Mexico  – Christmas mission team, December 22-28, 2018

Mx post day 1 

The team arrived safely on Saturday after midnight and were greeted by Dan, Nate, Matt, Miguel and Olivia. After a few hours of rest, we spent the morning getting to know each other and unload the many things that people had donated to support the ministry in Mexico.  A real surprise seeing the big lemons on the tree that Linda planted years ago and then the team bagged up beans and rice that will be given to needy families throughout the week. Afterwards, the team traveled to a property outside of the city that Olivia inherited from her mother that could be used for a future mission. The team cut some of the trees and cleaned up the property while Olivia visited some of the families next to the property. Later, we were able to deliver some gifts to Christina that will be given to the children that she helps in her community. The living word says, “How pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” (Psalms 133:1)

Mx post day 2

Amazing Sunday morning here in San Luis, Mexico. We were up early to make up 178 torta sandwiches that we would be taking to an outreach for 33 families from different parts of south Mexico that are living in tents on the sidewalk going in to the USA. We attended a wonderful Christmas fellowship with the Manantial de Vida church family, enjoyed a great Christmas lunch and were able to encourage and be encouraged by sharing testimonies with one another. 

The Manantial de Vida church family was prompted by the Holy Spirit to share the love of Jesus with 33 families with children from different states in South Mexico that have been living in tents and tarps on the sidewalk leading into the USA. They purchased food, drinks and gifts and asked Harvest Vision to supply 178 torta sandwiches that would be given to them as a blessing. A beautiful outpouring of love and compassion and we were able to pray with them corporately and for them individually. 

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words and tongue but with actions and truth.” 

(1 John 3:16-18)

Mx post day 3

 Christmas Eve and our 3rd day in San Luis, Mx with Miguel, Olivia and the Harvest Vision family. Georgia helped us start our day with a simple devotion: “Why do we worry about getting presents when we have the truth found in John 3:16?” Our sister, Sophia, came and has spent all day teaching the team to make tamales for the Christmas Eve celebration here at the fellowship center next to the mission home that we stay in. Had to make some repairs around the home, but managed to get a little soccer time in. Sorting beans, packing soaps and lotions for distribution and helping Miguel set up for the celebration. 

We were blessed to visit our precious sisters, Josefina and Brenda, and their family. Many thanks to Molly and Andy Salveson, who came to Mexico years ago and met Brenda, who is unable to walk, and have never forgot to send her gifts every Christmas. A blessing to be a part of that kind of love. A double blessing to have a different team every year witness God’s promise to Josefina and Brenda: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” We ended our visit with Brenda singing a praise song and our two youngest team members, Melody (10) and Deziray (8) praying for Josefina and Brenda. 

What a blessed Christmas Eve the Lord had planned for us. We are so thankful to have been brought together by the true and living God that desires that we would live together to worship and bring Him glory. 

“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise His Name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp. For the Lord takes delight in His People; He crowns the humble with salvation.” (Psalm 149:1-4)

Around the campfire, we thanked God for His birth, death and resurrection that brought us together. Some only spoke in English and some only in Spanish, but the Holy Spirit translated every word spoken into the language of the heart. 

Mx post day 4

Christmas day in Mexico and 8 year old Deziray nailed it with her first ever devotion: 

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

A restful day of fellowship and calling our loved ones in the USA. Another great dinner prepared by Miguel and then we joined Pr. Fidel and the Centro de Suenos (Dream Center) church family for Christmas message and celebration. It was humbling to witness our team members praying for all those that came forward for prayer. Whatever burdens the people had were cast off and the scriptures were fulfilled:

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12)

Mx post day 5

What an encouraging and challenging message from Kylie’s devotional this morning. 

“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). So why are we allowing ourselves to lust after the things of the world? Today the team was blessed to visit Pr. Cristina’s and her husband, Reuben’s, ministry at the Church of the New Dawn on the outskirts of the city. Many children, from 40-120, come at any time. Thanks to Olivia for coordinating the outreach and Yvanne and Itzel for helping translate. Nate shared a word of encouragement and the girl’s shared the wordless book. Afterwards, candy, bags of beans and rice, hats and mittens were given to everyone. They also donated wooden puzzles the kids had painted, cut and packaged up in Washington. While many of the team, played soccer and taught them games to play with the parachute that the Harvest Kids had donated, twenty of the older children, joined Georgia to learn how to paint on canvas. Beautiful. 

What a wonderful thing to witness a young talented woman like Georgia pour out her gift to these young people she had never met until today. 

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

(1 Peter 4:10)

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Pro 22:6)

Thank you, David, for your leadership in the family that God has entrusted to you. What a blessing to have their oldest daughter, Kylie, baptized in Mexico in the spring. And now, David is honored to baptize their other three girls today. God bless you, Georgia, Melody and Deziray. 

Mx post day 6 & 7

This morning was our last time to be together as a team for this mission and we were blessed to have Nate share the morning devotion. He reminded everyone about the importance of holding on to the ways in which the Holy Spirit has revealed Himself to us as we prepare to return to the familiar things we left one week ago. For many people, this is the first time they have spent a full week - morning, noon and night - where everything we do, think and feel are somehow done in the Presence of God and washed with His Word. We aren’t talking about Bible thumping, but a reverent attitude about what it really means to be called children of God. We were able to replace pieces of foam over the back porch cover before taking off to Phoenix to drop Dan, Matt & Nate off for their flight home. David and George picked up 5 gallons of paint for Olivia to take to the women’s federal prison so they can paint the interior of their church building and a new microwave to replace the one in the mission home. Shells and the girls cleaned up the mission home, bagged up hazelnuts for Miguel and Olivia to distribute and attended a service with a local church family that they had never attended before. The next morning, Shells and the girls showed Olivia how to sew the wordless books together and left all the materials needed to teach others how to make them. Olivia prepared us a lunch of scrumptious tacos before we had our last round table. Everyone shared the special moments they experienced working together as the Body of Christ and especially meaningful was witnessing Georgia, Melody and Deziray sharing their love and faith in Jesus during their baptisms. As believers, we had the privilege of telling each other, “See ya later”, instead of having to say “Unless you decide later to open your heart to Jesus, I have to honestly tell you this may mean, Good-bye.” 

Sad, but true. We are now on the ~27 hour voyage to Washington. Joyful for our fellowship in Mexico, a touch of sadness in having to leave and the anticipation of being with our family and friends in Washington and looking forward to the return of Jesus when we will spend eternity together, but not only in Spirit, but in every way. No long drives; CU laters or good-byes; no translators; no passports, visas or border crossings; no more longing to be in Washington, Africa and Mexico at the same time; no more wanting to be at the prayer meeting, worship service, alone reading God’s Word, visiting someone in the prison, hospital and convalescent center, praying in front of the abortion clinic or reaching out to a homeless person at the same time - just spending time with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost together forever and forever. Amen.