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August 2015

2 entries from July 2015

'No me voy / I won't leave ...'

 

This was the title of one of the songs that Nisha was singing constantly in the house in order to practice for her end of term performance. The song says (translated in to English): 

I won't leave
If you hold onto me in your heart
Forever
I won't leave
And I won't say goodbye
Until you forget about me
I won't leave.....

And if I could turn back the hands of time
I would tell you from today
That I wouldn't even change this wind
To any other direction

I was thinking about how these words have been so pertinent for Nisha so far in her 7 short years of life.  She really loved this song and I wonder whether it was partly for this reason. She has had to say so many goodbyes, too many to count, and sadly she had to say goodbye again at the end of term, this time to her friends and teachers at the school she has been going to since last year. 

We have been praying and struggling with the decision for several months (since before our return from the UK). The school had a major situation happen whilst we were away (we are so thankful to God that He protected us and the girls from experiencing it), in which around 30 teachers were fired, and subsequently approximately 60 children left. The details of the situation are not as relevant as the way the school handled the situation, which wasn't at all good. We attempted to communicate with the partners of the school soon after our return, but communication was poor, and there was such little consistency in what they said that we completely lost trust in them, and hence came to the hard decision to move the girls to another school. 

Thankfully, the girls have had a mostly positive experience in the school despite all this. They have both loved their teachers (especially Nisha), and were sad to say good-bye to them (as were their teachers as well). They also made quite a few friends, even though they were only there for 2 terms. However, we reassured them that they would be able to maintain contact with some of them if they wanted to. 

They both reacted to the decision really well, and understood our reasons for making the decision. Nisha prayed that God would help us choose the right school for them to go to, and when we found one that we felt would be the best one for them, they came with us to see it and were both really happy with it. It is much smaller and more personal, and this time there is just one director of the school, which will enable better communication! Anya just liked the play ground of course, but they were both excited when they found out that they already knew some of the kids that were there - some are even neighbours! God had obviously paved the way so that it wasn't all completely new and strange. 

I know that Nisha will hold on to her friends and her teachers in her heart, she becomes close to people very quickly, but I also know that she will make new friends and have great teachers in her new school too. I don't know if the year they spent in the last school was significant in any way for them or for us, it's sometimes difficult to understand why it seemed so right at the time, but now seems so wrong, but as the song says ' I wouldn't even change the wind to any other direction' . This reminded me of a poem that my Auntie Ruth once told me:


One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.  (Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1916)

This holds so much truth, and we pray that Nisha, even at her 7 years of age will be able to grasp this truth. The fact is that there will be many goodbyes and heart-aches and horrible situations that face us, but it is how we deal with those things and how we let it influence our lives - holding on to the past with regret, or holding on to the sweet memories with thanksgiving that is important. 

Nisha and Anya also had to say good-bye to one of their guinea pigs last week-end. 'Piggy' (who was actually Anya's guinea pig) died suddenly without warning, in fact I was racing to the vet with him in a box in the car when he died, stroking him all the way and telling him to keep holding on!! I felt like an emergency vehicle!! We don't have any idea what caused his death, he seemed happy and healthy that morning, however, it was last Saturday, so we are thankful we were all at home and we could hold a little memorial service for Piggy in the garden. We all helped to bury him, including Charlie - who had a wail of a time in all the mud and dirt! Understandably the girls were really upset, especially Nisha who had been much more involved in both the guinea pigs' care. It was a good opportunity to talk about life and death and all the mixed feelings that go with it though, and Chispas (the other guinea pig) has been smothered with kisses and cuddles since, so she's not been feeling too lonely! 

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So we would really appreciate your prayers for the girls as they take time to rest and have fun over this summer break and prepare to go to their new school on August 24th. (And pray for me - Helen -  as there is a lot of preparation I need to do too!) Thanks again to all those who have been praying with us over this decision as well, we appreciate you all so much!


Busy times

Well, the dust is finally beginning to settle after a busy month! We're about two-thirds of the way through an exciting, but busy summer. So far we've had 58 visitors, a street kids camp, a trip up to OMS world headquarters for meetings, a seminary graduation, a 25 year anniversary celebration for OMS Mexico with over 500 adults and over 100 kids, a field council meeting where we spent three days together as a team reviewing the past year and planning the next, plus a vision day for our seminary and a another for our church planting ministry. 

It has been wonderful, but exhausting. We shared a couple of weeks ago highlights from the street kids camp and hope to bring you a fuller report in the coming weeks. My trip to the USA was amazing, I met with other national and international directors from the 4 corners of the world hearing stories of how God is bringing millions to Christ through OMS. Then our President Bob Fetherlin shared how God has given him a vision to see one-billion people have an opportunity to hear, understand and respond to the gospel within the next 10 years. So through our  One Mission society, we take our One Lord, with our One life and calling and use it to bring at least One opportunity to some of the most dark and broken places on earth.

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At our seminary graduation we had a great time too (first pic - me leading everyone in, second pic, welcoming everyone). We graduated five students with their bachelor's degree in theology (third pic). We also recognised my good friend Dr. Leroy Lindsey as the rector emeritus (forth pic) and installed a new director or 'rector', Troy Gentry. Troy and is family are still trying to complete their fund raising in the USA, but I'm excited to have Troy come and take over from me when they return to Mexico, as I've been directing the seminary for the past couple of years. Now I can move into more of a supervisory role with Troy working as one of my direct reports.

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The day after graduation we gathered as many people as possible to thank God for all He has done during the 25 years OMS has been in Mexico. We shared that celebration with the national church OMS founded all those years ago, UNIFAM.  

899161_10203197093646906_1032953807_oHere Alfredo Per├ęz (UNIFAM president) and I were giving recognition and thanks to Willie Hochhalter, one of the founders of the field.

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In In this picture I am moving my way up the line of pastors whom we wanted to thank. The pastor I had paused with had travelled over 4 hours from another part of Mexico to join in with the celebration, here we are looking for where the members of his congregation are sat. 

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I had the honour of preaching which I never thought I would do in a million years - preaching in Spanish to over 500 people, with the front two rows filled with pastors, and with more experienced and fluent missionaries in the congregation as well! Only God can do that believe me! 

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Rounding the day off with a massive birthday cake!

None of the things we are attempting to do would be possible without the Holy Spirit's help and the grace Jesus offers us day by day. The team in Mexico around Helen and I are amazing. We are all facing some challenging circumstances, but we see God's faithful hand at work as His church grows and thousands of new Christians come into His kingdom in Mexico. Thank you for your prayers they make a huge difference, and we need them more than ever as we are all feeling quite exhausted at the moment and know we need to rest in God and rely on Him to work through us in what He has planned in the months and years to come.