Sunday, August 31, 2008

God gives joy

God is giving great JOY to Petra! When she first came to know the Lord about 4 years ago, she brought two of her little granddaughters with her to church. She began praying that God would work in their lives even as little girls. They live in Cordoba (about 6 hours from here) so we didn't see them real often. Well, God has given fruit! These girls are now teen agers, and have found themselves a church in Cordoba. They asked their dad to remove the images in their home - and he did it for them! They refused to have a first communion, since they now know Jesus as their Savior and don't believe they should do through that ritual. And, as Petra says with a glowing face, they are walking with the Lord! She asked the Lord for her family, but didn't realize it would happen so soon! Yes, God is giving great JOY to Petra - and to all of us!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Elia's last morning in Mexico City!

I caught Elia snoozing at 8:15 AM Monday morning! She finally did get up in time to head over to our favorite "restaurant" for a delicious breakfast of tlacoyos and quesadillas! What restaurant is that?? Right on the street - a little covered stand where two very efficient ladies served us - and the next stand over had delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice! Best breakfast in Mexico!

And now Kris and Elia are on their way home - hopefully they'll arrive safe and sound this evening. What a great visit! One we'll never forget!

Sunday and Monday

Here's Elia in Sunday School. When she came out, she showed us her picture of "Maria" and said, "This is Maria. She's supposed to wear blue, but I colored her dress yellow." I think she had a good time with her teachers Rosy and Zaira. And yes, the class is in the storeroom! Little by little we're getting our Sunday school rooms ready, but in the meantime...!

Sunday afternoon we took a bus ride into Mexico City. Supper at the famous Sanborns House of Tiles right downtown! Squash, the fruity drink, was luscious, as were the soups we ordered, and Elia decided on the "definitely kid-friendly" hot dog and letter fries!

Sunday evening saw us at the incredibly beautiful Bellas Artes to see the Folkloric Ballet. My second time to see it in two weeks! Isn't that a record, or something? I never tire of it and this time was especially fun with Elia, Bethie and Kris!

Since the ballet starts at 8:30 PM, I was afraid Elia wouldn't make it, but she was a trooper! She got "really tired", but managed to stay awake till the last beautiful dance and chattered all the way back to the hotel! What an exciting memory we made for her - for all of us!

More fun days with Kris and Elia

Queretaro is a fun city to visit. After a delicious breakfast at Bisquets, we walked up the "andadores" to the Dog Fountain, shopping all the way and enjoying the sights.

Corral de la Vaca, a wonderful restaurant we HAD to take Kris and Elia to. See Elia's "little" lemonade? And the "molcajetes" seen below were outstanding, as always.

Oh, oh! There goes Zorro and his/her companion! Elia has part of the outfit, Dayton the rest! And of course you gotta have the rest of the special equipment (that Zorro never saw before!).

Needed: A good laugh or two

Are you in need of a good laugh or two? Or maybe even a dozen? Read A Long Way to Chicago and its sequel A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. You'll have enough laughs to last a long time. I didn't think till halfway through the second one, to mark some of the great quotes, but here are a few that made me laugh:

"Chilly out there." She rubbed her big red hands together. "My teeth is chattering like a woodpecker with palsy."

"Grandma considered my choice. The toothpick hovered. "That them?" she said at last. "Whoooeee, two dollars and seventy-five cents." Her eyes filled her spectacles. "I remember when you could shoe a whole family and the horse for that money."

"The winters were colder back then too, weren't they, Grandma?"
"People starved to death because their jaws froze shut," she said.

Forrest Pugh, Jr's ears stood straight out, like open car doors.

These are stories about the "good old days" which sometimes were good, sometimes weren't so good, and about adventures with an eccentric Grandma who was sometimes believable, some not so believable!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We DID swim after all!

Oh, wait! Some of us did go swimming today after all! It may have been just in our HUGE bathtub, but it WAS swimming! And the water was even very nice and warm! Elia and Dayton had a blast!

More fun with Kris and Elia

At first Elia was terrified of Peanut - she didn't realize that NO ONE should be afraid of Peanut, who loooooooves people! Now Elia is finally playing with Peanut: "Come on, Peanut, put the ball down, put it down, come on!" Peanut somehow knew Elia was afraid of her at first and stayed away from her (how do dogs know???), but now she's friends forever!

Today Plan A was the water park, Plan B was Bernal. Bernal won because it was too cool and rainy to swim! Good thing because as we passed two water parks on the way to Bernal, they were BOTH closed! Here are Kris, with Cameron, climbing some of the rock formations on the way up the famous Rock of Bernal.

And here they come back down!

Bethie, Kris, Elia, Cameron and Dayton climbed all the way up to the bridge. I don't know how far that is, but I know it's further than I wanted to go! We didn't think Elia would make it, but you know, keeping up with the cousins is VERY important! Here come the girls back down, after a GOOD climb - they'll have sore muscles tomorrow, guaranteed! But it was WORTH IT! After coming down, Elia commented to her mommy, "My legs are shaky!" Yes, I'm sure they were after THAT workout!

We love Bernal, not just for the climb up the rock, but for the quaint little town and the WONDERFUL shops! I actually bought a bunch of sweaters today - I won't say how many! We found a good lunch place and enjoyed a delicious meal of chiles rellenos (three of us) and beef roll with veggies (two of us) - the other two little ones (Elia and Dayton) enjoyed their rice and vegetable soup. What a wonderful place to visit! Y'all come, hear?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Having fun with Auntie Kris and cousin Elia!

Daughter Kris and granddaughter Elia, age 5, arrived last Monday evening. The airport was a madhouse and we were afraid we'd totally miss them, but managed to see them among the hundreds of other folks also looking for their loved ones! And to make matters even more crazy, some famous people were arriving as well, with photographers manning the best spaces up front! We have no idea who came in - we were only interested in Kris and Elia!

Rather than heading straight home to San Juan, we stayed at Hotel Prim in downtown Mexico City overnight, spent the next day eating a yummy VERY MEXICAN STYLE breakfast (Yes, that's right on the street and yes, it was delicious!) and shopping at the Ciudadela, a huge artisan market. By the time we got back to the hotel, our arms were aching from carrying all the GREAT stuff we bought! The Ciudadela is a favorite spot and always tons of fun! Elia saw just dozens of wonderful things to get for her and her brothers and sister!

We took a taxi to the bus station and headed for San Juan. The bus was very exciting to Elia and she "claims" she took a nap, but I'm not sure she did! I know the rest of us did!

Playing with cousins Cameron and Dayton has been the best. As Elia says, "We're having fun!" Today she and Cameron were caught in a really cute conversation:

Elia: "Let's play hide and scare again."
Cameron: "No, it's called hide and go scream!"

Tomorrow we'll head for a swimming pool and water park, if we don't get rained out. And I'll get some more cute pictures and listen to some more cute conversations between the cousins!

Oh, Kris and I wandered through our favorite fabric store - and guess who's making a couple more little dresses before Kris heads back to Chicago! They have smocked tops and all I have to do is sew up the side seam, add ribbons to tie at the shoulders and hem them. They're red with sequins on the skirt - very pretty! And so quick and easy to make!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My GREAT house!

My sister Elaine just took some pictures of my GREAT house, so thought I'd share them with you! It's difficult to really, truly describe my GREAT house and even pictures don't do it justice! When people first come up the stairs and see it, all they can say is, "WOW!" In fact, that's what I said when I first saw it, even before it was furnished! The bright blue is my couch - isn't it great!! There is a skylight above the stairs. In front of the couch is my "work station" where I work on my memory books and/or sewing projects! Since no one else shares my space, I can be as messy as I want when I want!

By the little table is my walk-in closet. To the left of it is a door that goes outside to the laundry room and our guestroom.

I've divided my space into "rooms". I guess you could say I live in a "loft"! But MUCH nicer!

The two doors you see behind me are "the bathroom", European style. To the left is the "water closet" and to the right is the sink and shower - the biggest shower I've ever experienced!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Visitors from Warrenton, MO and Yucatan, Mexico

My sister, Elaine (on left) has been here visiting for several days. She first traveled to Monterrey, Mexico to attend a conference celebrating 65 years of CEF in Mexico, then came here to see me for 10 days. And two friends from Yucatan have been here, Isolina Cab and her aunt Raymunda Cab. What fun! Here you see them enjoying Tepoznieves (sherbet) in Tequisquiapan.

We all traveled to Mexico City for two days of excitement! Here the soldiers are lowering the flag at 6 PM in front of the national palace. It was raining and yes, we were soaked, but it was SO INTERESTING, we hardly noticed!

Then, to the Bellas Artes Theatre to enjoy the Folkloric Ballet. We didn't take pictures during the performance, but enjoyed seeing this incredibly beautiful "glass curtain" depicting the two volcanoes Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl being raised. I highly recommend the Ballet - I've seen it many, many times and never tire of it!

Here are my guests and "nephew" Felix. Left to right: Felix, Isolina, Raymunda and Elaine

Carmen, our Mexican sister, hosted us for the two nights. She came to live with us when I was 5 years old and she was 10, our folks put her through school and of course she became, and still is, our beloved Mexican sister. She's a retired nurse, but still uses her nursing skills to help and is a "hostess with the mostest." She served us her famous "mole (moulay) poblano and we almost licked our plates, it was so delicious!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Doing" minstry i.e. Serving Jesus

What does "doing" ministry look like? Well, this morning I caught Cameron "doing" ministry! Maybe he didn't know it, but he definitely was serving Jesus! His mom, Beth, was studying the Bible with Justin's mommy Kristin, so Cameron was "babysitting" - no, I mean "doing" ministry! Beth couldn't do all she does with Kristin without Cameron's help. So, yes, he's "doing" ministry.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Working while she sleeps

This morning Ivonne accompanied her daughter Gaby, who is pregnant, to the doctor, so her son Julio came in early with Gaby's little girl Vanessa in tow. She played with him for awhile, but suddenly it got very quiet in the office! She was out, and stayed out for a good two hours! But that didn't slow Julio down on the computer - he could work even better now with her sleeping and quiet for a change! It reminded me of the days when I used to type (no, not on a computer, but on an old fashioned typewriter!) with a kid in my lap! Been there, done that MANY times!

Kid's Club and the Carlisle team

The team left this morning - it must have been early, and they must have been VERY quiet, because I didn't hear a thing! They accomplished a lot at the community ministry center and we're so grateful for their help. I'm sure when they all get home, they'll want to REST, after putting up that roof at the center! That was HARD WORK! Check out for some videos of the hard work they accomplished.

Over 40 came to kids' club yesterday. Today was the last day, with prizes, a cake and a salvation message for the children AND adults that attend. Even though there was a bit of a scare one day because people reacted negatively to the club, the attendance kept rising and we know the Gospel has been presented to a neighborhood we haven't worked in before. Pray that many will come to know the Lord. Monica, who lives in that neighborhood, said, "It's a big responsibility for us who live there. We want to witness to our neighbors and so we have to live the Christian life before them as well."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Putting up a roof = HARD WORK

Yesterday on the way to prayer meeting, I stopped by the community outreach center to see how the men were getting along. Well, they were working hard - too hard, I'd say! Fortunately they had a cement mixer, shoveled the cement mix into buckets and the men walked them up to the roof. Hard work! Heavy buckets! Hot sun! Dirty, messy job! But by 7 PM, they were done! Cameron's Sunday school room now has a roof! Maybe on Sunday the class can "estrenar" their class - which simply means, "show it off"!

There's Alan at the top taking a rest after carrying heavy, heavy buckets of cement up to the roof. Josiah Yingling is carrying his share up, and Julio is coming back for more. Check out for more good pictures and a good description from someone who was there lifting buckets and working hard!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Today Aurelia gave her testimony during the Sunday school hour. Aurelia is from Guatemala and now working here in Mexico in the city of Mazatlan. She has been here in San Juan for awhile to get away from the heat of Mazatlan for a couple months. I've known Aurelia since we lived in Guatemala and consider her a beautiful example of the grace of God. She comes from an incredibly dysfunctional background and it is simply God's grace that has put her where she is now and has used her in the most amazing ways to be a witness for Him.
Back in Guatemala, her life certainly changed when she went to live with Dan and Beverly Kendal and their three girls. She gained a NEW FAMILY and now calls them her "Kendal parents." Aurelia's testimony was a huge blessing to me and I'm hoping and praying the ladies will get better acquainted with her while she's here in San Juan this month. I "hinted" to them that they should invite her to dinner or out for coffee, or just over for a visit! I hope they will!
Our sixth and last team for the summer is with us this week. They've already done some amazing work at the ministry center - tiling the floor of the young people's room and preparing to put the cement roof on grandson Cameron's Sunday school room. They've also been involved in a kid's club that is being held this week. Here you see two of them involved in the music team singing and playing the keyboard for us.

No, this isn't prison. I peeked between the bars of the door to the - no, not a Sunday School room - but the storage room!! Since construction is going on in Cameron's Sunday school room, they met in the storage room today! The kids didn't mind - would YOUR kids mind if they met in this small storage room?? (Cameron IS there, sitting in front of the girl in the pink shirt!)

"And where's your nursery?" In the new ladies' bathroom, where else? The bathroom is tiled, but waiting for funds to be able to finish it, so we use it to teach the little ones on a Sunday! We don't really HAVE a room for the little ones yet! That is a future project!

And Dayton's class? Well, this Sunday it was held in one of the larger rooms, which, for now, is being used for storage while construction is going on. To say the least, our Sunday school facilities are VERY rustic, but hey! We're all just happy that it is getting better little by little and we're excited to see it happening right under our noses! And of course the kiddos don't care where they meet!