Friday, March 15, 2013

A Different Mexico*

Three years ago God did a miracle in me. Thankfully, He's not been lying dormant since then, but this particular miracle has really been on my mind the last couple of weeks. Three years ago God tore down walls I'd built up to keep Mexico out, and He filled me with love for this beautiful country and the amazing people who live there. So, when the opportunity came to go back, we went. This time I was able to go without any walls, prejudices, or snobberies (that last one is probably closest to the truth), and God showed me yet another view of His Mexico.

Our first stop was just across the border in Matamoros where we hung out with some awesome 11-17 year olds in an orphanage there. The different Mexico God showed me there was a Mexico who has a heart for the Nations. One girl, Luz, wants to be a missionary to India, so, for now, she gleans phrases in Hindi from movies and music and anywhere else she can find them. Another girl, Maria, wants to be a missionary to Africa. We had so much fun teaching these girls a few phrases in Swahili, and they had a blast running around asking their classmates, "Habari gani?"(how are you?). We had another glimpse of this missional Mexico at the end of our trip when we taught a missions class at a Bible School in Monterey. What perfect bookends! It was such an honor to encourage their desire to go!

We saw yet another Mexico when Kyle and I branched off for a night in Mexico City. We visited my host family from 2010, and we were humbled by the radical hospitality they showed us. Mom showered us with wedding gifts of pottery and pan dulce (sweet bread) and showed us so much love and welcoming despite the fact that we haven't seen each other in 3 years. We have a lot to learn about hospitality and loving people from our Mexico brothers and sisters.

Mexico shared her hurting side with us in Cuernavaca where just downhill from the House of Prayer we were able to see a section of town that some would try to hide. We didn't have opportunity to walk down to the valley...this time. We did, however, have the opportunity to hang out in the prayer room with the youth group and with the church that meets at the House of Prayer on Sundays. We were able to encourage them and share a small glimpse of what God sees when he sees them.

In Puebla, we saw another different Mexico, one where her Church is stepping out into leadership. The students at La ViƱa as well as the kids at Esperanza Viva are going to shake up the world. They are strong and brave and joyful, and I know they're going to turn the world upside down. They taught me motivation.

One last different Mexico was in the mountains of Oaxaca where we saw the Mexico from back in the day (and I finally had my desire to sleep in a mud hut satisfied!). El Refugio is a drug rehab compound. The founders, Jose and Ela, have been there for 19 years building this ministry. Ela shared many midwife stories (much to my delight) and gave everyone enough food for thought to last us until our next visit. Time here seemed to move slower, and life felt so peaceful. Our short visit to Oaxaca has given Kyle and me more to dream about, and I have little doubt that we'll visit again.

This seems like such a small tribute to our time in Mexico probably because there are even more "different Mexicos" than I've named here. There are countless more stories, people, places, and lessons to hear, meet, visit, and discover, but I guess they'll have to wait until next time.

Mexico, we'll be back

*This blog title was a phrase Scott stumbled upon as we traveled around Mexico and saw many varying landscapes, lifestyles, and ministry styles; the first time he said "a different Mexico" he also said that that would make a good blog title. So here you have a blog entitled "A Different Mexico." (Scott said I could use it.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jehovah Jireh

Sometimes I get worried. This is not new, but the most recent cause of my worry is a new one for me: dollars. Yes, I have at last given in to the pressures of the world and allowed myself to worry about money. Shame on me. The only worry I want to have in regards to money is this: that I should love it too much. If the love of money is the root of all evil I don't want to love it, right? Well, somewhere in switching from full-time to PRN, worry has crept in. It seemed so perfect, this new job. I was going to be doing women's health and high risk maternity. I was going to have the awesome privilege of taking care of women in order to give their little babies a better chance when they enter the world. And, I was going to be doing this at a hospital that is only 20 miles away as opposed to the 60 miles I was driving each way. What could be a more perfect job for me right now? And it started out so well! I was working full time hours and still had the freedom to say, "No, I can't work that day." while doing work that I love. (Hearing those persistent little heart beats and feeling those little kicks against their mama's belly still makes me a little emotional.) But, sometime around the holidays my hours started to drop off. "Hang in there," they said. "It's just because the holidays are so carefully scheduled," they said. But, the hours didn't pick up. I asked my manager about cross-training to some of the other units in my area but was told that there were too many holes on my current units to justify taking me away from them to cross train me. So, I kept at it; one week I worked exactly zero hours. Two weeks I only worked 12. One week I only worked 8. So, I talked to my manager again, and, for a few weeks, the hours picked up. But now they're dwindling again, and the worry has started to sneak its clammy little fingers back into my life. Until this morning when I read the following:

The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. Those the Lord blesses will possess the land, but those He curses will die. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing. Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. Psalms 37:21-27

Boom! That shook my world up a little this morning and made me realize that trap into which I was falling. Jehovah Jireh. The Lord provides. This isn't just some cute VBS song; it's one of God's names! It's part of who He is. He won't let us fall. My job is not our provider. My husband's job is not our provider. The Lord is our provider, and in that we have the freedom to answer when He calls. So, until I"m told otherwise, I'll keep loving my pregnant ladies because that's where God has me even if it's only 4 hours at a time. And we'll go to Mexico in a couple of weeks and love people there because that's what God has told us to do, and God will provide. And, when a need creeps up, we'll give however we can because God will provide. And, if I get more hours at work, I'll count it a blessing because God will provide. But, if I don't, I'll joyfully be here, making our home a happy, healthy one because God will provide.

We've been told that He's opening new doors in our lives, and we're starting to see what some of that is, and we're excited about it. I think it's time to take another leap of faith (or maybe a baby step) in which I stop leaning on my job to be our provider and start letting God take us in whatever direction He has in mind. After all, this is who we're following:

(Important note to Mom and potential reporters to Mom, I am NOT quitting my job, and neither is Kyle, so calm your fears. :))

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Big Year, Part 1

Somehow the New Year came and went without a blog post from me....

2013 seems like such a big number! And it's looking like this year could hold a lot for the Kyle Ledyards. We've now been married a little over 8 months, and it has been the best first 8 months of marriage a girl could ask for. It's so different from what I was expecting but so much better than what I was expecting that I don't even remember what I was expecting in the first place! I'm so blessed and excited to spend my life with the most wonderful man I know.

We have a lot of hopes and dreams and visions and plans for this year, and God just keeps growing those. Our prayer is always that He'll bring us closer to Him and to each other and that He'll use us to be a blessing to others where ever we are, but, as I've mentioned before, sometimes I have struggles with spending too much time in this lovely country of ours. Part of it is restlessness: I know that Kyle and I are supposed to go all over the world, so it's hard to stay here. I don't want to get so comfortable in our life here that we stop looking for opportunities to serve and love the abused and unloved all over the world and start looking for excuses to stay in our nice community. But part of it is also choosing to be blind to the fact that God can and does use us here, too. So, in the last year while we stayed in the United States, we've been doing our best to love the people around us and make the most of our time here. And it's been awesome. We've learned a lot and have a lot more to learn, and we're excited about this. But, it's also time for the restlessness to get a little attention.

Kyle and I have been invited to be part of a team going to Mexico in March! We'll be gone for about two weeks, and the trip will look a little something like this (as far as we know at this time--details are subject to change, but the stops are confirmed):

We'll be making stops in Monterrey, Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Puebla, and Oaxaca and will be hanging out with missionaries who are serving long-term in each of these locations as well as visiting a ministry base, a school of ministry, an orphanage, a house of prayer, and a drug rehab center. We would really appreciate your prayers as we go. If you would like to contribute financially to our trip, please contact us for those details as posting our address on a blog seems like a rather foolish thing to do. :)

We have many other plans and dreams for the year, as well, but this is the one that is currently taking up the most excitement in my life. I've already been listening to my Spanish music on the way to work and doing other little activities to brush up on my Spanish language; I've contacted my Mexico host family from 2010 and will hopefully be able to see them while we're in town; we're praying for guidance and provision and safety in this and are excited to see what happens.

Updates to come!