10.26.2014

Opportunities

Hi guys,
I am probably the worst blogger ever, the not-updating queen. Sorry about that! In the nearly two months since my last update, I:
  • Had a hot date with a Transformer
Optimus Prime, what big, strong arms you have!
  • Found some rockin' awesome Lebanese food
  • Terrorized some teenagers
  • Visited a temple on top of a mountain
  • Got to hang out with my mom!
We're basically the same person. People didn't know what to do.
  • Lived in a state of near-constant intestinal excitement (Picture not included. Actually, there is no picture. You're welcome.)
It's been an interesting time. I've had a lot of conversations with different people. One of my most interesting opportunities so far is that I get to ride in a lot of taxis, which means that I have the chance to have all kinds of short conversations with the drivers. My basic approach is to go in as a dumb American who doesn't really know anything about the culture, and ask questions. Admitting my ignorance gives me the freedom to ask all kinds of stuff and find out about people--what they think about, what they value, how they make decisions, what their families are like, etc. It's actually probably my favorite thing. I think people are fascinating. Sometimes I get to share in return, sometimes not. One of my biggest struggles is when/whether to admit I'm not a Catholic. Sometimes it opens doors of curiosity for people, sometimes it shuts doors right away. Sometimes I just don't have very good judgment, and I make mistakes in talking. It's iffy. 

On Friday, I went to the Centro to hang out with one of the teenagers from church, and introduced her to Korean food (yesssssss). When she ended up leaving earlier than expected, I was at loose ends for a bit, so I walked around, went to the Christian bookstore (bookstores are a trap; I rarely escape unscathed), people-watched for a while, then eventually caught myself a taxi to go home. My taxista was pretty curious about me, what I think of Mexico, where I've gone. I told him I've gone to Guanajuato, which is a very normal, tourist-thing to do, and that I've gone to San Juan de Los Lagos, which is not at all a tourist thing to do, unless you happen to be on pilgrimage. It's an odd kind of street cred. He asked me if I had gone to see the Virgin. Yes, of course. He wanted to know what I thought about it, and I told him that it had made me think when I saw the room with all of the offerings.
video
I asked him if he had gone on pilgrimage to see the Virgin, and he responded that he actually has an outstanding manda to go see her, that he has to go on his knees and bring an offering. When questioned he responded that she saved him after an accident and took care of him, because he had prayed to her. 

He's also a devotee of St. Judas Thaddeus, patron saint of lost causes. I asked him how a person chooses a particular saint to venerate, and he mentioned that it has a lot to do with people's needs at any given time. 

For some reason, as we arrived at the door to my house, he mentioned something about being an alcoholic, and about how he has problems with his family, and they're threatening to kick him out. It was the craziest opportunity. I told him about Jesus, and about my mom's family. I've seen that testimony be pretty powerful, in how Jesus broke the chains of sin in the generations of my mom's family when she gave her life to Him. I talked to him about how Jesus came to save sinners, to give us joy, power, and peace. He stayed receptive, so I asked him if I could pray for him right there, and as I prayed for him, he began to cry. I shared the gospel with him. I asked if he had a Bible, and he said no, but his mom did, and that he had never read it, so I gave him my tiny Bible, showed him where John is, and asked him to read it. I asked him if I could give his contact information to some of my friends who live here, who can help him, and he said yes. The last thing he said before we made our goodbyes was, "I've never opened a Bible before."

Prayer requests
  • Please pray for my friend here. She woke up this morning with a terrible pain in her back. She's had back surgery before, and recurring back problems are always a fear. Please pray for her healing. It's bad enough that she thinks she probably won't make it out of the house today.
  • Please pray for the contract to come through on my friend's apartment. She only has two weeks to get it all sorted out, and the landlord's people are stalling. It would be deeply frustrating to have to pack everything up and find a new apartment before she leaves. It might also be impossible. Please pray for that door to open with her landlord's people.
  • Please pray for my taxi driver. His initials are JM. Today I'm going to talk to the people I've asked to do the follow-up with him. Please pray for openness from him when they contact him. Pray for a desperation for God.
  • Please pray for the teenagers at CPdD. It seems like God is doing some really neat things among them. 
  • Please pray for my language helpers. The 17-year-old is going to start teaching an English class this Saturday to two girls from the store where we've been having our Spanish classes. She's going to use the Bible to teach. Please pray for an open door there, for wisdom for her, for a good experience so that it's something she can get excited about and can learn to do well. I'm really stoked to see what God may do with this 17-year-old as she discovers that she can minister in creative ways.  For the other lady, the college professor--she's hit some pretty hard stuff lately as people have been coming to her with big, crazy problems. Pray that she'd see real reconciliation with the church and that she'd really become a part of the community--not just teaching, but also being taught and being able to be real with others.
  • Please pray for my friend E. She's pregnant, and she's suddenly been hit with a heavy depression. She was blindsided by it--didn't want to eat, just wanted to sleep or cry. She told us about it on Friday night at prayer meeting, and she just cried. Please pray for her, for encouragement, for healing in her body, for protection over her mind and heart. I've never experienced anything like that, so I don't really know how to pray with insight. Please ask for God to lift her head.
Praises
  • I'm enormously grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to talk with that taxi driver. I know He loves him and wants to save him. I was grateful to be the one put into the position of being able to tell him that.
  • I get to go home and see my family soon. I'll be back in town in two weeks, and that's kind of incredible to me. Praise God that I have the resources to be able to fly back, that I get this opportunity to be with my friends and family in OB. I'm really looking forward to it.
  • While I was talking to the taxista, I had this incredible awareness of how amazing it was that I was saying all of that, clearly communicating, in another language. Praise God that He's given me a gift with languages, and that I've been able to learn as much as I have of Spanish, as quickly as I have.
  • I've had two incredible language teachers, and it's been a privilege to spend time with both of them. Praise God that I have gotten to make friends here in Mexico, that He's shared this country and people with me. Praise God for the 17-year-old's movement into ministry to people outside of the church. Also, the professor shared with me, effusively, about what my friendship's meant to her over the past few months, and how God's used me in her life. I was dumbstruck. All of the good that has come about, has come about because God is gracious to use me, crazy person that I am. He's good.

Thank you for praying for me!
-Jennifer

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