I thought the saying was, “Talk is cheap” but right about now, I am really seeing its worth.
Have you ever tried to communicate something really important, but were only allowed to use hand motions to relate the information? Well, I never had either . . . until now! How do you tell someone how much you care about them, or to an even greater degree, how do you express the love that God has for a person, when your words no longer have any meaning? Suddenly every smile, gesture, touch, and reaction that you exhibit necessarily “speaks” everything for you. I was aware that this phenomenon would happen when I arrived because I am humbly aware of just how little Spanish I know, but I was not prepared with just what a challenge it would be. I am convicted more now than ever by the words of 1 John 3:18, “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” This week I feel as though everything I do, every action I take, is put under a microscope and I pray that all of my actions can speak for me. . . There is no love greater than the love God has for us, and it is by the power of this love, that I do what I do.
So what have we been up to, you ask? We’ve been here just over a week, and oh what a week it has been! There have been so many things going on, I wonder if I will ever remember them all. We were blessed to have our missions director, Joseph Summers, accompany us to General Cepeda. Our trip from Louisiana was quite easy, considering we were traveling in an incredibly cramped Suburban, with no leg room what-so-ever. We drove through the night, and most of us slept for at least a few hours. The whole trip would have been perfect except two of the kiddies came down with a stomach virus during the voyage! They were troopers though, and complained very little. I was so proud of my little missionaries!
Once we arrived, we were greeted with the warm smile of our mission team member, Rachel, and a beautiful sign made by one of our Mexican missionaries welcoming us to our new home . . . the Casa de Misiones! We were able to get a little nap in before heading to Mass. It was the one and only relaxed day we have had since we arrived 🙂
Since that blessed day, we have met with our local priests and set up a game plan for visiting 7 different ranchos (small villages on the outskirts of General Cepeda) on a weekly basis to offer communion services and basic catechetical teachings.
The kids have been placed in school (school is from 8:00 till 1:00) and after the first day of adjusting to this new school environment, they have all found it to be quite exciting! Moses, my oldest, described school as being, “Awesome! Everybody treats us like celebrities and are constantly asking us questions and trying to play with us!” Their homework, unfortunately is just as much work for Jon and I as it is for them! I am very thankful for the extra Spanish challenge though. Lord knows I need all the practice I can get!
We have participated in numerous prayer services and hosted two separate fiestas at the Casa de Misiones. One was for our priest, Fr. Tonio, who was celebrating his ordination anniversary, and the other was for our son, Elijah, who turned 8! Elijah, and his good friend Joselyn had a joint birthday party complete with many of the local children and an over stuffed pinata!
We have had the privilege to visit many citizens of this wonderful city in their homes, and even though I speak so little Spanish, we have had very pleasant visits. However, the most challenging, yet most rewarding activity we have been privileged to participate in would have to be what is lovingly referred to by our Missionaries as “The Door Ministry.” We at the Casa de Misiones have for years offered those in need here the opportunity for prayer and material help, if at all possible. We are very well known for these services, and therefore have ample opportunities to serve those who seek our help by knocking on the door. Since we have arrived we have distributed countless pounds of food, a plethora of warm blankets (it’s been below freezing most nights since we arrived) and clothing, and donated alms to help those in need receive the medications, or medical services they need.
The greatest blessing in this ministry is the opportunity to pray with those who come to receive help. In those moments we are no longer dependent on anything that we have, but instead rely solely on God and His providence, His goodness, and His grace. It is God who can do all things, and we desire to be nothing more than His hands and feet. I feel so blessed to not just give people material things, which will eventually wear out and disappear, but instead we can offer them the most priceless gift: knowledge of God who can give more than we will ever own! To God be all the glory now and forever!