“You are an Apostle”… Who, Me?

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Tents of Go Inc, a group of short term missionaries at Rancho Camp, Amor Ministries

“Why Amor?”

“Huh?”

“Yes, why… Amor?”

“Well, Amor means love,”

“Wrong…”

“Huh?”

“Are you or not an apostle? It’s Amor because your job is to show the love of Jesus.”

That was an exchange I had the other day with an agent at the San Ysidro border as he was reviewing my documents and read the logo of Amor on the side of the truck.

The border, it’s an interesting place. Sometimes you wait a long time, only to be hammered with a ton of questions, secondary inspections, and the occasional agent who gives you a hard time. Sometimes the crossing is quick and painless… so I’ve heard, mine are never quite like that. But I digress…

I was shocked at his boldness, a little bit offended by his tone, which was a bit patronizing (OK, here is where I recognize to you that I’ve always struggled with authority), and intrigued by the timeliness of this questioning.

“An apostle? Who? Me?” I thought.

Seconds before we reached the window I had been sharing “my testimony” Christian speak for the narrative of the moment you chose to abandon who you think you are, to the truth in the offering of salvation — letting Jesus into your heart. My experience was radical, but my transformation didn’t finish at that moment. It only meant that at the end of the pursuit, it was my turn to follow.

“Am I an apostle?” Well, recently I’ve been calling myself a missionary to explain what I do at Amor,  despite the fact that I don’t live in a foreign land… well sort of…

“Jesus calls us to a continuous life of service. Therefore, we choose to serve with love… one family at a time.” Source

I’m a missionary because I was sent to Amor, and on weekly basis I’m sent to Mexico to work, to speak, to know, to learn with families and pastors in the region. Because I’m in a mission to help bring development in the communities alongside people who seek to bring social justice .  And yes… to show the love of Jesus.

“But an apostle?”

I found this definition in Google,

The word apostle is derived from the Greek apostolos, meaning “one who is sent.” A modern-day apostle would typically function as a church planter—one who is sent out by the body of Christ to spread the gospel and establish new communities of believers.

But I don’t have a special background, training, knowledge, for this mission. All I have is my experience, my story, and the passion I have from what God has done in my heart.

In 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul says :”For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all — yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Perhaps there is more to this calling than writing and letting people know about helping the needy.  In this calling I’m showing what amazing God I serve; The One who died for me and rose again to remind us that He has overcome to offer a relationship. The only response:  it’s love.

“Did you learn something today?” he said.

“Yes sir” I replied.

And he handed my documents back.

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Girl on a Mission – quick update,

Since last week, my feelings towards my mission have changed. Rather I’m fully embracing what the mission of what I’ve been called to do will entail. At Amor, Gayla came with the concept of Disrupt (or borrowed the concept of disrupt). Living a life of disruption, means following where God will call you, even when it makes us uncomfortable, it seems unfeasible and it’s full of unknowns.

While originally having to cross to Tijuana in regular basis hardly felt  foreign to me (given that I’m Mexican), I’m actually culturally and spiritually unmatched to what I’ve been facing.

I started to feel like a foreigner in my own country, disrupted.  But you know, that’s when letting God work with you in that state that we are more keen for transformation. My heart was broken and he put it back together. it’s natural for it to get to me, but now I can focus on acquiring the skills to cope. Because disruption is guaranteed if you are to follow Jesus. And I want to keep following, listening and growing in that relationship, the most personal relationship of my life. It has led me to this incredible adventure and I can’t wait to see where it will lead.

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God Size Dream

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to be a writer. On sixth grade this dream was fed by a little bit of competition with one of my best friends and academic rival: Monica. By the time we were in Jr. High we even made a bet of who would win a Nobel Price or a Pulitzer. We were very young and naïve; But profoundly in love with Spanish literature.

We went to different high-schools and it was during this time that our dreams changed. I was to be a lawyer. It happened gradually as I began reading Plato and I found out I enjoyed the pursuit of truth and justice and crafting arguments. I still wanted to write, but also to be able to earn a living and keep my independence as a single woman.

At the end of high-school, I was admitted to law school and not just any law school, but to La Escuela Libre de Derecho, one of the most prestigious schools in Mexico. Still, at 17 I began having second thoughts, I was going through inside turmoil and insecurities of an adolescent carrying scars of a broken childhood. I didn’t feel prepared to take that new step. I was spinning without real direction.

My step-dad  and my mother encouraged me to spend a year with their relatives in United States. The plan was for me to learn English, and then return with a clearer vision of what I would do next. School would wait for me, while my acceptance letter guaranteed me a Visa.

 God is the Composer. Your life is His musical score. God is the Artist.

Your life is His canvas. God is the Architect. Your life is His blueprint. God is the Writer. You are His book.  Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle

 That trip altered forever the course of the life I had planned for my self.

It was in the United States that I became a Christian. Despite growing up with a Catholic background, I was a unapologetic agnostic veering towards full-on atheist. And it wasn’t that people didn’t share their faith with me before; my best friend is Christian and she tried (although she mostly focused on Catholic to Christian conversion when I wasn’t interested in either option). I believe I couldn’t hear because my ears were clogged with hate and resentment. I sensed that if I had survived  for so long,  it was up to me to make things better for myself. I wanted to believe I was intelligent enough and capable enough to work through whatever was sent my way and the idea of God seemed like a superstition that would only get on my way.

But Jesus pursued me, found me and changed me.  He created in me new dreams and new hopes.

I’ll share my testimony with more detail another time. Probably is worth noting I never went back to live in Mexico and I also didn’t ended up studying Law.

When I enrolled for the first time in College in the United States I had to take many English classes, only to be able to start taking College level classes. I still remember with amusement the face of my counselor when I said I wanted to major in Journalism. His job was to tell me that it was a really bad idea; perhaps I would be more interested in a Chicano Studies degree. In order to be admitted into the Journalism program at State, I would need to pass a nearly impossible test.

It wasn’t until the third attempt I passed such test. And kept onward. I graduated with a major in Journalism and a minor in Economics from SDSU– A small feat for many, a gargantuan for me.

After graduation I remember telling God, well thank you, I got it from here. At the same time He told me, give it to me. I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to understand. But a seed was planted that would take three years to germinate.

Like I’ve said before, I love journalism. It’s at the essence of me. I don’t discard a career in journalism, but for now God has given me a new dream. In retrospect He had been working early on at the heart of who I am, at the core of my talents and as I work to hone and acquire new skills He keeps prompting me. That’s why when the opportunity came with Amor I took it. I knew it was a God dream. And the dream has grown that now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

While I’ve not raised the monetary support I need to work with Amor, some doors have started to open up in that regard, and I pray more people decide to partner with me and believe in my calling within the organization.

In the meantime I am writing, again. For now even if the only story I have to share it’s mine, I’m writing. With each word my writing becomes more coherent, more full of faith. I’m discovering the voice He gave me, to use for the job He has ahead for me.

And I no longer want to be independent. I like living in interdependence with my husband, family and friends and to be completely dependent in Him.

As for Monica, she studied computer science and has written in the sidelines, poems, and short stories. She’s a mom of a beautiful daughter and has created a beautiful family and I’m sure in her way she’s living her dreams.