Today I just wanted to share with you how INCREDIBLY THANKFUL I am for all of you who are praying for me and Candace. Looking back on the past three months I was amazed to see how many things have happened, with no other explanation than that God made them happen. And God did these things because people were praying. So here are some of the ways that YOU are making missions happen here in Veracruz.
- Despite the rather stressful adventures that we had when we were leaving the States/first arrived here (visa troubles, flooded house, being locked out, etc.), all of these details were worked out, we never were in danger, and we got to know more people through these adventures.
- We have a place to live all by ourselves, where we can have people over whenever we like without bothering anyone, including holding our ESL classes there.
- It was planned that we would live in a larger village/city than the one we are in now, but the housing didn’t work out. We have since learned that the majority of the people there don’t even speak the language we are trying to learn. The roads there are often closed off for various reasons, and it would have been much more difficult to get to the city, or to meet with our teammates.
- Our phone wasn’t working for several weeks during our first month here, so we had to go and use the phone in a nearby internet cafe. Because of that, we met “Mona”. Through Mona we began our first ESL class, have found multiple people (including Mona herself) who are willing to help us learn the language, and were introduced to the small Christian church community that exists here in the village.
- One of the very first people we met here has truly shown herself to be a person of peace to us, opening up doors for our 2nd ESL class and for more personal relationships with non-believers, even as she herself is not a believer. (Read more about “Mama S” HERE)
- Despite the fact that we came here with absolutely no language resources, no one to teach us, and no money to pay anyone with, we are still daily progressing in language learning. We have met many people more than willing to help us learn their heart language, to listen to us stumble through saying the long, complicated words, and to correct us when me make mistakes (after laughing at the crazy blunders we make!).
- Despite the fact that Candace and I are both introverts, somehow God still gives us the energy and the courage to get out and go talk to strangers in a foreign language. (Well, 2 foreign languages!). Last week He even helped us to survive standing in front of about 25 strangers as we taught them English.
- We haven’t gotten sick! The culture here is very much a food=hospitality culture. This means that we are constantly being handed things to eat with absolutely no idea how they were prepared. Based on the kitchens that we have seen, they probably were not prepared in a very sanitary way. And yet, despite all of this, we both continue to be healthy and happy, which is a HUGE blessing.
- We have faced very little opposition here. While there have been a few people who haven’t approved of our being here for various reasons, the majority of the people have been extremely friendly and welcoming, opening up their homes to us and showing us what real hospitality looks like.
- We haven’t left. Candace and I frequently remind each other that every day is an adventure. Although we gotten used to some things, there is always something new and unexpected to throw us off when we get too comfortable here. Life here is pretty much the polar opposite of life in the States, and it would be very easy to wallow in self-pity and homesickness for 2 years, but God is sustaining us. We weren’t sent out to survive, but rather to thrive, and it is your prayers that are making that happen.
Written by Ellen Burns
For all of these things, dear friends, I just want to say THANK YOU. Please know how much your support means to me, and God bless you all.