Sunday, August 31, 2008

sending, sharing and learning

Today we started out in Urbana visiting with our friends Kevin and Kristin and their two children before they take off to China in a little more than a week. It was great to see them again and send them off.


After that we visited our friend Jim's dad who just had a heart attack and light stroke and is now recovering at home in Urbana as well. We enjoyed our visit with Jim Sr. and his wife Pat and prayed with them for his continued healing.

Tonight we visited with the Cruz-Santos family that is a part of our house church enjoying good Mexican food and watching videos of a traditional wedding and the annual festival in San Bernardo, Oaxaca, Mexico. It was tasty, fun, and educational.

Here are the big people watching the movies.


And the little people posing for a picture.


After watching several dances the kids decided to get dressed up and do their own dances too.

By the way, yes, that is a wig that Gaby has on and just so you know, she isn't Gaby when it's on, her name changes to Linda!

convinced

This morning we realized, Naty and I both, that it is time to stop gazing off into the wild blue yonder wondering where God wants us to go.

(this it one of our favorite pictures from Spain)

OK, so we haven't been that lost. But we have been asking if God wants us to go somewhere else. Now, we are totally convinced that God is calling us to stay here in Columbus for the next several years. Today we were at Crossway Community Church in Urbana and He reminded us of that fact throughout the service. We were there to see more of our dear, dear friends being sent off as overseas missionaries. A month ago we were with a different family being sent to North Africa and today with more friends leaving on September 11 to go to Asia. It hasn't been easy, sending off our friends when we wish God was sending us off too, but it's getting easier. The good thing is that we are getting more excited about what can and will happen here in Columbus as we follow Him.
Last night I was finishing up a report for Locust Grove Mennonite Church, our home/sending church in Belleville, PA. The last section was called "Joys and Sorrows" and I think we have learned to embrace both of those words over the past few months. I thought I'd copy the thoughts here because it best describes where we've been and where we're going.

Joys and sorrows:
Our sorrow has turned into joy. It was very hard to kill the dream of long term overseas missions, but the sacrifice has only brought tremendous freedom and joy in the present. We were thinking that possibly God had closed the door to Venezuela to open one to Spain, but after retuning from Spain and spending time in reflection and prayer we have come to see that He has us here in Columbus for a purpose and we are not supposed to leave yet. Our family loved Spain, the people, the language, the culture and the way of life, but we are putting that love and passion aside to focus on the here and now.

We have given up long-term overseas missions, but have found ourselves submerged in missions right here. God has showed us that He has us in Columbus to be able to bless many more nations than just Venezuela and Spain. In fact, we feel that He has called us to be where we are to disciple people who will go back to their own countries and share with others. We have shifted our love for being overseas to focus on short term trips instead of going to live there. We would like to visit countries like Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru over the summer months in the next several years since our children don’t have school and I don’t have to teach. There are people that we know in all of these countries that we have been discipling and we would love to reconnect with them and spur them on to keep discipling others.

We would love to be living in another country, but God has opened so many doors for us right here and has surrounded us with people from other countries instead. We see now that if we lived in another country we wouldn’t have the potential to make a global impact in missions like we can right here in Columbus.

Friday, August 29, 2008

busy day

Today was Gaby's first day of school. It was fun to walk to school together and seeing her throughout the day. Here we are, all ready for the big day.

After school we had our weekly "family night" tonight. We decided to go to the annual Greek Festival in the Short North. Here is a drive by shot of the outside of the Greek Orthodox cathedral where the festival was held. You can see the entry tents to the left of the cathedral.

And here is a shot of the inside. It is incredibly beautiful inside, much brighter and full of color than I expected.

We would have had more pictures, but it started to pour down rain while we were there. One thing that I found interesting was the amount of alcohol at the festival. It was definitely the first time I ever saw people walking around drinking beer in church. It seemed kind of strange, but I guess that's what the scribes and Pharisees thought when they saw Jesus and his disciples at the party at Matthew's house too.

By the time we got home, both Gaby and Marcus were sleeping.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

aging? i guess it happens

Well, I've been a teacher for six years now and a weird thing about my career is that every two years I've been at a different school. Two years at Spotswood Elementary in Virginia, two years at Shekinah Christian in Plain City and two years at Pleasant View Middle in Grove City. Now, this year I am starting my first year at Stiles Elementary here in our neighborhood. I am truly excited because I am finally where I want to be but I think that I am also seeing how much better it can be as a teacher to stay at the same place for a while instead of all of this moving. Maybe I am getting older now too and not quite as prone to change as I used to be. I like change, but it does take extra work. Now I just hope that I can stay here at Stiles as long as possible to be able to really make a difference in our community.
I know that if God says "Go," I'll be ready to go, but right now we have really felt like he has said "stay" so we are getting excited about what that means.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

authentic

A glimpse at our supper table last night may have made you wonder whose house you were in. We have been enjoying building friendships in the Mexican-American community here in Columbus and that is starting to have an impact on us as well. Last night we had some authentic goat tacos! That's right, goat meat, with sautéed onions and peppers on corn tortillas with onions, cilantro, Mexican cheese, fresh squeezed lemon and hot sauce. It was amazing!
We sometimes get tacos from the many different taco stands around the Westside and they are definitely authentic. Well, the tacos Naty made were just as good if not better!
Just as we are learning about authentic Mexican food and culture as well, we are also hoping that our friends are learning about authentic Jesus and it is making an impact on them too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

august

Ok, so when I started blogging I was writing about once a day, then eventually once a week, now, I'm down to about once a month! That's pretty sad! Well, I finally finished my summer class at OSU so I have a bit more free time for a little while, but I start back to teaching on Monday. Bye bye summer!

Here is a quick look at some of what we did in the month of August so far.

We've enjoyed having our good friends Derek, Carla and Noelia Wanty back in Columbus. (OK they are actually living in Hilliard, but we'll forgive them for that!) Carla's parents came up from Ecuador for a visit and her sister Agnes also came to visit from New York. Ximena came too, all the way from that far off land of Rosedale, OH. We had them all over for a good Venezuelan breakfast of arepas while they were here. It was great fun. I was able to spend a lot of time with all of them at their house in Ecuador way back in 1997 when I was on a REACH team there. It was pretty cool to have them at our house to return the favor.

On Sunday August 3 we had a very full day. We went out to Shiloh Mennonite Church for the Jon and Dawn Showalter Commissioning service, then went to Hilliard for lunch with Derek and Carla. After that we attended a Mexican baby shower for the sister of a member of our house church, it was a very lively even with lots of crazy games and much laughter. We finally got home at 11:00 that night.

The next day we went to the Ohio State fair with the expectant mommy, her husband and son. Here is Joshua, their son, with our kids.

We gave in and wasted some money at this water game, unfortunately none of us won the stuffed animal. (That may have been a blessing in disguise, we didn't have to carry it around the rest of the day!)Later that week, on Friday we went to the fair again, with some other friends, but forgot the camera in the car! Then that evening we had the Wantys over again for ice cream. Derek helped me pick some of our many tomatoes, then we sat around the fire and did a whole lot of nothing.
Gaby and Marcus have had a lot of fun with their friend Jose this summer. He was in Gaby's kindergarten class and Naty has gotten to know his mom and started a Bible study with her. Here they all three got a haircut from another one of our house church friends, Maria, who graduated as a barber earlier this year.

Gaby and Marcus had their friends Joshua and Damaris over for a slumber party. Our kids have gone to their house several times when we did Engaged Encounter weekends and also when we went to California, but we never had them to our house for an overnighter before. Needless to say, they had a wonderful time!

Last weekend we went camping with just our family at Deer Creek State Park. Here Naty is making some arepas for our Friday evening supper. Let me tell you arepas cooked over an open fire are amazing!!!

Two days ago Gaby lost her third tooth. She lost her first two in Spain. This time the tooth fairy paid up in dollars instead of Euros. Talk about an economic downturn!