Closing ceremony of the conflict resolution course
A few weeks ago now we celebrated the completion of the conflict resolution course at one of the Covenant Churches in the valley of Oaxaca. We praise God for the way He is at work in the women’s lives, evidenced in the testimonies shared. The closing ceremony was full of laughter and celebration! Twelve women received certificates at the ceremony which happened to fall during the dates that Erika’s parents and brother were visiting us. So it was an especcailly fun celebration as Erika led everyone in games and the women prepared tlayudas (Oaxacan style pizza) for us all to enjoy together. Erika has been invited to continue working with these women, and hopefully some friends of theirs from the community as well, to continue addressing issues related to self-esteem, self-worth and healthy, peaceful conflict resolution. We are also excited because Russel, a very compassionate and strong young leader in the church, has invited Nils to start a men’s group with him, where they plan to come together to study the Bible and at the same time discuss issues related to the family. Please pray the Holy Spirit would continue to work in bringing His peace and love to these families.
Erika’s parents and brother visit…
We did the Oaxaca touristy things like visit the largest tree in the world in El Tule, hike around the Monte Alban ruins, walk around Oaxaca’s beautiful, centuries old downtown visiting churches and trying out Oaxacan foods like mole, chilaquiles, tacos, tortas, hot chocolate and coffee. We took them to church on Sunday and as I mentioned they joined us for the closing ceremony of the conflict resolution course. Then, we spent the last 4 days together at the beach near Huatulco. After a nine hour drive over very windy roads, we finally made it and enjoyed our stay at a beautiful condo near the beach. We had a relaxing time there together spending most of our time playing in the waves and swimming in the ocean and the pool and just hanging out at the condo. The biggest blessing of all was just being together, sharing stories, laughing and playing.
Partnering with Fuentes Libres
Nils has had the blessing of participating regularly with Fuentes Libres in their weekly devotions and a course on dealing with money from a Biblical perspective. We both have had the opportunity to lead devotions and get to know the team better. Nils has been invited to lead a series of workshops on strategic planning and will most likely begin those classes in April.
Amparo y Fortaleza Covenant church
Since our arrival we have been alternately visiting the four Covenant churches located here in the valley on Sundays as a way to get to know everyone and as we sought God’s guidance as to where we should make our church home. We are very excited that we have made the decision to attend a small Covenant church, new to the Covenant, called Amparo y Fortaleza. Julio, the pastor, and his wife Monica, from Monterrey, are a young couple with two boys around the age of Matías and Lucas and they live within walking distance from our home. We have developed a close relationship with them and always enjoy attending church located about a 10 minute drive from our place. Check out a recent blog entry about Julio and the diversity in the Covenant church of Oaxaca here…
Supporting FUNDEFAM (Family Development Foundation)
Erika travels to Monterrey today to help the FUNDEFAM team with the final details in preparing for the youth camp this weekend where she will lead four interactive Bible studies on the life of Jesus. She is very excited about sharing the gospel with the teenagers and asks for prayer that they would be open to the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives and be ready to make a strong commitment to following Christ and making Him first in their lives. Pray also that the Spirit would help the teens understand the amazing gift of forgiveness in their lives and be able to cast their burdens upon Him and receive healing and freedom in Christ.
Nils will be visiting Monterrey one week after Erika returns to attend a Board meeting and speak at one of FUNDEFAM’s monthly leadership training workshops. He’ll be leading them in reflecting on how we communicate the stories of transformation that God is doing among the people at FUNDEFAM.
Please pray for safety for these trips and during our time in Monterrey as well as for the one of us who stays back and takes care of the boys. May God fill us with his love, joy and peace!
In honor of International Women’s Day we attended the inauguration of the art exhibit of 60 life size silhouette paintings of women in downtown Oaxaca. Matías’s art class participated in this and Matias painted the silhouette of Ana Natividad. (show picture) Oaxaca is a state rich in culture – music, art, dance, textiles, religion, architecture, food. We are really enjoying getting to know the beauty here!
Lucas continues to enjoy school, sports, making people laugh and still wants to be a rock star when he grows up! He especially loves cuddling and playing with JoJo. (show picture)
Recent blog entries…
Erika reflects on the generations of blessing within her family.
She also reflects on Christian discipleship.
Nils reflects on being the new guy.
Covenant World Relief shares on their blog about peacemaking at the Family Foundation in Monterrey. Dalia, the young woman giving her testimony, is a good friend of mine.
Thank you so much for your faithful partnership with us! We are blessed to be a part of the Covenant family and are thankful for each of you.
Erika, Nils, Matias and Lucas