jueves, 22 de julio de 2010

Parting Words to MITC

The last week I was at MITC a team from my church including my pastor was there on a mission trip. Usually when there is an American team serving for the week, we will have a special dinner the last night. It usually consists of a time of worship and testimony and then we all eat some delicious Mexican style barbeque chicken. During the time of testmonies, I got up from my seat because I wanted to take this opportunity to share what was on my heart. Everyone seemed to be there that night- the students, the faculty and their families, the choir, and my hometown church and everyone fell silent as I stood next to Dan (he always translates for the speakers). Looking out into the crowd, I got choked up and it took me a minute to gather my emotions and words. I knew what I was going to say because I already had planned out in mind from the previous week. And I wanted to share what I said that night on my blog. I am not sure why, maybe just to have it down in writing for me to come back to one day. The following are my words from that night to my audience....

To my church- Two turning points in my life are connected with the faith family at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. The first was when I was a very self-conscious freckled face preteen who never felt quite good enough. I don’t remember much about that night at church but what I do remember is that conversation after the service. You see that night God unveiled my eyes to my own depravity and He called me to Himself. I don’t remember who the lady was or even everything she said, I just remember crying because I knew she was speaking truth and for the first time it made sense to me. I was in need of God and I wanted nothing more than to be reconciled to Him. That night I gave my life to Jesus Christ and an internal transformation within me took place. Thus began my journey of abundant life with the Only One who deserves the totality of who I am. Five years later the second turning point in my life happened as my mom signed my family up to go on a mission trip to MITC with our church. There are no words to describe how God grasped my heart with passion and desire to serve Him among the nations. I came back home that summer and as my friends dreamt of going to medical school and becoming doctors or going to law school and becoming lawyers, my dreams revolved around becoming a foreign missionary and living in Mexico. During high school and even college God fanned the flame that He had set in my heart that trip in Mexico. I pursued Spanish as my major and I joined a sorority with a mission mindset, claiming that it would be my Mexico until I could actually get to Mexico. Then God by His grace brought me to Mexico this past year. I am so grateful for my church that financially took care of me all last year. Broadmoor, thank you for sending me out, and thank you for not only providing for me financially but also covering me with your unconditional love and prayers. Thank you. I am grateful for the ways God has used you in my life. It was an unspeakable honor to be your missionary. Thank you.

To the professors and their wives at MITC- Paul remarked in his letter to the Philippians, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” I have had the blessing to live with you for a year, and I have soaked in your words of wisdom and I have learned by watching your example. I have watched how you fearlessly preach the Word of God, how you love your spouse, how you raise your kids. I have learned so much from you and I thank you for investing in my life this past year. I can only pray that eternity will show you fruit of your investment in my life this past year. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To my English Students- I was not kidding about the potential I see in each one of you. I see you preaching in English, I see you translating conferences, I see God using your English ability and this is all for His Glory. So échale muchas ganas. Be encouraged and keep up the good work. Do not quit. I had so much fun with you in classes. Thank you for everything. It was a privilege to teach you.

To the MITC Students, my brothers and sisters, my friends- I love you. I would do anything for you. You know many groups of Americans come to MITC and leave after a week. How did I get so blessed to stay? How did I get so blessed to go to your hometowns and stay in your homes? How did I get so blessed to meet your family and friends? How did I get so blessed to be with you on your birthday? How did I get so blessed to cry with you over hard times? How did I get so blessed to laugh and be with you during great times? How did I get so blessed to seek the face of God and seek His will for our lives together for a year? How did I get so blessed? Tuesday I will leave Mexico and as I leave you I have but one comfort. And that comfort is something God really taught me this past year and that is how to live with an eternal perspective. The author of Hebrews says we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. This is my comfort- that one day very soon we will be together forever and ever and ever praising Our God. What an incredible and ever comforting thought! But in the meantime you and I have work to do. I see myself now and I will always see myself as a foreign missionary right now that is taking on the form of a high school Spanish teacher in Shreveport, Louisiana. I ask for your prayers and know that you will always be on my mind, in my heart, and in my prayers. Thank you for everything. God bless you.

There is one more person I want to thank and that is my Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him I would not be here. During my senior year at LSU I came across a quote from Henry Varley that really touched my life. Henry Varley once said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully consecrated to Him." I am a living testament of those words. The key to that quote is in the end- a man has to be fully consecrated to Him. Once you give God your life, your hopes, your dreams, your everything there is no limit to how He can use you for His purposes. I want to leave you with these words, that they may be an encouragment to you as you continue to follow Jesus. "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully consecrated to Him" Que Dios les bendiga.

jueves, 20 de mayo de 2010

Letter to the Real World

A Letter to the Real World

Dear Real World,

You have been on my mind a lot lately so I decided to write you, I hope that’s ok. You know there has been much talk about us lately. Some think that I’ve never met you but only think of you as an abstract concept that adults make up to dissimilate a youth’s dream and drive. I respectfully disagree as you know full well I looked you straight in the face today and I’ll never be the same.
Before the sun arose this morning you were already in the car with your husband and three children headed to the clinic in Cintalapa. After your seven hour descend down the mountains you patiently waited almost a whole day for an eye operation that you would not have had if it wasn’t for the North American doctors coming to Chiapas this week. I did my best to translate for you and the doctor although you were very hesitant to speak to me in Spanish because your Indian dialect was your native tongue. Twenty-three. That’s how old you told me you were. I couldn’t believe it. Real World, you have three children and your face resembles that of a tired forty-year old. You are my age, my height, and my size but with no question you have one life very different from my own. You work in the fields all day every day with your husband. Your simple smile with a few crooked teeth hid your suffering. I knew you were scared about your surgery and that’s why I was there when you were on the operating table, stroking your dark hair as the anesthesiologist put you to sleep. When you awoke from your surgery I was also there, sitting on the edge of your cot, and I watched helplessly as you shifted uncomfortably in pain from one side to another. As you were moving around your hurting eyes caught mine and you immediately reached out and put your hand in mine and although my white skin paled in comparison to your sun-burnt brown hand, my fingers were intertwined with yours and in this moment I was a part of you. The need for food, water, medical attention, and of a Savior was as much a part of you as it was of me. And in these predestined minutes I saw your fear, felt your desire, knew your need, and for the first time really understood your reality.
Real World, you are survival. You are strong and stoic but truth be told you are lacking and I pray that as my presence continues to crash into yours that my light would illuminate your darkness. Real World after my time with you today I realized that you are not something to fear, or something to conquer, and certainly not something to ignore. The lines on your face taught me something my higher education never could. They outlined your true identity and looking back on my life I realize that I have met you before, I just wasn’t conscious of your presence in my life.
I first met you in Baton Rouge, Louisiana two years ago in a coffee shop after your ESL class. You made me laugh and feel good about my broken Spanish. I know of your situation. I know you don’t love him but married him for a greencard and it sends chills down my spine to know what he is asking of you in return for your citizenship. However, I have seen pictures of your two precious teenage girls in your homeland and with tears in my eyes I can tell you that I don’t blame you for what you are doing. I know your girls are depending on that check coming in from the States each month. Yes, Real World, this was my first brush against you and man did you ever hit me hard. Then I met you again in Madrid, Spain on a subway. It was late at night and my traveling buddy and I were making our way back to the hostel. You tried to rob me. You didn’t succeed but left me shaking and scared all the same. Real World, you know it’s ok. I don’t hold this offense against you. I don’t know where you came from or your motivations behind what you tried to do but I can’t help but think that you might not know any other way of life and I hate that. I can only hope and pray that one day you will have a reason and the freedom not to do the things you are currently doing. In Havana, Cuba I ran into you again. You were so sweet and loving as you took me into your home and gave me something to eat. My heart burned and tears sprung to my eyes as you whispered in my ear about the desperate situation that you and our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing in this Communist ruled country. The scarcity of food and lack of liberty is widespread and felt by everyone. After Hurricane Katrina you had nothing to cook for your family for three days except one old box of macaroni filled with worms. Your husband will soon retire as the pastor, leaving you, him, your daughter, and granddaughter with no place to live. You made me tremble with your stories. I have never had a God-fearing woman like yourself open up to me on the verge of tears and beg for my prayers. Real World, you see I have had all these experiences with you all over the world but it wasn’t until our encounter today in Mexico that I realized exactly who you are and who you aren’t and it wasn’t until staring you in the face that I realized that my mere existence can have an impact on you if I so let it.
My Sweet Real World, may I never become numb to your existence and need again but let’s be honest. What is awareness without action? It’s a picture of a starving boy in Africa on a wall in an air-conditioned museum. Strolling across the cold marble floors, spectators curiously approach the picture and gasp as they realize the skeleton wrapped in smooth black skin is a little boy staring back at them. Undoubtedly, the spectators are touched, their hearts burn, and maybe even a few will cry but most all if not all will walk away, pushing through the glass doors out of the museum. They will be back to their own lives and on to lunch. And the little boy will stay there on the museum wall… desolate and hungry...
Oh praise God my eyes have been open not only to your reality but my own reality. You and I are very different but you have always been the same and it was me who needed a divine wakeup call. I apologize that you were the first one to reach out for my hand but all the same I thank God that you did because I find great inexpressible joy in helping you. Now that I know who you really are in the context of who I really am I understand how I can relate to you. God willing, I will continue to feed that hungry little boy on the museum wall. I will feed that hungry little boy on the museum wall because that’s the heart of my Master. He loves you Real World. Oh how He dearly loves you!
Well, Real World, I need to go for now but let me close with this God forbid I ever forget your face. However, memories of your worn face will never suffice and besides I am sure you will not be easily erased from my mind. No, I will always see you off in the distance in my wandering thoughts, in an occasional dream, in my sporadic prayers, and in my daily life. So after today my heart’s cry is not God forbid I ever forget your face however more exact God forbid I ever stop reaching out my hand to help you.
May my God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you. I love you but not as much as He does.

Sincerely His,

lunes, 26 de abril de 2010

Update on Sergio

The following is an email I recieved from a friend who went to meet and visit Sergio, the boy that I wrote about in my blogs Behind the Mask.


Que puedo decir,... "what can I say",... I arrived on time today to pick up the donation for the home, I have to say that I was very emocionado por visitar a Sergio and meet him even when he didn't know I was coming,... I arrived with a big smile and wondering how was the moment going to be due he didn't know me;... I started looking to find where he lived because in the address it didn't say which number the house was, so I asked only one time and an old lady told me; Oh Sergio lives in that little house with blue windows; I thanked her and started walking to the house, when I got there my heart was beating fast and with a smile I saw a lady on a couch sitting and I asked her, Is Sergio Home? she looked at me and asked me who's looking for him and I said,... long time ago he went to a Clinic in Cintalapa called "Peña de Horeb" in that instant the lady walked to the door, opened it and told me Come on in!!!!! I saw how the moment changed and she allowed me to get into her home only by knowing that I was coming from the Clinic or something similar; and we started talking a bit and I told her that Brooke a girl who translated for the clinic during that campaign met Sergio, she had talked to him and sent him a Bible and a Book, in that moment she saw my eyes and told me OH I Remember Her!!!! She is a white pretty girl, and i said, YOU'RE Right! lol; She told me, Sergio isn't home because he's at his Therapy so I asked her at what time he was arriving, she told me around 4 or 5,... I explained to her that i needed to go to Tuxtla to do some other things but that I was going to come back to see if he was there around 2:30, she told me Yes, maybe he'll be here!, so I said bye to sergio’s mom and his brothers and I left,.....

Around 2:00; I drove to her house again, I got there right on time 2:33 i guess and I walked over to her house, and guess what!!!! Sergio was there!!! I was so happy about that!, cuz then I could give the Bible to him en persona!, so I said, Hey Sergio, como estas? he said Fine!!!, I introduced myself and asked him, do you remember brooke? the girl who talked to you when you were in the clinic? he said Yes! I remember her,.... ""Well Sergio, she sent this to you"" you should see how happy he was, he told me, she told me that was sending them but i thought that she forgot and I said, Nope, here they are just for you!!! he said, Thank You! I shared a couple of words with him and at the end we took a picture, actually only two, the ones i'm attaching! It Was a BLESSING to my life,! and Again, Brooke you have a wonderful heart! I Admire you, and please let me express this cuz I can't keep it on my heart, at your young age you are a blessing to my life, I'm learning so much about you and it's so amazing! keep looking to God and He'll do the even the littlest dream that you keep on your heart, I'm 100% Sure!

Gracias por enseñarme mucho a travez de esta experiencia con Sergio brooke!

Thank You!
I Miss U


viernes, 16 de abril de 2010

domingo, 4 de abril de 2010

My trip to la Fuente

Oaxaca. A word that once provoked mental images of poverty and accompanying sensations of sneezing, headache, and watery eyes has become a word that means something completely different and something even beautiful to me. I have to be honest and admit that I was not looking forward to my week long trip to the poorest state in Mexico but I was willing and packed after I read the desperate message from my sweet friend, Debi, who is serving her year of practice in a town called Fuente Misteriosa (Mysterious Fountain). She was discouraged, heartbroken, and needing me and that’s all it took for me to make arrangements and pack some food to give away and my allergy medicine. I left the day the second and third year students went on their week of missions so it worked out that a second year student, Jesús, was going to the Fuente so I was able to travel with him gracias a Dios. Hermano Jorge drove a truck full of students including me as far as Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Once we made it to Tuxtepec, we unloaded and went our separate ways as quickly and efficiently as possible. Jesús, Leslie, who was going to a nearby town, and I bought tickets to ride in a truck to la Fuente from Tuxtepec. After an hour of driving through the hills we arrived to the village where my best friend was living. I honestly don’t know how to creatively continue this blog all I know is that I want to document my past week. It’s hard to find the words to describe the amazing experiences I had. I know I was given a very unique opportunity to live and work alongside two Mexican missionaries. Some unforgettable memories from the week include the following: walking through the muddy streets with Debi and Jesús, visiting the elderly, praying for the sick, hiking to another town to have a church service on a front porch of a believer’s house, conducting different Bible Studies, living in a church member's house, depending on members of the church for every meal, swimming in the river, laughing until my insides hurt, singing praises on the roof under the stars, and learning how to make tortillas.

A couple of specific memories

1. Lately God has been convicting me and really working on my heart concerning His heart and desire to help the poor. Before I left I wanted to use some of the resources God had given me to buy some food to take to the village because last time Debi was at MITC she told me about a destitute family living there. Of course, I went to Walmart and I shopped with my American mentality. What I mean is I walked through the aisles remembering the numerous times my church ran can food drives and the times at Disciple Now where we would go and buy food for different families in the community. So naturally I grabbed some bags of spaghetti, Prego sauce for the spaghetti, bag of dried vegetables, milk, juice, cereal, and of course two family size boxes of Macroni and Cheese, peanut butter, and strawberry jam. These are the essentials, right? It really helped that Cordoba had a Walmart because it was easy to find the food I was looking for. By the time I packed all the food I had bought, I hardly had any room left for my own clothes. It's safe to say that my suitcase weighed a TON. I knew it would take a miracle to get this suitcase where I was going. My miracle turned out to be stubborn but physically strong Jesús because he insisted on carrying my suitcase without any help up the hill from where the truck dropped us off. I really didn’t think he was going to make it but gracias a Dios he did. The funniest part happened when I unloaded by suitcase to show Debi the goods I brought. I could tell something was wrong as she tried her best not to laugh. She said, “Now Brooke this is really really really good. It’s all good. It’s ok. This is good.” I interrupted her ongoing praises as I said, “Debi, just tell me what is it. What’s wrong?” She continued, “Well Brooke, you bought all American food. People especially here in the village don’t eat things like this. They wont know what Macroni and Cheese even is. I don't know what this is. What is this?” We both just busted out laughing for the next couple of minutes. Then Debi said, "Brooke, you have been living at the school for seven months now cooking black beans every week and you didn't think to buy any beans?" We laughed even harder as I told her that I wasn't going to make anyone eat something that I didn't like and the curious thing is that it never occured to me to buy beans. Well all this to say that I tried but everything did work out perfectly in the end. The family we were staying with lived in the States for three years so we let them have the Macroni and Cheese and the Prego sauce. The mother of the family was ecstatic because she told me her little boy loved Macroni and Cheese and he hadn’t had it in a really long time and the last day we stayed at her house she cooked us some spaghetti with the Prego sauce that we gave her. It was excellent and my first American meal in a long time. Debi kept the peanut butter herself and we served cereal one morning with the children and some of them wanted the strawberry jam in their cereal so that’s what we did with that. The rest of the food we were able to give away to families in need.

2. I’ll never forget the day we went to visit Hermana María. She was an older lady with a face full of wrinkles and she lived in a palmed roof house with strips of wood as walls. The house was only one small room with a dirt floow. She had no family and almost no possessions. She hardly spoke any Spanish but it was amazing how Debi was able to communicate with her. Hermana Maria kept thanking us for coming because she kept telling us that she has no one. My heart broke as we were in her house. I gave her most of the food that I brought (except the American food that she wouldn’t know what it was) and after I gave her the food she went to the back of her house with a plastic bag. I wasn’t sure what she was doing until she came back and the plastic bag was filled with eggs, at least eight of them. She then stretched out her arm, giving me the plastic bag. I just stared at the bag and then looked back at her. There was no way I could take this gift. She had NOTHING and she wanted to give me from her the little food supply that she had. My heart broke as I received her gift. There was nothing I could do. I had to receive it and I did.

3. Something I have learned at MITC is that when you go out into these villages you have to eat everything they give you because a lot of times the people are giving you the only food that they have and it would be very offensive not to accept it and eat all of it. Without a doubt my biggest struggle while I was in Oaxaca was eating all the food at each meal. Each day Debi goes to a different house to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast Sunday morning was a very different and unpleasant experience for me because it was the first time I ate a whole bowl of something while trying to figure out what exactly I was eating. It was eggs and hot sauce but it had some kind of meat in it that smelled and tasted fishy. As soon as we left the house my first question for Debi and Jesús was “What in the world did we just eat?” to which Debi responded "sardines". My stomach did not take it well that day. Then monday morning came with no compassion for my stomach nor my taste buds. This morning we headed to the main church leader’s house to eat breakfast. I remember sitting around the table as his daughter put a bowl in front of me with enough food for three people to eat. I studied meticulously the contents of my bowl and I then decided that it was cubed potatoes, hot sauce, and some unknown substance that had a fishy smell. I immediately thought sardines and looked around the kitchen for evidence until my eyes rested on the six opened canes of tuna and my heart sank. I hate tuna. Oh man, how I hate tuna! … and then for the tuna to be mixed with potatoes and then for that to be mixed with hot sauce and then enough of it to feed three people… I wanted to cry. I really honestly wanted to cry. I felt as if my whole body shook in repulsion as I loaded my mouth with the first spoonful. I was stuck. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t refuse the food but I knew that my body would sure enough refuse it if I didn't. I prayed for a way out. Ten minutes passed. Fifteen minutes passed. Debi and Jesús were almost done eating all the food on their plates and I still had a bowl full. I cried inwardly for God to give me a way out then suddenly an idea popped in my mind. I knew for my idea to play out I had to go into stealth mode. I took my blue vera bradly bag that was hanging on the left side of my chair and moved it to the right side of my chair in one inconspicuous motion. You know where I am going with this Sweet Reader? Well I knew I couldn’t just dump the bowl into my bag because that would be too obvious but I also knew that I couldn’t sneak the food in my bag one spoonful at a time because that would take too long because there was too much food left on my plate so I came up with my own gameplan. I reached for one of the big tortillas that were in the middle of the table as I joined in on the conversation with a simple remark. Then as the conversation turned from me and flowed between my two missionary friends and our hospitable lady of the house, I wrapped as much potato/tuna/hot sauce concoction as I could into the corn tortilla and waited for the perfect moment to slide the overstuffed tortilla into my bag. The moment came and my bowl suddenly became half empty. I took another tortilla and with the same stealth mode I finished empyting my plate. I sighed with a breath of relief and my stomach rejoiced as I looked down at my now empty bowl staring back at me. Maybe I was cut out for this missionary work I thought. After we left, we weren’t ten yards away from the house when Debi looked up at me and asked me what I did with the food. I panicked wondering if she took notice of what I what I did. I voiced my concerns and she replied that she didn’t see me do anything but she knew me well enough to know that I didn’t down my plate of food in 2 minutes especially something I didn’t like. I told her that she did in fact know me well and Debi and Jesús both cracked up laughing as I opened up my bag and asked if anyone wanted seconds.

sábado, 20 de marzo de 2010

Justo a tiempo 2

So this is my second blog titled Justo a Tiempo. I didn’t plan on this and you may wonder why and you may even wonder what it means in English for my non-Spanish speaking friends. Justo a tiempo means right on time. I got to Cordoba with the letter for Mary justo en tiempo. And this past week God sent me some much needed love and encouragement justo a tiempo.
Last week I woke up with bug bites on my stomach. And then the next day they seemed to spread from my stomach to my back and then to my neck. This seemed to top off the difficult week I was having. It had gotten to point in my ministry where I felt very lonely. And I was realizing that I wasn’t made to do ministry alone. Even Jesus Himself did ministry with others for He had His 12 disciples. At this point I felt that it didn’t matter that I had been thoroughly immersed in the Mexican culture for 9 months, I still couldn’t completely relate to my brothers and sisters here. The students are my age and have the Holy Spirit living inside them but we still see the world a little differently because of our past upbringing. Whether I like or not, I am a product of my culture. I was raised in the beautiful U.S. I grew up speaking English. I grew up eating pop tarts. I grew up in an air-conditioned house. I grew up with a washing machine. I grew up in a town with nearly a church on every other street corner. I grew up driving a car by age sixteen. I grew up watching TV and playing on the computer. I grew up in an affluent society where you were taught that your dreams were within your reach with hard work and education. Now when I accepted Christ as my Savior, He changed everything. I saw the world with a completely new perspective but I still have my American customs and this American default mindset. Anyway, all this to say that there are differences between the American culture and the very distinct cultures of Mexico. And sometimes I feel misunderstood in daily conversations. I guess what I am trying to say is I have to work a lot harder at my relationships with the people down here because we have to cross over cultural lines. I wouldn’t give anything for my time here, I have seen God work in my life and through my life in ways unimaginable but there comes times when all I want is to curl up beneath my electric blanket at home or eat some Cheez-its and talk about LSU football or about Garth Brooks returning to the music industry. So here I was in Mexico, feeling lonely and with bug bites that itched like crazy. And God in His great mercy sent me help justo a tiempo.

“When is the next American group coming?” I asked one morning in Dan’s office.
“Actually, there is a small group of college aged students coming Friday.” he coolly replied.
I perked up instantly. “Where are they from?” I inquired.
“Christ fellowship” he answered as if the name of the church gave away the origin and I was ok with that. I didn’t press further; it didn’t matter to me if they were from Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, or Ohio. I was just so excited that some people my age were coming down.

I stayed up late that Friday night, reading a John Piper book on my couch, until I heard the van pull up and people unload. I had to calm myself down before I left my room because I didn’t want to scare the weary travelers with my enthusiasm and excitement of seeing and meeting people that looked like me and talked like me. So I opened the door and my eyes peered out into the night looking for the six young people. I found them unloading their suitcases next to the apartment building. I immediately walked over, introduced myself, grabbed a handle on the remaining suitcase, and followed them to their rooms.

“So where ya’ll from?”I asked eagerly.
“We’re from Shreveport, Louisiana.” one of the girls answered.

I can’t tell you how unexpectantly and how sweet the name of my hometown rang in the dark night. And that’s when I thought, “oh, that’s why Dan just said the name of the church when I asked him where they were coming from. He thought I would know that church.” It all made sense now and I was ecstatic about people my age and from my own hometown spending the week with me. Thus began one of my favorite weeks here Mexico.

Mallory, Ashley, Tommy, Allyson, David, and Patrick came into my life justo a tiempo. This week God used this team to touch many lives here including my own because their mere presence was a sweet medicine to my soul. Two of the girls were my age and in fact one was a teacher at a school that I was looking to work at. The coincidences and the friends we had in common was ridiculous to the point of being very humorous. They worked mostly at the school this week, doing construction projects but we did go to a village in a mountain for a church service and to watch some baptisms. Only two from the group had been to MITC before so it was great to have some newcomers. I really enjoy watching Americans experience Mexico for the first time, it’s just something special and unique about your first time at MITC and anyone who has been here knows what I am talking about. It’s just something about your first glance at the incredible snow-capped volcano on Jorge’s roof, or it’s just something about the voices of the students as the praise God before each meal, or it’s the joy you find in washing dishes with the students after the meal, or it’s the sweet smell of exotic flowers, or the sound of birds in the morning, or the taste of your first Manzana Lift or a chocolate Emperador cookie, or the love you feel in church on Sunday morning. It’s just something about experiencing these things for the first time that captures your heart and burns a desire deep within that will not be satisfied until you return to God’s Mexico. And I pray that these dear friends of mine would return to God’s Mexico soon. Thank you for coming and ministering to God’s people and ministering to me as well. Your presence here this past week has had ripple effects which are still being felt and enjoyed today. Que Dios les bendiga.