I think Sunday was the most emotional I've been in a really long time, which is honestly saying something because I'm a pretty emotional girl.

We went on a retreat (at last) with the church this past weekend. I was somewhat painfully aware of the fact that I have less than a month left with most of those people and that sometime soon I most likely won't be in the same place as any of them at all.

But then I was absolutely elated when Rocío, my best friend here in Mexico and one of my best friends in general, decided to be baptized. Israel and I baptized her in the cold swimming pool in the backyard of the house in which we were staying for the retreat.

It's funny to me, strange really, that some people were kind of congratulating me too. I mean, I understand that I'm the one who's studied with her and I'm her closest friend in the church, but it just seems odd because I'm entirely aware that it was all God's work. Sure he used me, but I can't do the things he does. It's so great to see the fruit of our work here, but I would be a fraud to call it the fruit of my work. Evangelism isn't a game where you win points or something, it's as simple and simultaneously profoud as having the opportunity to work alongside the living God.

Then I became extremely nostalgic, memories of meeting her in the little bus on the way home from Spanish class, her sitting timidly on the couch during small group, her commenting that my facebook interests are almost entirely shared by her to her surprise, ice skating with the girls, playing Mario Kart Wii with the team, laughing with her school friends about silly English and Spanish mistakes we all make, me telling her that her quote that she liked from Harry Potter was actually from the book of Matthew ("Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"), her telling me that she never expected us to become such good friends, failed attempts turned future plans for her to visit Tulsa with me, going through the Mark Study with her, the pictures we've made for each other, the trust we've gained in each other...

I mean I always knew I would miss her intensely, miss her most. But that night when we were praying for her and I knew that she is not only one of my best friends but my sister, that I'll be with her forever in the presence of our God...

I couldn't stop crying.

It was so beautiful.

And it's going to be so, so hard to leave. I'm leaving a part of me here, and I knew that all along, but it struck me like never before. I'm leaving, soon.

And it makes me think of all the others in my life that I love that need salvation, or healing, or answers, or all of the above, and the song we sing came to my mind:

"Jesucristo prometió nunca dejarme.
Mi eterno compañero él será.
En las luchas y en las pruebas, yo siento su amor.
Aleluya, el Señor está aquí.
Está aquí, está aquí, aleluya el Señor está aquí.
Se mueve en mí, se mueve en mí, aleluya el Señor se mueve en mí.
Aleluya, cántale al Señor.
Aleluya, él es digno de loor.
Aleluya, en él todo lo podré.
Aleluya, pronto le veré.
Espera en Dios, y él hará.
Concederá tu petición.
Espera en Dios, y él hará."

"Jesus Christ promised to never leave me.
He will be my companion forever.
In the struggles and in the trials, I feel his love.
Hallelujah, the Lord is here.
He is here, he is here, hallelujah the Lord is here.
He moves in me, he moves in me, hallelujah the Lord moves in me.
Hallelujah, sing to the Lord.
Hallelujah, he is worthy of praise.
Hallelujah, I can do all things in him.
Hallelujah, I will see him soon.
Wait on God, and he will do it.
He will consider your petition.
Wait on God, and he will do it."

God, you've proven yourself to me again and again, and it's beautiful every time. I never get tired of seeing you change things and work in our lives in ways that are in direct response to our prayers, and ways that I didn't even expect. God, you know my heart. Be with me here, be with me where I'm going soon, be with me wherever I go for the rest of my life. I never want to close my eyes and stop seeing you work. Continue to listen and to answer. I know you will even when it's hard to believe. You have, you are, and you will. I love you.


Love, prayer, and other good things.

So this week has gone really well. I'm learning to go with the flow when necessary, more and more easily. I've just really loved my life here lately. Spanish classes are cool too; I've got friendly teachers and classmates and I'm learning a lot. I've discovered how much I like Jaime Sabines, a Mexican poet. Fasting has been going well still too, and thanks to God's grace I haven't been especially short-tempered, just maybe a little stranger than usual. :)

Just good stuff this week, and looking forward to more good weeks to come.

While I was organizing papers the other day, I had one of those "I wrote that?" moments. I vaguely remember some retreat or something during Lubbock time when we were asked something about what love is and how that affects our prayer life. Anyway, it was good to read, and I thought I'd share it.

Loving is trusting.
In prayer, loving God is trusting his goodness and his response.
Loving is adoring.
In prayer, loving God is adoring him for who he is and what he's done.
Loving is surrendering.
In prayer, loving God is surrendering your will for his, your life for his.
Loving is growing.
In prayer, loving God is growing in your faith in him and your wisdom from him.
Loving is listening.
In prayer, loving God is listening to, valuing, believing and applying his word to your life.
Loving is respecting.
In prayer, loving God is respecting his role in your life and submitting to him.
Loving is revealing.
In prayer, loving God is revealing yourself to him honestly and completely, willfully and humbly,
remembering that he loves you regardless.


Ramadan Kareem

I debated about whether or not it was prudent to write this note for many reasons, not least of all because I believe that fasting should generally not be paraded about, but upon reflection decided that my motives are really to just challenge each other as neighbors on this planet earth. I love you, everyone.


Today was the first day of Ramadan. This is the second time I've observed this holy month. I've chosen to do so this year specifically because I really needed a concentrated, fixed time of fasting. I haven't fasted much since beginning the AIM program, ironically, and I can't think of once that I've fasted since moving to Mexico. It's just not as easy here, but that's not a good excuse, because fasting used to be (and I think rightly so) a very important aspect of my pursuit of God, my relationship with him.

Today during daylight hours I abstained from any sustenance (other than water; although this is not strict observance, I'm not Muslim and so I decided that I really do need to drink water). This has already challenged me to meditate on many things: God's strength in our weakness, my shortcomings that are normally masked by my desires being met, God being my only sustainer and my desire not to need anything else, how incredibly ungrateful I am in the simple things of life (I pretty much never think to give thanks before eating), my need to hunger and thirst for righteousness and Jesus' promise to fill us, and the reality of more than a billion hungry people around the world today. I can hardly imagine how an entire month of daylight fasting with these conscious meditations will transform me, by God's grace. This will be very healthy and beneficial for my spiritual development, I'm sure.

So why Ramadan specifically? Obviously I am not a Muslim. Being a Christian could make me shy away from observing any foreign holiday or holy month. First I want to say that I respect all Muslims as fellow human beings, neighbors of mine here on this earth we all share, neighbors like the ones Jesus told me to love as my own self. I have a few Muslim friends (one of whom I lost contact with a while back and still miss dearly) that I love very much. My friends Toby, Chutney and I got the opportunity to visit a mosque during the breaking of a Ramadan fast last year with my friend Eli, and although we made it abundantly clear that we are Christian missionaries, were treated with utmost respect and love. I felt a kind of peace there and am grateful still for that opportunity.

Simultaneously, my being Christian demands that I recognize Allah as a very different god than the Father/Son/Spirit Godhead that I worship. I am not celebrating the revelation of the Qu'ran seeing as I believe it to be false. I have no special respect for Mohammad as a prophet, again, seeing as I believe he was a false one. I believe that the Bible is the word of God and needed no correction or additional revelation, as Paul explains in Galatians and John in Revelation. I don't believe in multiple truths, and I have absolutely no expectation for Muslims, even my friends, to believe in multiple truths either. (See my note Coexist?)

One reason I choose to observe Ramadan specifically is because hunger is a tangible reminder to pray for people. I'm thinking of those in the world who would be severely punished for writing the words above. I'm praying for them. I'm thinking of those who are hungry and have no way of sustaining themselves. I'm praying for them. I'm thinking of those who have a different god or scripture. I'm praying for them. (I'm not just praying for them this month, but being hungry is abnormal for me, so I have a special focus.)

That being said, fasting, prayer, meditation, and scripture reading is not honoring Allah nor Mohammad for me, but honoring Yahweh, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit. I've already found Ramadan to be a beautiful time for me this year and may even make it an annual observance for me personally. I love and respect my Muslim neighbors. I'm praying for them. I will unite with them on what we have in common while standing uncompromised and unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is for you, God. Be with me; be with them; be with us.



So I moved in on Monday to the Calderon's room-for-rent, and I really love it. There are still a few complications - a slightly broken sink, no shower yet, a couple things to paint, buying a rack to hang up my clothes, and not exactly knowing renter etiquette when it comes to things like meal times. But I love having my own space and getting alone time more easily, love spending time with Wendy and Andrea and their family, love being challenged even more with my Spanish, just really love it.

I also love the life that happens here in Tlalpan that I'm just now getting involved in. Thomas, one of my former AIM assistants and mainly, a good friend, just moved here recently. His new friend Lalo plays music for a living, "troba" which is a type of Mexican music using acoustic guitar. He's really talented, and he happens to play at the coffee shop under where we meet on Sunday every Friday night. I think this will be good for me. I also went to a birthday party with Wendy and her friends last night where I learned a tiny bit more of salsa. Wendy and Andrea are really good dancers and their dad teaches salsa, so I think I'll be learning a lot from them (hopefully!) :)

Well it's time to go to church, so I'll be back later.



Today was one of those days when I'm so busy thinking about all the things I have to do, schedules and whatnot, that I couldn't really enjoy myself. We're really close to being done moving out of the apartment. Tomorrow I'm moving my things, Chutney and Tiffany are getting the rest of their things out, Alfredo is coming to get the furniture they wanted from us and to move the furniture the new guys want from us, and Sean is coming to get the furniture and other things we've borrowed from them. Tuesday I'll trade fridges with James and Lauren and we'll clean, clean, clean. Wednesday we give the keys to our landlord and it's over!

With all of that on my mind, plus planning out a new schedule for when I live in a different place and start going to Spanish classes again, I've kind of been going crazy. So this is my moment to look at the things that happened today that I may have missed at the moment.

Today was Oscar Paco and Oscar Hernandez' last Sunday before they move to Mexicali for preaching school. It will be sad to see them go, but it's great to see their excitement and listen to them talk about this next stage in life. Bryce's LST student Fabio came to church this morning. We gave away a lot of pantry items that we didn't want to take with us, and it was really cool to see everyone "shopping" for things that we otherwise would have had to throw away. Thomas is wanting to start a sort of revolution of "urban pirates" that I'm excited to learn more about. We ate delicious Thai food and had a cool conversation with the chef, a Thai woman with the dream of bringing her food and culture to this country.

It was a good day. There were probably more good things that I didn't even notice at all. I just need to remember to focus on the present more consistently and let the peace of Christ rule my heart.



I was really considering not blogging about this, because I didn't want anyone to worry about me, but I guess this is supposed to be about my life and this was pretty impacting.

So I've gone over a year with basically no problems from the opposite gender here in Mexico. I'd heard horror stories, but I've make it through just fine so far. Some guy once touched my butt and growled at me, but honestly it didn't faze me much because I was taking a video at the time, so I didn't have the chance to get upset, and it was mostly just strange. Whistles happen, of course, but not to me even as much as others. While it makes me angry, the feeling doesn't last long. Once we were walking down a street and I made the mistake of returning the "Buenos Días" of a stranger, which apparently translated "I think you're hot and you should follow me." It wasn't a big deal though because I was with two other girls and Toby, who valiantly told the man that we weren't interested, that's enough, go away. Eventually he did and all was well.

Today has been the worst by far.

It was 2:00 p.m. I was about to go to Starbucks to work on some classes and study the Bible, but our friend Ivanna came by with her baby son Emanuel looking for Chutney, so I was talking with her at the gate. Some guy on a bike rode up to us asking where Vaqueritos is. We were helping him, and I noticed he was acting kind of strangely, but didn't think much of it. I've seen lots of weirdos before. He was wearing shorts and scratching his thigh. After we explained how to get there, he then informed us that he was looking for the girls he heard of who hang out there, the ones you can pay "and, well, you know," he ended lamely. I was struck dumb when I realized he was looking for the prostitutes I'd heard of being somewhere around Tlalpan. Ivanna was asking him something and I realized that he was hiking up his shorts, and just in time I looked away as Ivanna gasped. He showed her his penis while she had her baby with her. I guess maybe that's sexy to some people, having a baby in a stroller. I just continued to look away and pretend to not pay attention. Realizing that we were not at all interested, he went on his way.

Ivanna and I really didn't know what to say to each other after that. She said that she just felt disgusted. I said I did too and tried to keep talking as if nothing happened. She said she was disgusted again, that it wasn't going away. I said I was sorry and that I was glad to see her again, that I hoped he didn't find anyone. She told me to be careful and we said goodbye.

I've heard horror stories, like I said, and comparatively speaking, I'm glad nothing actually happened to me. I think the most horrifying part of it all was to see someone acting like such an animal, like how a dog will hump just about anything that stays still long enough when it's in the mood. It was absolutely... horrifying. He can't be thinking of the fact that we have lives, we have families, we have souls, even when there's a baby there looking at him in the face. I think of his family and wonder about them, wonder if he's ever heard a thing about God before, wonder what in the world could go so wrong with someone that they would behave this way. I wonder if he's solicited prostitutes before or if this is new for him. I wonder if he'll find anyone today. I hope to God he doesn't find anyone today. I wonder what can change someone who has ruined their humanity so.

And I wonder why the reality of sex trade has never been so real to me before today.

Sometimes what was basically just statistics or facts kicks you in the face so hard that all you can do is sob. I hope to God he doesn't find anyone today, and wish there was a way that I could be sure.

God, save this world, and give us hope.


No apologies this time.

It's been months, but that's the way life goes sometimes.

(I keep typing the wrong words. It's weird.)

I think it's like, once you go so long without saying anything, you start to feel like there's nothing to say. But I know it's not true.

Swine flu disrupted an already somewhat hectic existence that hasn't quite returned to normalcy yet. I've taken sporadic Spanish classes, traveled to 5 U.S. cities and 4 Mexico cities, had visitors of all sorts, said goodbye to three teammates and hello to three more, gone through a ridiculously wide spectrum of emotions, and now am about to move.

Now that we've caught up...

I've got almost 4 months left, which some days feels too long but most times feels much, much too short. I'm planning to take another course at UNAM because I finally know what it is I want to do with my life: I want to study Spanish and English as a Second Language and teach. I don't want to teach in a school necessarily... I want to teach more privately so it can be more flexible when I have a family someday.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm trying to think of what I want to have done and accomplished with the rest of my time. I have four friends here specifically that I want to invest in as much as I can: Rocío, Grecia, Wendy, and Adriana. I want to visit Morelia if I can, and also visit the Anthropology Museum and the Sonora market. I'll for sure be at the next missionary retreat and am hoping to not be violently ill this time. I wanted to learn guitar, but I think Spanish classes are going to replace that desire for now.

I'm also trying to figure out how I want to live when I'm done here. But, I feel like this is getting boring (lots of "I's"), so I'll end for now. Pray for us. Love to everyone.


Not sure how to say it

So these past couple of weeks have been full of epiphany-type moments, and I've been wanting to share them but not knowing how. Here's my best shot:

I hope you all have the kind of mother that I do. Whenever I was really excited about something, she wanted to hear all about it. If I was sick, she would put a washcloth on my forehead and stroke my hair until I fell asleep, only waking me if I needed some more medicine. Or if I was upset about something, she would just let me cry, no questions asked, and wait for me to speak while she held me.

Did you know that God is like that for us? Did you know the times that he relates our relationship to that of a mother and child? One of his names is El Shaddai, God Almighty Who Nourishes and Sustains, coming from the Hebrew word "shad" meaning breast. This is the characteristic of God that I think of when I'm in pain, my mental image of God in my sorrow. A couple of examples:

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you" (Isaiah 49:15).

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" (Matthew 23:37).

Even Paul as an apostle of Christ describes his relationship with the Thessalonian church in this way:

"But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children" (1 Thessalonians 2:7)

One verse in particular makes me think of my relationship with my mother:

"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" (Psalm 56:8)

God knows our every tear, and he records them. To me, this says that he really, truly cares about us. He is never ashamed of our tears. He is compassionate, and he understands, just as he showed us through Jesus as he wept various times in his life.

Our suffering is temporary. We know this. We have a hope that someday our tears will be wiped away, forever. Even more, our tears are meaningful, valuable, healing, growing...

Our joy doesn't come from just ignoring our pain, distracting ourselves from it, or convincing ourselves it doesn't exist. And yes, we do have joy, and it is within the pain, through it, in this hope we have, that our pain echoes something beautiful in eternity.

I was crying for a close friend, and crying for a boy I've only ever seen on a video screen, when suddenly God reminded me of 1 Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." The context is the resurrection of the dead - because of this hope, our labor is not in vain. I knew this when it came to things like mission work and Bible studies. I never thought to apply it to my relationships with my best friends, my work for children on the other side of the world... these things are not in vain, and not just because he loves them, but because he loves me. He loves me enough to let me do things that are valuable in my life, that change other people, that change myself.

God is my everything, in joy, in pain, now and forever.


Adventures and such

We've been exploring more of the city lately, partly thanks to our friend Tara Linn moving here a couple of months ago. I had still only gone to one museum (Chapultapec castle: way cool) until recently - now I've gone to both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo's houses and to Bellas Artes. I've discovered a love for the Mexican mural, one of my favorite types of art. They're huge and colorful and they always tell a story, very emotionally and politically charged. There are graffiti murals all around the city too. I'm going to miss them someday.

Tara Linn also discovered this hole-in-the-wall used bookstore through her friends at work. It's run by a bunch of middle-aged artsy/philosophical type folks. I've been with her a couple of times, and we've seen really cool watercolor art, eaten way too old "fine" cheese, and learned some of the native Aztec language, Nahuatl. We do repeatedly have to turn down their kind offers of wine and fine beers though, haha. Tiffany and Tara once went downtown to this mad-crazy art festival which apparently happens every Saturday that they told them about. Hopefully I'll make it sometime.

Today, Tara Linn and I went exploring at the Tlalpan Forest. It's really a lot bigger than I'd realized. I'd gone running there before, but just stayed on the small track. This time however on different trails we found a bee hive, plants I'd never seen before like short curly trees and strange worm-like flower stalks, giant wood creatures, crazy gnarly trees and newborn baby trees, vibrantly beautiful flowers, several shrines to Guadalupe, and probably a bunch of other things I'm forgetting. We decided before we left to go on the big track all the way around the forest, but we got lost. After winding around tiny paths and getting totally direction-confused, we started hearing screams and machinery noises. Thinking of construction and maybe a kid's club, we tried to go towards the noise to end up in the outside world again. Except, we suddenly saw the high arches of rollercoasters and I realized, we're right outside of Six Flags. How bizzare. Then we noticed a wall to our right, and had no idea how we'd gotten ourselves into this narrow, semi-pathless area... we continued on, hoping for a street or something, almost lost hope at the sight of a very high fence, but made it through a gate that said "No robes las plantas" (don't steal the plants). We made it on a bus safely in the end. :)

I'm beginning to feel at home in new ways here. Not to mention disorganized passion plays and $11 tickets to Six Flags (on purpose this time)... Who knows what adventures we may have next?


A good book I'm reading

My sister Lindsay gave me a book for Christmas called Into the Den of Infidels. It's a few stories about Muslims who became Christians. It's been really great for me to read, giving me fresh perspective on my faith and reminding me simultaneously of the need and hope for the Muslim world. One guy wrote this and I've been thinking about it a lot lately:

One day, many questions arose in my mind and totally changed my life from an ordinary one to a life full of surprises and changes. This day was the day I started high school. That period is very important to everyone, in my opinion, for in that period one starts to search for one's identity, to scrutinize things taken for granted.

Each of us has inherited our religion, language, race, and gender. No one has chosen any of these factors, important as they are and very effective in forming us. We deal with this compulsory inheritance with ourselves, with God, and with others. For example, we as Muslims are born and raised to hate Jews and Christians, and to believe that Muslims are the best people in the whole world. No one could ever imagine that the others (Jews, Christians, etc.) could be right at all. This idea of others being right never even existed, not once in a blue moon.

Very few people would think of examining the things we inherited, or of questioning how right this inheritance was. If we ask others (Jews and Christians) to examine their inheritance and correct it, it means we are very sure that they are wrong, and we consider them blind because they accept their inheritance without examination. It would be appropriate if we would to what we asked of others. (It's logical that you treat people the same way you would have them treat you.) I think that examining our inheritance and trying to discover the truth would make us deeply rooted in the good areas and more flexible to change the areas of ignorance and vanity. Surely the true God loves people who search for the truth, the light, the good, and the better life.

This has been what I've tried to do for a long time, starting even before this man says, way back in middle school. After a lot of questions and tears and confusion for many years, I finally decided to really give my life to Christ when I was 19. However, I still examine these things all of the time. It's a bit of a different process since I have decided to be a Christian and since I've grown to trust God and the Bible, but nonetheless I'm always asking questions about what exactly [this] means or if [that] really is compatible with God's word or if I can really believe the implications of [that]. It's not easy. But it's good.

I especially find myself examining my faith when I'm studying with others, even more especially when they have an inheritance completely and utterly different than mine, like my friend Momoko from Japan. She asks questions that I would have never even thought to ask. And it's not easy to find the answers together, but it's good, because like that man says, "Surely the true God loves people who search for the truth, the light, the good, and the better life." Or like the Bible says, "And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], because whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Have you examined your inheritance? Have you changed your faith over the years, pruning and growing? What have you found? What would you have me find too?


Brownbag - Camp Adventure

(A letter written to the people in Lubbock who are in the same program as me, plus some campers and other wonderful people:)

Hey all you lovely people. I really wish I could be sitting with you guys right now, but seeing as I’d already come to Lubbock in October, I didn’t want to overdo it. Just know that I love you! I struggle between extremes of feeling like I have way too much to say and that I have nothing to say at all… so I’ll try to make this worthwhile.

We talk a lot about spiritual gifted-ness and DISC tests and all of that stuff, and I do think it’s good and important to recognize our strengths and weaknesses. But honestly, when you’re being Christ and involved in others' lives, you’re going to be called to do lots of different things, whether you’re comfortable with it or not. Take the opportunities in front of you to really give what is needed. If someone needs help with English, teach energetically. If you’re talking about the Gospel, do it without shame. If you’re volunteering at a park or a hospital, work your hardest. If you’re listening to someone’s story, do it with patience. If you’re praying with someone, whatever denomination or religion or lack thereof they may be, pray knowing that God is listening and answering with good gifts. I know not everyone is going to a foreign field, but I got great advice from Brent of the ’06 Peru team (if you’re there, hey! :D) that when you’re learning a new language, remember that it’s always better to say something encouraging, even if you’re grammar’s wrong, than to not say anything at all.

What I’m trying to say is do what’s in front of you and do it your best. There will be times when you’re disappointed, when people you’ve invested so much in still decide to love the world more than their God, when you have no idea how to answer someone’s questions adequately, when you just feel useless. I love Psalm 62 during these times; verses 5-8 say “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Remember your own salvation, and take hope in that. Remember that you are no one’s savior, rather you are a servant of the only one who saves. Romans 12:9 through the end of the chapter is great too, but especially verse 12 – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

And please, please remember that God doesn’t only strengthen us when we’re locked in a closet with him. Praying and studying the Bible and journaling and fasting… all of these things are really good. But God made us a part of a Body – draw strength from them. You can even draw strength from serving other people. It’s like eating and exercising – exercising is hard work, and you’d pass out if you hadn’t eaten anything, but do you honestly expect to be as healthy and happy as you could be without it? So to make it brief, take the opportunities you have, with love, and trust God to make something beautiful out of it even when you don’t understand. That goes for wherever we are for the rest of our lives.

Shout outs:

Any Grass Valley AIMers, past, present, future – I absolutely love you and can’t wait til I see you again.

To Lindsey Vivian – Have you managed to break any more chairs with your tiny self? :D I love you and your energetic hugs. Let’s hold hands again someday soon.

To Lily – I love that you respond to my many status updates. I love you too. Come visit!

To Ginger – I had a dream I was playing with your hair and you had green streaks in it. Crazy, no? I miss you and can’t wait til you visit.

To the Tulsa campers – I never got to come to Camp Adventure until I was an AIMer – hope you have a great time!

To Cairen – I love you and love that you’re with people I love. :D

To all ‘07ers – I wish I didn’t have to wait another year to see all your faces again.

To Rachel Holler (and Amanda if she’s there) – thanks for making Camp Adventure good memories.

I love you everyone and I’m praying for you.


I still feel like I have nothing to say... but here goes anyway. :)

I'm grateful for what I have, but sometimes I still feel like I have too much. An easy answer to this might be, well, get rid of some stuff. But when it's the place that I live that feels like too much, it's not really that easy. Having space in our apartments has been good for when people come to stay and when we had small groups here and Clara's birthday party, but for the most part, I just feel like it's not necessary. Not bad maybe, just not necessary.

Today was one of those days - Nancy came over, this time with her mom and her little brother. She was telling them, "Their kitchen is big, their rooms are big..." and her mom responded, "It is very nice." And I feel like I have too much.

I'm not saying that I need to live in poverty in order to be a Christian or anything, I'm just saying that if I really don't feel that something is necessary, and I'm living better than a lot of people around me, maybe that means I should be living differently.

We'll be moving most likely in August. I really like our apartment, but part of me is still looking forward to this.

I think that's it for now. We've started a small group for our area again, this time at the boys' apartment. So I'm off!


Hey blog, It's been awhile.

So today I was sick, cold-type stuff that I hope doesn't turn into sinus infection-type stuff.

Anyway, I've been having a hard time lately for lots of reasons that I really don't feel like typing. I'll just say that sometimes when the people you pour your life into are discouraged, it's hard not to become discouraged yourself. But yesterday things took a turn for the better in my perspective. Hope is always a good thing, like I always say. One thing that was oddly encouraging today was reading my journal from the beginning of my time here. I haven't been so good at journaling lately but before I did at least semi-frequently. Anyway, it was cool to see different things I had been learning in the Bible during those times and different things that were really hard, that maybe aren't so hard anymore. Nice to see progress and to be reminded of good things.

I loved having all the AIMers here recently, plus all the Lubbock people and several classmates and AIMers from '06. All in all there were almost 100 people visiting Mexico City - beautiful chaos. I think my favorite parts were chatting with Ginger and Lily and singing with everyone. It was crazy when, after the majority of the group went home, we still had 10 girls staying in our apartment altogether, and the guys had 6 in theirs. I especially liked seeing the Honduras girls from my class (I miss them!) and getting to know the guys who went to Peru in the class before mine.

Tonight I'm going to hang out with Tara Linn, my friend who went to Japan in the '03 AIM class with other good friends like Daniel Lee. Anyway, she just moved here when the AIMers came and it's been really good to spend time with her. She's going through some hard culture shock, just knowing how to be safe but not paranoid, and the language barrier is discouraging. But she'll make it, I'm sure, just like we all have. :)

Ok I think that's it for now. I think I'm going to try to get on this thing more, after being inspired from reading my journal today. We'll see.



My life has been really crazy lately, and really beautiful. I've had some of the hardest conversations with some Mexican friends thus far, but God answers our prayers with good things. I've learned some really painful histories of other friends here too, and it breaks my heart as I know how much God hates sin. I feel completely reconciled after tears and over-long anger with some of my teammates here, which is totally amazing. I've gotten to be a friend to a person who felt like they didn't really have any others at the time, a great opportunity. Bible studies continue as people become more and more personally engaged in what the Word has to say for their own lives. The weather has, though no ice storms, given us dry heat that I forgot existed, downpours from absolutely nowhere, and beautiful warmth that makes me want to stay outside all day. Birthday parties, ice-skating, park days, making art and reading new J.K. Rowling all have been just plain fun. I feel like Mexico has shown me some of its worst and God has shown me some of his best. I love it here - even when it's dark, God's grace shines the brighter, and I'm learning just as much (/more?) from these people even as I'm teaching. I just wrote a bunch of cards to supporters letting them know how utterly grateful I am to have this opportunity to be here.

I know these are just names to most of you, but would you pray for these people, even just once? Luz and her family, Nancy and her family, Grecia and her family, Rocío, all of our English students, Momoko, Clara and her family, the Chavez-Durán family, Norma, my team, the next AIM team coming in May, Quinton, Tara Linn, Thomas, Claudia and her family, Ana and her friends, Cris, Israel and Nelly. These are just some people that have been on my heart especially lately. I wish you could meet them all, but hey, we have a hope for the future eh? I'm also really looking forward to the 2008 AIM class' visit here in just over a week...

And as a random note to end, I'm going to embark on an adventure called Thing-a-Day (www.thing-a-day.com). I was invited by a friend in Nevada City via Facebook to join a group of artists in making one thing every day in February. I'm not sure if I'll actually pull through, but I have lots of ideas brewing and maybe this is the inspiration I needed to get some of them done. I'll share the results with you. Feel free to join! :)


Facts about Agape love from 1 John

Just for a quick update, being in the States for Christmas, my brother's wedding, and New Year's was absolutely wonderful. I spent good quality time with my family, whom I miss very much when I'm here in Mexico, and some good friends too. The wedding was beautiful and so happy! I loved my visit, and felt very satisfied when it was time to come back to the City. I really do love it here too.

Before I get back to work on some things, I wanted to share what I've been learning about love from 1 John. I find that it helps me remember when I share things with other people.

1) Keeping God's Word means being perfected in His love. Loving one another is his message from the beginning, his commandment for us. (2:5; 3:11, 23; 3:23; 4:21)

2) Loving one another also means being perfected in His love. (4:12) It means abiding in the light (2:10), loving God and obeying him (5:2-3), not stumbling in the darkness (2:10), and God abiding in you for the world to see (4:12). We cannot really love God if we do not love one another (4:20-21; 5:1).

3) Being perfected in love causes us to have confidence in the day of judgment, so that we don't fear, because perfect love and fear cannot coexist. (4:17-18)

4) Loving "worldly things" (desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, pride in possessions) is the opposite of loving God. (2:15)

5) God has loved us by calling us his sons (3:1) and by Christ's sacrifice (3:16; 4:9-10). He loved us first (4:9-11, 19).

6) If we are really God's sons, we love our brothers (3:1; 4:7, 11). If we don't love, we're not really his children (3:10; 4:7-8).

7) Love is life. Not loving is death. (3:14; 4:9).

8) Love is from God. Loving means we know God (4:7).

9) God IS love (4:8, 16). Abiding in love means that God abides in us, and us in him - reciprocal, mutual love (4:16).

10) Love and truth are irrevocably connected. We must believe in the love of God (3:18; 4:16).