Church Planting among the Nahuatl

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Weekend on the Ranch

Last weekend we were able to have a little “Spanish” getaway to a small pueblo, San Andres. It is about a 45 minutes drive from Chihuahua city, and our host family, the Corrals, own a small one room ranch home on some property there. They invited us out there to spend time with them, and what a fabulous opportunity it was for relationship building and language practice.

We drove out Sunday afternoon and stayed until late in the evening on Monday. It was so relaxing, and just what we both needed after a bit of a discouraging week. We did alot of visiting, cooking some delicious Mexican food, took a trip to Cuauhtemoc a nearby town for some shopping, and enjoyed a nice bonfire, and hours of fellowship. Thank you all for praying for us this week, we sure have needed it and felt it. We know the Lord is taking us through these discouraging times to remind us of His incredible love and faithfulness and we have seen it in the way He has lifted us up through many encouraging notes and emails from alot of you.

Hope you enjoy these pictures from our time in San Andres.

The one room ranch house

Other church friends came out to join in a descada on Sunday night

Many beautiful flowers surround the house

Ranch wildlife

The creek was a little dried up, it's not rainy season yet

Plaza and church in San Andres

In front of the fountain in the downtown plaza

Well known political figure, Pancho Villa was married to his legal wife in this church

It was Catholic...but really neat inside

Walking through town

We visited the cemetery where Pancho Villas one-year old daughter's is located

There were many old graves some from the mid 1800s

The road out to Cuauhtemoc

The fire outside where we cooked alot of our food

Helping Pablo and Lili with the carne asada

Meat and onions ready to cook


What's a ranch without Chihuahuas

Truly a beautiful place

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Growing Kiwis

I remember one summer my Dad decided to plant kiwis. Yes, kiwis in Wisconsin. He did all the research, ordered the plants, built a gorgeous trellace for them to grow on (as they are climbing plants) and was completely prepared for the work ahead. When the plants arrived he put them in the ground just so, and began to water and cultivate them in hopes of having fruit in about 3-5 years. The kiwi plants grew, slowly, but as my Dad pruned and watered them they took shape climbing up the trellace like an experienced climber scales a rock wall.

Kiwi Plants

But 3 years came, and there was no fruit. We weren’t worried. Kiwis take awhile to bear fruit, so Dad continued to care for those plants. Five years came, then eight, then ten, and finally we moved to another home….still never tasting one of those kiwis.

The fruit

What my Dad found out later was, you must have one female kiwi plant and one male kiwi plant to cross pollinate with each other in order to bear fruit, and we were sent two plants of the same gender. All those years of work and time, and there was never going to be any fruit.

Do you ever feel like you are putting so much of your time and effort into something, and your wheels are still spinning taking you no closer to where you want to be? It’s been that kind of a week for me. There is so much to learn when you are trying to have the ability to communicate God’s heart in another language. There are days when I feel like I’m communicating well, and then the next I am overwhelmed with just how much I still cannot communicate.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a missionary friend who is serving in the states at one of the missionary training facilities, and she asked me, “How are you staying encouraged in the Lord while there on the mission field?” It got me thinking, how am I…or am I just allowing myself to become discouraged because I think I’m not learning fast enough, or well enough to be a good missionary? Am I leaving my personal relationship with God as a separate entity from my language learning, and relying solely on my ability (or inability)?

In a discussion with Pete a few days ago he also reminded me, God brought you and I here, this is what God has for us right now, whether we learn language fast or slow, whether we feel like we are spinning our wheels, whether or not we are picking up the details or communicating the way we want to, we cannot be and we are not outside of God’s will for us. We need to press in to Him, because who are we to question why He would bring us to Mexico…does He not know what is best for His children, does He not have our best interest at heart? ┬áThen I read in Romans 9:20-21 “But who are you, oh man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him that formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes, and some for common uses?”

How often I spend time and energy wondering, or even arguing with God about my abilities. Why? For indeed, He knows them already, after all He made me with the strengths and weakness that I have. And He made me to show forth His glory and will not allow me to fail in that regard. Being reminded that He wants me to strive to know Him, and trust Him with my abilities has encouraged me so much this week. It’s allowed me to become less overwhelmed with all the things I don’t yet know, and focus on my relationship with Him. Allowing Him to show His glory through my life whether that means that I’m an amazing language learner or not. I am encouraged today because God cares about me. He doesn’t care about what I’m good at or what I struggle with, but He loves me for who He made me to be, and He directs my life and brings me to all the places He wants me for the sole purpose of molding me into the image of His Son because this is what brings Him joy.

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I always thought that term was kind of strange, since we aren’t technically sitting on a house…but we have been house-sitting for another missionary family this week. We have enjoyed the extra space, the yard with real grass (that is a novelty here), the garden they have in the backyard, the apricot tree, and just experiencing a different neighborhood in Chihuahua.

Liesl & Cesar picking zucchini

Harvesting the apricots

Working with Cesar to make agua de jamaica

This week included more language sessions, spending time with Mexican friends, shopping, visiting two museums downtown, and trying out a new restaurant.

One of the museums we visited

View of the city from the backyard of our house-sit

We also have spent a little more time sprucing up the blog, adding text to our “Vision” page and updating some of the other pages. We also hope to add a “Pete’s Thoughts” page, some of you may remember the Pete’s thoughts articles that we used to include with each month’s newsletter. Well, we removed them a few months back, because we wanted to make the letter more concise, but we’ve decided to resurrect “Pete Thoughts” as a blog page. Hopefully you will check back soon to enjoy that.

Each week we stay encouraged with what the Lord has done in us, and what we know He has planned for our lives here in Mexico. The joy of gaining more language excites us because we know we are closer to being able to communicate spiritual truth to those around us who we are starting to build relationships with. Liesl has begun some really great friendships at our gym where we work out, and Pete as well. Our relationships at church begin to grow, and we are continually greeting and learning more about the lives of neighbors and those in our circle of life here in Chihuahua.

Thank you for all of your prayers. Some days it is hard to press on because we are tired, but we know what lies ahead. Soon we will be working with a tribal group that has not had the chance to hear the gospel and that is why we are here. To learn how to learn someone else’s heart language, and to be able to communicate the truth of the gospel in that heart language so that one day we all may worship around the throne of God together. That’s why we are here, and thank you for upholding us with encouragement you are a vital part of all that God is going to do.

We will leave you with Chihuahua at night