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Kelly took some time to answer a few questions about a special event that took place at our home church here in Mérida.

What special event took place in your church this summer?

Each summer, our church gears up for a special week dedicated to kids – church kids, neighbors kids, and friends of church and neighbor kids. Several church members and youth, including Rebekah and me, dedicate 8+ weeks of preparation to EBDV, which is an acronym that essentially stands for Vacation Bible School (VBS). The theme this year of “Buenas Noticias” (“good news”) was taught through the lives of several prophets using different communication media such as cell phones and newspapers. Each day highlighted a different prophet and medium. Wednesday, for example, was the prophet Joel, and the lesson of “Esperanza” (hope) was taught using a homemade television that scrolled the lesson illustrations. It was a very creative and interactive theme this year!

Who got involved?

The director, teachers, and helpers all contributed in making the decorations, props, and tools used throughout the week. Also, several youth worked with the choreographer to learn the songs and motions that were incorporated into the daily activities. And then there was the kitchen crew who dedicated their time in preparing and serving everyone a meal during the week long event. Even our pastor made the rounds, observing and visiting each of the classes and lending a hand where it was needed.

What were your specific roles?

Rebekah, although a participant in a middle school age class, formed part of the drama team that presented skits that fit the theme each day. I, on the other hand, co-taught with anther mom in the toddler class – what a joy! Oh, and you could say I was also the unofficial official photographer throughout the week.

What was the greatest moment you experienced?

Being involved with co-teaching the Youth Sunday School class with Dave, I was especially delighted this year to see how many youth dug right in and got their hands dirty. We’ve been teaching about various themes throughout this year, including service within the church and evangelism. This event incorporated these two beautifully, and it was great to see our youth in action!

Did you come away with any personal lessons?

Dedicating time to an event of this magnitude gives a sense of unity within a body of believers – both young and old alike. You can see how each person does their part, contributing in ways that could not be easily be duplicated by another, and yet accomplishing a goal much bigger than any one individual. It reminds me of the Scriptures that talk about “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Will you get involved again next year?

I have to say that my first thought, when I hear that the season of EBDV is rolling around, involves a little bit of apprehension because of the time commitment and work involved in preparation. However, the blessings certainly outweigh the time and energy invested. I would have more trouble staying away than jumping in with both feet! What better way to model what I teach than by being that living example, both to my own kids and to others in our community.

Interested in seeing more? Take a look at our photo gallery of the week’s events!


In this entry, cross-posted from her blog, Every Day is New, Kelly shares about her first visit to Cocoyol, the site of the first projection of the Jesus Film in Maya.

Cocoyol (coco – joel’). It isn’t on google maps, but it certainly exists. It took us over 3 hours to get there, which included a few wrong turns. It was raining during about half of our trip and raining when we arrived. Why did we go? To be part of a new work going on in Yucatan to start or “plant” new churches in the Mayan language. We are what you might call the “link” – hooking up those who have a vision to see the message of Jesus brought to people in their own language with a group of believers who have a desire and commitment to start a church, oh, and that speak both Maya and Spanish (that part is important!).

The Maya have been in math & history books, in several tourist guides and even in Hollywood, but I don’t think the current culture or people get that much publicity. In Cocoyol, we saw a snapshot of life for this indigenous people group.

It was a bit like entering any other small town at first glance. After we found the correct road, we traveled under a canopy of trees, that would have provided shade had it not been raining, and arrived at the “center of town” where the Catholic church and the local school were situated on two joining sides of a basketball court. The team had arrived before us, visiting the 100 families that make up this Maya community and letting them know about the event. Upon returning, they got to work setting up a portable screen and projector to show the Jesus film, not in Spanish but in Maya. “Wait!” you’re saying, “aren’t you living in Mexico?” Yes, yes we are. Although Spanish is the national language of Mexico, there are, according to Wikepedia, over 6 million indigenous Maya in 4 countries! And one of those is Mexico.

While the setup was taking place, I watched, snapped some photos, and spoke with the kids who were gathering. Fortunately, I didn’t need a personal translator since some of the kids were able to communicate in Spanish. I even got a few questions/words in English since some of the kids’ family members most likely have work in tourist areas. One particular boy acted as a sort of spokesman for the group; he even confiscated my camera and snapped a shot of Rebekah and me.

However, the kids spoke to each other in Maya, all the time. It was like being in another country for me. I knew that there were several families, even in the city where we live, who continued to speak Maya inside the home or between family members. There are older ladies in our church who help us with basic phrases to learn something new in their native tongue. But, hearing their everyday conversation being spoken in something other than Spanish was a bit surprising.

This was not the first time that the message of Jesus’ love had come to the small town. One boy told me of another group that had come on a few occasions (with a bigger screen!). The difference, we hope, is that the team’s goal is to come, to stay, and to speak their language. The Maya language. The team is not from America or Korea, but from a larger town in Mexico, about 30 minutes or so away. And they don’t plan on being a passing memory.

I played a small part, not being on the team and not speaking the language. Sure, I spoke Spanish and a few answered me in Spanish. I mainly talked and played with the kids. My kids and I taught them Simon Says and they taught us “veneno” (poison) which, fortunately, was a harmless game where they spun in different directions holding hands 😉 They practiced some English phrases and I practiced some Maya ones. They were amazed at the height of our daughter, who is 12 going on 13. I marveled at their ages being 12 and 17 and still being in the 3rd and 6th grades, respectively, of their elementary school.

It is clear we are very different, but we are loved by the same God. I am glad my God doesn’t speak to me in Mandarin or French or Turkish. Can you even imagine? . . . That is the idea behind this team and others that will follow in their footsteps and in the footsteps of Jesus – speaking the language of the people, sharing His beautiful words of life.

Kelly’s added a few of her photos from the trip to our photo album. You can view them all here.

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When one thinks of the needs that arise after a major natural disaster, several things come to mind. In the case of floods, for example, I think of material possessions being ruined or swept away by flood waters, no clean drinking water for awhile, unavailability of food, loss of homes, and possibly the loss of life – both people and animals. Recently, the state of Tabasco was hit by major flooding. Thankfully, several people came to their aid, both from the government and through organizations. However, when we inquired concerning the needs of the people, we were told that they had received a lot in the way of provisions, but that medical attention would be needed down the road. That’s where we come in … Last week our family had the opportunity to join with fellow missionaries Paul and Sandy Kazim, medical professionals and Bible school students from the state of Yucatan in order to go to meet the medical and spiritual needs of their fellow Mexicans in Tabasco. We were hosted by pastors and church members during the 4-day trip while we focused the outreach on 2 towns that had requested help in these areas. Not only was medical help available, but our team also provided ministry for the children, youth, and adults through skits, songs, balloons, sharing of the Word of God, door-to-door evangelism, and prayer.
Upon returning to Mérida, I reviewed some of the videos and photos from the trip and would like to share a short film that hopefully captures the essence of our visit. You won’t see me since I was behind the camera, and you won’t see Dave, either, since he along with some of the Bible school students visited homes, meeting the spiritual needs of those who couldn’t come or who hadn’t heard about the medical outreach. But you will see our kids involved in ministry as they played an important role and were a blessing to many. Also, the film is set to music, a song done in Spanish. The song speaks of being available and ready to be used by God for the things He wants us to do, giving Him our time, our hands, our voice, not wanting Him to pass over us because we are available for His purposes. It is sung by Jesus Adrian Romero from his album, “El Aire de Tu Casa.” My prayer is that this short film serves as a reminder of the needs all around us and that we, through the help and grace of God, are the answer to those needs. May God bless you as you allow Him to use you.

You can view it in this post above or on GodTube.

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