Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ronnie and Sandra Schroeder

We spent this past week enjoying a visit from my folks, Ronnie and Sandra Schroeder.  As always, we had a great time together—talking and being together.  We stayed a few days here in Guadalajara and then spent a few nights vacationing near San Miguel de Allende.    

I’ve been blessed with good parents—which is not a small thing! 

One of the things I really like about my mom and dad is the way they have always supported us in our desire to be missionaries.  I remember years ago when I decided to put off post-graduate work and instead enroll in the Adventures in Missions program; they not only gave me their blessing but also provided financial backing and visited me when I lived in England as an AIMer.  Later, when Nancy and I decided to begin our mission work in Mexico, they could not have been more supportive.  During these 19 years in Mexico, they have made dozens of trips to visit us and have given much money to bless our lives, the mission, needs of coworkers, special projects, etc.  Not only have they been supportive; but also they have allowed themselves to be influenced and changed by this experience.   

Nancy and I want to be that way with our daughters and the dreams God has put in their hearts.  We hope it won’t be anything too crazy!

I also like that my folks are really interested in the lives of our Mexican friends.  Yesterday one of my friends told me what another had said after they spent time with all of us on Monday.  "I like Chadd's mom so much because you can tell she really is interested in what our life is like--she asks questions and really wants to know what we think and what we want to do with our lives." 

I like that about her too.   

We were trying to count how many trips my mom has made to Mexico since we moved here.  We came up with between 40 and 45 week-long visits in the last 19 years.  This means that my mom has spent almost a year of her life in Mexico!  My dad has averaged a week each year which means he has spent 3 or 4 months here.  We’ve had lots of fun and made many good memories. 

I wonder what they’ll do with their vacation time when we’re not in Mexico anymore.  

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Women's Gathering on Saturdays and Kid's Formation

Every other Saturday afternoon, our house is the gathering place for several women who come together to help one another grow in their understanding and skills around the idea of spiritual formation in children.  Nancy invited them to begin this Kid’s Formation Workshop back in September.  

I’m amazed at the sustained interest in this…that they keep gathering with such enthusiasm.  They have a lot of fun together.  Lots of things are happening—fellowship, fun, eating and praying together.  But Nancy is especially focused on a few elements:

  1. They are growing together in their understanding of the larger Story of the Bible.  Instead of merely seeing the Bible as a hodgepodge of stories, poems, laws and prophecies, they are seeing that the stories of Scripture make up a larger storyline.  These women are grasping this important truth and are also learning to share these stories in the context of the larger Story with the children in their own families, in their house churches, and in their neighborhoods.  Its cool to watch them grasp this together. 
  2. They are learning together how important and yet simple it is to tell and “play” these stories together with kids—and perhaps adults.  They have a growing confidence that they don’t have to be professional teachers, but that God does something formatively important when we begin playing with kids around these stories…that important questions and conversations often come out of this experience.  The kids are blessed; the adults (when we let ourselves) also can enter into the play and be blessed as well. 
  3. These women are also growing tremendously in their confidence.  Most of them have a very limited education.  This has caused them to doubt their ability to contribute.  But Nancy is helping each of them put together a resource box of simple tools which can be used to tell the different stories of the Bible.  Each time they meet, they work to make the material together (on a recent Saturday they each made a wooden temple that can be used to tell several of the Bible stories).  You can tell that they feel good about themselves and their ability to be helpful to kids.  Its neat to see their confidence grow and to hear them tell of how they are using all of this with the kids in their lives.  

Its fun to see the growth and wonder what will become of all the seeds that are planted in good hearts. 

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Our Old Friend Pedro

One of the things I liked about our recent visit to Mexico City was that we got to spend a little time with our old friend Pedro.  Pedro is a tough guy from one of the toughest areas of Mexico City—Tepito.  Pedro has been following Jesus for almost 20 years now.  It shows.  

When we were together a few days ago I heard him tell his story again…how 18 years ago this month he stumbled out of a cantina at about 11:00 am in the morning and  was handed a piece of paper by a girl who was handing out invitations to a Christian film series.  She spoke no Spanish and he no English.  But she led him to where I was and in my poor Spanish (Nancy and I had been in Mexico for only 6 months or so) I explained to him about a film series we were offering and invited him to attend. He came and met several of us—he and I began to read the Bible together each week.  A few months later, he decided to commit to Jesus—and has been walking and growing with God ever since.  

I heard him tell of important people God has used in his life—the Moore and Fanning family—Gerardo and Carola Garcia—and many others.  

It was cool to hear him describe his life and ministry now and his dreams for the future…to hear him talk about the brokenness he sees daily in that huge city and his desire to participate with God in seeing things made right.  Pedro ministers to at least 3 small communities of disciples—celulas he called them in different neighborhoods in Mexico City.  He has friends all over the city.  He knows life is tough.  He likes to teach and help people…but especially loves telling the story of God’s work in his own life and helping others see that God is willing to do the same thing for them.  

Pedro is still a tough guy from one of the toughest areas of Mexico City.  He has a faith made mature through experience with God on the streets of Mexico City.  It was good for my heart to see the evidence of Christ in my old friend.  

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Bringing in the New Year in Mexico City

We spent last week in Mexico City—decided to go over a few days after Christmas and see the New Year in there.  Our friends, the Degraffenreid family (a missionary family from Guadalajara whose kids go to school with ours) went with us.  We had a great time showing them Mexico City, seeing the tourist sites, hanging out with old friends, and visiting our memories of our early years as missionaries in Mexico so long ago.  

In later blogs we may write in a little more detail, but we visited the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, the Basilica of the Virgin Guadalupe, Chapultepec Park, the Zocalo and Templo Mayor, the museum of Friday Kahlo, the center of Coyoacan, and Six Flags Mexico.  We took 17-year old Zane Degraffenreid to Los Narajitos for tacos and he ate 30 tacos in one sitting—we wonder if it might be a record!

We got to spend time with our good friends the Brednich and Henderson families—and got to eat lunch with Pedro Marin.  We also got to visit the orphanage where our daughter Ceci spent 2 years of her life—got to visit several of the people who were responsible for caring for her back then.  We got to say “gracias” again to them. 

One of the things that I really liked about the week was that we stayed at the Pink House.  When Nancy and I first arrived as missionaries to Mexico we lived our first 5 ½ years in the Pink House.  We brought Morgan and Natali home from the hospital to this house.  It was there that we studied Spanish everyday and began to fall in love with the Mexican people. 

It was cool to visit old memories last week!  

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

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