Trip to China

Wenzhou, China

A panoramic view of the city.

I haven't really posted much about this because I have been really busy, but the reason we are in the USA for these six weeks is because I took a trip to China for 10 days. It was a 14-15 hour flight, the longest one I have ever been on. The trip was great, and I had a blast.

I stayed in a city called Wenzhou, which is on the southern coast. I had fun experiencing a new culture and making new friends. Here are some pictures from my trip.

Temple

A Buddhist Temple

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Speechless

We just got back from vacation. It was much needed, but now I feel like I need a vacation to rest! For a while now, my little princess has been asking us to go to Disney World so she can see the princesses. Thanks to our friends at Kissimmee Guest Services, we got some tickets to go to Disney World for one day during the first week of vacation.

We took lots of pictures (you can see them here), but this one is one of my favorite of all times.

My little girl was speechless when she walked into that castle room. Her interaction with each princess was so cute, and her timidness was evident. She slowly warmed up to them, but you could just tell that this was a special moment.

I wonder if one day that is how we will feel when we finally meet Jesus face to face. It’s like that old song, “I can only imagine.”

I wonder if we will be in such awe that we won’t know what to say. I wonder how we’ll act. One thing is for sure, that is going to be a great hug from our Savior.

What a wonderful day that will be!

Trip to Chiapas

Last weekend I was invited to Tuxtla, Gutierrez, in Chiapas, a state in the Southern part of Mexico. I went to teach a class at a Missions School and also to speak at a youth camp. It was a fun experience. I had never been to Chiapas before, so I enjoyed learning a lot about this region of Mexico.

I had a chance to meet Julio, a youth pastor who writes about youth ministry on his blog “Monologos de Julito.” I have been following his blog for a while now since I started ministeriojuvenil.com, and he is one of the few who publishes regularly on youth ministry in Spanish.

I had a great time speaking to his youth group about how they need to be God’s representatives in their local school. I shared about Esther and her decision to do what she was supposed to do even though it wasn’t easy, and the result was important for all of history.

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More Desireable than Gold and Honey

I preached in chapel last week, and I used the guys in the picture as my illustrations. Do you know them? The guys in the picture are Wario and Winnie the Pooh. You probably know Pooh. He has an insatiable love for honey. He regularly gets stuck in Rabbit’s window because he goes after honey with his whole heart.

Wario, on the other hand, is a villain from Mario Brothers. If you know our family, you know we love Super Mario Brothers. Wario has a great desire to get as many gold coins as he can. He runs around with a bag of gold coins and collects more and more. Keep reading to find out what they have to do with my sermon…

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Amazon Finally Opens a Kindle Store in Mexico

Yesterday, Amazon finally opened a Kindle store in Mexico. This is really good news for me because in May I wrote a book. I haven’t blogged about it here before because it’s is in Spanish.

It’s called “Corre para Ganar: 5 Disciplinas para Llegar a la Meta del Ministerio Juvenil.” In English, that’s “Run to Win: 5 Disciplines to arrive at the Finish Line of Youth Ministry.”

It’s basically a book about my thoughts on important steps to successful youth ministry, and it’s a compilation of much of what I’ve taught in Mexico these last 10 years. It’s been hard to sell on Kindle, though, because up until yesterday, my Mexican friends had to have an Kindle account (and credit card) from the USA or another supported country in order to purchase it. They also can buy a printed version, especially at events where I speak (also available on Amazon). All of that changed because Amazon finally opened a Kindle Store in Mexico.

I’m excited about this because there are a lot of youth leaders who could benefit from reading the message of “Corre para Ganar,” and I want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible.

If you are a youth worker who reads Spanish, I encourage you to pick up a copy. If you know youth workers who read Spanish, please tell them about the book.

Birthday Party for our Princess

Sunday, smack in the middle of a busy weekend, we had some friends over to celebrate Shiloh’s third birthday. It wouldn’t be a birthday party without cake and a piƱata, so that’s what we did.

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Ten Years of Serving in Mexico

On August 27, 2003, Janell and I boarded a plane at the Miami International Airport with 7 bags. We had sold or given away almost everything else that we owned and were ready to take a leap of faith and move to Mexico. In the next days we would leave 5 of those bags in Mexico City and move to the unknown city of Cuernavaca to live with a family we had never met and try to learn a language we barely knew at a school we had only visited one other time.

Those were very exciting and scary times. When I look back at it, I realize that it seemed crazy to most people and even to us at times. But as I reflect on what has happened in this decade in Mexico, Latin America, my own life, and my family, I can definitely say that it has been worth it. Despite the trials and uncertainties of support raising, recruiting students, teaching classes, searching for housing, and all the other things that come along with missionary life, God has always been faithful.

He has provided at the right times, both financially and materially. He has brought us great friends who have helped make the journey great. Many of them are no longer in Mexico, but they were always with us at just the right time. Financially, God has provided for us when we least expected it. Even in the months when support was low, He has always made a way for us to see His provision.

When we first started here in Mexico, youth ministry seemed to be so new, and we had to ask what we were doing here. Now we see certificate programs all over the country, students and graduates from the Bachelor’s degree program that are doing incredible work in their local churches, 3 Seminaries in Cuba with thriving Centers for Youth Ministry, a new Master’s program launching in Mexico in January that will help plant 3 new CYMs in different Seminaries in Mexico, and a plan to open 60 new Youth Ministry programs in Latin America in the next 15 years.

If you’re reading this, you probably have known us for these 10 years and have been supporting us and praying for us for at least that long. We thank God for you. He has proven His faithfulness to us through your constant support and prayers. I can’t believe that so many people have been a part of this journey alongside us. You are very special to our family. Thank you for your continued prayers. They have sustained us throughout this decade and will continue to push us forward for the time to come.

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