Hello again family and friends! We are so happy to write this update, as Lisa is in her 2nd trimester feeling better than ever! And Brandon is feeling his normal self again after 2.5 years! Many things have happened here in Mexico thanks to your prayer support and monetary support. Here are just a few things since our last update:
We were able to take out a couple of girls one on one...well one on two with Brandon and I able to disciple and just be listening ears. One of those times we were able
To be a final link in a long chain of believers to bring an 11 year old girl to accept Jesus into her life!
The kids from house three came over for help making a gingerbread house. That was a very fun team building time with them.
We were able to use our vehicle to help take the entire orphanage up to ensenada for a day at the trampoline place and a movie for Christmas. It was super fun and a great memory making time.
We helped with a dramatization/musical of the Christmas story with Lisa as a singer and Brandon on lighting crew. During this play "Noche En Belen" many people were bussed to the mission to spend a night in the streets of Bethlehem ending with a message of hope and salvation. In two nights we ministered to thousands of people from all surrounding communities! It was an absolute blessing.
Brandon and I got to give flowers as would a mother or father to a couple of girls after their Christmas ballet performance and were tickled pink to see all they had accomplished in ballet.
I Lisa was blessed to take part in directing my students in a whole school cantata for Christmas as well as choreographing a song.
We were blessed as a Christmas gift to fly home and visit family for the holiday. It was much needed rejuvenation and connection.
When we returned to Mexico we had a second Christmas with small gifts for house three girls and also the four kids from the orphanage. The four stayed the night on New Year's Eve and awoke to a pancake breakfast and little simple Christmas gifts. It was an absolute blast.
Lastly we celebrated Dulce's (the oldest of the four) 14th birthday with brownies, homemade ice cream and a piñata oh and lots of love.
We thank the Lord for his provision and timing in every moment. I know some may be wondering about what our next step is with the baby on the way and how that will affect our role in Mexico...we have spent hours in prayer and feel the Lord leading us home for at least the first year of our baby's life. We are planning on returning to the US in May (due date June 14th) and staying there for at least a year. Our time here at the mission is NEVER done as we will always return even if it is one week a year, this will always be our second home. Brandon and I truly thought we would be here in Mexico forever and even when we got pregnant we were thinking we would have a Mexican baby 🙂 give birth here and stay here but God of course has the perfect plan and so while our hearts are torn and sad in one way, we will look forward to what he has for us this next year and enjoy the support of family and friends.
* Please pray for financial provision as our financial donors have dropped some. (It's amazing however how God provides in unexpected ways and we have never ever been left wanting)
* A healthy pregnancy
* For Miguel (11yrs) for confidence in himself and who he is. Pray against the spirit of self condemnation.
* For a strong longing to give all we have and not live in the future but continue living in the present.
We cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers and support!!!
Morning sickness, food cravings and fatigue. What is going on!? You guessed it! After 6 years of waiting, God in His timing has blessed us with becoming a family of 3! Timing couldn't have been more perfect. Just when God put the finishing touches on Brandon's healing from Lyme his energy began to abound while Lisa's began to be directed toward the growth of Gods child He has entrusted to us. In Gods perfect timing Lisa now spends much of her time as Brandon once did; laying down lacking energy and filled with countless other symptoms. Once the healing took place, a fathers heart bursting with love broke out of Brandon like a prisoner set free. Little did we know that this fatherly heart would be used more than just ministering to the kids here. Lisa is now in her second trimester and we continue to follow up with our midwife appointment in anticipation to meet this blessed child face to face in just a few more months. Our tentative plan Lord willing is to give birth in Redding. Our visa situation has been temporarily resolved with a 6 month visitors visa. Thank you for praying.
Though our opportunity to disciple has slowed per the new pregnancy, it still continues through our teaching in the school and taking kids out to spend quality time. Lisa has really blossomed in her teaching English skills thanks to all you who gave advice! Her English class has been able to identify who they are in God's image, and how he has made them unique and special. Brandon is still teaching PE with joy and a ton of silly energy and laughter and just finished a unit on team work.
While we were able to visit family and get refreshed at our home church over thanksgiving, we made it back in time to take "the family of four" out for visitation Sunday. This is the 4th time we have been able to do that, and the outcome is encouraging. The 11 year old boy from that family has done so much better in school and has absolutely taken on much more confidence in himself and respect for authority. Praise God! The house mom of the oldest girl, took us aside and encouraged us, saying that she has really come out of her shell, shows much more initiative and confidence in socializing, and overall seems more joyful. She jokingly has begun to call us "Mama Lisa" and "Papa Brandon". It's very endearing.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support.
"This year will be a year of healing." -God's words to Brandon before coming
Before we got to Mexico, not only did God speak directly to Brandon, but also through other believers. He spoke a prophecy over Brandon that this year would be a year of healing.
As many of you know Brandon's battle with Lyme disease seems to linger… But just this month Brandon was awoken from a dream that urged him to pray for spiritual healing in a very specific way.
After 2 hours of intense prayer, Brandon's countenance changed and we were sure that healing had taken place. A healing that has been long-awaited. No all symptoms are not completely gone, there is a freedom and liberty, energy and joy that once was lost but now is found! This has been evidenced through his returned and renewed passion for teaching PE, and the hours of time spent playing with kids, without exhaustion, or pain.
A FUN BIRTHDAY WITH THE FANTASTIC FOUR:
Thanks to God we had an opportunity to celebrate the young man's birthday from the family of four that we have been connecting with here at the Mission. To celebrate we took a trip to Ensenada to a trampoline place where we had an amazing time jumping bouncing and playing with all four kids. The family made it beautiful memories together and connected in amazing ways. We also took them to a natural wonder called La Bufadora. As each wave crashes against the rock it sends water shooting hundreds of feet high in a spectacular show of Gods mighty wonder and creativity. It was very exciting to see the excitement of awe on each of their faces.
ASKING FOR ANGIE'S HAND IN MARRIAGE:
We received another visit from our daughter, grandson, and future son-in-law. During this visit our future son-in-law asked for Brandon's blessing to take Angie's hand in marriage. Although not blood related, both God and Angie have allowed us to have such a position of honor in her life as parents and we are so blessed to continue in this manner. So after a couple hours of questions and conversation, Brandon gave our blessing. We are looking forward to wedding bells.
Love is Life! What a crazy month we have had. This month the Lord brought us together through trial after trial. Through it all, God showed himself faithful. When we felt down and out, used and abused, exhausted by the attacks, God always offered an opportunity to love others. The few times we took these opportunities in the midst of the storm, we would be renewed with life, energy, joy and connection with each other and God.
This month we received news that the cancer has spread in my moms bones leading to painful fractures in the spine and ribs. As the thoughts of regret for coming here and not being able to be there for her, ran through my head, along with worry for what may happen, how much pain she is in, and many many more worries....God planted the idea in my head to surprise the house three girls that very night by picking them up after church and taking them to town for ice cream. So we all went for ice cream and came back and worshiped together in our living room and just talked and laughed. At the end of the night, worry had fled and joy and peace soaked every joint, muscle, bone, cell and blood vessel in my body. Love is Life.
Brandon had a week where he had a flair up with Lyme Disease and could not get out of bed to teach. The administrator here immediately offered to step in and teach for Brandon. This simple action of understanding and servanthood, gave us such peace and joy. During this week when I Lisa was responsible to not only teach all day but also take care of all household chores including laundry (with no dryer only clothes lines), God invited me to make up and teach a dance to some girls from the mission. Of course at first I was resistant, telling God I had no time for that, when I finally did teach them, I felt more peace and could finish all tasks with joy and diligence. Love is Life.
Towards the end of the week of Brandon's flair up, we got a surprise visit from our daughter and grandson and her fiancé. We had a great time recalling memories of the last time we were living here with Angie. And by the end of their stay, Brandon had regained his energy and was feeling better to the point where he could teach again! Love is Life!
Brandon and I had fun going on a field trip to the tide pools with our students, where they showed so much excitement for all their discoveries. We were more energized when we got back than when we left! Love is Life.
Finally to finish our month, we cooked a special breakfast for house three where we taught the girls how to cook. We felt like a family working together.
We also were able to take out our family of four for visitation Sunday and played uno, shared a meal, colored, talked about life, encouraged and worked together as a team to solve puzzles. In the end they were sad that they had to return only because they wanted to spend more time together. After a long long month, we have been filled with their joy, and know what it means to live. Love is Life!
Peace, joy, and energy found in the heart of serving, is this week's theme. Many of you may know that The last time that Brandon and I were serving here at the mission, we became burned out very easily. This week has proven that that is no longer an issue. God has showed us his heart in us being here, and that is an endless outpouring of his love on those around us and from those around us.
This week, not only did we rearrange Brandon's office to make it more inviting, get my classroom ready for tomorrow, and attend the grand opening of conexiones a new coffee shop on the mission with the goal of strengthening relationships, we also filled our evenings with kids, and a basketball team.
Brandon was honored when the basketball team leader presented him with 2nd and 3rd place trophies the team had won "while wearing the jerseys" he brought down. They wanted to say thank you and that was such an honor.
We also had some girls over to teach them how to play spades, and we laughed so hard we were crying! It was such a fun bonding time and we absolutely loved it! Never once did we feel overwhelmed.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of this week was visitation Sunday. Visitation Sunday is the one day out of the month that the social services of Mexico allows the family of the children to come visit them for five hours. Very few of the children here at the orphanage actually get a visit from family. That in and of itself turns visitation Sunday into a pretty dreary day that most children do not look forward to. But on the contrary, the staff is also allowed to visit whichever children they desire. Therefore Brandon and I chose a family of four to take out. We were encouraged to take an entire family of siblings, so that it would feel more like a family, and so that they could continue to build the relationships as brothers and sisters. We were so tickled to be able to spend time with Dulce (13), Miguel(10), Leslie (9) and Perla (3). We took them to pizza, then to adventures at the beach where we looked for fun and interesting discoveries, and finally to ice cream in the park. It was beautiful to see them together as a family, playing and laughing making memories. It was hard for them to say goodbye but we are looking forward to the next outing with them!
Thank you for your continued support! We need it!
With God, it is all about relationships, relationships are the chords that connect one heart to another, and create a web of unconditional love. Walking side by side allows hearts to open and lives to be changed. Laughing and playing bring unity and a stronger web.
This past week was super fun and full of relationships! Brandon and I were asked to chaperone a "family camp" for the orphanage where all the kids and their house parents went. There were crazy games besides the swimming pools,like who-can-drag-the-oily-watermelon-to-their-corner-of-the-soapy-watery-tarp?, some kids only cared to eat the watermelon... and eating a donut without hands from a string....and an amazing race type scavenger hunt....there was also devotional time, amazing one on one times with the kids sharing their heart, and a fire where we roasted marshmallows ... well here they burn them but it's one in the same 😉 they also have strawberry, chocolate and vanilla marshmallows only...when all is said and done it was beautiful to see families working together (brothers and sisters were put on the same team with each other) and relationships being strengthened.
After that camp, our administrator gifted all the staff and their families to a day at the pools
We also had an opportunity to house sit for house three and boy did we party! We had fun playing dance dance, and I Lisa got to play cards with one of the girls that was too afraid to try dance dance, but loved the one on one time.
Challenge this week:
It was a bit challenging this week seeing many families together and not having my family with me. While I wasn't there to see my niece and nephew go to their first day of school, or to sip coffee and do a devo at Starbucks with my mom, or sit and talk politics with my dad, or be there to help my sister take care of my new nephew, God reminded me that instead of focusing on what I'm missing out on, to shift my focus and attention to where God has me and what calling he has for me here: To be disciples that make disciples.
We are called to love and he has given me so much love, I am now focusing on sharing the love He has gifted me with those who need it most, widows and orphans.
Sorry this is late! Internet wasn't working for a while...this was written Sunday 8/14/17:
God is good providing in his own way and his own time! This is the theme of week two.
This week Brandon and I had some stressful moments discussing taxes with regard to the monthly donations. You see we haven't really planned for taxes when we made our budget. We were told that in the end we would most likely need to be paying 22% back to the government. As you can imagine this put a very big damper on our finances. But we know that God provides in mysterious ways. We didn't know what else to do but call on our pastor for guidance. At the same time that Brandon was calling, I happened to walk by the chess club for the kids, and took an interest, later to find out that the leader of that club is a tax consultant for the US and specifically California!!! A missionary like us, he insisted on helping and told us not to worry a bit, he would help us save money on taxes simply by knowing the laws! God is good.
Another huge event that occurred was the following: Friday we found out that one of our really good friends here in Mexico experienced a head trauma about a year ago. Well he shared with us how his symptoms are similar to what Brandon's used to be, not exactly but similar. He also shared that he feels like he is getting worse every month. Well Brandon has shared with me (long before this) that "cranial-sacral osteopathy" is what he wants to specialize in. That is basically treating the bones of the skull to allow for the cerebrospinal fluid to flow properly and completely to bring healing that needs to be had. Well our friend has had MRIs and CAT scans that all came back normal. Brandon brought him into the office and assessed his skull and found that one side was way too low down as if it was shoved down and never went back. Our friend was so happy to find out he wasn't going crazy. And Brandon went to studying like crazy how he could best treat Al so that healing can take place and he can get his life back. Praise God!! Please be praying for this time, and this challenge, and that God will do the healing.
Lastly I (Lisa) successfully test built an edible eye just a sneak peak of projects to come for my students, Brandon was able to help a woman who HAD knee pain, were able to FaceTime family, see new pictures of our new nephew, spend time with a boy from casa 7 through a puzzle, and clean the dirt we have blowing in our windows and landing on our floors every day 🙂
Theme: God provides through our giving!
1. I am looking for a projector for my classroom if anyone has one they don't use, let me know and my mom can bring it down in September.
2. Healing for Al
3. God will give us the wisdom for teaching these kiddos
4. Our abilities to disciple the amazing children here
5. Grace on the jeep project that Brandon is doing to disciple the older boys which isn't going the way he planned due to different mindsets.
6. That all with the taxes will go well.
Hello family and friends! Well, week one is down, many more to go… Brandon and I have just settled into our new home. We are still somewhat tired from the long journey, the unpacking, and getting back into the groove of the mission's schedule. It has been an exciting week, full of ministry and fellowship. We were so blessed to have kids that wanted to help us unpack the trailer. We were completely surprised and absolutely grateful for the fact that they gave us a newly built two bedroom apartment. Brandon was very excited to use the extra room as his study/osteopathic treatment office. He got right to work treating our mission pastor and his wife successfully.
I (Lisa) got right to work decorating my classroom and getting all the furniture that I needed arranged right where I like it. I also spent some time lesson planning for the first couple of weeks of school which starts at the end of August. While I am not sure exactly how to best teach English to these beautiful children of God, I have been praying that God will give me guidance, wisdom, and all the words necessary to make it fun, exciting, and effective. I will admit that at times I worry about being able to teach the children well, but the Lord is speaking to me again and again to not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself. He also reminds me to worry about nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let my requests be made known to the Lord and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding and will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
To finish off our first week here, we were summoned to be substitute house parents for the older boys house for 48 hours dun dun dun (dramatic music). While at first we were apprehensive, it ended up being an absolutely amazing time with the boys. Brandon was able to relate to them, and be a set of listening ears without judgment. He had a couple of very deep conversations discipling the young men. In the midst of the conversations about relationships, girls, and life choices, They would often ask Brandon not only for advice, but also about his personal life experiences. It was in these times that he was able to speak biblical truth, and what he was able to learn from his personal mistakes. Over all we felt very blessed to be able to take part in the boys lives in that way. We felt honored that the boys saw us in a position of respect, discipleship and mentorship.
During the time that we were in Casa 7 (The older boys house) we received a visit from one of the former House seven house fathers. I am certain that God spoke through him to us, as he encouraged us to make disciples of the children there. He spoke over our lives declaring that God's calling on our life was to minister to the children in the orphanage. He specifically reminded us that just as God calls us friends, We should also be friends to the children there, Showing them the unconditional love of God. When I told him my fear of not being able to go deep because of the language barrier, he rebuked that lie and told me that God would give me the words when it was time. Brandon and I were very encouraged after that conversation.
And last but definitely not least, we finished off the week by making a trip to Ensenada to see our daughter and our grandbaby. Angie (the beautiful girl we call our daughter) and her adorable son Brandon (whom we call our grandson, named after Brandon) are doing so well. Her boyfriend Erick and his family are not only taking great care of them, Erick is also on fire for God. He was recently baptized in the Holy Spirit for the first time, and has Heard God's call in his life, to be a minister of the gospel. He specifically has a passion to work with young adults in many different places. Brandonito (our "grandson") is growing up big strong and healthy. At almost 8 months of age, Brandon smiles almost all the time, loves kicking his feet, and giving huge cuddle hugs. Angie is adoring motherhood, knowing that that is her highest call in life.
That is all for this week! Until next time, we will encourage you with the theme of the mission that we're staying at: "Let's go be disciples that make disciples!"
Photos: church, our apartment, beach time (10 min away), Brandon giving basketball jerseys to a team that has been praying for Jerseys!(he is also helping as a coach), my classroom, our apartment, house seven boys, going to church with Angie and the family!
Day 3 was by far our most productive day! Not only did we feel like we received the WHOLE scope and sequence of how the program works and how amazing it is for children, but we also accomplished the most today! We recited our memory verse forward and BACKWARDS....literally!! We wrote a couple of one-page essays, completed the last two packets and took and aced 4 tests! We literally received gold stars :) The picture we took today shows how pooped we are. A job well done is tiring! Thank the Lord for his strength! Tomorrow we graduate!! Here's to the end of an excellent training week!! We cannot wait to get to the mission and be a part of training our future generations!