Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Face of God

What if....
you could hear the voice of God?

What if....
you actually saw His face?

That is the quest of two men with opposite faiths. . .

A very fascinating book. Of course, it´s a novel, but it does show the human nature of "spiritual" leaders, those who are "serving God", but aren´t "serving people." Those who have a heart for God, but have moved away from Him to somewhere that is dark and sad. It´s a good book for all of us to ponder - where am I in my relationship to God, in my relationship to my fellow man, in my relationship to those I love and who are the closest to me? Made me ponder. I know it will you as well.

Check it out. On the cover is a note that says, "We guarantee you´ll love this book, or it´s FREE." I loved it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eli and God's Whisper

I finished two books - not necessarily simultaneously, but close.

God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos is written for young mothers, but is good for all of us. "We know we need God in this time (when mothering small children) more than any other. We need God's wisdom, guidance, and, most of all, His peace. We need to find ways to hear that still, small voice in the whirlwind of life. Keri Kent offers down-to-earth ideas to help us along the way."

A very good book, for all you young mothers. If you can't find it, I'll lend it to you! (Or should I ask the librarian in my house first??)

Eli was a fictional story of what it might have been like if Jesus had come in a modern setting. Fascinating! Crazy, but fascinating! At first I thought I wouldn't finish the book, but then I couldn't put it down till the last page was read! It's an "intense and thought-provoking novel." And besides, lots of fun to read, you always wonder what's going to happen next, even though you know the old, old story!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Tribute to Lenita

Yesterday I received a letter from my longtime friend Lenita Vetter. She and her partner Mary have served the Lord among the Navajos for many, many years. And I mean, MANY! They held a special celebration party for them, and gave them tribute for all the faithful service and wonderful love they have for their beloved Navajos in Arizona.

The former Field Director of their mission wrote a poem, which isn't of the quality of the "world's poems", but I thought it was beautiful! I won't quote all of it, just excerpts that refer especially to my friend Lenita. It definitely encourages me to keep on keeping on! I'm just a youngster compared to her!



Written by Dave Patterson, former Field Director of the

Flagstaff Mission to the Navajos; March 2011

In Perryville, Missouri, Lenita Vetter was born,

In 1924, on one October day;

In Holton, Kansas, she lived for many years,

Not knowing then she would come our way!

At Capital City Commercial College,

She learned office work so very well;

She used the training for the Lord,

In Mission work, as time would tell.

To Grace Bible Institute then she went,

She wanted so much God’s Word to know;

She learned to use it very well,

As over the years, she His Word did sow.

She graduated then in 1951

In Christian Education, on that joyful day;

Soon she came to serve the Lord,

On out west along the Navajo way.

So with the Flagstaff Mission to the Navajos, in ’56,

Lenita served the Lord day by day;

In the office and doing children’s work,

She showed the Navajos the Savior’s way.

She played the piano and organ well,

Then she got older and arthritis came;

With hands so bent and full of pain,

In spite of this, she played the same!

Yes, even now at eighty-six,

With physical trials, yet her mind is clear;

Her example of courage is there to see,

As she honors the Lord she holds so dear.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Memories of a Fantastic Women's Retreat

I know many were praying for our women’s retreat May 20-22, and God answered in a big way!

We had 98 women join us – if any more had come, we would have had the problem of not enough beds! About 15 babies, young children and pre-teen girls joined us as well. They came from Amealco, Celaya, San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, Irapuato, and a number of first-timers from two churches in Mexico City. From start to finish, it was a fabulous time.

The workshops were so much fun – I think everyone could have spent many more hours at them if we had let them! Each lady was able to go to any and all workshops, or just go to one, it was their choice. What fun they had!

Our cabin was packed the first night, and the second night, two young sisters joined us! So, it was quite the party! Although most of us were asleep long before the rest of the gang! One gal even slept on a mattress on the floor!

Christy (O'Brien) Contreras and team did a wonderful job of leading us in worship. Juanita, on the left doubled up as our chef as well as worship team participant. She has a beautiful voice.

Our speaker was Chely Navarro (shown above singing with the ladies) from Queretaro. She had a powerful message for us and all were blessed. I’m praying that now that the ladies have gone home that they’ll put it all into practice! Myself included! A young gal from our church, Isabel, was only there Saturday went home to report on what she had learned, and she informed the ladies who didn’t go, that they HAD to go next year! Go, Isabel!

Check out these workshops!


Beauty shop (make-up, manicures and hair trims)




Designing kleenex holders

Sewing dozens of small pillows - not to take home, but.....

....to sit on! Those stone "seats" get mighty hard!
We didn't have filler to make enough for everyone, but next year
we'll plan to make more!

Sunday we held five 20-minute workshops on having a devotional time with the Lord, focusing on Memorization, Singing praises, Bible Reading, Using Devotionals, and Prayer. I heard many reports of what a blessing and encouragement they were. I didn’t get in on four of them, since I gave the one on Using Devotionals. They ladies were so responsive, it was just fun to see them enjoying all of the workshops!

I had one of the gals take a couple pictures of me teaching the workshop,
just to prove I really was there!

Ivonne took books and materials to sell. The ladies bought quite a lot the first day and the second, they were in a frenzy trying to buy ALL they could, since it was their last chance! I was very happy to see that Ivonne did well.

Juanita (second from right) and her team did an excellent job in the kitchen feeding us: chilaquiles, molletes, chicken salad, beef in a chile sauce, tostadas, and much more. This year we had the different churches bring paper products, which helped keep dishwashing down to a minimum. No one complained about that! At each meal there were also volunteers who assisted - notice Christy there on the left wielding her knife!

Several babies showed up with their mamas. It was hard work for the mamas, but I know they were glad they came, and it was worth the effort!

My partners in "crime", Reina and Ivonne from San Juan del Rio.
Ivonne is my "team partner" and Reina is her friend of many years.
Ivonne's daughter Rosy was also there from San Juan.
As I said above, Isabel also came on Saturday.
We were disappointed that more from San Juan didn't come, but...
wait till next year! Isabel will get them going I'm sure!

Enjoying chilaquiles for breakfast!

Heather giving instructions. She also gave out small gifts to each lady. They had to be ON TIME to the sessions to receive a gift, so you can believe, they were on time! No one loves a little gift more than ladies! Right? (Even those who were late eventually got a gift - didn't want anyone to feel left out!)

Friday night we showed a movie called El Estudiante (The Student), a Mexican movie that shows special relationships within the generations and how the love we have for each other can make life worth living. Saturday night we held a bonfire and made S’mores! Most of these gals had never heard of such a thing, and were delighted! And Heather and I were a sticky mess! After the S’mores a good number stayed late into the night singing and giving testimonies.

This is the 4th year we’ve held this retreat and I believe it was the best ever! God blessed in a huge way. Our planning team (Heather, Ivonne, Monica, Cristina, and me) will have our evaluation in a couple weeks and are already excited about planning next year’s retreat! And what a great group they are to work with, each with wonderful talents! So, keep posted for news next year of another fantastic retreat!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Two Music of the Heart Books

I just finished the second of two intriguing "historical novels." Based on history with much imagination weaved in. Beautiful, unbelievably sad stories, but stories of the grace of God worked out in the lives of some of his servants of yesteryear.

You remember John Newton, of course. The Longing Season is a novel based on one of the greatest redemption stories of all time - John Newton and Amazing Grace.

And you remember Horatio Gates Spafford too, right? You don't?? Well, if I mention "It is Well With My Soul", you'll remember him (maybe) as the author of this beautiful hymn sung around the world:

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea-billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say:
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

It is well, (it is well),
It is well, (it is well).
It is well, it is well with my soul.

But it wasn't just the story of Gates (as he was called) and Anna, his beautiful bride. It was also the story of another man by the name of D.L. Moody who in many ways reminded me of someone I once knew. See if in these quotes from the book, you recognize this "someone" like I did.

"The man cared nothing for his personal appearance. Moody was not a man of appearance. He was a man of conviction."

"The dining room door burst open, and Tommy stared in shock as a thickset man. . . bounded across the room. The man was barrel-chested and short waisted with ham-hock hands, and he towered over everyone from a rather average height."

"Tommy found himself in an open carriage . . . gripping the edge of his seat. . . Moody drove like a madman. . . He dodged other carts and waved at acquaintances, regaling his companion all the time with the day's itinerary."

". . . Moody interrupted. "What you need is Christ, my friend." Tommy was shocked silent. The man's audacity in such matters, in such a public place, was intolerable. Was the preacher so single-minded in his purpose that he neglected social propriety?"

"Tommy found Moody's breakneck speed irritating but oddly invigorating. The man did nothing in half measure."

"Moody held up the Bible. 'This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this
book.' "

Anna (Gates' wife) speaking with her husband, said, "You invited that depraved man (Tommy) into our home? To dine with our most esteemed friends?" "Not I . . . Moody." She stared at her husband, exasperation in every feature. "As long as I live, I shall not understand D.L. Moody." Gates smiled. "Nor shall I."

Of the many characteristics Spafford admired about his friend, it was Moody's belief that no task was beneath him, no duty so disagreeable it should be left undone that drew his regard. He wielded a heavy broom with great vigor . . . his shirt sleeves up. He whistled while he worked. He had entered the room, discovered it undone, and received great joy in quickly accomplishing it."

"The man was not without flaws - he could be dictatorial, insisting on his own way. He was impulsive, blunt, and sometimes lacked perception."

"He sat on his hard seat . . . and thanked God for D.L. Moody - lover of the unlovable."

"Moody was never one for pageantry. So as soon as the formalities had become too much, he'd slipped away and joined the children in their games, teasing and romping with them until they pounced and pinned him to the floor."

"The times Moody had been faced with a difficult, if not impossible, situation, he would say, "Put forth every effort you can, then wait on the Lord."

Amazing!! Do recognize the one I once knew??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I'm still thinking many thoughts and praying many prayers for my sister in law,
Becky, who just last week saw her husband, and my brother, Lee, go to heaven. So, when I saw this poem, I thought it was very apropos. We do miss Lee - I'm sure Becky misses him much more than the rest of us, but we're so glad he's in Jesus' presence now.

In heaven

by Stephen Crane

In heaven,
Some little blades of grass
Stood before God.
"What did you do?"
Then all save one of the little blades
Began eagerly to relate
The merits of their lives.
This one stayed a small way behind,
Presently, God said,
"And what did you do?"
The little blade answered, "Oh my Lord,
Memory is bitter to me,
For, if I did good deeds,
I know not of them."
Then God, in all His splendor,
Arose from His throne.
"Oh, best little blade of grass!" He said.

My brother was a very humble, sweet, Kind man, who, just as the blade above in the poem, would say the same, I'm sure. He was not, of course, perfect, but knew that only by the grace of God he was what he was. How I thank God for every beautiful memory I have of Lee.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Seven Quick Takes from San Juan del Rio



One of my favorite childhood candies. As the photo shows, it’s a peanut candy. I suspect the only ingredients are peanuts and SUGAR, lots of SUGAR! Delicious. My friend Ivonne gave me one today, but it was different. It was homemade, and much better than those you buy! Wow! It’s gone already, don’t know where it went, so, sorry, I can’t share it with you.


Pictures, pictures, pictures

Today I went to Sams and had 248 prints printed up. I figured up the bill - $319.80! No, no, that’s PESOS, not DOLLARS! It’s still a lot, about $28 dollars. But when I went to pay, it was only $177.00! That’s $15 dollars! Yay! At our Sams there’s a discount, a hefty discount, when you have more than 100 prints made. Guess I’ll wait till I have 100 from now on (I wish!)!


So why 248 prints?

Well, since my brother Lee went to heaven last Monday, I’ve been on Memory Lane. And a few years ago I had all the slides I wanted to keep made into prints and put on CDs. About 12 CDs! Over 80 of those pictures will go into a Memory Book for Becky, Lee’s wife. Most of the rest are for me! A few go to my brother Keith – I know his wife Donna will love them!


Need a home for $2.2 million?

I’m sort of watching House Hunters International – I can’t “just” watch, I gotta do a couple other things while it’s on! A couple just bought a resort for $2.2 million in Roatan. Yikes! Yikes again! Of course this will be their life from now on, their business. So, what’s a mere $2.2 million for that? Another question: WHERE do people get that amount of money??


Peanut drives me nuts

Peanut is our dog, no I mean, Alan, Beth, Cameron and Dayton’s dog. Not mine! OK, sort of mine too! Yesterday I came home from my adventure to Dallas and back and filled her dish with yummy food. Well, that nutty dog ate ALL of it, then promptly threw it all up! Oh, we love the messes “our” dog leaves!


I can’t hear you, the music is too loud.

Actually, it’s kind of quiet right now, but for the past three hours, I’ve “enjoyed” music from the nearby park. This is our central park here in San Juan, complete with a huge church, lots of food stands, benches to sit on, balloon-selling men and women, stands selling JONQUE (that’s candy and that sort of stuff), fruit stands, and of course space for people to perform. And perform they do! So loud I can clearly hear it 10 blocks away, like it was coming from my stereo – and I don’t even have a stereo! Even if I closed the window, and it’s too hot to do that these days, it comes through loud and clear. Sometimes it’s nice music, sometimes it’s awful. But, ah well, at least it’s music!


It’s summer here!

I know in a lot of places, spring is barely peeking up its head. Not here! It’s totally and completely summer! It’s 84 degrees right now, but earlier today was awfully close to 90. Of course I’m not complaining in the least! It sure beats the cold weather we survived this past winter. I love summer in San Juan del Rio!

Lee Alan Phillips

Lee the soldier
He served in the Vietnam war

Lee in full uniform with the Air Force

Many years ago!

A Beautiful Meaningful Military Funeral

Yes, it was a beautiful, meaningful, military funeral for my brother Lee. It was held today at 1 PM. My sister told me all about it and I hope to see pictures and videos soon.

Wednesday I left home at 7 AM for the airport. Boarding time for my flight was 12:30, heading first to Dallas, but instead of boarding, they announced that it was cancelled because of stormy weather in Dallas. We had to go back to the ticket counter – a very long walk - to reschedule. I finally arrived at Dallas around 7:30 PM, only to find my flight to Tucson cancelled. The airport was a zoo with very long lines, very upset people, and even though they tried their best to act nice, very harried workers.

They had me call at a rebooking booth, where I spent about an hour – it seemed like much more – trying to find a flight to Tucson. Some of the suggestions as to what I could do:

  1. Drive to Tucson – “Do you drive, ma’am?” YES, but not 14 plus/minus hours at night!
  2. Take a flight to Phoenix the next morning and take a cab to Tucson. I found out later that Ric (where Becky has been staying) suggested I do that and someone go get me. And even later I found out that the funeral was 2 hours southeast of Tucson, so if I had done that, I wouldn’t have made it to the funeral anyway, since Phoenix is about 1 ½ hours NORTHWEST of Tucson! I also found out – later – that there are shuttles from Phoenix to Tucson – I guess the lady on the phone didn’t know that.

The man in the booth next to mine was also trying to get to Tucson. The option they gave him was to get a Friday flight! He hit the ceiling – hard! But I think he finally took it and was looking for a hotel for his wife and him. Second honeymoon?? I doubt it!!

Finally I told the gal just to find me a flight back home to Mexico! She did, for 9:30 AM Thursday morning. “Can I just stay at the airport?” I asked. “Of course. They can’t kick you out, can they?” I wasn’t sure if they could or not – I’ve never done this before!

By now it was well after 10 PM. I called Elaine telling her I wasn’t coming, then called Alan who wrote an email about my adventure. I headed over to TJI Fridays and had a nice big grilled chicken salad. As I was finishing up, Keith Wilson called and asked if I’d like a real bed to sleep in. He and Carol had read Alan’s email and realized they could help! I know CAM is in Dallas, but I wasn’t sure how far people lived from the airport, and didn’t have any numbers anyway! Keith arrived at midnight, we made it to their house at 12:30, up next day at 6 to leave at 7 for the airport again. Not a long night’s rest, but a nice night’s rest! And it was so nice to visit a little bit with Keith and Carol. Thanks so much, guys!

The last time I took such a fast trip to the States was one of those “border trips” we used to have to make every six months. As a family, we were SICK of them. So one time we drove to Laredo from Puebla, got us a Wendy’s meal, and drove back across and home to Puebla! We didn’t even stop at the grocery store!

I arrived at 12:15 to Mexico City, took the bus directly to San Juan at 2:40 and was home by 5:10. What is that, about 34 hours to go to Dallas and come home??

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Two of my dearest friends in the world, Art and Marita, sent me this poem last night. It's so beautiful and so true. Thank you, Art and Marita. What an encouragement you are in my life! I don't see you often, but I love you dearly!

In Memory of Husband, Father, Grandfather and Brother

Lee Phillips

Death is God carrying us

in one of His arms

While the other flings aside

Heaven’s door

To welcome us to the

blazing hearth of home

While those inside,

having arrived long before us,

Rush to the door

Like glad children, shouting,

“He’s here”!

Death has a bad name on earth

But in heaven it’s a


Every time the door opens.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A life well lived

My beloved brother Lee Alan Phillips, went to heaven this morning. He was 65. A missionary in Navojoa, Sonora, MEXICO, along with his wife Becky, he traveled to Tucson for a check up at the VA hospital and was immediately checked into a room. After many tests, it was found he suffered from Stage 4 Melanoma that had metastasized in his brain and spinal chord. He and Becky opted to go home, to the home of dear friends.

That was where I last saw him a week ago. He did not recognize his siblings, Elaine, Keith and me, but we did a lot of praying, singing and hugging the two days I was there. He went into a coma yesterday and died early this morning.

Lee was a fun brother, a wonderful husband to Becky, and Dad to Laurie, Nathan and Andrew. He and Becky served in Colombia for a few years, then moved to Navojoa, where they have lived for many, many years. I didn't see him often, but we did communicate and dearly loved one another.

When Ken and I lived in Guatemala, he visited us, and we also spent some time with him somewhere in the States (I don't remember where!) a couple times when he was in the Air Force. The last time I saw him was in Los Mochis, Sinaloa at the beautiful wedding of his daughter Laurie to Daniel Graff. He was certainly a proud papa that day!

We will all miss Lee. But he is now in the arms of Jesus and for that we're very grateful. I don't have many recent pictures, but here are a few of years gone by. I may add more later. But now I need to get packed up to head for Tucson for the funeral to be held Thursday at 1 PM.

Keith on left, Lee on right

Lee, Nathan, Laurie and Becky
Andrew came along a few years later