This past week I spent 8 challenging, and rewarding days in Mexico. Joining me on this trip were 3 students from Doane College, and George Phillips from our team. Our purpose for going was to work towards relaunching our ministry in Oaxaca, and building a new leadership team.
Liz, Jason, and Ella from Doane College were non-stop fun. A highlight for all of us in Oaxaca was staying with my good friends Dan and Dorothy, and Janet Case. The Case?s are some of my heros, and not only opened up their home to us, but their lives as well. God is using them in great ways to translate the Bible into the language of a people group in Oaxaca. They recently finished recording the Jesus Movie into their language, and are now showing it in villages. Dan and Dorothy are planning on being in the USA this coming year during Janet?s first year of college. A huge concern about leaving Oaxaca is leaving behind Dorothy?s aging parents who are retired Bible translators. With the the assistance of Dan, Dorothy and others, they are still living on their own.
The students from Doane College had absolutely no problem connecting with Mexican students. They spoke in English classrooms almost every day, and spent time with students they met in the afternoons and evenings. I?m so proud of how they stepped out on faith in coming to Oaxaca, and trusted God with everything from raising their finances, to boldly eating grasshopper filled tacos.
The Passion movie had just came out in Oaxaca. On the main campus George advertised and held a discussion group on the movie. The outreach brought a mixed bag of kids from every theological perspective you can imagine, and was an interesting time. At minimum, students who attended the discussion were exposed to the gospel.
The challenge we faced in Oaxaca was rebuilding a leadership team for the city of Oaxaca. Our existing leadership team is a group of great kids, but the problem is all but one has graduated. Two of our leaders are working full-time at raising their financial support to join our full-time Staff in Mexico and spent the year before this working full-time on their graduation thesis. For the most part, the leaders of Campus Crusade were sill the same leaders from when I lived in Oaxaca almost 4 years ago. A few years ago we had as many as 25 small groups meeting in different departments on the campuses in Oaxaca. When we arrived in Oaxaca, we found this number had dwindled to having just one group that involved around 15 students. As George and I visited the many departments of the universities in Oaxaca, we found God at work in the lives of college students. A number of groups are sprung up with the vision of reaching students around them. The problem is these students are marginally effective in reaching others on campuses, in part because they are not being coached or resourced. We had a number of meetings with these student leaders, and formed partnerships to resource and coach them. A huge resource during the week in Oaxaca was the brochures we put together before going to explain the Catalytic ministry in Mexico, and the how to?s of forming a leadership group to reach the city. On the last day we pulled together a number of leaders, and using the PREFACE problem solving model, made the decision together to bring new students into leadership and empower Mayra Bazon to serve as a spokesperson for the organization. Mayra came to Christ through our ministry around 5 years ago in Oaxaca, and is teaching classes on several of the University campuses. A side note is that 17 students from Oaxaca are going to the National Congreso over the week of Easter in Puebla. This conference is similar to our Christmas Conference. Also, 3 students from Oaxaca are going on Campus Crusade Summer Projects this summer in Mexico.
I was blessed in great ways to be back in Oaxaca to spent time with close friends like the Case?s and their parents, the Nellis?s. Dan and Dorothy had found a new taco stand that is right across from the bus station, and we feasted many times on some of the greatest food on the planet. One evening I took Janet downtown to a place that fixes tlayudas (a huge flat tortilla shell topped with beans, cabbage, and a piece of steak). The Oaxacan?s have a great sense of humor. A running joke is that I have a ?T? diet, and only eat foods starting with ?T.? For example: tortillas, tortitas, tarazones, tacos, tortas, turrones, tamales, totopos, and tlayudas. For the most part, when I?m in Oaxaca they are right.
On Friday night we have our annual Fellowship Dinner in Omaha. The Fellowship Dinner is a fund-raising venue for funding our Omaha Metro Catalytic ministry each year.
Today I am headed to the Kearney area to be with the Kindschuh family during their time of loss. On Monday Benjamin?s father passed away after fighting cancer for the past 2 years. My heart is heavy for the Kindschuh family, and their world that has changed.