One kid felt like someone had pain in their knee. Another person raised their hand that they were having knee pain, and he got prayed for. Someone else felt like there was someone in the room that was struggling with depression, and someone else with suicidal thoughts. People raised their hands and received prayer. As I looked around the room, I saw kids praying for each other, and eighteen year olds crying like babies in the presence of God. This time of prayer and ministry lasted an hour, but it felt like 15 minutes.

After chapel, the kids started praying for our teachers. Shortly after, we went to lunch, but after lunch, my teachers felt like we needed to pray more for one another. We ended up praying the rest of the school day. It was a great day. The only thing that could have made it cooler was if this day of prayer had happened in schools all over town!