Tuesday, July 30, 2013

¡Adiós Oaxaca! ¡Que Triste!

So today is my last day in Oaxaca, Mexico! It is a sad day that has come much too soon. This past week absolutely flew by. On Monday most of us were able to go to the Guelaguetza, a huge festival that Oaxaca is known for. The neighborhood that we live in has been invaded by toourists because of all that is going on. It's a beautiful time to be here, and I am so glad God has given me the opportunity to experience the beautiful culture down here! This week in our village was marked with goodbyes. We took the missionary family that we are working with out to our village to introduce them to all the people that we have been establishing relationships with this Summer. This is so that after my partner and me leave, all the people that we have been talking to don't become forgotten. They will make sure to follow up with all of our friends that we have made. Our village had a lot of festivities going on this week, so it was hard to catch many of our friends at home. Luckily, we were able to go out to the village one last time on Sunday after church to say goodbye to all of our friends. It was really hard to say goodbye especially to the families that have been so kind to us this summer by inviting us into their home and into their lives. They fed us, cooked with and for us, and treated us like their own. As we said goodbye to one family in particular, they told us that we are a part of their family, and that their doors will always be open to us and our families. After countless pictures, hugs, gifts, and 'hasta luegos'we left our village that now has our hearts. Thinking back to the first day in our village, we felt like such outsiders. No one really wanted to talk to us, much less invite us into their home. Now, we have made such amazing relationships with so many people that feel like family to me. This past week we even had a woman who insisted on us becoming the God-mothers of her nephew. Even though we had to humbly turn down the offer, she still insisted that we were part of her family and if we ever come back, we have a place to stay in her home. The people in our village do not have much, but we have experienced just so much generosity this week, and this summer. They have given us so much, and I just hope that the one and only valuable thing that we have been able to give them, the Gospel of truth, will be able to affect their lives. Please pray for that to happen. Outside of the village, there were also lots of goodbyes to all of our local Oaxacan friends that we have made in the city. One friend in particular has been so sweet and kind. She has shown me so much generosity and genuine love. She will definitely be a great friend of mine for the rest of my life. I've been so busy saying goodbye to all of my Mexican friends, I've been forgetting that I'll be saying some more goodbyes in a few days. Tomorrow morning we will fly out to Alabama for debrief. This is where everyone in Nehemiah Teams that has been serving all over the world will meet back together before we all part ways. Sadly, almost everyone on our Mexican team is from different states. We have all gotten really close to each other this summmer, so it's really sad to be saying goodbye to them as well. On the up side, our team took a spontaneous trip to the beach yesterday! It was a great time to hang out, and relax after a long, busy summer. Even though I am sun burned and sleep deprived, it was a lot of fun, and I had a really great time! Well, I think that is it! I'll be spending my day packing up and taking care of some last minute things before we fly out tomorrow morning. Thank you to everyone who has been praying and supporting me this summer. I have had so many awesome experiences, and memories so thank you again to all of you! See you soon! Love, Karen To Him be the Glory!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Village time and Turneo the Futbol!

Hey everyone,
Sorry I'm posting this so late! It seems like as it gets closer to the end of the Summer, the busier we are getting! So this past week was pretty great! On Monday in our village we finally met with the older man whose birthday party was the week before. We went to his house and talked with him for a good amount of time. He listened to a bible story in his heart language and then we talked for a bit. He was explaining to us that now that God has allowed him to live longer, he is becoming more religious. He told us that he prays his rosary every day, and that he never drinks a drop of alcohol, and that he is a very slow to anger man. I told him that those are all great things, but then I asked him if he has confidence that he is going to go to heaven when he dies. He gave me a blank stare and said, "Who knows?" I explained to him that according to the gospel, we can have complete assurance that we will be going to heaven but through Christ alone, and not from our own works. Even after hearing this, the man had a very hard time understanding this. He still insisted that he wasn't sure what would happen to him. He told me that he likes to read his bible, even though it is really long. Please pray that he may have ears to hear, and that he may gain understanding of the promise of eternal life that has been bought for him by Christ.

This week we also were able to talk to L, the lady who we have known, and have been meeting with. Her brother is the man who believes in the religion about a mother God. We began talking about it with her and she told us that he has tried to tell her about this religion, but it just doesn't seem right to her. She told us that she doesn't know too much about the bible, but she knows that what he believes just doesn't feel right to her. She also told us that she doesn't have anyone to teach her about the bible either. We didn't want to be just another person telling her what the "truth" is, so we just encouraged her to read the bible for herself if she wants to learn what the truth is. We told her that many false teachers will come and go, which is why it is so important for her to read the bible for herself so that she will not fall for anything that is not of God. We told her that she can pray to God and ask him to reveal himself to her. She was really interested in what we had to say, which is great! At this point in time, we feel like we have finally gotten past the stranger stage, and now she truly treats us as friends. We feel so much more comfortable talking with her but unfortunately, we will be leaving in a week. I thought 2 months was a long time, but it really isn't. Please be praying for this woman, that she may truly seek God and know him and not be swayed by any false teachings.

Last week, we also had a soccer tournament in another village nearby! My job was translating games and a bible story for the kids. We eagerly put on our warrior paint, and we had a blast! I was able to share the story of David and Goliath with kids. It was a very long and hot day, but a whole bunch of children were able to hear the gospel that day, which was well worth it!

We are down to our last week here in Oaxaca. I've been getting sick a lot, so please be praying for my health during my last week here. Please pray that our whole team may all finish strong, and not give up on our task given to us. Thanks everyone! (:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's a FIESTA!

It’s the end of week six here in Oaxaca, and there are only two weeks left! Thinking about going home makes me happy, yet the thought of leaving everything behind is a little disheartening. I’m learning so much about God, myself, and the world. The thought of leaving this place, during this point in time really makes me sad, but I’m just going to make sure that I make these last two weeks really count! 

So let me give you a recap of this past week. This week, Nick, our media guy came out to our village with us for the week. We really needed to find some new people to help with the translation project so we started off the week looking for some fresh new faces. There are a group of people from the US, Mexico, and Germany that are in the village filming a documentary about the village. It's kind of funny because many of the natives have been mistaking us for documentary staff. Literally every new person we encountered this week asked us how our movie is going. We’ve explained many times that we are not part of the film, but instead we are working on a separate project of translating stories from the bible into their native language. One man who also happens to be a translator for the documentary guys helped us with one of our stories. He was a really great help, but because he is working for the documentary, he is usually busy and isn’t home often. Ultimately, it has been difficult to find people that are available and helpful with the translation project so please continue praying for more open doors as far as help goes. On Wednesday, it was really cool because we were able to go and watch the live process of the story translation. Nick, our media guy, is writing a story on the whole process so I will share that with you all as soon as soon as I can. 

FIESTAAAAA TIME!!! So, we were invited to two fiestas in the village this week! The first one was for the older grandpa that asked us to leave when I shared my testimony last week. The fiesta was really… interesting. We basically hiked up the mountain to get to the house and when we got there a traditional band from the village was playing as they served us our meal. Here’s a funny story... So we were sitting down and they brought the three of us each a really large bowl of soup that had a bunch of stuff floating in it. This stuff sort of looked like scrambled eggs but with shredded chicken in it and chopped up tomatoes and onions.  Then, they gave us a huge pile of GIANT tortillas. And when I say giant I mean HUGE!  They gave us so much of this soup stuff; I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it. It’s rude to not finish all your food, so I ripped off some pieces of my giant tortilla and I went to work on my huge amount of chunky soup. All of us were trying so hard to finish our food, and we reached a point where we were just way too full, yet there was still so much left! At that moment, I noticed our lady friend next to us picking out all the chunks from her soup, and placing them on a tortilla. Then, she placed two more tortillas on top of her mountain of food and she rolled it all up and put it in a bag. She noticed that I was staring at her so she told me that she was saving the rest for tomorrow. As it turns out, we were never expected to finish all the food they gave us. They intentionally gave us a lot so that we can take most of it home with us- it’s tradition. It was really hilarious, but we still wished that we would have known that valuable piece of information before we had stretched out bellies to the limit. Overall, going to his birthday party was a really great foot in the door. The old man was really glad we came, and he even invited us to come back to his house another day. The village fiesta food experience was totally worth it! (; Fiesta numero dos was also a very humorous evening, but you will have to ask me about that one in person!
This week we took Nick over to visit our lady friend from week one that has been a GREAT help towards our project. She listened to the story of David when he becomes king. She told us right before that she had never heard this story before, and she was really happy to hear it. During the story, Nick noticed that she was tearing up as she was listening to it. She really opened up with us this week and told confessed to us that she stopped reading the bible because a lot of what she read in the Old Testament really bothered her, and because of that, she has never read any of the New Testament. It was a great opportunity for us to talk to her and share with her similar experiences that we have had as well. One huge problem that we really noticed this week is that each time that we begin having spiritual conversations with this woman, her young children begin acting up. They start screaming, running around, and tugging on her apron, which inevitably steals their mother’s attention. They are always really well behaved during the time that we talk to her, but the second the conversation turns to God- they suddenly act out. We are now noticing that this might be spiritual warfare. Please pray against anything that may be going against this work. (Ephesians 6:12)

This week, we experienced something we never thought we would find in this village. So we thought we were just dealing with a weird mix of Catholicism, animism, and syncretism, but this week, something weird happened! We had a really good conversation with the really awesome family that taught us how to make tortillas, and chocolate, and also took us to the old man’s birthday fiesta. The wife of the family told us that they used to be Catholic, but when her husband went to California to work, he came home and told her that he was no longer Catholic because he had found a new church that really followed the teachings from the bible. She explained to us how their lives had changed since then. We were really excited because it really sounded like we had found some believers in the village! But, a few nights ago we sat down with the husband because he wanted to have a bible study with us. We were super excited to get started! We opened our bibles and this man began top direct us to different bible verses and he began “teaching” us what he believes. He started telling us some really crazy ideas that were NOT supported by scripture. His verses that he used were completely stretched and taken completely out of context. I don’t want to take too much time telling you the things he believes, but he thinks that God has another form, which is a woman, and she is our mother. He also believes that we are living in a new time where it is no longer necessary to pray “In the name of Jesus”. I looked up this religion, and this man has been taught an extremely polluted gospel. We listened to him as he explained to us what he has learned at his church, and we tried not to argue, but just to listen. We have plans to talk to him again soon. Please pray for this man and for us. We really need to share with him what the scripture says about salvation. Jesus is the only way. He is the truth, and he is the life. No one can get to the Father, except through him. (John 14:6) We do not want to argue with this man, or point out his flawed theology. We just want to let God speak truth to him and his family through us. Please pray for this whole situation.
I know I’ve already written a lot, but so much happens throughout the week, I really want you all to know all that is going on. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and thank you for your prayers!
Also, I wanted to share a verse that I read that has been really making me think about my life from a whole new perspective.  Acts 20:24- “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, unless I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” I’m realizing how many lost people are in this world. Jesus has instructed us to go and tell all the nations the gospel of salvation. Please be praying for me as I’m trying to figure out where God wants me in the next chapter in my life. I’m realizing that I have been planning out my life exactly how I want it to be without even taking into consideration what God wants me to do with my life. I don’t want to take the easy way out and ignore God’s plans for me. Here is a really awesome quote that I read, “There is a needs be to give ourselves for the life of the world. An easy, non self denying life will never be one of power. Fruit bearing involves cross bearing. There are not 2 Christs… An easy going one for easy going Christians and a suffering one for exceptional believers. There is only 1 Christ.” – Hudson Taylor

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Village work and 4th of July in Mexico!

I can't believe another week has already gone by! My time here is flying! Thank you for everyone's prayers and awesome e-mails that you all have been sending me. I love you guys!

So this past week, we met a whole new family in the village! We haven't been receiving as much favor in our village as we had been hoping for, but this past week was different. The family we met is really nice! They welcomed us into their home and they were really excited to get to know us and to tell us all about their culture. They told us that they want to show us how to make tortillas, mole, and all kinds of stuff. They even took us to their grandfather's house to help us with our translation project. Older people in our village are really a great help when it comes to helping us with our project because they have a more extensive knowledge of the indigenous language than the younger people in the village. The only problem is that most of the older people that we encounter are a bit slow, and don't understand what it is that we need from them for our project. For instance, the older grandfather that we encountered mostly just wanted to teach us all about the language, rather than help us with claryfying our stories. But, it was completely fine because we have a recording of this man counting to 100 in the native tongue. This is really impressive because most of the younger people can only remember how to count to 30 in their language. The conversation took a sharp turn when the man asked us about what we believed. I began to tell him my testimony and when I reached the part about the time in my life when I realized that we can not earn our salvation through anything that we do, or any church that we go to, but through Jesus alone, the man cut me off and asked us to leave. I've learned that the gospel is offensive, and I just need to let it speak for itself. I've been going through the book of Acts during my time here, and Paul the apostle encountered all kinds of opposition, and persecution while he was spreading the gospel. God even told Paul in Acts 18:9 not to be afraid, to keep on speaking, and not to be silent. I'm learning that opposition is a very normal reaction to the gospel, and i'm learning to really listen to God and not be afraid to share the truth, and to never keep silent.

Throughout the week, we've been really getting to know the new family that we met. They taught Bailey and I how to make home made tortillas, and they also taught us how to mold our chocolate that we grinded up this week. They have also been teaching us how to speak their language. We're having a really great time learning some really hard to pronounce words in their language! We also had a chance to talk to this family about their beliefs. It was really interesting to hear that they do not consider themselves catholic. They told us that the catholic religion has too many rules and reqiurements that are impossible to keep, so they just call themselves "believers". They seem to be really open about talking about God, and discussing the bible, so please continue praying for more
opportunities for this to happen. We will be meeting up with this family again on Sunday for dinner in their home, so please pray for that meeting as well!

Also, on Thursday we finally caught one of our lady friends at home. This is the lady with the younger children that we met during the first week. She has been a great help with the project, and we were able to get some more help on Thursday. We were able to have a nice conversation with her and she told us all about many of the hard ships that she has faced in her life. She is truly a remarkable woman who has been through a lot. She also shared her faith with us. She told us that she also does not consider herself catholic because of the rules from church that she can not keep (there seems to be a trend here.) Although she is not catholic, she still has many idols in her house, and she prays to Mary. We were able to talk to her about that and we shared scripture with her on the subject. She told us that she has been taught that you can not pray directly to God, which is why she must pray to Mary to intercede for her. We explained to her that according to the bible, you can pray to the Father, because of Jesus. Jesus is the bridge between man and God, not Mary. Despite what the bible says, it is still hard for her to understand that she can pray directly to God, because it is so ingrained in her culture that she needs Mary and other saints to intercede for her. I can really understand this, because I was once catholic myself, so I completely understand why she does what she does, and why it is so hard to hear that the bible does not align with those beliefs. Please pray for this woman, as she is struggling with what the truth really is. Pray that she may feel compelled to read the bible, and let God speak to her through his words.

Yesterday was July 5th and our team celebrated the 4th of July.. in Mexico! (we were too busy to celebrate on the actual day) it´s a little strange celebrating a US holiday in another country, but we had fun watching our fireworks display on youtube and we enjoyed eating some home cooked American food!

Well, that's all for this week! Please keep praying:
-for all these people that we have met, and for more open doors in our village
-for unity of our team- love, kindness, gentleness, and humilty towards one another
-for energy and focus

Thanks again for the prayers!
Karen (:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Last Week Of June

Hello, Hello!
This past week in Oaxaca was pretty interesting! We didn't have as much village time as usual because my partner got sick one day. She was better the next day so thank God for that! It is rainy season in Oaxaca, so i've been caught in the pouring rain twice already, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing! It has been a pretty great adventure exploring more of the downtown area where we live. The culture out here is really "rico". I've seen some really cool parade type celebrations called a "calenda". It involves people playing music, dancing girls with long skirts and baskets on their heads full of flowers, and giant dancing paper dolls. They usually go on at night, and there's fireworks too! I really love it out here, and can't wait to upload pictures as soon as I can! 
Also, this week I had the chance to check out some really awesome markets including a black pottery market in one of the villages! 

Village update: So on Monday we went out to the village and we set off to look for the 17 year old girl that is from California, but is living with her grandma for the summer in our village. After going to a few wrong homes, we finally found our friend. Let's call her L.A. So when we to to L.A'S house, she invited us in. We had a good time getting to know her and also getting to know her grandma and cousin's that also live there. Her grandma was nice enough to feed us some delicious chile rellenos, and ague the tunas. We are really glad to have met L.A because otherwise, we wouldn't have been so welcomed into a house in the village. The next day, my partner was sick, but I still had the chance to go to the children's home! That was a lot of fun, and I even had a really awesome conversation with a little 9 year old boy about the gospel. He told me that his dad was shot and killed last year. I was able to tell him about my dad who also passed  away when I was 9. This opened the door to me being able to tell him about my heavenly Father who is all powerful and will never leave me. He is a really sweet boy, so please pray for him as well! 

The next few days in the village, we were able to hang out with L.A. again. We were sitting around talking one day when she told us she had an appointment that night with a lady that was going to come over. I asked her what the lady was coming for and she told us that the lady was a "curandero". This is basically a healer type of witch doctor. She told us that her grandma's friend is the healer, and a few days before she had read her palm and told her that her spirit was absent from her body and still in California. The girl explained to us that she would come over and mix holy water with basil leaves for the process. When she told me this, my heart sunk, and I just wanted to tell her "NOOOO DON'T DO IT!" So, instead, I just asked her some more questions about it, and I was able to share with her the story about the demon possessed man that Jesus drove the demons out of, and into a heard of pigs. We shared with her that God has power and authority over all evil spirits, and we were also able to share Ephesians 6 with her about the Armor of God. She quickly reminded us that she was Catholic, but we assured her that everything we told her she can read in her catholic bible as well. Our conversation ended when her grandma got home and offered to help us roast our cacao beans that we had bough. So, we had a good time roasting the beans, and pealing the skin off of each bean so that they can be ready for the grinder! That night, we were able to attend a small christian church in the village that had about 20 people in it. We felt so welcomed in such a way that we had never experienced in our village before. It was exactly what we needed after a spiritually exhausting week. We went up front and explained the translation project with the church, and we were even able to play some bible stories in the indigenous language of the village to the church. This is something they had never heard before, so it was really awesome being apart of that experience for them!

On Friday night, we had a small party at the guy's apartment, and we were able to invite a friend of ours that is about our age that we met in the Zocolo the week before. We introduced our friend to the guys on team since this guy plays soccer, and so does our new friend. Let's call him… John. So at the end of the night a few of us were talking to "John" and the topic of God came up. It was really cool hearing what he believes, and the questions about God that he has. We were able to share with him what we believe, and he though it was really cool that we spend time studying the bible. He seemed really open, and he even made plans to play soccer with the guys on our team on Sunday! Praise God for these new doors that are opening for us!

These weeks are just flying by! It's so awesome watching God's plan unfold before me, though! Here are some prayer requests from this week:
-Pray for the 17 year old in our village that is confused with religion and animism, and is also suffering from many personal, and health issues right now as a result of a pretty tough life. Also, pray for her grandma and family as well.
-pray for the children at the children's home, especially the little 9 year old boy I talked to on Tuesday.
-Pray for the small church in our village, that these few believers may be bold in sharing with their neighbors. 
-Pray for the guy, "John" that we met in our downtown area, that more spiritual conversations may come up!
-Pray that we will find more older people in our village that have a better understanding of the indigenous language that will be willing to help us with the translation project!
-Pray for our health, as my partner and I both got sick this past week

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Village Work and Sports Camp

Hey everyone,
This past week was pretty great!  I am just so amazed with all the awesome opportunities that God has been giving us. There have been so many open doors, it is so apparernt that God is working! This week, I spent my days working in our village and in the evening we had a church from North Carolina come down for the week. They put on a sports camp in the village for the local children as well as children from the surrounding villages. But, more about that later! 

First, let's go back to last Sunday! We went to a new church that is near the villages that my team is working in. It is a great church, and since it was Father's day, we had a special Father's day message. Speaking of Father's day, Happy Father's day and Happy Birthday to my older brother Scotty! If you're reading this, I tried calling you, but you didn't answer! :(

Now for the village. This past week we didn't spend as much time as we usually do in our village because we were helping out in the sports camp, but we still had some great stuff happen. We went back to visit our lady friend in the village. She welcomed us into her house and was ready to help us with the back-translation. This time she even had her bible ready! She has been a really great help! Please pray for for the opportunity for us to have a spiritual conversation with her so that we can share the gospel. We'll be visiting her again next week! While we were walking in the village, a local shop-keeper called us over and asked what we were doing, and where we were going. She invited us into her shop and we explained the project. She began to ask us questions about the bible. She has a lot of religious beliefs that are not biblical once so ever, so we tried our best to explain the gospel to her. She is an older woman and we plan on talking with her again soon. Please pray for her as well. 

Here's a a great story from the week! Bailey and I were exploring our village one day and for some reason we decided to hike up a mountain in the village. When we getting close to the top, a young couple stopped us and asked if we needed any help. We told them that we were looking for someone who speaks the native language, and we explained the project to them. They were very nice, and told us they would take us to their grandfather who has a very strong knowledge of the native tongue. But first, they needed to feed their goats. The next thing we knew, we were inside a stable playing with a bunch of baby goats! Then, they walked with us down the mountain to their grandfather's house! We sat down and had a conversation with the older man. It was very apparent that he is a very religious man. He was telling us about how he used to go to mass every Sunday, and how he doesn't drink anymore, and that he prays his rosary. He also told us about his saints that he worships. He is especially devout to one saint in particular, Peter. We went back to visit him the next day, and he was waiting for us for our next conversation. This time, we told him about a story from his personal bible that goes like this:

In Acts chapter 10 there was a man named Cornelius. He was a very religious, devout, God-fearing man. He gave generously to the needy and he prayed regulary. However, as religious as this man was, he did not know about Jesus. As "good" of a person that he was, he did not have salvation. So, God sent Peter to tell Cornelius about the good news of Jesus the Messiah. When Cornelius first met Peter, he fell down before him in reverence, but Peter told him, "Stand up, I am only a man myself."

Using this story that we read to him out of his very own bible, we were able to explain to him that being religious will not save you. We are all sinners no matter how good a person may be, we ALL fall short of the glory of God. But, that is why God sent Jesus to die and caused him to be raised from the dead so that we may be saved. We can have salvation through Jesus, and through Jesus alone. We also explained that Peter was just a man who followed Jesus. He is not a god himself, and should not be worshipped. Peter himself told Cornelius that he is merely a man. After sharing this with our friend, "Mr.G", he sort of just sat there thinking,. He told us that he had never heard anything like it before, and then made arrangements to talk to him again next week! Please pray for this man! Pray that he can look past anything he has ever heard from people or from churches, and that he may believe what the word of God says, and nothing else. God truly provided Bailey and I the perfect story for him, so please pray that God may continue to equip us with the right scripture to share with him. 

Okay, finally, time for the sports camp! So around 4:30 each week, we walked down to a large auditorium in our village for the sports camp that the North Carolina team was putting on. I was able to use my Spanish skills to help translate instructions to the kids. (it felt really good to be useful!) I also over-came my fear of public speaking when they asked me to welcome the kids to the camp using the microphone! (even though public speaking in front of kids is WAY less intimidating than adults haha) Next, we played soccer and basketball with the kids, and they also had the chance to do arts and crafts. I especially had fun teaching them "Futbol Americano". A lot of the kids found the American football to be funny looking, like a lime! The church that put on the camp told the children a different bible story each day, and it was obvious that the children loved it! This camp really opened a lot of doors for Bailey and I because we were able to meet a lot of parents from the village that we otherwise would not have ever seen. I even had the chance to sit with some moms/ grandmas from the village and I was able to share my testimony, and God's story with them. It turns out that these ladies are believers themselves, and have been for the past two years! How awesome is that?! I also met a 17 year old girl in our village who is visiting her grandmother from California. Bailey and I both got along with her very well, and we even made plans to hang out next week! Please pray for this new relationship as well!  I am extremely thankful for the new people that we were able to meet, and for the great time we were able to have with all the awesome kidos!

It was a long, hot. and exhausting week, but it was well worth it. I'm about 5 shades darker, so I'm really starting to blend in with my fellow Mexican friends! (; I can't believe that it is already June 21st. I feel like time is going by super fast, and there is still so much time needed to talk to all these people. At first 2 months seemed like a really long time, but now it's starting to feel like it isn't enough time. Fortunately, God has already appointed awesome missionary families that are living down here permanently to continue keeping up with all the great relationships that we are making this summer. I think that is all for this week, so stay tuned for the next blog post! Here are some more prayer requests:

- Please pray for all the new relationships that we have made
- Pray for Bailey and I that we may be ready to share the gospel in th most effective way that we can
- Pray that we will not speak our own words, but God's only.
- Pray for focus, focus, and more focus on Jesus, and NOTHING else. 

Thank you again for all the prayers. I am realizing that prayer is literally EVERYTHING! It is so important and I am praying that God may bless all of you who are fervently praying for God's Kingdom to come. 

Wherever I go, the king goes. Wherever the king goes, His kingdom comes. Wherever His kingdom comes, the powers to be must submit! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

First Week in the Villages

Hello everybody,
I know I just posted a blog post a few days ago, but we've already done so much since then! So a few days ago, we met a pastor and his wife who are both from an indigenous village. They are extremely sweet, and I am so glad to have met them. They took my whole team in and fed us some delicious home-made food with giant tortillas called "clayudas", and home-made agua de horchata. There was so much work involved in making that simple meal, I just couldn't believe it. So, please keep this Godly couple in your prayers. They are just awesome!

On Tuesday, we went to the children's home and let me tell you, it was amazing! These kids are so sweet. When we first got there, I sat on a picnic table carrying a children's bible story book. Out of no where, a ton of little children ran up to the picnic table and started climbing on top of it, (and me) to get to the book that I had in my hands.They really don't have many toys, so they were very excited to see what kinds of stuff we had for them to play with. After having fun with them for a while, I had the honor to read them the story of "Daniel y Los Leones" from the bible story book. The story was interactive, so they had a lot of fun with that. Afterwards we sang and danced and had a blast doing it! The kids were sad when it was time for us to leave, but they were really excited to be able to rip some pages out of the coloring books that we brought so they could color throughout the week. We should have a chance to go to the children's home at least once a week, so I'm really excited about that! Please pray for these kids, that they may keep these stories that we share with them in their hearts.

Now for the village, at last! Bailey (my partner for my assigned village) and me had our first official day in our village. While we are there, we are helping with a huge project that a missionary couple down here is working on. They are translating stories from the bible into the indigenous language of the village. The people in the village speak both their native language, and spanish. Most of the people can not read, so the missionary couple down here have been able to record many bible stories in this native language for them to listen to. But, the recorded stories that we have so far are only rough drafts, so that's where our job comes in. Bailey and I must go in to the village and ask the people if they would be so kind to help us with our project. They listen to a short story, and then they retell the story in Spanish. This helps us make sure that the story that they heard is accurate, and without error. The dialect of this language varies from village to village, which is why we need to make sure that our recorded stories are correct. Once all the recordings are fixed, we can distrubute them to the village. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to be apart of this amazing project. I know the end result will allow the people to hear to gospel in their heart language for the first time. Praise God for this life changing project that is in the works!

This past week, we were in our village for two days in a row. The first day, we met some local shop owners, and distrubuted flyers to the kids for an upcoming sports camp that will take place in their village next week. The kids are really eager and excited, and so am I! Day two, we had our ipod and speakers ready to start the backstory project. We were rejected by many people who were not interested in helping us, but God still opened some doors for us to share with a few people. One woman, invited us into her humble home and was enthusiastic to help us. She listened to the creation story, and re-told it to us in Spanish. It was a really great moment when she told us that that was the first time she had ever heard God's word in her native language. She told us that we are welcome to come back at any time. I know that God placed this woman in our path, so please pray for her and her three small children. Pray for our friendship, and pray that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we may share God's powerful good news with her the next time we see her. Pray that she may not reject the gospel, but that she will have a burning desire to know more. This woman has been heavy on hearts since then, so please pray for her.

More prayers:
-Please pray for this village that God may place the right people in our path that will be open and receptive to his word.
-Pray that Bailey and I may have favor, so that people will welcome us and not reject the good news we have for them, or the project we are working on.
-Pray for career missionaries that live out here with their families. I'm only here for two months, but they have been here for years.

That's it for now! I should have another update next Friday! Thank you everyone for your prayers, and for supporting me through this awesome time in my life! I read a quote this week from a deceased missionary and really liked it. "An entire lifetime is worth the salvation of one soul." That quote, and being out in the villages has made me realize that the harvest is indeed plentiful, and the workers are few. Please pray for clarity for me to know if God is calling me to career missions work.

I love you guys,

-Karen (:

To God be the Glory!

Monday, June 10, 2013

First Post From Oaxaca, Mexico

Hello everybody!!
I'm so glad that I finally found time to post! Right now, i'm at an internet cafe near my home that i'm staying in this summer. June 1st was the day I got on the plane to Alabama, where I had a 6 day orientation to prepare for the summer. It was a really great time to meet all my teamates, bond, and learn the ins and outs of what the mission field will be like. On June 6th, I finally landed in Oaxaca, Mexico! I'm staying in a house with 9 other girls near downtown Oaxaca, also known as the Zocolo. So far, we have been really blessed to have two career missionary couples that are training us for what we will be doing this summer.

God is just so awesome!! He already gave me a chance to share the gospel and my testimony with a random guy while walking through the Zocolo! The guy was really affected by the gospel message that I was able to explain to him. I know the Holy Spirit was doing all the talking, because the perfect bible verses were coming out in SPANISH that I didn't even memorize in Spanish. It was incredible! I learned that Holy Spirit WILL use me, and WILL give me the right words to say. I just need to be obedient, and He will speak through me. Please pray that this young man's heart will be receptive, and that he may want to know more. Also, please pray for more opportunities for me to share with boldness!

Lets se... what else....A few days ago, I met a local Oaxacan, and we really get along! She is around my age, and yesterday we were able to spend the afternoon together after church. She is such a sweet girl, and she  told me that she is Christian. Please pray that she may have the courage and strenth to live out her faith despite living in a society with a polluted gospel and pray for our friendship, that it may flourish- for his glory.

Now for the village!!!!!!!!!! Because we can speak Spanish, my friend Bailey and I were both assigned to a village where we will work with natives, and ask them to translate Bible stories from their indigenous language into Spanish. This task will open doors for us to share the Bible stories they are translating for us and then, we can ultimately share the gospel and our stories with them! Today Jeff, John and Jenny took us to the village that we will be working in, and showed us how to get there. On Wednesday, we will be going by ourselves! Please pray for the indigineous people in the villages. They have a very polluted knowledge of the gospel that is a mixture of catholisism, animism, and syncritism. Please pray for these people that God loves, that they may be open and friendly to the two of us going into their home and sharing the beautiful good news that they have never heard! Please pray against any boundaries that will keep their hearts from being responsive to God's message that will be delivered to them through us. 

Well, I thin that is about it! Today is only Day 4 of living in Oaxaca, but we have already done so much! Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. I'm learning how truly important and vital prayer is. Literally, every single day that I am here will be completely impossible if I do not rely on God. Here are some more prayer requests that I have not already mentioned:

- pray for unity of my team
- pray for health, as a lot of the girls have already gotten sick
- pray against any forces of ev evil that will try to stop our work
- pray for my focus on Christ and my tasks, as a lot of things are going on at home

That's all for now! A new update will be posted next week! (or as soon as I can)

I love you all, and miss you guys! 

To God be the Glory!!!!!
- Karen (:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hello World

So, this is my first blog post ever. I've never done this before, and it kind of feels like i'm talking to myself, but hopefully this will become a great way of displaying God's glory with the world. Where to begin. Lets start out with the reason I created this blog. This summer, I will be spending two months (June and July) living in Oaxaca, Mexico as a short- term missionary. I really don't like the word missionary because as a believer, I should be "missional" everywhere I go, and wherever I am. However, this summer, God is giving me the perfect opportunity to focus on solely him and his purpose. I won't have school as a distraction, or any of the hustle and bustle of every-day life getting in the way of what matters most. Not to mention that I will also be on a partial technology fast this summer. I will be leaving my cell phone, iPod, and macbook at home. As attached to these items that I am, I'm actually really excited to discover life without them. Luckily, I will have a few hours of internet time each week specifically designated for blogging and updating you all of all that's going on throughout the week. The count down is exactly 17 days until I leave my hometown of El Paso, Texas and embark on a journey that I never would have imagined happening to me. Here's my life-verse that's keeping me going right now. Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." As scary and exciting this all is, all I can do is trust God though it all! ...So how's that for my first blog post? (;