Mexico Mission Update April 2007

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!
Praise Him all creatures here below!!!
Praise Him above, you heavenly host!!!
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!!

Right now, I’m watching the sun set off the coast of Las Glorias, Mexico. I think of all that God has done over the past couple of months in our lives, in fact over the past few years, and just sit in awe of His provision. It's been a while since our last update letter. Much has happened! Our new house is, for the most part, finished. We are settling in and Doug has restarted classes at the school in Boca del Rio. Life is resuming its rhythm.

Of course, “finished” is a relative term, and “finished” in Mexico is a little different than “finished” in the United States. Here, if you are able to move into your house, it’s finished. If you’re not going to do anything else to it in the next year, it’s finished. So, our house is as done as it is going to be for a while, and we’re moved in. Hence, our house is finished. Gloria a Dios!!! The people here are amazed that it went together so quickly. Things like that just don’t naturally happen here. We agree -- it was definitely super-natural, and we praise God continually for watching out for us and for blessing us above what we ever expected. Thank you all, too, for all of your prayers. We know that without prayer, we are powerless.

To those of you who have written saying that you’ve prayed specifically for us at certain times, a thousand thank yous!!! We have felt very “cared for” during the past weeks, even though we haven’t been able to respond to the letters we’ve gotten. (One of the down sides of moving off the beaten trail is that the phone lines don’t reach. We’re working on it, but so far we have no internet in our house.) We were able to get electricity, though, through a huge miracle.
The problem with getting power to our house was the fact that the nearest electrical pole was over 100 meters away. Also, there can only be a certain number of mediadores (electric meters) for each line, and the nearest line was maxed out. So, in addition to purchasing and installing a pole, we would need to purchase an electrical transformer. (somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500 US -- out of our neighborhood, for sure!) Well, we asked everyone to pray, and then Doug and Esteban went to the electric commission to petition them for power. After two hours of “No puedo…por favor…no puedo…por favor”, the commission finally said, “Si puedo” and we got electricity. No tips, no bribes, no special strings pulled. God is good!!! All we had to do was put in the pole!

Esteban just happened to have an extra telephone pole laying around at his mom’s house (a man of many resources, for sure!), so they measured off 50 meters and dug a hole.

With only Doug, Esteban, Julio and Alfredo, the job of putting in a power pole looked a little impossible. Then Julio gave a shrill whistle, and four more men working at nearby houses came to help. Doug says that he wants to learn to whistle like that!!! Strong chains and ropes were tied from the top of the pole to be held by the men below to balance it. Another rope ran from the top of the pole to the axle of our van, which I had been “volunteered” to drive. On Esteban’s signal, I pulled the van forward, all the men heaved and up went the pole. The entire time the men were lifting and yelling and pulling on the ropes, I was praying protection over the whole project. Things were pretty tense for a few moments, but it went very smoothly, all things considered. When they were finished, Esteban and Julio took turns shimmying up the pole to unhook the chains and ropes from the top of the 30 foot pole.
We recommenced work on our house on January 19th. Julio and Alfredo helped faithfully for a month putting up walls, beams and pillars.

Here in Mexico, most cement mixing is done on the ground rather than in an actual cement mixing machine. The cement is stirred and shoveled and then transferred to a wheelbarrow and carried to where the workers are laying brick. Usually, gas-powered mixers are only called in for pouring floors and roofs.
On February 19th, we hired a team of men to come pour the roof of our house. They arrived at 9 a.m., began mixing concrete at 10 and drove off at 1 p.m. These were professionals. We were all impressed at these men who could repeatedly sling a 5 gallon bucket full of concrete (close to 100 pounds) up over their heads for 3 hours straight. We were also really glad that all we had to do was watch and supply Cokes and cookies.

We made a really fast trip to Arizona in February to renew our visas and do our taxes (and visit some friends!) and then zoomed back down to move into our new home -- since we had to be completely moved out of our old house before the first of March. We removed the wooden framing from the roof 9 days after it was poured -- well, started removing. It was a two day job and while Doug and Alfredo worked at that, the kids and I were feverishly packing and cleaning.
On February 28th, we officially moved into our new home. It felt a lot like camping for a couple of weeks, but the kids adjusted well.
In this picture, it looks like we have a bunch of lazy kids, but in reality they had deserved this break. All of them worked really hard (pretty willingly, too) at everything from wiring together re-bar to removing brush to filling buckets with mortar and passing bricks. The day before we moved in, Caleb caught a bad cold and we began the Passing of the Germs. (We have yet to have everyone healthy at one time, but that is life in a large family!)The boys are still attending school in Boca del Rio. I think that they are cured from that desire that many homeschooled kids have: the desire to attend public school. All three are very eager for the school year to end so that they can start homeschooling again. Go figure.

Sarah continues to excel in her schoolwork (yes, I’m biased), and Andrew and Evie are also thriving. Their Spanish is improving by leaps and bounds as they spend more time with the kids in Boca. All six of the kids can function in Spanish now. That is such an answer to prayer, since the twins were very frustrated by the language only a few months ago.
Andrew built this tree house for Evie for her 8th birthday. They like to spend time in it with Alfalfa the Bunny after they finish their schoolwork.Last week the church youth group met to discuss goals and to set a time to pray for the group. Please lift this very small group up in prayer. Over the next weeks, we will be focusing our prayers and energy on encouraging the youth group and reaching out to the other youth in the community.Here follow a couple of funny, unrelated photos. First is one of me, since I never put in photos of me and the kids always complain about that. I’m usually the one behind the camera, and I kind of like it that way!
There is no barber shop in Boca del Rio, so when one of the girls heard that I had cut all the kids’ hair and Doug’s, too, I was called over to the pastor’s house in Boca to play hairstylist. Of course, I couldn’t just do one haircut. The girls lined up, and some guys, too. In this photo is one of the students from New Mexico. Annette is a first-year student at the School of Ministry and this is the first time she’s had her hair shorter than the middle of her back. She promised she wouldn’t cry in front of me, since I’d never made anyone cry from a bad haircut.

And finally is a funny photo from a wedding we attended last week. The drummer from the church in Boca, Sergio, and his girlfriend Brisa were married on the church lawn. It was an absolutely lovely ceremony with lots of different cultural traditions. It was great! At the beginning, though, as the guests were being seated, I noticed one family up front that didn’t really belong. Mr. and Mrs. Chicken and their friends were clucking happily in the middle of the aisle until the wedding party filed in. Then they “flew the coop”.
Prayer requests and praises:
  • Praise God that we are moved into our new house!!!
  • Praise God that we completed all the work necessary on the house we were renting last year.
  • Praise God -- we have water, electricity, windows and doors, and indoor plumbing!!!
  • Praise God -- Esteban continues to grow in his faith and his family are not hostile toward him. He continues to ask questions and spent time this weekend talking with Doug and Ricardo (a teacher from the church) about God’s grace.
  • Doug has resumed classes at the School of Ministry in Boca del Rio (praise and prayer request, both)
  • Pray that God would show himself powerful in some health issues our family is dealing with (Doug’s asthma, Caleb’s tonsils, everyone is fighting colds…)
  • Praise God!!! Caleb was healed overnight from a bad case of strep throat last week.
  • A dear friend and brother in Christ, Graciano, (pastor of the church in Coloradito) has been diagnosed with cancer. He has decided to pursue cancer treatments, even though they have no insurance and no money, and trust God to provide. The cost will be about $1500 for the chemotherapy he needs.
  • This past week was Semana Santa. Praise God for His protection from the craziness that goes on here. Also that God’s truth was proclaimed through the dramas, Christian concerts, movies and other outreaches which were planned for the week. (more about that next letter.)
  • Pray that God would continue to provide for the needs of His workers -- both in the local churches and in the field. Pray for the youth of Boca del Rio as the youth group begins to form. Wisdom for the leaders and strength for the Christian youth.
  • Pray for wisdom as we plan our summer. We desire to visit several churches and families, but as always there are more places to go than time. We ask for God’s direction in that.

Jude 24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.