Oh, me of little faith.

We did it. We jumped in. A huge step toward our move was selling our small family business. I’ll spare you the number crunching, but basically we took a loss. We still owe on the business and didn’t break even. We did however spend an evening at the kitchen table figuring out how we could sell everything we own to make up for it. 

And we figured it out. So it’s done and now we are in Mexico for a month. Right now Jeremy is in one place (Tijuana where our missionary life first began!) and I’m at Open Arms. This has not been easy. Yesterday….well, it sucked! Like went to bed with a headache, sucked! 
I woke up this morning and my first thought was, “His mercies are new every morning…THANK GOD!!” And then I got a text that said the very same thing. God really is good and cares about the fact I almost had a nervous breakdown because of keys. 

  
As I was drive to a place I had never been to pick up kids who barley know me for Open Arms, I was talking to the Lord about yesterday and {begging} asking for mercy for today (I was already on this morning) and realized what is happening! I have been on auto pilot. 

Everything in my life is easy to do (not situations or sometimes the circumstances) but what to do about them and the things I do in ministry every day, autopilot. I just didn’t realize it until my auto pilot no longer applied and I was steering all on my own (yesterday was a disaster people!!). I realized that I have been running on my own strength for a long time. Not out of choosing pride but out of getting caught up in the daily routine and knowing what was coming next and exactly how I would handle it. Yesterday was the end of all that.

I couldn’t do anything right on my own yesterday and I saw that my autopilot was me! That really doesn’t work out well when you are doing things you have never done, going places you have never been and have a language barrier. Did I mention I almost had a nervous breakdown?! Ya. 

  

Despite all that happened, it feels good…I need God. Like, really need Him. And maybe I haven’t been operating like that for a time. But the not knowing, being clueless, and flailing feels good today because I’m not on autopilot! I’m all snuggled into the arms of the Lord today and it doesn’t matter if I don’t know or I end up looking like an idiot in the process because I’m right where I need to be: in the Shadow of His wings!

I’m breathing easier, feeling better and enjoying the chaos, the unknown today! Pray for me, who knows what tomorrow will bring! The only thing I know is His mercies really are new every morning!!!

  

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We have no idea…

Really though. It’s all coming so fast. But in this present moment we could follow up this title with: what to do.

We have a small pool business and have to sell it. Can I be honest? I really didn’t think through the logistics of such a thing. My thought process: sell it for more than we owe, live quietly (and cheaply) until June 10th & move to Mexico with no debt. 

Not so much. Reality is we are looking at an offer $4,500 short of what we need to come out even (no extra $ to live quietly on!). Why are we even considering it, you ask? Well, the flip side of the coin is being $14,000 in debt when we leave: that’s more than what it was to pay off my student loans people! No. Way. Not doing it.

Enter in hubby, wife meeting at kitchen table – calculators, note pads and high hopes. Long story short is this: either way it is a huge leap of faith. Faith that one way or another God will provide. It’s super cute to say that until you realize on paper it just doesn’t work without a miracle. But doesn’t that sound just like God?

Here we are…hoping for a miracle. How do you provide for your family in the gap of – our business sold but now we have no income and we are moving in 94 days. This is enough to give a person (ok, me!) a panic attack. As a matter of fact, when Ryan asked what we were doing Jeremy said, “I’m giving your mom a heart attack.” And it really felt like it. At one point Jeremy said, “I can’t breathe.” Adulting is scary…and complicated! 

With all that said, we are going for it. Never once has God done something in our married life that felt safe and without questions. This feeling is very familiar: sweaty hands, hearts racing and that gut feeling that you just have to let go and let it all happen. I feel like we are always jumping all in, but every time we do, it feels like the first time. And we are scared, hopeful and leaning in…

On a side note, we are available for hire. Really. And if you want to start supporting our long term mission, this is a great time!!!  

    
 

Dental Care & Other Things…

Open Arms Dental Appointment: “Hey our first appointment didn’t show up…do your kids need to be seen?” Me, “Yes!” Put them in the chair, administer quality dental care and off they go! Following Jaces’ “appointment” was this… 

  the kids going to the doors of the next kids in line for appointments to remind them they are spending their Saturday morning in the dentist’s chair! {This news is met with a variety of actions and attitudes which none of the kids picked up on as they happily delivered their news!} Awesome on all counts. (Jace has no cavities and loves the “Mexico Dentist”.)

  
On to “Other Things”…there was a horrendous storm that came through after we left in January. Major winds blew solar panels around neighborhoods, downed transformers and started a fire. When we came into the apartment in we realized our bedroom ceiling fan had blown up and shot sparks all over the top of our bed: thank you Jesus that it didn’t start our apartment on fire and there were no injuries or major losses after the storm! Oh, the adventure awaits us.

And another thing…I’m going to be honest: it doesn’t suck that it takes us 8 minutes to drive to the beach, unload and have our toes in the sand. There I said it. We (will) live 4 minutes from the beach- the other four is unloading the car & walking to the water. Today we had time before the group arrived so we packed up (boys in swim trunks, a beach chair & two towels) and went. Mainly just to get out…two rambunctious boys with no T.V., no yard and no wifi {that does kinda suck a little} cooped up all day in the house = bickering bickersons!! The beach is free, they play and happy parents. It’s a win, win! And it’s incentive to have visitors!!!!!! Come to the beach {in Mexico – LoL}.

  
And yet another thing: I paid a babysitter {lookin’ at you Mary Bocks!} with peanut butter and bananas: AwEsOme!! And even though the night resulted in a blow out fight and a bad word {yuuuup from one of mine 😞 even though he denies it’s even a bad word!} she said doing it again was not out of the question…..even AwESOmer!! <~~~ it’s a word! 

In between all that…welcomed the group, collected fire equipment for Camalu, started plotting big, God plans with a new friend and spent time chatting with the cooks. At one point there were 8 kids in my 600 sq foot house. EIGHT. But my kiddos were happy and that makes me happy!

  
 That’s day #1 & #2 in a nutshell. What other things await us in the next 8 days? God knows, we know nothing…here’s to flexico Mexico {an endearing term that means “who knows what’s, next just go with it.”

January 2016

We just got back from our once a month trip to our future new home. Jeremy said it best, I think, when he said, “Be careful what you ask for because it could be even better than you thought.” 

It is so strange: anytime we have gone to Mexico it always feels like going home. As if we never left and we fall into the days easily. This trip was no different except we had a home to go to. Our home. 

The apartment turned out to be fantastic and we started talking about if we would really even move from it if we had the choice. It’s not too big and really not too small. It takes me approximately 5 minutes to clean the kitchen, two to pick up the whole house and everything has a spot where it goes {and it has to go there because there is no where else to put it}. We love it!

   
 The boys settled into their space…bunkbeds, Dad’s custom built-in & fold up desks for school and surviving with no internet or TV {which was great for all of us!} The best part: friends. Friends living so close you can just yell out the window to see if they can come over and walk them home in two minutes when it’s time to go home again. We might need to increase our food budget, kids eat a lot when in small herds!

   
On the formal ministry side of things, we met, set dates and got “to do” lists. Along with @openarms.org email addresses…as small as that is, it is still surreal. Talk turned The Camalu Project Dedication, Spring Break plans and a final move date. 

June 10, 2016. That’s the day. 10 years in the making. Along with packing up our life and moving to Mexico it’s also our 16th wedding anniversary. I’m sure the coincidence isn’t one. It’s like returning to the day we started to start anew. It makes my soul quiet when I think about it and I don’t know why or what it means but in my heart it’s very pretty, if that makes sense.

We arrive June 10th and the first of many summer groups arrives on the 12th. From there it’s a whirlwind of groups, organizing, ministry projects, construction and long days with short nights. This is why we are moving slowly now and settling in…ain’t nobody got time for that when summer comes!

And regarding the things in the “Reality Check” post, it all worked out fine! Someone donated a heater to us and if you wear your jacket and scarf with the heater going during the day you good to go! {I’m not complaining…I love cold!} The propane tank and I became quick friends when I figured out it heats, not only the shower, but all the hot water in the apartment. I overcame my fear and was cooking up a storm! Heidi, God bless her soul, had a line dig from our apartment to the daycare water tanks so water in the shower is now a real thing and we don’t have to rely solely on city water! We met our neighbor…doesn’t seem like a serial killer so I can rest easier…with the door always locked anyway, of course. And after really stopping to think that yes, it’s different but when you look around, you’re talking about first world problems in a country with third world crisis and it shuts you up. Slap in the face by God never fails me.

  
Someone asked me about support and this is still my answer: technically we are only 10% funded and 100% relying on God to come through for us. If you would like to financially support us, comitt to pray for us or help in any other way, please email me lindzee@openarmsmexico.org

We are on countdown. 4 months, 16Days. 20 Saturdays. And we will officially be moving to Mexico! God is good. His promises remain. His Word is steadfast. 

  

What are we going to do? (Part 1)

Ohhhh this question: it plagues me, keeps me up at night (if I let it)!! It’s such a multifaceted question. Which is why this post is only “Part 1”.  I’m not sure how many parts there will actually be because there are so many subjects to cover in answer to this one small question.

But, here goes: What are you going to do (insert) –> in Mexico? God has pressed the >> button on this subject (see the previous post)! 

The last post summed up: (but totally worth the read, so you should read it too!) starting in January we will be spending a week every month in Mexico – for many reasons. The first being that Heidi and Daniel (OA Directors) will be needed in Camalu at the second daycare site as it’s opening approaches. Second, they have asked Jeremy and I to be a part of the leadership team that will run the origional campus in La Mision while Heidi and Daniel are off site. And lastly, it’s going to help the staff, OA kids and our boys to adjust to our new role at OA.

The role. The “what are you going to do in Mexico” question answered. As part of the leadership team, Jeremy and I will be: doing admin, starting organized sports, organizing and scheduling groups before their arrival, facilitating the activities the groups are doing while in Mexico and helping with the “American side” of the minsitry. This in itself is a big job! 

OA has so many groups every year to serve! Thers’s small groups of five people staying for the weekend to larger groups of 100 people staying for a week or more. The amazing part of this role is that (God in His awesomeness) we have done this before. On a small scale while we have been there on trips ourselves and on a larger scale when we oversaw the group from Taiwan when Heidi and Daniel were in the States having their second child. We love this part of the ministry! Seeing people who come consistently to serve and people who are having their first mission experience is awesome. To watch God call people to different things and see them answer the call is something we never get tired of seeing!

In a more “unofficial” capacity, we will be wearing lots of hats! Loving on kids and their families in a consistent Christ centered way, filling in wherever and whenever is needed (we have never been above cleaning toilets and don’t plan to change that anytime soon!), providing support for the staff & volunteer missionaries and whatever else God has for us! 

So, that’s what we will be doing in Mexico! 

This is 5 months away. FIVE. MONTHS. #weremoving #summer2016 is fast approaching!! Stay tuned for “What are we going to do…about school, for money, with NPI” and who knows what else! 

If you’re interested in sponsoring our mission to fight to keep families together please let us know!!! 

Us, pictured with Daniel & Heidi back in 2013-when moving to Mexico was still just a dream!!

Reality Check

In December, we {Jeremy and I} had an opportunity to spend our first nights in our Mexico apartment. We headed down with the intention to start making the space functional for us before we embark on our “one week a month” journey.

It was cute. I packed a tub with a few things {Jeremy’s tools, a couple of small canvas prints I got on clearance, four pillows, a desk, 3 dish towels, coffee pot, 6 mugs, drop cloths and curtain fixings}…like I said, cute {like a kid packing their own bag for an overnight trip for the first time}. Super thought out, not so much. 

Anyway, our major goal was cover the windows on a budget, or lack there of. So Pinterest to the rescue: cheap, washable, wouldn’t die if they went missing = drop cloth curtains! Jeremy was skeptical but willing because it cost next to nothing compared to buying actual, adult curtains. Hours of drilling into the concrete wall, 5 drill bits and a possible muscle tear later {poor guy} and POOF curtains! And they are cute, functional, block out the cold/heat and strangers can’t peer into our house from the freeway…win! 

We also started making the closet in the living room into a “cloffice”. You know, a space to use as an office, homeschool desk and bookcase when there is no space for such nonsense. It’s a closet office!! Don’t judge me. Jace and Ryan have been known to bunk down in Ben & De’s walk in closet when space was tight!! Americans take space for granted. I’m learning to make more of less and it’s so functional. However, I do chuckle at my previous dreams of a “homeschool” room. Bahahahaha…not happening!

We mapped out our furniture dimensions with masking tape. It boils down to,  “Look all around our house in the U.S: ya, none of that is coming.” I’m considering in the last couple of weeks just putting everything we are taking in our master bedroom (yup, it’ll fit) and inviting friends (or even strangers if I’m desperate) to come take what they want. Really. 

I could end this here, but that would be a little deceptive because the nitty gritty had nothing to do with anything we did in the apartment. The reality check…

It started with the stove. I followed this strange cord from the bottom of it into a cabinet. And there it sat: a propane tank. Like the one under your bbq on your back porch. In that moment I thought to myself, “Crap. I’m going to blow us up trying to cook dinner. How much does it cost to fill this thing? How many times am I going to have to fill it a week?” Reality check. Not impossible but scary & different.

I laid in bed staring at the ceiling listening to our neighbor, who shares the main wall of our apartment, entertain friends. Listening as in I COULD HEAR EVERY WORD like he was sitting in the end of my bed. I thanked God I’m not completely fluent because panic was settling in and had I understood  every word, I would have melted down. My thoughts: I haven’t had neighbors in 20 years, what if they start shooting, they could be cooking meth in there…I don’t know these people! Reality check. Enter in the Holy Spirit, deep breathing and something dumb I told God one time that He brought to my remembrance. {keep reading}

Fast forward to the next morning. Long story short apparently the water pressure from the “city” isn’t enough to push water out of our shower. What are you going to do, you ask? One of two things: pray that a tank and pump can be put on our apartment or fill huge pots with water, boil them on my propane stove and take a “bucket bath” in the shower. PS when you flush the toilet the water in the kitchen sink turns to a trickle. BUT more importantly people I have boys!! Dirty, germy, stinky boys who need daily showers!! Pray. I almost can’t wrap my mind around this one despite the fact I’ve shrugged it off to others.

No heat. Cement house. Tile floors. It was chilly.

To sum it up, one time I asked God, “Why would you send us to Mexico? That’s so easy. When we are willing to go anywhere, why send us someplace where we are so comfortable.” God reminded me of this and the fact that He had never answered me. Until now: it’s not going to be easy or comfortable. 

Please pray for us: trust in Gods plan, essentials that we will need starting in January (like electric blankets & tamale pots-for showers!), that we would be able to adjust as a family and for finances while in mission.

You can email me at lindzee@openarmsmexico.org if you have any items you are able to donate or are interested in sponsoring us as we help keep families together in Mexico!! 

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: WE HAVE A GREAT SHOWER & FLUSHING TOILET!!
JEREMY GETTING HIS CURTAIN HANGING ON!
THE “CLOFFICE”

One of {almost} everything…

a1 a3a4 a2

One. It’s the smallest number (for those of us who are not mathematicians). It was a super exciting number…at first. Now, it’s also the freakin’ scariest number. Let me explain.

Since last year I have felt smothered. Like I can’t breathe. All the stuff we have in our home has been closing in on me. It’s everywhere! We have a hall closet. FULL of STUFF. Tons of kitchen cabinets. FULL of STUFF. Closets in every bedroom. FULL of STUFF. And I’ve never noticed any of it before. I’ve been surrounded by all this crap (honestly I don’t even know what is in most every cabinet) and it has never bothered me. But in the past year it all started to close in and all I think about is getting rid of it all! I really think The Lord is preparing me for #mexico2016.

Fast forward to the here and now and I’m freaking so excited about having one of everything!! Like one set of measuring cups (not the 17 haphazardly placed, mismatched sets floating around somewhere), one set of teaspoons (with ALL of them present) and so on. You can see where this is going.

a

Less. Less stuff. Less crap, #downsizing. Yesssssssssss. I’m longing for it. Looking forward to one of {almost} everything. Almost everything because a girl can’t go with just one pair of undies, you know? But less in the areas that require more than one. Less clothes (that we don’t wear), less toys (that aren’t ever played with)…less, less, less I say!!

But then I realized one of everything applies to more than all of our material possessions. We have one Christmas left in the only home our children have known. The home we have lived in for 15 years. Where all of our memories are. All of our struggles have happened here, in this place. Our triumphs have reverberated within these walls. One: Christmas, one more set of the boys’ crazy double birthdays, one more Father’s Day BBQ with all the kids…one more year at home.

It hit me. Hard. One of {almost} everything just became about time, memories and the reality that we are leaving it all behind to run the race that has been set before us. We are leaving the memories, family, friends and even our older children (who are and will be on their own paths in life next year) behind. Wow. That strikes a chord I haven’t dealt with. I’ve been so focused on the posesssions that the “one” of what really matters hasn’t even registered.

My prayer is – “Lord, you know. I feel you preparing me, but please be there when it hits. When I realize my mom isnt next door and the place I’m laying my head isn’t my home that I’ve known for over half my life. When I start longing for things I couldn’t wait to leave behind, God comfort me. Set my feet on firm ground in what you have laid before us.”

One of {almost} everything just became real as hell.
“Things to Do Before You Move Your Whole Family To The Mission Field”

See #’s 1-2 in previous post.

#3. Decide where you are going to live. After shopping around both online and in person we decided that we will live on site. In the third floor apartment over the medical/dental clinic (God willing) at Open Arms. It’s a two bedroom & one bath apartment. The benefits far outweighed the negatives of this decision. So, check that off the list! (In depth post about housing later!)