Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The word 'home' brings many things to mind. Family. Friends. A physical place. A sense of being. Certain smells. Certain sounds. A country. All of these things combined make a home.

With very little, it is fairly easy for me to feel at "home". Anywhere my family is, in fact, is home to me. Our house in Jackson was home. But so was our house in Costa Rica, and our house here in Mexico City. It's strange to me, especially considering that in another two months, we will once again be homeless. We'll be leaving this home we've lived in since October and returning to the States.....but where? We've never owned a house, so we have no physical residence waiting for us back in the States.

As we've not been on the mission field for decades like other we know, the United States is still home for me. It's where our extended family members live. It's where many of our closest friends live, where our supporters live. It's where all of us were born and raised, where we have roots.

And yet...

Mexico is home too, in a way neither of us can describe. I can remember the very first time we visited Mexico after we were married. Immediately after stepping off the plane, we both felt this overwhelming sensation that we were home. How could this be, when we'd never been there before? Perhaps it's because we were visiting Troy's parents. Or perhaps it's because all of the people we met were very friendly. But I believe it's because this is where God has chosen to send us as missionaries. He's given us this gift of feeling at home to make the transition that much easier. And to make sure we don't get too comfortable back where everything is familiar and "easy".

We only have two short months left in Mexico before our first term is over. There is tremendous sadness in this. We know we'll be leaving friends and ministries we've begun. Leaving behind people--missionaries and Mexican friends alike--who have become family to you over the months you've worked together is painful. We rejoice that we'll be returning to many of them soon. But we also know that there are some who may be called onto other places or other ministries.

At the same time, there is excitement in returning to our home country. Having the opportunity to see family, friends, and supporters. Visiting favorite places again. Easing back into English and American culture. It's very strange to think how a person can be so completely torn--sad to leave one home, yet excited to return to another.

Maybe as missionaries, this is the way it always is--especially for newer missionaries. Perhaps the longer you've been on the field, the more your country of service feels like home and your birth country feels foreign. But for now, we have two homes: our home country of birth, and Mexico--the beautiful place that tugs on our hearts like no other.

Please pray for us in the coming months as we wrap up ministries here and prepare to say our temporary goodbyes. Please pray that the transition back to the States will be smooth for everyone. Above all, please pray for our children in this process. Troy and I are ever conscious that we are the ones with the calling, not them. They have a calling of sorts, yes, but it's not the same. We thank you for joining with us in prayer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

God's Strength is Sufficient

Today, the missionary team was invited to join one of the church planting teams as they did door-to-door evangelism in a neighboring community we're trying to saturate with the Gospel. When I say "invited", we really didn't have a choice. And at first, I was absolutely terrified at the idea. I mean, street evangelism in English is not my strong suit (I must prefer the less uncomfortable method of friendship evangelism). Throw in Spanish, and it really did feel impossible.

For two straight days, I was in a panic about this. Finally, it was agreed that I would be permitted to simply share my testimony in Spanish, something I've done, and my partners would make the actual Gospel presentation. I did feel better about this, but I was still pretty nervous. After all, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

Our group of Mexican church planters and missionaries met together for prayer and then relocated to the area we would be working in. Before we left, our field director's wife, Helen, handed me a devotional and encouraged me to read today's passage.

I stood there, tears streaming down my face. It is from "Jesus Calling" (by Sarah Young), a devotional book with a daily reading from the Bible, yet from the perspective of Jesus speaking to us. Here's the reading:

"Walk by faith, not by sight. As you take steps of faith, depending on Me, I will show you how much I can do for you. If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you. When I gave you My Spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength. (Emphasis mine.) That's why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless. By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength. (2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 5:25)"

Was that not the most perfect reading for today?

I was partnered with Diana and Margaret, and we had the opportunity to talk to five women. Three of the women listened to everything we said and were interested in hearing more (we wrote down their contact information). The first woman we talked to had recently experienced a house fire and was in the middle of the cleanup process. She took a little booklet of the Gospel of John with Margaret's telephone number on the back. The fifth woman, however, was a very strong Jehovah's Witness and was not interested in anything we had to say. Indeed, after about 10 minutes of back and forth discussion (which Diana and Margaret handled superbly), we ended up leaving.

Between all of us, there were 5 decisions for Christ and over 10 new contacts made---quite a blessing from God and an answered prayer for open hearts. Despite the fact that I completely forgot everything I'd planned to say in my testimony, I did share with two of the ladies. God really helped me by taking away the fear. Yes, I was still nervous, but even that went away after awhile.

This is not something I ever would've volunteered to do on my own. Only because it was part of my job did I even have this experience. And if I hadn't, I would've missed out on the tremendous blessing I received by stepping out in faith and leaving my comfort zone.

What might God be calling you to do that is outside of your comfort zone? How might he want to use you in a situation where you are forced to rely not on your own strength but His?