I can only think of one word to sum up the month of January. Overwhelming! But not just the kind you're thinking of. While there was plenty of work to overwhelm us, there was just as much of God's grace. We have been overwhelmed by the love and support of the body of Christ, the blessings running around our house (Cloe, Gabi and Brennah), and the sheer privledge of being here in Chiapas , Mexico .
The first of January we made a trip to the Guatemala border to renew the paperwork for our vehicles. This is one of the not-so-fun parts of being in Mexico on tourist visas. Hopefully we won't have to do it again though, since we're working on getting our FM3 (work visas) soon. Can you believe those are still in process? Yeah, neither can we! :)
Nathan was asked to speak at a pastor's conference in Comitan on the 8th. We've been talking for some time about working with the Tojolabal people, but we didn't really have any connections out there. Not the case any more! There were over 20 pastors and church leaders at the conference and they were very interested in what Nathan had to say. Mostly he spoke to them about the Tojolabal’s need for evangelism and discipleship materials in their own language. They have responded very positively and Nathan left materials with several of them to start translating.
A few days later, our friends from Vera Cruz arrived! Jon and Juanita Brawley (and their sweet baby girl) have been missionaries here in Mexico for a few years now, and Jon wanted to learn how to do some field recording... and Nathan is a great teacher! We thoroughly enjoyed the week they spent here with us.
The rest of January was full of construction upstairs, and preparations for our current Global Encounters language team! The team is made up of 9 young people from all over the US . They arrived on the 29th and will be here for 5 weeks attending language school in town. If you're interested in following the blog they're writing while they are here, you can find it here!
The end of January brought some hard-to-handle news, and we wanted to ask you to pray with us. Many of you know my good friend Amanda Michaels, from Michigan . She has a 4 yr old little girl named Kate who was just diagnosed with kidney cancer. She had her third round of chemo yesterday. I have more details on my blog, if you are interested. But please pray for Kate and her family as they walk through this scary time!
One last little bit of news... Nathan's little sister Renee had her baby on Jan. 22nd! Hadassa was born at 12:45 am in a birthing tank set up in Peter and Jamie's (Nathan and Renee's parents) guest room. Renee, Luis and Hadassa are all doing great and we've enjoyed a good bit of time spent with them, learning the joys of feeding and burping and being a family of 3!
You can see pictures of all these things on my photo blog... I try to update it every few days!
Thank you for the love and support you've already shown us in 2011. It's shaping up to be a great year!
Julie (for Nathan, Cloe, Gabi and Brennah too!)