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Category Archives: Ellen Burns – Journeyman

Ellen Burns – IMB Journeyman, Veracruz, Mexico – September 2015

This past month God has given me some huge blessings! One big blessing was the opportunity to go home to Arkansas for my younger brother’s wedding. It IMG_0034was a wonderful, restful week spending time with my family, not to mention eating lots of good, American food! This month also brought my supervisor and his family back to Mexico. After only communicating via email for the past year, it has been great to have them only a short drive away!!

Just in the past few days we also had the chance to join in the celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day. Celebrations are a big deal here, so there was a big parade, fireworks, a marching band, the whole 9 yards (or 8.2 meters). We also attended an event way up in the mountains that was hosted by a local group of believers. They invited people from all over, and shared a message about the freedom that can be found in Christ. It was encouraging to see their desire to share their faith with others!!

Now, as we move forward in our work, please be in prayer for the people that we come in contact with, that their hearts will be open to hear the truth from God’s Word. Please also be in prayer for the many individuals and families in the IMB who are considering early retirement due to financial shortages within the organization. Please pray that God’s will be done in everything!!

For more information about the financial situation of the IMB, please visitIMB.org

Praises/Requests:

*After over a year of language learning, Candace and I have completed formal language study! This means that we understand the language well enough to communicate with the people here, and will now have more time to focus on Bible storying.

*Because of the difficulty of finding people to help us record stories, we took a short break from storying, but now we are moving our focus back in that direction.  Please pray that we will be able to find the right people to help us on this project.

*Over the past couple of months I have gotten to know two women about my own age who have both been dealing with some difficult situations and are searching for peace.  Please pray that God will give me the words to say so that they will realize their need for Him in their lives.

Written by Ellen Burns

 

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Ellen Burns – IMB Journeyman, Veracruz, Mexico

IMG_0004This past month has brought several changes to our routine here; most of them unplanned! One of these surprising changes is that I now have a job of sorts. A couple of days a week I have started helping a friend of mine sell chicken at a stand, and in return she is helping me with my language study-answering questions and having Nahuatl conversations with me. It has been really helpful in my language learning, and I have gotten to know her and her family a lot better too! I am praying that during the time we spend together I will have many opportunities to show her God’s love, and to share truth with her.”

Another change has been a change in the weather. Although it has been a lot warmer this year than it was during this same time last year, it has begun to rain almost daily, and is a lot cooler in the evenings than it has been. This means that people are more likely to stay at home and not venture out, which adds another complication to finding people to practice language with. We only have about a month left to reach our language goal, so we need all of the help and practice that we can get!”

Your prayers mean so much to me, and I am so grateful for your support! It isn’t always easy to be here, but I know that I am where God wants me to be, and your prayers give me the strength to stay here!

Praises/Requests:

A couple of weeks ago our car started overheating, and there was a problem with the brakes as well. However, we were able to get all of the problems fixed rather quickly, and for several hundred dollars cheaper than we were originally quoted!

Once again, our phone has stopped working, which makes communication with our teammates a bit complicated. Please pray that the we will find a way to fix our phone, and that we won’t have any more technological issues!

We have a couple of busy, chaotic months ahead of us, with plenty of changes and adjustments to be made to our routine. Please pray that we will have wisdom in how we spend our time and in the plans we make as we prepare for the next stage in our work here.

Written by Ellen Burns

 

Ellen Burns – IMB Journeyman, Veracruz, Mexico

Summer vacation has officially arrived in Mexico! Because Mexico has a slightly different school year than the U.S.A., this past week was the final week of school, and a week full of graduation ceremonies. Although we weren’t able to attend them all, Candace and I were invited to attend graduation ceremonies for everything from Kindergarten to High School, as well as to share a meal with the families of the graduates. It was a week full of celebration, and I was grateful to be able to share the joy of the families we have gotten to know here. #

This week also brought a visit from our supervisors to continue our training on the process for translating a set of stories from God’s Word. We are nearing the end of full-time language study, which means that our schedule here will soon look quite a bit different than it does now! Please be in prayer for us over the next couple of months as we begin changing our focus and rearranging our daily lives. However, please also pray that we will finish out our time of language study well, and that we will be able to learn and understand the language well enough to do our job well! #

Although we have lived here for over a year, and in many ways we have adjusted to village life, there are still days when we feel out of place, or homesickness hits and it gets just a little bit more difficult to get up and go. Your prayers mean so much to us, especially on the more difficult days. Thank you for praying!

Praises/Requests:

Some friends of ours lost their father a couple of months ago, and although they are still mourning, they have been able to restart their business, and are recovering from the tragedy of his death.

We now have several consistent translators for stories, but finding times to meet together has been challenging.  Please pray that schedules will all work out to allow for a time of translation and Bible study.

Last week Candace’s laptop completely stopped working, and so far no one can determine what the problem is. She has many important language and storying resources on her computer that it is difficult to go without.  Please pray that the repairmen will find a simple (and affordable!) solution, and that none of Candace’s important files will be damaged or lost.

Written by Ellen Burns

 

Ellen Burns, IMB Journeyman – Veracruz, Mexico

The past month was a special time, as I had the opportunity to do several things that I am not usually able to do. The most exciting of these was the chance I had to travel to Arkansas for my sister’s wedding! It was a quick, busy trip, but I was able to see many family members and friends who I hadn’t seen in over a year, which was a huge blessing! God also showed Himself faithful in the small things, as He protected me flying through a tropical storm, as well as on two planes in a row with mechanical issues. He also kept me sane as I dealt with lost luggage and miscommunication long distance. One neat thing that came out of all of the chaos of travel was that I ended up having the opportunity to share my testimony with the taxi driver from the airport! It was a crazy travel adventure, but God brought me through all of it.!

This month also brought renewed enthusiasm by the people here for Bible story translation. As I have mentioned before, it has been difficult to find people who understand what we are trying to do, and who are willing and able to do it. However, God continues to work. We have had several people step up and volunteer to help us, and to encourage others to join in as well. There are sure to be more struggles down the road, but God will not leave us without hope, or without help. He brought me and Candace here for a reason, and He is working to bring about His will in our lives and in the lives of those we encounter here. God is good.

Praises/Prayer Requests:

After being gone for the past year on furlough, one of our supervisors and his family have safely moved back to Mexico!

We are beginning to meet with a small group of people who have volunteered to help us translate stories into Nahuatl.  Please pray that they will overcome any nerves about being recorded, that they will learn from the stories, and that this group will share what they learn with others.

It has begun to rain on a daily basis, and some days this can make it difficult to accomplish what needs to be done.  Please pray that the rain will not keep us from doing our work, and that we will still be able to find people to study language with, to share stories with, and to visit with, no matter what the weather.

Written by Ellen Burns

 

Ellen Burns, IMB Journeyman – Veracruz, Mexico

Happy June! As difficult as it is for me to believe, this month Candace and I will pass the one-year mark of living in Mexico… wow! It is amazing and encouraging to look back and see all that God has done in the last 12 months. He has gotten me through some difficult days, and blessed me with some wonderful, memorable days as well. A recent example of this is from just last week. On the 29th, I celebrated my 25th birthday. Rather than having to spend the day alone, wishing to be with my family, I was invited over to a family’s home, where they fed me mole (their traditional birthday meal) and they dressed me up in the local indigenous clothing. Then later that day my teammates came over and we had a more American-style celebration with balloons, candles, etc. It was a fun, relaxing day, and I am so grateful for the people God has placed in my life who were there to celebrate with me.%

Another blessing is that God continues to provide us with new friendships, and new opportunities to share life with people, in good times and bad. The more I get to know people here, the greater the love that God gives me for them, and the stronger the desire I have for them to have true, lasting relationships with Jesus Christ. Life here isn’t always easy, and there are many days when I wish God had called me to do something “easier”, but then He reminds me of the reason why I am here, and it makes it worth all that He asks of me and more. I am, without a doubt, blessed to be where I am.

Prayer Requests/Praises:

This week I had my second language evaluation, and, despite a nearly constant struggle to find teachers, I have made progress! Although I still have months of studying to do, it is encouraging to see improvement.

In two short weeks, I will be traveling to Arkansas for my sister’s wedding, my first chance to visit home in a year! Please pray that it will be a good, restful time with family and friends, and that I will return with extra motivation to study and to spend time visiting with people.

We are beginning to meet with a small group of people who have volunteered to help us translate stories into Nahuatl.  Please pray that they will overcome any nerves about being recorded, that they will learn from the stories, and that this group will share what they learn with others.

 

Ellen Burns, IMB Journeyman – Veracruz, Mexico

IMG_0019Another month has gone by in the blink of an eye! Here in the village we have enjoyed the last few weeks of sunshine, as the rainy season is on its way. Just as the seasons are changing, Candace and I are also working through a small change in our lives as well. Although we are still primarily working on learning the language, and building stronger relationships, we have also begun working to find a small, committed group of people who are willing and able to help us as we translate and record Bible stories in their language. So far we have had quite a few people express an interest in helping us, but it does involve a large commitment of time, and that is an issue that we are still working around. Please pray that God will give us wisdom as we work on scheduling a few translating sessions.!

Although this past month brought its frustrations, it also brought the opportunity to take several days just to rest, and spend time in prayer. Candace and I were able to meet up with 4 other single women who are serving in other parts of Mexico, and we had a great time visiting with them, and spending time praying together for our ministries, for our friends, and for the country that has given us a home for a time. God also showed us that He hears our prayers, even for the small things, by getting us bus tickets home. (You can read that story on my blog: imsignificantlyinsignificant.blogspot.com) Thank you for your prayers! They make a difference!

Praises/Requests:

I keep getting emails each week from friends and family that are so uplifting!  Keep writing …

Next Sunday (the 17th) we are meeting with a group of women who have offered to help us with translation.  Please ask that God will help us to clearly explain the goals and the process, and that the women will benefit from the time spent studying God’s Word.

Now that I have several friendships here in the village, I at times find myself having to choose between spending time with them and using that time for language study. Please pray that I will have wisdom in how I spend my time, so that I can do the translation work I was brought here for, while also making the most of the friendships that God has given me.

Written by Ellen Burns

 

Ellen Burns, IMB Journeyman – Veracruz, Mexico

IMG_0002These past few weeks were a bit of a struggle for me. As much as I would like to believe that time eliminates all culture shock, that simply isn’t true. Last week was a perfect example of that. Because I am living in an area where the vast majority of the people are Catholics, nearly the entire village participated in the many different rituals and ceremonies that were held in the Catholic church in honor of Holy Week.

A family that we have been teaching a bit of English invited me and Candace to their home, to eat with them and to watch them observe one of their traditional rituals. As we sat there in their home, we watched as their friends and family came to their home, and one by one they offered incense to the saints at the family’s altar, asking for blessings and praying to the saints that there would be enough food for everyone who came. It was heartbreaking to see them performing these rituals, saying they were doing it in honor of Christ, when it was Christ who died to eliminate the need for rites and rituals. It is my prayer that God will turn their hearts from following traditions of the past to trusting in the hope of an eternal future.

Praises/Requests:

It has now officially been 1 year since I began working for the IMB. I have seen God at work in so many ways, and I am looking forward to seeing what He does in year 2!

As Candace and I advance in our language learning, we are in need of more people who are willing to help us practice what we are learning. Please pray that we will continue to meet people who will help us so that we can better share Truth in the heart language of these people.

We are still working to get together a group of people who can help us as we work to translate God’s stories into the Nahuatl language. Please ask that God will bring people who understand the work to be done, and who will also benefit from the time spent studying God’s Word.

Written by Ellen Burns