Friday, March 15

Lesson from an art museum

I went to an art museum today in Ensenada, Mexico. It was pretty cool...there was some great art. There was one, not one I was enchanted with, but one where I immediately thought "I wish I could take a picture and blog about this." But in my oh-so-American mind frame, pictures were off-limits. Until I found out while we were leaving that they were, in fact, allowed.

So imagine my joy when I found out that my friend took a photo of this exact one. Without further ado:

What you can't know until you are up close to it. This figure is knitted out of paper. And on the paper is an unending list of names.

This got me thinking about of all the names that touch our lives and make us who we are. I immediately wondered what names would be on my knitted paper figure and names came flooding to my mind.

People from my childhood. People from school. College. Work. People who moved to my area and have since moved away. People who touched my life for a day, or year, or a lifetime. Friends I've had since kindergarten and friends I had for a season. Different cultures. Different languages. But they touched my life just the same. Blessings in the form of individuals who have taught me grace, patience, love oh-so-much love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, communication, sacrifice, looking to God, how to trust others, how to think better of others, how to laugh more, how the world isn't so black-n-white, how I am capable of creating change and being a blessing to others, and so much more!

I knew in that minute that if I tried to list all the people who have shaped me, I too would have enough to knit a person, like in the photo.

Tuesday, March 12

Single in my 30's

Being single in your 30's is different, in several ways, than being single in your 20's. This idea and my thoughts on my singleness have been rolling around in my head over the last week or two, as my next birthday looms ahead of me, in a couple months.

As I once again shared my pain-filled heart with a dear friend, I wrote her the following:

I forget how it was worded but an intern girl made a comment this summer that she'll be married by 25...or something like that. She is a young thing (19 or 20 yrs old). When I heard her, I asked her what if God has other plans, to which she responded along the lines "I'm pretty sure I won't be single when I'm 30." To which I responded, "I never planned to be single in my 30's either."

Do you get tired my singleness emails?

I hope that despite the fact that I ride a roller coaster of contentment and grief, that there is at least a growing maturity and a deepened faith in me. I feel that there is. While the grief still hits me in the gut from time to time, there is an assurance that anchors my heart and mind to the Lord. Who but my Beloved can I turn to, when I know that He hears and understands, more than any other?

Talking through my pain allows me to once again put myself in the faithful and trustworthy hands of God. He has never failed me yet.

Two days ago, I was talking with a dear single friend. I didn't set out that day to talk about singleness and contentment even though it was very much on my mind. However, it was on her mind as well and she instantly brought it up, allowing us to encourage each other for the next hour. Towards the end she said, "I don't know if you are blessed in your singleness but I am being blessed by your singleness." Tears rushed to my eyes and my heart sang "yes! yes Lord. This is what I want. I want my singleness to bring You glory as I continue to seek and wait on You."

I don't write all this to pat myself on the's just to share my thoughts of a single 30+ woman who occasionally struggles but is learning to look to God.

Tuesday, March 5


I (finally!) experienced my first trip to Mexicali three weeks ago. I had heard so much about the churches and opportunities. But whenever my friends had gone, I had plans that kept me in Ensenada.

Mexicali is the capitol of Baja California and is located about 4 hours north-east of Ensenada. On the state-side, the US city is Calexico, California....haha...that's funny...I just realised that both names are half California and half Mexico, only they reversed them. I'm a quick one, I tell you.

With this first introduction, I only got to meet one pastor and his family and interact with his main church and a newer church plant. There are, I believe, three more C&MA pastors in Mexicali whom I still haven't met.

Would you like a (very) little history lesson and (very) small introduction to Mexicali?

What major natural disaster happened in 2010? Do you remember or have a guess?

January 12, 2010...does that help?

The country of Haiti was hit with a 7.0 earthquake and the world responded. As you likely remember, celebrities held benefit concerts and thousands of dollars flooding the Red Cross and other charities to help rebuild Haiti. Haiti was on the forefront every one's mind for months and months.

Any idea what happened Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010?

The city of Mexicali was hit with a 7.2 earthquake. But the response was minimal. While people were consumed with Haiti, Mexicali went largely unhelped by the world. Mostly because (speculating) the devastation wasn't nearly as awful as Haiti...only 2 people died. The reason behind this is that the buildings in Mexicali are more like American buildings, having a code of standard to account for earthquakes. Haiti had no such building code. Also, the fact that the earthquake occurred on a holiday was a blessing as most people were home and not out shopping.

The epicenter was in a community called Zacamoto, which was completely devastated.
You can drive through Zacamoto and building after building looks like above. It is a rubble ghost town. However, Mexico decided it wanted to take care of their own and built a new small community (Sacatio), including a free house, for all those whose houses were condemned by the earthquake.

It is in this new community of Sacatio where there is a new church being established. A woman has opened up her house and patio for the weekly church services and the church is slowly growing.

So there's your mini lesson for the day.
I get to return to Mexicali for a whole week in about three more weeks. I'm looking forward to engaging with the other churches and learning more about this large city.

Monday, March 4

A haven of love

Sitting at my friend's table, cup of coffee is near, I am grateful for the love I have been shown. I have been accepted into this home and family, even though half the time I don't understand their language and they don't understand mine. They patiently wait, and offer suggestions, as I strain and stumble through mental conjugations and recollection of spanish lessons. The love that I am shown is the same gracious love that is shown to all the boys, who come to the rehabilitation center, for a myriad of reasons.

Life here quietly hums with activity starting around 5am, when the oldest boy gets up and ready for high school. The hum grows louder within the next two hours as all the boys get up and ready to start a new day. For some, it includes school and for others it includes chores around the house.

But before they all hit the ground running, they sit down for a time of devotions; hearing from the Word of God. They are encouraged to know God and His love and power. They are encouraged to surrender their struggles, addictions, anger, and pain to a God who heals, forgives, and loves unconditionally. They are encouraged to let God work His redeeming plan in their lives, changing them into men who faithfully love God and serve others.

It is in this haven, where love is shown, where my heart has begun to simultaneously root down and soar with passion and excitement. God is doing a good work in me, in the boys, and in my friends.