The past few months have seemed like a mini-roller coaster ride. I’d like to share a few of the struggles and blessings I’ve experienced just this week.
My Mexican church Jerusalen has offered to give me 4 free invitations to a Kids’ Camping trip the first week of April. So Monday I went out to the Brickyard to invite 4 kids that I thought could really benefit from the 3-day camping trip. While I was talking to Lupe and her kids, a well-dressed lady approached and, well, kind of rudely interrupted us in order to promote her “mission.” She was from church that was going to be doing a campaign at the Brickyard – guess when? Yep, the same days as the camping trip. She kept going on and on about how the Americans were coming and would be bringing “blessings,” i.e., STUFF. Clothing, toys, shoes, groceries, etc. Who would want to miss that??? Oh, and btw, “we’re building a church and dining hall here at the Brickyard.”
SIGH! That was my roller coaster taking the plunge. So many groups come into the Brickyard, offering STUFF while trying to present the Gospel and the Word, and they don’t even realize how few people care about their message. All they want is the material “blessing” they hand out. These groups are basically inoculating people to Christ.
But then my roller coaster went sky-high. Little Luis Angel was listening to all this, then said, “But I want to go camping! I’m going, I’m going.” 😀 Thataboy, Luis!!! Thanks for caring more about spiritual things. Luis and his sister Nayeli will be two of the kids going on the camping trip.
As I went around to invite a couple of more kids, I found this same group visiting and inviting for their campaign. Down plunged the roller coaster. I thought, fine, I’ll just swing by Linda’s house to check on her daughter’s health (on Friday she had been sick). But when I approached Linda’s house, I saw a long line of people by the church, waiting for their tickets for this upcoming campaign. Most of the people were ladies who no longer come to our Bible study on Friday, they only ever go where the groups give them things. It broke my heart to see so many of these women that I have known for 10 years and who practically never even greet me any more, lining up for goodies from strangers.
So Monday and Tuesday I spent reflecting on the work, wondering what God is doing and wanting to do. Heard an inspirational message on trusting Him to work in our lives and in the lives of others! Then Wednesday Queen came to my house with her infant son.
This is the lady whose son apparently committed suicide in December. (There’s more news on that…). Queen is at peace in a way that I’ve never seen her before. In the past, she has always professed to be a Christian, but has always continued participating in the Tarahumara drinking ceremonies and religious festivities at the Brickyard. There has never been any display of following Christ… until now. She shared with me that her two kids, whom I also invited to go on the camping trip, were saying they wanted to stay for the campaign in order to get clothing and shoes. But she told them, “NO! You’re going on the camping trip. You’re going to learn more about Jesus, and that’s way more valuable than a pair of shoes and some clothes that are just going to wear out soon.” PRAISE THE LORD for such a refreshing attitude!! My roller coaster was soaring!
Then, to make it even better, she was telling me how her cousin, the leader at the Brickyard, had asked her to organize the upcoming Easter festivities (dancing and drinking). She told him to find someone else, because she wasn’t going to be involved in that any more. Even though he got angry at her, she didn’t relent!!! Here was a lady that I thought was inoculated way back when to the meaning of true Christianity. Now, through the death of her son, God has brought her back to Him in a strong way, where her testimony actually means something in this community.
Thanks, Lord, I needed that reminder that YOU are always at work in people’s hearts and lives, even when I don’t know about it or may not have much of a role. Please keep praying that the enemy would not seduce the people away from the Lord, but that Christ’s love would be apparent through us as we follow Him. Pray for us to remain faithful, so that God would be glorified as people turn to Him. Thanks for upholding this work with your prayers and gifts and words of encouragement.