Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let's be Honest

I got into a car accident a week ago. 

It was a mess. I mean the accident wasn't that bad but I am a foreigner in Mexico...
- in a friend's car
- with problems with insurance
- on the way to pick my husband up from the airport
- in rush hour traffic

It was a mess. 

I think what I experienced most is shame that I had an accident. If you know me well I have a complex of wanting people to not have to extend grace to me. I mean perfection is a long way off but I just want to be in a place where I am just neutral. So every time I saw the junked up car out my window, I was reminded that I screwed up. 

Luckily yesterday we took it to the place to get fixed. I told Gabo it was taking away my guilt and shame by moving it out. 

But I am not perfect. And I won't ever be and I am probably going to have more car accidents in my lifetime and I make mistakes daily. But sitting in my guilt and shame doesn't make anything better or teach me to rely on God. 

Hopefully everything works out at the mechanic and the repairs are minimal.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Lots of Celebrating

The fall and the beginning of December are shaping up to be quite the celebrating time for the Hernadez family.

We celebrated my 29th birthday on November 5, 2010

Then we celebrated Thanksgiving with about 20 friends. This was my 4th Thanksgiving here in Mexico.

Then we set up our first Christmas tree. Don't you love it?

Just a couple of days ago, we went to Cuernavaca to celebrate with Pao and Tim and their wedding. This was our first wedding since our own. It was a fun day with lots of adventures!

And today we celebrate Gabo's 35th birthday. What a blessing he is to me and to many others.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The culture of Fighting for Freedom

Lately, I have come to the stark reality of a part of the US culture that not everyone shares.

Mexicans have not fought for freedom or rights in the last 100 years. That's right in 1910 was the Revolution. We just celebrated it on November 20. Now I am not an expert on the history of Mexico but what I understand that just 100 years ago there was about 150 rich families that controlled everything and everyone in all of Mexico. Well there was a revolt and a revolution and that is how Mexico was changed from not being ruled by the rich and now supposedly it is more equal (I wouldn't bet my life on it) but at least 150 families are not controlling a country. We have "new" issues here like corruption of government and drug cartels, etc. But Mexico is only 200 years old.

Here is the crazy thing, the majority of the people in the country have no idea what it's like to fight for freedom or the defense of others.

I found this last month when a new friend asked me about the Army and the soldiers in the states. We honor the men and women that fight for our country. We miss them when they are gone and we understand what it's like to live in a world where our dads, brothers, sons may not make it home. It gives us pride but it gives us a worldview completely different from other countries.

We sing songs about it. We write stories about it. We even have shows about the lives of Army Wives. It is who we are. And I think it has made us less passive and more patriotic. Yes, there are many Americans that are in disagreement as to how much we get involved in the affairs of other countries but as a whole we are united to support our troops.

That is what makes these pictures precious to us.

Cause these people are real to us.

Think about how our lives would be different if we left this part out of our cultural makeup.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

On the first day of my 29th year....

I want to remember all that God has done the last 365 days of my life. 

The biggest one is that I don't think a year ago that I truly believed that I would be a married woman in this moment. I mean, I knew my time would come where Jesus would bring a man into my life but it still last year at this time was still just a dream. Gabo and I celebrated a million times with my friends and even though we were talking at marriage at this point, I didn't think it was a reality yet. Gabo has become my best friend and so much more in the last couple of months. I have learned so much about myself through him. I am grateful for the hard moments in marriage and love even more the great days.

I gained an entire Mexican family and that has been crazy and fun. They rarely plan things and all the nieces and nephews love me. Gabo is one of the youngest of 6 so his nieces and nephews are like 16-22.I am still learning a lot but the good news is that my father-in-law loves me. :)

I have become more of an adult. Most of that has come with the marriage...we bought furniture finally last week and I have my very own kitchen aid mixer. It's like I am becoming a real lady (that's for you Kellie Dahl..after all these years).And then for my birthday, Gabo bought me this set of glasses with a matching pitcher. I LOVE IT.

I have grown in knowing Jesus more. Right now I am going through a study with Beth Moore on the fruit of the Spirit. I am learning I am not so much a bearer of some of those guys. I feel like Jesus is speaking over me more and more asking me to love people like I say I love him. He is asking me to put my words into action but to his people. It is really challenging.

I have missed my family more. This one has been strange. I am pretty used to living away from my family but I guess it's just part of adjusting. Plus those guys are pretty incredible.

I love this time of my life. I enjoy the challenge and where God has us. I am thankful.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who do you want your life to resemble?

Yesterday in church we sang a song that I don't necessarily agree with all of the words. Or well maybe I should say, I don't know if it truly is the desire of our heart.

In English it says this:
I want to be like you
My desire is to live like you
With all of my soul, my desire Lord
is to live like you.

My friend Carlos, spoke at our student retreat last weekend. He taught on God being Lord in our lives. One of the questions he asked us was to name a character of the Bible that we wanted our life to look like. It was a trick question but here were some of the responses. 

Paul and Carlos responded with asking the student if they wanted to be beaten, flogged, incarcerated and imprisoned? 

Another student said Esther. Carlos spoke on the frankness of Esther's life. Orphaned, plucked from her village, forced to participate in a year long beauty competition, won the favor of the King and was only called upon when the King wanted her and on top of all of that, had to risk her life to save her people. 

We could continue this game with tons of people talked about in the Bible. Moses (I don't want that kind of responsibility and then never see the promised land), Mary-the mother of Jesus (try explaining to your parents these days that you are a pregnant virgin), Peter, or anyone else. 
But I was thinking about the song yesterday. Do I really want to live like Jesus lived? Homeless? Vagabond? Despised by his hometown? Am I really going to shout out in church...Lord, let me be homeless! No, absolutely not. I don't want to live like Jesus but I want my character to reflect it and maybe it is the kind of thing where God decides to take away some cool things in my life to make me resemble him more. 

Ultimately, we as Believers are following a God and reading a book that says: "to follow me and to be like me, it isn't going to be a cake walk". And how quickly I forget that. I just want it to be easy. But character transformation does not come when I am comfortable. That is for sure.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Student Retreat

We got back from our student retreat on Sunday evening. It went well but I am exhausted still! We went to the state of Morelos and at night it got a little chilly. We really did enjoy the time with students from 3 different cities.

Here is a group picture right before everyone left (I am taking the picture so don't look too hard for me).

Also, one of the students, Ivan, made a video. It's about 7 minutes long but it shows what we did and what the time was like. Enjoy!

Vida Estudiantil at Kikoten

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Calling all High School Christian Girls

You know what I am talking about when I say worship band. You think...cute drummer. It was always a hit for me when I was a teenager and I went to summer camp, a youth rally, whatever and I was enthralled with the guys in the band. I always thought it would even be fun to date one. They just seemed so talented and hot. WOW. I thought what passion they must have for the Lord to serve. I bought in to the groupie mentality. 

And then my cousin John was in the band one year at summer camp. I was cool by association. It was kind of a big deal. 

And then I met a pianist in Mexico. And we dated and fell in love. Then I married him. I am the official groupie for life. 

So High School Christian girls, here are some things you should know about being a musician's wife (because clearly now I am an expert):

- sound checks start really early in the morning
- he tells me when singers, instruments, etc are out of tune and says "HELP"...hilarious
- just because he sounds great up front doesn't mean he wakes up like that. Gabo who studied 9 years in a Music Conversatory and has taught for 15 years still studies every piece of music for hours before even going to a rehearsal. 
 - he woos my mom with personal concerts
- even little kids are drawn to musicians

- traveling is a beast...plan to pack in one suitcase so he can carry all of his stuff. (it really is worse if he is a drummer. think of the cymbals and that big fat bass drum)
- in general, Musicians are dreamers, visionaries and have tons of ideas. They don't always love making solid plans
- he can hear a song i love once on the radio and play it by ear for me

So ladies checking out the band....live in reality. They are a whole different animal in good and bad ways. Plus be careful, you don't want be lusting after your brother. That is just ugly. 

From the journey,


Monday, October 04, 2010

The Value

I have this ring that my mom gave me when I was in high school. It was the promise ring that my dad gave my mom when they were in college. They divorced when I was young and I wear the ring every day to remind me of their love that they once had and that my sibs and I were on purpose.

When I lived in Colorado, the ring broke. The band cracked and I was devastated. I took it to a jewelry repair store in the mall to see what they could do. The man asked me what kind of material it was and I didn't know what to respond. I didn't know what the ring was made out of. So he examined it and told me it was white gold. Now I don't think Don Bastine was a cheapskate back in the day but I just figured it was silver. The value of the ring that I had worn for like 10 years had changed in an instant.

I think we don't understand truly the value we have in Christ. It's like someone walking around orphaned and then they realize that Daddy Warbucks wants to take them in. Jesus came to set the captives free. He gave us value and purpose. We are not silver rose rings passed down from our parents but white gold. And the crown that we wear on our heads signifies our value that we are chosen, redeemed and rescued.

Do you know your value today?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rant #2: Addictions

So I have been frustrated lately. I have watched people struggle with a substance or something having a hold on their life for all of mine really. In different ages, I deal with it in different ways. Addictions affect everyone.

Being a lover of pop culture, I have taken note that my girl Lindsay Lohan lately has had another dirty drop (that is what they call it in the police bus...) and it looks like she might be marching her little tordi back to jail. I mean, did she think that cocaine wasn't going to show up? Did she think she was immune to justice?

I don't know Lindsay personally but there are plenty I do know. I think that we use substances, sex, reputation, etc to make us feel different. The Bible in Ephesians talks about not being drunk on whine but being filled with the Spirit. In fact it is a command... BE FILLED. And my girl Beth Moore described it as that we feel different when we are empowered by the Spirit just like when you are drunk you are little out of your element as well. I think we just look for other thinks to make us feel different. But the buzz always wears off.

I have seen the addiction train come to a screechy halt in front of my face this week. A couple of weeks ago I heard about a 17 year old girl who lived under a bridge with a bunch of people and she just happened to be 5 months pregnant. Now, unborn babies pull a heart string with Mrs. Hernandez. I felt compelled to see her. So I went to where she was living with some friends to see what she was going to do. Old girl does NOT LOOK 5 months pregnant and she has no plan. Me and Lolis went back this week to find her. It was a day that she could leave the facility so she leaves with some friends and immediately starts using Activo (an inhalant that is like paint thinner that people put on kleenex and sniff through their mouths). I watched her eyes gloss over and I looked at her stomach and thought of that baby...it broke my heart.

I realized that I can't help people that don't want to help themselves. And honestly, addicts make me angry. Please, be more selfish. You think only about yourselves and the temporary high that you need to feel. You want to be in a pit without hope and no direction because you will choose a drug over knowing people and truly loving yourself.

I am not cut out for street kid ministry. It sucks. I am so grateful that God calls others there but it is not my calling.

If you are struggling with an addiction, please get help. You are ruining your relationships, you have made your priority something that cannot bring you satisfaction. You are missing a life that you were made to live.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Joys of Mexican Independence

We celebrated Mexico's 200th Birthday with friends on September 15, 2010. We ate good food and danced. I won the contest for dressing the most patriotic. The title "Miss Bicentennial" is quite an honor. 

Gabo and I at the Noche Mexicana
I am putting in some pictures for your viewing pleasure.  
Friends dancing
More dancing

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh the joys of life in Mexico

I have been particularly content these days in Mexico. Work is off to a good start, I am enjoying my friends, marriage and the city. I think we are in a good routine.

As some of you know, the hubs and I dated only a year before we tied the knot. So much of our life these days is still just getting to know each other and our differences and our similarities. In some major ways, Gabo and I are alike. We love Jesus, we love our friends, we pretty much need a break from life about the same time. We like the same kind of movies, we like simplicity, etc.

There are some things that I have learned about this man in the last 3 months that were not previously known...let me share them with you.

This guy is a little bit more cautious than I would ever have known. Yesterday he simply said that risks with safety just weren't worth it. I don't think he will be going skydiving anytime soon. He wouldn't even let the nephew do anything alone this summer for fear of him getting hurt under his care.

Gabo is a clean person. He likes personal hygiene and well I don't. This morning he jumps out of bed and goes right into shower. This is normal. I wait until the very last minute so maybe I don't have to do it. For example this morning at 9:22am, staff meeting starting at 10:00am, I am standing in the hall with my towel...
Emily: "Gabo, do you ever not want to shower?"
Gabo: "No never. I love showers."
Emily: "Really? Never?"
Gabo: "We are different in this. I see showers as a reward. You see them as a punishment."

I laughed out loud. It is so true!

And that is my life these days.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thoughts on fads, time and new things.

I have some confessions to make. I often am easily swayed by pop culture. I like Justin Bieber. I mean have you seen this kid? He's cute and talented. People say he is just a fad. When I was in the states this summer, Gabo and I watched an E! special on him. His voice coach was talking about how his voice is going through the change but they believe that he has great pitch and will make it through the change and have a career afterwards. I am rooting for him. In fact, I have made a bet with my friend Abraham here in Mexico that people will still know him in 2015. 

All that to say, I think we mostly focus on what is popular or cool now. We are impatient and we don't usually want to take time to see if something is going to last or not. So if it's Justin or an IPAD or the newest car, why do we become so obsessed with the newest thing?

Gabo and I have talked a lot lately about how there is nothing "new" we need to know about God. Everything that has been taught that is valid was written in the good book long ago. If someone has a new idea, chances are it's not from Jesus. We don't need new ideas. We need to know the old ones well. 

The book of Nehemiah is showing up EVERYWHERE in my life these days. I think God wants to teach me something about this guy. First of all, this guy was committed to rebuilding the walls. Do you know that in total the process took 12 years? Building movements and mobilizing projects TAKE TIME. 

I too have bought into the "the quicker, the better" philosophy in ministry. I believe God can do anything don't get me wrong but ministry takes time and patience. I have really wrestled with the idea that I don't know if I have done anything life changing in 3 years here in Mexico. But it's only been 3 years. 

Time...it always gets you. I don't know where we will be working in a year or where we will live in 5 years. But I know that time is precious and I need to use my time wisely. More than that, I need to trust Jesus with my time.

The Bible talks extensively about being renewed but in Christ. If we don't experience renewal, we become bogged down with cynicism, we lose our imagination or the idea to dream. These things are part of using our time wisely. If I am cynical and just want to make it through the day, I am wasting my life. I am learning it's a fine balance of the two. I tend to be "over analytical" and think it is all up to me. 

I am not sure where I will end up or what will be popular on that day but I want to continue to not lose heart as I am given one more day. And I hope that Justin still has a voice in 2015 so I can win a bet. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hello Transition. My name is Emily.

So we are back and settled in after the staff conference. It was a good time in Cholula. God has done a number on our hearts and I believe that the staff in Mexico are more united than I have ever experienced. It was fun to see how Jesus is faithful to change us.

It was Gabo's first staff conference and I think he enjoyed it. He helped with the music and that blessed people immensely. I love his attitude to jump in and get to know people.

So we are getting ready to start ministry this week here in the City. I don't know what it will look like. All the faces on my team are familiar, which is a huge plus. There are just less of them. I pray that we enjoy each other and the students. I pray that we change the culture of what it looks like to be Christians here in the city. I desire deep community and students living out what God has done in their lives. Honestly, I am a little dissatisfied in that in my own personal ministry. So I am excited to try new things and risk more.

The new married stage has it's challenges in any world but here where we both have weird schedules, just adds more fun. Gabo and I have been married for 2 months but we don't know yet what it's like to live a "normal week" with each other. We'll see how it goes.

The other area of uncertainty is what God has for us in the future. Where will we be? Where will we work? What is our jobs to go with our sweet calling? How the next year plays out will be interesting and life changing I believe.

I am grateful to have friends, teammates, and family to walk with me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rant #1: living a 1D life instead of 3D

Caution, you could be offended. 

So I spend about 5 weeks with my family in Indiana/Michigan. It was a good time spent. Gabo and I took care of my lil' man Rylan and spent a lot of time just chilling. In those times chilling, we frequented facebook. I use facebook these days but not so long ago my friend Charity had to start a petition to get me on there. I tend to be a private person. I want to tell people things when it's my time so you can imagine when i log onto facebook and hear that someone got engaged or whatever the latest news is. Nevertheless, I know that when I sign up, I willingly participate in the craziness. 

A couple of weeks before the wedding, I decided I was going to fast until after the wedding from social networking. It was sucking my time, I was over knowing more about my friends from a computer than from their mouths. I was sick of fighting gossip. It was good. Not the first fast of this form and will not be the last. 

This summer however, Gabo and I took note of more and more comments, updates and such that made us see that people are living more in a relationship with technology than in real life. I am going to break my beef down to two parts...sharing, saying things that you would never say in 3D world and the second being the over spiritualness of Christians.

Lets start with the idea that if I write it, it isn't as scary if I say it. Actually, when it is written down for 5,000,000 people to read it, it carries a little bit more weight. If 24 year old Bobby is writing that he loves his 2 week girlfriend and she is the woman of his dreams after he just broke up with last gf 3 weeks ago, it makes his words not so trustworthy. And he looks pretty silly professing his love to everyone instead of just to her in a park or a coffee shop. I don't love that. It makes me feel like Bobby, Cindy or Jan display their feelings on facebook because they don't have the guts to say it in real life. And somehow they get some validation or some reputation by saying it to everyone. What are we trying to prove with social networking? Are we looking for purpose or worth if someone gives you a "like"? Why can't we just go back to real life? I mean, I live in a foreign country and these things help me stay connected but are we at risk from losing real relationships because we can do a couple of clicks and express all of our emotions? I don't get it. It's scary.

Secondly, let's talk about Christians on social networking. I, being a Christian, should be loving and kind and actually be more sensitive to my kind. However, I think sometimes I struggle with loving the ones that should know better. Don't get me wrong, I work in Christian ministry and we all know that social networking is THE best way to recruit students to come to events, even connecting with students that still don't believe. But more than I see us as Christians using technology to just shouting that God is great. 

Friends, Believers...listen to me. By writing "God is love. I love him because he first loved me." or "The Holy Spirit is my best friend", this is not evangelism. This doesn't pull people closer to Jesus. Actually, in my opinion, it makes you look like a religious zealot and that does not help the kingdom come. 

Please, get off your blackberry and off the laptop or the IPOD, live life with people that are in 3D. The hurting broken people that would never say it to the world of social networking. That is how we are Jesus. 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Learning a lot and liking it.

So the new hubby and I have been spending some quality time in the Michiana area with my family. We go home to Mexico on Saturday and I am really looking forward to getting into a rhythm of life again. I am in a new chapter of life--not sure what is to come but desperately want to have a positive attitude about it. I want to share some of the highlights.

- I am pretty responsible when it comes to finances. I have lived off the support of others for the last 6 years and never have been in desperate, dyer straights where I couldn't eat. However, I do have debt. I have been working to pay off my college debt since graduating in 2004. Gabo has some debt too and we want to live within our means and plan well. I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey and Gabo read the book before we got married. I guess the question is how do we both live on one budget? We both, getting married later, are used to buying what we want when we want it. If I wanted to go to Taxco (the silver city of Mexico) and blow $100 on silver jewelry, I did it. And Gabo with music things. We are learning and growing in this area. I am completely open to suggestions from all of my 5 readers. 

- I see my sin more clearly now with the husband. I heard people say that before but I constantly try to defend and justify my actions when Gabo points out that I did something unloving or disrespectful. We are reading a book called "Love and Respect" and it is challenging us. I guess when it comes down to it...I just want to always be right. :) and I want Gabo to be wrong. Yikes. That is sin and I want to be grieved by it. 

- I think in some ways I am grieving my single life. Don't get me wrong, I love waking up next to Gabo and living life with him. But I lived an awesome single life. I had great, fun roommates that we cooked together, shopped together and watched Friends episodes together. I want to transition well but I don't want to be one of those women who forgets how to hang out with the singles because she has a husband at home. Those ladies drive me crazy. 

- I want to be healthy. I want to take steps in taking care of my body. I know a girl from when I lived in Colorado that just dropped like a million pounds. She motivates me. I think I can do it. I will just have to start cutting back on DQ blizzards. Praise the Lord Mexico hasn't discovered DQ yet. 

- In general, I am learning a lot about friendships. I think in the process of getting married, I have learned the value of a friend. Not just because they did or didn't come to one of my weddings but because the way they handled it. Gabo has been helping me understand that in friendships there are always expectations and in mine I have a very sacrificial attitude. That I will do just about anything to show that I love someone and they are important to me. I want to tell you that 97% of the wedding process, I felt completely LOVED and cherished by my dear friends. I want to focus on the 97 and not the 3%. 

Not sure what God has in store for me or us this next year. But I am looking forward to it. Hope you are too!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This one's for you Becca Paschal

So I recently was at a wedding this past weekend in Dallas and my friend Becca confronted me on not updating my blog. I have some excuses for sure...but still doesn't make things right. So this one is an ode to Becca and why I like her so stinkin' much.

  • She's funny. I spent the weekend laughing with her.
  • Becca's the kind of girl that is the life of the party.
  • She goes with the flow, a team player and a great maid of honor.
  • She is honest and vulnerable...probably my favorite thing about her.
  • She is a joy to share an air mattress with even when it deflates in the middle of the night :)

Hats off to you Becca Paschal! You light up my life.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Why 2009 was good to me...

Just wanted to share with you some highlights of my last year...in no particular order.

On July 9, this guy entered my world. My sister had her first baby and Rylan is my 2nd nephew. He's great along with Brady and Carly.

I learned to follow God's calling and be content where he puts me. I have searched God's heart and know him more and love people better because of 2009.

God gave me one month of my best friend Suzanne being here in Mexico with me. She met my friends, she learned my world and she spoke grace and truth to me. And for that I am completely grateful for the month of June with her.

I learned to love in a new way. A boy popped into my life about April and he and I began dating in July. Gabriel recently came home with me for Christmas to meet my family. We'll see what is in store for us.

I got to travel a little bit.

To Chihuahua...

To Cancun to vacation with my parents and Kathryn...

Multiple trips home to South Bend...

I learned to forgive, to pass the offense and to believe the best in people. SO grateful for 2009.