Tuesday, September 27, 2011

my prayers

I love prayer.  Sounds so cliche, I know, but it really is amazing.  We can pray, in our heads while walking down the street, out loud over others, together with believers, alone, screaming, crying, rejoicing, writing in a journal, there are no limits and there are no rules to prayer.  It's one of the few things I can think of that you can't do wrong.  No one can tell another person they aren't praying right or that their own method is the right or best way.  What a gift from God that we can choose whatever form we want to simply talk to Him.  The God of the universe who created all things large and small, oversees all things and holds everything together, not only allows me to talk to him, but He listens to me and WANTS me to talk to Him.  If ever you don't feel blessed, just think about that.  

Prayer is also one of the most powerful ways that I have seen the Lord work.  There have been times in my life where I have experienced God so deeply and supernaturally through my prayers and the prayers of others- miracles and signs and wonders.  He is amazing and He lives and breathes in our prayers.  Overwhelms me as I think about it right now.  

It's also one of the best ways to be closer to our Father.  How do you know a friend, if you never talk to them or tell them anything, better yet, listen to them??  Someone told me this as a child and it has stuck with me ever since.  Such a good reminder.  I call the Lord my best friend, but do I treat Him like my "best girlfriends"?  No, I shouldn't treat Him like them in many respects, but do I give Him the time to have daily conversation with Him?  Not just quickly throw my problems or thanks at Him.  Now, that's a way to quickly lose a friend.  But luckily He never leaves, even when I treat him in a way that would make any friend drop you on the curb.  

Prayer not only brings us into communion with the Father, but it can link us and bond us to people in a way that no other experience can.  "The family that prays together, stays together."  I think we've all heard this one before.  I am so grateful for my family, immediate and extended, that has a strong history of praying together and for one another diligently.  I have so many relationships with friends that have been changed by prayer in so many ways.  Relationships that at times, they don't exist to the human eye, but because of prayer, I am forever bonded to this person and their heart.  When someone is grafted on your heart in prayer, they don't ever leave.   For example...

these women.  
Kassie Roland, Jessica Hinson, myself and Laurel Eddleman (also not pictured: Nancy Scott, Elizabeth Ray, Autumn Gardner, Rachel Davis and Lindsay Cannedy)  For nearly five years, we spent every Wednesday night, praying and sharing and leading a cell group to...

these girlies.

Each of these girls has a special place in my heart.  Sometimes you don't even have to pray with someone but just by praying for them your relationship and love for them can grow.  That is the truth with these 20-some, (and almost 20 in age) now college divas.  Even though I can't spend time with them like I used to, I continue to pray for them the same scripture I started praying for them back when I first started leading their cell group.

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.  Colossians 1:9-12


I met beautiful, 13-year-old Andrea Elizabeth in Guadalajara, Mexico in November of 2010.  By God's divine providence, she and I somehow became close enough in a few days that I was given the opportunity to talk about Christ with this sweet girl, who had never heard of Jesus, and help her make her decision to accept Him into her heart.  Every time I see her picture, I get excited because although I may never see her again on this earth, I will see her in Heaven one day.  :)

Sonia Maribel

and Johanna & Ana Maria.

It's amazing how in an orphanage of hundreds of children, three can touch your heart in a special way.  That's what these three girls did when I went to Casa on the Rock in Guatemala two years ago.  I don't know why, but we connected in some way and they have been forever grafted on my heart.  These beautiful girls will be on my prayer list for the rest of my life.

The little girl who held my hand.  

I don't even know her name.  She's the shorter one of these two orphan girls living with many others at a place called Home of Hope in Thailand.  One day, we took the kids to the park to play games (at least you can run around if you can't talk...Thai?  That's a serious language barrier!)  While walking home, I held hands with this little one.  I couldn't talk to her (which was killing me!)  so instead I prayed for her.  And as I prayed for her, I felt the Lord speak to me in a voice that was maybe the loudest and clearest I have ever heard Him in my life.  He told me, I am this child.  Whatever you do for her, you do for me.  Love her even though you don't know her.  I am here!  Wow!  What a moment and what a little girl!  I know God has great plans for her life.  He rescued her and used her to speak to me when I needed to hear his voice.  I always thank God for her and pray for her life.

I hope that you have been blessed with people in your life that have been grafted onto not only your eternal prayer list but onto your heart as well.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do you Zumba?

In case you don't know...I'm kind of obsessed with a little thing called ZUMBA!  If you're like me and you love to dance, have fun and move around to fast paced music (also dislike running, yoga & other slow paced exercise and getting your "meathead" on with the weights) then you would love zumba.  So what is it?

Zumba: (zoom-bah)  According to wikipedia, Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements.  The choreography incorporates hip-hop, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts and some Bollywood and belly dance moves.  Squats and lunges are also included."  I love how they added this extra little tag line.  Don't we all love lunges and squats.  Oh but they're so good for you!!

My friends, Kat, Nolan and I have been going to Zumba at the Lowell World Gym pretty regularly for a while now.  I think it's safe to say we have an obsession.  "If you do zumba dances in public, at a party, concert or club - you might be a zumba fanatic."  Since leaving home, I have been having severe withdrawals from my favorite heart-pumping exercise - until last night!  I am now in the land of Zumba on every corner.  Literally every corner.  And it's not just in gyms or athletic clubs- there are places that specifically have Zumba classes.  I love it!  So, when a new gym just opened up on the corner of our street that we live on, we had to go check it out.  I suckered Ana Luisa, the 14 year old daughter of the family I live with, into going with me.  At the start of the class, it seemed we were going to have our own private class with our rambunctious, loud, short but strong and very energetic teacher.  Lucky for us, two more women showed up and completed our class of 4 students to 1 teacher.  Although some of my familiar surroundings from our classes at the World Gym were lacking {coin-shakey-skirts, 1,000 people, my favorite teacher ever, and my friend Jose}  the moves and music were so much the same!  What a relief.

Sorry to say we won't be returning to this gym again...the first class was free but unless you join their gym, it's 40 pesos/class (around $3.50).  Next time we are going to try out another nearby "Zumba-only" place.  It's only 15 pesos a class- only a little more than a dollar!  Crazy!

So, I faced my fears and "zumba'ed" in Mexico!  I even lured in another possible fanatic.  Nothing like a little zumba class to make me feel right at home!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Breakfast...or desayuno for you Spanish quite possibly one of my favorite meals.  What's better than eggs, bacon, waffles, fruit, yogurt, etc, etc?  Quesadillas, bread toasted with cheese or beans or BOTH, and many other fine Mexican breakfast delicacies.  This past summer, my breakfast nearly every day consisted of eggs and fruit or Greek yogurt and fruit.  Oh how I miss my greek yogurt.  Despite the fact that there are at least 7 cases of yogurt at each Wal-Mart, Bodega, Superama or any other grocery store, there is no greek yogurt.  However, if you like those yogurt smoothie drinks- you are in luck here.  Too bad I don't.

But I have found a new favorite.  Probably not nearly as healthy but it sure is good...eggs & corn flakes!  That's right a boiled egg with corn flakes.  Like in the same cup.  Wierd, I know!  I had never seen anything like it.  First of all, to most of us (at least in the south), there is no need to differentiate between types of boiled eggs.  We simply boil them until they are hard, or hard boiled eggs.  But we just call them boiled eggs.  Well not in Mexico.  If you ask for a boiled egg, you will get a soft, runny, almost scarily close to raw egg.  But when you put this in a coffee cup, cover it with corn flakes, add a pinch of salt and crunch it all is de-licious!  I wasn't sure what to think of this strange breakfast of champions at first but now I could eat this nearly every day.  You should give it a try!

Also, tonight, I am going to eat a chile enogada!  It's a fried pepper, stuffed with meat and fruit and then you add a creamy sauce over top...I can hardly wait for dinner.  :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

El 15 de Septiembre

Today is no ordinary day in's the 15th of September and 'el día de independencia'!  I have seen many fun and interesting sights already (you can check them out on facebook ) but I'm sure that tonight will top them all.  I'm waiting to send out a newsletter update until tomorrow so I can share the pics with everyone. :)  We are having a fiesta at the church tonight to celebrate.  Everyone is bring traditional Mexican dishes- yum!  And the dance group at church will be performing a traditional dance too.  I'm pretty excited to see this.

The top 10 things I am getting used to...(not in any particular order)
1. not flushing toilet paper
2. toilet paper that is scented (very strange when blowing your nose)
3. not drinking or brushing your teeth with sink water
4. dust being on everything, all the time, even if you dust every day
5. no carpet. tile floor everywhere.
6. not having my car...or sonic runs...or target...or independence!  (just kidding)
7. people wearing winter jackets when it's 50 degrees out
8. construction sounds (they are building new houses in front of and behind our house)
9. tortillas. all. the. time.  flour, corn, blue corn, take your pick.  they are everywhere!
10. Spanish.  (sort of.  maybe i should say 'being confused 75% of the time' haha)

Things really are going great so far.  I haven't really gotten started working at church yet.  I have however started painting the office that Edith and I will share.  It was pink.  Pink walls.  Pink floweredy floor.  So we are giving it a little face-lift.  They said that being the designer, I could do whatever I wanted with the office!  I don't think I've ever been given such free reign.  Let's hope I don't get out of control!  :)  I am enjoying spending lots of time with the family I'm living with (Cati, Hiram, Ana Luisa, Esteban and Daniel) and the Aguirres too.  They just moved to their own house yesterday.  It's much different around here without them.  Cati is also teaching me Hebrew!  In Spanish!  It's like a double whammy of a lesson for me.  But the Spanish gets a little better everyday.

I love how God brings little things and big things together in your life to make a huge connection for our feeble little minds.  Amidst His grand plan of bringing me to Mexico, I am reading Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers (she is amazing by the way!  If you haven't read Redeeming Love, you must!), and I continue to be encouraged by the lives of these women who had no idea they were a part of God's plan to save all people by bringing the Messiah into the world.  The other night I had so many thoughts floating in my head but when I read the following verses in the book, one after the other, I was exploding with excitement.  It was one of those, "Thank you God!  Because of what I am reading right now, I know that you are hearing my every thought, prayer and cry...even the ones I don't say to you." encouraging moments.  I love those.  I hope you have one of those today too.  God is so good!

"If you need wisdom-if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask him, and he will gladly tell you.  He will not resent your asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."
James 1:5...

"Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."  Psalm 23:4

"Jesus said, 'Don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing  Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things?  Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs."  Matthew 6: 31-32

"Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be Brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."  Psalm 27:14

"God says, 'My thoughts are completely different from yours...And my ways far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'"  Isaiah 55:8-9