God will ALWAYS provide!
I cannot believe that I leave Saltillo this week. Back in May I thought I would be here forever. But here I am preparing to go back home. So for a debriefing/final meal out Mark and Serena took me to Buffalo Wild Wings. Believe it or not they had never been to one before today. And needless to say the food was amazing. We had wings, onion rings, potato wedges, and cheesecake bites for dessert; one of my favorite meals of the summer.
We discussed different aspects of the summer. We talked about well basically everything. And at this point I don’t know if God will call me into a full-time ministry in another country, but I know that God has opened the door to make it a definite possibility. He has taught me so many things during my time here in Mexico and I am just beginning to realize the full extent of His lessons. And I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of understanding of the impact that this trip has had on me, on the people here in Mexico, and on people back home. But especially after talking with Mark and Serena today, I know the impact has been significant. They expressed so much appreciation towards me. It was humbling because even when we don’t necessarily feel like we are doing anything, God can be using us. They expressed ways in which they have seen me grow this Summer and how they’ve seen God working in my life. God may have been using me in their lives, but He was definitely using them in my life as well. We all had such a joy and such a peace about my time here and the amazing things that God has been doing. Then they gave me the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen from the Silver Shop here in Saltillo. I seriously could not have asked for a better family for the summer. God has truly blessed me.
When we returned from lunch I called Hudson to see if he was feeling any better, but the Malaria still has him down. But we talked about my time here and he asked if I was ready for family camp. And I am. I told Hudson that God had given me a peace about the rest of my time here, that I was calm. That I had no worries or concerns or fears because I knew everything was alright. And I had a weird feeling when I shut the drawer where I keep my jewelry, but I credited it to the Bdubs and went on my way.
Watching my new friends from Iowa leave yesterday was extremely difficult. And it’s really made me realize that I will be doing the same thing five days from now. It’s hard to believe my last week is already here. I have so many emotions running through my head about this whole excursion and how it’s coming to an end.
So last night I spent the night with Liliana Luna. She doesn’t know any English so we have to work to communicate, but it’s always worth the extra effort. First we went with Oscar, Lili’s boyfriend, and Alejandra, Lili’s sister, to a place similar to a mall in the States because Alejandra was looking for a new cellphone. But Lili and I went off shopping by ourselves. She wanted me to have something to remember her by, so we now have matching earrings and bracelets. And everywhere we walked people would stare and tell everyone within earshot that I was from the United States. I guess the pointing and staring is something I haven’t gotten used to.
After we returned to Lili’s house we practiced a song for church this morning. We planned to sing “Oceans” and Lili would sing in Spanish then I would sing in English, and I would play the keyboard. While singing together we were able to connect with one another more than we have in the past ten weeks. Isn’t it amazing how God can and will bring His children together to worship Him and to love Him with equal hearts and minds. This is just one example of how all things truly are possible through Christ.
After practicing we walked to a house where they were selling food. While outside there we saw some of the kids that were at VBS this last week. And they excitedly pointed me out to their mom saying that they knew me and that I spoke English. Maybe just the fact that I’m from the USA and speak English has been enough to impact some of these kids. I don’t know. Lili and her mom talked a lot, and I mostly had absolutely no idea what they were saying. But they ordered me a hamburger for dinner so that was nice.
This morning after breakfast, which was tortillas with some type of meat of course, Lili and I walked to the church. I was nervous about playing and singing so I hadn’t put much thought into the fact that this would be my last Sunday in Mexico. But Lili spoke a little bit then we sang and it was amazing to sing in the church one last time. Then just before Cesar began to preach he drew attention to the fact that this was the last time I would be at their church. So he wanted me to come up to the front of the church and they were all going to pray over me. Mark came up to the front also and led the prayer. I have absolutely no idea what Mark said when he prayed, but I was overcome with a feeling that I have felt before. This morning in front of a congregation of people that I barely know, and I can barely communicate with, I was overcome with the same love and support that I felt the night that the entire congregation of Tick Ridge gathered together to pray for me.
It’s not necessarily the people we’re with, or the places we’re in, but the presence of the Holy Spirit. And I can without a doubt say that the love of Jesus Christ is flowing through the people here just like I felt it through the people back home. God’s children are everywhere. God’s love truly knows no borders and that has been proven to me time and time again this summer.
The work team from Iowa left today. We all piled into the van to take them to the airport. And today has been hard. And through this I’ve learned so much. But I wish I had more time with this phenomenal group of people. And there are so many things that I didn’t say. So I’ll say them now.
Tom: In the past ten days I have been thoroughly entertained by your Spanglish. Your willingness and readiness to work has been greatly appreciated.
Christine: Your confidence and perky attitude have been so wonderful to have around. Your personality and presence have been such a blessing in the past 10 days and I know that it will be a blessing to countless other people as well.
John: Since I’ve been here, worship music in English has been basically nonexistent. Hearing you play the guitar and listening to everyone sing has been more of a blessing than I can say. Thank you so much for playing “The Unclouded Day” for me so we could record a video for my Great Uncle Gussie’s funeral. And especially for learning the song basically on the spot. You have no idea how much it meant to all my family back home, and to me as well.
Joni: You have been a blast to be around. Your love for people and for Christ is infectious. I know that God still has great plans ahead for you and your family. And you better believe that if I’m ever in Iowa I will be stopping by.
Austin: I have really enjoyed your lively spirit and joyful attitude. And your dish washing/drying skills will definitely be missed around the house.
Jonah and Zach: When I lived at home my niece and nephews came to visit most every day. So having you two around was like there was a little piece of home with me.
Hannah: Last Thursday you moved into my room a complete stranger. To be completely honest, after having my own private room for the past nine weeks I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to sharing. But once you arrived I was so excited to have someone close to my age to talk to in English. Then I thought, “Woah Brianna. You’re talking way too much. She’s gonna think you’re weird.” But after ten days with you full of attempting Spanish, painting, running, eating giant cookies at midnight, lighting candles, eating too many plantain chips, watching sunsets, and so, much, glitter, I can say with confidence that you left today as one of my best friends. When we returned to the house today I opened my door and the room felt empty. All that was left from your stay was a keychain with a ridiculously long tail, and the faint smell of your plantain chips. I will be planning a trip to visit you at college as soon as I get back to the States. I’ll bring the glitter.
I am uncertain if any of you will ever read this. But let it be known that the impact you have had here in Saltillo, Mexico will not be forgotten. I thank God for bringing us together because you have been a blessing to me.
Today was exploration day. We went to the Market so that everyone could do some shopping. We visited countless shops and I acted as a translator when Mark and Serena weren’t near by. Today was also the last day of VBS. I know that both the team and the nationals were impacted greatly this week. It’s hard for us to know everything that God is doing, but I know that He has definitely been working here this week.
This team has been amazing and I’m not ready for them to leave.
Today was Uncle Gussie’s funeral. Mom said that they played my video of me singing “The Unclouded Day.” She then stood up and read parts of my blog from the day that Gussie went to Heaven. I didn’t realize the impact that my blog was having. Apparently a lot of people read this. So thank you all for keeping up with everything that I am doing and for all of your prayers.
I have been impacted so much by this trip and by what God is doing. But I didn’t realize how much of an impact that my family and friends back home would have on me. I never imagined that every small comment, picture, message, and phone call from back home would mean so much to me. That they would be a source of strength from so far away.