Saturday, May 21, 2016

I think it’s time to make this “official”… most of you probably already know, but for those of you who don’t, God has opened the doors for us to move back to Mexico! I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but there have been so many emotions that have kept me from it. I’m going to do my best to give a quick explanation. Of course I can’t do that without going back to the beginning. Brian and I never thought we would ever leave Mexico, God had brought him there and we had work for a lifetime ahead of us. The way we ended up here, in Tennessee, was definitely God’s hand… definitely. After the boys were born, I remember thinking how awesome it was going to be to let all our loved ones in Mexico see them. I remember thinking of ways to keep germs away from them and having to teach everyone about pre-mature babies. After Levi had his tracheostomy, the doctor said that he would most likely have to have it for two years. He said there was a chance that at his 6 month check up we would see enough improvement to get it out then. In my heart he said hopefully he would get it out soon but worst case scenario it would be two years. When the two year mark came and things were so bad with Levi’s airway I felt hopeless. I wanted so badly for Brian to agree to move back with Levi’s trach and not wait for that big surgery. Obviously I didn’t get my way. I wrestled with Brian and God for many years. I felt like nobody around me really ‘got it’ and I felt so alone. When we had outgrown our townhouse and started trying to sell, Levi no longer had his trach, my heart went through the ringer. I grew up always hearing my grandmother tell the story of how she didn’t want to raise her children in the mountains but how grandpa always said that he would never leave. She finally gave her burden to God and shortly after grandpa was moving his entire family to the town of Alamos. So I knew, very well I needed to give my desires, my will to God, surrender completely to Him… so that I could get my way! When we were moving into our new house, God was very clear about me needing me to make this my home. In our townhouse I didn’t do anything, it was temporary… for my sanity’s sake it had to be temporary. So why invest in something that wasn’t going to last? With a broken heart I walked in obedience and painted this house, decorated, made things for it. I got close to people, where as before I only had a hand full of people that I called friends. I’ve learned that it’s not about letting go in order get your way, but about letting God take you through the process that He needs you to walk through. In order to go deeper in your Faith, in order to grow closer to Him. I’m definitely stubborn and a slow learner. 
While in Mexico, God started speaking to Brian. He’s always been careful of what he says to me about Mexico, understandably so, so it caught me by surprise when he started saying things that made it sound like he wanted to stay. I’ve kept my heart so guarded that it still doesn’t feel totally real, what we are about to do feels like a dream! Even though we have grown in so many areas, we totally realize how what we are wanting to do, what we feel God is leading us to do, is so much bigger, greater, and definitely not humanly possible! It’s both terrifying and thrilling. To enter into a place where you absolutely can’t do it on your own and without God’s mighty power you are going to fail miserably, it’s very exciting! 
If we had left years ago, I wouldn’t have cared to go back alone. But now I don’t want to. I know and understand that we need the body of Christ to back us up. We need an army of prayer warriors to love and pray for us. To keep in touch and support us. To visit and care… we need you all to go with us. 

For the glory of God and to make His name famous, to bring the good news to the poor and oppressed, to set the captive free and go deeper in our faith… that’s why we are going. We CAN. NOT. WAIT! to see what God is going to do in us and through us and through you all…

Saturday, February 20, 2016

There is way to much to write in a facebook status update, even now I don’t really know if I can  paint an accurate picture of how I feel and what we’ve been up to. All is quiet right now, but my moms 4 cats are running and jumping, climbing trees and being crazy! They are so fun. Their mom cat abandoned them because although they were big, they would not stop nursing. My niece Aaliyah begged mom to keep all 4 and not get rid of any. So she has one, Obed has the other and my twins have the ‘twin cats’. One thing that always amazes me and blesses is me beyond words is getting to watch my boys enjoy the cats and dogs here(there are three dogs). Those of you who are around us enough in TN know that Jesse and Levi are allergic to furry pets. Very allergic! But for some reason, on the ranch they can hug, kiss and lay on these filthy animals and be fine. I remember years ago Jesse asking me if in Heaven, he would be able to play with dogs… SO, this is a gift for sure. We love hugging the boys in the middle of the day and realize that they smell just like the dogs. 

The first two weeks we were here, we stayed busy with my mom’s aunt,Tia Cruz.  She came to live on the ranch with my grandparents when she became a widow. When my grandparents went to live in Alamos because of health reasons, she came to live with my parents. For two years she was here. Those of you that know her, know that she was always smiling and ready to give you a big hug and kiss(or as Jesse and Levi said, it’s more like a bite with no teeth!) She had a little cold and wasn’t feeling well, that made her so mad! Then she had a stroke and stayed at the hospital for over a week. Two days after she came home, she gracefully and peacefully passed away. I loved what my dad said “resting in peace? Heck no! She is rejoicing and dancing, laughing and talking!!!” Because of her hearing problems, she never was able to speak clearly. She had a terrible upbringing, grandpa doesn’t ever speak negatively about his mom who did pass away signing and praising GOD, but grandma has told us plenty of stories about this woman. She was evil, very evil. 4 of her 10 children had severe hearing problems, two of them had a little trouble. I don’t know if this was the cause of them developing a little slow, but they were slow. When one of them was a young boy he got kicked in the mouth by a mule, she took a knife and cut out part of his gums because his teeth were hanging loosely. She was also a midwife, the one they'd call when there was an unwanted pregnancy. She would kill the babies once they were born. Tia Cruz was raped by a relative. In her innocence, she was so excited about the baby, my grandmother told me how Tia Cruz would be knitting for the baby and would lovingly caress her belly. I don’t know how long or even if she got to hold her little girl. See, even though she was loved and wanted by my Tia Cruz, she was an unwanted baby in her mothers eyes. So when she passed away, I couldn’t hold back the tears of joy realizing that my great aunt was not only with her savior, but also with her baby girl! Her name means ‘Cross’… How perfect is that? So much pain and suffering that a cross represents. AND redemption, healing and fullness of life. Even on earth she received part of that fullness… part of the healing. One of my cousins lives here on the ranch and he and his wife have three little girls. My aunt LOVED them! Especially the littles one. They came over yesterday and were in Tia’s old room asking for her repeatedly and looking for her. The older two were excited and said that they wanted to go to Heaven with her. 

We completed the renovation of the kitchen in “Collie’s house”. The termites had completely destroyed it! We could lift the entire kitchen cabinets with one finger. Im so sad that I didn’t take a before shot, because it looks amazing now! Brian did an incredible job. We have loved staying in this house. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a house that a family friend built right next door to my parents house when they were first building theirs. Since then, I’ve stayed very busy cleaning and organizing the different spaces here. Because my parents have places to be and Bible studies to go to every day of the week, it doesn’t leave them much time to do these little practical things with not much eternal value… Needed but just not a priority. Their house is so big and once upon a time, every single room and closet was fully needed and used to its maximum capacity… and then some! It was built to house the girls from the children’s home, our daughters and sisters. Once we had 23 living here. 12 of them were the ones we had for years and years. I miss those days. Anyway, the big house was left in a big mess! Getting rid of what is no longer used and what has been destroyed by termites has kept me very, very busy. But I love doing what nobody else has time to do, and as my mom says, ‘nobody else is brave enough!’ My sister says ‘crazy enough’. It’s not very glamorous either. Definitely not ‘facebook status worthy’. 

We’ve also been slowly visiting people. There is so much need! I could cry just thinking about it. Every direction we go, we have people that desperately need encouragement and Spiritual help. My heart is so heavy for the many, many people who are suffering and feel so alone. My sister and I got to visit my cousins wife and children just the other day. They have 5 children and the 5 month old baby was born with hydrocephalus, blind and a cleft foot. He is so precious! But because sometimes people’s first response is ‘shock’ his mom keeps him inside the house with all windows closed to keep him safe. She loves her baby and calls him a gift from God, but others tell her he is a punishment for her sins. We had a wonderful time with her and are encouraging her to come to the women’s retreat on April 2. We hope she will.

Last week my dad brought a lady from the mountains on his ultralight plane. She needed a ride to visit her mom who has having a surgery. She says she sees her every couple of years because getting here is so difficult! Her mom is a believer and that is the only way she has kept her sanity. Everyone in that community in the mountains are involved in the same business, drug trafficking. For this woman to casually be talking about what they go through was mind blowing. 4 of her 5 brothers have been murdered, one of them was only 19. She said it was the one that is alive who is responsible for their deaths. Every time they were trying to kill him. Several years ago, her sister in law had left one of her brothers and was working near Alamos on her own. Together with 15 people, two of them being young children, she was murdered. The bodies were found months later. Her two year old daughter miraculously escaped. No one knows how but the little girl says she followed a cow. And slept with the cow. Two or three days later, an indigenous man found her, he knew about the bodies but was afraid to let the authorities know. He didn’t want to be blamed for such a crime. They kept her safe for a month and somehow found a way to contact this lady’s brother. He only traveled by night because of fear. Can you imagine finding out that your two year old daughter survived such a tragedy!? They say the little girl saw everything, and that later when she saw her dad butcher a goat, she described that that was what she saw when her mama was killed. She's 8 now and lives with her grandmother, and her dad is one of the sons that was murdered. 

This world needs a Savior… Hope… Rest… Peace… to know God in an intimate way. It’s a privilege to be here. More than words can express! Im so thankful for our Church family and Pastors and friends who are making this possible. You share in the fruit! We love you all… my dad is getting ready to take off, flying to the mountains… prayers are always appreciated!