Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quite impactful

Well, I made it driving here nearly 9 months before getting in some sort of accident. I'm alright and all is well, except perhaps my car. It wasn't a major accident, but enough to do some damage. And the worst of it was that it was my fault. I was entering onto a busy road and just didn't watch the car in front of me enough and hit a corner of his pick-up truck with a corner of my car. All that being said, I am fine and I had the help of my boss who was just a little bit further up the road and came back for me. I am thankful to God that He kept me safe, that there was no damage to the other vehicle, and that He provided help for me through the process. I'm also thankful that I was able to stay calm and even laugh amidst it all. Please pray for me, sharing in thanksgiving for His care, and pray for me as I continue through this process of taking care of everything now, repairing the car, and taking care of the finances for it all. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good To Be Back

I can now say I've accomplished one more thing I can be proud of as part of this new life here in Mexico. It is a real advantage to be just across the border and able to still make the trip home into the US, but it is also something that's a bit intimidating. It means two 12-hour days of driving by myself, and the anxiety of crossing the border and taking care of my car registration. But, I've now done it and it went smoothly. Praise God!

I went home to Des Moines to visit with friends, speak at my church, and take care of some business, tying up loose ends I had left behind with my move. I was able to stay with my good friends, Amy and Trey, and visit with my Bible study group. I even got to hang out with them for celebrating Halloween in our own special way: trying out the new Zombie burger place, carving pumpkins, and watching Young Frankenstein. It was a lot of fun. I also got to celebrate my birthday while I was in Des Moines, so that was special too.

Now I'm back in Monterrey, and it's so good to be back and to know that it is home. I enjoyed my visit to Des Moines, and it still felt like home in a way, but I also missed my home in Monterrey. It's strange how I can have so many places to call home: Wisconsin at my parent's place, Des Moines, and now Monterrey. The trip "home" to Des Moines helped me to confirm that my new home is now Monterrey. And that feels good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Like Myself Again

[Above: Thought I'd share a picture from the summer of my roommate Jess (fellow missionary), myself, our two interns, and some friends.]

I'm finding myself outside of my "normal routine" now that I am visiting back in Des Moines for two weeks. I arrived Tuesday night after two long days of travel. I'm sure I will very much enjoy my stay here, visiting with friends, giving updates on Monterrey and TIME Ministries, and seeing my parents for the weekend.

I also now am actually remembering to update my blog. I had thought about it a couple days before I left Monterrey, but didn't yet get around to it. So now, here it is! :)

About a week ago, or maybe it was more, I found myself singing in the shower at the top of my lungs, spurred on by hearing Jess, my roommate, practicing her clarinet, playing some hymns. Hymns are some of my favourite songs. I grew up on them, so they mean that much more to me. I realized as I was singing that it had been probably the first time I really let go and started singing like none other since arriving in Monterrey. Now, that doesn't mean I hadn't sung at all, just not to the extent I was doing right then and there. I used to sing a LOT around the house in Des Moines (as long as Amy wasn't there to get annoyed by me). So to realize that I was singing again like before was a real encouragement to me. It felt like I was starting to return to my "normal" self.

I don't know if you've ever moved before, not even to an entirely different country with a different language, but when you do make a move, it takes a while before you feel like yourself again. So it was really good to feel like I was starting to feel a little bit more like myself in as far as noticing myself singing again like before. God is good!

Psalm 63:3-5
"Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Settling In And Settlers of Catan

Have you ever played Settlers of Catan: Cities and Knights? Or another Settlers of Catan game? It is complicated! Do you remember the first time playing it and being explained the rules? Daunting, isn't it?

A week into my settling down into my new home here in Monterrey, I played Settlers of Catan for the first time. The next day we played a more complicated version, Cities and Knights. As I was being explained the rules, I realized how well learning this game depicted learning the "game" of settling into a different country, into my new home here in Monterrey, Mexico.

Just as I had some familiarity of the Cities and Knights game from playing Settlers the day before, I do have some familiarity with this place here, with the people, with the Spanish language and the hispanic culture. However, there's still a whole lot more rules to learn for this version living here vs. visiting.

As I was listening to all the new rules for Cities and Knights and trying to understand it all, I felt overwhelmed and like I was not going to do so well in this game. I wondered why I had agreed to play it. That's often how I feel here: overwhelmed and wondering if I could do this, thinking it'd be easier to just not "play the game," but still wanting to.

And here's another thing that relates. Everytime I asked a question about the game, I'd get the answer and so much more! To the point where I wasn't sure I wanted to ask any more questions. Every time I ask a question about living here, I get my answer and so much more! Sometimes more than I can take at the time.

Plenty of times (more so in the Settlers game than Cities and Knights), I'd try and do something only to find out that it wasn't something I could do. And I'm sure there were times that I could've done something but didn't realize it in time to do it. Living in another country is about learning as you go, learning from mistakes, and doing better with new opportunities as your understanding grows.

Want to know how I did in the game? I didn't win, but I didn't lose desperately. I was a contender in the game! I had a chance of winning. And best of all, I enjoyed playing the game! What an encouragement to me! When I'm feeling overwhelmed and wondering why I chose to play this "game" I'll remind myself that if I just play the game, at the end I'll be able to say I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Preview of What's To Come

I just got back from another visit to Monterrey, Mexico. I was there for about two weeks and it was so good to be back there again. It was a re-energizing time for what's soon to come.

I say it was a preview for what's soon to come for several reasons. First, we got a glimpse of what ministry will look like in Monterrey again. After a year of no groups, we had Grace Bible Church of Chicago come for their annual Springtime missions trip. Our ministry has taken new directions within this past year, so this veteran group got a taste of starting up something new instead of completing tasks and seeing final results as they have in the years past. They were such a great group to start us off again! Not only were they flexible, but they were responsible and spiritually mature, able to handle what was in store for them. Instead of doing their usual cement roof-pour and park ministry (which they still did a bit of at the church, as pictured right), we did some painting jobs and English conversation within a school and in the church. Instead of being physically exhausted, we all were mentally exhausted, but with good results. This is a new ministry we hope to build up, going into schools and also inviting university students into the church to practice their English. It will be a way to make the church known to the people and the first steps to connecting them to a church, and more so to connecting them to a relationship with God.

This group also got to enjoy intermingling with their "sister" church that was started this past August by our fellow missionary, Douglas Gibson. Grace Bible Church has helped to start and support this new church, Iglesia Biblica La Gracia (also Grace Bible Church). It was a great time to see believers from two cultures and languages coming together to praise and worship God, as well as a preview for how we can better connect future groups with the national church. Really, it was a preview for what heaven will be like!

[Our end-of-the-week program for the group, church members, and those invited from the English conversation classes. The night included songs, skits, a short message, and, of course, food!]

Finally, it was also a preview for what's to come for me as I prepare to make my move down there soon. God willing, I will be making my move down there mid-May. Just a month to get things ready here, pack up and go! It was very helpful and necessary for me to be able to talk with the team there about what this ministry will look like in the next coming years. I also got to enjoy seeing the house where I will be living with another TIME missionary, Jessica Heagy. I got to familiarize myself a bit more with the area so that hopefully I will know how to drive to the basic places I'll be going to regularly. Out of all my times in Mexico, this time felt the most like it was home. Praise God!

[Our 2-level house, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom (two bathtubs--very uncommon for Mexico!). I was very excited that my bathroom curtains, etc. that I had brought from Iowa match perfectly with the bathroom! We will also be housing our female intern this summer. I can't wait to furnish and decorate the house!]

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Will Praise Him!

"I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." Ps. 63:4

5...4...3...2...1...Happy New Year! Whoo, done with 2010. What a relief. Now please let 2011 be easier. That was how I felt bringing in the new year. Yes, I know that 2010 was a good year in which I grew and had to trust in God...a lot! So much change, challenges, and waiting. I was tired from 2010. Does a day, a new digit in the year, really make a difference? Okay, so maybe not. I still have to wait and trust in the Lord and take it one step at a time. But there's something to say for looking back on a year and looking ahead to a new one.

So that's what I did the other night. I went to a coffee shop and settled in to focus on the praises. I went month by month and thought of how God provided for me, cared for me, encouraged me, taught me, blessed me. My year has been full of God's blessings! It changed my outlook on the year, and I was encouraged by it.

So, in looking forward to 2011, I decided to reinforce what I had learned through my missionary training and through this experience. Instead of waiting till the year is completed, I would record my thanksgiving and praise each day. Each day is filled with God's blessings, and I will praise Him as long as I live, day by day!

Monday, December 13, 2010


It's been a while since another update, so I'll just write a quick, short update for those wondering how and what I'm doing. This past weekend I took a short trip down to just north of Kansas City, MO to visit Rick Jacobsen, the Director of Operations of TIME Ministries who is in charge of taking care of the missionaries in many aspects. He used to be a missionary down in Monterrey and so I had worked with him previously as an intern when he was the site director there. It was good to visit where they are now States-side, catching up with them and seeing their new place. God has blessed them in this new place and position. On this nice, relaxing weekend I was able to go through with Rick much about support-raising and what it will look like concerning finances as a missionary. It was helpful. I find that when I begin to get discouraged or just worn out through this journey, God brings a way to give me a pick-me-up. This weekend was one of those.