Selfless Love

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:9

My daughter, Storm, recently moved into the house right next door to us in Mexico. The whole thing is crazy to think about. What are the odds that the house next to us would come up for rent?

God’s timing is amazing. We are currently in a two bedroom home and our girls were having to share a room. This wasn’t a big deal and they have shared a room most of their life. However, we knew that we were either going to build a Casita on our current property or look for something to rent, as we have guests on a regular basis and it would allow for our oldest daughter to have her own place.

We had been praying about what to do. We knew building a Casita would cost some money and it would take a great amount of labor.

We had been getting to know our neighbors next door to us and had given their children some crayons, snacks, and other things that we knew they could use. We were sharing Christ whenever we could and sometimes sang worship songs to them playing the guitar.

One day we noticed their house was pretty quiet, but didn’t think much of it. A few more days passed and we still hadn’t seen anyone coming to or from their home. We began to wonder if they had moved. We were sad at the thought of not seeing them anymore, but wondered if this was the answer to our prayers.

Eventually, we saw a man whom we had never seen before doing some cleaning and taking many things out of the house. We asked a friend of ours if she could translate for us and find out if the house was available to rent. Sure enough, the home was for rent and the owner turned out to be the uncle of our dear friend! Long story short, we were able to rent the house!

When we received the keys and the lease was signed, we began work on it right away. It is a two bedroom, one bath home, which is perfect. Storm gets her room and we have a guest room where people can stay. Our daughter loves the Hispanic colors and wanted everything bright and cheery. The landlord gave us permission to paint it any color she wanted.

Our whole family has been pitching in. I have been helping the most with painting, which is not an easy task. I don’t like heights and getting up on a ladder is not my idea of fun. Especially when you are on it for a few minutes then have to get down, move it, and climb back up, and do this over and over again.

The thing that kept pushing me through was knowing that my daughter would be so happy to see the finished project. I knew she would have a smile that would radiate the whole house. I knew she would be so grateful and appreciative that I took time out of my busy life to spend it with her and to help wherever and whenever I could.

This made me think of Jesus and how He was so willing to come to this earth and die a horrible death so that we could be with Him forever. He is the example of selfless love that I want to be for Him and for all the people in my life.

In the Bible I see how busy Jesus was. He was surrounded by people. Some truly interested in what He was teaching, others just wanted to be fed or experience miracles. Yet, He took time out to be alone with the Father each morning. He had to be filled before He could minister to others. This is a good reminder for me. I need to seek God and spend restful time with Him before I can even hope to love on others.

The house is almost finished! We are doing little odds and ends to finish it up and with the help of some generous friends, Storm has furniture and dishes to go inside her home! God is so good!

Photo of her dining room/kitchen wall. She painted a neat vine to separate the colors.


Deep Roots

“…He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season…” Psalm 1:3

I just finished the book Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. I have heard the Jim Elliot story many times especially being a homeschool mom. We tend to make it a point to study missionaries to encourage us in our own journeys. 

At this time in my life and living in Mexico as a missionary myself, I thought it would be great to dive a little deeper and read about the people who truly lived out what they believed. Thus the reason for reading Elisabeth Elliot’s story and where it all began. 

Her husband along with four other men were killed by a local tribe of natives in South America. They were trying to make missionary contact and to spread the gospel of Christ. It is a remarkable story of dying to self for all those involved.

I sit in awe at the widows’ response. Barbara Youderian wrote: “I want to be free of self pity. It is a tool of Satan to rot away a life..the lord has closed our hearts to grief and hysteria, and filled in with His perfect peace.”

So often self pity is our go to response and here we see a woman who clearly has every fleshly right to have self pity, yet she wants nothing to do with it. Amazing! 

I want to have deep roots like these women did. I don’t want to be tossed to and fro by the waves of this life. Elisabeth wrote: “God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.” 

I was encouraged to keep fighting the fight…even when it’s difficult. To keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. He will direct me and if I get off course He loves me so much He will redirect me to His perfect will if I allow Him to.

Yes, trials will come. Yes, we will have conflict. But, He is bigger than all of those things and it’s through those trials that we become refined, shining Christ light for all to see!

Are we the Same?

Two women. One from the United States and one from Mexico. Did we know our paths would cross one day? No! But, I am so glad they did. My life is forever changed. Are we the same? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no. Her life much harder than I could ever imagine. Some would look at me and say I am far better off than the other woman. Some would say I was born into privilege. But what makes me any better than anyone else? Because I was born in a country where life is much easier? Because I was born in the US? How much different my life would be if I was born in a third world country. Why was I the lucky one to be born in North America? But, am I really the blessed one? Sometimes I question if I am truly fortunate. The other woman able to take one moment at a time; to be focused on what is truly important, family. Me, so busy with life and not able to relax without feeling guilty. Questions that stir in my mind as I sit watching, talking, and waiting among the beautiful people here in a Mexico.

Obedience in All Things

We made it to our destination in Mexico! It had been a long four day trip to move down here. We have all of what was left of our belongings with us in two trucks, a Ford Expedition, and a work trailer. Most of our things had been either sold, given away, or taken to the dump. It’s amazing how much you can accumulate in six years.

We prayed for an uneventful trip in our travels. We didn’t want any car problems, sickness, or accidents. All of which was kept at bay, thanks to the many people who had been praying for us and to our friends who helped get our cars in good working order. 

As I drove up the long dirt road to our house on the hill, I had flashbacks to twelve years ago driving up to our little cabin in the woods, where God would forever change my life. Now, I am further south and in a new country, with people that I can’t understand because I don’t speak their language. What will this journey entail?

Already God is showing me obedience. Obedience in the midst of being in a strange land. Obedience in obeying God even when others think we are crazy. Growing in understanding that it’s not complete obedience if we kick and scream along the way.

In looking at Jesus’ obedience to death on the cross, I am reminded that obedience comes with a heart that is pure and wants to obey out of love. Again, it’s the dying to self and putting other people’s needs above my own and doing what God desires most.

My prayer is that Mark and I, and even our girls will trust That God has something great in store for us in La Mision. I know there will be trials along the way. I understand that it won’t always be easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is.

So, what are we fighting for? We are fighting a war against good and evil. Against the lies Satan has sold us and the truth that will set us free. Whether we are in America or Mexico, the lies are the same. Satan doesn’t use new tactics depending on where we live. He has come to steal, kill, and destroy. But, we rejoice because Christ has come to give us life and life to the fullest! (John 10:10) that, my friend, makes me want to rejoice and obey all the more!

Sunrise in La Mision

Saying Goodbye

This week has been difficult as we say goodbye to our family and friends. We leave in a couple of days to go live in Mexico. Many tears have been shed. An old song from Michael W. Smith comes to mind:

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

To all of our ‘friends’ some old, some new. We love you all and we know that this is not ‘goodbye’. It is ‘see you later!”

Beauty in the Midst of Tragedy

As I am formulating some thoughts on our recent visit to Mexico, I felt compelled to write about an event that took place while we were down there. We were in Mexico for one week and part of that time would fall on Sunday, which was Father’s Day. I knew going on this trip that I would miss being with my dad, which weighed heavy on my heart.

June 18th is not a normal day for our family. It is the day that tragedy struck in a mighty way, with a word that I have come to hate. That word is suicide. This year June 18th would fall on Father’s Day, making the treasured time of remembering our dads, turning it into a time of reflection for one particular Father and wondering where did he go wrong? My brother was only 17 years old when he died. I will never forget that day. I was 14 years old at the time and had my own struggles of being a teenager. Pretty soon, my struggles seemed so small compared to what my parents would spend the next days, months, and years going through.

Fast forward 31 years. Although its been quite a long time since that horrific day, we never forget. Now, I was sitting in the living room of Casa De Mana’ feeling sick to my stomach. Not sure if it was pasta I had eaten the night before, or if I was dehydrated. But, something was not right in my body. I decided to stay home and not go with the rest of the mission group to the church on the street in Tijuana. My husband decided to stay home with me and make sure I was alright. The rest of the team left in the 15 passenger van and the house suddenly became quiet.

As we sat on the couch, I opened up to my husband about it being Father’s Day and the fact that it was the anniversary of my brother’s suicide. I said, “I want to pray for the group going to Tijuana. I want to pray that at least one person comes to know Christ in a personal way today – that one soul would be saved for the one life taken.” We then bowed our heads and began to pray.

A few hours passed and we heard the van drive up the driveway. We anxiously awaited to hear all that happened with the street ministry. As soon as our friends came walking into the house, we could see something spectacular had taken place. They each shared about their own experience and what personally touched them. For one person, it was trading his nice pair of shoes for a ratty old pair, for another it was boldly holding a sign inviting people to church, for someone else it was getting to share their testimony.

Then it came to our friend, Alex. She began to tell of her amazing story. She had been asked to share her testimony to the people that came to church that day. As she was speaking, a man was being touched by her personal story of Jesus Christ. When she was finished, she went to the back of the tent and this man began to talk to her and ask questions. She listened intently and asked him what his story was. He began to tell her about his life – how he was supposed to go dumpster diving with a friend that Sunday morning and that he was addicted to drugs. As she spoke, he began to undersand why he came to church. He realized he needed Christ in his life. He asked her to pray with him. She gathered the rest of the group around him and they began to pray and he accepted Christ that day. Juan became a Christ follower!

As Alex and the rest of the group shared, my husband looked at me and said, “Christine, do you know what the name Juan is in English?” I shook my head, “no.” He said, “It’s the name John!” I suddenly had goosebumps run up my arms. That was the name of my brother. In that moment I began to cry. God had answered our prayer; a life for a life. They didn’t have 1,000 people come to Christ that day. Just one. A man named Juan, whose life would be forever changed because some people from Washington obeyed, and spent a few hours in a trash infested area of Tijuana to share the gospel.

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

Things Above…

My husband, daughter, and I just got back from La Mision, Mexico. We were spying out the land God has prepared for us. What a week it has been! We were joined by a group of people from our church to do a short-term missions trip and to see the different needs in the community and surrounding areas of La Mision.

Riding up the long bumpy dirt road I realized why God had us live in eastern Washington for six years off-grid. The dirt road was similar to the one that we had to drive on to get to our little cabin in the woods. Rocks, sticks, and bushes line the driveway. I may not have understood it at the time of living off-grid, but I see now why our family went through some of the trials and triumphs we faced at our cabin. God was preparing us for the future; moving to a different country to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

On our trip we met several missionaries and got to see a small glimpse of the kinds of things they face. We now have a tiny understanding and can pray for specific needs. We saw many orphans, some with special needs. My heart broke when I realized they were orphans and would not get to experience a typical family. Then as I thought about it, I began to rejoice. Rejoicing in the fact that they are part of a much bigger family with love that abounds without expectation. As I held little Sammy in my arms, I prayed over him and prayed a prayer of blessing on him. Realizing that he was touching my heart probably more than I touched his. That a deep love that goes beyond borders, or race, or social status means more than anything this world could buy.

Needless to say, we are definitely moving to Mexico; dropping our nets and going to do a work far beyond our reach and resources. I know God will provide. It may not look exactly as I have pictured in my mind, but I know that God is directing us and I can rest and find comfort in the promises He has shown us. It won’t be easy, but I know this one fact…God is who He says He is. He is “I Am.” The same yesterday, today, and forever!

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2