It’s amazing the way God works and the different ways He uses people of all ages and walks of life, especially when those people are available to His purposes and willing to be available to put themselves out there if asked to. This blog will highlight one cool way the Lord recently used… my parents!
Some of you who are close to my family know that my parents recently made a huge move from Michigan (where they had lived for about 25 years) to New Mexico so they could be closer to all of their kids and grandkids who now all have connections to the state of Texas for different reasons (even though they live all over the globe). My parents have been settling in and adjusting to the vastly different climate and culture of New Mexico since the late summer. We are so grateful to have them closer. Not only is it wonderful to see them on a more regular basis when we have to do paperwork in Texas or our daughter Iris has eye appointments, but they are also a huge blessing to us practically.
Many of you also may know that my parents have a great heart for missions and served as missionaries for 10+ years in Asia-Pacific as a young family. Since moving closer to us they want to help us in any way they can as we (as well as my sister’s family) serve in Chihuahua, Mexico. They also desire to be a help to other missionaries if possible.
A little over a month ago my parents were asked to be volunteers at the Mexican Missionary Training Center (Rancho Siloe) in Chihuahua to help with the language practicum. One very important part of the missionary training is of course preparation in how to learn another language. For those who desire to serve the Lord in a tribal context (whether within Mexico or another country) it is crucially important that they learn good procedures in how to learn another language and culture. My dad and mom were asked to be part of the group that would make up the people the missionary students would learn English from as a way to practice their language learning skills.
My parents had already planned to be in Mexico close to the time period of the language practicum anyway because of the birth of their 9th grandchild (to the Chubb family). They were willing to come early and help with the students as well.
It was important for the students to have monolingual English speakers to help them study English so they couldn’t revert to using Spanish. Because of this, my parents fit the bill! Speaking the language they used while serving in Asia-Pacific wouldn’t help them at all in this context. 😁
Each day my parents, along with the other volunteers, had language sessions with different students and helped them go over words they were learning or helped them do an activity that would help expose them to more language. They also had several “culture events” like celebrating Thanksgiving with the students so they could observe a very American holiday! My parents and the students definitely experienced the awkwardness of not being able to understand anything and went through the challenge of how to handle those interactions when you cannot understand or be understood.
It was a great time for the students and my parents. My mom especially was able to lead several activities like making snowmen from felt and baking and decorating Christmas cookies that helped the students have the opportunity to learn many new words!
We are so thankful that my mom and dad were willing to sacrifice their time and comfort zone to come help the students in an important time of their training! They were a great help. It was a fun experience to feel like my parents were our coworkers in ministry for about a month.
On a side note, the Lord used the timing of my parents visit to Chihuahua in another surprisingly helpful way! Not only did they help my sister’s family while she delivered her 4th child but my parents were also able to help me! We had quickly and unexpectedly moved into a new house and Tom had had to leave right after we had gotten the furniture in. So after one day with many friends helping us move things over to the new house, I was left with a lot to do and needless to say it was overwhelming and I needed help! I mostly needed help preparing our old house to return to the land lady as there we many things that needed repairing (mostly just because it was an old house that was in disrepair). I wanted to return it to the land lady in better condition than we found it. My parents helped me so much. They sacrificed every weekend to come into the city and work with me! It encouraged me a lot just thinking about how God knew in advance that I would be needing help and worked out all the details ahead of time so that I would have help while Tom was traveling.
It was wonderful to have my parents here for a month serving the field as well as their kids. I feel blessed to have parents who want to invest in others and serve the Lord.