A Tale of Two Cultures

My daughter got married earlier this month.  It was a great weekend full of family, food and fun.  She was the first of our kids to get married, our only daughter, and I was a little surprised at how well I handled it.  In fact, the only moment that caused me some reflection was the next day when I saw that she changed her last name on Facebook.  She now had a new last name.  Not that she wasn’t part of our family anymore, but she had become part of another family as well (as did he with us).  And isn’t that the truth, when you get married you don’t just marry the other person, you marry their family, their history, their upbringing, their culture.  And it is the wise couple that recognizes this sooner rather than later and strives to make the two cultures one. To become a third culture that takes the best of both their backgrounds and makes it uniquely theirs.  That’s probably one of the reasons that I handled giving my daughter away so well.  These kids knew that secret and spent the months leading up to their wedding going through the book, Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts, by Les and Leslie Parrott.  It goes through 7 questions (which lead to many other questions) to ask and discuss with each other before you get married (or even after).  The idea is to take away the assumptions you might have about the other person and just find out the truth.  Because you come from two different families, two different worlds and it would be naive to assume you held the same views on everything. 

My daughter, and the rest of the family, first experienced this in Mexico.  We lived in Monterrey, Mexico for 4 years serving through TIME Ministries.  Even more so than two families, two countries are very different.  Some people might think that deep down, everyone is the same.  That’s true in the fact that deep down, everyone needs Jesus and different cultures share the same spread of personalty types.  But core beliefs, values and behaviors can differ.  Not all, but enough to make it confusing.  The rule of thumb for a missionary is that it takes three years living in a culture to realize that you know nothing of that culture.  Then you can start to learn.  It doesn’t make that much of a difference if you’re on a short term mission trip, you just get to enjoy the people and the culture.  But when you live there year round, you notice things.  Not always obvious, but it causes a prickling in the back of your mind that can grow into stress if you are not aware.  Your best strategy is to not assume you know what’s right, but ask questions and seek the truth of the matter.  Through communication we can come to understand each other.  Kids seem to be very good at blending the two cultures.  Missionary kids used to be called MKs, now they are referred to as TCKs (Third Culture Kids) because they successfully blend the two cultures into their own and basically make a third culture.

We can also see this phenomenon in the church.  Whether it’s a group of missionaries serving together on the field or your local church ministering in your home town.  The church is made up of different people with different personalities, gifts, talents, visions, etc.   We all serve the same God, but we are not all there to do the same thing, in the same way.  That’s why the Bible compares the church to a body throughout the new testament.  

I Corinthians 12

Romans 12

Ephesians 4

The problems start when we forget this.  We are not there to compete with each other, or even to compare ourselves with others.  We are to compliment each other.  And I don’t mean saying nice things to each other (though that’s still a good thing) but working together, doing our ‘thing’ in harmony and conjunction with others.  A blending of our skills and talents to grow the church.

The only place where this blending idea does not work is in our personal walk with Christ.  When we place our faith in Jesus and believe that He saved us on the cross, we are changed.  We move our citizenship from the world to heaven.

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

We move from the culture of the world to the culture of heaven.   But there is no blending of the cultures here.  There is no dual citizenship when it comes to God’s kingdom. It’s more of a duel citizenship as we strive to leave the one and become the other

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

to the point of putting it to death and becoming, not a blend of the two, but a whole new creation

II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

And we will spend the rest of our earthly lives learning how to live in this new culture of heaven, speak this new language of love, associate with our fellow heavenly citizens who are sojourning with us in this strange land as we await the day we can go home.

And perhaps that is the real reason for the lack of qualms at my daughters marriage.  Yes, they are well on their way to blending their families’ cultures into their own.  They are blending their gifts and talents to be a force for the church.  But they also both made the decision to renounce their citizenship of this world and become solely citizens of heaven.  It’s a firm foundation on which to build not only the church, but a marriage as well.

Rick Jacobsen is the Vice President of Leadership Development with TIME Ministries.  He and his wife were Site Director and Site Administrator (respectively) in Monterrey Mexico and lived there with their two children for 4 years.

La ciudad de las montañas


Haley is a summer intern with us at our site in Monterrey, Mexico.  This is her description of her first week of her short term mission adventure with TIME.  Thanks to all our interns for serving the Lord with gladness as we seek to strengthen and increase His Kingdom.


English speakers, don’t worry! I promise that the only thing in this blog post written in Spanish is the title and the names of the places we went.

I truly cannot believe that I have already been here for a week. It seems like time is flying by and God is doing so much so quickly. This week I had the opportunity to be involved in some really cool things and experience some really awesome places.

On Wednesday night I went with Sam, Jess, and Kike to help with their church’s shower truck ministry, Regarderas de agua viva (Showers of living water). This outreach allows homeless men and women in Monterrey shower, get clean clothes, haircuts, and food. I witnessed over 180 plates of food be given away, 40 people given the opportunity to shower, 27 haircuts be given, and the gospel be shared to hundreds of people. Although I was exhausted from traveling and still getting used to the time change, I was blessed beyond measure to meet some of the men and women from Nuevo Pacto (Sam and Jess’ church) with hearts bigger than you can imagine.

On Friday night Sam, Kike and I were given the opportunity to attend and present at a ministry expo for a youth group at Kike’s friend’s church. We were able to share in worship with young men and women from the community, and we shared the vision and mission of TIME with dozens of youth who were so joyful and on fire for the Lord.

Saturday was a really fun day and Sam, Jess, Kike, Grace, Mia, and I went to Parque Fundidora. When I say this park is HUGE, I mean it is ginormous. We only walked some of it, but it was fascinating to see the former steel foundry and experience the incredible scenery with wonderful friends. I was able to learn more about the culture that I am living in for the next seven weeks which helped me better understand and appreciate what God is doing here.

On Sunday I attended Nuevo Pacto with Sam, Jess, Kike, and the girls. They translated the service into English for myself and the various other groups visiting and working with other ministries. The pastor gave a beautiful sermon about fathers, but He also took the time to give a call to the Church (yes, capital “C” Church). He encouraged us to do our part in influencing and shaping the next generation. He talked about how God is chasing us and He is working in us to affect our communities.

It was so powerful to hear men, women, and children worship God in their native tongue. I did my best to sing along with them during the music portion of the service, but for some I was able to just be silent and listen to others connect to their God. I was awestruck to witness people worship the King in such a unique way.

On Monday, I went to the junior high school with Sam and Kike and invited students to our English summer camp that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I was blown away by the kids and their eagerness to learn. I invited them in English and they translated it to Spanish for me! As a TESOL minor, this experience in particular was a gentle nudge from God that what I am doing in Mexico matters to these people and to me.

Yesterday Sam, Jess, Kike, Mia, and I went to a mercadito, a flea market. I was able to witness another aspect of culture and learn more about the popularity of such markets in Monterrey. After we came back and had lunch (Chinese food!), Kike and I went to the TIME center where Arturo met us to help continue working to clean and prepare for the group’s arrival in a couple weeks.

In the evening we had about eight people from the church come over for cell group. We spent time in the Word discussing Jesus’ encounters with people. This week we focused on Nicodemus and the idea of being born again. After the Bible study we shared a meal together and enjoyed one another’s company.

I thank you all for your prayers and continued support and I continue to follow God’s nudging in my work down here! I miss my family and friends dearly, but (as you can see from the picture) this city is beautiful! Hence why it’s know as the city of the the mountains.



Prayer Requests:

  • That I continue through the next seven weeks in prayerful recognition of God’s presence and His purpose for me
  • Energy and strength for myself and the rest of the team through the heat and the business of the next couple of weeks
  • Peace and patience in the struggles of the language barrier
  • Health for the team as some of us have been feeling a little less the great


God Is In Control!

It is hard to believe that I came to the Dominican Republic as a Missionary Intern SEVEN months ago! The year has been flying! Since the summer ended I have been busy. I started teaching English in a local private school and it has been a challenge. So many say that the classes in the USA are difficult but here I feel it is even worse. I have walked out of class completely discouraged and not knowing if I want to continue. Only to receive encouragement and prayers from so many! Teaching English is more difficult than I ever expected!! But the joys come from seeing the children outside of class and them running up to me yelling “TEACHER!” and I receive group hugs and smiles. It makes the difficult days’ worth it! I am still learning how to teach them, and I must be extremely firm with one of my classes. One of the classes I didn’t think was understanding anything and I was discouraged. I didn’t know how to get down to their level.

However, there is this one boy, Oscar, who has showed me that they are learning! One day I asked them if anyone in the class could sing the ABC’s song that I had taught them. Oscar raised his hand and proudly sang the song. His pronunciation of the letters was clear, and he didn’t miss a single letter! Even his teacher said WOW! I was so excited that day! Because it was kind of like God was saying to me, “I have you! They are learning!” God is so good! The school didn’t have the resources to purchase English Books. And with your help He has provided books for all these children, and they were so excited to receive them! I even heard the words, “We get a book??” from many of them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible!

God has been teaching me so much while I have been here. Some days He sends others to speak into my life, some days it is through His Word, and some days it is BOTH. You know that when God hits you across the head multiple ways that you really need to sit up and listen! One thing that He has been teaching me is to truly depend on Him. I won’t lie, this has me nervous at times. I sit here and look at my finances and don’t know how I am going to make ends meet. But God provides! Please join me in prayers regarding my finances. Currently I am sitting at 70% funded for the year and there are living expenses that must be paid.  I am trusting that God will provide, He has brought me here, so I know that He will provide!

Another thing that He has been teaching me is that it isn’t all about Becca. This I feel is a HUGE lesson to learn. In the States we have come to expect what we want when we want it. We just go do whatever we want to do. But here it’s not always the case. We must put others before ourselves and this can be a hard and difficult thing to do at times. God has really been humbling me in the aspect that I have to depend on others and they can’t always stop what they are doing to help me.

Something else that God has been showing me is that to be a missionary it’s not easy! When I came I am honestly not sure what I thought it would be like. Part of me thought oh it will be easy!! We are doing God’s work. But, I have no idea why I thought this. Because when you are living the way God desires you to there are always road blocks thrown up. Because Satan doesn’t want us to succeed in God’s calling. He will do anything possible to stop the work! I have seen this many time since I have been here. With myself and with others. As missionaries and missionary interns, we don’t always agree with everything that is going on. But the thing that at the end of the day we all remember is GOD IS IN CONTROL! He will guide our footsteps every step of the way. We need to just trust and rely on Him.



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}


Why should I serve in Monterrey, Mexico, with TIME Ministries?


My name is Aaron and I am a youth pastor from the Chicagoland area. I love TIME Ministries. My students love TIME Ministries. Our church loves TIME Ministries. For twenty years now our church has been sending groups to Monterrey with TIME Ministries. From its old location at the Elim church to its new location at the TIME Center in El Alamo, the mission of reaching the lost with the Gospel has remained the same. TIME works tirelessly to see young and old respond to the Gospel and get connected to the local church.

Connecting people to the local church is what I love most about TIME Ministries in Monterrey. Too often we see people come to Christ through the efforts of short-term groups but the organization fails to connect these people to a local church. The staff in Monterrey have connected with a vibrant and growing church called Nuevo Pacto. They are consistently connecting families with this church through their partnership. As a youth pastor I am responsible for leading many trips throughout the year. Partnering with TIME Ministries helps ease the burden of our summer mission trip. With TIME, all I have to do is choose my dates and purchase my airline tickets.

The rest of the logistics are taken care of by the TIME staff on the field in Monterrey. I have lead trips with other organizations which do not make the logistic planning nearly as easy. Since I do not have to take care of any other logistics like transportation, housing, or meals it frees me up to really prepare my students for the ministry we will be part of while on the field. This is a much better use of my time while preparing for the trip. With all of the logistics taken care of for me by the TIME staff, as a trip leader I have plenty of time and space to listen and respond to what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me. I don’t just love TIME Ministries because they are connecting people to the local church or because they take care of all the logistics for me.

I also love TIME Ministries because of what God has done in my life through this organization. I have now been on twelve short-term trips with TIME Ministries in Monterrey. Each time I travel to Monterrey God does a tremendous work in my own life. When I was a junior in high school God used the work in Monterrey to call me to full-time vocational ministry. During our March 2017 trip God had some important lessons to teach me. I had the time and the space to be able to listen.

That specific trip has turned out to be the most influential short-term trip in my life because of the fruit it has produced. If short-term missions is new for you and your church, TIME Ministries is a great place to start. I personally guarantee that you will have a great experience. Not only will God use you to bring about eternal fruit for His Kingdom in others, he will also bring about eternal fruit in your life. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at aaron@growdeepreachwide.org. God bless!



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}


Understanding Grace

My dad was a proud man, not arrogant but never wanting to not seem be in control. When in his mid-70’s, I persuaded him to attended Bible Study Fellowship along with me. As my elderly mother’s caregiver and reluctant to leave her alone, my daughters stepped up to stay with her on his evenings away, effectively eliminating any reason not to attend. To my knowledge this was his first ever organized bible study, other than a mandatory class in college years before.

At BSF, if unable to complete the lesson beforehand you were not allowed to talk within your group. Fearing the guys might know he was new to studying the bible, he worked hard on the lessons, answering every question as best he could. As the oldest guy in the group, he felt he knew the least. I assured him nobody looked at him that way and enjoyed having him there. Still, he was careful with his words and rarely asked questions for fear of looking like the new guy.

One night, several weeks into the study while driving home, Dad asked me; “I keep hearing the word “Grace” used and don’t know what it means.”Wow- what a great question to ask me! I explained it was like having your debts paid by someone else for free- like unearned favor. In my father’s typical fashion, he stated he understood, then changed the topic. Having to ask me in the first place was embarrassing for him but I know he pondered my answer.

The reality that salvation is a gift does not go well with some people, especially if you’ve attempted to earn it all your life. It seems the older we get, the more set in our ways we become. To be told the good works you’ve been piling up over the years won’t count when you stand before the Lord can be a hard pill to swallow, and to learn they are as filthy rags almost insulting. We have the natural desire to earn it ourselves and take credit in doing so. But God’s plan is different than ours- to place our faith in the grace of Christ’s death in our place to be saved.

As a salesman years ago, I met an elderly man at his simple rural home. We sat together at his kitchen table while he told me of his terminal illness, not having long to live. He told me of his life, his work done for God, his church affiliation and being a good person. Laying out his resume for acceptance to heaven, he would trust in his good works. I explained the gospel, that by placing his trust in Christ’s death for his sins and receiving Him as Savior, he could know for certain of his eternity. His reply was sobering but honest- he believed God would be fare and he would accept whatever God gave him. When his widow called to tell me of his death a few months later, I was sad but knew God was fare, but finds no pleasure in the death of a man who has not placed his trust in Christ.

When Christ was crucified, two condemned men hung on either side. While one mocked and cursed Him, the other asked Christ to remember him when He came into to His kingdom. Jesus’ reply was straightforward: “Truly truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”As a convicted man, guilty and accepting of punishment, he acknowledged the innocence of Christ and trusted Him for his salvation. Jesus paid the price for his sins, and the reward of eternal life for believing on Him. That very day the thief saw paradise with Christ.

So, did my dad place his trust in Christ? After 20 years of prayer and sometimes frustration, I had pretty much decided to quit asking and to just give it to God. Then one morning while eating breakfast together at McDonalds, out of the blue dad confesses his understanding of grace, that we are save by unearned favor, and that our works play no part in our salvation. He got it, and in God’s perfect timing.

We are called to tell of Christ’s love to a lost world, while it is the Holy Spirit who changes their hearts. Don’t stop praying for those people in your lives. Pride may get in the way, but the Lord can soften the heart. God is patient, not wishing for any to perish apart from His son. Be patient, God has it handled.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  

Scott Longstreet




{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}


A Leader’s Guide to Missions Trip Prepare the Heart

There always seems to be something else that needs to be worked on to prepare for a mission’s trip.  First and foremost, you must select a place and date, and make sure it coordinates with what everyone else is doing in the church.  And, of course, you need to sign up with the mission organization early to make sure they have that date open.  You need to recruit your group, both leaders and participants.  There are meetings to be had to share what you all will be doing, and how to do it, and to practice and prepare the ministry, and how to fill out the paper work, etc.  There is money to raise and travel plans to make.  And yet, you can do all that, and still have a lack luster mission trip.  Why? Because it doesn’t depend wholly on the leader.  One person can do all the above (though if I may offer an aside; think delegation) but the trip is made up of, and depends on, all the people in your group. The key to a successful short-term mission trip is to not only focus on the practical tasks in preparation, but to prepare the hearts of the people going on the trip.

The preparation of the heart can be done at all stages of planning, it can be formal and informal; It can be individually or as a group.  The how is not as important as the what.  The most successful groups help their people know WHY they are going, WHERE they are going and WHO they are going to see.  You might be saying, ‘Great, we can hit all three of those at our intro meeting’.  But it’s not just knowing in your head but knowing in your heart. It’s not just knowing a fact but understanding all that fact implies.  It’s not just seeing the trip through your eyes but seeing it through God’s eyes.

WHY are you going?  ‘We’re going to share the good news of Jesus Christ’.  Great!  Beyond the fact that it’s the most important news you can share with someone, Why? Don’t you think that there are people in that country that can share that good news, and do it better because they know the language?  ‘But God told us to go and preach the good news and make disciples of all nations.’ Great. Have you shared the good news with your neighbor, or your family or your community?  …Ok, ok, before you stop reading, yes, I know those questions are leading and unfair and probably constitute badgering.  I’m just trying to make a point.  In general, Americans have a high opinion of themselves and the way they do things (our way is best).  We have a bit of a savior complex, as in, we think we need to save the world, which expresses itself in any number of ways in the secular realm.  But this also spills over into the spiritual realm. All I’m saying is, help your group understand that they are not going to save the poor native, they are going to serve alongside their brothers and sisters from another country to try and bring more people into the family.  They are going to share the good news of Jesus Christ as God commands, but they are doing so alongside their family that lives there.  It’s the church helping the church.

WHERE are you going?  ‘The Dominican Republic or Monterrey, Mexico.’  Great!  But what do you really know about these places?  Some people think that deep down, everyone is the same.  That’s true in the fact that deep down, everyone needs Jesus and different cultures share the same spread of personality types. But core beliefs, values and behaviors can differ.  Not all, but enough to make it confusing.  The rule of thumb for a missionary is that it takes three years living in a culture to realize that you know nothing of that culture.  Then you can start to learn.  So, on a short-term mission trip, you are not going to learn everything about that culture.   The good news is, you don’t have to.  Just realizing that it’s different will help.  Just remember: just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong; they aren’t the ones that are different, you are; they don’t speak with an accent, you do. You’re in their country after all. Interesting side note: the one thing that is universal around the world is a smile. Use it extensively.

Who are you going to see? ‘Dominicans and Mexicans.’  Great!  Now look a little deeper.  One of the most poignant stories I ever heard from a missionary was about the time he was driving a group through his city.  They were craning their necks and asking questions about various places and buildings.  At one point someone pointed at group of ladies on the side walk and asked, ‘Are those prostitutes?’  ‘No, they’re people’, came the missionary’s immediate reply.  It wasn’t a sarcastic reply, or condescending. Just a matter of fact answers.  That’s how he saw them.  Not with his eyes, but through God’s eyes.  No labels.  Just people. People who needed Jesus.  Just like us.

Seeing the world through God’s eyes is one of the results of being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  If God is truly in control and he wants us to reach the world for Him, then every encounter with someone is a divine appointment set up from the beginning of time.  He can use every situation for His glory.  The bus/van broke down and we’re all delayed on the side of the road?  You can either feel frustration because things aren’t going according to plan, or excited to see how God is going to turn this around for His glory.  We just need to open our eyes, see the world the way God sees it and react accordingly.

Preparing our heats is making sure our attitudes and motivations are where God wants them to be.  We should have the same attitude as Christ.  Though He had every right, He didn’t play His God card, but took the form of a humble servant to bring the world back to God.

The practical tasks in preparing for a mission’s trip are important, but their purpose is limited for that trip.  The preparation of the heart is invaluable because it’s purpose is for our whole life.



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}



This year has been one of the best years of my life.  I had the opportunity to serve the Lord in our TIME for Sports Ministries Program.  God is giving me strength to do things that I never thought were possible.

At the beginning of May, TIME for Sports conducted a baseball camp for 170 kids.  Being able to share the gospel to these students in one camp was an amazing opportunity.  They were eating together, sharing, playing baseball and doing devotions together throughout the whole camp.  This is something unforgettable and something that makes my heart race for the Lord.  At the end of this camp 117 kids accepted Christ in their hearts.  That was the perfect complement for this camp.  God showed us that we can do all things when we give Him the glory and the honor.

I am now praying for Pastor Alberto Felix and his congregation.  The kids for this baseball camp all live near Pastor Alberto’s church.  It was through this congregation that we partnered with and that they can follow up with these kids and their decision for Christ.  I am praying that they can guide them to the truth and a good life with God.

My life is changing day by day with the TIME for Sports Ministry program.  We started this ministry in a good way, because we are thinking about the life of the people and their salvation.  I know God will guide our life and this program.  The Bible says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

That’s why I love to work with children.  You can see the result in their lives.  Please help by praying for me and for the children as we desire to do more and more and more.
That’s why I ask for prayers also for a new ministry partnership with Ina York and the Cercadillo Project. We want to go to Cercadillo on a more regular basis and teach baseball and share more about Jesus with the children and the community.

Please also pray for the Rivera Family and our next trip to the USA.  We hope to visit various families and churches in the States.  We are praying for around USD$3000 to assist us with our airfare.

Another prayer requests we have is for our future house.  We want to start the foundation of the house.  This is one of our personal dreams to have our own home as a family.

God Bless you and thank you for being a part of our team.





{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}


God Knows!

God Proves himself to us. 

13575905_10208069239987912_1481355585316880438_oI am astounded that God is willing to teach us great and wonderful things about Him. Why does God do this thing called me.  Rick is a complicated and fussing man. God’s oversight of Rick, crazy.  At 58 you would think I could mostly believe what God says. All these years of God proving himself too me and I am still amazed. I think it has a lot to do with my memory. I don’t remember bad things and I must recall the good things that God has provided.  Maybe it’s a gift, my brain and the way it works, I don’t know. I am overwhelmed by God goodness. Take the occasion of Charlotte, my wife. She is a direct upshot of God’s watching over.  I could have never known (in 1984) when I married Char that she would help rid me of my most dangerous enemy. ME!  What a gift! 

God looks over us. 

Screenshot 2018-08-24 09.48.10Take the life of Dorretta Brown, TIME Ministries founder.  Wow!  at 95 she continues to lead and be a big part of TIME’s success. Dorretta leads the entire staff of TIME in prayer. She is completely gospel centered in her life. She understands that prayer is the starting point. She  has complete trust in God to change lives and man, she has seen a bunch people go in and out of her life.  95 years of living on and by faiths supply. No retirement. TIME’s missionary support income and her families help (your support for Dorretta through TIME) is all she has for income. So, she continues to work, Motivated by God, armed with the gospel. 

God’s meaning is not always seen by us. 

I recently viewed a video by one of TIME’s interns explaining why she served as an intern for TIME and what God has taught her this summer.   She quoted 3 John 7. “For they have gone out for the sake of the name”. Even though she had a tough summer and learned that short-term missions is hard, she stilled remember why she came to serve. “For the Sake of the name” I learned from Taylor Gates, God meanings for us and my experiences don’t always make sense. God teaches us that “for the sake of the name” means for the sake of his name.  


God gives us confidence.  

This God given confidence is why I know God will supply TIME’s need for this fiscal year.  As stated in last month’s letter, Dorretta asked each of you who already give so much, to give an extra $15 to the general fund for the next 5 months.  Praise God some of you have responded. THANK YOU. 

Please would the rest of you, continue to pray about giving. 

Would you give to TIME?  Please consider helping TIME with a gift. Our work for the cause of Christ goes on for the rest of 2018 and we need your help to meet budget this year.  Would you pray about sending a gift? 

Please go to www.timeministries.org and donate today. An extra $15 goes along way. 



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}



Life Circles

“and though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him -a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV

Recently, our family had the opportunity to travel to the States. It was a rather quick trip and very quickly planned. We knew that it really needed to be God’s Desire, plan and touch to make this trip work. There was a significant amount of details to work out and just the act of packing for a family of four in a manner of days would be a miracle. There was something inside of us that sensed God working and we kept hearing a small quiet voice say, “Trust!”

It was then, early on a Sunday morning, that we were blessed to board a flight to NYC.  This was the first in our journey, though that quiet voice continued to say “Trust.”  I felt peace as we journeyed to our destination in the West where we were to join friends.  It was there that we were encircled with love, care and friendship.  This friendship was a sweet blessing to me and to our family. We received far more than we could have imagined.

Throughout the trip we were encircled by friends and our children.  I could feel life coming back to my soul. It’s not that the life was gone, though exhaustion had set in. It was through these friendship gatherings and long conversations that our lives became encircled in love and care. The meetings and coffee excursions quenched my soul as I felt so many of our friends spend time pouring into us. I also saw so many others investing into the lives of our children too.

In every location we visited I saw my children encircled by friends and be engulfed with love and care.  Their faces lit up as they played from dawn to dusk.  Time and time again the circle of the trampoline became their meeting place and jump after jump came with more joy than the one before.  One never knows what they may encounter and even more for our children.  The blessings that we experienced filled our souls and our children too.

The true impact became more real as we returned to the field. The joy, love and grace began to overcome me as I realized how impactful this last trip truly was.  I experienced a circle of friends that I may not see every day nor may even talk to them on a regular basis though the life they poured into my family and my soul is incomprehensible.  I have now begun to realize the circle of friends I have been blessed to have around the world.  The power these circles must help us energize and rejuvenate us in ministry is something I haven’t tapped into. This is what I pray I may begin to do.  We all become tired and exhausted with life at times, though it can be through friendship that we can be brought back to life again.  Friends give us another perspective; another outlook on life.  I pray that you also may find these life circles to be re-energized again; to be brought back to life.  May the Lord engulf you in love and friendship where you may have life poured back into you for His joy to fill you.

For those life circles you may have in your life, may we thank our Lord for those who are a well of His loving, living water to us and a refreshing drink to our soul.  I pray that we may be rooted together in His love, grace and care.  Also, that our relationships may grow in the months and years to come. Thank you for the life-giving circles that we currently experience and those in the future that we may be blessed to encounter.



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}



A Morning of Wins and Fails

Yesterday morning Sam, I and the girls as well as some friends of ours from the States and their son were able to share in an English class in the public university here in Monterrey. We’ve taken TIME Ministries groups there in the past and we want to keep active the connection even when we have no college groups. We go to help expose them to native English speakers and allow them to practice listening and speaking. But our goal is that we can keep going, get to know the students and introduce them to a true relationship with Christ. Although this is something we love to share about and hope you will join us in praying for this project that is #morethanmissions and we hope will continue next semester, this blog really isn’t about that ministry.

The connection is that our topic yesterday was on being an expat, what it’s been like to move to another country, learn a new language, and adapt to a new culture. Of how some things that should be not too difficult become much harder than expected but are necessities of living and serving in another country. A section of our presentation was some funny anecdotes of our wins and fails as expat missionaries. Today we experienced a morning full of wins and fails that would have been perfect to share. I hope you can read my attempt at tongue in cheek humor of our rather frustrating morning.

Our children have the blessing of being able to have dual citizenship. The paperwork, lines, and time spent to get those documents is not so much a blessing for their parents. When our youngest (currently 3 months old) was about 5 weeks old we went to the US consulate to apply for her a birth abroad birth certificate that grants her US citizenship and get her US passport. The application includes needing to list all the time we as the parents have spent in the US. Unfortunately, I didn’t know 10 years ago when I moved to Mexico I would need to remember the dates of every quick day trip up to the border. But thankfully this time I didn’t also need to include every date and location that I was outside the US like I did with our oldest daughter. At the consulate, after a relatively short wait we turned in paperwork at one window, paid at another, registered and paid for the messenger service that would deliver her documents at another window, another short wait, a quick interview, another visit to the payment window and the messenger service window, back through security and we were on our way a record hour after arriving. A surprising 10 days later we had her documents, with our oldest the process at the consulate was about 2 and ½ hours and the wait for her documents close to 6 weeks.

I’ll leave out the details of the process of getting the Mexican birth certificate. Something we thankfully could do at the hospital before being discharged but includes needed to have a copy of Sam’s birth certificate that is less than 6 months old. (A common request for documents here although I don’t think I will ever understand why a birth certificate has to be recent. Usually the dates and information surrounding a birth don’t change as time goes by, but maybe I’m wrong. J)

Today was the appointment to get the Mexican passport. The process includes filling out an application online, having the child’s birth certificate, CURP (like a social security number), a recent letter from the pediatrician, and ID from the parents. We had all the documents, had made the payment and were out the door by 7:40am with both little girls (one of who usually doesn’t wake up till 8), made it into the city and arrived 10 minutes early to our appointment thanks to an abnormal experience of flowing morning traffic. Win. After turning in all the documents and required two copies we waited while they confirmed the documents online. There we discovered that although we had the physical official copy of her birth certificate and the paper with her CURP someone hadn’t entered them into an official computer database so they couldn’t verify them and therefore we couldn’t finish the process of her passport. We needed to go to another government building across town and got someone to enter her information into the system. Fail.

So off we go, frustrated mom and dad and thankfully cooperative toddler and infant (win!). By the time we got to the other building the infant was no longer feeling so cooperative but baby carrier for the win and she went back to sleep once she was strapped next to mom’s heart. Once inside we surprisingly found no lines. Win! This place is notorious for taking up to 3+ hours of your day to get one procedure done. After speaking to two rather grumpy and not very helpful government workers we found a more approachable worker who couldn’t tell us why our daughter’s information wasn’t in the system even though just a few weeks earlier Sam had spent an hour and a half there with our toddler getting the CURP for our youngest because it wasn’t online. But he did tell us they will supposedly put it in the system within the next 10 working days. The exact number of days the passport place granted us a pass to be able to go back and get her passport. Fail.

There was one more win for the morning. We did all that and got tacos (the screaming infant demanded we stop and all have breakfast J) and made it home in about 3 hours. Unheard of for a trip into town considering it takes 40-45 minutes one way and without traffic to get to the places we needed to go. Hopefully the next time we go will be just as quick and that that time we’ll come home with a passport.

Jessica Olmedo – Site Director, Mexico



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}