Thursday, May 29

Not-Quite-Wordless Wednesday

Several Bible verses come to mind when looking at this photo, which was taken at a shop in the mercado of Culiacan...

The first passage is from Psalm 115:4-8 "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes, but they see not. They have ears, but they do not hear; noses, but they smell not. They have hands, but they handle not; feet, but they do not walk; neither speak through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is every one who trusts in them."

The other verse is 2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but, after their own lusts, shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned to fables."

And finally, and maybe the most relevant, is the apostle Paul's discourse on Mars Hill...
"Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious. As I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, 'to the unknown God'. Whom therefore, you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." Acts 17:22-23

The Jewish star of David displayed next to the fat, bald guy with flower petals in his stomach made me sad. And does anyone know the significance of the 'Jesus figure' with a red horn on his head?

Saturday, May 17

Mothers' Day Outing 2008

Dia de las Madres is May 10 in Mexico. The kids get a day off school -- which I don't it a special gift to the moms to have all the kids home bored all day? I dunno. Regardless, we moms of the church escaped to the river on Thursday for a special time to relax and celebrate together.

We had an absolutely wonderful time, and without posting over a hundred photos I don't think I can express how much we enjoyed ourselves! I'll post a bunch of pics, though, and you'll get the idea!

Seventeen ladies from the church came with six invited guests, too. A great-sized group! A couple of young moms brought their babies and that was a neat thing, too. Everyone loves to pass the baby!!!

Berlinda, a student at the school of ministry shared a teaching from Collosians 3 and Luz, another student, led the song and worship time. It was a good time of study.

[SIDE NOTE] These women have a hunger after God's word. We've been meeting the past month at 6:30am (every morning) to study Proverbs. Two things I've noticed during our study time -- and again at the river -- is how much the older women #1 LOVE the word of God. It is very precious to them. #2 How much they STRUGGLE to read the small print of their Bibles. God laid on my heart on Thursday to make this need known to those who pray for us: Large-print Bibles and reading glasses/used-and-no-longer-needed prescription glasses. [END SIDE NOTE]

Then we shared a delicious meal of posole prepared by Sister Victoria with all the trimmings...
Posole is a wonderful stew made of either pork or beef with hominy. It is served with chopped onion, cilantro, shredded cabbage or lettuce and tostadas. This has to be one of my favorite Mexican meals!!!

After lunch, we played several ridiculous games -- at this point, the photos just don't do justice!!! The most uproarious time had to be during the "pass the orange with your feet" game when Victoria won the game by ripping the peel from the orange with her teeth and shoving the whole thing in her mouth!

The object is to be the first team to pass an orange from one teammate to the next using only the feet. At the end, the last person peels the orange and eats it. First team to finish eating the orange wins!

After the fun and games, we presented the moms who were our guests with special Mother's Day gifts. Being able to give each mom a gift was something that Cris and I had been praying about. We wanted to make the day extra special for all. These gifts were made possible by a gift from the ladies of New Hope Church in Oregon.

After the presentation of the gifts, we wanted to take a group shot. The whole day carried such a festive air, that there was no way to select a simple "closing shot". Thank you to "unFREEZe" for the ability to make this fantastic animated photo...if you want to watch it again, double-click on the image.

Happy Mothers' Day from Mexico!!!

Saturday, May 3

Take me to the River

Baptisms in Mexico are a little different than we used to do them in the States. For one, most churches here don't have baptismals, so we head to the river. Secondly, baptism here is a really big deal, so we make a big deal of it. The whole church showed up to celebrate these brothers' and sisters' public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ and their willingness to walk in obedience to Him.

Once again, we're posting more photos than words. Photos are just cool. At this point, our American friends are thinking, 'Where are they taking us?' If it looks bad now, imagine the guys behind us...
These are the guys behind us.

Crossing the river on the San Jose Ferry.

And then we all jumped in...or were thrown in bodily.

No one escaped.

Running didn't help.

At least they took off Victor's shoes first!!!

To be fair, they didn't throw in everybody...just almost everybody!



Hearing Center de Las Glorias

Doug worked for several years with a company based in Eugene, Oregon, which sold hearing instruments. He attended intense training seminars and classes and received his license as a hearing specialist. When he left his job, 3 years ago, he turned in all of his equipment in preparation for full-time ministry.

Like many things in our life, Doug's time with Kezar Hearing Center prepared him for ministry here in Mexico. We had only been here a short time when a mission team from an Evangelical Free Church in Washington state came down on a short trip. One of the team members was having some trouble with his hearing aid, so Doug adjusted it and made it fit better. A year later, this Christian brother brought down a box of old-but-working hearing aids. These devices had been donated by a doctor in Washington.

Last week a Christian lady from Boca del Rio came over for her first-ever hearing test. God is so good!!! Sister Maria and her family live in a two-room house with a lean-to kitchen/living room combination. Her husband, Victor, works when he can as a concrete worker/construction laborer. They have two teen-aged kids and one grown son and never in a million years could they afford to purchase hearing instruments for Maria! No matter how bad her hearing became.

When I, Rebecca, first met Maria, I knew that she didn't understand me very well. As I learned more Spanish, though, I realized that there was something wrong. I knew that my Spanish wasn't that bad! Honestly, I just assumed that she was a little "daft". We only discovered a few weeks ago that she heard practically nothing of what was said around her! The amazing thing, though, is that in the box of hearing aids donated by that Washington doctor and brought down by our missionary friends there were TWO hearing instruments which fit Maria EXACTLY! Why is that so strange? Because ear canals are a lot like fingerprints: no two are the same. Doug had to adjust the shape a tiny bit, but the over-all size was perfect and they work great!!!

Doug explained to her that she probably was going to have times when she didn't like her new hearing. It has been many years since she heard many sounds which we take for granted. Noises which we consider "background" noise may bother her for awhile. While Doug explained these things to her and encouraged her to have a good attitude about her new hearing, Maria kept looking around the house in amazement.

When the water dispenser gurgled she swung her head around in surprise. She was fascinated by the children's giggles and the various conversations going on around her. With tears in her eyes, she asked if we could all stop and give a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Of course we could. We prayed, and it was probably the first prayer she'd really heard in years.

A few days later, Doug stopped by Maria's house to see how she was adjusting. She told him that she was so happy! "I can hear my son playing down the hill at the baseball field!"

At her daughter's birthday party on Sunday, I got to have my first "real" conversation with Maria. This woman is anything but daft!

I praise God for the opportunity we had to help Maria, Victor and their whole family! Praise God for knowing our needs ahead of time and working "all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes!" (Romans 8:28)

Thursday, May 1

Missionary Mingling

Here's the long-awaited post about the SEND mission team. Sorry it took so long! It's been a little hectic around here!

SEND ministries began 7 years ago, and just 2 years ago a program for leaders called SPEAR (standing for Servant-leadership, Perspective, Equipping, Application and Responsibility) was birthed. Apparently they're having trouble with their website at this time, so when the problem is fixed, I'll post a link to their site.

This team of servant-leaders were a blessing to our family and our ministry during their time here. Hopefully we were an encouragement to them as well!!! They were only in our village for two weeks, but we filled their time up! It's hard to write everything, so we thought it better to share photos and captions. Maybe some of the team members will post comments here and we can learn more about their ministry and their time here!?!?!?

During their "down time" the mission team was able to spend some quality time with the people...

...and enjoy the beach, too.

We had a great time doing "English Worship" at our house...

...broke ground on the, Lord willing, future youth center of Las Glorias...

...made pizza...



...did art...

...played like boys...

Yes, Caleb got 'talked to' about holding a gun to a missionary's head.

...and made some friendships which will last an eternity. I love mission teams!