Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Back in Mexico!

Romans 8:14-17
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

We are back in Mexico after a month away in Canada of taking courses, attending meetings, and visiting Rocky Mountain Alliance church in Alberta. And, of course, we had some much cherished time with family. I must admit that each time we return to Canada a little part of me tenses up. I wrestle with the fear of liking Canada too much... What if I won't want to go back? But, God is faithful, and each time, the day before it is time to pack up and head back, there really is a longing for home. And I can honestly say right now that home IS in Mexico. And then again, by the grace of God, we all return with even the children not sulking, but having peace and contentment to pick up where we left our lives the month before.

It was so amazing that while we were at this intensive course in Edmonton, despite the fact that it was a lot of work, we left feeling encouraged and filled. We were not expecting the fellowship we experienced there. It was as if everyone was a distant relative and we could move right into talking about life and caring for one another. It was so amazing that on the last day I repeatedly found myself tearing up knowing that this intense time of caring and fellowship was ending. But, this was also a great reminder to me that God knows our deepest longings and He knows best how to fill them. Who would of thought that stepping out of our work situation and taking a leadership course would be such a powerful blessing on so many fronts.
The course was called Leadership Matters and we would strongly endorse it for anyone who thinks they have room to grow in their  leadership skills with a Christian perspective.

I, Claudia, was also able to spend time with a co-worker, Susan, and one of our bosses, Murray. It was a great time to hear others dreams for our field and be reminded that we are able to draw on each other for ideas and confirmation.

Yesterday I heard Sam cuddling with Moka and saying "Oh Moka I would live anywhere as long as you’re there". Later when talking to my parents on Skype, they asked him if he wished he was back in Canada or in Mexico. Do you know what his response was? I am glad to be back home in Mexico. It feels like home. Thank you Lord for answered prayers. Andrew and I were a bit concerned with Sam struggling once we returned from our stay in Canada. When we came back last January Sam was struggling with depression and missing family. We have had so many people join us in praying for Sam and I think it was great confirmation to hear his answer to my parents.

While we were in Calgary we had some time to take a family photo one with my sisters and their families. It has been a long time since we have all been under one roof =)
All the cousins together! We had a pretend Christmas time and shared gifts we saved from last Christmas. It was fun.
This one makes me laugh so hard because when I see my twin (front right) I see my grandmother when she was still with us. Oh how fast time goes!!!
Lynn, Sandra and me. You know I think we might finally be evolving on our relationships we had a amazing visit with NO DRAMA!!! What more could a sister ask for?
Debbie Pearce took these fox us. She is a great friend!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

This Valentine's day we were trying to help a young girl at our school raise money to enable her to go on a missions trip to Africa this year. So on Valentine's Day I did a bake sale at the kids school and sold cake pops to help Karla. Unfortunately on my advertisement there was an error in the price that said 10 pesos and not 20 pesos. So....... we covered our cost and were able to give her a little bit of a hand. If I only had a picture to post of Andrew when I told him of the mistake once I realized it =).

How did you guys celebrate your Valentine's Day? We would love to hear all about it.

We had quite the surprise waiting for us in the mail this past Valentines Day.  Mission Alliance church sent us a envelope FULL of Valentine's cards for the whole family. What a great surprise. We had fun as a family passing around all 44 of them and looking at the drawings and little notes written by many of their Sunday school students. What a blessing to know we aren't forgot about! The verse written on each card was:
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Coyoacan Mexico City

This  might be our new street. We are praying and hoping we can move into this historic little town. 
Also the home we found that currently houses our friends, allows for dogs so the children would be so excited if all things work out. 
Coyoacan has many beautiful markets all week as well as many gorgeous buildings around 400 years old. People from many diffident parts of Mexico gather here for it's culture and night life. This is also where the C.M.A. and La Fuente church have their ministry Corazone Valiente to the Otomi children of street venders.  This is also the location of the La Fuente (the waterfall) church we attend and try to        help when needed.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

At least he yelled "Lo siento...."

Have you ever had one of those days where you are on top of the world? That's how I was feeling the morning this story takes place. Andrew was away in Cuba and it was me and the kids holding down the fort. It really started with a knock at my apartment door the afternoon before. I thought it was weird since no one is allowed in the building with out first being buzzed in. I opened it and saw a lady I have been working with collapsed on the floor in front of our apartment sobbing. I ran over to her where she was sitting and hugged her. You see I had been working with this woman for over a year and knew of the many problems she was dealing with. The moment I was sitting on the floor with her I heard the CLICK. You know the sound of my front door locking. The same door that was now between me and my house keys! And just a reminder I live in a Latino culture where it is never cool or funny to leave your house with your hair and makeup not all done. So there I was no shoes (slippers), no makeup, no keys and no money with a very emotional woman beside me. The best part was that I couldn't even leave the building until I asked someone to let me out because the front door it securely locked. So once out of the building I was on the hunt for a locksmith. Luckily for me there is one almost on every street corner here. So $200 pesos later and lots of humble pie, my front door is opened, the locksmith made a sale and I was now back in my apartment. Soon the kids were home and fed as well as my visitor with her children. It was soon obvious that this lady was staying for night with her children. Once the children were done their homework and in bed I sat up with my guest and we went over all the things in her life that were not going so well. The morning after is where my story takes place.  You see after sleeping on the situation I was convinced in my spirit that the current crisis I was helping this lady deal with was not a calling but a need she wanted to me help bandage. I woke up and knew in my spirit that God was calling me to be honest with my guest and brutally honest at that.  I felt like the Lord was telling me that this was not her time to come to the end of herself, to hit rock bottom. And yet there was little else I could imagine she still need to sink even lower before she was truly interested in looking up.  So after a long talk I decided to send my friend on her way, but not before I made it clear I would always be there but once she was willing to first be there for herself and move towards health in so many different ways. The top of my list for her was leaving all relationships with the occult and turing to the true God who was waiting and ready to bring reconciliation and healing for her. I knew I was to leave the house and lock all doors behind me so off I went. I was right in the middle of praying to the Lord. I was praising Him for his provision for Andrew who was in another country, me and the kids and even the dog. I was thanking him because I knew I didn't need to depend on anyone as long as I had him to lean on, to seek guidance from. I would be fine. BOOM.
That's all I heard for a few seconds. And then it was followed by a loud silence. Something hit me from behind and sent me flying forward. You see before this happened , while I was praying I was standing beside a busy street waiting for a break in the traffic for it to be safe to cross the street. Apparently I needed eyes in the back of my head because while looking forward I missed the fact that there was a van right behind me who didn't see me and ran right into me. Praise the Lord I didn't fall right on my face but caught myself with my hands on the pavement. After I clued in to what happened and caught my breath I turned around to see a man in  a van. He was a older gentleman and I wasn't positive but he looks very much like the man who bags my groceries at our local market.
He then proceeded to roll down his window and hollered out "Lo siento" and then drove off! Lo siento means , oh sorry. It's the casual oh sorry you say to a strange if you bump into them while walking in a store. NOT FOR HITTING them with your VAN!
Shortly after I walked to our ministry office sat down in a office chair and broke down crying. My adrenaline was pumping and now I was feeling light headed and tingly all over. But not the fun tingly all over but the intense pulsing one.
After a trip to the hospital, a few needles later, exams later and then a visit to a man to make me a brace for my back I was at home in bed. Thanks to my boss/ friend who came with me to the hospital and ran to pick up my new best friends (medication for my neck and back pain).  As I lay there not being able to move, I remembered my prayer just 6 hours ago now, "Praise You Lord for independence, Praise You for taking care of me! Hep me to lean only on You.". Well now I needed to get our Alliance intern to move in and sleep over because I was now unable to sit up, go to the bathroom or even reach for tissue to blow my nose. Did I mention my husband was in another country? I was so confused by the timing of this all but not surprised. I am well aware that Christ tells us in the gospels that "in this life you will have trouble." And you know what, that for some reason is one of the Lord's promises I never have a problem remembering. Well eventually things got back to normal, I got off my pain pills and I was back to walking and cleaning and teaching again.
You know I have so many theories as to the timing of things....did it have something to do with the fact that I was deliberately pulling away from a woman who had occult ties? Was it because I called out all of the lies of the enemy the night before in my house and prayed God's truth and promises over my friend? Was it because I was feeling confident for the first time in years and wanted to be able to do more for the Lord and not be hindered by self doubt?

I thought this was a better description of the driver =)

Being Thankful in Sickness?

This past July our Mexico City team, Venezuela team, Guadalajara team, Cuba team and Costa Rica team all came together for a our annual country retreat. There are so many times where you can feel isolated when you live in a different country and speak their language....just barley. It was such a sweet time to be encouraged and be together.

We went to a place about 2.5 hours away to a place called Mission San Gil. It is a beautiful rustic place with lots of Mexican History and character.

The food was good....looking. Five of us ended up getting quite ill after our second day there .  All with major tummy problems, vomiting and flu like systems. Mine hit July 18th. I started antibiotics July 21st.  The Dr. said it was a bacterial infection due to food -  meat or salad he thought.

Today is July 31 and can I say I am done DONE feeling nauseous.  Now I have been at home near a bathroom sipping cold beverages for about 12 days. And I continually catch myself in a navel gazing pity party.  Why am I the only one out of all of us that got sick that is STILL SICK?

In my cabin fever I began to think of all the ways I was wronged by eating a salad at our conference.  And I became a resounding gong in my hubby's ear.  "Andrew I'm in pain, Andrew I threw up again, Andrew I'm hot, Andrew I'm cold, Andrew my antibiotics taste like bile! Andrew can I please have a cold cloth?" on and on it went. Then yesterday Andrew looks at his un-kept wife. I think it had been at least two days since I was able to shower and way longer since a brush or makeup had been near my face and head.  And ever so gently he said to me, "Claudia, have you tried thanking God for this sickness?" For a moment I looked at him almost like a pit bull in a corner, head cocked and ready to lunge. But then in silence I nodded no I hadn't. I know scripture calls us to be thankful in "ALL THINGS" but it can feel a bit ridiculous to give thanks for the opportunity to visit the bathroom so often, to be thankful for having loopy dreams from the gravel I have made a steady diet of. But yet time and time again I remember how even when my feelings tell me other wise, being thankful isn't so much about enjoying the situation your in it is about knowing WHO is with you and knowing that ultimately GOD IS IN CONTROL of the whole situation even if I do not understand it. It comes back to faith and obedience. Not everything needs to make sense.

I think of our wonderful goofy kids. How often do they get answers or input from me they don't really want or value? Does it mean that I don't follow through with my request? I hope not. They might not understand why I say no pop during the week, no you can't start a movie at 10 pm at night. No you can't have a sleep over during the school week, no you can not ride a plane to Canada and back for the weekend. I don't care if you showered yesterday shower again.  Even after our disagreements it still is my hearts desire to have them come to me before bed give me a little snuggle, let me pray with them and have them be thankful for all that happened in their day. Even the not so fun stuff. Why? Because it all works together to shape us into who we are today and who we will be tomorrow.  Remember we do not know what comes tomorrow so lets do our best at handling today. Lets try and help each other to see the good or the hope in each situation.
Is there something you need to be thankful for?      

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

All my love, going to sip some cold green tea =)


 My bible class. Not everyone was present but we still had fun. I am trying to help the boys in my class realise that even if their life is hard God is still present. One of the boys in the class has a father suffering from cancer. The other boy recently moved to our school because he was being bullied. They may be kids but they sure carry with them tons of experiences and hurts. We are going to start to study Job's life.

Andrew lead the kids at school in what we call Daddy Devotionals last Thursday. Each week we have a dad come in and lead the kids in a brief devotional. He did a object lesson using a dollar bill (actually it was a 20 pesos bill). He spoke about how things like reading our bibles, spending quiet time with the Lord, attending church and having fellowship all helps us become stronger. Each time he spoke of one of the things that make us stronger he would fold the dollar bill. At the end there was 4 folds in it and the bill was able to hold up a can of coke.
The lesson being that the bill could not hold up the can of coke. We aren't strong when we are not engaged in our christian walk. Hearing the truth is great but we need to take time to think it over, to let the truth change us from the inside out.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

My Theme Song for 2014

Oceans (where feet may fail) Song by Hillsong United

Verse #1
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Verse #2
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior x 3

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics