5 Things to Know About (My) Mission Family

{1.} When you ask if we are ready, we don’t know what to say. We know we are doing what God has called us to, but being “ready” is subjective. Are we emotionally ready to leave behind friends & family? No. Do we have everything packed and ready to go? No. Are we prepared to deal with the boys when they realize we have left for good and won’t be back for months? Probably not. BUT are we ready to follow what God has set before us? Absolutely! 

{2.} We have strategically asked people to help us move. Grandma and best friends will be helping us move and set up house (we have one day to unpack before summer officially starts for us!). Yes, they are willing to haul our stuff across the Mexican border and do a HGTV worthy unpack and that’s great. Most importantly though, when we pull out of our driveway we will not be alone, my kids will not be alone. They will have one of their best friends and their grandma making the trip and staying a few days with us when we get there. I’m hoping this softens the blow.
{3.} I (absolutely, for sure) might not be dealing with my emotions about the move. If I stay busy (which is very easy at this point) I don’t think about it. “It” being, leaving the home all my kids have grown up in, leaving the property I’ve spent more than half my life on, leaving my mom who has been my neighbor for 18 years, leaving a ministry that is my life’s work thus far and all the people we have served for 8 years and leaving behind friends who have loved me through it all. Be forewarned that an episode is coming. It will be tear streaked face, snot flowing and I will make it through it, but bare with me when it happens!

{4.} We have already started “working” in Mexico (even though we don’t move for two more days!) We have been scheduling groups, working with Heidi and Daniel on project plans, planning camps, new ministries and corresponding A LOT. Is it a lot of work right now as we balance saying goodbye, packing and the transition in our own ministry? Yes. But it will make our first few months easier and the transition as smooth as possible. So, if we haven’t called, messaged or text you – now you know why!

{5.} Oh, we aren’t fully funded! (I saved the best for last.) A very important part of our life as missionaries is gaining monthly support and we have had a great response of people who want to help us fulfill God’s calling on our life. Awesome! We are only half way there: basically at this point we are leaving with the faith the God will provide enough to love on! Are we surprised? No. Crazy? No. Jumping in with both feet and eyes wide open? Yes, yes, yes!!! If you want to support us (one time or monthly) please email us at creechmexicomissions@gmail.com. We are debt free and only need living expenses!! 
Please pray for our transition physically and spiritually! We would love to actually get our things across the border without having to pay a lot in taxes, a safe trip and God’s presence through it all!

It happened.

I’m sick and I thought to myself, “I want to go home.” Apparently I have a blankie (that my grandma made) that I use when I’m sick. I don’t have that. The bed here isn’t as cozy as the one in Visalia. I don’t have hot tea, satellite TV or Pho. And I cracked. 

  
I was laying in bed tears streaming down my face thinking, “I want to go home.” The still, small voice said, “You are home.” Which sent me to bawling and I realized I didn’t want to actually “go” home as much as I wanted the things *from* home to be here. 

Then the text came from a friend, “How are you doing?” To which I responded with a flood of whining, pity seeking and pouting. Friend said, “You are home.” Ugh. The truth is what you get when you need it the most, I guess. But this marks the first time in 10 years I was in Mexico wishing I was in Visalia. 

I’m glad to report that with two days of antibiotics under my belt I’ve stopped sniveling and can push all those feeling (however unhealthily) to the back of my mind. Just bear in mind I’m sure there’s a day coming that I will be in the fetal position as the reality of our life hits me. Until then, cheers to busy days and my head firmly in the sand! 

As part of my new job description, I made a visit to my neighbor who is getting their roof redone by the group that’s here this week. Nine months ago she almost had a baby on Heidi’s porch! That little baby is a smiley chicken pox marked sweetie right now. (I triple washed my hands in scalding hot water after our visit because well, you know my kids haven’t had chicken pox and honestly I can’t remember clearly right now if that’s one of the vaccines they have or not!) So, there’s that.

The group is on the roof as I’m chatting with mom and dad. It sounds (and looks like…because I see sky!) they could fall through at any moment…I’m half praying Jeremy (or anyone else) doesn’t come barreling through as I’m half listening to the mom tell us how she cleans houses in the States every weekend while her husband watches the kids. They are smiling and grateful. 

  
I make small talk while realizing that their whole house is being suspended off the hillside by verticle two by fours and the floor below me bows under our foot steps. Really, I do care about what they are saying…her other daughter is in Kindergarten and likes school, but I’m distracted by the fact that this house is not safe. Much less warm or dry…And I’m complaining as a grown woman that I’m sick and don’t have my blanket! 

Geez, Lindzee. Get a grip and purpose to put your big girl panties on EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Because, there’s real problems to deal with. Yup, God sent me (whiney, blanket girl). Apparently He thinks I can decided who gets what help and when, not by my own accord but through maintaining a tight grip on His hand, His heart and His timing. Lord! 

Lord, let me decrease so You can increase. Let me shrink in my own eyes and in the eyes of others as you rise up in all Your glory! 

Greetings From Baja!!!

We are spending a month in Mexico! We have been here since March 17th and plan to leave back to Visalia on the 20th of April. So far it has been an adventure:

– Jeremy went to Camalu (prepping for the dedication of the second campus on April 2nd)! They are working early mornings and late nights (like painting by cell phone lights late nights!) The boys and I have been praying like crazy for him, the other workers and the event! We miss him and will be joining him tomorrow!

  

– I made my first “states run” (going to the US to run errands). It sounded much simpler than it turned out to be! De (Heidi’s mom) assures me that one day I will be able to do it without phoning or texting every half hour with questions! Oh, and I left he boys at the daycare while I went and with Jeremy not being anywhere close it was their first time spending the day without one of us here! They lived!! Woohoo!!

  

– My mom and Garrett visited for a week so we tried to do some fun things, like the beach and Garretts 18th birthday celebration. It was one of many birthdays he has spent in Mexico but harder for me now that he’s an “adult”. They left by train (I managed to get them there 6 whole minutes before the train left!)

  

– We had our first holiday in Mexico… Easter! We cooked a full Easter meal with one 9×12 baking dish and a toaster oven! And we had guests…Nemi & Mary (the American Missionary Interns) joined us! 

  
– Tomorrow the boys and I venture 3 hours south to join Jeremy and the rest of the Open Arms team at our second campus in Camalu. We dedicate the facility Saturday with the OA staff and family, community, guests and future OA kiddos! This is a huge testament to God working in His people to provide, build and serve here in Mexico!

  
– Our days have a rhythm we have drifted into. It’s definitely a different kind of life. Simple & lovely despite the hardships and poverty. One of the moms tried to take her life last week with her children at home. I got the job of picking them up to bring them to that care while she recovered physically and mentally. Their resilience astonishes me. They smile, laugh and go on. One of the girls told me she prayed with her mom and told her God will help her. I almost asked if she would pray for me: her faith was a light! 
– One of the boys in the daycare is harassing my boys. They have been turning the other cheek and trying to be sensitive to him acting out, but they are almost fed up. Pray for the little boy: his home life is so bad it shows through his relationships and aggression. Pray for my boys that Gods love would be bigger than their natural reactions.
– We have done everything from construction, office work, working with groups and taking trash to the dump to cleaning the dorms, painting and electrical work! And sometimes we hold sweet little babies!!!

  
Thank you for your prayers! With God they get us through the trying moments and days. 
Our Hope Is In Him!

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!!!

  

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.