Baseball

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As I write this in the middle of a winter weather advisory, it seems impossible, but daylight savings time tells us that spring is just around the corner. Sounds like a good time for an update!

Before you lose that hour, why don’t you take a moment to read about:

  • How partnerships are helping us to realize our vision.
  • Our itineration progress and how you can help speed us to back to Mexico.
  • The latest from our family!

Remember, our newsletter in PDF format viewable in Adobe Reader. If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it free here:

https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/

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This last weekend was full of amazing coincidences. It started on Friday evening. Headed down to Nederland, Texas for services with Greg and Amanda Swafford, we stopped for a night with friends Brian and Jessica Fisher in Frisco, just north of Dallas. They had apologized earlier in the week for having to attend a minor league baseball game while we were there, but being the flexible, baseball loving missionaries that we are, we were up for the outing. Imagine our surprise, however, when we found that the game was between the hometown Frisco Rough Riders and the visiting Springfield Cardinals! We got a chance to root for our hometown team in Texas!

The real treat came following our weekend. Our nine hour trip back from services with Danny and Stephanie Baker in Leesville, Lousiana would take us past Hot Springs, Arkansas, the birthplace of the Assemblies of God. We debated the visit, as the side trip would certainly kill our ETA, but our debate ended as we researched the stop. The first General Council which gave rise to the Assemblies of God took place from April 2nd until the 12th, 1914. It just so happened that on Monday we were passing by Hot Springs on our denomination’s birthday!

We called area churches and were directed to the spot which sits on Bath House Row in downtown Hot Springs. The plaque, laid on the 60th anniversary of the event, is the only physical remnant of the former Hot Springs Opera House where the council took place. It’s easily overlooked as visitors pass by, many without even looking down at the inscription affixed to the cement, but for us it has special significance.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, 96 years after the event, we found ourselves returning to our roots, and as our feet surrounded the memorial plaque, we reflected on the principles that brought about the founding of the Assemblies of God–evangelism, missions, and ministerial training. We’re glad that now, almost 100 years after its organization, those principles are still at the forefront of its agenda. What’s even more humbling is that we’re able to serve as its representatives as we emphasize evangelism, missions, and ministerial training, making disciples in the Yucat√°n.

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Making a Comeback

Everyone loves to hear of a great comeback story, be it an individual overcoming adversity to make it back on top, a favorite music group returning to the stage, or a sports team returning to its former glory. We love it because we appreciate how hard it is to repeat success. Athletes age, teams change players, and taste preferences in music seem to change with the fashions. So when the comeback happens, we realize that we a receiving a gift, something truly special.

Allow me to let you in on a comeback in progress…

This last year, I ran a marathon. I finished in the best time in which I’d ever run a marathon: 3 hours 37 minutes and 52 seconds. It was a great moment. However, that run has left me on the sidelines, stuck with a leg injury that has persisted for 3 months and counting. On top of that, during my examination, my doctor found that I also have arthritis in my ailing right leg, perhaps complicating my recovery. Some would say it’s time to hang up the running shoes. I say it’s time for a comeback.

Six months ago, we were on the field in Mexico wrapping up our first term as missionaries in the state of Yucatan. We were elated to have played a small part in the successes in the lives of students and pastors with whom we had ministered. We had built relationships and were looking toward opportunities to leverage these successes in future ministry. However, eight months away from our scheduled return date, we have a mountain of monthly support to raise, currently at the height of some $2,000. Some would despair at such a goal to reach. I say, “It’s comeback time.”

So rally cap in place, I’m starting the process to return, understanding that the recipe for success probably will change. As I built up for the marathon last year. I added on mileage slowly but surely until I reached a 50 mile per week peak during my high intensity marathon training. This time, I’ve got more than a mileage buildup to concern myself with. I’ve got an injury to figure out and a recovery to plan. So, I’m currently going through physical therapy twice a week with the goal to return to running. I’m also looking to alternative methods to promote healing from self-massage to chiropractic care. I’m also dedicating myself to nutrition, making sure that my tank is full of the fuel I need to power this comeback. Do I have a timetable? Sure, I’d like to see myself in a 10k race some time this spring.

Our return to Mexico can be thought of similarly. We’ve come back to the States to raise our budget in an economic recession, meaning many potential donors are feeling the budgetary pinch. We’re also returning to a Southern Missouri District that has 7 other missionary families currently raising support at the same time we are. However, we live in a time where connections are more diverse and easily sustainable and potential audiences are more abundant. We plan to leverage these connections, networking as we are able to reach these future partners, and maintaining that partnership with them through tools we never dreamed of only four years ago.

Of course, in all of this, one thing has not changed. We serve the same God who is able to to exceedingly and abundantly more than we ask, think or imagine. So while we work on this comeback as though it all depended on us, we pray knowing that it all depends upon Him. He is the one who provides the breakthroughs, stirs hearts, and cements friendships through whatever medium those contacts occur.

So I’m making a comeback, physically and ministerially, and I’m committed to putting in the work, while depending on God for the results. Wanna come along? There’s still room on the bandwagon!

How about you? Are you poised for a comeback? How do you see it happening? Have any tips that we all could benefit from?

Photo: Rally Cap by Rich Anderson

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Dave Teaching

Teaching in Opichen

Around this time of the year, I start to get anxious. It’s been almost three months since the end of the World Series, and we’ve got only a few short weeks until pitchers and catchers report to start the 2009 baseball season. I’m looking forward to the date with anticipation, knowing that soon they’ll be playing baseball, and hoping that this will be the season that the Yankees win it all again.

In order to prepare, I start to watch baseball movies. One such movie is The Rookie , that Disney released some years ago. It’s the story of a high school science teacher who gets another shot at playing in the majors. In one scene, travailing in the minor leagues, traveling the lonely miles and feeling the pressure of his responsibilities at home, he decides to throw in the towel. “I’m just wasting my time,” he says to his wife over the phone. She asks back, referring the the game, “Do you still love it?”

He hangs up the phone and goes for a walk to think it over once again. Along the way, he encounters a night little league game, and in it he finds the joy and the hope in the game that he played as a child and had been given a chance to return to as an adult. With a renewed outlook, he heads back to the locker room. As he enters he asks another player, “Do you know what we get to do today?” Then, answering his own question he says, “We get to play baseball.”

Why am I waxing eloquent about baseball? Because I’ve been thinking about our job as missionaries. Lately, we’ve been really busy, rushing from place to place. I celebrated my daughter’s birthday on Saturday and directly after I was teaching our first session of the District Stewardship conferences that I had been invited to teach. Since that time, I’ve been on the road 3 of the past 4 nights, getting to bed later each night. When this finishes, I’ll be on the road again, this time to help in an evangelistic campaign that will take place two hours outside of Merida, where we have our home.

At times like these, I find myself missing my family, looking forward to getting home, and sometimes wishing that the events would be over. But then I have to ask myself what it is that I am actually doing. I received the call to missions when I was 15 years old, and since that time, my life had been centered around making it to the field. We prepared ourselves, obtained the necessary approvals, and raised funds for the purpose of becoming missionaries. Now, we’re doing it. How many times have I hoped, prayed, and dreamed of the day that God would allow us to make it to the field, and now it’s a reality.

Thinking about it again I’d have to say that, sure there are times when we find it hard, but we’re doing what we’re called to do. God’s fulfilled our dream, and every moment that we have here is another moment that we get to step out into another adventure with our Lord.

So I want to say thanks to all of you who have had a part in helping us to get here and stay here. I’d also like to ask you to pray for us. Pray that the words that we say would be what God would ask us to share, and pray that these events will reach the people that He’s preparing. And while you’re doing that, stop for a moment and thank God for the journey that you’re on with Him. After all, “We get to play baseball!”

Thumbnail appearing on the excerpt of this article from B Tal’s photostream on Flickr.com

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Losing AgainI understand that those who frequent disciplemexico.org are not necessarily interested in baseball, much less in the outcome of the American League Divisional Series. For that reason, I’ve tried to steer clear of baseball subjects throughout the life of this site. Nevertheless, there are several out there who know that I am an avid Yankee fan, and as you can imagine the events that have happened in the course of the past week have left me feeling a bit numb.

Yes, the Yankees lost again. This time manhandled by the Cleveland Indians, a club who just last year wasn’t even sniffing the post season. This of course has had me spending some time looking for ways to deal with another October sans Yankees. You can imagine my surprise when an email from my mother-in-law helped me to put things into perspective.

An avid student of Jewish culture, she came upon a video blog from aish.com titled Isn’t losing wonderful?. In it Rabbi Yaakov Salomon comments on the loss of our beloved Yankees (and the Mets for good measure), suggesting that while “victory teaches you nothing”, “losing can teaching you everything.” He goes on exposit Proverbs 24:16:

for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity

He states that Jewish interpreters of this proverb suggest that it is not in spite of the fact that the righteous man falls seven times but it is because of the fact that he falls, and the lessons that he learns in the failures, that he rises again.

I think many of us are examples of this interpretation. I know that I, for one, rarely reflect on my victories, but the pain of failure that the sense of loss that follows drive me to determine the source of my defeat and resolve to come back stronger the next time.

So encouragement can be found in the lesson of losing. Of course, now that the Yankees have fallen seven times, I fully expect victory in 2008!

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