jueves, 31 de mayo de 2007

Abundant Life......

I hope you don't get tired of me talking about the people of the Cadereyta. Last week Kelly and I were invited to join the women's study at the Cadereyta. We had a great time of study, fellowship and food. I was struck with how quickly they shared testimony of what God had done or was doing in their lives. They were just as quick with prayer request. These were women who called on the Almighty God to be with them on a daily basis. We were surrounded by material need and yet never have I felt spiritually rich. I sometimes fool myself thinking that God would use me to will lead them in spiritual things. I am truly blessed. There were many more there than usual. Veronica said it's probably because us "Gringos" were there. Maybe that is how God will use us. Who knows. I feel blessed to be apart. Thank you for all your prayers and support. There is great need both physically and spiritually in the Cadereyta. But God has a beacon in these women's lives. Praise God. Gracias a Dios.

jueves, 24 de mayo de 2007

Actions speak louder than words.

This past weekend we took a retreat to plan and get prepared for our busy summer. On the last afternoon, Juan, one of the house parents took the jovens (teens) and a few of the staff rappelling. Greg and I both wanted to go however one of us needed to be with the boys and Greg allowed me to go since he had rappelled once before. We came down about 120 feet then walked along a part of the rock then came down another little bit about 40 feet more. It was very rewarding, beautiful, challenging and a definite mind over matter moment. I was the second to last person to go. It was interesting seeing many teens doing this for the first time. Many frightened and yet facing their fears and feeling fulfilled by the accomplishment. As I stood there watching all these kids go over the cliff, I couldn't help but think of all the sermons that was being given without the words having to be said. Sermons about trusting in someone to have your life in their hands......about where do you go and what do you do when you are experiencing your fears.........how God has given us each other to spur one another on in love and good deeds......oh so many things taught that day over just a few hours that may not have been heard if given in a sermon.

yes this is me. By the time I went the clouds rolled in not allowing for much light and therefore blurred pictures.

sábado, 19 de mayo de 2007

Ben's Life in Monterrey

This is my view of the mountains on both sides

This is a picture of our fort/hideout. All my friends and I have built a stone wall and dug out from behind this stump. I took the picture from on top of a nearby tree that we climb. Our fort is on the property where they are going to build our new school so we will have to find a different place for a fort. It is a lot of fun there.
This building is called Lugar de Misericordia which means Place of Mercy. It is on the right hand side of this building that my family lives. We have a three bedroom apartment. Another staff family lives on the second floor in the back of the building and the first floor is where people who come on mission trips stay while they are here. It can hold up to 100 people.
This is my room and the other picture is the stairs to our apartment.

A few of my friends here in Mexico.

My desk and the inside of my school. Sierra Madre Christian Academy. There are currently 13 students. Next year there will be 15 from K-5

Making room for more teenagers.....

Recently Greg has spent a lot of time helping with house 3 and 4. Plumbing, electricity, painting, hanging lights and all the odds and ends that come with finishing these houses. Last weekend and again this next weekend there have been teens coming to the property who are considering living here and coming to study in high school or college through the hope program. Some teens come with behavior that needs to change, while others seem to be more mature. All of them come with the potential that God has placed in their lives to fulfill the purpose He has for them. I praise God for all the people He has brought together complete these houses. Those who provided funds, the groups that provide sweat and muscle, others who will furnish the houses, and still others that pay for the schooling and encourage these teenagers through their education. Praise God. Gracias a Dios.

jueves, 17 de mayo de 2007

God gives us what we need.........

I was reminded recently in our past how God would often provide extra hours of work or a wedding or some other means for our family to make more money right before an event that would lead to the need for that money. You know, a medical need or the car would die. I was so thankful for God's provision and it didn't take us long to not plan on spending that money for a while until God made it clear what it was for. The last week or two, I have felt God allowing us to make extra deposits in our family's lives. Times of quality time spent with one another. Taking a hike up the mountain in our own neighborhood, helping Dad with chores and putting together our crochet set, games played, special dates had for breakfast or lunch with Dad. I'm extra grateful for this time as we are quickly approaching the business of summer. I know not to take these times for granted as I will soon need to look back and rely on this time spent as a family. Thank God that he gives us what we need.

domingo, 13 de mayo de 2007

Happy Mother's Day Mom

Today is Mother's Day. My mom is in Cincinnati and I am in Mexico. It's hard being so far away, but I want to take a moment and tell you about her. Today she probably went to church and then out to brunch with my father and brother and his family. She loves her grandkids and loves to spend time with them. After lunch, you wouldn't be surprised to find her in the yard planting flowers or pruning bushes. She loves to get her hands dirty and always does a wonderful job making the house look picture perfect. The inside of the house is as beautiful as the outside. Come to think of it, it is just like my mom. She is a wonderful woman of God and I am proud to be her son.
Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you and miss you.


Happy Mother's Day Mom!

I've told you a bit about my mom. She plans well for big events and she is a great cook. But there is so much more. I have determined that my mom would fit well in the Mexican culture. This country is a relationship first type of culture. Nothing could describe my mother better. It's because of her that I feel like I don't know a stranger. I've been told my mom got that from her father. I didn't know my grandfather but he must of been something. My mom is the type that introduces herself to just about anybody. Background, looks, demeanor, really nothing seemed to stand in her way. In fact, I think if she encountered a grumpy person, that's the one my mom seeks out. She seems to see it as a personal challenge to turn that person's attitude around.
My mom is great with children. You might say she had some practice with her own 6 children. She had so many things that she would offer us. Magazines, games, the outdoors, our dog. We were never without opportunities to learn. She should her love in so many ways. Cooking city chicken for your birthday meal. Sitting in her lap so that she could do, "Head knocker". The way she combed my hair when I was sick. I realize know I was one of 6. How did she find the time to make us all feel special.
My mom has a great sense of humor. I know growing up I didn't appreciate that as much as now. Laughter and the ability to see humor in things can take you far. I praise God that I'm like my mother in many ways. My mom is funny, but appreciating humor is just as important.
I have realized that I could fill up the blog about my Mother. But I guess to truly appreciate her is knowing her. Praise God that he picked her out for me. I love you, Mom.

jueves, 10 de mayo de 2007

An extra special Mexican Mother's Day

May 10th is Mother's Day in Mexico. I wasn't expecting to celebrate until Sunday the day we celebrate in the states. My boys brought me a painted pot with flowers planted in them and I recieved pictures from them too. My heart was touched and I love my kids so much. After dinner another unexpected gift came. A girl Marilin, Beth and Todd's 21 yr. old daughter gave me a big hershey kiss for mother's day. I was touched. Then shortly thereafter as I was making pretzels for a class snack for tomorrow, about 15 preteen girls from Casa Hogar Douglas came to my door and sang a Mexican mother's day song. As I stood at my door, I realized these girls who weren't spending this special day with their mothers( for many various reasons) had every reason to be sad and instead through the leadership of their caretaker decided to share their love and joy with the mother's of Back2Back. Fighting the tears back, I thanked each one as they each greeted me and wished me a happy mother's day. The love of Christ allows us to respond like these girls. On a day that they could have spent miserable and wishing things were different for themselves, God allowed them to share their love and appreciation to others. Monica and Teresa who spent the day with our family in April were among the girls that came. It indeed was a great Mother's day.

domingo, 6 de mayo de 2007

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday Dad....

Today is my father's birthday. I can almost picture what is happening at their house. First church than out either with family or friends for lunch (depending which meal my brother and sister planned to be with him). Then home to their house to hang out, give him a little bit of a hard time, and love on him mainly. Dessert can be just about anything cause my Dad seems to have lots of favorites. Angel food cake, blueberry, apple, or cherry pie. My Mom is a great cook so that explains why he might have lots of favorites. After some good visiting, the TV just might happen to come on to a golf tournament. And with everyone's tummy's full, some napping may take place. Dad, I'm sending some love your way, you can eat my piece of whatever Mom may serve and I'm sending some ZZZZZ's your direction too. I love you.

miércoles, 2 de mayo de 2007

Walk a mile in their shoes......

I think there is a saying that goes something like this, " If you truly want to know what a person goes through, you need to walk a mile in their shoes." I was given the opportunity to do that today and its got me thinking. My husband and I have very different roles here. He is the project guy and has done much of his ministry through working hard. My ministry has been more on the relational side.
Today I got a taste of hard work. I joined the group on pouring the roof of teen house #4. I joined in pushing a wheelbarrow full of concrete, took my turn in the assembly line hauling bucket after bucket up a two story building. Tonight, my muscles are sore. I also must confess that two students who got cement in their eyes and a woman with back pain got me out of about an hour of work.
I have head knowledge that all the roles and jobs in Back2Back's ministry are important. But to be honest I felt pretty confident that I perhaps if one was to compare did more than my husband. Boy was I wrong.
He works so hard day in and day out. Doesn't complain. Develops relationships in the process that I just didn't know about. I am very proud of my husband. God has opened my eyes to be less judgmental and full of myself.
God has also helped me to see how I do that with others. Maybe other staff, the teens that live here, people who live differently than I do. I think I will try and do more walking in other people's shoes. If not physically than prayerfully. Asking God to give me His perspective of others. I'm sure this will be a lifelong lesson.
I hope to join another concrete pour. Maybe after my sore muscles heal. And I pray I will complain less.......