Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Paperwork.

By: Rachel Martin

This is a deviation from our regular blogs.  I just thought it would be interesting for you all to know what we are doing.  This may seem like I am complaining but what I am trying to do is share the way things go here on a regular basis by way of explaining the process we are going though right now.

After 2 years we are finally going though the process to become legal residence of Mexico.  This is different then citizenship.  It does not allow us to work in the country just allows us to live and go about our ministry legally.  It also allows us to be open to a few things like easier boarder crossing with ministry items and making our ministry recognized in Mexico as a non-profit. As long as we have income from the US.  We have put it off for a few reasons.  The cost and we have not had the time it takes to go though the process and gather all the paperwork.

In order to start the process you have to stop at the boarder and get a 180 tourist visa.  Something that all visitors must do but no one ever does.  We never did and like being legal residence here no one does it and Mexico really does not care or check up.  We know one other missionary couple that is legal and that is it.  You have to start the process within 30 days of getting your tourist visa so we got all our paperwork together and went to the boarder and got our tourist visa.  Luckily I went to the business and spoke with the women that is supposed to he helping us with this process to make sure all our papers were in order.  Helping so far has meant giving us a paper with out of date info and a list of stuff to bring.  When I got to said establishment I was told that some of my papers were wrong even though they were on the list and that in the 2 months since she gave me the list (for like the third time) some basic very important information was missing.  Am I ever glad I went to talk to her because that would have been frustrating to go and find out I was given wrong info and had the wrong paperwork.

We made hotel reservations for overnight for tonight because we were supposed to show up at the Mexican consulate in San Diego at 6:30 am to wait in line to be seen.  As per paperwork given. Yesterday I was told that now they are making appointments.  Would have been nice to know in advance but I get it;  She told me that she thought maybe we could make an appointment and I called and sent an e-mail and got no response from the consulate either way.  She thought she had done her work by gently suggesting we make an appointment.  The people here contrary to popular belief are very quiet and reserved and would never push even when it calls for it like in this situation where she should have said "you must go online and make an appointment".  Here nothing works easy and this kind of thing pretty much always happens so you either go with it or are a jerk about it.  We of course choose to go with the flow.  Can't change a whole people groups way of doing things. So now we have hotel reservations for tonight and are going to use the trip instead for a day of grocery shopping and errand running.  Which is fine, we needed to do it anyways.

However you may remember that we have to start the process within 30 days.  The gal at the place helping us did help me make an appointment.  God is so good.  We took the first appointment available just 4 hours shy of our 30 day mark.  Whew.  But of course there are still issues.  The paperwork that we were given said we have to prove $2200 worth of income monthly the web site says $3,950.  What!!!!  hmmmmm.  Who has that kind of money every month.  Do you know any missionary or minimum wage income person living on that kind of money.  Crazy!  That seriously is WAY more money then we make by at least double.  The real truth in all of this is that we may get to the consulate in San Diego and be turned down because of our income or lack there of.

Long and boring the story I know. However it is a little glimpse into what we deal with every day. Someone tells us 3:00 they show up at 5:00.  We are told to come and bring a cake and what they meant was don't come until tomorrow and bring bread.  It is an interesting culture to live and work in for sure.  I love it and even thought this process is frustrating and may all be for nothing God will use this too for whatever His purpose may be.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Complainers

By: Rachel Martin

Last weekend I was having a conversation with my sister.  She has often been the person that makes me look at something from a different perspective.  I have had at least three life changes because of something my brother or sister said in passing or did and now I am adding another.  We were having a conversation about people that are constantly complaining about things in their life.  I told her it is something that I have to work on in my life and I know it can be an issue.  Then I thought……. Why is that? 

I don’t think not being thankful is an across the board issue of people being thankless.  For me at least it has to do with how people perceive me.  Like if I am too gregarious I will be looked at like I have it all and things are all perfect when they are not.  But does that not go without saying?  Did God ever promise us a perfect easy life?  Do you know anyone whose life is perfect?  I guarantee that if you look a little closer you will see they are battling with issues of their own and just pretending real good or walking in true thankfulness.

The verse that comes to mind is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 where it says “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  There are tons of other verses about giving thanks but this is the one that stands out to me at the moment.  It tells us that in EVERYTHING give thanks.  I have often heard this in reference to when things go bad you should be thankful.  And yes I agree but that is a different kind of thankfulness.  That is more about being thankful that God has a plan and will use what you are going though and teach you though your trials.  If you read the verses around it is talking about Christian conduct and how a healthy group of believers work together.  If you think about it in that context the “in everything give thanks” takes on a very different meaning that I feel is fairly self-explanatory. 

I would caution against forced cheerfulness however.  That is a completely different thing.  Thankfulness is not fake.  In the verses surrounding this scripture it also talks about encouraging the fainthearted, admonishing brethren, living in peace with one another.  I think that our fellow believers can’t encourage us when we are fainthearted if they don’t know that we are having trouble.  The Bible also calls us to live honestly and openly with our brothers and sisters in Christ and part of that is letting people know when things are bad.  However when it is all you focus on it does not allow for joy in your life or for actual Christian communion.  When you cannot be thankful it is what is going to naturally come out of your mouth and your fellow brethren are going to get taxed and it will drag then into a spirit of unthankfulnes as well.  It should go without saying that your complaints about your car not being warm enough in the morning is something that does not need complaining about, nothing your friends want to hear about, and honestly you should be thankful that you have a car in the first place.

This is a hard one to give you any pat advice on.  It is one I honestly have been working on for a while.  I find it hard to find the fine line between griping and sharing.  Between thankfulness and honesty about my situations.  But it is something that I know I can tend to lean toward and so make a conscience effort to avoid.  When the desire to complain comes to me I try to think about it first and see if I can change my attitude.  Not just to my friends but my family, my husband my besties.  Honestly when I can do that and find the joy and thankfulness I am so much happier.  God set things down in the Bible for our ultimate joy and this is no different.  Walking in thankfulness is an obvious one, walk in thankfulness and it will ultimately bring joy.  And isn’t that what we are complaining about.  Where is my joy?  This one is so obviously and easily connected that it makes me feel a little stupid for not seeing it sooner.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Bible. It's Not Just For Adults.

I recently realized that I was falling short of teaching my son about the Bible.  For the first time at our church we had a little Sunday School class for the little kids in English.  Before this he had maybe been in a Sunday School class about a half a dozen times when we went home this last summer to the states.  They don’t consider kids able to do classes until about 5 here.  I both love and hate that children are considered babies until 5 in Mexico.  On the one hand I think it is a true thing on the other I think it also is sort of talking down to kids when they are a lot smarter then we give them credit for.  But I digress.

The point is that the other gal teaching with me was reading the story of creation to the kids and asked who Adam and Eve were and my son had no idea.  Not my finest moment.  I did some thinking about it of course over the next few days.  What I realized is that we have been literally since before his birth telling him about other things then Bible Stories.  In the womb we would talk about how much Jesus loved him.  As he grew we talked about God’s love and Jesus’ work on the cross and tons of input about God and Christ and even the Holy Spirit.  When he is scared we talk about how God protects him.  When he is disobedient we talk about sin and forgiveness.  I think these are all super important and have their place. 

I am a HUGE proponent of the Bible being a real and true book with historical facts.  It is ultimately what convinced me that Christ was the real deal.  I have done quite a bit or research on the subject and it is pretty much where I start when doing evangelism.  Yet somehow when it came to my son I dropped the ball.  I honest to goodness cannot give you a good reason for it either.  I think I just plain didn’t think about it.  I think like the culture here I can tend to treat him like he can’t understand.  I spent some time thinking about how I could give my squirrelly 3 year old the Bible knowledge he needs.

This is where I may differ from many people.  Like I have said in earlier blogs I am a big fan of thinking outside the box and doing what works for you.  We found some super cheesy 1980s Bible cartoons for kids on youtube.  They are just right for his ability and reasoning skills and he loves them.  Instead of talking about how the cartoons are not real and just pretend like usual we do the opposite.  We let him know that even though they are in cartoon form that these stories are from the Bible and very much real.  Cartoons may not be the best idea for everyone.  For my crazy 3 year old though they work perfect and I keep thinking.  Why did I not think of this before?!?!  Instead of making him sit while Dan and I do our devotions (which I admit also could use as little more regular time too) going through the book of Kings now.  We give him a simple foundation to work on later.

If you (like my moment at Sunday school) are having an ahha moment I encourage you to pray and think about how you can make it work with your lifestyle and child.  Maybe it’s short stories in the car on your i-pod.  Maybe it’s getting a children’s Bible and reading that before bed instead of something else.  Maybe you have older kids and you can all take 5 or 10 minutes out every day to read directly from the Bible.  Whatever it is I think it is super important.  Even if your child gets to go to Sunday School unlike mine it still is important that your kids know that you believe it too. No better way to back that up then to teach them the Bible. 


Every person I know that really loves the Lord has had a time where they considered if the Bible was true and do they really believe it.  How can your children do that and come to a close relationship with their heavenly father if they know nothing about it?  I know that sounds harsh but I am speaking to myself here too remember.  Some may say, he is three don’t be too hard on yourself.  Yes he is only three but remember in the womb we were talking about our faith.  He has been watching cartoons since he was a tiny baby why did I never put on Bible cartoons? 

 I can talk until I am blue in the face about Jesus or have him learn Bible verses or any number of things.  If I don't teach him the Bible it he has no point of reference for anything I say.  So here it is another encouraging moment from me.  Get your kids into the Bible whatever way you can.  Nothing could be more important for everything having to do with their future walk of faith.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March Newsletter

               Right off the bat I’ll let you know that we unfortunately have had a rough February.  First Arch got sick then Daniel and then me.  As soon as I was able to get out of bed my guys were back in it again and the second time for a lot longer than the first.   There were classes’ canceled, appointments missed and everything was put on hold while we tried to recuperate from this nasty strain of flu going around our community.  Our doctor has suggested it might have been H1N1 but with little resources here there is no way to confirm that.  We are still on the mend battling the after effects.  Archie has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to make sure Bronchitis or ear infections have
not settled in.  I also threw my back out a couple of times and so we have made a few trips into Tijuana to the chiropractor.  He says that there are some muscle issues and as soon as I have my feet back under me from this flu a few more trips to the Chiropractor are in order.  He has some stretching and strengthening stuff for me to work on and hopefully that will help with the ongoing problems with my back.

               In the midst of all that illness and back stuff my parents came for a visit.  Luckily, only Dan was sick during that time so Arch and I got to spend time with them.  Dad made some shelves for the Sunflower House where Arch goes to School.  He also made some more shelves for us here for our laundry spot.  Then he was asked by our neighbor to make some shelves for them as they had no place to put their clothes.  He kept busy and seemed to enjoy himself.  Mom spent a lot of time with Archie.  She kept him here while (when feeling up to it) we did ministry.  Even though all the sickness it was great to have them here.

               We now have the Christensen family here for another 7 days.  They have been a real joy to have them partnering with us.  Their kids and Archie have been playing and we adults have been
having a great time getting to know each other.  They are considering long term missions here in Mexico and it has been fun for us to tell them all we have learned in the past two+ years.  Hopefully all we have learned will help them in their process.  Getting ready for both my parents and for the Christensen’s is time consuming but having people here from home is such a treat. 

               Dan started guitar classes for the community at the Sunflower House Skill Center.  With all the sickness he has only made it to two lessons but they were both great and the students are really happy to be taking class.

               I have a lead on an answer for my continuing health problem and have high hopes this will be the answer.  I have a great doctor here in Mexico and we are working on this latest possibility together.  She is a great Christian lady and super helpful and willing to listen and research.  We have an appointment to sit down together and spend some time researching and figuring out how to proceed.

               For those interested in donating to a good cause.  The Sunflower House (Archie’s pre. school) is trying to raise some money for a field trip.  They are trying to plan 3 trips this year.  The first one is to Parque De Ninos.  It is a children’s park with swimming pools, playground equipment and a zoo.  We have gone as a family once and it is pretty amazing.  The zoo in particular is pretty great.  The teachers plan for me to lead the kids though the zoo and do English names for the animals.  The field trip is planned for two weeks from now and while Morning by Morning Ministries will be funding half of the entrance fees that still leaves about $175 in entry fees for the kids plus one chaperone. 

               This newsletter is a little light with all the sickness we have had around here, sorry to say that is all to report for this month.  We would love prayer for our recovery.  Arch in particular is so tired, still has little appetite and has a nasty cough.  We all feel that way but as adults we can deal with it a bit better than the little guy.  As always we appreciate prayer for boldness and wisdom as we go about our ministry and life.  We have an upcoming visit with Dan’s parents at the end of March.  We appreciate prayer for their trip as well. 

Blessings!

The Martins