Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Living a Missionary Life

By: Rachel Martin

My perception of missions before I actually became one was, I imagine, much like most people.  I thought that it meant that I would be living in a hut talking to half-dressed people in the jungles of Africa. We in the US have this perception of what missions is, myself included until I came to Mexico to serve full time.  What I realized here is that I was already doing missions I just never had the opportunity to devote my full time to it.

I have always, shared the gospel with people I meet, let myself be known as a Christen, given free dance classes to the poor, helped other people in need, given food to homeless, and discipled young women.  I just never had the opportunity to devote my whole life to it.  I bet if you think about it you too do many things like that as well.  Granted I am in a place where the need for free dance classes gives children a chance to do something they never even dreamed possible not just something that most people accept as a right.  Spreading the gospel is my actual job.  The poverty in this country is over 50% (people living on less than $200 a month) so there are more homeless and needy to give to.  I have a plethora of young Christian women in need of and just hoping someone will disciple them.  In Mexico the need is greater but it does not mean that I was any less of a missionary when I lived and worked in the US.

Now granted foreign missions are not for everyone. In a conversation with a friend recently we were talking about how my family has to make sacrifices to live on the mission field.  When I said I don’t feel like it’s a sacrifice she pointed out all the things that I was sacrificing in a fairly long list.  By my estimation the list was not that big of a deal but in her eyes it seemed too much.  I then pointed out all the things she had to sacrifice for her life in the US and she in turn said she felt that is was not a sacrifice either.  I think like my friend and myself that when you are in Gods will for your life, following God and serving him, whatever your mission field is, does not feel sacrificial.  It feels just like, well, life.  Whether it be working and raising kids or living in the jungles of Africa we are all put here to serve a purpose.

I have had the opportunity to see people living their lives for Christ all over the world and it is a beautiful thing.  I see people with far less than me going on missions trips to poor parts of Mexico.  I also see people with far far more doing nothing.  Can you guess who is happier?  One thing is always the same in whatever country you are in.  When I see people living a “missionary” life style they are happy.  There is a contentedness that can’t be duplicated.  Sure life is hard whoever you are and whatever situation you are in.  Life can get difficult and messy and harder than you think you can deal with.  I have heard stories in my line of work that would make you weep.  I have had a chance to really study this and look at people whose stories are bad and good closely in two different countries long term.  I can without a doubt say that the people that really have joy and contentment in their hearts are the ones that know their place in the scheme of God’s will for them.  The people that live missionaly no matter where they are at.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Good Book

By: Rachel Martin

My husband and I have been watching a set of sermons on marriage from a series called “Mingling of Souls” by Matt Chandler.  Look it up.  It’s really great.  He follows the Songs of Solomon in order to find out what it teaches us for married life.  I have found it so interesting and so applicable to us today.  It’s a book that is so often glossed over because it seems like just a set of poems to his wife.  It is so much more than that.  It got me thinking.  What else am I missing? What nuggets of truth am I missing because I have been lazy about reading the Bible? 

How often do we just go to church and spend our week not at all seeking after God and learning what he has to tell us from His book?  How many things do we miss because we are just listening to someone else’s answers all the time like spoon feed babies who just get what they are given?  It’s like being married to someone and only seeing them once a week for an hour or two.  Could you even give a good account of that person?  If you met with someone for an hour once a week for a year then maybe you could tell someone who they are.  “Well this is John my husband and he is a computer specialist and hopes to be a computer programmer after he is done at this job”.  But could you really tell someone what John is like?

It is exactly the same with Jesus.  We go to church and sit in the pews and maybe we pay attention and then go home and think very little about what we learned.  We don’t take the time to get to know the creator of our life.  The person that breathed life into us and then told us to go out and love others, spread the gospel, teach our children, be compassionate, encourage one another, to be patient, and peaceful, and prayerful. The God of the universe who’s life always was and always is.  The Christ that loved us so much He died for us.  We can’t take 5 or 10 minutes a day to try to learn a little more about Him?

Now look I know it is hard and I don’t’ always get there.  There are some weeks that are so busy I might get in 5 minutes of a sermon and church and that is about it.  But I can reflect on what I have learned, I can seek him out in prayer, I can talk about Him.  I am part of a ladies Bible Study group.    I am always interested to hear how people spend time with God.  For most of ladies I know it is a daily quiet morning cup of coffee and reading the Bible before the kids get up, or Bible journaling or a good biblical book.  I love it and it sound beautiful and I think for people that can do that, it is a perfect way to do it.  I also think that, that is what we all think we need to do.  We need to get up at the crack of dawn and quietly read our Bible.  You know what I do?  I turn on a sermon in the midst of our crazy day and listen while I cook or work or homeschool my son.  I downloaded a Bible on my phone and spend 5 minutes reading while I wait for my son to get out of school.  I ask my husband crazy questions to make us both think and see who has the answer. I set reminders on my phone when I think it’s been too long.

My point is that it does not have to look a certain way but it does need to be there.  I am also not spending every second reading my bible.  I like T.V. and mystery novels, and hiking and writing and hanging out with my friends and spending time with my husband and crazy 4 year old.  I do however also want to know what else God has shared in the Bible and learn what I can from it.  Find what else I have missed like Song of Solomon and apply it to my life.   I love the analogy I used at the beginning.  If you were married to Jesus, what could you tell people about him based on 1 hour once a week?  How can we expect that we will be able to give an account for who God is if we don’t’ know his book?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January Newsletter

First off, the Nutcracker was a huge success.  This is something that has never been done in our community and many people were pleasantly surprised by the program.  One of my favorite things was that so many different “communities” were represented at the program.  From Missionary groups to unsaved Americans to Mexican families and people from neighboring towns and everything in between.  We all came together for one night that the kids will never forget.  We had three additions to the program.  The show started with a Christmas flute duet and we added an opera singer and the reading of the Nativity story.  Then of course there was the regular program and the kids did fantastic for their first year preforming the Nutcracker.  This was a simple program but for those involved and watching, it was considered a Broadway performance. We charged 10 pesos (50¢) for the program and all the money went to the church mission trip to Sineloa in Southern Mexico in April.  After a program here it is expected that a meal be served so we had a nice little meal after and lots of conversation and fun.  We guessed about 200 in attendance for both. 

My parents were here for the week leading up to, and for a few days after the Nutcracker.  I could not have done it without their help. Archie of course loved the visit from Grandma and Grandpa and spent every waking minute with them.  They stayed next door to us and they even took him overnight one night.  For the first time since his birth we got a full night for a date and didn’t even have to get up with him in the morning.  It was amazing!  The downside was I got food poisoning at the restaurant and it has taken quite awhile to bounce back.  We also went to The Sunflower House (Archie’s Preschool) Christmas program which was a ton of fun.   My parent’s time here was too quick and we sadly had to let them go home.  They left some Christmas presents and some fun memories behind.  Dad and our pastor did talk about my dad coming back in March to help with a construction job at the church and are trying to figure out a time to make that work.

While my parents were here we followed a few leads on some long term housing.  Unfortunately the cost was just too great for everything we looked at and so we continue to rent.  Many Americans have moved into this area and so the prices for many things including housing is not much different than those of US prices.  We know renting is not best idea in the long run but God knows what his plans are for us and if He wants us to buy a home it will come available at a price we can afford. We are in no hurry but continue to be wise and keep our eyes and ears open for something that would be suitable long term.

Our dear longtime missionary friend and instrumental person in starting our intern ministry here, Kaitlyn, left for good this month.  We will miss her dearly but her latest adventure into San Francisco to work at a free pregnancy clinic will be an amazing one.  Her husband comes back from deployment in March when she will travel to Montana to live with him for good.  We hope she ends up back here in La Mision but are confident God will use her wherever she goes.  I put together a slide show of her time here that was played at Church for her going away and there were not many dry eyes in the place that afternoon.

Our Christmas “break” has been packed with many things.  Rachael Bonato came back to spend Christmas Break with us and she has been a blessing to us as always.  Also spending much time at our home this break is Morgan.  She is the newest intern at Siloe clinic and had no place to be for Christmas break.  Rachael and Morgan helped me put away and clean all the dance stuff from the Nutcracker which took two days.  We now have 25 totes lining the wall in our bedroom awaiting another future Nutcracker performance.  Also Rachael and I spent two days at the clinic helping Morgan organize the clinic and more specifically the 500+ patient charts. 

 We had Morgan and Rachael both here Christmas Eve, overnight and Christmas day when a few other interns dropped in for visits.  We love that our home, is a home away from home, for the interns and really enjoy hosting them.  Also on Christmas Eve we took a trip out to Guadalupe to Cumi Rehab (the rehab we regularly support) and brought them food and treats for Christmas. That day for their Christmas meal they had butchered a goat and were cooking it in stew over an open fire in a three sided shack (their kitchen).  It is hard to adequately describe, but it was just a really neat thing to go and visit with the guys and bring them food and see a different side of Christmas

We plan on making a trip out to Rancho Viejo (about 45 minutes up the canyon on a dirt road) to take food to a family there this week.  We got a small donation from someone last month asking us to use it for the folks at Rancho Viejo and I could not think of a better family then the one pictured in this newsletter.  Four little girls and their dad in a one room pressboard shack.  We also had an update about the older man from Rancho Viejo that I talked about in our newsletter a few months ago.  I gave him my spray bottle of hand sanitizer (vinegar, water, and tea tree oil) and told him to use it morning and night for an infection on his foot.  The infection was cleared up because of the spray and he hopefully will make it to the clinic for his other issues soon.

January will start a new schedule with our regular ministries rearranged a bit.  A little more guitar for Dan and a little less dance for me are the only changes we have planned.  In place of the few hours I am cutting back we will be working on a potential new ministry.  It is a bit soon to talk much about it but we appreciate prayer as we seek God’s will and prepare information for those involved.  As always we want nothing more then what God would have us do and wish to be wise in following Him.  We love that God has kept us flexible in our ministry so that whatever He calls us to do, we can.  Some might find it difficult be we really enjoy that aspect of our life here.  As we proceed it will be really fun to see what God has in store for us.

Prayer:  Thank you all for your continued prayer and support of us.  This month we appreciate prayer for our upcoming year and the continuation of our regular ministries.  Also as we mentioned please pray for our potential new ministry.  As always we appreciate prayer for wisdom and health.  Please pray for Archie as he goes back to school and for his teachers.  Please pray that we would be able to serve the ministries we work with well and meet their needs as we go about our ministering to the people here alongside them.

As always thank you for your support and prayer.  Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletters and keep up with us and what we are doing. We very much appreciate every one of you and covet your prayers greatly.  Know that we pray for you too. 

Many blessing in the New Year.           
The Martins

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