Monday, January 24, 2011

A week in review

Silly hair night at AWANA
Every month or so in AWANA, the leaders organize a silly theme.  This last Wednesday night was silly hair night, and the kids and some adults came with wild 'dos on display.  For snack we had cupcakes decorated with candy faces and goofy "hair."  After AWANA ended, Abraham and I stayed as we always do to lead the junior high group.  The group is a very small one, usually with four or five preteens gathered with us in the home of one of the ladies who lives on the property.  Normally we discuss Bibles verses, sing, and talk about how the week went.

Abraham preached at Dios es Amor on Sunday, talking through Psalm 73 and the questions that the author, Asaph, has about people who do wrong and still seem to prosper.  Later, in Huejotzingo, we read the same Psalm with the children and then split into two groups to put together accompanying dramas.

This week on Friday Abraham and I will be starting a discipling study with a couple that occasionally attends church.  The young man is a Christian, but he has struggled with his relationship with God, and the struggle is reflected in his relationship with his girlfriend.  I will be studying with her.  She is not a Christian and has had many difficulties in her life.

We hope to take the children from Huejotzingo to the Parque Ecologico this coming Saturday.  We have no idea how many children (or adults, since they are invited as well) will go with us.  One of the parents has doubts about whether we will return the children, so he has forbidden the children to go with us.  We invited the father to join us, but he will be working.  Please pray that the children who do go with us will stay safe, have a good time, and help the uncertain father to see that we don't intend any harm to his family.

Throughout the week, Abraham and I continue teaching at Puebla Christian School.  Abraham now has an extra PE class, so that he teaches five classes a week.  Starting Monday, I took on the art classes for the 1st - 4th graders in addition to the regular teaching with the 5th and 6th grade.  Some afternoons Abraham also tutors two of the PCS teachers in Spanish.  Please pray for us as we work at the school, help at Dios es Amor, and minister in Huejotzingo.  It's a busy schedule, and very tiring.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday is not a day of rest

Abraham and I decided almost as soon as we were married that Saturday would be our day of rest.  The Bible is quite clear that we should take time off to recharge; God set the standard when he rested on the seventh day of creation.  He didn't need to, but we do.

Sunday certainly wouldn't be the day to chose for rest in our schedule, or in the schedule of anyone who has a leadership role in church.  We hit the ground running as soon as we leave the bed.

Jose and Flor working on scarves
At Dios es Amor, Abraham helps with the Powerpoint for songs, the children's class,  and the sermon.  It's not a difficult job, but it does mean we should arrive a few minutes early so he can set up the projector and check the songs and notes.

Once the church service ends, we eat as soon as possible if someone will be driving us to Huejotzingo or set off for the bus stop right away if we don't have a ride (and eat on the bus - always interesting).  We try to be in Huejotzingo by three o'clock, although that does not always happen.

Naty working on her scarf while I read to Gus - too young to make one
Yesterday the kids came at varying times and immediately began working on their scarves.  With the exception of two of the boys who still struggle with the pattern, the kids are making steady progress and enjoying the work.  One of them begged me to tell him what my PCS students will be making for the gift exchange, but he's just going to have to wait until April 30 (Dia del NiƱo) to find out.

After they had worked for awhile, we sang some songs and then played Sword Drill.  Next Abraham told the story of the siege of Jerusalem when God saved Israel by making the Syrians hear the sound of a large army marching to attack them.  He told the story twice and then we broke into groups to tell it again and discuss some questions.  One child from each group stood up in front to tell the story one last time to everyone.

Abraham told the kids that the people of Israel were faced with a danger from the army outside and from starvation and that today many people are faced with eternal death because they don't know Jesus.  Those of us who do know him have the responsibility of telling people the good news of salvation, just like the four lepers outside the city gate told the people inside the news that the army had left.  He said that if any of the children wanted to know Jesus, they could talk to any one of the adults.  Naty chose to talk with Leo, the man from Dios es Amor who had driven us to Huejotzingo.  She asked Jesus into her heart, and the angels rejoiced.  Please pray for her, that she will grow and that we will be able to help her in her new walk.

The kids left after their snack, and Abraham and I went to visit one of the families briefly.  It was near eight o'clock when we all left to visit Marta and Jorge.  Ever since accepting Jesus into her heart, Marta has suffered one trouble after another.  Last night when we arrived, she was in bed, unable to get up because of an injury to her ankle.  She was preoccupied with how she would take care of her diabetic and almost blind brother Jorge and how she would earn money to pay the rent.  We stayed and talked and prayed with her.  Please pray for healing for her ankle, for encouragement, for the income she needs, and for help for her brother.  They are both elderly.

We did not return home until 10:30, and then Abraham had to work on homework.  He is taking an interterm class on the Minor Prophets.  Last week he did not get to bed until after 1 any night, and he got up at 6 to keep working.  This week looks like it will be more of the same.  The last day of that class is Thursday.  On top of the class, he also teaches PE at PCS, tutors two teachers twice a week in Spanish, goes out to Huejotzingo (this week on Friday), and helps with AWANA on Wednesday.  This is a heavy, exhausting schedule, and I will be glad when the class ends.

Monday, January 10, 2011

sports evangelism

Abraham and I learned a lot during the three day conference in Mexico City which was about how to use sports for evangelism.  Another missionary had invited us to the conference, although he did not have much information when he invited us, so we were not sure what the conference would be like.  What a blessing it turned out to be.

We drove to Mexico City with three other missionaries from Puebla, arriving Tuesday evening.  The pastor of the host church, Rod Fry, had organized housing for all the people attending the conference, and Abraham and I were assigned to stay with a young lady from Mexico City and another young lady from Arkansas.  The funny thing when we first went to their house is that we had actually met the missionary from Arkansas before when we helped with the camp in Queretero over the summer.

Wednesday morning we joined people from many local churches for the training, presented by a team of five from the ministry Uncharted Waters.  Throughout the morning, the team presented the reasons for using sports for evangelism and also presented other related information.  We participated in discussions and took notes in the manual that the UW team had provided.

In the afternoon, the team taught us some drills for soccer and some for basketball to prepare us for the camp that would begin at four and end at six.  They also explained the schedule for the event and told us how we could help when the kids arrived.

After lunch, Abraham and I set out with David, one of the members of the local church, to invite kids to the camp.  We had not gotten very far when we passed a group of people in loud, aggressive argument.  A young man was pulling on a young woman while her friend tried to separate them.  The young lady's mother was shouting at them all and then desperately appealed to us for help.

She told us that the young man was trying to take her pregnant daughter back to live with him, and that he had hit them both that morning.  The man vigorously denied what she said, and the insults and shouting continued.  Abraham and David stayed to help while I went to look for the church's pastor.  He was leaving, but his wife returned with me.  When we arrived, the situation was much calmer, and Abraham was talking quietly with Yair, the young man, and Karla, the young woman.  After some time, they both agreed to seek counseling with pastor Rod Fry and his wife Myra.  Please keep them in your prayers.

Other groups had gone into the neighborhood to invite children, so we returned during the opening explanation of the day's theme and the accompanying sports story.  After the story, the group divided into those who wanted to learn more soccer and those who preferred basketball.  Abraham went with the soccer group and I went with basketball, so that we could learn drills for both.  The skill drills lasted for about half an hour, and then we broke into smaller teams so that one of us could share a personal story that fit the day's theme.  After a water break, we regrouped for more skill drills and then everybody came together for a Bible story that also fit the theme.

Each of the three days had roughly the same schedule.  On the second day, the team from the States asked us to take over with some of the stories in the afternoon, and on Friday, the team stepped back to allow the local church people to take over all the teaching, sports drills and all.  On the final day, two ladies from the church used the evangecube to share with the children how they could accept Jesus into their lives.  Several children raised their hands after the presentation, indicating their desire to accept him.

Abraham and I believe that the tools from Uncharted Waters can be valuable out in Huejotzingo.  One of the other Puebla missionaries plans to partner with UW to continue sports ministry around the city, and he already asked the team to return in July to do a camp in Huejotzingo.  This, and other camps that we will organize, will be an excellent chance to share the gospel with people who would otherwise never even talk to us.  Please be praying in advance for this opportunity as you also pray for our continuing involvement there.