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.
We made it tour 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!
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!”
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
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
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
It is finally here! My husband I wrote a children’s story called “How Bright is the Moon?” many years ago, however between writing it, losing it, finding it, rewriting it, and then trying to find an illustrator, it took eight years to publish it.
The book “How Bright is the Moon?” came into being shortly after God introduced the true concept of grace to my husband, Mark, one night on a dirt road under a bright harvest moon in the mountains of California.
Many of us believe grace to mean mercy. Although we definitely need mercy in our day to day lives, grace is much different. It is the greek word Charis (pronounced khar’-ece) and it means the divine reflection of God in one’s life.
This children’s story takes you on a journey of finding out just how bright the moon is. The setting is in a mountain top kingdom with a King and his precious family. After working long hours in the wheat fields all day, the King comes home to his family and his youngest daughter, Sarah, asks her father, “How bright is the moon?” Along this journey you will learn about grace and the importance of it in our walk with Jesus. We have included a grace study guide to go along with the book to do as a devotional with the whole family.
It is available on Createspace and will be available on Amazon soon! Click on the link to order your copy today! createspace order page.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
A few months back I wrote a blog post called, “Send Me.” Little did I know just what those words would mean in the short time to follow. I meant what I said with all my heart, “Lord, send me.”
However, I did not think that it would happen so suddenly. My husband and I met a man recently that God has used to change the course of our lives. This man came to one of our home fellowships and really hit it off with my husband. Over the next few months, we have had several meetings with him, fellow-shipping and breaking bread together. He is in the Navy, but on his down time, he does short mission trips to Mexico.
One evening after spending several hours talking about our life living off-grid and discussing this gentleman’s mission trips, he asked my husband and I if we would pray about moving to Mexico permanently to be caregivers of a mission house. We were stunned. We had been feeling like change was on the horizon, but didn’t know when, and most assuredly didn’t know what we would be doing.
We prayed that evening together and as we were laying in bed I said to my husband, “I feel like if they asked us to go tomorrow, I could.” I had a peace wash over me. Mark replied, “I feel the same way!” So the past few weeks, we have been preparing and letting family members know. God is opening the door wide! (Revelations 3:7 & 8) God is going before us. He has already had funding come in and the house is being prepared as I write this.
Our two daughters will be coming with us and our son will be staying in Washington. He is almost 20 and has a good job. He feels like God is telling him to stay behind. As we prepare, the Lord has shown us more and more what we would be doing in Mexico.
Some of the other missionaries found out that I homeschool and have asked me to teach their kids! I am so excited about this. I thought my years of teaching would be coming to an end soon and here, God has made it clear that this could be just the beginning. My husband will be teaching Bible, doing building projects, marital counseling, and much more. All of us will be helping out at the orphanages, medical clinic, and churches in the area.
Although this has been a shock, we are all very excited. I have moments when worry and fear can consume me, but in the end, I know that God will take care of us. I understand it will not always be easy but I can see how God’s hand is on this journey and I believe our days of living off-grid has prepared us “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)