Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Last week marked a special anniversary for our family. Nine years ago, in March of 2003, our family packed up what little belongings we hadn't sold or given away into our suburban, and into a little trailer, and we began an amazing journey that God had set in motion for us. It is hard to believe that it's already been nine years!
From March of 2003 to August of 2010 we ministered and lived in Monterrey, Mexico; and now since August 2010 we have been here in Cancun as we follow God's call to establish His kingdom through the ministry of Back2Back here in this part of the republic.
When we first moved to Mexico we made a 3 year commitment with Back2Back, and I'm certain that many awaited us to complete our three years, and then move on with "our lives". We've obviously long since met that original three year commitment, but God has not yet released us to move on to something else.
We continue to constantly seek the Lord's will for our lives, and continually try to keep the pulse of our family, to know what God might have for us, and what is best for the eight of us. Thank you for those of you who regularly are praying along with us - you such a huge part of our very existance. We continue to be so thankful to God for each of you who have supported us both in prayer and financially over the past nine years. We continue to need you, just as much as we did nine years ago.
We are constantly in awe of God's provision, protection, and blessings...and trust that He has so much more to come.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Have you ever played "Cat and Mouse" with a little kid? You know...it's like the classic Tom and Jerry, where the little kid hides....then pops out to get your attention, but then runs away again. But have you ever seen a teenager play the game? You see, the other night, while visiting the Casa Hogar Esperanza with a visiting missions team, 14-year-old Enrique (pictured above) insisted that I chase him around...for nearly an hour! He kept popping out of hiding places, and darting upstairs, and running down the back hallway, and then running into the street...all with the goal of having me chase after him.
I know that Enrique could not have likely put words to what he was doing, but it was as if God allowed me to see on the spiritual or psychological level what was going on. Him engaging me in this "game" was all about wanting my attention. He wanted me to pursue him. He wanted someone to realize that as much as he might be trying to run away, he actually, deep down, wants to be caught. He wants to be saved. I am convinced that in his heart of hearts he longs for it. At first it struck me a bit odd. A fourteen year old playing this silly game with an adult man? Really? Was this really the only way he could think of to reach out for help?
I could have guessed that there was something deeper going on all by myself - but it was later confirmed through my conversation with the director of the children's home, Ester. She shared with me that Enrique has reached the "end", he is on his last "life" at the children's home. They are running out of ideas of how to help him. Perhaps his behavior wouldn't sound that abnormal to you. He is a teenager dabbling in things he shouldn't on the streets, he has a terrible mouth, and a worse attitude, and they are not sure how much longer they can handle him. But he's not the only one...in addition to Enrique there is also Santiago, and there is also Denys...each with their own unique stories, with their own unique problems...but each with plenty of things stacked up against them. My heart breaks for them. My heart longs to see God do something that only God can do. I desire to see miracles in each of these boys lives.
Will you join us in praying for these young men? Will you pray for Enrique, for Santiago and for Denys? Will you believe for miracles along with us? We are trusting God to do what He does best...to go after the ONE. We are stepping out in obedience and are willing to be the tool that God uses to help reach these young men...but we very much realize that on the spiritual level, there is much that God needs to do in His realm.
We know, without a shadow of a doubt that our God is the shepherd who will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one. Let's not forget it! We have just recently watched Him do it for David! We know that He did it for you and for me, and we know He'll do it again!
Saturday, December 31, 2011
On New Year's Eve I love to look back over the past year. I love to think of New Year's as a year-end celebration of all that God has done over the past year. We are absolutely overwhelmed as we look back over 2011, and think of all that God has down in the past 12 months. He has been faithful. He has loved, He has blessed, H redeemed, He has surprised us time and time again. He has provided financially. He has touched hearts and souls. He has healed lives, relationships, and bodies. He has rescued....and He has transformed lives.
A new year begins tomorrow. I love the prospect of a brand new year, and all that it represents. I love the feel and the smell of a brand new, empty calendar. It's a new beginning. It's a new chance. It's a fresh, new piece of paper, and a new chapter in God's story that He is writing. And although we have plans already in motion, and many things have been on the agenda for some time now, I love even more that God is a God who already has 2012 all intricately thought out, planned out, and He's got next the New Year's Eve party all set up! Even with a list of the exact things we'll be praising Him for this time next year!
God, we are excited for 2012! May it be a year where we see more of You. May it be a year where we come to know you more. May it be a year where you make yourself even more famous! God, bring more of Your Kingdom. God, bring the full gospel to those you've put in our paths. God, allow us to be a part of people having encounters with You. Awaken our hearts to you, and to what part we play in all that you will do in 2012. We are already excited for next year's celebration!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
In the morning I remember waking up and thinking. Yep, it's true, it's not a dream. David showed up at our house last night, and he's sleeping on the couch. Why now God? We have 20-some women here for the rest of the week, don't I have enough going on right now? How will I have the time necessary to devote to him today. Silly me, I should have known that God already had that all figured out.
As God's schedule would have it, that morning had been carved out for the women to have their quiet times with the Lord, and their small groups at a local beach before we headed out to serve for the day.
So, arriving at the beach, David and I plopped down in the sand next to each other, and I began to talk. We talked more about where he'd just come from, and what he wanted to happen, and then I told him very clearly: "You already told me that you know you need God. It is time to decided where you stand with this. It is time to confront any doubts and any questions. Today is the day of salvation. It is time to make a decision. This is not about dipping your toes in the water, and dabbling into a little bit of who God is, and who Jesus is for you - this is about throwing your whole self into the ocean of God, David. Today is the day, are you ready?"
And David said, "Yes. Yes I'm ready."
Right there, and right then David and I prayed together, and he gave his life over to Jesus. It was one of those surreal moments, witnessing God do what He does, and yet being right there in the midst of the whole thing - what a gift. Our Cancun staff team, as well as the other visiting staff from Ohio and Monterrey then gathered around David, and spent the next moments bathing him in prayer, praying for his protection, praying for what is to follow - and entrusting the days that are to come into the hands of God.
As the months went we knew little of David. But thanks to the modern wonder that facebook is to all of us, from time to time I was able to shoot him a message, and let him know we were praying...but that was about it. But rarely would I hear anything back. And then, all of a sudden, in mid to late November David initiated chatting with me via facebook one evening.
"I want out," he said.
"Out of what," I asked?
"Out of my life. I don't want to live like this anymore, I want out," he said.
"Let's figure out when we can get together," I replied. I suggested he meet us Sunday morning, come to church with us, and we can spend the afternoon together, but Sunday came and went. We didn't hear anything from him, and then, well then we got busy with a visiting group of 20-some women here from Ohio bringing Christmas cheer to Cancun.
So, Wednesday, November 30th rolls around. It had been a long day. It was about 11:30 p.m. We had just begun to drift off to sleep when the security from our neighborhood called to say there was a teenage boy at the gate looking for me.
"It's David," I exclaimed to Julie.
"Well, have him come in and sleep on the couch and we can talk more tomorrow," says my compassionate wife, Julie.
And so I walked to the gate, and escorted him to our house. I got the feeling he was already planning on staying as he immediately took off his shoes and socks.
"What do you need - what can I do for you," I asked him?
"I want to change. I want to be different. I want to go back to school. I don't want my life to go on the way it is," he replied.
"We can help you find a place to live, and we can help you get back in school, and we can help you get pointed in the right direction, but you have to understand that what you need more than anything right now is God. Do you understand that? Can you see that," I asked?
"Yes, I know. And I'm ready," replied David.
Last December I wrote about a boy named David. Fifteen, no desire to work, or study, or follow rules...and you can guess where that got him. David had a lot of things going on - both inside and out. He has lived at the children's home since before he could walk. The only family he has ever known is his older brother, and the directors of that home. For lots of reasons, it is no wonder that his life might look a little messy, yet even in the midst of all that, God was giving me just a glimpse of the potential that was inside this boy. I knew that God had a lot more up his sleeve for this young man.
What I didn't know, but could have guessed is that life would get worse for David before it got better. I did have a few chances to hang out with David in the winter and spring. We invited him to join in with us a couple different days when we had visiting missions teams, and he came along as a volunteer for the day. He was pleasant, helpful, fairly quiet. One morning I grabbed him and sat down beside him while the visiting team was having their quiet time and I read Psalm 139 to him. I told him it was one of my favorite places to re-visit in the scriptures, and how I loved how full it was of truths about God...how He knit us together in our mothers wombs, how He knows us, how He is always with us...and the list goes on.
David was pretty quiet that morning. He grinned at me. Sort of chuckled to himself and said, "I don't really believe all of that". "You know what," I told him, "It's O.K. - God loves that you can even be honest and say that aloud. He (God) really is all of those things...all of those things are true of him, and He will show you. I know He will."
About a month later David left the children's home He lived the next six or seven months on his own, in a tiny cave-of-a-room with a mattress in it. He hit some real lows. And somewhere in the lowest of low places I think David started to believe that there just might be something to "this God" and what this God had for his life. And so the story continues...
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Year one we were blessed to be a team of four, and now as we enter year two we are feeling doubly blessed to be adding two more! We are extremely excited to introduce to you the newest members of our Back2Back Cancun Staff Team, Erick and Julie Mowery. Erick and Julie are from Michigan, and they arrived here in September along with their teenage son, Nick. Their daughter, Eliza, remained in the states as she has just begun college.
Please join us in prayer for the Mowery's for their transition to living in a new city and new country; as they get to know a brand new culture; as they adjust to home-schooling; as they learn Spanish; and as the acclimate to being a part of our Back2Back family. We are confident that God hand-picked them to be a part of our team, and look forward to the ways they will plug in, and complement all that God has called us to do here in Cancun. Welcome to the family Erick, Julie and Nick!
Nick, Erick, Julie, and Eliza Mowery