Thursday, April 27, 2006

Worshipping in PJs

I find it challenging every Sunday to understand the sermon in Spanish. It is difficult to understand a different language when the person is not directly speaking to you or if they say something out of context. The speed, accent, and tone of voice all affect my ability to understand. My favorite part about the worship services here is the singing. It took a bit of time to learn the words, the meaning of the words, and the notes to the song, but now I enjoy it so much! If for some reason I don't know the tune, I am able to simply listen to the words and praise God in this manner. And, of course, it is always cool to have a song to sing that I learned in English first, for example, "Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord".
Because I am not able to worship in my first language weekly, I enjoy having sermons on cd. It is a bit after midnight and I have just finished listening to my pastor preach on Acts 6:1-7. I have a few sermons on cd by some "big name" preachers too, but I always enjoy the ones from FPC for many reasons. Besides the fact that my pastor is an amazing teacher (and singer), and his family have been amazing people to have in my life over the past five years and I feel blessed to know them. Secondly, I enjoy singing the hymns with the congregation, listening to the organ, and actually feeling as though I were sitting in a pew worshipping with those that I love.
In about a month I will no longer be worshipping with my brothers and sisters in my pjs in Mexico but face to face. I know that it is hard to believe that I have been here for a year because time flies by so quickly (and that is why we should live each day to the fullest). During the upcoming summer I will be taking graduate classes to help prepare me for what lies ahead here in teaching. I am excited about the work that l will be a part of here! Next year I will continue to teach third level English at Blas Pascal. Along with teaching, I will help to begin an English institute at night for those who are older, and help to establish purposeful discipleship groups among teachers and students. God has opened so many doors in the last few months and I look forward to seeing where those paths lead. I will miss being here during the months of June and July, but I am looking forward to returning to the states for nourishment of the soul and the schooling.
Please pray for me as I prepare for the summer, the beginning of the English institute in the Fall, the short term groups coming here to work during the summer, and our team as we work with them.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Friday night the young adults from Shalom spent the night in Celestun, which is an hour and thirty minutes away from Merida. Ayve (my roommate) has an uncle who lives there. We packed our bags, grabbed our hammocks, and headed to the beach. You see, Mexicans usually don't bring sleeping bags and sheets with them when they go on a trip. There usually aren't beds in the houses, but there are always hooks for you to hang up a hammock. We spent our daytime on the beach. All of the group was huddled underneath the shade, while I was the gringa trying to get a tan. (They did tease me a bit, but it was all fun!) I really enjoyed getting to know the people of Shalom better and make new friends. One thing that I miss most from the states are my close friendships with women from the church. As my language improves, God is giving me more courage and opportunities to have closer friendships with the women in the church. Recently, a young woman's bible study has begun on Monday nights. We are going to read a book entitled Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets them Free.

This morning I went to my first sunrise service. How amazing it is to begin the day in worship with other believers! I have wanted to attend one before now, but I usually go to my parent's house to be with my family and attend their church. The service began at 6:00 a.m. with a time of praise and worship and ended with a church breakfast. As we were reading from Matthew 28 I felt like I should cheer but refrained so that I would not be considered insane. At this point I realized how we, as Christians, may become more excited about a football game than about the gospel. I don’t know anything about football, and I only went to the games in college to chit chat and socialize. However, when Southern Miss scored, I screamed for our team. I am not saying that we should really yell and scream out all of the time (every now and then, it might be good for us), but we should have that kind of energy for Christ! Christ has risen! (And the crowd goes wild!)

Just a side note: After the worship service, we go outside to eat breakfast as a family. I know what you are thinking. Someone buys the orange juice while someone else brings the doughnuts. Wrong! This is Mexico! We ate homemade tamales (best that I have ever eaten), fresh fruit, fresh squeezed orange juice, and so much more! It was unbelievable! The Mexicans know how to do things right!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jugando Boliche

Dian, me, and Cynthia

Yay! I FINALLY hit a pin!

Alan and Dian

me, Cynthia, Noah, Alan, Dian

Cynthia and me

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Enjoying God More

What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever.

I learned that I am to glorify God with my life at a very early age, but I never understood the true meaning of it until my college years. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). So, as a much younger person, I was thinking that I must be a super good person in order to glorify God. If I do wrong, I would not glorify God whatsoever. In a sense, that is correct, and I still agree with the younger version of myself. However, I accomplished being “good” by going to church, Bible study, EE, and being a good student. People saw these things as being a good Christian, but I lacked heart. I lacked the relationship with God and the enjoyment of God.

While living in Mexico, I have learned the enjoyment of rising in the morning (although some mornings are tougher than others). This is the time with God that comes undisturbed by schedule and occurrences. So many times I put relationships on the earth over my relationship with God. I assume that it will be equally healthy with or without the time that I spend with Him. This is not true with my friendships, and is not true about my relationship with God.

These things have been my prayers as of late. I pray that I would learn how to TRULY enjoy God and spend time with Him. I don’t want to spend time with Him because I feel that it is my duty as a Christian to do this act, but I want to spend time in the Word and in prayer because it is my utmost desire. And in all of my actions I will be able to glorify God which He is teaching me to do through His word and His other children.