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!}