Sunday, October 26, 2008

13 baptized today

11 of those bapitzed today are from our church: Brian, Odalis, Sherlynn, Briana, Aracely, Merlin, Ana, Alfonso, Julio Cesar, Gamaliel and Cesar. What a great bunch! We don't have a baptismal at church, so found a lovely spot and a beautiful pool in which to baptize these folks. A couple from Toluca showed up just before the baptisms and begged us to baptize them as well. Juan and Dan talked with them and seemed to feel they were truly saved. They were thrilled to be a part of this ceremony and even stayed and had dinner with us afterward!

Three young ladies, Briana, Odalis and Sherlynn, all baptized the same day! Aren't they precious?

This is basically a holding tank, used for watering the crops in the area. It also happens to be a warm spring of water that is always running, so is beautifully clean. It looked like a pool that is cleaned everyday - minus the chlorine, thankfully!

We first had a worship service - this picture just to prove that I was REALLY there! Then a short message before the baptisms.

There were two pools, the very large one on the right and a smaller, warmer one on the left, almost like a wading pool. We all brought our food and set it all up on tables to share - my goodness, what a spread - and everything I ate was delicious! After - and during - the meal, a number of people, and especially the children, thoroughly enjoyed swimming. And only one young person got thrown in by her friends!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy birthday!

One of the children in our neighborhood is having a birthday party! And the family is doing it up good! Usually this green area is just green, with no "party animals." (The yellow house behind the party is our house.) Today, as you can see, there is plenty of activity!

All around the green area, tables and chairs are set up for little picnics. The "taco man" is here, serving up freshly made tacos. The "hot dog man" is here too, with what Cameron describes as horrible hot dogs. Cameron and Dayton are right there among the children, having a good time.

Yes, Dayton is there somewhere! I think maybe that leg pointing straight up might be his, not sure! Cameron, in the red shorts, white T shirt, gets bored with all the fun and games and just walks around the festivities, checking it all out.

Cool Whip!

This morning as I was enjoying delicious Swedish pancakes covered with strawberries and COOL WHIP, I thought of some of the COOL stuff we can't get here and kind of miss! Cool Whip is one of them - speaking editorially. I personally don't MISS it - I love the "real" cream you can buy here and whip up, but many of my team members DO MISS COOL WHIP! One day, while Bethie and I were at the grocery store, we spied COOL WHIP! And it was even reasonable, which is kind of unusual! So, we bought one. But when we got home and told Alan about it, he went back and bought ALL the rest of them! We may not see them again for a long time, after all! Other things we "miss"? Chocolate chips (we load up when returning from the U.S.), certain vitamins, my Tom's toothpaste!, I'm sure there are others, but for myself, I love being here and enjoying the MEXICAN goodies like fresh orange juice, fresh "green" juice (you don't wanna know what they put in it!), tamales, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, I could go on and on, you know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Funeral in San Juan

Four-story gravesites. For lack of room, many people opt for "houses" for their loved ones.

The verse is Psalm 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee... My friend Mary's mother is buried here.

Funerals in Mexico are so different from U.S. funerals. SO DIFFERENT! They're different in other parts of the country, yes, but for the most part, the same.

Marcelina died Tuesday morning at 2 AM. The wake for her was held on Tuesday evening, all night for those who could and wanted to stay. Marcelina had 10 children. 8 have accepted Christ, two have not, and many relatives have not, so they insisted on a mass for the "difunta" (dead person). About 15 of us from Iglesia Biblica Vida Abundante showed up and had a little service for those who desired it. The townspeople had their mass after that. During the night the family serves coffee, bread and later in the night, a meal. We didn't stay for that. Someone did serve me a cup of coffee. I held it awhile, then gave it to Victor!

Oh, I forgot. This wasn't IN San Juan. The wake or velorio, was held in El Organal, which is "officially" a part of San Juan, but not really! It's a small village out there. We drove toward Queretaro, exited at San Gil, which is a suburb where the wealthy and wanna-be wealthy live, but rather drove alongside San Gil for a good distance, then on down a very windy, narrow road to El Organal a farming community. The home was basically two rooms, with the "kitchen" outside. The yard was packed-down dirt, nothing more.

Today 8 of us from the church headed to one of the graveyards here in town. We waited about 45 minutes for the casket and family to arrive from El Organal. There was quite a lenghty saying of the rosary, then the casket was taken to where burial was to take place. Try to picture it: a hole for the casket, 3, maybe even 5 inches from the next grave, dirt piled up around it ready to be shoveled into the hole, nothing pretty in any sense of the word, people crowded around in the warm sun, the workers hanging around waiting for us to be done so they could get on with their work. I couldn't help but contrast it with my own mom's funeral last year - so different! The pastor of one of the son's church spoke a few words, then Victor (from our church) had us sing some songs and then read Psalm 23. Some of the non-Christians became upset when we started singing and left. As we were singing, the workers were lowering the casket, placing cement slabs on top of it, shoveling a mixture of cement on top of that, then shoveling the dirt back into the hole. We stood with Cruz (Cross), her daughter, and she, through her tears, sang along with us. The relatives then put all the flowers and wreaths on and around the gravesite. And we left. Cruz and her husband and brother expressed their heartfelt gratitude to us for accompanying them at their time of need. It was a difficult time for them, because they really wanted a Christian funeral for their mom, who was a believer, but instead of fighting with the rest of the relatives, let them do their ritual. We heard that someone wanted to "kick us out", but after all, we had been invited too!

A funeral here is NOT the place to take pictures, but I did get a couple pictures of Mary's mother's grave and some of the "houses" of grave sites, which are being used now, because of lack of room. The graves are unbelievably close together. Cruz' mom was buried in the same "hole" as her dad, who died 10 years ago. They dug up his bones, put them in a bag on top of her casket, so both parents are in the same gravesite. I asked Mary about costs for the headstones. YES, funerals here are different - costwise (much cheaper!) and in every other way.

Yes, it's very different from what we're used to. It isn't something I'd like to do everyday - not even every year - not even ever! But when our people are in need of comforting and need us to accompany them in their time of great need, it's worth it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I just finished reading Cadence, by B.J. Hoff. That was a good'un! It's actually the second in The American Anthem Series of historical novels, but since we don't have the first one (Prelude) I just had to FORCE myself to read the second, which was hard to put down! And, since we DO have the third one, Jubilee, I'll see ya later, I've got a book to read!


Today Beth, Cameron and Dayton made lamingtons. What? You don't know what those are? Well, just check out the pictures, and if you're still wondering, check it out on the Internet - it'll tell you all about these wonderful Aussie treats. (And I have no idea why those last couple sentences are underlined!!) I had to ask Bethie four (maybe five, maybe six??) times to remind me of the name! But I didn't need reminding to help myself to another!

And of COURSE Cameron washed up the dishes when they were done!! (Or was that Grandma that was seen at the scene of the dishwashing party??)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The New Reading Room

Most people have a living room in their house. As of two days ago, we have a "reading room". It USED TO BE a living room, but now it's a READING ROOM. Personally, I think that's much better!

NOT reading, just posing! Can you tell?? To the right there are three more bookshelves, FULL bookshelves or more great books!

A cozy corner for the little kids to find ANY NUMBER of picture books!

And someone - the resident librarian, Bethie - has to input ALL the books in the computer. What a huge job!

The boys claim that this is much more fun. Spoil sports! I can't think of ANYTHING more fun than reading!

Flowers just for fun

These are just for fun! This morning daughter Bethie and grandsons Cameron and Dayton went next door to the field where the weeds and PRICKERS are up past the knee (or shoulder, if you're 7!) and found these beautiful flowers. Amazing where we find beauty! Now, if we could just look at PEOPLE and see beauty in them, beauty that God created! Oh, the hand with the globe and Bible was a gift from Manuel and Isabel (our helper when we lived in Guatemala) on the occasion of his graduation from seminary. I treasure it!

¡Ay, me enchilé!

What in the world does THAT mean? Well, this morning I stopped at a fruit stand and bought a cup of fruit - watermelon, jicama and orange pieces - don't tell my mom, I might get in trouble buying that JUNK! I asked the young man to put lemon and chile on it, which he did with a flourish! It was delicious and after a few bites, ¡Ay, me enchilé! Yikes, I got "chilied", I guess would be the literal term! That chile was spicy, and besides I didn't just enchilarme INSIDE, I enchilarme OUTSIDE. My blouse is now in the laundry waiting to get the chile washed off!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Sams stores are the same, right?

WRONG! Here in Mexico, you will see lots of Kinder candy on the shelves. They may have those in the States, but I haven't seen them. They're a luscious chocolate egg that is hollow and has a little prize in the middle.

And of course you see LOTS of chile candies on the shelves! Here we have EXTREME chile suckers! The package says Xtreme, pica mix! The kids love it - I say NO THANKS! I'll take my chile in my salsa, thank you!

These are tamarindo (tamarind) flavored balls complete with salt, sugar and chile! Sound yummy?

Yep! More chile. These can be sucked on and out comes a luscious (??) glob of tamarind, chile and salt! It's amazing that children who "can't" eat hot food, thrive on these candies! And, believe me, they're hotter than most of our hot food!

And we must not forget the Pan de Muertos (literally Bread of the Dead!). And this IS delicious, at least I think so! This is the only time of the year that it's sold, because the Day of the Dead will be here soon - Oct. 31-Nov. 2nd. Actually, it's three days! I'll write more about those when the time gets closer. I've known some Christians who won't buy Pan de Muertos, because of what it signifies, but hey! It's really very good! And can't hurt you - just like those folks in the cemetery can't hurt you!

Missionaries have fun too!

Last Wednesday we celebrated four birthdays! Ruth Yingling, Laura Reyes, Marita Mikesell and Scott Yingling! The cake was a yummy as it was beautiful! Those in the pictures are Paul and Grace Becker, Art Mikesell, Susan Wicher (with her back to us), Marita, Scott, Alan, Dan Wicher and John Lee, a visitor from Dallas. Looks like we're all having a great time, huh? Scott got the best gift - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Laurita Reyes Santos came to town today. Laura used to work with the literature ministry, then with the web page ObreroFiel, but now, since ObreroFiel doesn't have the funds to pay her, she no longer works with us, and we miss her very much. But wait! Here she is at our church! Yes! She came today to give a seminar on Domestic Violence and tomorrow will give the same talk for people in the community around the church. It was excellent and a MUCH NEEDED topic. About 30 of us stayed after church, enjoyed eating together, then held the seminar. You can see the back of Uncle Art Mikesell's head there in two of the photos! Laurita hopes to come to San Juan about twice a month to give seminars such as this one and we're excited to have her!

Update on the SECOND Bible study!

This morning during our "convivio" time (that's coffee, kool aid and cookie time between the worship service and Sunday School), I noticed a group of gals sitting around discussing something. When I got close, I realized they were discussing starting the new Bible study for ladies. Isabel was saying, "And you be sure to come, because I don't want to be the only one there!" Several ladies said they'd come, but they've changed the day to Tuesday afternoon, which is better for all of them! Yadhira and Zaira will be the leaders. I'm excited to see them taking the reins and just "doing their thing!"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

All together now: 1 John 5:11-12

Well, here we are at the 5th session in our Bible study! But the three gals you see above are really in the SECOND Bible study! Isabel, on the left, has been totally lukewarm for several years. Last weekend she and her hubby Rene attended the marriage seminar in Salamanca, along with several other couples from our church, and it seemed to completely turn her around. She asked her sisters in law (Yadhira and Zaira in the picture) if she could join our study group! I was very excited when I heard she actually wants to study the Bible! Thank you, Lord! We decided to start another class with her and two other gals. Well, the other two didn't come, so after an introduction with Isabel, she, Yadhira and Zaira joined our class to finish up. Yadhira led the class and WOW! She's good! I was very impressed and began to wonder why I'm doing this - she's much better! Really! Below you'll see us saying our verses all together, a good way to learn them!