Sunday, December 13, 2009


The missionary life is full of exits. Leaving. Saying goodbye.

We leave our friends, homes, families to enter the mission field. We leave the mission field for our furlough in the States. We leave the States to go back to the field. Mission teams come down for a while, and then they leave. Missionaries have to deal with a lot of leaving.

Let me say that it doesn’t get any easier with practice. I suppose that’s a good thing. If it became easy to say goodbye, if it didn’t hurt, then that would mean that my heart was calloused. I don’t want that to happen, so I pray that God keeps my heart soft – and that He heals the hurts quickly.

There is some comfort in knowing that when we say, “Goodbye,” here on earth as believers, it’s not permanent. It is not an eternal separation. My friend Julia used to say about her daughter, “I told God that He can put her wherever He wants her here on earth, but in heaven I want her mansion right next to mine.” It’s comforting to know that, as believers, our goodbyes aren’t forever.

Sometimes that’s not much comfort. On Wednesday, Evie’s best friend, Damaris, is leaving. Additional bummer: Damaris’s mom is my best friend. Ricardo and Cristina and their family are returning to Southern Mexico to live and work. I told her I was going to punch holes in her tires so they would have to stay another month.

That would only prolong the inevitable, though. God is calling them to ministry there, so how can I argue with that? So, instead of whining, I thought I’d post this little note. Now that I’ve found the useful page translator, Cris will actually be able to read this post. I know I won’t be able to say what I want to say in person, simply because I can’t quit crying long enough. I probably won’t be able to say everything I want to say here, either, but at least she’ll know how much I love her and how much their family has meant to us over the past 3 years.
Ricardo and Cristina have been our friends since day one.

Evie and Damaris connected immediately and have been inseparable ever since.

Jaziel has been our favorite toddler since he learned to toddle.

Ricardo and Doug share a passion for the Lord and a love of pizza -- they've worked, played and prayed together a lot during the past 3 years.

Cristina and I are sisters. She accepted me as a friend before I could even communicate that I wanted to be one. I don’t have to finish my sentences around her. She translates my dumb jokes so that the other ladies can understand what I’m trying to say. She helps me find the life application in our Bible study. I’m going to miss her. A lot.

Cristina, go with God. When we get to heaven, I want your mansion right next to mine!
Te quiero mucho, hermana mia!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

His Great Mercy

My Walk MondayNot by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. -- Titus 3:5

I love that verse. It's one of my son, Andrew's, favorites. The words roll off the lips smoothly and refresh me a bit. Once again I'm reminded that my salvation doesn't depend on me. Thank you, Lord!!!

I learned something interesting about God's mercy last night. Our weekly study group is working its way through Luke. The last time we studied Luke with a small group, it took almost 2 years to get through the first 11 chapters. Our group consisted of 5 couples and about 22 kids. Obviously some weeks we didn't study the Word much! Enter God's mercy, LoL!

So, last night we arrived at Luke 1:78 and ran into a word we didn't know. Doug's Bible is an NASV side-by-side (English and Spanish). Lupita's was "Dios Habla Hoy". I had my "Nueva Biblia de los Hispanos". It seemed like every Bible in the room used a different word to describe God's mercy.

Here's the verse in the King James version:
Luke 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us.

Tender mercy. I like that. It brings to mind a man holding a wounded bird or something like that.

Lupita's version used the phrase "great mercy". That's good, too. It gives a different mental picture. Great mercy is what I need every day when I fall on my face, blow up at my husband, snap at the kids. I'm so glad that God's mercy is great towards me!

But my Spanish version uses the word entrañable to describe God's mercy. I didn't recognize that word, and the way Esteban described it made me curious about its use in this verse. This word has a deeper meaning which will forever change how I view God's mercy.

The adjective entrañable (en trahn YAH bleh) is translated as intimate, close, beloved, or dear.

The verb entrañar means to bury deep, to carry within or to become deeply attached.

The noun entraña means entrails. Guts. The deepest, most profound place.

Profound mercy.
Deepest mercy.
Mercy from the most intimate part of God.

God's profound mercy through which Jesus (the dayspring from on high) came to us. For what purpose?

Luke 1:77 give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of sin.

The mercy which pours out from the innermost being of God is poured over us so that we can be forgiven for our sins.

God's profound mercy sent Jesus to die so that my willful disobedience could be forgiven.

Deep. Profound. The guts of it. Wow.

Today I want to be reminded of God's deep mercy for me. Maybe it will help me to be more merciful to those around me?

Praying you're blessed today!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Eighteen Years

Not a very original title, I know, but it's a little early in the morning for originality. This past Monday, Doug and I celebrated our 18th anniversary. Ooo rah! Can't believe it's been that long, actually, but time has just flown by!

I had planned a quiet weekend with maybe a friendly game of dominoes, spoons or pinochle with the kiddos. Doug suggested an evening out on Friday, so of course I agreed. I got all ready for our date and just as I was putting on my shoes, three girls from Boca showed up (with their kids and a puppy) to wash their car. Pily asked if we could puppy-sit for the weekend (cute pup, btw) and Bris asked when Sarah was coming. "Not till next weekend," I told her. Doug had conveniently disappeared, so the house was pretty much bedlam with kittens, puppies, toddlers and teenagers running amok. It was one of those moments when you step back and look at your life and say, "Whoa. This is my life?"

Just at that moment, the front door opened and in walked...Sarah! She and her friend Desiree (a young missionary from Oregon) had come for the weekend as a surprise. The other part of the surprise: Doug was kidnapping me for the weekend. It was better than a bubble bath.

So, I had an amazing weekend and did practically nothing. We watched commercial TV (and were shocked at some of the garbage on there), ate ice cream for lunch, walked on the pier at Topolobompo and stretched out on a blanket on the sands of Maviri Beach. (Note: Las Glorias Beach is nicer, but there's something special about going "away" to the beach. I dunno.) We got one of the guys on the docks to take a picture for us. Then the camera battery went dead. Figures. I did get some nice shots, though.

Saturday night there was a party at the hotel we were staying in. Great music, but the band played till 4 a.m. It felt like we were back home during semana santa. We did manage to get some sleep and fortunately didn't have to get up early on Sunday.

We arrived home Sunday afternoon to a clean house (WOW). Even my bedroom floor had been vacuumed. Scarey. Then we took Sarah and Desiree back to Guasave to catch the bus. Sunday night we enjoyed a candlelight meal of ramen and watermelon and sat outside to look at the millions of stars in the sky -- the transformer on the corner blew up, so we were without power for a day. So good to be back home! ;^)

Monday was back to real life -- refreshed and recharged (and a new transformer in the afternoon!). I do love my life!