Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making a joyful noise

You've never experienced the joy of singing a cappella until you've sung a cappella with the ladies here in San Juan. Last Monday we didn't have our beloved Gloria to accompany us (Gloria is our electronic hymnal that plays most of the songs in our hymnal Celebremos su gloria), so, what to do? Sing a cappella of course! "Ok," says Mary, "on three we'll start. One, two, three." And everyone (except me!) starts singing - in 12 different keys of course (there were 13 of us there!). When we finally kind of find a common key, I join in! But some of the ladies keep singing in their own personal key, or "unkey" as the case may be. Several ladies sing monotone.

Honest, I'm not trying to make fun. This is EXACTLY how it happened! But, there is one thing you won't find in many churches in the U.S. - JOYOUS SINGING! These ladies know they can't sing, but do they care? Of course not! They're singing to the Lord, not to the rest of us, so they belt it out. People on the street can hear us singing joyfully. Out of tune, but joyfully and from the heart! And that's what counts, isn't it?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yesterday about 2 dozen of us from Abundant Life Bible Church traveled to Celaya to a conference at the Christian Bible Church. We enjoyed the excellent teaching of Daniel Peasland, who had coordinators for each of the tables you see here. They helped us with the workshops. The conference was very well organized with breakfast items put out when we arrived (ham sandwiches - yes, really!, fruit, juice and sweetbread), and later served us a wonderfully delicious meal of many choices - I chose rajas (sliced jalapeño peppers and onions cooked with cream), tinga, chicken and potatoes cooked in a cream sauce, beans and rice - and of course lots of tortillas!

Daniel spoke on the gifts God has given each of us and how we use them for God's glory. He challenged us to not just use them, but use them with the right attitude - for God and His glory and for each other. It isn't about me, it's about God and my fellow beings. There were also three workshops where we worked as teams. It was truly a blessing, encouragement and challenge to each of us. I'm so glad I went and I'm so glad Yolanda, David, Gilberto, Imelda, Yoshijiro, Linda, Brenda, Reyna, Candelaria, Rosy, Ivonne, Jhaid, Gaby, Grace, Paul, Nacho and Mary went!
On my desk I have the essentials. Computer, SKYPE web cam, pencils, pens, scissors, scrap paper, and OF COURSE, chocolate! Doesn't everyone?? My daughter Kris sent Alan, Beth and me some GOODIES! Yummy chocolate covered raisins, chccolate covered malt balls, some rock candies that break the teeth if you're not careful, and tiny M&Ms. So, there you have it - something to munch on while I'm working away! We did use most of the M&Ms to make cookies which our young people sold after church today. They're raising money to rent a hall and invite a concert pianist and preacher to come hold an evangelistic outreach. So, we're all helping them sell goodies that everyone enjoys. So, those M&Ms went to a very, very good cause!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ever play Pencil/Paper? Here are the rules: Each person has a piece of paper in front of him. There is one pencil and one die that everyone shares. The first person rolls the die, then the second, etc. When someone gets a 2, everyone passes their paper to the person on their left. If someone gets a 5, he grabs the pencil and starts writing from 1 to 100 on his paper. In the meantime everyone else is going around taking turns rolling the die. So, when someone else gets a 5, you give up your pencil to that person and he starts writing numbers on his paper. And when someone gets a 2, you pass your paper to the person on your left. It gets crazy, trust me! The winner is the one who finally reaches 100 on the sheet of paper in front of him. If more than 5 people play, you have two dice going at the same time, but just one pencil!

Sarah, Cameron and Dayton have had lots of fun playing this game, at least I'm guessing that by the screams of laughter that wafted upstairs! Guess I'll have to play next time!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More going's on at Iglesia Biblica Vida Abundante

Last Sunday José de Jesús (we call him either Chucho, Jesús or José!) led the service for the first time. He was a bit nervous, but did a fine job.

I told you I'd put up a picture of Sarah playing her flute and here she is! She joined the Worship team Sunday and we all welcomed her!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Glimpses of church life in San Juan del Rio

Isn't this what everyone does on a Friday afternoon?? Today several of us attached the church with water and brooms, because tomorrow there will be an area-wide leaders' meeting and we wanted the place looking nice. It was a fun time with these ladies and the church is sparkling tonight!
Ivonne and my granddaughter Josie should get together and exchange views on the perfect outfit to wear to sweep the church!! Her high heeled shoes are brand new - or at least they were before she soaked them with dust and water! The striped socks put the finishing touch on her outfit!

Linda and Bethie working away!

Last Sunday we had a wonderful group up front praising the Lord in song, guitar and flute! Edith, on the left, is new to the group. Luis is fairly new and learning. Our very capable leader is Tanya on the high stool. Next Sunday our intern, Sarah, is planning to play her flute with the group - I'll be sure and get pictures!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


"A day without chile is like a day without sun!" So true! Don't you agree?? This MIGHT have a double meaning because Sol is also the name of a beer here in Mexico, but I'll go with the first meaning - the SUN!

Here's Sarah on the overlook at Guanajuato. Yesterday 9 of us headed for a fun day in this incredible, fun city. Seven of us insisted on seeing the famous Guanajuato mummies and two of us warned the other seven that they likely would regret it. Their comments (among others) when they came out of the museum, "We won't do THAT again!" Many years ago my family went to see them, and NONE of us will do THAT again! Ever! Sarah got a couple pictures of a couple of the mummies, but I won't show them - don't want you to have nightmares tonight!

Here we are riding the tram up the mountain to the Pipila, a famous statue in Guanajuato. And I'm even smiling! Ha! Trams aren't my favorite thing in life!

University of Guanajuato

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Havin' fun!

I know you'll never guess what Esmeralda and I have been doing while I've been here in El Paso, so I'll just have to tell you! We made a quilt!! Yep, we did! I did the major amount of the work, but Esme got her stitches in there too! It's just squares, one purple, one another design, the next purple, then another design, then purple, etc. It looks SO PRETTY! We didn't quite finish it - you may be able to see the pins still in it -because we don't have the yarn or quilting needles (we couldn't find any!), so I'll bring yarn and my quilt needles when I come back in March. The back is a gold and white sheet and looks so nice! No stuffing - it's a summer quilt, and for summer quilts in El Paso, you need LIGHT!

3 hours and 32 minutes

This evening it took us 3 hours and 32 minutes to cross the border from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso! It wasn't exactly fun, but we made it and actually survived! The photos give us a bit of an idea of the line of cars. We sang, we talked, we listened (briefly) to the radio, the girls played, talked, sang, cried, ate snacks, cried some more and finally fell asleep! Glory! That's one of the costs of living on the border and crossing over often.

We had a great time at the Renteria's house. They had butchered a pig today and were almost ready to eat when we got there - pork, tortillas, beans, rice, and nice SPICY salsa. Very good! There was quite a crowd there of invited guests! We didn't stay long, because we were anxious to get to that LONG LINE of cars heading back to El Paso - just kidding!

Around the house - and park