Thursday, April 28, 2011
Easter morning we were up at 5:30 for a sunrise service on top of a hill in Ixtapaluca. We got about 3 hours asleep the night before, (between the new 24 tv series we are addicted to on our laptops and the street party outside our window).
The service was wonderful. Bonfire, Worship, Sermon, Play. The sun came out about the time we started eating tomales and drinking atole, so the volleyball nets and blow up pool came out. We hung out until I couldnt keep my eyes open anymore...which was about 2 or 3 pm I think. At some point the kids turned the pool and hose into a massive water fight against the adults.
I had my first baking class on Monday and ballet class for the ninas on Wednesday. I will continue to teach them weekly for the next month and a half. We made mufins de platano on monday and on Wed. I taught a handful of girls the basic 5 positions of ballet along with tendus and plies. Priceless. Ill try to get some pics up soon...
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The church here meets in a house space, about the size of my dining room growing up. It is the second church plant actually. The first is in a neighboring town. Majority of our community activities meet here as well... you should see it when there are 10 full grown women doing aerobics in there! On Sundays it is overflowing out into the concrete and people listen through the windows. Its beautiful. But cramped, on our little plastic stools.
There are so many needs. Food for the youth nights, rent for a larger church space, paint for our mural (its about 6x3 meters large!), ballet shoes for the little girls... the list goes on. Our little is so much here.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Time is fleeting. I am sure I still do not understand that like mothers who have lost their children or those who are given a window of time to live, but what I understand of it, sometimes it is overwhelming.
Everything in its season...
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
But I do not. Because the sacrifice is complete. The Lord has appeased himself with the scent of his own sweat, the shedding of his own blood. I will not hang him again.
My sacrifices now are from joy, not from sorrow. They are from redemption, not from guilt. I am free from the condemnation of my iniquities, and I have power over iniquity itself. No longer am I heavy with my sin. I can watch it from a distance , and I can kill it with one swing of my sword. I can hate it, but still love myself. I no longer am that person.
Let us talk about that old self like at the dinner table, discussing an old friend turned foul. Let us exchange head shakes and unashamed gossip about the things we once were, but are no more. And let us clank our bottles together in cheer of True life, True love and True hope.
Monday, April 11, 2011
I have been writing local articles from a distance for Examiner.com, keeping a pulse on Minneapolis through news outlets and friends in the community. At first, I thought it something of a conundrum, almost cheating, to sort through my global spiritual experiences and attempt to connect them relevantly to our home, from a hostel in Panama, a classroom in Costa Rica or most recently, the streets of Mexico.
It has been everything but difficult. Dare I say, easy?
I shipped my Kindle home prematurely and have been at the reading mercy of Rod’s book shelf. My most recent pick-up, a textbook by Timothy C. Tennent entitled, Theology in the context of World Christianity, has helped me make sense of why this may be. Yes, a textbook. Tennent discusses (among many other things) the transcendent power of the gospel. He provides extensive historical trends in the church to reveal the continual shifts in geographical locations of church growth and spiritual awakenings.
It seems so simple, right? Of course the gospel is transcendent, of course it penetrates all people groups and cultures, of course it is relevant despite if you dry your clothes in a machine, or hang them on a line. Of course?
I had never realized just how much I took for granted the beauty of this truth, until now. It hits you differently, when you are worshiping across the world and you realize, though the chords are different, that somehow “these people” have discovered the same truths I did, when I was by myself in my college dorm room.
They sing of the weight of sin, but have never heard John Piper preach. They sing of his redeeming, overwhelming grace, but have never read Francis Chan. They boldly proclaim Jesus as the “way, the truth, and the light” but have never heard of Campus Crusade for Christ and gone through evangelism training.
If people in Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama and Mexico get it –powerfully- that we live the gospel, that we stand on its promises with out waiver, that we live now only for an eye’s twinkle and we do it at breath taking (I mean breath taking) selflessness, what does that say about us?
What does it say about our declining belief in the authority of the scriptures and the growing liberality toward sin in our country? We have shelves of books, we are the Western hub for systematic theology and para church mission organizations, we produce more worship songs in a year than most any other country and yet, we are steadily converting Christians that doubt the authority of scripture, see truth as progressive, never share their faith, barely tithe, and are struggling to justify church membership.
What are we? Who are we? Whose are we?
The movement of the Holy Spirit, is real, biblical, felt and bold, no matter where He is. He transcends all ways of life and he teaches. When we remove the personal, insistent seeking of His power in our lives I believe, we are left with the state in which I described above. With waivering and differing core truths, with empty prayer lives, doubtful hearts and far and in between home cooked dinners with our neighbors.
My travels have reinvigorated my heart for the U.S., and for Minneapolis. For once, I do not see North Americans as the gospel tellers, but instead, the gospel needy. Timothy C. Tennent, author of “Theology in the context of World Christianity” says this after research and reflection on the declining state of Western Christianity and the flourishing growth of spiritual revival in places like India, China and Western Africa, “It is thrilling to see those who once were the object of our missionary endeavors now bringing the gospel back to us and reminding us of that which we have largely forgotten.”
The actual article entitled "The transcending gospel" can be found: Here
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
We have been playing with elements, but the main idea is water (to play off the tower) "La vida de agua" or the water of life eternal that Jesus speaks of in the bible. We want to paint a picture of peace, and joy and fulfillment using natural elements of the community. We drove around yesterday (with his wife, son and Matt) taking pictures of trees, rocks, buildings, hills and have been working off meshing them all together.
We have one little problem. The city can only keep the reloj free of graffitti for about 2 days max. It is a hangout spot for the druglords, skaters, whatever... We are going to go ahead, with special prayer that the mural will be SO "Que Padre" or "cool" that the youth will leave it. We shall see... Just maybe, the Lord would allow this one side of the reloj to stay untouched by paint cans, what a testimony that would be...
Sunday, April 3, 2011
We threw our first fiesta this past Saturday night. We had made some rather large purchases on Friday and Matt can only spend so much money before his blood pressure hits dangerous levels... so we opted to serve hot dogs. Not the most sophisticated party we have ever thrown, but it was fun, and we had a decent amount of people for sending the word out the night before on facebook and word of mouth. Chips, LOTS of pop and brownies-n-icecream made up for the excess of simple hot dogs. We borrowed a table, chairs and large speaker from the church down the road... We overflowed through our parking area into the street. Nothing like "Jesus Adrian Romero," "Marcela Gandara" and other Christian contemporary latin artists for party music on a Saturday night. Probably rose a few eyebrows from the neighbors. But, then again, that is the point right? To live, and in the abundance of our joy and convictions we tease those around us to join in.. "taste and see..."
Saturday, April 2, 2011
BEFORE: Living room was all blue, with several holes and chipped paint. Kitchen had some serious grease layers going on.
AFTER: With the help of friends, the walls were washed, edges taped and freshly painted.