Well well well. Don't I get a failing grade for keeping in touch! Sorry its been so long since i've blogged, or posted new photos... 'Tis the season around here at EOC and it's hard to find the time to pull off a remotely coherent blogpost. So I wish this update wish i could be more raw and personal. like shared over a drink on a patio on a summer evening. But I wanted to post SOMETHING at least...
Well, we are on our last stretch of the summer season here in Mexico. We've had about 9 weeks of teams in already, just two more weeks to go. The summer definitely has had a different feel this year with smaller teams, lots of cancellations, smaller numbers, etc. Due to fears of violence, a bit of the swine flu scare, and then the economic situation, it hasn't been the best of years for teams and EOC. Over 30 teams cancelled, there are over 40 families waiting for homes that we anticipated we would be able to build this year, our finances are tight, and the needs here in Mexico are growing even more as the economics hit them hard!
Its hard... but at the same time we are excited and optimistic about the opportunities this situation has stirred in us to continue to become less 'reliant' on teams from Canada and the States. To work more and more on empowering the local people and church. Obviously, our partnerships with the teams and churches in Canada and the States are still so vital and an important part of the ministry, but it's been a interesting journey trying to figure out "now what" as we look at homes that still need to be built, children that still need to be fed... One way I've really been stirred up is to work more on rising up the youth here in Mexico. Particularly in the 'downtown' Ensenada churches. Where even though they still may be considered 'poor' in the world's standards, they have so much more than many of the people in the rural communities we are serving in... and these young people haven't been challenged or empowered to serve their own people. It's the same problem we have back with our youth back home... it's hard for them (and us!) to see the needs right in our own backyard. So we are planning some camps just for youth here in Mexico. Its been cool to meet with youth pastors from these churches and see them get excited. So even though its been a trickier year in terms of numbers, finances, etc. we are excited for the possibilities.
Regardless, this summer has been rich, smooth, and full of God's presence. Even though this is my third summer, each week brings its own tone and energy. There's been a good mix of teams this year and it's kept it fresh. And actually I don't mind some of the smaller weeks as you get a chance to get to know the people a bit more. Its definitely neat re-connecting with teams and leaders. Maybe I'd dare say it gets easier too as I feel I know what Im doing now. But there are still tough and long days, so easy isn't the word I want to use too quickly. And for me whether we have a team of 30 or a team of 130 my job is still the same. So as fun as having teams are... Im ready for the summer rush to be over. The cool thing about EOC is that just when you get bored of not having teams and the rhythm of 'off season' ministry... teams come. And just when you get tired and need some space.. they leave. So its a good balance. And Im definitely looking forward to some vacation time at the end of August. That will probably just mean for me lots of sleeping in, enjoying my house to myself (normally shared with my wonderful intern girl staff...but this fall it will be just moi!), puttering around, and hopefully treating myself to some little mexico getaways. I know my heart and energy is low.... i know ive been trying to run on empty too much, not fueling up with time for myself, or with God. Ive never been great at that whole balance thing... discipline... and its catching up to me. I know I need to be spending some time listening. waiting. reading. soaking. but right now that seems impossible... not just for my schedule but for the state of my heart/mind. So i need some time to really unwind and be. just be.
As I step more and more into leadership and working closely alongside Scott (the director) and Abram (our "pastor") I am both humbled and empowered. It makes me want to do more and be apart of the next steps for this place. Where other moments Im overwhelmed. There's so much to do. Not just in my job... but in this world. There is so much need. There is so much to do... It can be a bit paralyzing sometimes to have to pick and choose what to focus on.
Im still loving living here and making this my home for awhile. My spanish is getting better (maybe?!) but I want to kick it up to the next level. My verbs and conjugations still need alot of work and Im sure people are being very patient with me as I hack up their language... but Im getting by. Im still working out every morning at 6am (gah! yes, even in the summer craziness! Who woulda thought!). Its been great having my friend Ana to help motivate me to get my butt outta bed and obviously its so worth it. My friendship with Scott and Ana continue to be one of the biggest blessings of friendship here. Its been so important for me to have them to just be myself around. There's a growing community of people that is happening for me... its slow. and work sometimes. and sometimes its lonely. but its been good. Im still continuing to learn alot about myself and about people and community. Sometimes its tough lessons, but lessons nonetheless.
So that's a bit of a glimpse of me these days. Hopefully not just about what Im doing but how Im doing. Hard to articulate sometimes... but I hope its a start...
Please continue to pray for me.
For energy, for focus, for discernment. For listening ears. For perseverance. For balance.
And pray for the hungry. The broken. The homeless.