Saludos familia y amigos, (Christmas needs are at bottom)
It is that time of year again! Thanksgiving is over and we are well into the hustle of the Christmas season. But for many of you, the gratefulness felt during Thanksgiving will continue on through the season as we focus our attention on things that really matter; our families, friends, and a place to call home. My heart is filled with thanksgiving as I reflect how God has been so real to provide and protect me the last couple of weeks. I found myself in numerous situations thinking, "I can't believe this happening to ME!" God has been teaching me a lot about letting go of what I think I need and just let Him provide what only He knows I need. Unfortunately, this has also included the area that I have the hardest time letting go of, finances. When I finally let go, I started to really see him move.
I have needed new tires for months. They are VERY bald. I also had a slow leak in one of them and was filling it up twice a week, but I knew if I brought it in to patch it that they would make me change them. Since I did not have the money to change them, I just kept praying that the tires would last as long as I needed them to. Then some friends came to visit for some business in Mexico last week and saw my bald tires. They decided to that they wanted to help me NOT to have an accident and blessed me with two new tires!!! They also left me with food that they purchased for their time here, but did not end up eating. Little did they know that I had no money for food and they just supplied me for another week. Thanks Hap and Sharon!!!! But the funny part of this story is what happened a few days after getting my tires changed. I was heading home from a long day of work at the school (I am doing some bookkeeping at a ministry school that is able to provide free education in a very poor community). After coming out of the colonia (town), I make my way across Juarez on a road that runs along the Rio Grande. This is the main way through Juarez, without having to go through the city. For some reason (and it is all too common in Mexico), this main road was blocked off…no detour. Everyone is on their own. With all of the violence going on right now in Juarez, anything could have been happening down there. I left the school because it was getting dark and to be on the safe side, I try not to be in Juarez after dark. So, I found myself having to go off the beaten path (literally, because I was still on a dirt road) and start making my way through the hills of the colonia, not knowing where we would be allowed back on the main road. I was following other cars that were doing the same thing, hoping they would lead me back. As we are winding through the colonia, I found myself at the bottom of a street that looked like it was going straight up. I have never seen a street this steep in my entire life!!!! Thankfully, it was blacktopped and not gravel because I knew I was going to have climb it with my car. The car in front of me started up the hill while I waited at the bottom. It was just about to the top when it started skidding back towards me because the tires had no grip. Now, that is a rush. They were able to make it (I have no idea how) and I started to make my way up the hill. I reached to top with ease and a lot of adrenaline, and then realized that I would have never made it had my tires been bald!!!! The colonia that I was winding through has been known for being a particularly bad part of town. So I was already praying for safety. I could not believe that just happened to me, because it had the potential to be bad.
I also found myself in a situation the other day in which I was First, embarrassed and then Second, thankful that nothing did happen. I agreed to go running with a teacher from the school in Juarez that I am working at. After many weeks of declined invitations (might I add, she is tiny and came in 3rd in the Juarez Marathon…wouldn't you be intimidated?), I agreed to try it….but only because she suggested getting coffee afterward. So I met up with her, and as we were getting ready to head out, she tells me we are going to meet up with her nephew and coach. Yeah, you heard me…her coach. She did not say anything about a coach earlier…I would have remembered. After assuring me I could still run at my own pace, we headed out. We get to the location, I meet the coach, and we go a room with about 8 other people. The "coach" comes in and we all head out. Turns out, she is part of a running group. I am freaking out at this point (obviously, inside my head). What have I gotten myself into? Bigger question:What am I going to be expected to do? We headed out at a reasonable pace and I thought to myself, "I could do this for 6 miles…". We jogged about a mile, then everyone stopped to stretch. You're following me….that was just the warm-up. The coach instructed the runners what to do and I knew my body would not be able to withstand it. I would need a few more months to train. So I just jogged at my own pace, while the group disappeared ahead. We were following the curb of a one-mile lap in the largest park in Juarez. After the second lap of running solo, I noticed it was getting dark and I was more aware of the fact that I was by myself. Then it hit me, " This is what I have always been told never to do in Juarez." I am a blonde-haired, blue eyed, female American running alone in a park. It is not the gawking that I am worried about, I am used to that. It is the combination of those things that jeopardize my safety at this point, especially with the heightened violence. So I made my way back to the coach and watched the runners speed past me to make another lap. He really did not understand why I did not continue running and made jokes about it (he was not being mean, just sarcastic), but I would rather be safe than sorry. So, I laughed on my way home at the vowed that the next time I run with my new friend, I was going to be very clear on the details. But most of all, I was thankful that I was safe.
His provision has brought me to a place of humbleness as well. Here are two examples. I had been praying about how I was going to come up with my rent every month, my largest expense. I am currently in a big trailer house that has more space than what I will ever need, but I was able to get a deal on the rent. Then, I was recently offered a travel trailer, rent-free. This place is, literally, less than a fourth of the space I have now and has paper-thin walls. But this is better deal and it has all the necessities!! In the past, I have always had decent places to live, even at the orphanage. So, I am swallowing my pride and taking the offer. It will be an adjustment in living space, but I have decided it will be fun and I will have many stories to tell. But the next example is more than just coincidence. My rent was due at the first of the month. I have held onto the check because I lacked $50, but trusting God was somehow going to take care of it. Finally, I swallowed my pride and told the landlords I would pay them what I had and would have to pay the $50 later. She surprised me when she said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you!!! We decided we were going to give you $50 off this month's rent because you paid for a full month's utilities a few months ago and only lived there for 15 days." I just looked at her in disbelief. I thought I did not hear right, but she repeated it and it was what I heard the first time.
I have become overwhelmed at how big God is and yet He still cares for the details. It seems humorous because just a few months ago, I was in a very dark place. God was a disappointment. But in that, I always knew He was there…even though I could not feel him. And now, I am starting to see and experience Him again. Even in the lives that were torn apart by the devastating events at the orphanage, there is coming life. I just happened to be at DIF (the social service office) when one of our girls came in for her custody appointment. We did not have any interaction, because I have still not been allowed to see the kids. But when she exited, she came to tell me she had been placed into the custody of her new adoptive parents (after much hugging and happiness). I was able to talk to her a bit and see her smiling as she left with them. She was going to have a family and I would have never known, had I not "happened" to be there. The same day, DIF gave permission for another couple to adopt one of our children. This means it is a GO, and has been long awaited. I have grown to love this couple and know it will be good fit. I am expecting to see more good things come. I know that God is not done.
So, I don't know what the future holds.But I know that serving God always has its challenges, and to me, the trials are more fulfilling than being comfortable. I am excited to see how God uses the pain and am humbled at how He chooses to use me. I am anticipating experiencing a fresh season where God has me on the borderland.
Now, on to some other business…
I have been getting some questions on what I could use for Christmas. I thought it would be easier just to post it. I am in the process of raising financial support as well as trying to land a part-time job. In the meantime, my finances are lacking. So, one-time gifts are the most practical. This would help me out on food and gas as well as funding to pay my monthly bills. I am also in need of new brakes on my car and an eye exam for a new prescription. Assistance with any of these things would be greatly appreciated. If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to call me 915.549.6832.
Mailing Address: PO Box 1269, Fabens, TX 79838.
I pray that this Christmas season, you find joy in the things you have and create many meaningful memories with those you love. Thank you for your continued support!!!
Dios le bendiga,