Musings from Mexico

Sitting in a restaurant yesterday, as our meals were being served, it sunk in. I’m in Mexico! And have been since Sunday, but at that random moment in a restaurant which could just has easily have been not far from home in a town like Forster (but for all the ‘espanol) I realised that the months of dreaming and planning were now reality.

We’re in Mexico to visit and catch the vision of RenovArte Cafe, an outreach ministry to the young Creative Arts students in the uni across the road from the cafe, set up by Phil, a missionary from the organisation I work for, and his wife Sandy. We’re here to experience the Cafe ministry (from witnessing conversations over the gospel with nonbelievers to helping source the ingredients for the offerings on the menu), Mexican culture, and to learn from and listen to Phil and Sandy and hear their heart to make disciples of Jesus among the young people, and some of the challenges and uncertainties that this entails.

RenovArte Cafe

Hopefully one of the outcomes of this trip is that I will be able to share the vision of the cafe with others – inviting support and bringing blessing to Phil and Sandy and the ministry in the long term.  Oh, and Adam thought he might play his first ever live Birds in Branches gig here in the cafe tomorrow night.

Phil and Adam promoting birds in branches gig!

God is good and I am learning much. About Mexican culture, and the realities of cross-cultural ministry, but also about myself. Having little Spanish up our sleeves has felt limiting at times and so it is hard to communicate beyond the things on the surface.

Sometimes our purpose here has felt unclear, as we just sit in the cafe and enjoy delicious Mexican food, and even today as we have felt unwell (just part of the mission experience). I know God’s purposes are so often not obvious at the time. So I must cling to Him and trust that He will achieve His purposes in and through me, and us, even if we feel limited now.

As I wrestled over the first few days with feeling unprepared, quiet and unsure of what I could offer, my reading for yesterday was from 1 Corinthians about the body of Christ, and how we are all given different gifts or functions. I was deeply affirmed in my Spirit that God wanted me to be me and to offer what only I could bring.

Enjoying one of the many Plazas in Queretaro!

We would value prayer for healing and energy for the remainder of our time here in Mexico and for Adam’s gig tomorrow night.

Muchos gracias!

Pensamiento detrás y mirada adelante (thinking back and looking forward)

one year on…

It’s now over a year since I joined the National Office Team at International Teams Australia, and I am still enjoying being part of what God is doing through his people serving Him throughout the world. What began as an Executive Assistant role has become so much more. As I have been granted new tasks or opportunities to expand my role and stretch me in different ways, I really believe that God has been faithful in increasing my capacity to do these things in His perfect timing.

One of these new opportunities is being Program Champion in Australia for a ministry project in Mexico. This is an answer to my prayers and an opportunity to realise some of the desires of my heart in tangibly helping with God’s work overseas. It’s not what I expected – I really care about issues of justice and so I hoped and thought that I would get involved in something like this. But then God never answers the way we expect and I sensed when my boss invited me to take on this role, that it was a matter of obedience and trust. And I have a great sense of hope and expectation about what lies ahead… and this is just the beginning.

A little insight into RenovArte Cafe, Queretaro, Mexico

I met Phil Jones in July last year while he was on home service leave, with his wife Sandy. From Melbourne, Phil had been in Mexico for a bit over two years then. I had the opportunity to interview him for our newsletter, which was when I learned of his and Sandy’s long-term vision to open a cafe to reach today’s young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples.

After being blessed with receiving the offering taken up at ReachOut Missions Conference last year, the cafe opened in November 2010. I am encouraged and excited by reports of the continuing growth of the ministry and the connections Phil and Sandy have been able to make with young mexican students, who come in daily for a coffee (or a frappe since its pretty hot!) and a chat. The oppression many of these young people face is not so much economic or physical, but often spiritual. Like young people everywhere they are wrestling with big life questions and through the cafe they find out about life with Jesus.

I am going to visit the cafe in a couple of months time – to see it in action over the course of a week, to understand Phil and Sandy’s vision, try out my limited spanish with the students who come in (I’m trying to learn!), and to see, taste, smell and hear all things Mexican – so that I can move forward in sharing the opportunity for individuals and churches to connect and partner with what God is doing through RenovArte. And maybe I’ll get to make a frappe or two, since summer will be in full swing by then…?

Oh and before Mexico, I have been invited to go to a conference of missionaries in Switzerland! What an amazing privilege…but more on that another day. I have to say, the travel is certainly not the reason I made the change from the daily grind of NSW planning law litigation, (that was more of a sense of feeling called and following my heart’s desire), but it is without a doubt a very cool benefit.

So, with these opportunities ahead, I look forward to all God has in store, and I pray that as I learn and face new challenges, my heart for making disciples of all nations grows all the more. For now…

adiós!