Juan

On February 20, Juan turned 14 years old. When I first came to the orphanage he was only 12 and a very different boy from the young man I know today.

When I first came to Bachiniva, he was very shy at first, very quick to get upset and frequently shut down. It was hard for me to form a friendship with him at first, because he always had such a bad attitude with me. In the culture of the Tarahumara Indians, there is no respect given to women. And we’ve seen that first hand here at the orphanage. Juan was one of the first kids that always got under my skin, talked rudely to me, and the one I had to pray for…a lot, to make sure my heart was in the right place when I talked to him. Which, to be honest, there were many moments I acted in my flesh.

As my time at the orphanage continued and I stayed and became a part of the children’s lives the Lord showed me that the main reason Juan and I started our friendship so rocky was because he was on the defense. He was trying to protect himself. Trying to be prepared for the worst.

Out of all the kids at the orphanage, Juan and one other boy are true orphans. Wards of the state. He was left at an orphanage and kept getting passed around to a few others, ones that were so cruel and rough, before he ended up here with us. As I got to understand Juan more, who he was as a person and young man trying to learn what it meant to be a man, I saw such sweet moments and many hard ones.

Juan is the second oldest boy at the orphanage, the third oldest of all the kids. Because he was left at a young age and passed around to many orphanages, when he first came to Casa de Bendicion, he didn’t know how to read or write. He can be very quick to get angry, quickly shut down and have a bad attitude. As time has gone on, he has opened up immensely.

He is slowly but VERY surely, learning how to read and write. I have the privilege of tutoring him Monday and Tuesday mornings. He also has special evening classes that another worker takes him to every Monday evening. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. He will GLADLY work outside with the guys doing construction, cut wood, help clean inside the house, cut grass or anything else that needs work. Juan is there, ready for a job. He’s also been really into learning how to cook. The past few times I’ve been in the kitchen cooking, he wants to help chop, stir and serve because as he says, “I need to learn how to cook for when I’m an old man”. He is a great soccer player. For many of you who have come down on trips, a lot of you know he’s got the moves! He has learned how to make coffee and likes to drink it black with the adults…”like the cowboys”. Juan is pretty good with numbers, so a lot of days we play UNO and the card game Speed. Over the past year and a half, I’ve been blessed with seeing the Lord work mightily in Juan’s life. His love for the Lord has grown, his desire to go to church and youth group is so present. During our tutor times in the mornings, he always wants to practice reading in his Bible rather than another book. He loves to pray, sing worship songs and learn more about the Savior of the world.

As I write this in the dining room, Juan is enjoying some guy time watching Basketball. Every time I see him, talk to him or watch as he grows as a young man, I’m always in awe of how the Lord works in all of the kids’ lives and how he has a plan for each and everyone of them.

As you all pray for the kids down here, please be in prayer for their growth in the orphanage. That us staff can minister to them and show them how to be strong men and women of God. Pray for Juan that he would continue to dedicate time to his tutoring and learning to read and write as that is VERY important for him to learn. Ask the Lord to guard his heart, soul, mind and life from the snares of sin and temptation and that he would hungrily come to the Lord daily and his desire for the Lord would grow.

 

P.S. Juan is very difficult to take pictures of because as soon as he realizes there’s a camera, he’s gone…

 

Gladis 

Gladis, Gladucha, Gladiola, Retaco, Gladuchan, Conejita and Shorty are just a few of the names we have for our youngest here at the orphanage.

She first came to us in September 2015 as a 3 year old, with her brother, Angel, and their cousin, Idaly. She was the youngest of our 16 kids then & our chubbiest. When she sat at the  dinner table, her head barely went over the table. She mostly vacuumed her food up from the plate. Gladis is such a sweetheart. She loves to laugh, hug and cuddle. She loves to pray with the big girls, sing alabanza (worship), likes to wash dishes with Lupe, her favorite cartoons are Mickey Mouse and Peppa Pig. She knows all of her letters and the sounds they make and how to count to 100 with help on the multiples of 10 (I was just told this at a school meeting on Friday!)

Gladis used to always want to be carried. Everywhere. She wanted to be in someone’s arms, held tightly and snuggled. It’s still the same today. Gladis loves to help, loved to boss others around and likes to think she’s one of the big girls. Which at times can get her into trouble. Gladis is the only one in Kindergarten this year which means I am blessed to spend a lot of one on one time with her.

In the morning around 7:30, I wake Gladis and get her ready for school. We usually get a good hour to ourselves. We eat breakfast together, laugh a little, talk a bit and hang out. I drop her off at kindergarten around 8:50. During our car rides, I’ve started memorixing scripture with her. With an app I have, we get a new verse every week and she’s been doing very well! I then pick her up from school at 12:40 and bring her home with Luis a few hours before the rest of the kids get home. Our afternoons differ day to day. We drink hot chocolate, play “Store”, read books, she helps me fold clothes, we just sit and color, sometimes we bake and other times we just do whatever she asks to do.

On February 3rd, we celebrated her 5th birthday. She requested pizza for her dinner and she joyfully helped me bake chocolate chip cookies for snack. Gladis loves to be in the kitchen, licking the spatulas, bringing out the ingredients, mixing the dough and placing them on the cookie sheets. For her party on Saturday, it was Peppa Pig themed. We watched a Peppa Pig episode, colored, had balloon animals made, sang “Happy Birthday”, ate cake then went out for PIZZA!

When Gladis first came to the orphanage, she had a very difficult time sleeping through the night. It was my first plunge into “motherhood”. Waking up every night, along with some other staff members, to soothe her, pray over her and calm her down as she would wake up screaming and crying in the middle of the night. We went months trying to figure out how to calm her. We made her take naps after she got home from school, we played music throughout the night in her room, we’d pray for her every night before bed, we’d sleep on the floor in the girls’ room, we’d let her cry it out and we’d give her as much love and comfort she needed. It was hard. Whoever was up with her in the night would be so tired the next day and then we’d all try to find ways to get her sleeping all night. Saturday night, she woke up crying for the first time in a very long time. I think what may have happened is she woke up coughing a bunch and she popped her ear badly and then she was having ear infection-like pains. All night. Every 45 minutes – 1 hour, she would wake up screaming and crying because of the pain in her ear. I brought her a hot washcloth, prayed over her, held her, looked up home remedies (apparently peppermint essential oil works well) so I got out my bottle and slathered that oil all around her ear. It seemed to help a lot! Praise God! Now, she’s out and about, playing and laughing as per usual.

Spiritually, Gladis is not saved. As she has been growing up in the church, with us here at the orpahanage, she knows a lot about the Lord, Bible stories, she knows a lot of answers to the Sunday School questions in her class. Gladis loves to sing (and LOUDLY) praises and loves to memorize scripture. With all of this, I’m praying, with the rest of the staff, that her heart be softened to the Lord, and that she would understand her desperate need for Christ. I am hopeful, as I trust in the Lord and His word, that seeds are being planted and that none of His word will return to Him void. He is the sovereign Lord over her life. He has entrusted myself along with 8 other individuals, to carry out the gospel into her life. To pray for her soul, read the word to her and tell Gladis of the beauty that was accomplished on the cross by Jesus Christ.

As you all pray for these kids and pray for their time here with us at the orphanage, pray for the souls. For the hearts to come to the know the Truth, to understand the Lord’s amazing love for them. Please, also pray for myself and the rest of the staff. That we would do a good job, with the guidance of Christ, to lead them to the Lord, to share with them the Gospel and not take any moment for granted as we minister to these children.

Walking Worthy

Ice cold mornings, frozen water pipes, lots of hot chocolate, tea & coffee, bible reading, laundry washing, sweeping, mopping, cooking, answering the same question 20 times, coughs & runny noses, exercise, laughing, many naps, bumpy roads, book reading, podcast listening, bible verse memorization, dance parties, bible story time, prayer & worship and goodnight kisses & hugs is just a little bit of what this past month has been about.

Starting 2017 has been amazing so far! Coming back to Mexico after my break in the States has been so fun & filled with such love, but also some sadness.

If any of you are following the orphanage blog (https://www.thehouseofblessing.org/), many of you are aware that our little Teresa is no longer with us for the time being. Her father came and picked her up a little after Christmas and has not returned her to the orphanage. After weeks of trying to get a hold of a family member of Teresa’s, the co-director for the orphanage went up to the mountains a couple weekends ago and talked to one of her uncles. We then found out that she is believed to be in the state of Sinaloa, which is South of our state of Chihuahua. There’s been some talk about Teresa coming back to the orphanage in February. However, until she does come back, we trust in the Lord and His faithfulness in doing His work in her life.

As we wait for the Lord to bring her back we trust in His word and pray…

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9.10)

The past couple of days, I’ve been battling a little stomach bug. I think it’s a 24-hour sickness, but today I’m just really weak and exhausted. I haven’t gotten this sick since sophomore year and throwing up is, I think, one of the worst things! Yuck! Please keep my health in prayer as I try to recover and get ready for my call time at 5:00am tomorrow morning! Here in the orphanage, there are many kids with awful coughs and runny noses. As its been so cold here, recovery from these colds has taken a while. Please pray the Lord would heal these kids and to not have any germs passed around (as that is mostly what happens with 20 people living in the same house).

Every last Friday of the month, the kids in town get the day off of school. So, in January, we opened the doors to the church for about 4 hours and had a mini VBS. The theme that was “The Prodigal Son”. It was such a sweet time for me to see all of these kids singing worship songs, memorizing the bible verse, making artwork and playing fun games, all while learning of the Father’s love for each of us. All the kids loved out fun balloon games and our pig game with no laughing allowed. We ended the day with a sweet time of worship and of course, FOOD!

Over the past two months, the Lord has been working on my heart a lot in regards to “walking worthy…” (Colossians 1.10). As I’ve been reading through His word everyday and seeking how to best walk worthy of the calling He has called me to, Mark 13 verse 10, which reads: “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” In meditating over that verse and understanding the severity of needing to preach the gospel, I’m learning what it means to walk worthy of my calling. My calling to preach the gospel to all nations. Within that calling, the Lord has brought me down here to Mexico to preach the gospel to these beautiful children. Through washing their clothes, cooking their meals, cleaning, tutoring, driving them to school, putting them to bed, playing play-dough with them, playing HORSE outside, laughing with them, taking care of the runny noses and coughs, I am to be preaching the gospel. As I serve them, with love, care and grace (though at times I do not do any of those things…praise God for new mercies!), my prayer as with the rest of the staff, is to show every single kid the true love of Jesus and His forgiveness.

I pray that as we each get up every day, wherever we are, whatever we need to check off our to-do lists, may we walk worthy of the Lord’s calling on our lives. As we wash clothes, make dinner, give out medicine, read the Word, scrub toilets, hug a child, help with homework, pray for a friend, watch t.v., read a book, eat or drink, let us do it heartily to the Lord and not to men, giving thanks to God and glorifying Him.

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward…

Another year has flown by and yet again, 2016 is one for the books. 

This year, I packed my bags and said “Goodbye, Washington…Hello, México!” I learned how to braid 9 girls’ hair in 30 minutes, cook sufficiently for 30+ people, give a bible study completely in Spanish and teach in the Children’s Ministry using Spanish. I’ve learned how to live without electricity and water, I’ve made some of the best friends I could ask for who have become my family. I’m learning how to rest in the Lord, how to be fully satisfied in Him and I’m learning what it means to live out the bible verse “whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, NKJV). I’m trying to understand football and all that involves being a Seahawks fan.  I’m learning how to be a teacher, sister, friend, mother, caregiver, launderer, chauffeur, and more, all with the grace and love of my Savior. 

I think one of the biggest things I learned this year was community. A word I’ve been learning for a few years now, but one that didn’t fully come into play until this year. When I officially moved down to Mexico in April 2016, so many of you rallied around me, prayed for me, encouraged me, supported me financially and truly asking me how I was doing and how the children were doing in the orphanage. Many of you came down on missions trips, bringing with you encouragement, supplies for the children and staff, the English language (haha!), snacks that can only be found in the U.S., books, and more financial support and good conversation filled with the Lord that can sometimes be hard to come by. This year was the first year the Lord truly blew me away by His care for me, the staff and kids. He sweetly reminded me that we aren’t alone and have a beautiful team of sisters and brothers in Christ rallying around us. 

I already know 2017 is going to be the best year yet! After talking with many of you this past year, I trust that the Lord is going to do amazing works in all of us. The Lord brought this verse to mind,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV

For this coming year, I am asking in faith that you all pray and seek the Lord in partnering with me in doing the Lord’s work in México. Whether it be support through finances or in prayer, I am asking you all to help me in bringing the gospel to the town of Bachiniva, but more so to the 19 children God has graciously placed within our care. 

Here are some ways that you can support me financially and spiritually:

1. A big need for me this coming year is raising funds to cover living expenses. As of now, my funds for Room & Board are completely funded, praise the Lord! Although my room and board is covered, I still need funds for health insurance, my phone bill, toiletry items, extra food I buy for myself, saving for my trips to El Paso every 6 months and furlough every year, going out with some friends and other things that come up throughout the year. Please pray for God’s provision. If you desire to support me financially, please visit http://thechapel.church/donate to Angelica Murillo.

2. We need much prayer for God to give the House of Blessing wisdom in how to better care for and minister to the children.

Many of them have no prior education experience when they enter the Casa and are very far behind. I’ve been learning and researching a lot of ways to teach children who have suffered trauma, have learning disabilities and sensory issues. If any of you have resources regarding teaching young children or on sensory and learning disabilities, please send them our way! Resources may come in the form of books, articles, manipulative tools or anything you come across.

3. Prayer for me as I return back home to Bachiniva on Friday. During this wonderful month on furlough, the Lord has richly blessed me in conversations with you all over coffee, meals and laughs. This month, I’ve been praying for specific ways to personally minister and bless the kids as the new year starts. Right now, I’m the only adult female on the girls side, so there are many opportunities the Lord is opening up to be more personal with the niñas. I’ve been looking into a lot of bible reading plans for girls of different ages, ways to daily speak of Christ in everyday situations and how to best be an example. Please pray that I take advantage of opportunities and that Christ would be glorified. 

Thank you all so much for your prayers and dedication to this work. Here are some pictures I’ve saved from the last year…Disfruta!! (Enjoy!)
P.S. Please subscribe to my blog by entering in your email & confirming so that you get automatic updates when I post a new blog and to have fast, easy access on ways to join me and the House of Blessing for 2017!

Winter Update

Today, I’ve been visiting the states for 13 days, with 17 more to go! Since I’ve been back, visiting family and friends, I can’t help but think of the kids and family I left back in Mexico. I’m constantly checking the time, to see what they’re doing, whether it be homework, dinner, wake-up or bedtime. I’m thinking of the past year since I last spent Christmas down there and praying they are safe and enjoying these days the Lord has given us.

I just read my Christmas Eve post from last year, since you know, I’m a reminiscer, and I got a little teary. Remembering when I spent my first Christmas away from my mom and family and spending it with lots of little ones and truly experiencing the Christmas season in a very new light.

This year, I’ve been very happy to be back visiting my family. Catching up on the latest, seeing movies with my mom, binge watching Hallmark, napping, eating and laughing have been such balm to my soul. Friday night, my siblings left my mom and me to watch “Rogue One”, so my mom and I had a sweet evening to ourselves, watching a WWII movie in the theatre, eating hamburgers and talking until we fell asleep on the couch. At the movies, there was a scene in bootcamp when the Sergeant was inspecting his men and the scene was so funny my mom and I were crying/laughing in the theatre. We couldn’t keep it together! We’d calm down, then one of us would make a little chuckle and we’d start all over again, laughing so hard tears streammed down our faces! Good thing it was just us two and another gentleman in there or we probably would’ve been shushed or kicked out. HA!

Since arriving back in Washington, the Lord has so kindly given me lots of times of getting together with friends and family, but also times of staying home, reading ad napping. I’ve been able to enjoy some very cold weather including snow and rain! Watching lots of Christmas movies nd just resting. There’s a lot of rest going on. Which has been so good. With much time to read the word, be in prayer and get ready for the next year. My time with the Lord has grown and the Lord has been showing me amazing things in His word about walking worthy of His calling in my life and how to live fully pleasing Him. It’s a little odd being here in Washington and not have a lot going on. During the day I’m pretty free and able to do whatever, which is a luxury I haven’t had in a long while. It took me a couple days of doing nothing to get used to doing nothing, hahah! It’s been nice to not have to wash laundry every day and clean toilets. Yet, the Lord has allowed me to serve in other capacities here. I’ve been able to help clean some houses of my family members, cook and just enjoy life a bit at a slower pace.

This week I have quite a few meetings to go to and dinner invites, taking time to talk with families about what’s going on down in Mexico and my hopes for the future at the orphanage. I have an Elders meeting this week; a time of prayer, discussing how I’m doing down in Mexico and some things I’d like to see occur when I go back down. I am so very excited to see the Lord move and work in these times with brothers and sisters in the Lord. To prepare for the coming year for some exciting things taking place at the orphanage and what is to come. I will be sharing some of the new plans in my next blog post, the last one of the year and will also share of some ways you can all join with me in support!

Please be in prayer for the next week as I prepare for meetings. Pray for the Lord to speak to me and through me clearly, to prepare me mentally, physically and emotionally for my trip back to Mexico in a couple of weeks. And to enjoy my time here in Washington.

I hope you are all having a marvelous December and enjoying the Christmas season with the ones you love. I will write very soon!

Isaiah 32:18

The girls decorating my room with love & homemade Christmas decor!

This week, I celebrated my second Thanksgiving down here in Mexico. The day started off a little iffy, as I was trying to get over a cold, but the Lord blessed be immensely. I was able to spend my day off sleeping in, I got to take my time reading and studying the Word (it seems like my time with the Lord has been a little rushed these past couple of weeks), I got in a few more episodes of Gilmore Girls, some extra reading done, talked to my family and a very dear family friend, went over to the Vargas’s, ate a bunch of food, talked, laughed and came back to the orphanage for an amazing dinner! We had TONS of food, TONS of people (close to 40 personas) and TONS of laughs, great conversations and food overload.

Celebrating down here in Mexico was a little different since there are absolutely no signs of the upcoming holidays. Zero. The only signs of festivity were from Sunday the 20th, celebrating Dia de Revolucion de Mexico! There aren’t any commercials, sales or signs advertising Thanksgiving, Christmas or the amazing sales. However, that of course has not stopped me from getting into the holiday mood! I’ve secretly been playing Christmas music since November 1, but yesterday as I made breakfast, I gladly blasted some Josh Groban, and the rest of the kids and I quickly got into the Christmas spirit! The tree has been set up and decorated, a “Feliz Navidad” sign has been hung, Christmas colored pages have been colored, cookies baked and Christmas movies have been played! Last night the girls and I watched the Santa Claus and thus began our first day of Christmas festivities!

This morning started with Christmas music, of course, and all the kids playing outside, coloring, cleaning of rooms, dishes being washed, tattling being told, cleaning the church, eating Thanksgiving leftovers, breathing in smoke as the Mennonites begin burning their corn fields, and just simply relaxing and enjoying the beautiful day the Lord has made.

As I write this at the dining table with all the girls coloring around me, my heart does a little stutter as I think of only having another Saturday left before I head back to Washington for my furlough in December! In almost a weeks time, I’ll be flying into Seattle to spend Christmas and New Years with my friends and family! I have been very excited for this trip and cannot wait to see everyone. But, as life changes, I have come to realize that I’m not exactly going home, nor am I flying back to stay. But to visit. Which, of course is a great thing, but also a little shocking to realize that my trips back to Washington are now only to visit, not to stay.

Talking with one of my youth pastors a couple of weeks ago, I was sharing with him how when I talk about Washington, that I no longer call it home. I call Bachiniva home. As I was talking with him, I realized that this change wasn’t hard to make. It was a little sad, but not really difficult. I thought about why I had such an easy time making the change, especially when I know some don’t call a new place home after a long time, and the Lord just reminded me that Bachiniva is where He has called me. He has called for Bachiniva to be my home. A place for me to go every night to sleep, live, eat, breathe and grow. To serve Him diligently and sacrificially. To be a part of the amazing work my Lord and Savior is accomplishing here with 18 beautiful children. A place where there is always some sort of screaming, havoc being wreaked, a song being sung (usually VERY off-key), pictures being drawn, stories being told, math, reading, writing and science homework being completed and huge amounts of food being consumed. This is my home. A little different from the usual household, but my home nonetheless.

Over the past couple weeks as I continued to think about this, I thought on the concept of home. A place of security, love, safety, warmth and growth. As I thought more of my home down here in Bachiniva and who I share it with, I began to question and evaluate if the kids here feel safe, secure, loved, and if they’re growing. How much of the Lord am I showing them and if they’re flourishing as children should. I took it to the Lord one morning after a few days of anxious worry and as I was praying, the Lord ever so gently that He is moving. He is working in their lives, He is planting seeds, He is ministering to their souls. I, am just a servant of His. Someone He has graciously blessed to be a part of their lives. To live and raise these beautiful children and teach them about His love. And even in the midst of my shortcomings, sin and mess-ups, He covers me. He covers the needs for His children and continues to guide me as I walk through this wild ride of living and serving at an orphanage.

Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting place… //Isaiah 32:18//

Lord, Have Your Way In Me

Lonely:

1. affected with or characterized by a depressing feeling or being alone

2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship or support

3. remote from places of human habitation; desolate

Loneliness. A weird thing to talk about, especially in the lives of Christians, I think. But, we’ve gotta face the facts. We’ve all been lonely, some of us may have just gotten out of a season of loneliness or are walking through it right now.

Personally, I think I’ve just barely come out of my season of loneliness. Towards the end of August up until about the middle of October, the Lord led me through the wilderness. The wilderness of loneliness. At first I was very shocked to be feeling so alone and feeling like there was a dark cloud hanging over me. One, because I think this was the first time I ever walked such a destitute path, but also because I live in house with almost 30 people! How can I feel “alone” or “remote from places of human habitation”?

Feeling lonely, was a bit weird for me, especially when I’m a very loud and social person. I thrive on long, deep conversations, sitting around drinking cups of coffee, laughing and sharing life. Yet, the Lord stripped all that way for about 2 months. Man, was that hard! Don’t get me wrong, I was still very much social and talking to people, sharing coffee and laughing, but it felt like there was a disconnect. Something that the Lord was doing within me while I was feeling separated from others.

No one likes feeling lonely. No one. Some may like being ALONE (which I even sometimes like) but no one likes being LONELY. As I read through His word and prayed and cried and asked why I was in this season and why I felt alone from people, the Lord ministered to my heart like never before.

Firstly, loneliness is something very biblical. Jesus was alone and I would assume lonely. To start, He was perfect. A sinless Person living in a sinful world. No one was able to understand Him fully because of his perfection. He morally stood out and was separated by His life free of sin. He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. Jesus, being alone, tempted with every sin…that sounds lonely. I know in my moments of weakness, sin and temptation, life seems pretty dismal. He went alone to pray many times. Then, when He brought the disciples with Him to pray, they fell asleep. So there Jesus was, alone at night, while His friends slept and He prayed. Alone, He was mocked, scorned, whipped, spit upon and hit. He was alone as He went to the cross. As nails were ripping into His flesh. And He was alone as the sin of the world was upon His shoulders and the Father turned His back towards the Son.

Second, loneliness is something every Christian has faced, is facing or will face. Generally speaking, we do not “fit-in” according to the world’s standards and we shouldn’t “fit-in” according to the Lord’s standards. And when a Christian doesn’t feel like they fit-in with non-believing friends and family, those can be the times loneliness sets in. We can start to feel alone and like no one understands. Even among Christian friends and family, there can be seasons of apartness, no matter how close you are. When we go through different season than other people and don’t have a lot to relate to for a time, there too can be loneliness.

Yet, as I walked the past 2 months alone, I wasn’t, not really. Because there the Lord was. Right beside me, guiding me through the thickets and helping me step over the thick vines and fallen branches. While in this alone time with the Lord, a dear friend gave me a book by Elisabeth Elliot, called “The Path of Loneliness”. This book was such a Godsend and balm to my soul. Elliot talks of loneliness as a blessing from the Lord. As I was walking through this wilderness, I had cried so many times for the Lord to change this season. To have me go through something other than loneliness. To take away this pain of feeling left. Yet, He didn’t. He kept on walking me through it all. And for a long time, I couldn’t understand why. I kept praying and reading His word and reading this book by Elisabeth Elliot, and the Lord so sweetly used it to minister to my lonely heart. I remember very clearly, the day I made my prayer specifically about the Lord taking me out of the unrest, and later that day I read…

There are many things that God does not fix precisely because He loves us. Instead of extracting us from the problem, He calls us…Our loneliness cannot always be fixed, but it can always be accepted as the very will of God for now, and that turns it into something beautiful.

After reading that little passage, the message from the Lord was so clear. This was His will. He would not extract me from this, but continue calling me to loneliness until His will for me was completed. As I took it all day by day, I was able to notice the Lord use this lonely season to transform me more into His image, to show me my sin, to reveal His love for me and His perfect plan, a plan that included difficulties, but a plan that was better than what I wanted or prayed for. At times, the days felt long, grey and lonely. But looking back, going through that season of loneliness was necessary. And very good for my soul. It was painful but needed. Needed to move forward, needed to grow in my relationship with the Lord and needed to be used to minister and encourage those around me who are going through the same thing.

If you’re walking through this season of loneliness. You feel left, unheard, you’re waiting, it seems as if each day gets harder and harder…keep walking. Keep stepping forward, pushing your way through. Read the word of God, pray earnestly, serve selflessly, cry without holding back, write your heart’s desire, share your pain with those you can trust and give sound, biblical advice. Lastly, let God work. Let Him lead you through this season. Allow God to reveal Himself to you, to clean you, purify and change you. This is His plan, His will for you life.

“Lord, have your way in me.”

 

Love for all the Saints

Driving home from church, after group devotions with the missions team from my home church in Washington, things are going better than the night before. The truck is functioning to the best of its ability, it’s not DUMPING rain like Monday night, and the thunder and lightening have been put to a temporary rest.

I make it all the way through town, only hitting a couple of potholes. I slow down, turn onto the main road to head down to the orphanage and that’s when I sense something a little unusual.
The road is no longer a road, but a giant lagoon. Massive. The river on the side of the road has completely flooded over and has now flooded the road on which I need to drive. So me being me and not wanting to give up a challenge, I drive.

I drive ever so carefully through the water in a little red pickup truck. Through it all I’m repeatedly saying, “Oh, God help me get through this water.” I make it through the water and just begin to hit some land when I hear it…the sound of tire against mud. And I know I’m stuck. I sit for a couple minutes thinking through my options.
1) try to get my self unstuck

2) call Jason

3) sleep it out in the truck and wait until morning

4) ditch the truck and walk home

I try #1, no luck there. I sit some more and decide #2 is my best option. He says he’ll be out soon and come pick me up. I sit waiting in the truck, watching for the lights of the van to start coming towards me.

All is going well. I see Jason walk through the gate, start the van and head over towards me. Then I see the van stop. And stay. The van reverses, drives, stops and stays. I take about 10 breathes when Jason calls…

“the van is stuck, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I can’t drive to you. Let me see if I can walk to the truck.”

Jason tries walking while on the phone with me and I hear him say,

“Angelica, there is absolutely no way I can get to you. The road up here is completely flooded, it’s deep and there’s a current.”

And that’s when I start to cry.

The truck is stuck, the van is stuck, Jason can’t walk to me. I can’t walk to Jason. So plan C is explained to me while I cry. Nieves and Luis Vargas are called, they’ll come to pick me up and I’ll crash at their place until morning. Ok. Ok. Good plan.

While waiting for the Vargas’s, I walk out of the truck to measure the water and see if I’m able to walk back to the main highway. Nope. The water by me also has a little current and reaches my calf at the third step. Ok. I’ll just stay put.

I wait. I cry.

Nieves and Luis pull up, I get inside their truck and watch as they pull “my” truck out. Job well done! We call Jason and decide to move ahead to try to unstuck the van. We drive forward and find ourselves in a GIGANTOR lake. There’s a current, deep potholes and it’s pitch black. We drive and arrive at the van. Again, I sit inside the van and watch as the guys pull out the van. Second job well done! We move along until we reach the gate to enter into the orphanage. I exit the truck, give hugs and many a “Thanks” to Jason, Nieves and Luis.

As I walk into the house, I’m exhausted, ready to cry at any moment, cold, and in shock. I talk with Jason and Jackie a bit more. Share my nighttime story and a few tears with Amanda and think about what I studied tonight at church with the missions team:

“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;” Colossians 1:3-4

Paul heard of the faith of the Colossians and the love they had for all the saints. What’s the love Paul hears of?  Sacrificial love. A love that allows you to be giving of yourself for others anytime, anyplace. No matter what. Whether someone needs a cup of sugar, a moment to pray with someone or help getting their truck unstuck at 11pm.

Although tonight was a little scary and exhausting, I know the Lord used this experience to help me understand Him better and to make a connection between what I read and how the saints of Jesus are to live their life…sacrificially.

Thank you again to Jason, Jackie, Nieves and Luis. I’m so very thankful for the love you all showed me tonight.

This is the body of Christ. This is the church.

To the End of Summer

Monday is the end of a season and the start of a new season. You’ve all probably heard of it…the season of school. Today marks the last Saturday before the school year starts. We’re all pretty excited for school to begin, even the kids. Although, no one is excited about the long hours of homework and projects.

When the school year ended, most all of the kids left to visit family for vacation. It was all pretty calm and quite. To start, I was able to take a nap on the couch in the comedor and not be interrupted, I started reading a new book and had the chance to breathe without preparing myself for a marathon. I’m sure the people who don’t work at an orphanage are thinking, “how nice! You get a bit of a break during summer!” which is true. I did get a break, yet it was a little boring without 20 kids yelling and running around. It was strange to wake up and not have to brush 10 girl’s hair or not have to sweep and mop every day because there wasn’t much mess. But for the kids and staff who did stay, I think we had quite a memorable summer.

Our summer included…

Trips to the pool, trips to the movies, VBS in 3 different towns for 3 different weeks, painting projects, organizing projects, dessert making, late nights, movie nights, strawberry picking, card games, a Christmas party (I KNOW! Christmas in August!), thunderstorms, electricity going out, an outreach in town, a cute play that was put together, worship nights, summer time talks and laughs, sweet times reading God’s word in the crisp mornings, drinking pumpkin spice coffee (I KNOW! Its not even September yet!) learning how to make homemade hummus (it was good, Jess!) lots of pizza eating, ice cream eating, dance parties, chats with family and friends and overall enjoying the days the Lord has given me to glorify Him and enjoy.

As I look back at summer 2016, I’m so thankful for the amazing time it’s been. This summer was one of me growing closer to the Lord, my family and my friends. A time where memories were made and hearts were changed. The past few months, God has been showing me more and more what it means to “do all to the glory of God.” (Colossians 3:17) From the moment I wake up to the moment my head hits the pillow, am I glorifying the Lord? In asking myself this question I’ve taken a closer look at my life, my actions, my words, my thoughts and my time. In having some reevaluation time with the Lord, He has so richly spoken into my life and guided me closer to Himself. While reading through the Bible, He has given me quite a few verses that have spoken to my heart so deeply, encouraged me and have given me hope. Here are a few:

1 Corinthians 15:58

1 Corinthians 16:13&14

Romans 13:11-14

Romans 8:5&6

Proverbs 18:9

Romans 6:12-14

These verses all have an overarching theme of being diligent and purposeful in our work for the Lord and the way we live our lives. To be steadfast, immovable, to put on the armor of light, walk properly, set our minds on the Spirit, to do all in love and to know that the work of the Lord is not done in vain. Meditating on these verses have really shaped me in becoming more aware of the work I’m doing down here in Mexico, and to really be living for the Lord Jesus Christ and not for myself. I’ve been learning to be more aware of what the Lord is doing throughout the day and how I can be more involved in His beautiful work.

About 2 weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to head to the pueblo of Naqueachi to help with a VBS. Its a little town about 4 hours away from Bachiniva. And yes, the roads up the mountain are definitely NOT roads. Naqueachi, I think, is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Ever. The trees and grass were SO green, it was pretty grey, cloudy and wet, but that was a-ok with me because it felt just like Washington. We stopped alongside the roads to take pictures of little streams, wild mushrooms, waterfalls, flowers and gorgeous scenery. For VBS this year, it was a submerged theme. An underwater theme about submerging into the word and the work of the Lord. We made lunch for all the kids and adults that came everyday. We sang worship songs, taught the kids about the love of Jesus, made art projects, put on a little play (I was the part of the “Sombra” or “the Shadow”) I was able to see where most native Indians are from when they talk of the mountains, I made sweet little friends and had a blessed, heart moving trip. Driving back home from Naqueachi, I was so overwhelmed at all I had seen and been a part of those 3 days. My life was changed. My heart broke for the kids who lived in terrible living conditions. Whose shoes were nothing but little sandals. Who didn’t know how to read because they couldn’t go to school. I was sad for the people who were working in the rain with nothing but sandals, a t-shirt and pants. For the people who didn’t know the love of the Lord. Who were lost, without any hope. Yet, I was blessed and left happy. Happy for the kids who could enjoy a good meal with us. Happy for the kids and adults who heard of the Savior of the World to Whom they can turn to for forgiveness. I was happy to be able to visit some homes of the kids, eat lunch with them, to hear them laugh and sing songs. To enjoy being a kid for a brief moment and not worry about where they’d have to go for food or to look for wood so they can be warm at night. But I’m happiest knowing and trusting that the stories and the messages they were taught and the verses they memorized have a purpose and that the Lord’s word will not return to Him void. Praise the Lord!

As the summer draws to a close and school is just 48 hours away, yikes! We’ve added quite a few more children to the Casa. This summer we’ve welcomed 4 new kids and now have a whopping total of 18 kids! It’s been so exciting to see the Lord work things out and be faithful in bringing us more kids, providing food, clothing, toiletries and other needs for all of us here at the Casa. Please be in prayer for all of the kids as they settle back into the school routine and for the new kids to adjust well at the Casa. Pray for expenses to continued to be met and for the staff to seek the Lord’s face even more everyday. To have such a great love for the kids and our Lord. For the kids to know the love of Jesus and be saved.

Thank you all for your prayers and your support for all that’s being done down here.