Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Five years!

This was the fifth year we´ve held our women´s retreat! Every year has been great, but I think this year was the very best! Good music, fun workshops, great speaker, lots of good fellowship and beautiful weather all mixed to make it a fun weekend. Total number of women, young girls and children was 147. Not many children came this year, because we charged for them (after all they DO eat, right?), so most ladies found someone to watch their kids for them over the weekend. The pictures will tell their own story.

Our multi-purpose building is far from finished, but it worked well for us. We rented chairs and held the sessions as well as some of the workshops here. Several mentioned that it was so nice to be "out in the open" like this!

Our very enthusiastic worship team did a wonderful job. It was so good to see the young gals playing guitar - the gal in the middle, Paola, also helped with massages, giving Joy a break on Saturday afternoon.

Our camp is quite rustic, but we like it that way! The small building in the back is our kitchen - not near big enough to cook for and serve 147 women, but the ladies did an admirable job making it work!

We set up the Jornada Espiritual "bookstore" in the amphitheatre. On the left is a "library" table where ladies could borrow books to read for the weekend. 

Juanita (left) was chief cook, but had lots of willing helpers. We had some complaints about the food this year (not enough, not enough vegies, too many beans, etc.) but personally, I thought everything was luscious!

We packed gift bags with a pen, a small notebook, the message notes and the song sheets. The bags arrived late - so it was a rush job getting them filled quickly!

Ladies love having their nails painted! It was fun to watch - I didn´t participate! Except to snap pictures.

Some gals ignored all the workshops except scrapbooking! They LOOOOVE this activity! We´re almost out of materials, so will be looking for bargains this summer!

Joy Hutchinson from Midland, MI joined us again this year, delighting the ladies with massages. We gave Joy a break in the afternoon, so she could enjoy some of the other workshops. She was a special blessing to all of us! Thanks, Joy! You´re TERRIFIC!

The most popular workshop was the decoration of flip flops! Wow! Blanca, who was in charge, was amazed, and ran out of materials before everyone got their chance! What fun everyone had decorating and then showing off their flip flops!

Heather Hower was our MC par excellence. Her enthusiasm is catching!

Our speaker this year was Becky Muñoz. What a blessing she was, not only during her excellent messages, but in her relating to the gals during workshops and other activities. Thanks, Becky! This won´t be the last time we invite you to minister to us!

Ribbon decorating was quite popular. I tried my hand at it - NOPE, not for me! 

Some of the gals from Iglesia Biblica Vida Nueva brought beautiful decor and we enjoyed it all weekend!

S´Mores! I would have gotten more pictures, but was so busy doling out "bonbones", Maria Cookies and chocolate - no time for pictures! And my hands were totally a sticky mess!  This was a favorite activity! We couldn´t get the movie to work and still aren´t sure why. We did, however, get the powerpoint of the previous four years to work - finally - and everyone had fun finding themselves in the pictures!

 Sunday morning devotions out in the open. Talia, above, great with child, is my co-worker Ivonne´s daughter in law. It was her first retreat - and won´t be her last! I´m sure of that!

Special diplomas were given to those of us who have attended all five retreats! An enthusiastic group!

By Sunday afternoon, some of the gals had left, but we were still quite a bunch! God blessed in a huge way and we´re already planning for next year - we had our first "evaluation/planning session" yesterday! Again, it´s such a privilege for me to work with Heather, Ivonne, Monica and Cristina (who wasn´t here this year, as she and her family are in Minnesota!).

Had to stick this picture in of Joy and Chely. For those who remember Chely, she´s one of my favoritest people in the world!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's a Miracle

The whole title of this book is actually It's a Miracle I'm still sick, but Dan Gottwerth.

Imagine you marry the love of your life. A few years later you have two beautiful children. You struggle together as all young couples do to establish careers, set up a home and raise children. Life is happy and your faith is strong. Then one day you wake up to soul shaking news. Everything you working for, believed in and dreamed of are suddenly in jeopardy.....This is a story about a God who brought blessing out of brokenness, holiness out of heartbreak and miracles out of misery.

Almost impossible to put down.

I couldn't find this on Amazon, so I'm not sure where you could purchase this book. But I'd be glad to loan it to you!! Just come on over!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Missions Conference and Hail, all in one day

This morning Ivonne and I packed two boxes of materials and books into my car and headed for a missions conference at New Life Bible Church in Querétaro (about a 40 minute trip). The pictures will tell the rest of the story.

Jornada Espiritual table. I think Ivonne did pretty good today. Because of the financial situation here in Mexico, people don´t buy much in the way of books and materials, but she did sell SOME! For that we´re very grateful!

Gotta have flags at a missions conference! Several were home made - they did a good job!

I wanted to upload pictures of our speaker and the workshop leaders, but for security reasons, they asked us not to. So, this just shows a little of the conference as a young man made introductory statements. The emphasis was on Buddhism,  Hinduism, and Islam. The workshops were very informative and interesting.

Some of you might recognize Jorge leading the choir - we started out singing ENGLISH worship songs! I was amazed at Jorge´s English - excellent! Later in the program we sang some more "alegre" worship songs - in Spanish!

We found ourselves in interesting situations - here a Buddhist home - we were served tea, mixed nuts (very spicy!) and crackers.

Most of the folks from the host church dressed the part. It was fun to guess what country they were representing! The young people did such an excellent job serving the meal and just helping in so many ways! I even spotted some young men in the kitchen helping wash dishes! You go, guys!!

A market in India.

A young gal here makes these puppets - and they´re so economical!! We were impressed with her workmanship! I´m happy to "advertise" for her!

Coming home, two kilometers from San Juan del Rio, the traffic slowed to a crawl. We feared an accident, but then came across this - it had hailed just a little while earlier - I´m glad we missed that - and it looked like snow! It was slippery of course, which is why the traffic was barely crawling! Ivonne snapped a couple pictures - not good ones, but you get the idea!

When we left the books and materials at the office, this is what we found outside the door! Slippery, cold, already dirty "snow"! Yolanda was amazed - you don´t usually wear sandals in the snow! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Breakfast with the ladies - again!

I attended another ladies´ breakfast - after the one two weeks ago in Querétaro with 70 ladies. But this one was in San Juan del Río, with 11 ladies! Our first of what we hope is many breakfasts with our gals at Iglesia Bíblica Vida Abundante.

We ate scrambled eggs with ham, tiny doughnuts, papaya with yogurt and tea or coffee. Monica led us in a couple sweet games. First we had to walk in circles as the music played and when it stopped, we had to hug someone. Then, two people, then three, etc.! Until we all hugged in a big happy group hug! Later we passed around a stuffed dog. We were to kiss him, each of us in a different place. After we´d all done our duty, we were to kiss the one next to us in the same spot! Produced a lot of laughs for sure!!

Ivonne used the same question and answer game we used in Queretaro, answering questions in group of loving ourselves and others. Very good. I then gave a little talk I translated from Elisabeth Elliot about "Lord, please remove the dilemna."

We didn´t want to leave, but duty called to each of us. But what a wonderful time was had by all! Thank the Lord for a good beginning! Next time we´ll have 20 - we hope!! Because next time we´re supposed to bring a friend! I won´t be here, as it´ll be in July, but I know it´ll be a super time!

Front: Yolanda, Linda, Reyna, me, Tina
Back: Monica, Tania, Minerva, Ivonne, Mary
Yadhira is taking the picture

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Celebrating Mother´s Day

Today we celebrated Mother´s Day at my church. After our regular service, while we ladies waited for all the festivities to begin, the children marched out of their class, the boys with chef hats and the girls with aprons, and gave gifts to all the mothers. A little box they had designed with beautiful words of love and affirmation. Then later they handed some of us a gift that turned out to be a pillowcase turned into an apron! A few weeks ago their teacher Gaby asked us ladies to bring a pillowcase and a few of us did, and they turned out to be their gift to us, a cute apron!

And dinner! Wow! The men worked last night and early this morning making mixiotes (me-shee-ou-tess) for us! Manuel made the rice - he´s a good cook! Accompanied with tortillas (of course!) and soda pop of all flavors and kinds. It was delicious and so much fun to be served and watch, not just the men, but the young people, caring for all our needs. I made the mistake of saying all we needed now was some nieve (sherbet) that Felix and his girls make and sell as their way of making a living. Well, Felix said he´d bring us some next week! And I´m sure he will! They made enough mixiotes for an army - I brought two of them home to enjoy tomorrow or the next day!

Gifts for Grandma. Reyna´s daughter has left Reyna with her three darling children, who Reyna is lovingly raising. She makes so little and struggles, but the love she has for these children is obvious. Here she is with Alejandro and Daniel. Odalys is helping serve.

The mixiotes were meat, nopales (cactus) and potato in a special sauce, wrapped in a special paper, tied and steamed for an hour or so. Not spicy at all. Delicious!

Two of our chefs - Manuel above and Sergio below, with two of his children. These men are true servant-leaders.