Hanging out in the pumpkin patch!Back in junior high, one of the coolest things I had ever seen was a music video put together by my church, set to Steven Curtis Chapman’s ‘Dive (Deeper).’ Honestly, it still gets me pretty excited! You see, in this video a bunch of distinguished-looking pastors, each immaculately dressed in suit and tie, suddenly up and leave the office. They drive to a nearby house with its backyard pool, line up along the side and – one by one – dive in! All the while, Steven’s rocking out in the background (click ‘play’ on the video below as you keep reading! It’s not the version showing the scene I’m describe, but you have to hear the song!):
Caught in the rush, tossed in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in
Chapman sings of the amazing experience which comes from diving deep into God’s immeasurable grace… and as I watched a bunch of men in business-formal attire cavorting like kids in the deep end of the pool, the metaphor really struck home! (Nothing beat the moment where the music pastor, portraying the inevitable spoilsport, was tossed in bodily by the rest of the group!) What better way to portray the child-like faith we are called to exercise in Christ, echoing the characters of C.S. Lewis who called, “Come further up, come further in!” Teen-aged me loved that image, and I still appreciate it today.
In previous updates, we’ve shared the excitement of entering our second year of study in Mexico. Yet we’ve heard that, with repetition of holidays and cultural events one has already seen, there comes a tendency to get lazy. Rather than continuing to pursue a deeper understanding of a culture and the worldview it reflects, language learners can grow complacent and assume they know more than they truly do!
Thinking this way would reflect a perspective we cannot tolerate in ourselves. Our example is Christ Himself, for whom the worthwhile cost to reconcile men to their Creator was nothing less than His death on the cross, bearing our sin in our place. When another year in-country brings new chances to revisit cultural events, we can consider aspects we weren’t prepared to study a year before and develop our understanding of the culture as a whole. Rather than repetitive tedium, the second time around represents opportunity to dive deeper than we could before!
For that reason, Amy and I are excited to re-experience the things we encountered with fresh eyes during our first year in Chihuahua! Would you pray for us, as we begin to encounter again the things we studied a year ago? Pray that – motivated by His love for people He gave up so much to save – we would continue to go deeper into culture, so that others might someday have the opportunity to dive deeply by faith into His boundless grace.
Notes from Chihuahua:
- Our ministry timeline has changed! When we arrived, our goal was a level of aptitude in Mexican Spanish and culture called ‘Capable Low’. However, national language and culture grow increasingly important in indigenous church planting, which changes our goals. We now aim for a higher standard called ‘Capable High’: the same level of understanding we will need in an indigenous language and culture before we will be ready to teach. We’ve been making good progress, so this adjustment should only add a few months to our time in Chihuahua! Yet that time investment will pay dividends for decades as – Lord willing! – we continue serving Him here in Mexico.
- Next month, our family will visit the NTM missionaries working with the Nahuatl people group. We will get to know the existing team better, talk about the possibility of working together, learn about this church planting work in person, and experience firsthand the unique difficulties in accessing Las Moras! As we look for God to guide us toward a long-term ministry location, the Nahuatl people have often been in our thoughts, and appear to be one of three or four most likely groups with whom God might have us work post-Chihuahua. As a result, you can well imagine how excited we are to finally make this trip!
- Recently, our family started making weekly trips to a local orphanage called Casa Adonai. The thirty-plus children living there (the number varies) come from a variety of difficult circumstances – many of them still have parents living, yet cannot live with them for diverse reasons. Activities such as pickup sports and card games have helped us begin to build relationships with these kids, each of whom has his or her own story and need for Christ. We do not yet know how God will use us there in the future, but for now we are privileged simply to invest in these kids and show them love any way we can.
Praise God with us!
- While recently in El Paso, we learned a lot about our minivan and its various struggles! Almost all of the mysteries have been resolved, and it now runs quite well. One minor brake question aside, we now know what needs to happen should any of our prior problems recur.
- Our friends Hector and Amy Flores are now in the United States! Hector has been trying to gain access for over two years, and they are now working in Florida near Amy’s family as they prepare for missions training with NTM next fall.
- A recent time of rest has left us re-energized and refreshed, eager to continue the work God has laid before us! Further, we moved my office downstairs nearer to the barrel stove… something which will prove a huge blessing as winter’s bitter cold arrives!
- Finally, I had the privilege on my 33rd birthday of hearing our son Titus express his confidence that Jesus had taken the punishment for his sin! What incomparable joy to see Titus take those first steps in life with Christ!
Ways you can pray:
- Continued growth in Christ for Titus and Elayne (not to mention Amy and I!), and that God would even now be laying the foundation for Joel to understand all Jesus has done for him.
- Our upcoming trip to the Nahuatl tribe will be challenging logistically, and pretty tiring with multiple days of hard travel! Please pray for our journey, and even more that God would reveal much to both us and the Nahuatl team during our time together!
- I (Jordan) have a language check in the next few days, which will reveal how far I’ve come in the last several months. Please pray for accurate results, and clear perspective on how to proceed from here!
- Finally, our local church recently had a huge outreach event which was widely attended. Please pray for continued interest among those who came, and ongoing opportunity to share Christ through the relationships which continue developing between church and community!