Saturday, July 25

Still Building after all this Time

We lived in our house in Oregon for nearly 10 years and only finally "finished" it a few weeks before we sold it and moved to Mexico. Maybe living with construction is just our lot in life. Perhaps we just became so accustomed to it that we can't imagine living in a house that's actually completed.

Living in a construction zone is a great way to train your boys...and your girls for that matter! Because of the time we spent readying the Oregon house to sell, Sarah is an excellent drywaller. All our kids know how to work with hand tools and aren't intimidated by power tools either.

It's great having our own work crew. When the last load of tabiques (bricks) showed up, the kids had them unloaded and onto the roof almost before I had a chance to grab the camera. While Ramon was working upstairs, Doug was free to work on his other projects as needed, since all 4 of the boys took turns hauling sand and gravel upstairs. (You parents of toddlers, take this to heart! Train them well now, and they'll be a blessing in due time!)

We received a gift last month which enabled us to build a little more on the upstairs of our house. We're excited to see the kids' rooms begin to take shape!

The custom in our part of Mexico is to save money until you have enough to purchase the materials you need for a section or room and then build the room. When you run out of materials, you're done with construction and you begin saving again. I guess we're building according to custom!

Our prayer is that we'll be able during the next year to work our way around the upstairs adding a wall or two at a time to complete the bedrooms. As each room is finished, we can build a temporary wooden roof with a steel frame, similar to the one we built over the first upstairs room.

Once all the walls are finished, either a concrete roof can be poured or possibly a more solid, permanent wooden or thatch roof. We are leaning toward a material other than concrete simply because of the amount of heat the concrete traps. There is a reason ovens are made of brick!

Lord willing, once all the rooms upstairs are walled and roofed, we'll finish the wall downstairs and divide the ground floor into two large rooms. One room will be the kitchen/dining room/homeschool/meeting room and the other will be Doug's taller (pronounced "tah YEHR" and means workshop). Then when the guys from around town show up with broken tools to weld, they can do it in the shop, rather than in the living room. Not that it really matters too much, but welding in the living room is a little distracting when you're trying to do a history lesson at the kitchen table only a few feet away.

God continues to teach us new lessons as we deal with unfinished floors, plastic tarp walls, holes without windows, temporary stairs and the seemingly incessant "tyrrany of the urgent" which comes from living life in a house in progress.

One thing we've discovered: by building our house slowly and living with it in its "rustic" state for the amount of time we have, we've proven that we're not rich, and we can more closely relate to the issues which face most of the families in our village. Issues such as leaky roofs, holes which let mosquitos and other unwanted visitors in and not having air conditioning, to name only a few. Not only can we understand our neighbors better, but they can understand us, too. It's all part of that missionary lesson called Cultural Adaptation 101.

Summer Mission Events 2009

I always struggle when I post about the mission teams which come down to serve with us. Not because there's not much to share, but rather that the sheer number of photos, funny stories, spiritual applications, growing and stretching moments (for all involved!) is so great! How can I limit my posts to what will load quickly on the page and not bore or confuse readers beyond belief?

This summer we hosted two mission teams back-to-back. It was an absolutely wonderful time from the moment the first team arrived to the moment the last team left. After that, we were tired; it was a good tired, though!

The team which came from Sacramento, California, hosted a kids' festival the likes of which hasn't been seen in Boca del Rio since...well, since I don't know when! As usual, language wasn't much of a barrier to these missionaries!

Enjoy the snapshots!

Proof that Rebecca was there!

June's Youth Prayer Meeting

Each month the area churches' youth groups congregate to pray and fellowship together. Our turn to host this meeting came in June. We worried that since we are so far "off the beaten path", few churches would drive all the way out here. Boca del Rio is situated at the end of a 20 mile stretch of narrow, two-lane highway. We were sure that our neighbors in Alomito would come, but from as far as Guasave? We weren't sure.

We were pleasantly surprised! Approximately 50 youth from the area churches came to join us in prayer for our church, our village, our state, our nation, our world and all the authorities in it. A truly annointed time it was!

In addition to the visiting youth, eight missionaries arrived from Sacramento the same day. It was a blessing to be able to include them in our fellowship and prayer time.

During each monthly meeting, a special time is set aside for evangelism and intercession. Teams were formed to go into the streets of Boca del Rio to pray and hand out tracts. People were also invited to come to the meeting.

One benefit of having our church services outside now is that people don't have to actually "come in". You can hear the message just as clearly standing on the corner or sitting on the steps of the market next door.

After the time of prayer and a short teaching time led by Braulio, the American team led the youth in some fantastic ice-breaker games. What a blast! Unfortunately, since it was a Sunday night, the kids had to return home relatively early. The swine flu scare and the subsequent school closures forced the schools to extend classes another two weeks. Bummer. We were sad to see the night come to an end, but encouraged by the new friendships we had forged.

I have a feeling that youth groups all over Sinaloa will be playing Dog/Car/Tree for years to come!!! (You just had to be there!!!)

Saturday, July 11

Tamales with a Purpose

Here's another "picture-full post" about what the ladies of the church have been up to lately.

This photo was taken in April 2008. It was the last time Maria and Pedro sang together in church.

Maria and Pedro, one of the couples in the church, are going through a hard time right now. About a year and a half ago, Pedro started forgetting things. Silly things like the words to his favorite hymn and how to play a G chord. Faster than you could imagine, his memory faded and dementia began to set in. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers last fall and now needs 24 hour supervision. He wanders the streets with a bit of a lost look on his face. Once in a while he has clear moments, but they're becoming fewer and farther between. (You can read more about Maria and Pedro here.)

The medicine Pedro needs in order to stay coherent and to be able to sleep costs almost $100 a month. Maria's only income is from the small abarrotes (like a mini-mart) which she has in her house. She said that she averages about 30 pesos a day profit. That's about $3 US, so you can see the problem.

The women of the church decided to gather every Tuesday to make tamales to sell. The proceeds go to Maria to purchase the medicine Pedro needs. It's been a real blessing to their family, and it's a blessing to us as well. It gives us a great opportunity to get together and fellowship!

So, here are photos of the hermanas (sisters) and our tamale fest.

Sister Yesica separating and prepping the corn husks which will be used to wrap the tamales.

Sister Lina is the official masa mixer! Everyone tastes it as the mixing progresses, giving their opinion about the texture, saltiness, oiliness, dryness until everyone is satisfied. That sometimes takes an hour of mixing and testing!

Meanwhile, the other sisters are chopping the veggies and shredding the meat we'll use to fill the tamales.

Sister Armida is making the picadillo -- the meaty filling. The towel on her head is the "multi-purpose towel of Mexico". It's a sunshade in this photo. If you look closely at the pictures, you'll see that most of the ladies carry a towel or wash cloth around with them. In the States, everyone carries a cell phone. Here, we carry a hand towel.

Once all the ingredients are ready, the fun begins. Here you see one of our American missionaries, Rachel, trying her hand at pressing the masa into shape. She did very well!!!

When the tamale shaping begins, the fellowshipping really gets going. We tend to get a little silly! These are my dear friends Pily and Cris. I'm the white chick, obviously.

Once all the tamales are shaped and wrapped, they're placed in the really big pot and set over a fire to cook for a few hours. Here are Rachel and Armida with our day's work: 150+ tamales.

Thursday, July 9

Fun Fact Friday -- Spanish Vocabulary

This week's Fun Fact Friday is a Spanish vocabulary lesson.

Our topic is Mariscos!!! In English: Seafood!!!

Living in a fishing community, we've learned a lot of Spanish words and phrases that you wouldn't necessarily learn in your regular high school Spanish class.
Here are a few...with visuals!!!

Tiburón -- Shark

This one was a female!

Baby sharks

Ostión -- Oyster

I sell oysters!

Caracol -- Snail

Camarón -- Shrimp




Pescado -- Fish

Pescado Frito -- Fried Fish

Almeja -- Clam

Almejas Asadas -- Roasted Clams (Bien ricas! Yummy!!!)

Jaiba -- Crab

And finally, here's a Spanish tongue twister:

Tengo un barco camaronero. Desencamarónemelo.

Translation: I have a shrimp boat. Take the shrimp off of it for me.

Hope you enjoyed this Fun Fact Friday! Thanks for stopping by!