The Nichols Family-Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico

Mark 16:15 "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

The Nichols Family-Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico

Mark 16:15 "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

8 Things NOT to do as a TCK: Solid Advice from Probably Real-Life Experiences

Learning note: We have included some acronyms to help you remember each one.

1. Don’t take a big bite out of a sandwich without asking if it has jalapeños in it…because it probably does. (DTABBOASWAIIHJIIBIPD) You might just find yourself in the bathroom of the restaurant splashing water on your face to relieve the spicy burn that has consumed your entire mouth and your friend (and parents) may continue to give you concerned and confused looks the rest of the afternoon. (Wes)

2. Don’t answer all the questions in English class or else everyone will think you’re trying to be a show-off. (DAATQIECOEEWTYTTBASO) It’s a thing, I promise. Harmony is still working on this one. (Levi and Harmony)

3. Don’t secretly hope for your neighbor’s cat/dog/goose/duck to go missing in the middle of the night. (DSHFYNCDGDTGMITMOTN) This may be just for Mexico, but loud pets are common. Personal human-to-animal vendettas are discouraged but highly likely. I think that’s enough said. (Selah)

4. Don’t use “dang”, “shoot”, or “darnnit” because non-English speakers will start thinking you are actually cursing. (DUDSDBNESWSTYAAC) This may lead to them feeling comfortable using actual English swear words around you because they assume they are hearing you talk this way on a regular basis. (Levi)

5. Don’t forget to bring toilet paper on long car trips…or anywhere. (DFTOBTPOLCTOA) You may end up stranded in a stall desperately waiting for a family member to rescue you after frantically searching every bag, purse, and vehicle for a used Kleenex. (Selah, Wes, and Harmony)

6. Don’t forget to put your socks on before your Mexican guests arrive. (DFTPYSOBYMGA) This will avoid full conversations about walking around barefoot will cause you to get a cold. (family)

7. Don’t frantically search for the missing seatbelt or seatbelt buckle when you get into your friend’s car. (DFSFTMSOSBWYGIYFC) It’s likely it has been removed, moved aside for convenience’s sake, and hasn’t been used for years. (Harmony)

8. Don’t attempt to talk to your parents (or each other) during the first six months of them learning to drive if you are transitioning to a large city in Latin America. (DATTTYPOEODTFSMOTLTDIYATTALCILA) They may, in so many words, tell you to stop talking so they can focus on not dying. (Fab Four) 

Learning the Life of a TCK in Mexico by The Nichols Family

What do you eat in America? How much do your parents make? Can I touch your hair? Why aren’t your eyes blue? Do you prefer living in Mexico or America? Why did you move to Mexico? When are you moving back to live in America? Why are you so skinny? Do you know Spanish? Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Life as a Third Culture Kid has its oddities. We spent the first chunk of our lives living in various states, but primarily western North Carolina. Now, we are making our new normal here in southwest Mexico. Old normals are still normal. But so are new normals. It’s a life in limbo. We never wish we were eating tocos while eating a hamburger. But we never wish we were eating a hamburger while eating tacos.

Our house is filled with CONSTANT Spanglish. We talk about language and schedule changes more than anything else. “Flexico” isn’t just an expression…it’s a way of life to which we are still adapting. Missing what we’ve said goodbye to and loving what we have go hand in hand.

Watching your really smart Dad learn a second language at 48 years old, is tough to experience at times. Mama going to work full-time while Daddy takes care of things at home has been a significant shift. Perpetually (thanks, thesaurus) trying to translate in your head – even when you don’t have to – can be humbling as we constantly re-realize how much we still have to learn. At the same time, mental fist-pumping is a daily occurrence when you realize you understood a conversation and replied with no errors.

What defines a TCK? A colorful culture clash. In this case, our first culture was life in rural western North Carolina, U.S.A. Our second culture is Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. These two beautiful lifestyles clash daily to create a new third culture that is its own beautiful creation.

July 1, 2022 Praises and Prayer Requests

Praises:

- The kids officially survived their first academic school year and are WELL on their way to being bilingual!

- Reggie had a safe and beautiful trip to Minnesota and Iowa

- Karlee finished her first year of teaching English at NOE and is looking forward to next year

- Brian and Mireya Overcast (as of June 30th) have officially retired as directors at NOE and have named Juan Peralta the new director with a smooth transition

- Another year of NOE English program graduates and Dream Team members selected for 2023

- Kids are gaining friends and feel more at home at school

Prayer Requests:

- Safe travel for Dream Team

- Positive personal and spiritual experience while they are in Portland

- COVID, the flu, and colds are spreading through our circles. Pray we can return to a normal soon with sicknesses normalizing and removal of masks at school

- We can reach 100%+ financial funding

- Language learning for Reggie and kids

- Karlee’s preparation for Teacher Training and general organization this summer as the middle school/high school English program coordinator

What does culture shock "feel" like? We may all be one body, but sometimes I feel like the appendix

“Culture shock is often felt sharply at the borders between countries, but sometimes it doesn’t hit fully until you’ve been in a place for a long time.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

Another massively obnoxious shoutout to CIT (Center for Intercultural Training) for incredible training about culture shock! As I frantically re-sift through ALL definitions, advice, and charts about culture shock from our training, I am astonished at its accuracy. Almost 10 months after arriving on September 13th, and I can confidently say I have experienced them all fully with no foreseeable end to this culture grind.

It's incredible how in the midst of doing something you absolutely love with people you love and students you love in a ministry you love, a strange uncomfortable feeling will sneak into your throat, work its way to your chest, then to your stomach, and before you know it, your hands are shaking, and you feel like crying…with NO. IDEA. WHY.

This, my dear friends, is culture shock. Holly Carden states that, “Culture Shock is the time of adjustment, when my daily emotional discomfort takes over reasonable feelings, thoughts, or actions.” It is anxiety, confusion, fear, unfamiliarity, or even disgust when presented with a new situation that you have no reference for or when your map of understanding just got detoured with no guarantee that you will, in fact, reach the same final destination you thought you were heading toward.

Sometimes it hits at the grocery store. Other times while driving or shopping. Sometimes it’s in a staff meeting or in a conversation with a close Mexican friend. Sometimes in a memory or idea. Sometimes in a planning session or in the sounds of the street or music on the radio. I’ll go days or weeks with all very neutral feelings or even feelings that I am actually “getting it”. Then, for seemingly no reason at all, I will experience strain to adapt to certain moments for long periods of time. Nothing seems to make sense and the longing for “normal” feels overwhelming.

At training we were challenged to discover these feelings and ask where they are coming from. We learned that it is often multi-level deep. It isn’t just behaviors, but values, beliefs, or even worldviews that are being challenged when presented with something new. Awareness and a profound desire to understand in order to share Christ most effectively with others will allow us to persist.

Please be praying for us as we face these feelings of frustration, elation, irritation, joy, inadequacy, and love…sometimes all in 10 minutes!

Will you give today? We can't do it without you!

Each Spring, we take the opportunity to encourage our friends, donors, and new ministry partners to give to our ministry with NOE in Morelia, Mexico.

As missionaries, we rely on the generosity of others so we can dedicate100% of our time to helping others who live on very humble means.

CURRENTLY: Long-term budget = 62% funded monthly

If you are not currently giving, please know that no amount is too small. If each friend or family were to give $10+ per month, we would be fully funded and have more to give to those struggling to make ends meet. Will you please commit today?!

We are overwhelmingly grateful! Thank you for your generosity! 

Note: non-monthly donations have been and are being used for initial transition costs, immigration, and unforeseen expenses.

Will you commit to give monthly? $5 $10 $20 $40 $50 $75 $100 $125 $150 $Other

Will you commit to give a one-time donation? $50 $100 $250 $500 $750 $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 $2,500 $5,000 $Other

Thank you for your generosity!

Bunco, Corn Hole, Levi’s b-day, and Slumber parties

 March and April brought some more opportunities to spend time with students and friends. In March, we hosted our first youth Bunco party with about 18 students of all ages. Youth groups average between ages 13 and 26+ here, never distinguishing between middle school, high school, and college-age ministries. We LOVE it!

In April, NOE Loma Libre (where I teach) hosted our first ever Corn Hole tournament. Reggie and my student Ximena walked away champions, and my two other students came in 2nd place.

Selah hosted our first sleep-over with friends, which was another success, as sleepovers aren’t common here. Levi celebrated his 14th birthday bowling with friends – it was their first time bowling, so we loved making memories with them

Visiting South Padre Island, TX

While serving together in Matamoros, Mexico in 2003, we spent weekends here with fellow staff members of Adventures in Missions.

Your Ways are Higher than Our Ways: Sometimes the journey is long (and bumpy), but it is always worth it - March 6, 2022

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.” - Unknown

As non-spiritual as this quote may seem, the challenges that we faced in January and February were prime examples of the truth this statement holds.

On January 23, we took off for Brownsville, Texas to arrange our temporary residency paperwork. The process is easy, right? Find the information that applies to you on the website, complete said paperwork, schedule an appointment, go to said appointment, receive permission, and “Voila!” Done.

Unfortunately, Mexican paperwork and government systems are not always consistent nor quick. What we thought would take 3-5 days ended up taking 17. You read that correctly. 17. We had the opportunity, though, to stay with the Dávilas, a wonderful family who is originally from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and planted a church in a very rough area in urban Matamoros. God knew this stay with them was going to be very important for our family, as they encouraged us in our ministry and overall transition during our stay there. Ultimately, we ended up going to a different Mexican consulate five hours away to obtain our visas, BUT WE GOT THEM!!

We then returned to Morelia where we had to register our visas and exchange them for a temporary residency identification card. To make a long story short, it required a “quick” 36-hour trip back to the border for a piece of paperwork we were not informed we needed upon entering back to the U.S. BUT WE GOT THEM!

Just like starting a new business adventure, career that requires education and training, or building a new home, establishing the foundation for longevity takes time. As much as we wish it could be so, we can’t simply show up and expect all things to happen without some elbow grease (as my dad, Glen Schulz, would say).

Clearly, we would have preferred being neck deep in ministry from the moment we stepped foot in Morelia with no distractions, no obstacles, and no surprises, but first we must build our foundation.

We have also seen so many positive changes in our children throughout these unpredictable times that require the flexibility of Stretch Armstrong. A major victory is when we returned to Morelia after being gone for 17 days. For the first time, they had a reason to be welcomed back by their friends at school. They were excited to go back to school to see their teachers and friends, eat the awesome food, and see everyone at NOE, who made such a fuss about their absence and celebrated their homecoming.

So we fill out the paperwork. We file the paperwork. We make appointments. We attend appointments. We wait for the paperwork to be returned. We file more paperwork. And so it goes. With each step, we are closer and closer to long-term establishment, which comes with constant celebration, victory pictures, victory tacos, victory hugs, and evenings with friends who remind us of why we are working so hard to make it all happen.

God knew we needed this experience to be different than we had planned. May He be glorified as we keep our calling and purpose in mind through all the changes and challenges we face throughout this journey!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thought than your thoughts.” - Isaiah 55:8-9

Financial Update - March 6, 2022

Thank you to those who are supporting us financially! We serve others through NOE because of your support. NOE serves a community with little resources, so we depend on the support of others to provide education and healthy relationships based in Christ’s love. The financial support of others, in order to reach extremely low-income families, is imperative. We are currently at 60.3% of pledged monthly on-going giving for our proposed long-term budget.

If you happen to be to wondering what we need, the answer is, “We need people to commit to supporting us long-term.”

We currently have individuals and families who support us with a monthly amount that ranges from $5-$300. Every single donation makes our lives here in Morelia with NOE possible. Please do not believe that a small amount does not make a difference. Everyone working together makes all the difference in our ministry here!

We simply ask that you consider giving a monthly donation that will work with your budget for a long-term timeframe to allow us to budget our expenses on a monthly basis. We have been overwhelmed with gratitude by those who give a smaller amount the same as those who give a large amount, simply because we know the sacrifice it takes for each family to make our calling a reality! 

January 16, 2022 Financial and Immigration Updates

FINANCIAL UPDATE:

Donate now:
https://www.adventive.ca/all-project-list/reggie-karlee-nichols/

God continues to provide for our needs! Thank you for your continued financial support!

Missionary budgets are received through
- one-time support
- one-time annual support
- monthly support.

In 2021, we received 100% of our proposed long-term budget for year 2021. During 2022, we would love to partner with those who believe in us so that 100% of our long-term budget is received via monthly support. Currently, we are at approximately 60% of that goal. We also have a “minimal budget” which is our budget based on the minimum for what it takes for us to live and eat monthly. 100% of this budget has been reached for 2022.

2022 Goals

1) Receive new additional monthly commitments equaling $2,000 per month

2) Transition all one-time annual gifts into monthly contribution commitments. If you are giving annually, would you consider transitioning to monthly? We can assist you with this process!

3) Creation “Ministry Budget” where any support over our long-term budget is placed to be used to assist locals and ministry partner needs, support of children needing scholarships within the NOE programs.

IMMIGRATION UPDATE: Welcome to the Club!

In December, after Christmas, Reggie and I took off to San Antonio, Texas with our two vehicles and trailer we used to bring our possessions and selves to Morelia. We spent 2.5 days posting our vehicles, meeting with buyers, and organizing transactions. Although busy, we successfully sold each for reasonable prices, allowing us to replace them with vehicles from Mexico, avoiding importation fees. Yay! God was so faithful throughout this process.

While our kids stayed with some friends, back in Morelia, we arrived safely into Mexico City via plane. A long, not-very-fun story summarized, permission to stay in Mexico was only given to Reggie and me for a very short amount of time.

“Welcome to the club!” was lovingly the first thing we heard when we explained our situation to some missionary friends. “You’re like real missionaries now!” Missionary jokes!

Although this may not seem funny to you (or us just yet), it is encouraging to know that there are other people who have experienced similar situations and have made it to the other side through faith and can help us find joy through it.

We are attempting to work out temporary residency, but the process has been delayed. Please pray with us and for us for patience and wisdom as we gather information and decide which action to take by the end of January.

We hope to give a positive update next month!

A-Year-In-Review for the Nichols in Morelia

The Daily Nichols - Thursday, July 29, 2021

If you want to travel fast, go alone.
If you want to travel far, go together.
- African Proverb

In only ten short days, on August 8th, our family leaves for training through CIT (Center for Intercultural Training https://cit-online.org/cit-residential/) in Union Mills, North Carolina. To say the very least, I (Karlee) am excited. In all my cultural nerdiness, I am neck-deep in cross-cultural reading and discussions, and now I get to do this with other people who are venturing from and to all parts of this beautiful world God created. I’m beaming as I slide my glasses up by the center brim! I know that we will all be stretched to think beyond our Western way of thinking and consider mindsets from all over the globe. Our children will finally be surrounded by other children whose parents have also been called into something new, different, exciting, and intimidating (and for some, scary). We haven’t even arrived, and I am already encouraged at what God has planned for us during these 27 days. As I continue through the book of Acts in preparation for a new journey in spreading the gospel and growing the global church, I see clearly how Jesus taught his followers to interact intentionally with those from other cultures.

In 36 days, our training will be complete, which means we are already making decisions about post-training options. We fully believe that God will provide a way for us to transition in September. Just as the proverb above states, “If you want to go far, go together”. Although you are all not physically going with us to Morelia, we are humbled that so many of you have chosen to travel with us through your prayers and financial support. As of today, we are fully funded for our actual move and through the end of the year! Praise the Lord! We are at 39% of our proposed budget for January and beyond (a 29% increase from last month!).

We want to extend an enormous “THANK YOU!” to those of you who have helped us reach this point. We are so encouraged by all your prayers, words of encouragement, time spent in your homes and on Zoom calls, hugs, and financial support. We know that we are not in this alone and God has given us a wonderful group of people to help us transition and begin ministry in Morelia.

We would love for others to join us in our journey and reach 100% funding over the next 36 days! For those who have contemplated joining us, please consider (pray and discuss), commit, and communicate your support so we can begin solidifying the logistics to getting to Morelia once training is complete on September 3rd. Please share our information and website with others who may want to join our team, too! https://www.adventive.ca/all-project-list/reggie-karlee-nichols/

As we finish up many of our “lasts” in Brevard and the States, here are some praises and prayer requests we would like to share with you. Please continue reaching out to us personally, whether in person, Facebook, text, or email. We have absolutely loved reconnecting with people during this time and want to maintain these precious relationships God has blessed us with over so many seasons of life!

Praises:

- Reaching 100% funding for our initial launch and 2021 months
- Everyone has stayed healthy over these summer months
- Reggie and Levi traveled to Belize in July for a special coming-of-age father/son trip. They had no issues with travel or health and had a great experience!
- Selah and Weslee were almost unable to go to camp due to COVID reports at their camp. They were able to be rescheduled for the following week and are having a blast!

Prayer Requests:

- We all pass our mandatory COVID tests we will be taking this week in order to proceed to CIT training
- We reach 100% funding by September 3rd
- Clarity as we make decisions moving forward for the kids’ schooling
- Emotional growth and understanding for our Reggie and me and our children during training
- Working out the logistics for our physical move to Morelia
- Clear and healthy communication between Reggie and me as we prepare for our transition and help our children through emotional struggles

Finally, if you would like to Zoom call during training, that is 100% still an option, as we anticipate having evening and weekend hours free. Our address will be 6494 Hudlow Rd., Union Mills, NC 28167. Letters, cards, care packages, and chocolates are welcome. 😊

We love you guys and can’t wait to share more about how God is moving through our family in the next few weeks.

Blessings,

Reggie and Karlee Nichols

Family website: https://www.nicholsmorelia.com/

Reggie: (828) 556-9134 nichols.reggie@gmail.com
Karlee: (828) 556-9132 karleednichols@gmail.com

We put our "yes" on the table. God put it on the map! Pusimos nuestro "si" en la mesa. Dios lo puso en el mapa!

The Daily Nichols - The Countdown is ON!!

The Countdown:

- Days of work Reggie has left: 11
- Days left in Brevard, NC: 47
- Days until we leave for training: 47
- Days until pre-field training is complete: 74
- Total funding raised for moving expenses and first year still needed: 58%
- Total funding for on-going monthly support still needed for year 2 and beyond: 90% of total budget

Victor Hugo, famous French activist and author of Les Miserables, wrote, “The future has many names: The Lazy call it: The Impossible. The fearful refer to it as: The Unknown. But the Courageous embrace it by saying: ‘This is my Challenge.’” - The God Ask by Steve Shadrach

God has blessed us so much throughout this journey so far, and we know that He will continue to do so as we move forward with our calling to Morelia/NOE International and the Challenge to raise 100% of our support in only 5 ½ months.

The Timeline:

- Official NOE Meeting to discuss working with them full-time: January 14, 2021

- Karlee starts sorting/organizing/purging/donating sections of our home: early March 2021

- Receive acceptance from ACCI, our sending agency: April 7, 2021

- Send out first mailing announcing our calling to full-time missions: April 14, 2021

- Sell our home: June 2, 2021

- Reggie’s final day of work: July 13, 2021

- Leave for training: August 7, 2021

- End training: September 3, 2021

- Hopeful day to leave for Morelia: September 6/7, 2021

- NOE starts new Fall semester: September 20, 2021

We have had a lot of people ask us about our timeline, then respond with shock that we plan to leave so soon. Since beginning this process, we have learned that the majority of missionaries spend 18-24 months raising support.

As we pray about our calling to work with NOE International, we see the need to arrive sooner than later. Coming off the tail-end of a world-wide pandemic that left many nations devastated, NOE is prepping to re-open their doors for the first time since March/April 2020. Only 40% of their students had access to computers, meaning there are many families (both those who were able to continue virtually and those who were not) who are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to get back to normal, back to a life with community and the programs that NOE offers, back to a family who gives them hope in Jesus and sought to love them throughout these tough times.

Each Fall, NOE’s semester begins the Monday after Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16th. Our goal is to have arrived and be in a home (even if it is temporary until we can purchase a home) in time to allow us to be involved at the beginning of their new Fall semester, celebrating with the NOE staff as they open their doors once again to reinitiate their ministries that speak life into the communities they serve.

In order to “launch”, we need to be funded 90% with pledged on-going monthly commitments that will support us for years to come. We know it is a big “God Ask”, but we truly believe that God fully funds those He calls with the help of the global church.

We are so grateful for those who have committed to come alongside us in this journey! We could not do this without you! If you would like to actively journey with us and help us reach our goal of arriving in Morelia in September, please click on this link: https://www.adventive.ca/all-project-list/reggie-karlee-nichols/.

We would love to schedule a Zoom meeting or in-person time to discuss our future and how you can be involved! Please call or email us to get it on the calendar – we’d love to share more and catch up with you!

Reggie: nichols.reggie@gmail.com (828) 556-9134

Karlee: karleednichols@gmail.com (828) 556-9132

Junco Lane, Brevard

Saying "goodbye" to our home for just over 6 years

Western Carolina Language Institute

Saying "goodbye" to my school I started in 2017

The Daily Nichols - May 30, 2021

Welcome to the first edition of "The Daily Nichols", an update from the Nichols family about our journey to the mission field!

The spiritual, emotional, and financial support we have received so far has been an incredible experience for us. We want to give a huge "Thank You!" to all of you for prayers, words of encouragement, questions about how to help us, love you've poured out on our children, and financial donations that are helping make this journey a reality.

To say the very least, it has been an eventful month! We would like to keep you updated with the events of this past month and give you a timeline for our summer. Many of you received our first newsletter we sent out toward the end of April. Since then, we have received and accepted an offer on our home, which was an enormous answer to prayer, as we didn't even have to put it on the market! We will close on our house on June 4th.

After a 12-day journey to Minnesota and Iowa to visit family and friends and share at my hometown church/VBS, we will be back in the Brevard, NC area living in a section of our church building until we head out to our month-long field training in Union Hill, NC (https://cit-online.org/) on August 7th.

The kids finished their potentially final day of American school on May 27th, which came with mixed emotions for everyone. Selah, Weslee, and Harmony will be on a swim team all summer, and Levi looks forward to working out and "bulking up" during the girls' swim practices. I (Karlee) look forward to a few weeks of simple living as we visit friends and family and enjoy our time in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Reggie's final day of work is July 13th, and he also looks forward to some special time with Levi and some family men's trips with both the Nichols and Schulz men in July and August.

Many people have been asking how we have been and how they can help.

- Logistically, we are moving forward and making progress. We will be loading up a 6'x12' trailer with selected items from our home that Reggie and I will drive down to Mexico with our van. It has been a learning experience to purge at this level! We are very grateful to have made it to this point and are SO thankful for friends who have helped with organizing and yard sales along the way!

- Please continue to pray for each of us emotionally as we will have many "lasts" in the next few weeks. Each child is processing the change in their own way; some days are easier than others when it comes to saying "goodbye" to the life they have loved here in Brevard.

- Please also pray for language learning (and motivation for some!) as we approach the reality of the daily need for Spanish skills!

Our greatest need currently is financial support. We have currently raised 27% of our first year's budget, but are at less than 1% of our on-going monthly financial commitments. With both of us seeking to work with NOE International 100%, donor support both in one-time donations and monthly support will be a determining factor for our launch date (shooting for September upon completing our training on September 3rd if we are 90% funded) and our ability to give of our time to ministry once we are there. If you haven't already, please partner with us! Even $5-10 a month is enough to make a huge long term impact in our lives and those we serve. We'd love for you to partner with us and be a part of what God is doing in Morelia!

https://www.adventive.ca/all-project-list/reggie-karlee-nichols/

Throughout this process we have been learning the true meaning of Philippians 4:6 that says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Selling our possessions and home, starting our fundraising process, leaving a business and professional steady job, and helping our children through a major transition with a lot of unknowns has caused us to constantly keep ourselves and each other in check about trusting that God has control of this process and that He will be glorified through it all!

We would love to share more with you about our transition, NOE International, and how you can support us. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email, text, or our website. Thank you again, and we look forward to sending you another update soon!

Karlee (and Reggie)