SOM Week 3: Beautiful Things

It seems as if I just wrote and sent out my last update. This week flew by! This is the halfway point of the School of Missions. We’re three weeks in with three weeks left to go. One of the strangest feelings in life is feeling as if time has flown by, and yet the past feels so far away. It feels like I’ve been here forever, and yet the three weeks have flown by, and surely the next three will also. Thankfully though, no matter how fast it feels like time passes, each week is always filled with beautiful things.

In this past week, we were able to do two outreaches. At one of them, I was able to share my testimony (story of how I came to believe in Jesus and what Jesus has done in my life since that point). Unfortunately, I have no photos ? but that’s ok, just imagine me on a small stage with a translator in front of a crowd of about 25 people. It was nothing big, it was nothing grand, but it was a privilege to share my story with everyone there.

The main point at the end of my testimony to encourage the church with was: It doesn’t matter if you’re an ex-drug addict and gangster, or if you’ve had a relatively easy life, it’s a miracle that ANYONE is saved. For the drug addict and gangster, it’s a miracle they come out of that lifestyle. For the person who’s had an easy life, it’s a miracle that they would see their need for God since usually, we tend to forget God when life is easy. Salvation is pure grace, purely a gift from God, purely a miracle from God since none can believe in God without Him first revealing Himself to us. That God would choose ANY of us to be His children, that ANY of us so full of sin would choose Him – a pure miracle. It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you, Jesus.

The other outreach we had planned was an all-day event, traveling 3 hours south to San Vicente to do some youth ministry at a church including games, testimony time, Bible study, and food. (Side note: For those of you who know what Rancho Genesis is, we actually drove right past it on the main highway. I could see the camp in the distance! We would have been there this week…pray for Monte De Dios! I know we all miss our kids.)

So anyway, everything went according to plan except…no youth ministry! Instead, we did hard labor! The youth were a little uneasy to come to the event because of COVID but that’s okay, God knew, and we were able to bless the church with many, many hours of manpower.

We went out to a ranch near the church which is in the countryside of Baja California. Carlos and Pilar, a couple in the church, recently started a women’s home where women come to live with their kids while getting their feet back on the ground after coming out of prison or off drugs and alcohol. It’s a beautiful ministry and going to be a beautiful place after all the work is done. Despite things not going according to plan, nobody complained, and because of God, we were able to find joy in doing hard manual labor. Afterwards, we had dinner together, and the founder of the women’s home shared her testimony, which was a powerful one of Jesus taking her from drugs, alcohol, prison, and creating in her a new and clean heart. A beautiful thing.

At the end of our time there, even though all of us only had been together for half a day, it honestly felt as if we were leaving family. Why? How? Because we actually are family – blood relatives in the blood of Jesus Christ. When God’s children get together there is a connection because it’s really just a family reunion – the family of God. A beautiful thing indeed. (I say all of us because a few youths did show up, and the pastors were there with their families, as well as a few other church members.)

There are so many beautiful things that occurred this week – awesome team unity, amazing class sessions, moments of being poured into, building friendships, worshiping God, reading the Bible…Should I go on? Reaching hearts, touching lives, seeing people get saved, working hard, being part of the family of God…Is there anything else? Living in perfect peace every waking moment of my life knowing my eternal destination, having a perfect Father in heaven who watches over me every second of every day, having a healthy body to do God’s will, having people in my life who love me, have partnered with me, invested in me, and that are praying for me…

God, thank you for all of these beautiful things.

Praying over one of our
teachers and his family.

Being halfway through the school I’m feeling very thankful. I do miss everyone at home though and am excited to return to you all. I miss my church family, I miss my co-workers, I miss my family and friends, and even though there are still so many beautiful things here at the school to experience, I know I will be back with you all soon. As you’ve been, please continue to pray for God’s direction and leading in my and the other students’ lives, pray for God’s will to be done despite COVID, pray for team unity and for a strengthening of relationships among students and leaders at the school, relationships that will surely continue after the school is over. Please respond to this newsletter update saying hello, and please let me pray for you as well. Thank you for your involvement in my life, it is a beautiful thing.

With much love,

What is home to me? Who is family to me?
My home is in heaven and my family is the family of God.