Tifany & Jason Clark are third year Intercultural Studies Students who are doing their cross-cultural internship in Oaxaca, Mexico. They arrived in Mexico in late January with their 4 children and are currently focused on learning language, settling into new routines, and building relationships.
There is a thunderstorm happening all around me here in Oaxaca, Mexico. The sound is tremendous and the light flashes. I grew up with rare but awe-inspiring thunderstorms in California. I remember how exhilarating the sound was, reverberating off the local mountains. Here, there are mountains (called montañas in Spanish) that surround us. The lightning flashes, the thunder claps and the sound rolls around the valley. It reminds me that God commands the heavens and the earth with His majesty and splendor. He once calmed the sea for his friends, a sea that had them absolutely terrified, and He did it simply by speaking a few small words: “Peace! Be Still!” Standing out on my covered porch, I have a safe place to marvel at God’s mighty strength and authority over the elements. As I stand here I am suddenly struck by how powerful He really is and how desperately small I am; yet He loves me.
We recently reflected on the events of Easter. Christ’s death and burial; the disciples unknowingly waiting in patience for what they did not comprehend, and suddenly… the resurrection! Christ conquered the grave and demonstrated in the most human way possible that He commands power over death itself. Christ entered the world of the spirits, faced Satan and demanded to be the ransom for humanity. He did this for each one of us. For each of our lives, lived in selfish ignorance, Christ demanded Satan release his hold. We have been set free!
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
(Psalm 8:3-9 ESV)
Why did he do this? Because he LOVES us! He created humans for friendship, intimacy, and love. A life lived with Christ isn’t about a destination; a valid fare prepaid to heaven when we die. No! That’s just where we end up! A life lived with Christ is one which spends each and every day together, laughing, learning, teaching, listening, savoring each other’s company. We live this life knowing that Christ will never leave us or forsake us. Amidst all storms of life – hunger, famine, drought, pain, illness, broken hearts, mistakes, rebellions, and surrenders – Christ is always there. Sometimes we break his heart but forgiveness, healing and restoration come when we call out His Name. His love is perfect and so much more than our tiny human intellects can fathom. Who are we that He is mindful of us? We are his masterpieces! When you look out over the grandeur and majesty of God’s amazing world, try to wrap your brain around that!
I recently learned that my mentor here in Mexico has breast cancer. Her own storm is brewing. Without her help and support, I could feel alone and helpless. The questions run through my mind: what will happen next?
But, true to how He works, Jesus did not abandon me. He knows our family’s needs and He sees us. Desperate for a little joy in our lives, He provided my husband Jason and I with the privilege of taking our 4 children for a quick getaway to the coast!
At the turtle museum we learned some about the now protected marine and land turtles. We were also able to snorkel, which most of us had never done before, and body surf. The ocean here is warm and turquoise blue and the small bay we played at all week is absolutely stunning. In Mazunte you can watch the sun rise and set on the Pacific Ocean because of its location at the southernmost tip of Mexico. Every morning we woke up to a brilliant orange and pink sunrise and watched the sunlight sparkle over the water. The birds, flowers, iguanas, geckos and butterflies were of varieties we have never seen before. The drive there and back was beautiful as well; parts of it are beautiful green and full of lush vines, banana and mango trees and ferns. We are grateful for a larger glimpse of this beautiful land God has brought us to live in. We pray that the Easter season has revived your faith, left you feeling fresh and alive, and that you are anticipating expectantly what God has in store for you next.
-Tifany, for the Clark Family in Tlalixtac, Oaxaca, Mexico