Monday, November 28, 2011

Livin' in a moment you would die for

I think that's what we really all want deep down and if we strive for that everyday, we would change the world. Livin in a moment you would die for...have you really ever thought about it? If what you do on a daily basis is worth dying for.
Thursday was Thanksgiving not only for you guys back in the states, but for us here in Puebla too. I got a friend who says the secret to happiness is gratitude. I believe it and its why we share a traditionally american holiday with our students here in Mexico. We set up all our tables together family style, cook for several days in advance, hang pictures from the past semester for students to take home, and cover the tables with white paper and crayons so they can express all the many things they have to be thankful for. The plan was to start serving lunch around 2:15 and then around 3 when everyone has had a chance to eat, we would pass around the mic giving the students a chance to share what they were thankful for from this past semester.
At 2:10 there was already a good number of students at the house so we started serving, and kept serving and kept serving and kept serving...about 50 min and 230 students later, we finally stopped serving food. 230 students showed up. That's more than we have ever had here at one time since El Pozo was started in 2005. The place was packed and everyone ate even though we planned for only 120 students. Talk about livin in a moment you would die for.

This was even after many people had eaten and left

Sitting on the floor, standing up and hanging out the doors. We found a way to make it work
Then if that wasn't good enough to make you grateful, we started passing around the mic. Freshmen talked about how they were so grateful for the love and acceptance they found at El Pozo in just the short time they have been around. Nadia thanked two student leaders for inviting her earlier in the semester and the community for becoming a family to her. Older students thanked all those who had gone before them for making El Pozo what it is today. Students saw God on Thursday, but not just on Thursday...they have been seeing him all semester.
Tania wrote me yesterday...I started studying the bible with her midway through the semester and she goes to a weekly bible/leadership group with another staff member. For the last month now we have been talking about baptism. She has come to believe in Christ, wants to follow him, is learning and growing and seeking God daily, but like many students here, her parents are not supportive. They have seen the positive change in her life, but still are against the idea of baptism. She is an only child, loves her parents sooo much, and struggles because she knows getting baptized, following the road God has laid out for her is going to cause problems. Yesterday she writes me and says, "I talked with my parents, they don't accept much the idea of my baptism but I am going to do it anyways." Tania is an example of how God changes hearts and makes us strong to follow him no matter what it costs us right now. Tania knows there is the chance she will lose her mother and father, but she also knows that she has another family here at El Pozo, 70-80 brothers and sisters ready to love and support her whatever may come.

Tania (on right) with student leader Sara (on left)
People inside the ministry are not the only ones seeing God work. Here is part of an email I got from Kathy, who is the mom of the head football coach and athletic director at the university here. She wrote us on Friday after hearing about the number of students who came to Thanksgiving lunch and also thanking us for helping to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the football coaches, a few players, and their families.
I am in awe and impressed by the work you two do (talking about myself and roommate/teammate Kami); UDLAP is very fortunate to have you two at the mission, as well as the sponsors of the mission.  It is obvious that you are doing a great job, as shown in the number of people that you served yesterday.  It is a testiment to your work, your personalities, and your friendship shown to those on campus.  

God is working in this place and through us on a daily basis. I don't always understand how or in what ways, but there is no denying it. I am thankful for this job, how no two days are the same, for friends and family in the states and here, for my roommates who make going home every night enjoyable and something I look forward to, for EACH ONE OF YOU who make me being here possible, for the chance to be a part of what God is doing to redeem his children and this world he created...the list could go on and on and will because I have learned that the secret to happiness is gratitude.