Monday, September 29, 2014

September update


                                                             September 29, 2014

All,

As I look back on my last blog update, I realize I owe each of you an apology.  It seems I’m having a hard time sending out my other two monthly updates plus update my blog monthly.  Ok – so if you are not receiving my monthly letter update and would like to receive it, please send me an email or send me a personal f/book message.  My email address is debduncan00@gmail.com. I can promise you that this one does go out monthly.  J  Thus I won’t feel badly for not updating my blog more often though I will try to do better. 

 I always lose track of the dates here, for instance I know today is Monday and we travel to Casimiro Castillo and then Villa de Purificación.  I had NO idea of the actual date – thus to my surprise it is almost the end of September!!  To think that in a couple of weeks I will have been living in México for three years is hard to comprehend – yet I can not think of how it would be to live elsewhere.  It’s hard to explain how I have become comfortable here yet at the same time there are some things that are still not the ‘norm’ for me.  Thus I think some days are still an adjustment of some sort. 

We still travel three days each week, with visits to people’s houses then church services afterwards. Pictured below is the house church at Villa de Purificación where we traveled today.  








In looking back at my post in May, we were visiting an elderly lady whose picture I included named Maria.  While I was in Texas in August, Maria became ill and her daughter who lives in a different town moved Maria to live with her.  I’m glad she had someone to help her though I do miss seeing her!

While we do still have rains coming to us to keep everything green, the rains should soon come to an end.  One extra trip we made one week to visit a family that regularly comes to the services in Villa de Purificación, I took the following picture, which shows



a bird’s nest hanging from a tree limb.  There was actually a river just under this nest! The birds are a bright yellow and black and about the size of a small crow.   

Needless to say, with all the weekly studies, I am learning a lot about our Heavenly Father and His book that He left for us to learn about Him and how we should live.  With so many studies during the week and also with studies here at Aposento, God is stretching and growing me weekly and sometimes daily.  Today for instance in the house church in Villa de Purificación, Pastor Leonel spoke of how the Israelites had to learn how to forget their Egyptian culture in order to learn God’s culture.  When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, Christ asks us to do the same: forget our sinful culture and learn His culture of striving to live without sin.  As I was considering this and thinking of my American (ok, Texas!) culture that I left behind on the other side of the border to come to México to live, I did not really have to completely give up my home culture.  Although I am living in a new culture that is quite different, I have not really had to give up my home culture.  It is just tucked away and I pick it back up every time I cross the border.  So we have to consider: what is culture – to me it is something that we learn as we grow up.  For a comparison:  in the States, we go to a restaurant to eat out.  Normally prior to our finishing our meal the check is placed on the table waiting to be paid.  We grow up accepting this.  Here it’s different:  you eat at a restaurant and sit and visit as long as you want.  You then have to ask for the check – they feel it is rude to present the check to you prior (as if they are saying ok, when you finish your food, leave!!).  Culture – it’s what we learn as we grow up.  It’s knowing how to act in a certain situation without thinking. So we have to look at our selves and what our culture has taught us as being acceptable.  And sadly for us the worldly culture is teaching us nowadays that sinning is ‘ok’.  Little white lies are acceptable; cheating on filling out a form is ok if it’s to our benefit.  If it helps “us” it’s acceptable - thus we are rewriting the Bible to fit our mode of living – do we really feel this is acceptable to Christ?

So how are you doing when you look at God’s culture versus the world’s culture today?  Exodus chapter 20 is a great place to read about God’s standards – pretty high, eh? Thus we need God’s help as the Israelites needed His help – to know how to act and respond in different situations with a new cultural outlook.  Are you ready to forget your worldly culture and embrace God’s culture?  It’s as easy as admitting you’re a sinner and living by the world’s standards; believing that Christ died for payment for your sins and resurrected three days later; confess that He is your only Savior with all your heart.  Easy for some to do – harder to live for us all as we are surrounded by the world’s culture and teachings.  Ask God’s help – He is waiting for you to ask Him how you can learn His culture. 

I hope that each of you have a wonderful week, measuring the world’s culture and standards to God’s culture and standards.  Compare the two and decide which culture you want to live in and which culture you will be comfortable dying in and then being held accountable for your choice to Christ – well worth your time I promise.  

Dios les bendiga


Deb

Friday, May 30, 2014

May almost June post!!


                                                              30 May 2014

To Everyone,

As the rainy season has started here, it’s always a chance to venture out on foot!  At times it appears as though it will rain very heavy and we only get a sprinkle.  Other times, it doesn’t look promising for rain and it will pour!  I do enjoy this time of year here.  Soon the mountains will return to being lush and green with waterfalls at every turn – a feast for our eyes for sure. 

I have recently moved to a new location, which I am thoroughly enjoying.  I am closer to the center of town and also closer to Aposento so I am walking everywhere (thus my preoccupation for the rain!).   I was a bit unnerved the other morning, as I was walking in the kitchen *note without my glasses*.  I saw what appeared to be a piece of grass on the floor (I should have known because there is no grass around my house) and was going to move it with my flip flop...and it moved by itself!  It was a small scorpion, luckily small enough it had received a dose of the poison that the fumigator sprays so it moved very slowly.  So it met it's demise that morning.  Needless to say I am not walking around barefooted!

As life is always a bouquet of change, we have had several changes here also.  In the small church of El Limón, Siberia, the elderly lady who lived next to the church has passed away.  She was I believe 96 years old.  We held her funeral in the church there; the street view of the church with the newly painted name is now displayed on my f/book page. 





We continue to travel to El Limón each Wednesday to visit people there and to visit and eat with Yeyo (Siberia’s husband).  We also have services in the church at 4pm in the afternoon.  We are praying for this pueblo and church in seeking God’s will there.  All in His time. 

As we travel outside of Autlán each week, we continue to be guided to different people to visit.  For example in Casimiro Castillo, each Thursday we visit with Maria.  She is a aunt of a family here in Autlán.  She is a sweet little lady of 95 years.  We took the attached picture a couple of weeks ago.  We are a bit concerned, as we visited with her yesterday and she was very ill. 



We have visited her for several weeks – yesterday thankfully her son was with her.  Thus God provided him time to hear the plan of salvation and the love that God has for each of us.  Also how the world pulls at each of us to 'join in' with the rest of the world which isn’t how God wants us to live.  I think this pull is something that we all feel daily in our lives.   Please help us pray for Maria and her son, Salvaldor.  

With our several Bible studies in Spanish, we have also started an English class at Aposento.  We have a lot of laughs, and I’m hoping everyone is learning at the same time!   I am also having to search for rules in English – something we take for granted as English speakers.  With a couple of other English classes during the week, I am able to keep up my English rather well.  Though I must admit sometimes I can’t think of a word in English!  Hmmm

With the weekend upon us all, I pray that each of you will find yourselves in church on Sunday.  What a wonderful way to start off the week, in the Lord’s house giving Him praise.  For He is the only one that deserves this praise – as only with His love, was Christ sent to die on the cross to pay in full for our sins.  To think that He wants to share with us His Heaven for eternity – just think of it!  What if He didn't want us there?  But He does and we can be there forever if only we place our faith in Him.  The One True Savior of the world. 

God Bless each of you,

Deb

If anyone has questions or thoughts, please email me privately at debduncan00@gmail.com




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring in México


                                         5 April 2014

All,

Hoping you are all in the middle of Springtime wherever you may be!  Below is a picture of a tree that blooms here during Spring.  




 The name of the tree is Primavera which translates to Spring (the season).  I took this picture looking out of the window of the gym. 
The second picture is taken from the apartment complex where I live.  Curious there is nothing else on these trees but yellow blossoms! 

It’s neat as we travel through the mountains seeing everything dead or dying due to the dry season.  And here and there, you will see this brilliant yellow tree that is blooming just for us!



We are enjoying warmer days here, as well as warmer nights.  It is a welcome item when the wind starts blowing in the afternoon as that gives us a breeze to cool off a bit. 

We continue to travel outside of Autlán three days each week.  Over the past few months, we have come upon several accidents on the mountain roads that we travel.  We are never able to actually see the vehicle, as it has gone over the edge of the road and down the side of the mountain.  The most recent was this past Monday; in which we later found out that the two people inside the vehicle were killed.  The police or ambulance driver contacts a flat bed tow truck to pull the vehicle back up to the road.  This keeps our prayers for safe travels in the fore fronts of our minds for sure.  Thursday, we all felt very blessed as we returned from Casimiro in my Jeep.  It had leaked out the power steering fluid (unknown to us) and was making a horrific noise at every turn (of which there are many on these winding roads).  When we returned safely to Autlán, Pastor Leonel helped me check the level (there was no fluid within the container). We purchased a bottle of fluid and added fluid to the container so I could drive it safely home.  Then yesterday morning, I added more fluid so I could drive it to the mechanic.  We are so blessed to have God’s hand cover us in these situations.  I’m going to take Pastor Leonel’s suggestion and make an emergency kit for the Jeep.  Oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid and coolant will be placed in this travel box. The wise words of someone who has traveled through these mountains many times!

I’ve included the below photos of our second meeting in the church at El Limón.  The elderly couple on the far left live next to the church building.  The first time we had services here, she cried and cried.  Though she isn’t able to speak very much, we knew she was overcome with emotions at being able to meet here for the first time.  Since they live next door, they have watched this building come together over a period of several years.







We are praying that God will show us when (and how) it is time to build the church, member wise. 

One thing I am learning very well as things occur here:  everything occurs in God’s time.  As I had just gotten the Jeep out of the shop a couple of days ago, I pondered why this second item of the steering wheel fluid occurred.  As God would have it, yesterday morning when I took the Jeep to the mechanic, I had to wait a bit for  him to arrive.  As I waited, I started talking with the mechanic’s Mom to whom I have spoken with casually before.  We ended up having a serious conversation about God’s love for each of us, and His plan of salvation.  I asked her if she has the assurance that when she dies she will go to Heaven.  Her response was that yes, she believes in God, and that she knows that Christ died on the cross for our sins and resurrected in three days.  She hopes that she will go to Heaven.  Sadly this is the response for many people here.  There is always this hope.  I was able to tell her that I am secure in the knowledge that I will go to Heaven for eternity – and was able to explain to her why.  I think this is the entire reason that God had the fluid leak occur.  His plan was to take me to the mechanic shop on this very morning, and that she would be there so we could speak of His plan for each of us and His desire to have a true relationship with each of us. 

I continue to have several Bible studies weekly in Spanish, which helps me increase my vocabulary.  As I add these new words to my growing list of new words, this in turn means more studying of Spanish.   It seems to be a continuous cycle.  As my Spanish grows, so do my friendships here with various people.  I am learning so much about myself and about other people around me.  God is truly growing me each and every day. 

I hope each of you has a blessed week, and you can answer without a doubt that you too have such a relationship with Christ that you know you will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  Without a doubt – it’s a wonderful feeling to have!!

Praying for each of you that will read this update, thank you for allowing me to share my life here with each of you.

In His Hands,

Deb

Monday, March 3, 2014

Missions update - March!


                    3 March 2014


After seeing so many pictures of snow in Texas, along with cold temperatures, it almost makes me cold!  For us here in Autlán, the days are in the upper 80s to lower 90s.  The nights are still cool, in the upper 50s, which makes it nice sleeping weather.  As we travel to Casimiro Castillo and Villa de Purificación during the week, it is even warmer and more humid there. 

I want to provide an update on the newsletter sent in January regarding the church building in El Limón.  Through donations received, we were able to purchase paint for the inside and outside of the building. We have had a couple of paint days, with one more paint day needed for the door and windows. We hope to have the first service Wednesday in this building.  A day to celebrate for sure! 







I hope to have pictures to provide in my next update as we begin to meet in this building.  We are still lacking the tile for the floor and chairs.  We are certain God will provide these in His timeframe. 


I am still waiting for my Visa to be approved; so continued prayers for this are greatly appreciated! 

As I reread my blog post from January, it seems God is answering my prayer request.  I had noted that I was praying for God to change me.  And change I am experiencing and feeling.  At times, it isn’t comfortable; at times it is outright painful!  However, we must rest assured that when we are in His hands that His changes are for our own good.  And all for His glory.  Imagining myself to be that clay that I spoke of, if the clay could talk, as it was being molded and remolded, ouch!  That hurts!  Or, hey that tickles!  Or oh God, please not another change, I was just getting comfy the way I was…I fear at times that is our lives.  We don’t want to feel the changes; we are comfy with our lives in the world that we have built around ourselves.  However – if God is not happy with our lives, then how much are our lives really worth?  I’m wondering if sometimes this is why people don’t want to give their lives to Christ.  We understand that changes will come – and the changes may be uncomfortable; painful at times; and will cause us to think of ourselves in a different light.  To give ourselves completely to Christ is the one thing that God desires.  Christ paid the price for our sins.  Think of the changes that Christ went through for us – from Heaven to Earth to live among humans as selfish as we are. To the cross in the cruelest death imaginable (even in today’s terms of death); to die completely alone as God could not see all the sins heaped upon His son. However Christ also looked forward to being reunited with His Father upon His resurrection.  Looking forward to our uniting with our Father – what a day that will be!!  We have only to place our trust and faith in Christ.  The rest, well, it’s really not that painful to make the needed adjustments and changes in our lives.  To feel the deep-rooted joy and peace is something beyond words.  I pray each of you has this peace – if not I pray you will ask Christ to rule in your lives.  Yes, you will change – however in the hands of the Master Potter, His desire is not to harm you.  It is to make you into a better vessel.  His desire for each of us.  His purpose for each of us. I pray you will ask Him today to take control of your life.  To change you to a better vessel.  To mold you in His capable hands.    

Que Dios les bendiga!

Deb

Prayer requests:
-El Limón church: monies and workers to purchase/place the floor tiles; chairs – praises for the monies for the paint!!
-Visa approval by the authorities
-each of us to ask God to make the changes in our lives as He desires