Mission Trip: VBS

My most favorite aspect of this mission trip was being able to interact with the children of Tizimin during Vacation Bible School.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0283.JPGThis wonderful lady, who has literally been sent by God, for these children heads up the school/church responsible for their formation. Her name is Magdalena Saldana. She has the spirit of a lion. The will of an eagle. The grace of a peacock. The love of a mother. During her time with DCI, she has lead more than 100 children into her facility to present the gospel of the Lord. The children who attended VBS instantly gave her the respect and love that she deserved. She touched my heart. As an educator, I praise people who devote their lives to the children. For her, what better way than through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0394DSC_0451For four days we interacted with more than 90 children from all walks of life. Micah and I were in charge of registering these kids before they entered camp. We were the first people they saw. Some of them were confident, shook our hands, told us their names, and walked on in ready for the day to begin. Others seemed lost, confused, and scared. Some children where homeless. Some children didn’t have parents.

It was a tug at my heart, when Magdalena ask a little boy why he had been absent for so long. He responded, “our house has been ceased and right now we are kind of living where ever we can.” (Deep sigh) It was difficult to hear these types of things. It was difficult to see some of them walking barefoot. To see some skinny. To see runny noses.

But then my heart would rejoice when I would hear a giggle. When I would see a smile.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-6
Many times I have heard it said that one must be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I didn’t quite understood what that meant, but seeing the children of Tizimin worshiping Jesus, singing, dancing, being carefree in His name made me think that it really didn’t matter what I wore, where I lived, what my life circumstances were. If I worshiped Jesus without a care in the world, like these children, I literally had nothing to fear. And that’s what these kids where, fearless. Interested. Eager. Willing. They wanted to learn. They wanted to know more about the man who died to save them.
After registration, the kids danced and singed. Then came studying. Our group taught lessons on Esther, the king’s armor, love, and understanding. Micah and I would sit in the back and observe them. It’s like they were hungry for love.
1On the second to last day, one of the group leaders ask Micah and I to lead the last lesson. I instantly agreed without even consulting Micah. Fear suddenly paralyzed me. And my good friend insecurity had a lot to say. But Micah, my love, instantly reminded me of how capable I was and with his help we presented the 10 Commandments to the children. Micah presented the ice breaker with a game of “Micah dice” (Simon says, or Micah says). Then I transitioned with “how do we know what God says?” “How do we know what to do?”
There I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me, helping me, giving me the confidence and the will that I needed to the point where 100% of the children were engaged. High five Ms. Rojas and thanks for the help Mr. Womacks.
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The rest of the time with the kids was spent on various activities, like arts and crafts, painting, coloring, praying, playing with sports equipment. Micah’s interaction with the children touched my heart as well. Many of the boys loved him. He was so good with the children. Maybe they saw what I see everyday in him–his good and noble heart. This boy, Brian, was our favorite. He often times wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye, hugging me and high- fiving Micah.
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The boys would literally gravitate towards Micah, I felt so proud of him.
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I felt a deep connection to this little girl, because Micah pointed out she looked like me. I agree. Ever since then, we gravitated towards each other.
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Micah and this little guy kept secrets and it was adorable.
VBS was inspiring to say the least. I felt like I went in thinking I was going to set an example, be uplifting, to teach, and to give, but in reality these children taught me to strive to be better. To self grow. To self love. To love without measure beyond the circumstances. Now my goal in life is to have a heart like these little ones.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you all about the eye exams we participated in.
Until then and as always.
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Theology Thursday: I am a woman who loves the Lord

Brr, we got some snow today. The entire day was filled with the falling cold, which made school just a little be deary, but just like the students I powered through. Being back in school today was so uplifting. It’s so surprising that motivation comes from being up and about– moving. All the same God dwells in all things good and for that I’m every grateful.

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This morning, my devotion asked me to reflect, “what, in deep things of God, do you still have to discover and see?” For the longest time, the answer to such a question lied in myself and really it’s silly because it’s a question in itself.

The answer: I want to see where I, woman, Alejandra, person, self fit into the realm of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. What’s my role? I’m discovering that aspect more and more as I grow in faith. It’s interesting. For now God has called me to love without question and fault. Secondly, God has called me to be a servant. This one I’m actively discovering. From the looks of it, it’s so fulfilling and rewarding.

Figuratively speaking one aspect I’d really like to further study is the way women not only served the Lord, but what their role was in the Bible is. It’s difficult for me because Catholicism brings forth the male priest. So on the outside, I don’t see women as the head of church, and that’s okay. However, where do we stand?

During confession, I explained to my priest that my faith was being rocked. It’s natural for society and some relationships to sometimes test our faith. I’ve been there, I’m guilty, and I take blame. The priest told me to read the book of Esther. “It’s short and to the point and once you’re done, you’ll know what God wants from you,” he said. Fair enough.

“Be mindful of us, Lord. Make yourself known in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power.”

Esther 4: Chapter C: 23

Goodness, was Esther full of courage and hope, but all that strength didn’t come from her own. No way, it came when she trusted the Lord, when she prayed. I’m always a sucker for a woman of prayer. She put all her hope and faith in the Lord and she stood up for what she believed in and guess what? God answered. He’s so amazing and He will always keep us in mind. Again, how beautiful.

As I read further into the book of Esther, I was filled with wonder. She truly did extraordinary things, but she was so successful because of her devotion to God. Her faith was never rocked, her faith was firm and never ending, and even more so she encouraged me to speak about what I believed in.

“Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his to hatred for our enemy, so that he and his counter-parts by perish. Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, Lord.

Esther 4: Chapter C: 24-25

In the past, the hardest thing for me was to talk about my faith, not because I was ashamed or embarrassed. Simply, I felt it was an inappropriate subject, come to realize that I was foolish and down right naive. Ha! How can the Lord be poor timing? And that my friends is where discovering the word for me came about. It’s hard to tell people about your faith, but seeking God in these situations allows us to speak with confidence. Plus, God puts the words in our mouths.

I strive to be like Esther, courage and faithful. And if you’re wondering there are more woman like her in the Bible. Women like Mary Magdalene, who was not only the first person to discover Jesus’ tomb, but she was also chosen to go deliver the good news.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

John 20:17

Can we just take a moment to realize that Jesus choose a woman to declare that He was risen. This alone gives me shivers. Indeed, we “women” don’t fall behind. That in itself should challenge us to advance at work, to take control of personal struggles and life, to strive, to accomplish beyond measure, to seek the greater good, and to not give up.

Then there’s Ruth, Joann, Susanna, Martha, and of course our Blessed Mother Mary. The list goes on. So good women, I challenge you to discover not only your place in the spiritual world, but also to establish your ground in faith. And keep me updated, cause I’m here for you, cheering you on.

Theology Thursday: Why evil exists

I’ve pondered on this thought multiple times and it’s been the topic of conversation in various bible study sessions: Why does God allow evil in this world?

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That’s a good question. It’s natural to think that if God is filled with good and He loves us so much then why does he allow us to suffer? Trust me when I say that I’ve been there before; I’ve suffered enough times to blame God for my misfortune.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:13-15

One thing I’ve learned about this “evil-existing-in-our-world” business is that when we are suffering and we are crying, God is present. Remember God loves us so much, so when we suffer, so does He and when we cry, He cries too. Just like James proclaims in the verse above, God didn’t create evil; he doesn’t lead us to sin; he doesn’t tempt us, God gives us free will. He wants us to choose Him and good. But sometimes (and because we are human) we are fueled by our desires. We don’t want to necessarily want to wait for God’s will, but instead we want to do things our way and in our time, hence misfortune taking place.

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

And it’s hard, it’s very hard, because we think sure it’s easy to love God when He’s good. But, when things aren’t, we turn against him, when in reality all He really wants is for us to trust him and to seek Him. Also, what we fail to understand is that God puts us through situations so that we can endure and be faithful.

Right now there are a million and one tragedies happening all around the world. It seems like everyday there are mass shootings, natural disasters, corruption, despair, and famine, which are tormenting, alienating, and killing mankind.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

But there is hope in prayer because God has hope in us.

We are his creation. We are like a 16-year-old rebel adolescent who doesn’t understand his parents. He implore to be understood, he talks back and mistreats the good parents, who only want what’s best. He fails to see the lesson, so he leaves home in search of his own purpose, meanwhile the parents weep and antagonize themselves. Day after day, the parents cry and pray for their child’s safe arrival. They wait patiently. Then, that adolescent returns, and the parents rejoice.

I imagine that to be our relationship with God. He wants us to learn from our mistakes. In doing so, we will stumble, and many of us will fall gravely; we will see much despair and faithless actions, but God will always be there with open arms. He will welcome us into his glory. All we have to do is pray and be merciful.

Theology Thursday: His Will

First of all Happy Immaculate Conception.

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When Gabriel the angel appeared and informed Mary of God’s will for her, one can imagine the utter shock she went through. She was conflicted and thoughtful. However in order to understand God’s will, she prayed. Today more than anything we celebrate Mary and the way she so diligently carried God’s will for her life and ours.

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

John 13:7

Many times I have found myself like Simon Peter (Mary was probably caught in this thought herself), unable to understand the purpose, the journey… His will. My life has become a mixture of deep contemplation and deep sighs. I often look beyond my surroundings and ask out loud, “Lord what is your will for me?”

It’s hard to listen to the Lord when it comes to full filling His plan for us. My main problem is standing still and having patience.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

And that’s the key, not giving up in our search for God’s will, because it’s there. Right  now, I’m going through a weird moment in my life. I don’t consider myself too old or too young; so it’s weird for me. I’m not married and I don’t have children so finding individuals, my age, to relate too is hard. And again, weird. I’m finished with grad school and I have a wonderful job (God’s blessed me with it) and I get to learn each and everyday what the meaning of living is. I live a grand life. There’s nothing difficult about being me.

Yet I find myself stuck for some reason. For me, the feeling of being comfortably still, frightens me. This makes me feel like I’m either being complacent and that I’m not challenging myself enough. It’s not that my life is boring in way; this just leaves me questioning myself. Surely God’s not done with me at age 28. Surely, there’s more out there for me, just having the patience to get there (to whatever it is) is killing me.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

Matthew 6:34

But, I worry people, I do. I can’t help it. I suppose more than anything I need to pray; it’s just so easy to be discouraged when nothing is happening. It’s easy to give up the good fight because it seems like there’s no progression.

To uplift myself, I think about all the wonderful things God has gifted me with and I think, “He put me through it and he will help me through it.” Then those big-deep sighs come back. Right now, I can only hope that I’m living God’s will. Right now, all I can do is pray and fill myself with His word. And if God’s will for me is to be hush up, to study His word, and to watch for a sign, then I’ll happily wait as long as it takes.

To my Secret Admirer

In the past I have posted about my personal life. I would like to continue, here and there, as certain life events take place.

This past week some major things happened to me. Those major things were Reality and Hope, a two-for-one deal so great, I feel I’ll never be the same.

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On Friday, I was delivered flowers, to work with a note that was so dear and heart warming it made me believe in love and romance all over again. (Here’s some background information for those of you that are new to the site: In my life I have loved only one man with all my heart and all my soul. I lived a great 5 years with him. Until he shattered my world and left me unexpectedly for another person. I cried, I was hurt, I entered depression, but after two years I started living again. And although my life was shaken by his betrayal living wasn’t horrible anymore and it was worth it.)

Here’s the piece of reality. After two years he’s come forth to apologize. When he did I felt like the overcast clouds I was living under disappeared and a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It’s when I started living again. Our conversation was, although hurtful and painful; necessary and we reached an understanding. But on Saturday, I saw him, with another girl. I felt indifferent. Nonetheless, that was reality. That was moving on.

Here’s the piece of hope. There is someone out there, whoever it might be, whoever it’s supposed to be; who will come during the right time, the right place and be imperfectly perfect for your beautifully damaged life. And suddenly nothing in the past will matter. What will matter is here and now. It might sound silly and you can choose not to believe me, but every night since my ex left me, I would get on my knees and I would pray to God wholeheartedly. I’d ask him to put forth in my path a man, but not just any man, a man worthy and deserving. A man who knows God.

And Friday, I’m not sure if God himself sent me those flowers as a sign to tell me, “it’s coming Aley, hang on.” Better days are coming, I can sense it because when I was feeling (again) pretty low about seeing my ex I came home and read the letter my secret admirer sent me and I automatically thought: patience.

I contemplated calling every flower shop in town asking who had delivered flowers to my job, but then my best friend told me, that those flowers were a sign. She added that the person who sent them admires me and they will come forward when the time is right and if he doesn’t then I should take it as a nice guy trying to brighten my day.

So secret admirer, I’ll wait.

Until then, I’ll re-read your letter, and I hope you don’t mind I share it with other lonely girls just like me.

“These flowers I send to you have been selected. They can brighten up anyone’s day with their outstanding color affect. Yet, they lack sunshine to keep them alive and healthy, a warm enviornmet that will over protect. Warmth and sunshine that can only be better obtained from a beautiful smile from your person, complimented by a couple of gorgeous dimples, adding up to an attractive expression, that can even when these flowers decide to tarnish, to them, it will be unreasonable to forget. Feeding life and color from a pair of sensitive eyes, yet in every day life, they are very appealing. Eyes so clear, relaxing and warmly deep like the heart of a summer sunset. Eyes that are truly heart stealing. I send these flowers to you so they can live, live aside a beautiful woman with no imperfection whatsoever. With your glamour and your charm, they will survive, and to them it will be just the perfect weather.”