Monday, October 22, 2007

Mexico Update

First, I would like to say thanks to everyone who joined us through prayer. Our trip was amazing, and I know that so much of it was a result of the prayers that lifted us up from around the world. We couldn't have done it without you! Here are some pictures to highlight our time in Mexico. As a reminder, half of our team was TLC, the deliverance ministry of Heritage, and I don't have any pictures of their ministry, since the meetings are confidential. They worked tirelessly all week, though, and God used them tremendously in the lives of so many of the pastors over in Mexico.

Where to start? How about with the food! The food was amazing - we had 15 incredible ladies volunteer to cook our meals for us throughout the week [on rotation]. I never had to wonder if I would like the food. We at the majority of our meals at this long table in the fellowship hall at the Wesleyan church in Huichihuayan.

Mexican transportation. Normally we rode in a van and a suburban, but we were headed up to the top on a mountain on a not-so-good road, so we got to ride standing up in this truck for an hour as we wound slowly up the mountain [and then back down!]. The church we were going to, despite is more remote location, was our biggest night of ministry! There were about 3x's as many women and children at this church than at any other church we went to!

Our half of the team would split up by gender. The women worked with women and the men worked with children. While the guys were off playing with and teaching the children, we would read John 13:1-17 to the women, wash their feet and talk with them, then someone would share a little bit at the end.

The women in Mexico don't ever really get to feel special, or loved on, so it was so much fun to see their response to us washing their feet. They would giggle and seem very shy about the whole process. We would talk to them as best we could with the Spanish we knew, and by the end, you could just see the walls come down. They loved it!

We had a few hours between painting and our women's ministry, so we were taken to this natural spring in Huichihuayan. We sat on that rock for a long time debating on whether or not to go in, but finally made the leap together.

These were the kids at the church in La Pimienta. They were so much fun!

Our half of the team [L --> R]: Joe, Jess, Amy, Holly, Mike, Craig, Deb, Bri, Dustin, Arturo [down front]. Arturo is the District Superintendent over the Central Mexico district. He was with us throughout most of the trip and is a fantastic leader and all-around fun person.

Huichihuayan is a little town with mountains on either side of it. The view everyday was gorgeous.

We spent most of our mornings painting the inside [and a little bit of the outside] of this church in a town about 25 minutes from Huichi called Aquismon. It has been abandoned for a long time, and they just recently found a pastor, Jael, to take the church. It was in desperate need of some work.

Joe carrying our load of foot-washing tubs.

One of the many church's we went to for the women's/children's ministry. This is the church at the top of the mountain we went to via the back of the truck [see picture above].

Our lovely abode where 14 of us stayed with one bathroom :). It actually worked out quite well, surprisingly!

After our last day of painting in Huichi, we had an afternoon off and were taken to place called "Las Pozas de Edward James." Click here and here for more info on Las Pozas and Edward James. It's a truly fascinating place to see. If you ever get the chance to go there, do it. It's totally worth it!

More of "Las Pozas"

A handful of the wonderful ladies who did all of our cooking and served us so wonderfully.

We had one last afternoon off, and Ben [co-leader with me and former missionary to the area] took us to Pago-Pago, this place full of waterfalls and swimming holes.

A few of us climbed into the waterfall, and then continued on past it and up a few more. What's amazing about this place is that the farther back you go, the more and more waterfalls you find! It's just so incredible!

Our last couple days were spent in Valles, a larger city about an hour from Huichihuayan. Our team was split up and we stayed in homes. Holly, Amy, Bri, and I stayed with Jael [Khaki pants, striped shirt], who will be the pastor of the church we were painting. She is only 28! We really connected with these girls [Jael and her two sisters and another family member] and had a great time with them the last couple days.

Our last day was sunday, and several people preached in different churches, before we headed back to eat lunch and prepare to leave Monday morning. Here we are at about 3:00am Monday morning, waiting to go to the airport 2 hours away.
All in all it was an incredible trip. We washed nearly 300 women's feet, helped prepare a church for her congregation, ministered to countless little children, and had tons of fun in the process. our team got along incredibly well, and everyone had great attitudes the whole time [and if they didn't, they didn't share them with us!]. I couldn't have asked for a better trip or a better group of people to go with. We even had a couple on the team begin to sense a call to go back for a longer period of time. This trip was definitely a gift, and I'm excited to see how our church continues to partner with the churches in Mexico in the future [we send two teams a year]!