Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Sometimes - in fact, often - those of us who live here in Mexico don't "see" or "hear" or "observe" unusual scenes and sounds like our visitors from the States do. But one day as I was waiting for the light to change, I saw this sign. Wow!

Master Holmar
Reading your destiny in your hands

Some of the things he offers are: washings, spiritual cleansings (limpias), and amulets. "Please come visit us" he says! Is that where we get our peace? From someone reading our hands???

Thank God we get our peace from God Himself, who gives us peace beyond understanding. And instead of reading it in our hands, we read it in the Word of God! I'll take that kind of peace any day! What about you?

A sound I hear often, but which startled our American friends who are visiting right now is a loud - yes, very loud - whistle. "What is THAT?" they asked. "Oh, it's just a person selling camotes, or tamales. That's his whistle to announce that he's there." I probably wouldn't have heard it if Anne hadn't been so startled by it!

We may be next door to the U.S., but trust me, this is not the U.S. Nor is it even close to being like the U.S.! There are so many unusual and "weird" things here, but I never notice them, to tell the truth! They're common everyday happenings in my life!


Two weekends ago, I attended a Marriage Seminar in Celaya, along with about 7 couples from Abundant Life Bible Church here in San Juan del Rio. It was held in a beautiful "party hall". We were all blessed with the worship time as well as the speaker, Alejandro Jurado. Now, why would I go to a marriage seminar? Because Ivonne, the owner of the literature ministry Jornada Espiritual, didn't have wheels and had no way to take materials to sell! Scott Yingling and I stuffed our cars with literature - and people - so she could take materials. I'm really glad I went - it isn't just the seminar - it's meeting and talking with folks I haven't seen in a long time - the fellowship was very sweet!

The young man playing the guitar was a "young person" way back when Ken and I worked in the Bajio cities in leadership training. I asked my kids if they remembered him. Kris wrote back that she remembers taking a motorcycle ride with him - one of her scarier rides through Celaya! He was a bit crazier in those days than he is now! The guitar used to be Ken's. He gave it to Adrian, seeing in him musicianship as well as leadership potential! It has paid off! When I first spoke with Adrian, he proudly told me that he's still using Ken's guitar! Praise the Lord!

Here's Adrian with his family - his wife's name is Nancy - can you tell?? (Check out her name tag!) Very sweet couple! One little girl, expecting another! He said they want to catch up with Kenny and Esmeralda with girls!! He remembers all my kids and loves to hear about them, as well as see their pictures!

Ivonne had brisk sales during all the breaks! To speed things up, I held the "money box" and made change while she and her son Julio helped people. Thank the Lord, they did well - we even took two empty boxes back to San Juan!

Two cultures meeting - with much love!

Last night seven ladies from Texas met with about 25 ladies and girls from San Juan del Rio and found that in spite of the language barrier, there was much love shown between the two cultures! Two of the ladies from Texas, Laura and Janet, gave us fun talks about nutrition and health - enjoyed by all of us! We then enjoyed a simple but fun craft that the ladies from Texas brought to share. Thank you, ladies from Texas, for sharing with us! After the craft, we shared a simple meal of tinga, which several had brought, cheese, chips and soda pop. I had also brought along cookies, that disappeared like magic! It was such a fun evening.

Chaos reigned during the craft time - a fun chaos - everyone managed to get their flower/pen finished, and were delighted with them!

Anyone else need some tape??

Ivonne's daughter Gaby had to leave early, so Ivonne made two. Oh, there are three there? Well, her daughter Rosy is away at Bible School, but she had to make one for her as well!

Odalis, on the left, asked if she could make one for her mom, who hadn't come. The little girls don't usually come to our women's meeting, so we were happy to see them! They had a delightful time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Angels in the Camp

I just read a good, good book. Angels in the Camp by Jan Markell. Actually I read it in Spanish: √Āngeles en los campos de concentraci√≥n. It is described in Amazon as "a remarkable story of peace in the midst of the holocaust." God protected Anita Dittman during the 12 years of war in Germany - she was 10 years old when it started and 22 when it ended. God sustained her and she was able to witness "angels" all along the way who made her suffering just a bit more tolerable, and not only that, they protected her from a fate worse than death. God is good! I don't know if this book is in print - and sometimes I wonder WHY I read books of suffering like this one! But it was worth it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy birthday

Yesterday was a special day. In fact, it has been for me since 'way back in 1963! I wasn't thinking much about what day it was, when Paul and Grace appeared at my door with red gladiolas! I knew immediately what day it was! Ken's birthday! Since Bethie isn't here right now, she had written Paul and Grace, asking them to buy some glads and bring them to me! What a sweet, thoughtful thing to do! Don't you think?? Don't you think Ken would have approved???


Here in Mexico a baby shower is called "Un Baby" (A baby!)! We held one last night for Roxana, who we all met at the women's retreat this past month. What a delightful time was had by all! Roxana, a brand new Christian, had never been to a "Christian" "baby" before, and expressed her appreciation and I think was pleasantly surprised at how much fun we could have as Christians!

Above you can see Roxana's VERY LIVELY and VERY CUTE little guy, Max.

My special friend, Conchita, from Queretaro, gave an excellent talk on Hannah and Samuel in 1 Samuel. Roxana told us she had been thinking of naming her baby Samuel! I hope she does! It's a very meaningful name for her now!

Silly game - lots of fun. We each had to measure out in toilet paper how big we thought Roxana is right now! Some of us - most of us!! - failed miserably! But we sure had fun at it.

Lots of good food, tiny sandwiches, hot dogs in a salsa, fruit, THREE cakes!!, tuna and tostadas, veggies and dip and lots of different pop - but someone ALWAYS brings a coke! I guess we can't do without it!

Here we are, Roxana is front and center. Yolanda, beside her, has known Roxana for some years and became reacquainted at the women's retreat. We're glad we've ALL gotten to know her!

An afternoon with Sarita

Sarah Shedd was in town for a couple days this past week. Remember Sarah, "my" intern from a few months back? She's now in Puebla, but was coming through San Juan, so I invited the church to join us for lunch at the park to spend a little time with Sarah. Only a few came, but we had a super time together! Everyone who came was very happy to see her and reminisce a bit! Everyone brought their own lunch, or something to share, and it was all enjoyed by all! This isn't all of us - Gaby was off playing with her daughter and Julio had to leave to get his van at the mechanic's.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Independence Day 2009

Tonight we celebrated the 15th of September - Independence Day here in Mexico. It's really the 16th, but we celebrate the night of the 15th, because that's when the shout of independence was given - at midnight. Here's Ivonne and her daughter Gaby. They at least wore green, white and red! Not many people dressed up - I was the MOST dressed up of the adults! It was fun wearing my new huipil (wee peel) from Yucatan and the beautiful shawl I bought to go with it! Mary told me I should wear that dress more often!

Linda came dressed in a beautiful outfit that had ribbon embroidery on it - some of her fine work. She's very talented! She brought along her granddaughter Dana, all dressed up! She's a real cutie, but it's obvious she doesn't go to church much - she talked a lot during the service!

In years past we've had games, contests, just plain fun, but this year we just had a service and food afterwards! Very different! Some of us weren't super happy about that!

While we were eating we did sing Happy Birthday to Julio Cesar (in the dark shirt). He's a super sweet young man who is growing leaps and bounds in the Lord.

And while we ate, there was lots of fellowshiping going on. Here's Ivonne with grandson Joel, Tina, Linda and me.

Ivonne and me with our "typical" outfits! Ivonne's shawl is actually from India and is very beautiful. Friend Mundy from Yucatan sent me the huipil that I'm wearing. Ladies in Yucatan wear huipiles everyday - it's very hot there. VERY HOT! Huipil and hammock country!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

I love you read, as you know. I just finished the book you see above.
It's for young people ages 12 and up. I highly recommend it! It's fiction,
but is a story of what could have happened and makes some of our
country's history come alive. Check it out!

Havin' fun in Salamanca with the hermanos

Yesterday Ivonne and I drove to Salamanca, which is 1 1/2 hours from San Juan del Rio. I spoke to the ladies that evening about how our enemy would like to get ahold of our minds to make us stumble. We studied the book of Nehemiah where the Israelites and Nehemiah were attacked by Satan in order to discourage them from doing God's work. We were all challenged, especially the one speaking. Only 8 ladies came - I expected about 30! - but that's OK. Several of them expressed that it was just what they needed.

Mario and Carolina Conejo hosted us in their lovely home. Mario and Caro have a birria restaurant (Birria is a dish made of goat meat). That evening after the time at church, Mario and Caro started preparing the salsa for the birria the next morning. Here's Mario washing the little green tomatoes. I believe their restaurant is the cleanest in Mexico - he is super, super careful of every step of the preparations of the food.

After a thorough washing, the tomatoes are boiled - in this case - in two large pots. That's a lot of salsa! They didn't finish until after 11 PM, and had to be up again at 5 to open the restaurant at 7!

Here's the restaurant. People eat in as well as take out. The place was jam packed when we got there, but Mario found a table just for us. He took a little break and ate with us and regaled us with story after story. Mario loves to talk! When we left the restaurant it was not only packed - people were anxiously waiting for our table, and the line for take out was outisde the door, up the sidewalk and out to the street! A very popular place!

Just to give you a little idea HOW packed! It's not a fancy restaurant, but definitely a very, very clean one! And the food is delicious! Mario told us that they usually cook 8 to 10 goats each day. At Christmas and New Year's they will cook up to 80 goats a day! I'd say that's a lot of goats!! He said that on those holidays it's absolute chaos! But it's great for him and Caro! They're doing well, and it's a pleasure to see how God is blessing their lives! Shame on me for not getting a picture of Carolina! She's a sweetheart - her "love language" is cooking yummy food for her family - actually, for anyone and everyone!

Here's the end result of the green tomatoes you saw boiling in the pot! It's the one of the right! They added chile guajillo, which is why it's red. Both salsas were delicious, but I actually liked the green one on the left better - I always seem to opt for green salsas!

Each table also held bowls of vinegared chiles with onion and carrots. I'm not crazy about eating chiles by themselves, but the carrots were delicious! A little "pica", but not bad. Just right, in fact!

And the meat!! Oh, the meat! The bottom half is what Ivonne and I ate and it was very delicious placed in a hot FRESHLY MADE tortilla, some salsa and buen provecho! But the top half of the plate was left for Mario to take home and enjoy himself! It's pancita - that means stomach! No thanks!! Every single part of the goat or sheep is used in this business - the head, the eyes, the stomach, the parts we gringos normally throw out, EVERYTHING! Nothing is wasted! Mario told us of a man in Salamanca who orders frozen goat meat from the country of Chile. It is shipped to the U.S. (why, I'm not sure!), then shipped here and he brings in tons and tons of it! Mexicans - at least most of them, Ivonne excluded!! - love pancita, menudo, innards of animals, yum yum! Anyone hungry yet?

Dessert for me was flan - Bethie, it was delicious! We couldn't have done better at home! Maybe you had some while you were here. Mario's daughter makes all their desserts and she certainly knows what she's doing!

Ivonne opted for a sweet bread, kind of like a cinnamon roll for her dessert. I didn't try it, but she said it was delicious. The Pepsi is Ivonne's, I had a delicious glass of fresh orange juice!

I'm disappointed this came out so dark - when I used the flash, it came out totally white, so this will have to do. After eating our DELICIOUS desserts, Mario went and brought us jello! Now, this is not like any U.S. jello you've eaten! It tastes very creamy and it contains pineapple pieces. It was actually very delicious, but I was SO FULL that I just ate half and saved the rest for later - it's now awaiting me in my frig here at home!

The morning worship service was very refreshing with lots of singing and reading of Scripture. It also included a "birthday girl"! She went up front and everyone, literally, went up and gave her a birthday hug! I bet that doesn't happen in many churches north of the border!

Roberto, a young man I've known for many years, preached a beautiful message from 1 Corinthians 15 where it talks about what our bodies will be like when we die or when Jesus returns for us. I heard him preach a number of years ago and can attest to the fact that he's definitely learning and doing a great job!

After the service people crowded around and brought a good number of materials from Ivonne's tables. They certainly love to browse (typical of all people around the world, right?)

There's Roberto again, with his family. I've known his wife Sybil "forever" - well, almost! They have three darling, lively little boys who keep them mighty busy! They invited us to dinner where I enjoyed chicken with mole (mou lay) that was delicious! And the fellowship was even better! Ken and Esme, Sybil said that since you have three girls and they have three boys, maybe you could come to some kind of agreement between your families! What do you think??

Friday, September 11, 2009

QUINCE de Septiembre, NOT CINCO de Mayo!!

September in Mexico is very festive. Almost more festive than Christmas ! On almost every corner can be seen this. There are Mexican flags everywhere, as well as hundreds of different objects for sale that celebrate our nation's freedom. Dolls, hats, streamers, ribbons, barrettes, balls, and of course LOTS of flags, all RED, WHITE and GREEN! VIVA MEXICO!!

Even the cloth store, Nodatelas, has every kind of flag, green, white and red cloth, and paliacates!! YES! I bought a bunch of them of every color they offered and plan to make some quilts - usual, incredible quilts!! Oh! What are paliacates?? Bandanas of course! Not just red, but white, black, pink, orange, yellow, light blue, dark blue, aqua! Imagine the fun!!

Yes, they're getting ready for Christmas as well! See the shimmery "Christmas tree" in the background?

And of course my car is festive too!

As well as our front door!

After the quince (fifteenth), I'll upload some more festively Mexican photos!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our growing young people

Luis Angel is faithfully playing his guitar in the worship team each Sunday. He wants to serve the Lord and perhaps after finishing high school, go on to Bible School.

Geraldine also wants to serve the Lord. Just a few months ago, I would have said, "There's no way Geraldine is desiring to serve the Lord." But the Lord has gotten ahold of her and she wants very much to serve Him and study in a Bible school. She just graduated from high school and is seeking the Lord's will for her further studies.

Tania, as of last Sunday, is at Word of Life Bible Institute in Bernal (about 1 1/2 hours from here). She was very excited about heading for Bible school and we're excited to see how God is providing for ALL her needs!

Rosy - I don't of course have favorites - but Rosy!! Rosy!! She likes to be called Eva, but will always be Rosy to those of us who love her! She's at La Roca (The Rock) Bible Institute in Guadalajara. That's a good 4 to 5 hours away, and it's been rough being away from mama - and for mama (Ivonne - that's Ivonne there with her grandson Joel, Rosy's sister's baby) to have her daughter so far away! But she'll do OK! They'll do OK! She's very excited about studying and serving the Lord and we're excited to see how God has provided and will continue to provide for her!

LOST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and FOUND

I lost my camera on Sunday. I didn't realize till yesterday that it was LOST! I looked everywhere - well, almost everywhere, at least three times! Even places that there's no way in the world it could be there! I was thinking, three BIG events are coming up this month and me without a camera! But then I had an inspirational thought! I went to Tequis on Sunday, I put my purse in the trunk and my camera SOMEWHERE, but WHERE?? Ah, now I remember! I opened up the little compartment between the front seats and dropped it in there! Ah ha! There you are, you sneaky camera! Lesson learned: Don't "hide" stuff in unusual places, or you may never find them again! It's good to have my camera back and I'll take pictures of all the special events and send them to you!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Quest - a training program where retreats are held once a year for learning and growing in our personal lives and ministries. This year we held a mini-Quest here at Camp Koinonia where we talked about our own personal spiritual growth, and spent time in learning about trust within our teams.

Bryan and Lori Smith led us in worship beside a nice warm fire. Yes, it was cold in Amealco! But the fellowship was warm!

Kaylyn Buhler and Cati (did I get that right?) Brown also joined in with the guitars.

Duke White (sorry I didn't get a picture) and Keegan Williamson came down from CAM Dallas to lead us in our discussions. Duke led us through Emergency and Security Issues and Keegan led us in Spiritual Growth and Trust within our teams. It was a very special time of learning and working together. We also spent a good amount of time by ourselves, each of us finding a special spot away from others. I found a spot among the weeds, flowers and trees and was amazed at the sounds around me, even in this quiet spot far from civilization! And of course God was there with me!