Every morning I read Psalms in Spanish. Reading Spanish is good practice for me, and reading God’s word never fails to set my heart and my mind in the right direction. I can always tell the days I hit the floor running and don’t take the time to meditate on the scriptures. By 10 a.m. I’m a grump! Today I was especially touched by Psalm 133:1.
In English it says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”The Spanish translated the word “pleasant” a little differently. They used the word “delicioso”. “Pleasant” is a good word. It brings to mind a cool breeze on a hot day, or a shady spot to sit and rest. But the word “delicioso” translates “delightful” or “delicious”. It’s more than just pleasantly sitting in the shade, it’s delightfully splashing in the water. More than just feeling the pleasant breeze, it’s devouring a delicious bowl of ice cream! Speaking as a mom of 6 kids I can attest to the fact that having brothers (and sisters) living together in harmony is definitely more than “pleasant”. It is absolutely delicious!!! My prayer for each of you today is that you taste the deliciousness and experience the delight of having harmony with your brothers and sisters -- whether they be blood relatives, spiritual relatives or just the people you rub shoulders with every day. Of course kids bicker, people’s feelings get hurt, it’s impossible to have “peace and love” all the time. I like the word “harmony”. It means that there will be dissonance sometimes, but it will resolve into something beautiful…harmony!
“Look and see!!! How absolutely delicious it is when people live together in harmony!!!” (my translation!)Not much in life is 100% certain. Especially when you live in a very “flexible” place like Mexico. Take water, for instance. The expression “Water, water every where, but not a drop to drink” is never so true as at the beach. Water for the villages of Las Glorias, Boca del Rio, Alomito, Palos Verdes and many others is pumped from a central station in Guasave, about 30 miles away. Water is pumped along the pipes and is turned on for a few hours each day at each village. This is why most houses in Mexico (at least rural Mexico) have big black tanks, called tinacos on their roof and many have in-ground cisterns, too. Las Glorias and Boca are the last towns on the system, and so sometimes we don’t receive as much water as we would prefer.
A few weeks ago, the amount of water being received by the Las Glorias station was not sufficient to pump to both Las Glorias and Boca. The men in charge of the water decided that since Las Glorias is a resort town and people only come here on the weekends, they should divert all water to Boca during the week and to Glorias on the weekend. That’s a fine idea, except that there are some of us living in Las Glorias whose cisterns won’t hold a full week’s worth of water. By Wednesday of that week, we were dry. Doug, Andrew and Esteban trotted down to the water station with two tinacos on a trailer to pump into our cistern. It worked so well, that Esteban borrowed my washing machine drain hose (the big red hose in the photo) for two days to deliver water to all the other residents of Las Glorias.
A few days later, the city tractor stopped by with another load of water. Fortunately for them, Esteban and Doug were here to help them get the extremely heavy tractor un-stuck from the extremely dry sand they had driven into. They seem to have the water issue under control now, but this time of year we have to be careful to not over-do the washing of clothes or showering.
Our son, Seth, has been saving his money for some time to buy a chameleon. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find one. A few weeks ago, though, a friend of ours called to say that he had found a really neat iguana and wondered if Seth would be interested. He brought it over and Seth was instantly in love. Seth named her Felicia. (Feliz for short -- that means happy in Spanish.) This photo looks very “posed” but she really does just “hang out” with Seth all day. In the morning, she suns herself on Doug’s workbench and when she’s warmed up, she rests on Seth’s shoulders or, frequently, on his head. From what I’ve read and what others have told me, the green iguana can grow to be up to 3 meters long. That’s almost 10 feet. I don’t think she’ll be sleeping on Seth’s head at that point. I don’t think she’ll be sunning herself on the workbench, either!
As you may remember from our last update letter, the students from the school are at this moment in Puebla (southern Mexico near Mexico City). They left the 15th of July with the plan of being gone between 2 and 3 weeks. I’ve received text messages and short phone calls over the past 2 weeks to keep me posted on how their time is progressing. They’ve had a good pastor’s conference and were able to perform the drama that they learned when our friend, Rachel, was here. The church in Puebla has been so glad to have the team there; Doug said that they’ve been spoiled.
Fourteen students and leaders piled into our 15 passenger van for the 24 hours of driving. Of course, if you’ve ever traveled a long distance with a group like that, you know that there is no way you could possibly fit all the luggage and paraphernalia for 15 people inside the van. So Doug, being the professional packer that he is, climbed up on the roof and began the process of loading the stuff. Since this is July and is the rainy season in southern Mexico, everything had to be water tight. Hence, the black plastic draped over the van. As far as I know, nothing was soaked by the huge rainstorm that hit 30 minutes after they left. The trip back will be lighter, since half the team will be staying in Puebla or Guadalajara for the next months.
While Doug, Sarah and Caleb have been gone, the rest of us have managed to stay pretty busy. The rain storm that hit the night that Doug left made us realize that we needed to seal the roof with waterproof paint. I am constantly amazed at God’s sense of humor, but also at His provision. The kids and I drove to Guasave to purchase the paint needed, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I called Esteban, and not only did he offer to go get it for me, but also offered to paint the roof for me. I love it when the body of Christ works the way it should! So, later in the week (after a couple more small showers that kept us dumping pans and wringing towels) Esteban got the paint (on sale for half price even!) and he and Andrew and Jessee patched and painted the roof. It hasn’t rained since. But we’re ready when it does!!!
I’ve started teaching English privately to a woman and her daughter here in Las Glorias. It has been a blast, and they are learning quickly, even though Vergen complains that she’ll never learn and that her head aches constantly! I told her that I understood completely, since I suffered the same thing learning Spanish. Several people have told Doug or me that they want to take classes now. Since Las Glorias is a resort town, there are many English-speaking visitors here during the tourist season. Understanding English would be a huge benefit. English is taught in all the schools, but very few of the teachers can actually speak it, so it is usually not taught very well. Kati, who works at the supermarket, is working on getting a group together to take a class this fall.
I praise God for the chance I have to get to know these ladies better! As I am able to build friendships with Kati and Vergen and other ladies in town, I pray that I will be able to encourage them and to “let my light shine out”. I sometimes feel very inadequate with my Spanish, but at least I can understand and make myself understood -- usually! The more comfortable I am with the people I’m talking to, the better I am able to communicate in Spanish. I suppose that is normal. I can’t think very well when I’m nervous! Pray that God continues to grow friendships here in Mexico and opens doors to serve the people here.The time is drawing closer for our fall trip to the States. We plan to leave around the 15th of August and return around the 15th of September. Everything is still very flexible. We have loose ends to tie up here, but one of the students from Boca has graciously offered to keep an eye on our animals and our house while we’re gone. What a blessing to us!!!
Pray that we will be able to accomplish the things we need to while we are in the States. We hope to be able to visit and encourage several churches while we are traveling, and plan to meet up with family and friends along the way. As I said before, we are trying to stay very flexible with this trip. If you would like us to stop in to visit, we would love to try! Let us know and we’ll see if we can make it work. Until then, blessings to you all! We pray for everyone on our mailing list and think of you all often!
In Service of the King of Kings,
Doug and Rebecca
Prayers and Praises:
- Praise God for all of you who continue to support us with your prayers, notes, emails and gifts!!! You are such an encouragement to us!!!
- Pray for God’s continued provision for our daily needs.
- Praise God that our roof is sealed and ready for the rainy season!
- Praise God for the students in Puebla and their willingness to serve the church there this summer.
- Pray for the team in Africa. We haven’t heard from them yet, but continue to pray that they are safe and are finding ways to bless the church in Uganda.
- Praise God the team arrived safely and on time from Puebla last Tuesday. Their trip was a great adventure and God proved Himself powerful again and again.
- Also pray for safe, uneventful travel for us as we drive the 42+ hours to Oregon in August and pray that God would plan our itenerary so that we visit the places and people He would have us visit.
- Praise God for the sister who has volunteered to watch our house for us. Pray for her also, because we didn’t have the iguana when she agreed to “pet sit”. :^) I’m not sure how she feels about reptiles.
- Pray for wisdom for me (Rebecca) as I teach English and develop friendships with the ladies here.
- Pray that I can be encouraging and helpful to them.
- 4 of our 6 kids need to take their CAT tests this fall, and Sarah should take her PSAT.
- Pray that God provides funds necessary and the opportunity to take those tests and that the kids do well. School has felt very “hit and miss” for me this year, but the kids seem confident and are excited about the testing (Crazy home-schooled kids!).
God is always faithful!!!