Week 3 has been a hard one. Many team members were sick throughout the week; Kyle was out sick for most of it, and had to be taken to the hospital twice for inflammation in his throat. Happily, he is doing much better and has been able to eat normal food and join in our team’s activities again. The church service today was the first time all week that we’ve had the whole team together, and it was made sweeter by celebrating communion as a whole team, together with our church family here. It was a great way to begin week 4….Read More
As the third week of our mission comes to a close, the team would like to extend their thanks for all of the prayers and support we have received over the past 6 months. God has spoken to each and every one of us in very personal and very communal ways through the beautiful Mexican people who have unreservedly taken us in, and the reason we have been able to be here is because of the prayers and giving of our supporters. As we enter our last week, know that your giving has been blessed by the Lord and lives have been changed. ..
The Romania team has finally settled into their routine at River of Life during week three. We wake up every day for breakfast, have morning bible study, start work, pick up the kids from school, have evening VBS, and then spend time with the mothers and children in the ministry after dinner. This week the team has been diligent in getting to know the stories of the women, children, and workers at River of Life…Read More
Hello friends! Week 2 has been a good one! We began work on the housing project, which was quite a work load adjustment from the road, but everyone has been really glad to start the work we’ve planned to do for so long. We worked on a house for one of our cooks, Misoul. We were able to complete three of the concrete floors out of the four rooms needed, and see the start of the outer walls. We hope to have one of the rooms completed before we leave as she is expecting a new baby! We also held our first of two community meals Saturday, and kids from all throughout the village came to laugh and play and be fed. As many families go long periods without eating, this was a time of great joy for everyone.
Tuesday was really exciting because some officials from Port au Prince came to look into installing a cellphone tower. Anyone who is familiar with cellphone service in Sous a Philippe knows it is spotty and calls can only be made from a rock. So, we are excited for the people to be able to call and text from their houses! This and the road that we helped pave last week have been a constant source of joy and giving thanks for the things that are happening here, especially for the people who have been here before. The men will be back very soon to install the tower, and we hope we’ll still be here to see it happen! These community developments are not just luxuries for the people of SAP, they drive more commerce and resources through the village, allowing for development of much needed progress for the community: schools, teachers, access to vehicles to go to and from work, doctors, and secondary schools (as schooling in SAP only goes to 6th grade now.) As more people travel into and through the village via the progress of the past 5 years: the boat dock, the roads, the water system, the sea wall, etc, fishermen and gardeners have more opportunity to sell and trade, and more opportunities are opened up for future generations. It is an exciting time and exciting work to be a part of in this remote part of Haiti.
The Bulldogs Without Borders left early Friday morning, and we all felt the loss of their presence. However, we have cherished our time of work and fellowship with them, and we look forward to the weeks we have left together here.
Everyone is really happy to be able to call home today and talk to their loved ones and tell them everything that’s happened so far. This week, we hope to continue our work with the housing project, have VBS with the kids Thursday, and hold another community meal Saturday! Please pray for our work this week, continued strength and perseverance, joy, rest, and selfless giving of ourselves to one another and the people here!
**These photos are from previous missions to Haiti, as the team is unable to send pictures due to service.
As we write, the Mexico team is in disbelief that the mission is already halfway over! The time has flown by, but God has filled it with amazing people and experiences, all brought to us by the urging of the Holy Spirit. In fact, that has been the thought permeating the minds and souls of the team since we arrived; that the Holy Spirit is with us and leading us where God wills. It is empowering and humbling to be called as servants of God, and we give him thanks every day for teaching us and using us.
This week has been spent ministering to the children of Monterrey. On Monday and Tuesday, we visited Refugio 121, a children’s home located in one of the poorest areas of Monterrey. Our time was split between helping them organize their recycling storage, painting the children’s bathroom, and teaching and playing with the children. All of the children there come from abusive and neglectful home situations, which has caused many of them to develop violent, abusive, and self-hating tendencies. It was hard to witness so many shattered lives, but the team prayed for strength to confront real brokenness in the world and were rewarded with many smiles and laughs from children who do not have much to smile and laugh about. This experience led us to many discussions about the importance of family and about how God never wills any child to be abused or left behind by their parents. When we left Refugio 121, we were saddened by the knowledge that, while we get to go home in two weeks, the children there do not have families to go home to. We believe this is an important realization for Christians to have in order for us to tell the truth about the world and to live boldly in the face of evil just as Jesus did.
After Refugio 121, we returned to the community of San Andres to be with the children there. We have been teaching them about Jesus through VBS activities, but also by inviting the church members into the mission work we are doing. We often take prayer walks through the streets and always invite the children to come with us. Many of them read prayers over people from a Spanish prayer book and join us as we love people whom we do not know. We told them that since we are only here for a month, the they, the church, are the real missionaries to their community. We are also thankful for the ways that they have taught us how to be children in the eyes of God. They love each other so fiercely and, even in the face of severe poverty, share all that they have with one another without reservation.
Here are some prayer requests as we enter week three:
Pray for those of us who are experiencing homesickness. Pray for our well-being both in body and in mind. Pray for the children at San Andres as we go to them for a few more days before departing for Cuernavaca and Mexico City. Pray for the congregations who will receive us for the latter half of our mission. Pray that God’s saving grace would be made evident to all who we meet. We love you all and thank you for supporting us!
Week two for the Romania team has been a long one! Last Sunday we got to attend church where our host preached, and we attempted to sing worship in Romanian along with the members of the small village of Bircii. That afternoon we spent our last evening at the mission center and played extra hard with the children. Many of the members were sad to leave the children they bonded with, but left with high hopes for River of Life.
Monday the team got their first day off and traveled to visit Bran Castle from the 1300s: the supposed home of Dracula. The team enjoyed exploring and touring the castle and experiencing a piece of history. Later that afternoon, they also traveled to a 1600’s military fortress on a high hilltop and enjoyed learning about the ancient structure.
On Tuesday, the team finally started to make the trip to their next ministry, River of Life, in Cornesti, Romania. The drive was very long and the team was quite beat after a long day in a van. Upon arriving, though, we were greeted by another team that was staying here from Canada. This team was on their last week of a month-long stay. They were very welcoming, presenting the Wesley team with handwritten notes and necklaces made from Romanian coins! Throughout the week, the teams bonded over work, bonfires, and games. The work included painting fences, mixing cement, pouring foundation, and yard work. Throughout the week, our team taught VBS lessons that catered to the needs of the children within the ministry. At the end of the week, the Canada team planned a talent show for the children and both teams participated through singing, dancing, poetry, and watching the children preform. Although the Canadian team left yesterday, the Wesley team thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and work with them for at least one week.
Yesterday the team got to have a rest day after church and even took a walk in the village to a convenience store and bought some Romanian treats. The team has already formed some wonderful bonds with the women and children of this ministry, and they look forward to a new week of work at River of Life.
It is a strange thing to read that unless my righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, I will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For me and many others, Pharisees are the villains of the New Testament. They were known as hypocrites, haters, and all things evil. But there must be something here. Jesus knew that the Pharisees kept the Law to the T, and it wasn’t enough to enter into the gates of Heaven.Read More
“There is no such thing as objective truth, and it’s a good thing, too.” Dr. Phil Kenneson said this in a title of an article that my fellow interns and I read at the beginning of the year. With this article, Kenneson explains that is not enough to say, “God is real just because he is. That’s just how it works.” To use objective truth as our model discredits the Gospel and our mission as Christians; it disregards any motives or actions taken to bring us to our salvation. If what Christians believe is objectively true with no way around it, what is there left to do? There wouldn’t need be any evidence; no change would have to come of our lives.Read More
I’ve found something much greater than the fear and insecurity that accompanied my start as a worship leader. Where it used to be a source of anxiety and constant comparison, I have found worship to be a place of rest and healing.Read More
The Wesley Harvest Initiative [including this blog you are reading!] has reached it’s one year anniversary. With that, we wanted to take a moment to remind and share with you the purpose and great need for this effort. I write this with great news and great urgency on behalf of The Wesley Foundation at Louisiana Tech...Read More
...But the truth of the gospel should change our actions. It should radically transform our way of life. We know the gospel to be true not because of its objectivity, but because we have seen the evidence. We have felt and experienced its redemptive power. We have fallen at the feet of our Father in worship. We have loved strangers in different countries across the world with abandon. We have tasted and seen the sweetness of Eucharist. Though our own stories are riddled with loss and suffering, we have a Hope....Read More
...Through community we can let go of our burdens, of our shame, of our nervousness and anxiety. We let go and evolve into who God made us to be. He made us to be full of happiness and joy. He made us to be everything we are during a Wesley dance party.Read More
The Wesley Foundation is quite small to contain such tension; it is the first time I have been in a religious place where the air feels as if I can reach out, grasp it, and wrap something heavy about my shoulders. This is Race Talks, a weekly, month-long event where students acknowledge and learn about the ways oppression over racial differences is an extremely real experience that others still suffer through. In essence, Race Talks is an open discussion about race, racism of old, and systemic racism in the current day....Read More