Tuesday, July 6, 2010
"Mom, can I tell anybody yet?" This is the question Janie has been asking for weeks. No, we're not having a baby. No, we're not moving. No, we did not get a new pet or matching tattoos. (although that last one might be fun!):)
We are going to Mexico! The Adams family will be traveling to Mexico for two weeks in September to serve at a developing Christian camp called El Monte. Our church's missions team has encouraged us to go and to ask people to partner with us in prayer and in the cost of the trip, so we're sending out our letter this week. I told Janie (our in-house reporter of anything that happens in our family) that she couldn't tell anyone until we sent out the letter. I don't know why I made her wait. I just did. ?
In the support letter, I had to keep the story of how this whole idea came about pretty short. But since a blog is limitless and without boundaries, I can recount all the minute details of all the things that have fallen into place -- and hopefully not bore you readers to death! This opportunity is something we probably never would have thought of planning on our own. But we truly believe the whole thing has been orchestrated by God....and we're game!!
(disclaimer: long story about to ensue....feel free to exit at any time! :)
On a Sunday morning in February, Tim had run in to church early because we had one of our missionaries visiting, and Tim needed to get his media presentation into the computer. The missionary was Paul Wilson. The Wilsons have worked at Camp Forest Springs in Wisconsin for the past 20 or so years, and have recently moved to Camp El Monte - 90 miles south of Mexico City - to develop the ministry there. So Paul was in the states and visiting Grandview to give an update on the progress at El Monte.
(backtrack) Tim and I have always been interested in camp work. I worked at a camp in college and absolutely loved the lifestyle. On many, many roadtrips when Tim and I have spent the time "dreaming" about what we would do if we could choose anything....we have often thought of how great it would be to work and raise our kids in a camp setting. We even looked into it at one point, but didn't really get anywhere...and besides, we have a business we're running, etc...too many logistics to worry about. Anyway, we knew about the Wilsons and knew they had moved to Mexico to start a camp, but that was about it.
So while Tim was at church that morning, he and Paul struck up a casual conversation. They talked about the camp and about how we've always loved the camping atmosphere. Somewhere in the conversation it came up that Tim is an electrician. It just so happens that amidst the building projects at El Monte is a specific need for an electrician. So one thing led to another, Tim and Paul really began to connect, and Paul suggested we come to El Monte for a visit. So Tim came home between services to pick the kids and I up, and he tells me all about this. Now....normally, this suggestion for "coming to visit" a camp in a foreign country would be a complete pipedream for us. Mainly for financial reasons. I have never thought we'd ever travel outside the U.S. as a family....we think camping at Scott County Park for more than two nights is a big vacation!!! :) However, last summer when we refinanced our house, we set aside a chunk of money for a family trip. We hadn't decided how we were going to use it yet, but we were keeping it saved to go somewhere. So when Tim told me all about his conversation with Paul, we realized we might actually be able to go! Looking back, I think that having that vacation money set aside is what God used to open our minds to the possibility. Otherwise, we would have blown it off, I'm sure.
Within a week of the initial conversation, we were able to meet with Paul again while he was passing back through the Quad Cities. We had an amazing conversation about God having our attention. He certainly did have our attention! Paul encouraged us to listen and obey....for whatever reason...if it's to come to El Monte..if it's to re-open our thoughts to camp ministry....or if God is just (just - lol) drawing us into a deeper relationship with him. So that's what we've been doing. We've been listening and obeying. We felt like the next step was to get passports so we could go whenever we were ready. Having those in hand makes things seem a little more real.
Our pastor heard about our plans and encouraged us to go to the missions team. He said since we would be going to El Monte to serve, why not ask people to partner with us? So we did, and the team was excited about the idea. What started a year ago as plans for a family vacation have now become a family short-term missions trip! No Way!! You might be wondering why ALL of us are going. When I started writing the support letter, I felt like I had to justify why the kids and I are going. Of course we'll all work and help; but they need an electrician, and obviously only one of us fits that description. We have been completely encouraged to go as a family both by Paul and our missions team. One thing I so appreciate is that the staff at El Monte asked me to write a little "resume" for our family....such as what each of us is good at, where our passions are, etc...kids included...so they can get to know us better ahead of time and consider where we'll each fit in.
In the meantime, we've been in communication with Paul and El Monte about what we'll be doing while we're there, what it will be like, etc. We got to spend an afternoon with the Mitchell family - they are an El Monte missionary family who are in the states for the summer. While they were in the area, they met with us to talk more about the construction projects and answer any questions we had. Our kids got to hang out with their kids, and we learned about their life in Mexico....which includes tarantulas. (I'm going to pretend I don't know that.)
Tomorrow I am taking the support letters to the post office. That's like really putting it out there....signing our names to this thing. I know people take short-term missions trips all the time. But I never dreamed that we'd get to do something like this as a family. The kids are super excited, and I know this is an experience of a lifetime for them...to experience another culture and contribute to it. Janie and Sam have absolutely LOVED their church camp here in Iowa, so they understand that they'll be helping at a similar place in Mexico. Did you know that FIFTY PERCENT of the population of Mexico is below the age of 20?
The next step will be purchasing plane tickets. We've been watching prices and getting ready to jump on them when the time is right. The plan is to go for about two weeks toward the end of September. It's coming up quickly!
So, there you have it. I'm sure there are details I left out, but I've had to write this blog over about three days....I can't concentrate at the computer for very long without someone asking for food or help with their shoelace or something, you know. If you get a letter, please don't feel obligated to financially support this trip. Throughout the whole process, I have felt like finances have been a good indicator of an open or closed door, and I know God will work out the finances if we're supposed to go. I will unabashedly ask you to pray for us, though. Of course, safety is a concern. Getting six people organized to actually GET there. Oh, boy! But mainly that we will just listen and obey. That's really what I want to do. I've addressed letters mostly to immediate family and church members, so if you don't get one and would like one, just let me know. If you're on Facebook, you can check out lots of pictures of the camp at the "El Monte Mexico" page. Also, their website is www.elmontemexico.com .
If you've read this far, thanks for listening to me ramble. I'm humbled because I feel like we're going to benefit WAY more than we'll be contributing to the camp. But perhaps that's how these things work. I certainly hope there will be mutual benefiting! On that note, I'll wrap it up.......I will post updates as they occur!
.....off to brush up on Espanol.....