Saturday, May 15

Doing Hard Things: 2010

On January 3, 2010, a team of young adults came down on what we hope will become the "first annual Do Hard Things mission trip". Although this trip was not sponsored by the organization, the team was comprised of members of The Rebelution: a group which encourages young adults to rebel against the low expectations which our society has of them and to step out and do hard things for God. That was their goal and, in our opinion, they more than surpassed it!!!

I could write several pages about how this mission team came together. I'm not going to. It was just a God thing. God put the idea in the heart and mind of a couple of young people to travel down here and put a roof on the upstairs of our house. Then He laid it on the heart of several people to give toward that project. Along the way, He raised up a couple of young ladies who have a heart for children and who wanted to do something special for the kids down here. They put together duffel bags full of toys and candy for the children and sent them down with the team. It was amazing, and it was something that no person could have orchestrated. It was simply a God thing.

Youth from 6 different states met in Tucson to travel down by bus. Doug and Sarah traveled up to Tucson to meet them. After a long-and-not-terribly-comfy 16 hour bus ride from Tucson, the gang arrived at our house mid-day. This is what they saw:

We told them that we had planned to take it easy the first day so that they could get rested up, but they wanted none of that. They rolled up their sleeves (actually, I think most of them put on T-shirts!) and dove in!

The girls, not to be outdone, jumped in with as much enthusiasm.

Lest you think that all they did for a week was haul concrete...there was much planning to be done...

And one must eat!

And clothes must be washed...

...and gift bags made for the children's outreach...

and cookies!!! We really must have cookies!!! Lots of cookies!!!!!

God worked it out so that not only was the team able to take gifts to the 25 or so kids at the migrant camp, but they were also able to be present for Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child at the church in Boca. What a blessing!!! One of the young ladies is from Nebraska and was sitting next to a little girl whose shoebox was from...Lincoln!!! Wow! She was able to take a picture of the little girl and send it to the church who sent the box. Unexpected blessings!!!

Did I mention that we had to eat? Yes, we ate a lot.

At the migrant camp, the team shared a drama which Sarah taught them.

Jesus is the Key to Eternal Life!

At church, they shared their hearts and sang Amazing 8 part harmony. Wow.
And on their last day, everyone mounted the ladder to stand on the roof to say..

By the power of God, we did hard things for Christ!!!!!

And then they left. And that was a really hard thing.

The Coult Family, The Powell Family and our Hard Things Family

Road Hazards

Driving in Mexico is seldom boring. Over the past 4 years, the main interstate, Mexico 15, has been completely resurfaced from Nogales to Mazatlan. This makes the trip a little smoother and a little safer, too.

One still has to stay alert, though, since things aren’t quite as predictable here as they are in the US. Cars, trucks and buses share the road with tractors, bikes, pedestrians and from time to time with donkeys, goats and cows.

At times, and with little or no warning, the direction of traffic will change and the two-lane divided highway you’re on will become a two-way, single lane road. This can be a bit startling if you’re not paying attention!

Traffic can stop unexpectedly, too. Occasionally traffic stops are caused by accidents, but more often the road becomes blocked by…different things. Here’s an interesting shot I took a few weeks ago as we traveled Mexico Interstate 15.

This unfortunate (and apparently inexperienced) truck driver was trying to make a left turn across the oncoming two lanes of traffic onto a ranch road. I suppose he didn’t realize how heavy he was, nor how low that low-boy was riding. He was very stuck, very high-centered and was going nowhere. When we passed, the second semi had hooked up with a chain and was trying to pull him up and over the hump. I somehow don’t think that effort was successful.

Strangely enough, traffic barely slowed down. Cars, trucks and buses alike nonchalantly drove down into the median, around the stuck truck and back up onto the pavement.

I would imagine that most of the passing motorists’ sentiments were similar to ours as we passed: “Bummer.”

Wednesday, May 5

Furloughs in a Nutshell

Well, we’re back in Mexico after a brief home-assignment in Arizona, California and Oregon. It’s good to NOT be on the road! Every six months, we travel a ridiculous amount of hours squashed into the van with a ridiculous amount of stuff. Every trip we tell ourselves, “This time we’re not coming back down with a bunch of stuff.” Every trip, however, God blesses us with so many things which are useful for our ministry in Mexico. How can we say no, simply because it makes us a little crowded?

I’ll post a few highlights of our furlough later, but for now I wanted to give you an idea of what it’s like to travel with a missionary family on furlough.

The Mexico leg of the trip is generally pretty relaxed. No seatbelt law means that we can utilize the space in the back of the van as a bed. Very nice…for the first 14 hours or so. Then we cross the border. Click it or ticket!!!

We found the piece of plastic bag tucked behind the Mexico side of the sign comical. You have to travel in Mexico a bit to understand why.

The first 10 to 12 hours of any trip are pretty easy. Sure, it’s a little uncomfortable, but hey – it’s just one day. Tonight you’ll get to stretch out and relax. But then, the next day comes, and it’s another 12 hours in the van, and last night every time you stretched out you kicked someone in the head. He then promptly, in his sleep, whacked you back. Plus, you forgot your foam mattress, so the cement floor just wasn’t as cushy as you would have liked. Tempers are short, bums are numb, backs are achy…and then there are the kids. ;^)

[Seriously, the kids seem to travel better than this grouchy old mom. I was such a whiner this trip!!! God was faithful though, as always. Remember 2 Corinthians 10:13 -- "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. But God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted above that which you can bear but will, with the temptation, provide a way of escape for you.” I just needed to stop my complaining and praise Him and suddenly the trip went much faster, the kids were kinder to each other …and I slept much better. Funny how it works like that!!!]

The third and fourth days are just a lot of this…

and this…

the kids see a lot of this…

I get to look at this handsome guy!

Some of the kids read.

Once in a while I pass back my camera and they do a lot of this…

It is, after all, what we’re doing. Driving. Of course, they also take tons of photos of each other’s nostrils and big toes. Whatever works to pass the time as we travel along, singin’ a song, side by side…by side…by side…by side. You get the picture.

Every once in a while we have to deal with this…

Or this…

…or maybe this…

For those not terribly familiar with wheels, that’s a blown bearing. Bummer. Fortunately, we didn’t have any of that this trip. Thank you, Lord!!!

So, there’s my peek into the travels of a missionary family. Yep, it’s pretty boring. We make our own fun playing the ABC game and doing “I spy” lists. We did discover that while the Mustang is one of the most ridiculously popular cars in the US, there aren’t very many in Mexico, so if you’re doing an “I spy” game and “Mustang” is on your list of things to find, you need to find it north of the border. On the other hand, “Herd of goats” will be harder to find in the US (at least until you get to Oregon!), so you should always check your list so that you know where you’ll look for each item. Also, you should specify, when putting “Moving Tractor” on your “I spy” list, whether or not it needs to be moving on its own power or if a tractor moving on a trailer counts. That’s assuming that you play “I spy” and that your family is as competitive as ours. ;^)

I’ll write a more interesting post later!!! I promise!!!