Saturday, September 19, 2009

Catching up!

Today has been a wonderful day of solitude. Living in a community like this, without a car, means that people are constantly around. Typically this is perfect for my extroverted personality, but lately I have been craving time alone and today I found it. I am very thankful for it as well, since this week is sure to be a busy one! The home office staff is coming down for a staff retreat, which means a week packed full of activities and training. It also means that the Guckenbergers are back, adding 3 more kids to my class. I am so excited to have them here! However, over the past two weeks I have grow very comfortable teaching my 2 grades, so I am a little nervous about adding another grade to the mix. I would really appreciate your prayers this week as I attempt to teach all three grades for the first time.

Speaking of school, here are a few pictures of my first couple weeks!

Here I am with my kids on the first day of school!

The whole school!

On the first day of school we all worked together to come up with our Classroom Covenant.

This Wednesday was Mexican Independce Day! The night before, at 11:00pm, Mexicans come together to reenact the speech that was given to declare independence from Spain. The governor comes out and addresses the people and everyone yells "Viva Mexico"and there is a celebration with fireworks! It is called "El Grito", which means "the shout". In honor of this, there were many festivities!

We had our own celebration at SMCA...

I did el grito speech for the kids at SMCA... I didn't know all the words, but at least we got the "Viva Mexico" part right!

After the speech we had a march around the property. We blew whistles and shouted "Viva Mexico"!

We also celebrated with the precious kids at Casa Hogar Douglas. This is the first Casa Hogar (children's home) that Back 2 Back started working with and it is right up the road from our property.

All the kids dressed up and Ruby and I painted faces!

Later that night, we went to El Centro in downtown Monterrey for the real event!

The city was filled with people, vendors and music! After we did the shout and sang the national anthem, there was a great fireworks show!

Well that is a little bit of what I have been up to over the past two weeks. Time is flying by and I thankful for days like today when I can rest and be reminded of how precious each day is! Every morning I begin the school day by doing devotions and prayer with my kids. I love this time of sharing the things that we praise the Lord for. It is so refreshing to start each day with thanksgiving to our God!

I praise the Lord for the mountains and his promise that they can be moved with the faith of a mustard seed.
I praise him for the rain that fills up our wells and brings cooler temperatures.
I praise him for the time that I got to spend with my dad when he was here last week.
I praise him for the technology that allows me to stay connected with those that I love.
I praise him for the way that he is breaking my heart for the orphan child and those who have never had the opportunity to hear the Word of God.
I praise him for the moments of loniless that cause me to seek him with more fervor.
I praise him for today, another day that I get to be alive and serve my Maker.

What do you praise the Lord for today?



Sunday, September 6, 2009

Much to Learn

So I came here to teach, but so far all I have been doing is learning! I am learning about Mexican culture, speaking in Spanish, setting up a classroom, preparing for the first day of school, and even how to change a flat tire! Let me show you...

Here I am with Hope and Ruby, the other 2 SMCA teachers. My first weekend here we went to a traditional Mexican Charreada. This is the highest form of Mexican horsemanship based on a mixture of Spanish and Native traditions (thank you Wikipedia). The people riding the horses had on traditional Spanish outfits and did a variety of skills on the horses. It was such a fun day and I
feel like a got a good taste of true Mexican culture.
Here is a mariachi playing along with the various events that are taking place. I loved it!!

This the arena where all the events took place. Look at the mountains in the back ground! Monterrey is truly such a marvelous city because of the mountains!

Another thing that I learned was that Mexico has a rainy season. And it is right now! All week it has been raining and it doesn't look like it will clear anytime soon. This makes doing laundry a little difficult because my washer and dryer are outside behind my apartment! But don't worry, the mountains even look beautiful in the cloudy weather. The picture shown above is the view right outside my front door!

In my last blog I promised some pictures of my classroom, so here you go! On the left is my classroom!! Updates have been made since this picture was taken, but this will give you a pretty good idea of where I will be spending most of my time this year. You may notice that there are only 4 desks... that is because I am starting the year off with 4 kids! The Guckenbergers are working in the home office for the first few months for school, so my numbers dropped from 7 to 4. So tomorrow I will be starting the school year with three 4th graders (Chloe, Corinna and Luke) and one 7th grader (Ben). I know that it is only 4 kids, but I am so thankful that I get to start off only teaching two grades instead of all of them. God is so gracious to me!

Not only have I been busy in the classroom, but I have been busy learning some valuable life skills! Today Checke taught Hope and I how to change a tire! Next on the list is how to change my oil and how to drive a stick shift! Also, next week I start taking Spanish lessons from Priscilla Garcia.

So this is a little bit about what I have been up to over the past week. School starts tomorrow and I am so excited! Please pray that God will give me the wisdom and guidance to teach these precious children in a way that brings glory to Him!

Something I read the other night really stuck out to me and I wanted to share it with you. The book said, "God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time... God is awfully good at getting us where he wants us to go. But here's the catch: The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time." Later it goes on to say, "God is in the resume building business. He is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities. But those God-given opportunities often come disguised as man eating lions. And how we react when we encounter those lions will determine our destiny. We can cower in fear and run away from our greatest challenges. Or we can chase our God-ordained destiny by seizing the God-ordained opportunity." (In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day,by Mark Batterson)

This made me think about all the ways that God used my past to prepare me for where I am today. And it made me wonder how he will use today to prepare me for what is yet to come. It is cool to think that all of the things I am learning about God, myself and life in a foreign country could be preparing me for something down the road. God sees the big picture and I am so excited for the day when I will get to Heaven and be able to fully see how all the pieces fit together!

Joyful Blessings,


Thursday, September 3, 2009


After all the months of planning and preparation it feels so good to be here! Part of me still can't believe that I actually live here! God has been so faithful to me since I have been here and I feel overwhelmed by his goodness and provision in my life. We serve such a mighty God and I am humbled by the thought that HE chose me. God, The Holy Creator of life, chose me, loves me and has a plan for me! Wow! My mind cannot grasp the fullness of this love, but the more I seek Him and the more I learn about Him, the easier it is to trust in His goodness. Through the moments of loneliness and homesickness, I feel Him pursuing my heart and filling me with a constant peace. I know that I am right where He wants me to be right now. Throughout the crazy moments and the times of quite, I can almost hear him whispering, "Draw near to me my precious daughter and I will sustain you."

School starts on Monday and I am still trying to get used to the fact that I am a real teacher! This is what I have wanted to do since I was a little girl and I feel so blessed to be able to do something that God has given me such a passion for. As I have been setting up my classroom I have spent a lot of time in prayer for all of you who support me so faithfully through prayer, money, friendship and encouragement. I would not be here without each of you and the way that God has used you in my life! One afternoon as I was praying my mind drifted to missionaries all over the world and the incredible systems of support that God has raised up for each of them and he has been doing this since the first missionaries! That got me thinking about Paul and I was reminded of a passage that he wrote to his brothers and sisters in the church at Philippi. This is a passage that I have read many times now and it is my daily prayer for you. Paul wrote:

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains (Jessica adds: praise the Lord that I am not in chains!) or defending the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, fulled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God!"

I truly cannot thank you enough for the part that you have played in the work that God has called me to this year!

So much has been happening since I have been here and I cannot wait to share it all with you, but tonight I just wanted to let everyone know that I am safe and in the good hands of our Father. Oh, and I have only had one scorpion in my apartment!

I hope to post pictures of my classroom and apartment tomorrow! But until then, I pray your day is filled with the joy of the Lord that is not based on circumstance.

In Love,