We have to say we’re a little embarrassed because we haven’t updated in 2 months now. Yes, we’ve been busy, but not too busy to update… so, finally here it is.
I almost don’t know where to start…let’s see, last we shared with you was something of a photo tour of our tribal trip, hope you enjoyed it. It was an experience we will never forget! We truly saw God at work in another culture, and it was amazing to see their hunger for the word of God. But wow, tribal work will definitely be exhausting as the Tepehuan people were coming to visit at the missionary’s home constantly throughout the day, to talk, eat with them, and often go through Bible lessons. The ministry can only be done through the strength we have in Lord.
When we arrived back home to Chihuahua, we had about 3 weeks of dealing with broken pipes in our home because of a spell of the coldest weather Chihuahua has seen in over 50 years – a solid three days below freezing! We did not have water in our house for 3 weeks, and no hot water for over a month. Luckily the gym where we workout is about two miles from our house and has nice hot showers.
However, in March we had our 2nd Spanish Evaluation, and are now both in the third level of language learning called Capable Level. This level has three sub levels low, mid, and high. Pete is in Capable Mid, and I am just beginning Capable Low. They would like us to reach Capable High before moving out to a tribal location. I am right on track for how many hours of study I have put in studying and Pete is actually ahead of the average language learning schedule.
We are now going even deeper in our Spanish study, spending more time with helpers, talking, recording different cultural events, re-listening to them, and practicing speaking through events with our helpers. Though we are both feeling more comfortable everyday with our comprehension and speaking abilities in Spanish we can definitely still use prayers in this area. Both Pete and I have good days and bad days speaking, so at times it is discouraging, but as always God is always faithful.
Our involvement in our church here has increased as well. We are now arriving early each Sunday to practice with and play with the Worship Team, and are helping with special events. For instance, two Sundays ago, at our pastor’s request, we had a Missions Focus Sunday, where the four of us missionary couples in the church put together missions-focused Sunday Schools for all ages, and did the main service preaching time as well. The purpose of the Missions Sunday was to bring more awareness for cross-cultural missions work to the Mexican Church and our church specifically. The goal was not just to broaden their view of missions, but to encourage each member to be pray that God would raise up cross-cultural missionaries within their congregation. This includes being prepared to do what it takes to support those missionaries to take the Gospel where there are those who have never heard it. The service went well and we all enjoyed a delicious Mexican comida afterwards.
This last Sunday, Pete spoke at church for the first time in Spanish. He did a lot of preparation on his message, and worked with one of our language helpers to fine-tune his Spanish so that each church member could better understand it. As we drove to church that morning we prayed that the Lord would use his message to touch the lives of each person in the way that would most draw them to Himself. As Pete finished speaking from John 3:28-30, there were a couple women in tears, and they were excited to take what he had shared and apply it to their lives. Many others gave encouraging compliments on how Pete’s Spanish had progressed. He did very well. I was also impressed and I’m supposed to be Pete’s biggest critic, right?
We also have struggled through a hard time this last week, as our sweet puppy, Murphy contracted a serious virus and would not eat or drink for almost a week. We worked with our veterinarian here to strengthen Murphy and help him fight the virus, but his system would not kick in and fight it. Last Tuesday night he began to hemorrhage from his intestines and we had no choice but to put him down. It was a very sad week. However, God is constantly teaching us about how strong we are in Him. Murphy was just a pet, but as many of you know, when you have pets they have special pet places in your family, so life indeed feels different without them. And being this far from home, it sounds funny, but he felt more like family because, well, we don’t have family here. I truly believe when things like this happen the devil wants to use it to discourage us. But the day after Murphy died, I read 1 Corinthians 4 and it was filled with amazing truth that I needed. In verse 15 Paul writes “As God’s grace reaches more and more people there will be great thanksgiving and God will receive more and more glory.” Then in verse 16 and 17 “That is why we never give up…our spirits are being renewed everyday. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long, yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” Knowing that our reason for being here in Mexico, for struggling to learn another language and build meaningful relationships, our reason for living so far away from family and those that we love is because there are those who have not heard the Gospel, are dying without hope, and for this we are not pushed down, crushed, or destroyed, for this reason we never give up: to bring glory to our Lord who is faithful, even in the trials that we experience; big or small.
As we focus on this truth throughout the next month, we thought we’d share it with you as well. Hopefully God can use what we have experienced these last two months and what we’ve learned from His Word to encourage you. Also, we want you to know how much your prayers, gifts, letters, and encouragement mean to us, especially as we go through hard times like this that threaten to take our focus away from what is important. We could not be here serving our Lord without you all; you truly are a huge part of the work. We would love to hear your prayer requests as well as what God has been teaching you, send us an email anytime at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, look forward to another tribal trip update as we have a trip scheduled to another tribal location on May 2nd! We’ll spend a little over a week out there as we consider working in that location as well. Here’s a few pictures as a preview!!
Thank you all for reading this “wordy” post. We promise not to wait as long to update you next time.