“But how could you live and have no story to tell?”
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
In this update, as we share about this mission work, we will scatter throughout some of our favorite words from Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
One reason we share from Fyodor is so that James will never forget how to spell Dostoyevsky, :) and also to honor our new coworkers, Ethan (Russian born), Rachel, Misha, and Nicolai Desjarlais, who will arrive here soon to begin a two-year commitment of kingdom adventure in Mexico City.
Over the last two and a half years, 600 people have been hosted and served through ASHREI’s urban retreat center.
We are doing 2-3 crucible retreats annually: 155 men have gone through life-changing crucible retreats.
We are serving leaders from 14 cities and 12 different states across the country.
7 active men’s and women’s soul groups
Numerous church, leader gatherings, and youth group retreats hosted at the urban retreat center
Mentoring 3 missionary family units
Numerous spiritual direction relationships offered to Christian leaders and God-seekers throughout Latin America and the United States.
Training 14 children inongoing spiritual formation community
18 marriages ministered to through the center over the last year.
Over 1200 meals shared annually at Mexico’s national pediatric hospital.
A writing and translation team that has begun the process of making available in Spanish an estimated 120 articles per year on Christian spiritual formation, in partnership with Renovaré. (To see articles in Spanish, go to ashrei.mx)
155 men have now experienced the life-changing Crucible retreat.
“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth...the awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The leaders we are privileged to accompany continue to build strong ministries together.
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The sign reads, "and after suffering, crying, and complaining, what else do you know?" For a our friend, Javier Perez, this sign began a journey from alcoholism to 26 years of sobriety. He has begun countless AA groups since, and now serves people however he can.
People come from many places to serve alongside Mexican friends in the mission trenches. In this picture, friends from Texas Tech accompany Javier Perez in serving at a home that cares for those dying alone of terminal illnesses.
"We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Pictured here, Leonardo, blind and living at the home for those with terminal illnesses, with singing and a wonderful sense of humor, describes what it's like to "see" the world through his eyes. He said, "everyone to me is beautiful...I can feel your smiles."
“To love someone means to see them as God intended them.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The vibrant church community we get to be a part of sticks together through thick and thin, in prayer and joy, together in God's kingdom, with our families and friends.
StrengthsFinder workshop for the church with Dr. Carmen Morrison
“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
While doing a lion's share of much of the work in community we do, women are also stretching their lives to God in deepening soul work and women's ministry.
With regularity, the church serves meals and offers prayer for suffering families at Mexico's national pediatric clinic.
“If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he's a good man.” - Fyodor Dostoyevski
We couldn't do what we do without a LOT of help. Pictured here on retreat, dear mentor and friend, Chadd Shroeder, serves chicken molé poblano to Mexican friends. Pictured also is our dear friend and coworker, Omar Palafox, who has worked tirelessly on our website and social media feeds. If you haven't seen it yet, surf over to http://www.ashrei.com.mx
Among the helpers we're most grateful for are our partners from Missions Resource Network. Pictured here, longtime friends, mentor, Jay Jarboe, and missionary counselor, Dr. Dottie Schulz, recently came for a visit to talk about future partnership with MRN, while encouraging, counseling, and blessing our family.
“What matters most is that which guides us in God — the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Good men like this are scattered across the nation. They meet in virtual soul groups to stay in their deep transformation work while men's work in their communities gain momentum. Recently James had the honor of officiating the wedding of Omar and Lola. We love Flatirons church, and we are constantly struck by how good God is to us through our friends there...Recently, these partners and dear friends had our family up to Colorado where James taught a piece in the series, "What in the World is God Doing?"
Meet Erin the history teacher. She has found her groove in teaching history and cultural geography, where her class is like human history itself - never a dull moment. The kids love her class - falling in love with history and learning about the resilience of human beings across time and cultures.
James loves doing spiritual formation with children and teenagers. Considering himself more of a learner than a teacher in these groups, every Friday morning, he experiences what Fyodor Dostoevsky called "the soul being healed by being with children."
Connected through longtime friends, David and Abby Kitchin, we have hosted the Tisthammer family for the last few weeks. Troy and Jackie work with Intervarsity Fellowship in Sonoma, California, and designed part of their sabbatical to experience family mission rhythms with us here in Mexico.
Ethan, Rachel, Misha, and Nikolai Desjarlais have committed to joining us beginning in two weeks (arrival date: June 14) to teach at the school and help in ministry. Please be praying for our friends!
Caleb continues to enjoy and excel at baseball. This is a shot of Caleb in last week's championship game. For you stat lovers, in this game, Caleb went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored, 2 runs batted in, and on defense gunned out a runner trying to steal second base on our scrappy catcher.
Our Kate has always had an eye for beauty. Like recognizes like. She is enjoying photography, softball, and backyard basketball with the family. She turns 16 in August, which we can't believe.
And finally, from Dostoyevsky, “Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.” With that, we send along to you our heartfelt appreciation for your many prayers, enduring love, and steady commitment to us and to the overall adventure of God's kingdom vision.
Your friendship and partnership overwhelm us as we progressively learn the art of "calculating happiness." With gratitude and joy, James, Erin, Kate, and Caleb
Copyright © 2018 Ashrei Centro de Formación Espiritual, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is: Ashrei Centro de Formación Espiritual 800 Ave G NW Childress, TX 79201