Thursday, December 13, 2012

Remembering His Goodness in Mexico

As you are well aware, I went down to southern Mexico for nearly a month this fall. I departed the States on September 19th with plans of photographing a local Pastor's wedding and helping out with any missions work that I could help with. I also ended up helping decorate for the wedding, taking some portraits for another missionary family in the area, teaching some photography classes to my friend Grace, and I went to the rural jungle for two days where I got to take pictures for one of the local missionaries who had installed 30 some cook stoves in local village homes (and he needed pictures to send to the missions organization). When I left the States I honestly imagined I was going to be quite busy, but contrary to my thoughts, my time in Mexico was rather slowed paced and the few events I participated in were sporadic. I went there expecting to bless, but came home blessed instead.

Every morning in Mexico, I would wake up to the sound of the water truck driving by on the cobblestone streets outside, "Agua! ... Agua Fresca!" Without leaving my bed side, I got to spend an hour to an hour and a half in God's Word before breakfast each morning. It was such a blessing not to have rushed quiet time!

There were different days when I shared heart struggles with my friend Grace. Each time she would look me in the eye and say, "Leah, God doesn't need your help." Not only did my friend remind me of the truth that God doesn't need my help to accomplish His will, but she also encouraged me to make certain situations a matter of prayer EVERY DAY. As she shared personal stories & testimonies of God answering prayer in her life, she encouraged, "Leah, give it to God, and He will take care of you. He is a good Father."

One day I was stepping out onto the cobblestone streets in San Cristobal, and one of the missionary wives just blurted out to me, "I used to ask God why I have to be so quiet & shy. My husband is a speaker & preacher. He's outgoing & likes to talk. But then God taught me that being shy is okay because God has brought opportunities for me to minister to the OTHER shy people." She had no idea what an encouragement that was for me to here right at that moment.

On our two day trip into the rural jungle, we had a 3-4 hour drive each way, and during that time, my friends Steven & Grace shared their detailed story of how God brought them together and how the Lord led them to be missionaries in Mexico. Wow, listening to their story encouraged me so much. God worked through so many details and removed obstacles to accomplish His perfect will for them. It encouraged that God is still in the miracle-working business today, and if He can do it for somebody else, He can works wonders on my behalf as well. He is no respecter of persons and nothing is too hard for Him!

Before I knew it, three and half weeks had passed in Mexico, and it was time for me to go back to the States. The night before I left, Pastor Enrique & Maricruz (the couple who's wedding I photographed) came up to my room and gave me some dark roast coffee to take home. As we exchanged goodbyes, I thought I saw their eyes get misty with a tear.. and then it made me want to cry. ;-) "You need to come back! You should come back next summer with a missions team." I said, "Yeah! We'll see what God has in store." They chorused, "No, you NEED to come back." I replied, "Oh, that would be wonderful. If not here, we do know that we'll see each other in glory ... oh that's going to be a wonderful day!" Pastor Enrique then said, "Yes, but we're going to pray we'll see you back here in Mexico first." :-)

The next morning before I left for the airport, all of us (Steven, Grace, Gabby, Mrs. Ozuna, Pastor Enrique and Maricruz) stood in a circle and held hands together as they prayed for my travels home and for God's hand of blessing in my life. My heart was full & blessed. (My eyes were full too - of tears). ;)

As we drove down the winding, twisting mountain roads to the airport, Steven & Grace had one of the Getty's CDs playing in the car. The sun was beginning to rise, and the valley below was covered in a purple, foggy mist. I contemplated the goodness of God over the past month and thanked Him for reminding me once again of who He truly is. 

"May the peace of God, our heav'nly Father, and the grace of Christ, the risen Son, and the fellowship of God the Spirit keep our hearts and minds within His love. And to Him be praise for His glorious reign; From the depths of earth to the heights of heaven, we declare the name of the Lamb once slain— Christ eternal, the King of Kings. May this peace which passes understanding, And this grace which makes us what we are, And this fellowship of His communion, Make us one in spirit and in heart..."


Heather Johnson said...

I read it! Thanks for letting me know that you had posted this. It's nice to see a familiar face when we head south. :)

Samantha R said...

You captured Mexico so well; I love all the photos!