Sunday, October 30

Construction Continues!

Not an overly-creative title, but I wanted to share pics of the center. The guys have made a lot of progress in a very short time!

Doug, Caleb, Jessee and Seth left last Wednesday on the mission trip to Quimichis. Knowing that Julio and Andrew would be by themselves all week (Joaquin can only help off-and-on), the guys wanted to haul as much brick, gravel and sand up to the back hill as possible before they left.

Jessee was up at the break of dawn on Monday and Tuesday. So were the gegenes (really awful biting gnats), which took some of the joy out of the otherwise beautiful morning.

The truck arrived carrying the last of the tabique, rebar and armex that will be needed for the walls. Here's Doug, tossing tabique to the driver.

After they finished unloading the truck, one of the boys ran down to the store for a bottle of Coke (tradition) and Jessee spent the next hour or so talking to the truck driver about Jesus. Pretty cool. We were able to give him a Bible and invited him to stop by again any time.

We got a call from Home Depot saying that the wood we'll need for the roof would be in on Wednesday. The only problem with that is that the van and the trailer would be in Nayarit on Wednesday. So, the manager agreed to hold it for us until Tuesday. Thank you, Lord!!! (Pray that it's there when we go on Tuesday!!!)

Wednesday morning, Julio arrived and he and Andrew worked all day...and into the night.

Thursday and Friday were more of the same, and Saturday was a half-day. The guys are moving right along!

By Friday night, they had finished pouring all the cement pillars and Saturday was spent putting the rebar and armex in for the header.

On Sunday, we all rested (pretty much!), and tomorrow they'll be back at it!!! Woot! Woot!

Friday, October 28

Quimichis Update

The mission team from Vida Nueva Church left for Quimichis, Nayarit, on Wednesday morning.  Via Facebook, I saw that they had arrived safely and then later got a message from Doug saying basically the same thing.  Today I had a chance to talk to him briefly by phone.  He said that the village where the team is ministering doesn’t have very good cell coverage, so this morning, when the team traveled into the city to share at the local prison, he took a moment to check in at home.

[Funny side note: I had left my cell phone at home while I ran to Boca for a moment.  As I was driving home, our friend Esteban flagged me down on the boulevard and said, “Here, talk to your husband.”  Unable to reach me on my phone, Doug had called Esteban to see if he could find me.  I just love our town.]

So, the mission team is doing great.  They have split up a bit and are staying with various brothers and sisters in the Church.  Doug said that their time of sharing in the prison went very well.  He did some teaching and the boys had a chance to share testimony.  The conference being given in the evenings is going very well, also.  The people are responsive and hungry to hear and learn from God’s word. 

I’ll share more when I know more and will post photos too, Lord willing.  (Jessee left without his camera, but I’m certain that someone else is taking pictures!)

Continue to pray for this mission and for the Church in Quimichis.  The team will be returning on Monday.

Friday, October 21

The Slippery Slope

The temporary ramp up the back hill, pictured here, was just too steep.  Our desire was that the fellowship center be wheelchair accessible (thinking of you Rebecca and Ana Laura!!! :^) ) and also that we'd be able to move sound equipment, the pool table, air hockey table and etc. up the hill easily.  The first ramp was just plain scary.  The boys joked about BMX bikers and skateboarders on the hill -- it was that steep.

Because of the distances we were working with, the final project is still a bit more inclined than the "ideal", but it's very workable.  I think that if you were in a wheelchair, you would want someone pushing behind, but at least you won't feel like you're going to tip over backwards!
With the form built, it was time to start mixing the concrete. Doug had a group huddle to explain to the boys how to mix and move the material and then they all got to work (not like they hadn't been working hard all day!). It was late afternoon by the time the ramp was ready to pour, but we knew that if we could push through and get it poured, it would be ready to use the next day. That was good enough incentive for everyone to work "just a little while longer".
As the wheelbarrows full of concrete came down that slope, I found myself praying -- frequently! 
This part of the project went pretty smoothly.  As they climbed the hill, though, there were some stressful moments.  Everyone was growing tired, the tools were growing heavy and tempers seemed to be growing short.  I wish that I could say that we all stopped working and prayed and then everything went fine.  I think that if we HAD stopped working for just a moment and prayed, everything would have been great.  We didn't.  Sometimes it's just really hard to remember that we need to STOP and pray!  Sometimes stopping just doesn't seem possible -- or it's not possible.

At any rate, we did make it to the top with only some slight mishaps -- including a toppled wheelbarrow full of concrete -- and moderate frustration.  Andrew and Julio are still friends -- even though they were really picking on each other by the time they finished! :^)

I showed up just in time to get my picture taken.  My job was to run the edger to make the edges smooth.
Then we used a broom to give a slight texture.
And in the morning:
No more slippery slope! Hurray!!!

And the Walls Go Up!

Construction has begun on the Nueva Esperanza Centro de Convivio -- the New Hope Fellowship Center!  I'll just post pics, since that's what everyone likes best, and add captions here and there as they seem appropriate!
  First things first: we need a sidewalk and an access ramp.
Carting buckets of gravel and sand up that hill was getting really tedious, so a ramp needed to be built.
I'm not sure how much of an improvement this ramp was, especially when it came to moving the cement mixer.
That ramp was only temporary, though.  The REAL ramp was still to come!

Baptism at the Beach

A few days before our planned departure from Arizona, we sent emails to our friends in Mexico.  We wanted to give them an idea of our return time -- everyone likes to show up to welcome you home if you've been gone a long time.

The note I got back from our friend and sister, Eugenia, was encouraging and funny at the same time -- and it was SO Mexico!  "Hermanos," she said, "we are so happy that you'll be home soon!"  She then shared all that had been going on in the Church since we left.  She concluded with this sentence, "So we're having a baptism on Sunday afternoon at your house."  I love it!  Of course we were excited about the baptism; we were also touched that the people know us well enough to know that we would not have any problem with 80 people coming over to our house for a fish fry and baptism.
 The youth all got together to play a little basket ball before lunch. 

As it turned out, the fish fry happened in Alamito -- which I think worked out much better -- and folks only came over briefly to baptize one brother.  It was a great time of fellowship!  Having all three of the Vida Nueva churches together at once was really special.  I love how these three congregations work together as a family.
 It took a while to get the gas tank set up.  It's always a challenge to get all the tools and parts necessary to complete a task! 
With the gas working and a windblock set up, Brother Mailo started frying the fish.  He fried a A LOT of fish!!!
On a Sunday afternoon, the beach at Ensenadita is generally pretty crowded.  This Sunday was no exception.  However, when we pulled out the guitar and began singing praise and worship music, people stepped back and let us have a little patch of beach to ourselves.
After baptizing 3 people at the beach, we piled back into the vehicles and headed over to our house.  We even picked up a few new people, as some of the people at the beach wanted to come back to our house -- they were old friends we hadn't seen for quite a while.
It was fun to have such a big group at our house!  We haven't done it for a while, and I realized how much I've missed big get-togethers.  I'm thinking that we need to do this more often!!!

Thursday, October 20

July Mission trip to Quimichis

In July our family along with 9 other people from Vida Nueva Church piled into our van and headed south to Quimichis, Nayarit.  I've been wanting to post photos ever since, but time just keeps getting away from me!  Now, however, another team is preparing to travel to the village of Quimichis.  I decided that I absolutely HAD to get the photos from the first trip posted -- before the team left on the second trip!

And so, here we are -- a bunch of pics from our time in the village of Quimichis.  It was truly amazing.  I'm not sure if the photos will convey everything I'd like to share, but maybe you'll get a feel for what the village is like and maybe some idea of what we did while we were there.

Crossing the state border from Sinaloa to Nayarit, vendors line the road.  Every one of them is selling sliced mango and dried shrimp.  Bet you can guess what fruit was in season!

When we arrived in Quimichis, I grabbed my camera and just started taking pictures.  I just love this shot!

This is the house across the street from where we stayed.

While we waited to find out where we'd be sleeping, the kids pulled out a soccer ball and taught the neighborhood kids a new game: dodge ball!  It was a hit!

This man has a huge basket on the back of his motorbike.  He rides up and down the streets of Quimichis every day, selling bread -- and OH it was good bread!

This is the house where we stayed for the week. The family who lives here told us to make ourselves at home. They decided to take advantage of having someone to watch the place and went on a vacation!

Throughout the week, children stopped by.  Several times we noticed that we had quite a group of youngsters hanging around, so Evie and Sister Eugenia did an impromptu kids' class.
Children weren't the only ones who stopped in to visit.  Seeing that several of our team members played guitar, a couple of young men from the village stopped by to "jam".

It was decided that the outreaches would be held at the intersection.  The men dug a hole -- yes, right in the middle of the street -- for a post to hold up a tarp so that the sun wouldn't be too strong and so we'd have a few moments to quickly pack up electronics, if it started to rain (which it didn't -- total miracle!!!).
Everyone pitched in to prepare meals.  Shelling this many shrimp is definitely a team project!
Felipe and Yadira and their family share some traditional, ranchero-style music at the beginning of each of the 3 outreaches. (I took video, but our internet is WAY too slow to upload it. :^) )
Our drama teams shared a different drama each night.  They were very impacting!

After the dramas, kids under 12 were dismissed for a kids' class which was hosted by Sister Blanca and the youth.  If it looks like some of these kids are older than 12, that's because they are.  We had about 40 kids the first night and as many as 60 the last night.  It was wonderful!  A bit stressful at times, but wonderful!

Every morning, our team gathered out in front of the house for group devotions.  By the second or third morning, we had 5 or 6 people from the village join us.  One woman walked all the way across town, just so she could join us to pray and read God's word.

We saw God work in so many ways during this trip!!!  The whole trip was covered in much prayer and fasting, and we believe that this made all the difference.  Looking at these pictures reminds me of so many stories!  I do want to share one wonderful thing which happened...

In this photo, Pastor Misael is sharing Jesus with a man who lives a couple of doors down from where we were staying.  The night before, the man and his wife had been sitting outside one their porch, enjoying the cool breeze, when Eugenia, Misael's wife walked by.  She stopped to talk for a few minutes and learned that the woman, who was sitting very still, had suffered a stroke 12 years ago.  Since that day she had not been able to talk coherently, only could walk with assistance and needed constant care.  Eugenia told me later that she looked into the woman's eyes and saw confusion; when she tried to talk, she only babbled.  Eugenia asked the man if she could pray for them.  When he agreed, she laid her hand on the woman's shoulder and prayed for healing.  Then she said goodnight and went "home".

The next evening, the man and woman were out on their porch again.  This was the second night of the outreach, and the music was going strong.  Eugenia caught my attention and told me to look at the man and the woman -- he was singing, and she was clapping.  He reported later that she had awakened that morning in her right mind and talking normally.

God is so good, and His mercy is forever!!!!

Thank you again to each of you who supports us with prayer!  We believe that we saw God work in so many powerful ways because of the amount of prayer being lifted on our behalf.  I don't know how it works, but the Bible does say that the "fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much".  I don't understand it, but I'll take it!!!