Esther Pavao
Well, I've had a lot going on, and no time to blog, nor anything to blog about. God had to teach me a little lesson, I don't remember whether I put it on the Mexico blog or not....I think I did.

With my Mexico trip creeping up on me, the Coffee House opening, and my passage coming up, I've been learning a lot, but it doesn't really feel like it, and when I look back on it, it doesn't even look like much. One thing did touch me though, and while it is kind of personal and it was a little hard, I guess it'll be good for me to share it.

Saturday morning, I offered to stay behind and help Tipharah get Vesper ready to leave for the ladies' meeting. My mom refused to let me and said Nichole would help Tipharah, commenting that I was "one of the Mexico people". I was confused, but didn't think anything of it until I walked into the ladies' meeting, Elena beckoned to me and told me she had saved me a seat...in the front row. When I noticed Samantha sitting one seat down from her, I put two and two together (why does it always take me so long??). Sure enough, after we sang a song or two, Miss Hannah announced that since this was the last ladies meeting before our trip, the ladies wanted to give us encouragement and bless us before we went. I was seriously regretting not bringing a notebook when Ashley crawled up behind my chair and handed me a little notebook and a pen from Miss Hannah. And then it began. It was so sweet! Ladies who had already been overseas gave us small things they'd learned from their trips and other ladies gave us stuff they'd learned about being with other ladies and listening to God and learning to submit.

About halfway through, I began to feel slightly overwhelmed. Why in the world was I going? Surely there was someone else who had much more to give and had more experience or a better relationship with God. There are needs in the Mexico Village (I don't know what they're calling it....) that were matched up perfectly with the other people going, electric needs that Saraph will meet, farming needs that Asher will help with, they got a horse recently and Samantha and Elena have been doing horsemanship for years, and I started to question why I was on this trip.

After the ladies meeting, I couldn't shake the feeling, and for the rest of the day, I struggled with this feeling that I wasn't supposed to be going, and that someone else better equipped should take my place. When I couldn't take it anymore, I went and talked to my mom and shared my fears with her.

God always knows exactly what I need. My mom, far from reassuring me that I had special qualities and gifts that made me irreplaceable, asked me why I was making it about myself. Of course I'm replaceable, she told me. God can always use someone else. But the fact that he offered the opportunity to me should have made me grateful and willing to serve. God knows I don't deserve it. I don't have talents and gifts that no one else has, but God is allowing me to give what little I have to someone else, so I need to get my eyes off of myself and back onto being grateful.

That was my little lesson for the week. It wasn't fun at the time, and I confess I had expected, or rather hoped for something more soft, reassuring, and encouraging. But the truth is, if my mom had sat and comforted me like I wanted, I would still have been thinking about myself.

So I'm back to being extremely grateful that God has trusted me with this opportunity and this experience has me praying that I'll be up to the challenge and willing to serve my guts out. Because that's what He's sending me down there to do. No, I can't train horses, and if I tried to help with electric....I'd probably end up electrocuting myself or something. But I do know how to clean, and cook and take care of children and take care of people because that's what God has had me doing for the past 18 years. He's had a plan all along and every time I've done cleanup and baby sat, or whatever, it's been in preparation to go to Mexico and do the same thing there.

So anyway, that's what God has given me over the last few days.
Esther Pavao
I was in the kitchen yesterday making dinner when my mom handed me a paper. Well, actually 3 pieces of paper. It was a list of all the things I have to accomplish before my passage. Three!!

I won't deny that reading those pages made me feel incredibly behind, even though I have a slight head start. Two things she was going to have me do I've already begun on my own and I have 5 months to complete the rest, but those pages intimidate me as much as they excite me.  It will be a lot of fun and a lot of work, but I know my mom wouldn't ask it of me if she didn't believe I could accomplish all of it. At least I hope so. I hope it's not one of those lessons that you're meant to fail so that you can learn that it's okay to fail. I never handled those lessons very well.

I remember being in 6th grade, I think, and Shammah was my math teacher. He wrote us up this test that none of us will ever forget. When he passed it out, I remember thinking it was an unusual math test. For a start, there was nothing to do with math at all on it. I didn't think past that and began. It was a list of about twenty things to do so I started doing everything including standing on my chair and yelling my name backwards, holding my forehead to the back of my chair and jumping up and down three times, and running to the front of the class to shake the teacher's hand and tell him what a wonderful teacher he was. By the time I got to this one, Shammah had a very interesting expression on his face. I attributed it to trying not to laugh at all of us. We did look pretty ridiculous. Then I got to #17. Do nothing on this test.

I couldn't imagine how I'd failed to see this before. I read back through the first few problems, and sure enough, #1. Do everything on the test in order. #2. Read through this whole test before doing anything on it. I have no idea how we all missed it, but we all failed that test. And we all learned to read the directions thoroughly. We didn't like that test much, but we did learn the lesson he was trying to teach.

I don't think my mom would do that to me with this, but this would be a harder fall than just embarrassing myself in math class.

I'm not really as pessimistic as this made it sound. I am actually very excited about the opportunities it's presenting. I get to spend a lot of time with ladies that I really look up to and admire and I'm really looking forward to that. But the story made this post a lot more interesting. :)