A piece of my journal

November 14th, 2015

A scene comes to mind, one I heard of years ago. Why does it come to haunt me now? It disturbs me even more than it did then. Is this the manifestation of the fear that comes from ISIS and hearing about their plans for global domination?

The scene was told by the mother. A cartel invaded their town and began ransacking homes, plundering them and killing everyone who was found in them. This mother gathered her children who were in the house and as five men broke down the front door, she fled with her children out the back door and into the woods, where they ran straight into another cartel that was lining up people to chop off their hands.

She stood in line with her children and her heart began to plead with God to save them somehow. Then her youngest, a little girl, began to cry. She tried to quiet the child, but she only wailed louder. The desperate mother could do nothing. They tore the little girl from her mother and held the screaming child as they dug a hole in the ground. The girl cried until the very end when they buried her alive, her wails silenced by the earth.

Oh God! How my heart inside me melts and my spirit is burdened with the weight of this pain and cruelty! How can people do this? The battle inside hurts, this never-ending struggle to know: is man totally evil, only doing good when it benefits ourselves? Is there any decency in a man left to himself? How can one human being do that to another? How can one ignore this instinct to love and protect children and murder one so small? Does their conscience tear them? Do their morals scream for attention? How can such atrocities be accepted anywhere by anyone?

What happened to her? Was she and her children saved? And how could she ever be happy again having seen such things?

And while men and women are being executed on the other side of the earth for their faith, we struggle to wake up in the morning to read our Bibles that are easy to access in whatever format we want. We read without any fear of arrest, but then toss it away like another box on the checklist. And then we complain that the weather is not to our liking. We whine about people who rub us the wrong way and think that we ought not be forced to put up with these kind of people. We wish the pay checks were higher and our time free to spend at leisure.

What ugly pigs we are. How foolish and shallow I am. Lord, if there is anything I can do, show me. And remind me again of the pricelessness of your word.

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Mexico, May 26th 2014

If I left Mexico right now I would already be full of God’s goodness and have so much to tell.

Our journey down was truly blessed. Though the forecast showed  storms on both sides of our route, our path was all clear blue skies.

Friday morning we stopped by an indigenous coffee shop and when we talked with the owners we discovered that they were Christians! We prayed with them and they gave us a few Spanish/English Bibles to take with us. We were both very blessed, and these are just a couple of the blessing from the road trip. The fellowship and singing were very great and encouraging.

Linda and Carl who own a used book store and coffee shop

Friday afternoon we arrived at the church and had a family reunion. The hardest part of documenting this trip is trying to describe the atmosphere. Unless you have been here, it’s hard to understand that this is home away from home. People whom I can barely communicate with are truly my family in Christ. Even though I can’t understand Spanish, we greeted each other with hugs and kisses and large smiles, which are universally understood. We love each other because Christ loves us.

Ismael and Mark

After we arrived and unpacked, some folks went shopping and the rest walked through town and invited people to the Medical Clinic, which we ran Saturday.

My favorite memory of Friday was as I was walking, preparing my sparse Spanish for my next encounter, I saw a face light up. A couple moments later and my little amiga was hugging me around the waist. I was so pleased that she remembered me! Not only remembered me, but remembered me enough to run up and give me a hug. It made my day!

Berta and Angie, two of my good friends

Saturday we got up early and after a great time of devotion we set up the Medical Clinic.

We must have been good at inviting people, though I wouldn’t have guessed it while handing out the flyers.

While people waited in line to see “Dr. Stephanie,” I invited the kids to get their face painted and color fuzzy posters. We also played with water balloons, and just water in general. All morning I ran back and forth. (It was hard not to, I have having so much fun.) Draw on this kid, hug this one, ask for this name, throw a balloon at this one, play hide and seek with this one, play volleyball with this one, and from several I learned the words for “up” “down” “here” “there” and of course my colors. It was a good day!

Somehow these kids got me to kneel so they could take turns popping water balloons over my head. Then they wanted me to lie down and literally pinned me there. I had to wrestle my way out and then run around the field to get away.

After lunch, where I learned the Spanish word for “potato” “meat” and “rice” we went to the green area to play soccer. A crowd of young men were already gathered around and warming up for the big tournament. Not only are these guys super athletic and fast, they would sacrifice their neck to get the ball. So with some fast moving Mexicans and some Gringos thrown in, we had a good time. I didn’t sit and watch the whole time, I played a miniature game with the younger kids and a couple older ones who joined in.

He plays some good soccer, and John also helps us teach young people

The Gringo Ninja Goalie, “Shaggy”

Russo

Mark, the other Ninja goalie

We also gathered the kids around in a circle and Sarah told the story of the Prodigal Son and Ismael translated.

Before the very last game of the tournament, we fathered the young people around and gave them the gospel and prayed over them. Then after the last game, we awarded prizes to the winning teams.

I am constantly convicted by the people I am working with. They serve without complaining and volunteer without being asked. They take the initiative to say hello, and they love without condition.

Like I said at the beginning, I have been so blessed through it all, and I can’t wait for more. I think my eyes glow when I think about the rest of the week.

And if I keep learning Spanish this quickly, I’ll be Mexican in no time!

Signing off from Tamalipas Mexico,
Ellie