Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kids Club 2

Looks like a very wet game! Good thing we have a cement floor!

Craft time!

I think the helpers are having more fun than the kids!

Karla, on the left, took all the pictures but this one. I thought this craft was VERY creative! At our church we HAVE to be creative since there are few funds and many of the families are struggling financially.

I couldn't have done it better! I'm not sure what it is, but here's one proud boy!

Kids club 1

Last week we had a Kids Club at our church. I wasn't involved except to take some snacks and prizes over, but was excited to get a bunch of pictures of the happenings! There were quite a number of youthful helpers, which was a huge blessing to see! These young people are excited to serve the Lord, which makes me excited! All the "older" kids in the pictures are the helpers! Above, Marta teaching. She was the director of the club and worked VERY HARD!

Monica also taught. If you saw Monica, you'd NEVER EVER guess she could get up front and teach kids. She's so quiet and extremely shy. But WOW! she does a super job with the children!

Gaby and her daughter Vanessa - and helper Janett holding up "right-side up" song - teaching some songs. As you can tell, Vanessa doesn't read real well yet!

Making new friends at Kids Club!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The brightest house in town

This is BEFORE - it's a nice color, but as you can see, desperately needs some repairs and paint!


You know how Mexicans love bright colors. Well, as we say here, "Nos pasamos." And I don't know how you translate that! I guess something like, "We went beyond or maybe even too far!" But the interesting thing is, it wasn't a MEXICAN that chose the color - it was the gringos in our neighborhood - that's us! Yep, it's bright. But yep, it's pretty! No one will be able to mistake which house is ours!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making wise decisions

Last night we ladies of the Abundant Life Bible Church got together for fellowship and a beautiful message from Blanquita Rodriguez. Maybe two of you out there will remember Blanquita - and her brother Alfonzo who is married to Ginny. Blanquita and her husband worked here in San Juan for awhile and are now in Celaya. It was so nice to have Blanquita among us again - we all love her dearly! I didn't get any good pictures, but here are some anyway!

We always sit around in a circle - it's the Mexican way! Two of these ladies are visitors and the one in orange, Guadalupe, told us that she really enjoyed being with us and liked he "convivio". We were glad to hear that!

The baby is Gaby's little boy (she's on the left next to Blanquita), and Ivonne's grandson (she's in the green shirt).

Here's Blanquita. She was great - we wish she could have stayed longer with us! For sure we'll invite her again in the future! She spoke on making wise decisions and gave some good biblical advice.

Food - of COURSE! Tacos de canasta - which are just tortillas folded over filled with beans, cheese or meat, corn on the cob with lemon and chile (field corn, not sweet corn!!), veggies and dip and cookies both provided by, you guessed it, me! Yolanda said, "I don't usually like broccoli, but when you bring it and we put dip on it, I love it." Of course! And of course Ivonne brought her signature snack - coke!

Marta with her adorable granddaughter. And if you think Marta looks too young to be a grandma, you're right! She is! They start grandmothering very early in Mexico! She has two little granddaughters.

Fahrenheit 451

Do you want to read a scary book? Here it is. It is Ray Bradbury's cautionary near-future parable of a society where books are banned and firemen start fires. I didn't read this 50th anniversary edition, rather probably one of the first paperbacks printed. The book was written in 1950, and it's scary to think of how "some" of what he wrote about is coming true in our society today. Read and weep!

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Humble" shopping malls

Yesterday in Mexico City, we went to three malls looking for ice cream. And these weren't just any malls! They were LUXURY, incredible malls! Of course I didn't think "camera" until the third one, which you see above! It was a paper factory, probably the biggest in Mexico City, because it went down "under" and became an incredible and HUGE mall! Someone with A LOT of money designed it, that was obvious! I told Felix that next time I go to the city, I'll stay longer and we needed to explore it a bit! We didn't find ice cream here, we found it at a "small" mall where the stores were the kind we just LOOK at, don't usually go in! But we did go into one store that sold all sorts of imported items from all over the world and yes, they had Hagen Daz ice cream! For a big price!

For those who think Mexico is just a backward cactus-growing country, y'all come! I'll show you LUXURY and HIGH CLASS!! Felix' car was probably one of the oldest ones that drove into these malls - it's a 10 year old. The rest were either latest models or awfully close! Very interesting experience for me!

Happy birthday Carmen and Beth

Yesterday I took a bus into Mexico City and celebrated Carmen's and my birthdays with her, her son Felix and her nephews Rafael and Eduardo (Lalo). What a great time we had!

Here we are singing Las Mañanitas to each other. The cake was kind of a pound cake. We also had Hagen Daz (spelling??) ice cream, which is ridiculously expensive here in Mexico, but yummy! And Carmen's worth it, right?

Felix, Carmen and Rafael, one of Carmen's nephews. When Rafa was very young, maybe 10, he had leukemia. He's now a robust, tall, handsome, delighful university student. Praise the Lord!

Carmen of course made chicken and mole (moh-lay), a delicious sauce, along with beans, rice and tortillas. It was all delicious! Of COURSE. As Lalo was about to take a bite, he said, "This is delicious." Carmen asked him how he knew, since he hadn't even taken a bite yet!! Lalo said, "I know! But it's delicious!" We all agreed and definitely ate too much!

I bought mint chocolates for Carmen while I was in the States. There you see Eduardo (Lalo), Rafa's youngest brother. He also is a delightful young man, just beginning his studies at the university.

Monday, July 13, 2009

San Juan del Rio is paralyzed

This afternoon at 2 I left the house to take some important papers to Marta. She lives right in the center of town. In the picture, the street in front of the police, is where I want to go. He told me to turn right, which takes me to the highway to Queretaro. I DID NOT want to go right. Did I have a choice?? NO.

So, why is San Juan paralyzed?? These hundreds, probably thousands of pilgrims heading for San Juan de los Lagos (St. John of the Lakes) have arrived in town, and will be here for two or three days, resting. They have paralyzed our town. Thanks, Alan, for letting me know - Yolanda also told me last night - that they're heading for the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. It will take them 8 days to get there. The women came through town the day before and today was the men's turn.

When I turned and looked ahead, all I could see was pilgrims. To the end of the road, around the corner, to the end of that road, around the corner, thousands of them.

Now I'm heading for the highway to Queretaro. I didn't have a choice, nor did dozens of other cars! I headed toward Queretaro and got off at the first exit, along with many others, and headed back toward San Juan. I took the bus station exit thinking maybe the traffic wouldn't be so bad. WRONG! It took me 45 minutes to get back home! At least I had a good story I was listening to!

And I never got to Marta's house! But when I arrived home, who should be sitting out front of my house but Victor, Marta's husband! She had asked him to come get the materials! Now he's wondering how he'll get home!!

The saddest part of the story is that these thousands of pilgrims are depending on their pilgrimage to get them to heaven, someday, somehow. So sad.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In This Sign

I highly recommend that you read this book! Here's what The New York Times says about it: "Joanne Greenberg has taken the world of the deaf and made it an extension of everyone's experience - made it a metaphor for childish innocence, for grown-up alienation and loneliness...and for the inability of all of us to truly listen and speak."

It's a beautiful but sad story of a deaf couple who have hearing children and what life is like for this type of family. Of course, not ALL families are the same, but my guess is that this is a true picture of many if not most families who live with Deaf and Hearing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Two cultures meet

Last night two cultures met and had a beautiful time together. The ladies of Abundant Life Bible Church in San Juan del Rio, Mexico and the ladies of Christ Community Church in West Chester, PA, joined together for a time of getting acquainted, doing a handwork project together, and OF COURSE, eating! The West Chester ladies brought a simple but lovely and fun handcraft, which our ladies LOOOVED.

Katie, shown here in the red T shirt, gave her testimony to our ladies. What a beautiful story of God's grace and mercy! One gal told me later that she TOTALLY related since she's been through much of the same in her life!

Marta, in the pink, accepted Jesus as her Savior while the West Chester team was here and as a result of their efforts! They were, of course, thrilled, and I'm thrilled that Marta continues to come, not just to this event, but to church. Pray for her as one of our ladies disciples her!

Kristin joined us and delighted in the fun handcraft! She enjoyed talking ENGLISH to the ladies from West Chestert!

L to r: Yadhira, Monica, Zaira and Claudia. Claudia is in a wheelchair, but has changed SO MUCH since I last saw her several months ago! She was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, flat on her back in bed, not able to move even her feet or hands. She could do NOTHING for herself. Her two teen age daughters had to do EVERYTHING, which they resented and acted out in unkind ways. Now Claudia still uses her wheelchair and sometimes a walker to get around, but is able to do everything for herself, even walk up and downstairs! Her daughters, who left a few months ago, have decided to come home. She is a baby Christian who Monica is discipling, doesn't come often to church, so we're delighted when she does!

By the way, if you'd like to check out some photos of the team's activities over this past week - and they're worked HARD and LONG hours! - go to
I think you'll enjoy the pictures!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Feria de inglés para niños

Saturday our team, along with MKs Josiah, Brianna and Aron Yingling, held a fair for the children who attended the English classes. What a blast! The kids were delighted, the parents loved watching their kids, and several of us were able to talk with the parents, inviting them to come to future English classes as well as to church. One lady promised to come on Sunday, but didn't. She forgot to tell us WHICH Sunday she would be coming! Hopefully we'll have contact with her again soon.

Balloon figures. Team members Roy and Jeff were learning (they had their "cheatsheet" in front of them!) as they worked, but did a GREAT job! And they related so beautifully to the kids.

Fishing! The kids had to say the number they "caught", in English to get a prize!

Face painting! A very popular booth!

FANCY bowling!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

English classes

In Spanish we have a saying, "Jugando se aprende." "You learn as you play." So, the children played, but also learned English! I don't know how much they learned, but they sure had fun!

There's Josiah Yingling in the red T helping the children learn English! Of course the two blondies in the righthand corner probably already know quite a bit - they're two of the O'Brien kiddos!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Team from Christ Church in PA

We have a great team here from West Chester, PA. They've been working super hard at the community outreach center, cleaning, painting, cementing a wall, putting up a needed wall, and a myriad of other jobs. One of the team members, David, said, "I've never worked so hard, but this is great what we're doing!" We agree! It's great!

Team leaders Barry and Jean Keiser. It's been a joy getting to know them
and the rest of the team.

We love having teams and have especially enjoyed this one. Today we went shopping at Tequisquiapan, then enjoyed a delicious Fourth of July dinner - hamburgs, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw and delicious pies!

But their work isn't done! Later I'll add more pictures of the Children's Fair! And the get together with the Abundant Life Bible Church! What fun!