Here I am…

28 09 2010

Hey everyone, I don’t know how many of you still follow up on my blog, but I wanted to continue to share my feelings from this point on.

I have been feeling super encouraged lately, not just because I have amazing friends and family, but because GOD has been faithful.  It is hard to put words to the roller coaster of emotions that I have gone through since Mexico, but I know that He has been with me.  Like all of us, some of our days are really great and full of Purpose, but then there are those days that everything seems to crumble and the evil one fights to ruin it.  I guess what I am saying is we are going to have both types of days.  I am now more aware of the darkness and oppression that is on this earth.  The darkness is fed by our selfish desires and thoughts, the seeds that the devil have sown in my life.  BUT, there is more to this story, for we could stop here and wallow in our misery or recognize that GOD IS VICTORIOUS and HE has fought and won the battle.  The battle for our hearts are still occurring, but we have a King that will guard out hearts and make us pure!

It is hard to believe that it has been 2 months since I returned from Mexico.  Many days it seems so far away, and the memories seem fuzzy; but then I think of all the experiences that I had and the relationships that were formed.  I also find so much comfort in knowing that God is with all of us in prayer.  That we are able to connect through His moving Spirit.  The distance is there (it takes 6 hours by plane, or 50+ hours by car to my friends in Mexico- believe me I have figured it out!), but God is everywhere and with all of us!

I hope all of you faithful blog readers out there realize the Greatness of our God, and how He cares for us!  I appreciate your continued prayers for the people of Mexico and the ongoing work there.  The mission did NOT stop when we left site, His Spirit continues there!  Please pray for a few specific people that I have been talking with since returning.  Both have lost loved ones.  Prayer for PELIPE and DALIA.  Pelipe lost his mother less than a week ago, they were very close (I think she was in her mid 50s).  Dalia is a dear friend of mine, she lost an uncle; it has greatly affect her and her family.

Thanks for your prayers and support throughout the past months, maybe someday I will be reading your blog and learning what it means to be with Christ!  Please keep me posted on your lives and what I can better prayer for you for. (Add me on facebook 🙂 )



Pics: Oaxaca & Puebla

3 09 2010

PART 1 of Embrace Mexico Pics

To see all the pictures either check out my facebook page or use these links:

Ministry in Mexico

2 09 2010

Hey faithful blog-readers!  I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to follow my trip and even now 3 weeks after it.  I really hope I have the chance to finally catch you completely up on the journey, everything that occurred the last few weeks in Mexico and since.  I am going to start with my time in Puebla and continue from there.

As you might remember for a blog from ab out a month ago, I spent 2 week in the BIG city of Puebla.  The city has a population of 6 million, and our team ministered and lived in communities of about 10,000 people.  The people were concentrated to a group of apartment complexes.  Our time there was very different from the MTs. of Oaxaca for the people did not out-write invite us in their homes as they did for us before.  It was something to get used to, but be kept going and evangecubes from door-to-door.  After a week of evangelism in this way, we decided that we needed to adapt our ministry to fit the community better.  Adults were off to work most of the day and children were in and out of school (in July- really!) so we needed to visit people and do our ministry later in the afternoons.  This was great!  We met with about 20 children and really got to know them.  We played a variety of games, sang songs, colored, and taught them Bible stories.  I especially enjoyed this time, for children our my passion and my future (in college for teaching in an elementary school).  The adjustment to the later time was hard for me at the time, for we didn’t do much ministry in the morning.  I felt like I should be doing more, and really I should have realized that time with my team was ministry too.  In retrospect I wish I would have focused more on the team and got to know them more during that down time.  Leaving Puebla was difficult as was Oaxaca, but I was nearing the point of readiness for returning to home.

Next we traveled 6 hours to a new location near the Gulf Coast.  The place was Tabasco, and it was hot and humid!  Ha ha, the sauce is named that not because it tastes hot, but because the place (state in Mexico) is hot. 🙂  I doubt that is true, but we liked to use that phrase as a joke.  Of all the locations we were Tabasco was the hottest by far, and the living arrangements were the most difficult too.  So to explain our travels so far….we have traveled through the very rural mountains and lived there…then went to the very modern big city…..then to the jungle.  Really, the jungle!  Our time there was good.  Even though tiredness from lack of rest-time and team difficulties, God used our time and we left with a good feeling about the ministry there.

While in Tabasco we continued to do our ministry of home-visits, Jesus Film, and children’s ministry.  Our time was somewhat relaxed as we adapted our schedule to what the needs of the community were.  One day we traveled to a school and cleaned up the yard.  Ha ha I used a machete to cut down the 2 feet tall weeds (remember we were in the jungle – everything grew well there), to be honest I wasn’t awful at using one. Two fo the days there we got to help a family build a house.  This was a fun time.  We cleaned up the brush, cut down trees, and helped establish the main support for the house.  During the cleaning up of the brush we found 3 tarantulas, 2 scorpions, and 3 iguanas! Oh and a praying matis!  It was crazy, ha ha but our teammates had fun capturing the creatures and putting them in 2 litter bottles….feeding them to each other :(.  Can you believe that the 1st tarantula eat the next two?  Really!  Also….so when we so guys were felling a tree (while clearing area for the house, they used the trees for lumber – genius!) we got thirsty so we drank coconut milk.  I little later a iguana crawls out of the tree, and feebly tries to escape the 5 men swinging machetes……to say the least, the iguana didn’t escape.  If 1 iguana wasn’t enough, the men were able to catch 2 more.  Earlier in the summer one of my teammates had eatten iguana soup, and we were told that we would have it for lunch the next day.  I had mixed feelings about it, but was excited to try something new.  After a ugly butchering (I have some wicked video of this!) and preparation for the ladies, we have cooked and breaded iguana.  It was prepared like chicken, but with lime on it.  It tasted like chicken, kinda with a fish-like texture.  I approve of it!  If you ever have the chance you should try it!

From Tabasco we traveled some and had time to relax.  We finally were able to make it to Veracruz, the original plan for the trip, and see some of the state.  Our time there was wonderful and fun, for we were able to visit it the homes/families of much of our teammates.  Some days of tourism and shopping ended our time there.  Next we traveled Mexico City.  This towm was a crazy place, with so many people, it was unbelievable.  Get this….the frist thing we do there is drag all our luggage through the subway system. basically blocking much of the traffic. 🙂

From Mexico City we bused ourselves to Morelos where JUNAMEX was.  As I have mentioned JUNAMEX is a national camp that only occurs every 4 years (much like NYC).  It was such a fun time for us!  We got to see many of our friends that we had met over the summer and also make new ones!  My favorite part was a conversation that I had with a girl named Wendy.  She was learning English and was eager to practice it, I was willing to work on my Spanish, so conversation came naturally.  It reminded me why I was in Mexico, to connect with the people and the culture.  It was so easy for me to get frustrated by the language barrier during the trip, but that moment was encouraging.  After some really hard good-byes we headed to the Mexico City airport to fly back to El Paso.  After a day of re-entry camp I headed back to KC……long story short, now I am here, back at my Kansas home in Olathe.

My time back from Mexico has been difficult in some ways, but great in others.  The memories, pictures I often look at, and the great God-convos remind me of why I have gone on such a trip in the first place.  The whole journey was about discovering myslef andmy role in God’s plan.  I used to think I was only searching for His plan in Mexico, but now I know He does have a plan for me here in the US too!  Hard to be away from the friends and places, but I sense that God has so much for me here.

I don’t really know what the next step is for me, but I know that God is with me every step of the way 🙂  Love you guys and I want to thank you for all of the support you have given me!  I will soon send out a follow-up letter and some pictures for you!  Let me know if you did not receive one and would like to hear more about my trip (add me on facebook – Nathaniel Leibel).

Dios te Bendiga!!!!

[nate] or Natanael (as they would refer to me in Mexico)

tired or renewed, excited or sad, the list goes on…

1 08 2010

My feelings at this moment are very mixed.  Up to this point (about a week now in the US) I have been so grateful to be back.  I love being with my family and seeing my friends….I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being around familiar sights and sounds.  Just to comprehend the language and really get to talk to people has been nice too….that all has been great for me, but now I feel like I am forgetting Mexico.  My thoughts are now on the present and my current needs/thoughts/and things of my heart.  I guess that is to be expected, I eventually need to realize that living here and doing what I am doing is reality, I am no longer on a mission trip in Mexico.

Tonight I was on facebook and I saw that I was tagged in another 20 photos from my new friends in Mexico.  That was great for me to see, but then I was sad because I feel so disconnected from them and their culture.  I am starting to feel like a part of me, a VERY important part of me, is slipping away.  The memories are still in my head, but they don’t feel as real to me anymore.  I expected some of these feelings, but I NEVER thought that I would feel this attachment to Mexico: the friends, sights, sounds, and culture.  Why is apart of my life and heart left behind in Mexico?  Is that would it means to sacrifice for others and give of one’s self?

I think I may be tired, and still not rested from my trip.  Two months of intense ministry and work for Him and now where do I go?  Home……then school…..then what?  I thought that I would feel more direction and clarification in my call, and not confusion.  I know these thoughts are for my better – I know that God is challenging and making me work hard to figure this out.  Ugh…..God give me the strength, I can’t move on and grow without You, especially now!

Help me to…

-Pray daily and with purpose

-Remember those I met in Mexico & introducing their lives to others

– Share the story of Your work this summer when people ask

-Become the man of God You have prepared me to be

-Give it all to You, the good and the bad, everything in between

Thanks to reading along…..this posts have been a way for me to get my thoughts out, many times I just don’t know how to pray or talk about my feelings, so this helps.  Please continue to follow along, I KNOW that God has something for us to discover in the next few weeks.  God bless you this week!  


Back in USA

26 07 2010

Hey guys!  This will be another short post, but I wanted to let you know that I am back in the United States.  I arrived back into El Paso, TX for training camp on Saturday and made the flight back to Kansas City yesterday.  I will be heading home (Leola, SD) tomorrow morning.

I plan on posting a lot of new content when I am just chilling and processing things at home.  I am going to spend 3 weeks at home to process this summer.  As I process I hope to feel you in on stories and details that were not included in the past posts.  My journey is not finished…it continues.  It continues just as each of your lives continue in the Love and Light of Christ.  Keep reading my posts, my hope is that they are an encouragement and reminder of Christ’s guidance in your lives!

I know I say this every time, but I can’t wait to see and talk with each one of you! 

Dios Les Bendiga (God Bless You)!!!


A short update….

19 07 2010

Here I go, settle down and get comfortable.  This blog may be longer than normal.  I haven´t updated you for 3 weeks, but here I am.  I hope to give you a small taste of what has been happening here and what God has been doing in our lives and those of others in Mexico.

Right now I am sitting in the living room of one of my teammates house.  Half of the team right now is from Xalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico.  We had plans of traveling to Mexico City today, but we decided that another 5 hour trip in a bus was not appealing to us.  So we are just chillin g in the town of Xalapa.  I believe that it is on the coast of the Gulf.  I am glad to be here and just to relax after the last 7 weeks of straight ministry.  Ministry has been incredible, and God has given us energyo  and passion for it, but we now need a little break to renew.

Okay….so going back 3 weeks….we had just arrived in Puebla.  The city is the capital city of the state of Puebla.  It has a population of about 5.5 million.  Crasy to think how many people live there… was overwhelming some of the time, but I was just excited to be there. Puebla is one of the oldest  in the country of Mexico, and it has a ton of history.  We had some time to see some of the city, but we saw the most of it on our 30 minute commutes to our sites of ministry.

My site of ministry was Cholula.  It was a great place to be!  It was a apartment complex area of about 10 different buildings housing about 10,000 people.  This was a HUGE change from my last community of 2,000 people in Guigovelaga, Oaxaca.  Our time there was more relax due to all the working families.  In the mountians almost of the people worked from their homes or just downtown.  Here in the city, they left for work and traveled to their various jobs.  Also, the children were in school during the afternoon.  Ministry had to be adjusted to fit these schedules.

TO BE CONTINUED…….we are heading out into the city to do some y tourism.  I hope to fill you all in very soon!  Thanks for your prayers, love each of you!  I can´t wait to talk to you about all that God is doing in Mexico!

3 weeks in Mexico… what?

27 06 2010

My title for this post is very appropriate for a few reasons.  The first is as most know, in missions you never completely know what to expect.  With every day comes unexpected moments and schedule changes.  The second and more important one is a question to God for me in this trip.  Now what Lord?  That is the question I have.  The first month of training and ministry has been a big test of faith, yet an encouraging experience…..but the journey is not complete yet.  I still have a month left in Mexico ministering and reaching our with the LOVE of CHRIST.  The questions continue, and many may not be answered before I return to the states, but I expect God to do wonderous things in Mexico in the weeks to come.  I wouldn´t be here if I didn`t believe that He was going to provide for us and be present in our ministry.

Oh no, the days are starting to run together :)….since my last post, I have finished my time in Guigovelga (one of 3 ministry sites that our team lived in).  The days went fast, and I really do miss the ministry there and all of the relationships that began in our short 2 week period there.  During our last 3 days there we held 2 children programs.  They were full of energy (mostly from the children) and the children left singing the songs and friendships began.  Each time I encounter those kids I am surrounded in joy and love.  When I am with them I am reminded of the message that Jesus had about children and faith.  The message says that we are to have faith like a child.  I am a believer of that now, and I have learned so much from these children.  Their joy, friendships, and just spontaneous energy reflects how we should be as mature Christians of strong faith.

The second children service was really a surprise to us.  Ha ha, we were planning on a formal evening service for adults, but children were the ones that showed up 🙂  This part of ministry was my favorite, for I have a much easier time connecting and communicating with the children. 

On Friday we returned to Progreso with the rest of the teams and had a time of relaxation.  We shared our testimonies about the trip in the last service with Pastor Nicolas.  The service was special to us in more than one way.  In the last part of it, we were asked to gather around the altar to be prayed for.  It was a very intimate and I like to say electric experience for the SPIRIT was there and very real to us.  Most of the church had gathered around us to prayer for us, and combined prayers in Spanish were beautiful to my ears, but more importantly; blessings to Him.

Since then we have travelled back to Juchitan (our starting point of the trip, AKA home base).  Oh I can`t forget to mention the 4 hour drive through the night…….6 of us guys rode in the back on a truck through the mountains.  The night was beautiful and I have never seen such a beautiful moon and clouds before.  I am encouraged most when the team is just together.  I sense comfort and love like nothing before as I sit closely with my friends….I will always cherish those moments.

Saturday was a days of feasts.  We ate at Burger King for lunch!!!  That was incredible for the American team, for we were really missing `American`food 🙂  Justing sitting and eating greasy burgers reminded us of our homes and those that we love.  It was a really important time to us, plus the burgers were just darn good too!!!  Later we had birthday party with a person we met (in any other situation I would feel like we were crashing a birthday party – for we had never met the birthday girl) and we were fed plentifully.  Later we were fed again, Claudia`s special garnachas.

Today has been a great day as well.  We finished a church service earlier today with Claudia`s sister, the Pastor there.  The service was good, and we were able to share of testimonies about Project Paul.  Also, the worship leader`s name was Natanael (the Spanish spelling of my name)….I met him after the service, he is a pretty cool cat 🙂  Now we are enjoying Mexico`s next game in the World Cup against Argentina.  Our day stalls anytime that a game of this magnitude is on air…….Vamos Mexico!

Thanks for your prayers and support!  I will never forget the sense of your love as your prayers come in from everywhere!  I am little overwhelmed of His love every time that we come into a new church and find out later that they have been praying for our time.  How did they know about us?  Those moments remind me of His GRANDness and GREATness……His ministry in moving and continuing everywhere, even in your backyard!

Dios te bendiga!