The Nielsen Family
Spring 2020 Update
Greetings from Lake Chapala!
On December 31st, we posted the following New Year instructions on our Facebook page. For those who still haven’t seen it, here it is:
SCHEDULED DEPARTURE: WEDNESDAY 12:01 AM
Hello, welcome to ✈️ Flight #2020. We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked 🔒 in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. Should we lose Altitude under pressure, during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers 🙏🏻will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated you can assist other passengers. There will be NO BAGGAGE 💼 allowed on this flight. The Captain (GOD) has cleared us for takeoff. Destination GREATNESS.
This year promises to be quite a flight! And we must be ready! We live in a time when everything is moving so fast. News cycles have morphed from 24 hours to 24 minutes. Violence is exploding all around the world. Yet God’s grace, in even greater proportion, is rising like a cleansing tide.
“So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.“(Isa. 59:19 NKJV)
We, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are gatekeepers who have been deputized to daily live out the words “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are convinced more than ever that the this process begins with prayer. These words must be declared before the throne before they can be demonstrated and proclaimed to a needy world. Why? Because HE gives us the encouragement to face the new challenges of each day and the wisdom to make each moment count. Here is a New Year blog we posted that underscores the point: Prayer Let’s Us Begin Again
Heading into the New Year, we are grateful to God for all His blessings. In the 5 months since relocating here to Mexico, our kids have adjusted well to our new home.This speaks well for their flexibility, given Ella is 14, Noah 13 and they had to make this “quantum Leap” in culture, language and living space at such a crucial time in their lives.
Both Noah and Ella are homeschooling on-line, under the umbrella of an organization in the United States. The combined cost is $150 per month.
Going from a ranch to a house with no yard space has also been a challenge. Our two dogs serve as our “security system.” Reagan, our Golden Retriever, can no longer wander around on a 20 acre property, settling instead for a fenced in space outside our front door where we park our car. Lady Thatcher, our Siberian Husky pup, is an “escape artist” (like all Husky’s) but loves hanging with Reagan and will never go too far outside the gate.
We love our house. And our neighbors are the best. The afternoon breeze that blows in off the lake, as well as the consistently temperate weather here make for an amazing day every day.
One of our joys is the our upper level patio, which has been transformed into a bird feeding paradise. Stasia has a green thumb and her plants thrive in the open air. Lately, we have been invaded by a host of hummingbirds. They now visit us around the clock to feed. Here is a slow motion clip I captured just a minute ago from my phone:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds of your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain
Our greatest regret at the end of our lives will be the God-ordained opportunities we left on the table, the God-given passions we didn’t pursue, and the God-sized dreams we didn’t go after because we let fear dictate our decisions.” ~Mark Batterson
We attend the International Church of Guadalajara, about a 45 minute drive from where we live. The pastors, Ernie & Sandra Peacock, are awesome. Together they have planted over 40 churches, most of them in the Guadalajara area. They have been missionaries about the same number of years as us, are young at heart like us, adventurous like us, and it has been a joy to have connected with them. I feel like we are related in some sort of way. I guess we simply have the same spiritual DNA!
This week pastor Ernie asked if I could serve as the IT/Webmaster for the church. They already have a website but he is asking if I could give it a remake and take things to the next level. Of course I said yes!
Here is a video that introduces the ministry of the ICGDL:
We are excited about global outreach opportunities that are shaping up for the next few months!
Here is what our schedule looks like for the first half of this year:
Puerto Rico Earthquake Response
Stasia deploys to Puerto Rico in early March to serve on location as a chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response teams.
As you know, Puerto Rico was hit by two Hurricanes in 2017: “Irma” (category 5) and Maria (category 4). After the two hurricanes hit, the entire island was without power, and total casualties topped 3,000. Since then, the recovery has been steady but slow. A third of the country still has no power. Tens of thousand have left the island for other shores.
Since December 28th, 2019, Puerto Rico has been trembling with earthquakes. The shocks hit their fever pitch on January 7th, when a 6.4-magnitude quake struck.
This series of tremors, which has numbered in the hundreds since December, has caused in excess of $110 million in damages, and left more than 8,000 Puerto Ricans displaced from their homes. It’s a traumatic state of affairs that has residents reeling from flashbacks to Hurricane Maria. Currently an estimated 5,000 people are unable or unwilling to return to their homes, and there’s understandably widespread fear of being indoors, should another major earthquake happen.
As a Crisis Response Chaplain, Stasia will be out among the people, ministering emotional and spiritual care to those still in the process of pulling their lives together. As you can imagine, this is an amazing opportunity to share the love of Christ to these precious people.
Stasia will need $500.00 to cover her costs.
Power Ministry Holy Land Trip
Stasia and John will be joining Power Ministry for a trip to the Holy Land, May 28-June 10th.
This is a rare moment in our missionary career history. The only other time we embarked an an international outreach trip together was 31 years ago when we traversed the Philippines and Thailand for three months on a YWAM Far East Evangelism Team (also known as FEET). Brittany was 3 years old and we were kids just getting our feet wet in missions. (No pun intended!)
For many years we have both dreamed of going on outreach to Israel. This summer will mark our 35th year in missions–and this for us is the perfect celebration!
We couldn’t imagine a better group to go with. I (John) have spent the past several years traversing the Texas-Mexico border with POWER, experiencing memorable times of worship, fellowship and ministry–so this is going to be a real treat.
Our desire is to make this trip count by prayer walking, photo-blogging and podcasting both during the trip and the days following.
As you can imagine, funding this trip is a heavy lift for us. Remaining cost: $4800.00.
If the Lord lays it on your heart, you can donate using the button at the bottom of this email. Whether you would prefer to designate your funds toward Noah and Ella’s School fees, Stasia’s Puerto Rico outreach, or our POWER Trip to the Holy Land you can make that designation. Any amount would be greatly appreciated!
May the Lord bless and keep you…
In His Mighty Grip,