Summer Greetings from the Nielsen Family!
We have a plaque in our dining room which showcases a quote from Hebrews: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
When Destiny came home from outreach in March, bringing her friends with her, we were fully aware that we had angels in our home! It was a real joy to meet all of her friends and to hear the stories, enjoy the fellowship, and feel the passion these kids had for the Lord and the call He has on their lives.
We want to thank those who gave so that we could host them for the week. Because of your generosity, we were able to feed them well, show them the town and even go on an afternoon boat ride on Lake Chapala, featuring a stopover on “Scorpion Island.” We’re including a gallery featuring some of the highlights. Joy and laughter filled our home and warmed our hearts.
There were a number of “divine appointments” that took place during their stay in Chapala: heart-felt conversations with shopkeepers in town who opened up to this joyful band of “Gringos” with radiant grins on their faces! For us, the time sped by too fast.
After all her friends flew out, Destiny remained with us a few weeks before flying to Salt Lake City to spend time with her sister Chelsey. While there, she will be working long hours and saving as much money as she can for her next venture: leadership training and a two-year commitment to serve on staff at YWAM Kona with “Fire and Fragrance.” Toward the end of her outreach in Albania, one of the Fire and Fragrance leaders approached her about coming on staff an invitation-only opportunity. We are really excited for her and believe she will not only be a real blessing to others in this new role, but she will learn and experience so much as she mentors young people in the things of God and leads outreach teams around the world over these next two years.
We love the people here in Mexico. Our neighbors are wonderful and have made us feel like family. The culture is charming and the people light up at the simplest gesture of kindness. We want to extend our invitation to visit and see for yourself. As they say here “Mi casa es su casa!” My house is your house!
Lake Chapala and the Sea of Galilee: A Comparison
Lake Chapala is the largest fresh water lake in Mexico. It averages 8 miles across and it is 50 miles long. The Sea of Galilee, where Jesus walked on the water and calmed the storm, is virtually the same width as Lake Chapala, though only a quarter as long at 13 miles. The biggest difference between the two is the depth. The Sea of Galilee has a maximum depth of 141 feet, whereas Chapala maxes out at 35 feet (though the average is about 25 feet). Chapala sits at 5,000 elevation, and the Sea of Galilee sits nearly 700 feet below sea level.
Storms are common for both, as these lakes create their own ecosystem and rain supply. The overnight lightning laced thunderstorms in Chapala are truly Biblical in proportion! It’s as if the earth is crying out in grateful praise to the Lord of heaven and earth for His rich bounty. Everything grows here–especially during the rainy season, which lasts from early June through late October.
When the thunder roars, our dogs yelp and frantically scratch our front door, begging for shelter! Often the power goes out for miles around and hours at a time. The candles in our home are worth their weight in gold at such times! Regardless of the collateral effects of these storms, we welcome them with open hearts as a a refreshing reminder that God is with us! A spectacular passage in the Psalms describes it well:
“Praise the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are magnificent.
You are robed in splendor and majesty.
He covers himself with light as if it were a garment.
He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain,
and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds.
He makes the clouds his chariot,
and travels on the wings of the wind.
He makes the winds his messengers,
and the flaming fire his attendant.” (Psalm 104:1-4)
We’ve continued with the family community outreach across the street at the newly renovated park. The goal is to give fun activities for the children in the neighborhood and work with the parents to teach crafts and other projects that will keep them engaged.
Stasia checks in on the elderly here in the neighborhood on a weekly basis. A few weeks ago, a 13-year-old girl up the street from where we lived turned up missing. Her name is Julissa. As you can imagine, the parents are heartbroken. Everyone suspects that she was abducted by traffickers. Please pray for Julissa and her family.
Upcoming Border Run
One of our good neighbors who works for an immigration lawyer recently informed us of a new regulation that would allow us to secure temporary residence status for the next 4 years at a minimal cost. Securing this status means we wouldn’t have to make border runs every 6 months, but could stay in Mexico or come and go as we please. After the 4 years is fulfilled, we would be eligible to apply for permanent residence.
Stasia will be making our semi-annual border run to update visa and car paperwork in a couple of weeks with one caveat: John and Noah will need to stay back to meet the requirements for us to get this process started for our family. This means Stasia and Ella will be traveling alone. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!
We appreciate so much your participation in our journey. Your gifts, prayers, and emotional support mean more than ever in these challenging days. Until next time, may the Lord Bless and Keep you!
In closing, we would like to leave you with this quote from Mark Batterson:
“Every move we make, every risk we take, sets the stage for someone else. Your brave is someone else’s breakthrough. We think right here, right now. God is thinking nations and generations. We think that what God does for us is for us, but it’s never just for us. It’s always for the third and fourth generations.”
May the Lord Bless and Keep you…
In His Mighty Grip,