Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In Bloom


   I purchased this plant in May as was part of my Mother's Day gift...
my attempt to brighten up my kitchen.
It did well for about a month, and then things went downhill fast!

It didn't help matters that we went on a trip for a few weeks. I placed it outside, and 
gave instructions to the neighbor on how to care for it. Unfortunately, there was a torrential
downpour while we were gone and the pour thing nearly drowned. 

A few weeks after that, we had another trip. This time, I asked the neighbor
to take the half-dead plant to her house so that it wouldn't get too much or too little water.
It had 2 leaves when we left...and 1 1/2 leaves when we got back.
The neighbor's chickens were trying to eat it!

I continued to care for my pour plant. It was quite
pitiful, really. But, I watered it regularly. I didn't give up, even though I was tempted to
pitch it in the trash and buy a cactus. 

On Christmas morning, there was a bud that just about to bloom!
I was so excited! I figured I had another day or so, but that afternoon, I was surprised 
to find a beautiful pink flower decorating my kitchen window.

Of course there is an illustration to be made, right?

The week of Christmas was kind of a rough time. It's always just a
little bit sad to be so far away from extended family. The kids are extra nostalgic,
thinking about previous years when they were with grandparents, or seeing the Christmas lights.
And to be honest, we were discouraged with the ministry. We've poured five years into "Pine Hill,"
and we haven't seen much return.

On Christmas morning, God whispered encouragement into my heart. 
Sometimes, it's not easy. Sometimes you want to just through it in the garbage
and start over. But, how much sweeter it is when you can see the beauty that comes
from care and patience.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What Does Your Pantry Look Like?

         While visiting at a friend's house, we were impressed by their "pantry." They were storing their corn in the corner of the room. We thought it looked like a good amount of corn. They said the harvest wan't that good this year.

           Who wouldn't love a beautiful set of baskets for decoration? But these beauties are not just for decoration. They're used to store corn, beans, or coffee. I especially love the 3 different colors. They all would have started out like the light one on top. But with age (ahem...smoke), they turn colors.

          This basket was holding some coffee beans.

          This is my friend Teresa's kitchen. Could you imagine trying to make dinner in this kitchen? The work surface is about 10 inches off of the ground, so Teresa often sits on a low stool to be close to the fire. The pot on the stove (with the blue lid) was full of tamales!

         In the foreground is a blackened pot. It's what Teresa uses to make coffee. Can you imagine tending the fire all day to keep the coals just right? Today was a good day to be around the fire! It's the only source of heat in the home, and it's cold--inside and outside!

          This is Teresa's mom. Isn't she cute?! She can't live on her own anymore, so Teresa is taking care of her. She keeps her walking stick handy. She was very concerned for our well-being tonight. She made sure that we were offered coffee and hot tamales! She explained that since this is the Christmas season, many are hosting holiday festivities. Since she can't get out like she used to, they made their own tamales.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sewing Class

          In July of this year, we received a volunteer from our home church in Idaho. Rose was a blessing in many ways, but one ministry that she headed up was a sewing class. We started off with a simple project--a sewing kit. For some, this was an easy project that provided them with some sewing staples at their fingertips. For others, it was one of the first sewing projects that they had ever attempted.

Listening closely...
Concentrating...

         Another important element of sewing class was childcare! Ellie was in her element, caring for the little ones and keeping them safe...which is easier said than done when Mommy is working with pins and needles!





The class was a success in many ways. The women each were successful in making an article of clothing. We built relationships. And we shared about Christ's love through Bible stories. There is more interest in at least one of the women. Would you pray for more opportunities to share Christ?



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Spreading the Word

     


     As I stood under a coffee tree, I thanked God for the opportunity to share of His great love. We had been invited to talk to a young man who expressed a desire to know more about what happens to us after death. He had just lost his grandmother, and the thought of death was scary.
     We thought we'd be sharing in a home, but God has taught us to always be prepared. So we shared on the side of the road, under a coffee tree. And instead of sharing with one young man, we shared with about 20 young people.
     We may never see the young man again, but seeds have been planted. The rest is up to God.

What does church look like where you live?

     "What does church look like where you live?"

     While I can't answer for all of Mexico, I can answer about what it looks like in the town of "Pine Hill." You'll remember from your childhood Sunday School classes that we are the church, right? It's not about the building, but rather about the body of believers who gather.

    We hold worship in our home...or in our carport. (It's not a garage.) And when we travel to other villages, we hold worship in homes, or on the sidewalk.

It was a cool evening! We huddled together in Peter's home.

The power was out, so we had worship on the street.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Will Give You Rest




Sometimes it's easy to see the burden that others carry...more often the burdens are invisible. 
My prayer for the ZK people is that they will come to Him, and lay their burdens at his feet. I pray that they will learn from Him, and that they will find rest for their souls.





What's it like in Pine Hill?

        Four years ago, on May 1st, we moved to the village of Pine Hill. You won't find "Pine Hill" on a map--that's not the real name of the community we live in. But, for security, we don't use the real name in any publication.
     
 It's hard to define "Pine Hill." Recently we had a discussion as to whether it's a community, hamlet, a village, a town, a city...


The walls in this house are a
combination of tin roofing, boards,
and small branches.

The term ‘village’ refers to a small area with small population which follows agriculture not only as an occupation but also as a way of life.





We also realize that the population, which numbers around 6,000, can be misleading. It sounds like a town based on those numbers. But, we have limited amenities...no gas station or post office; water and electricity are unreliable; local stores have a decent but limited selection of goods. We have roads that have been paved, but are in desperate need of repairs.


A traditional ZK shelf...
Instead of a support underneath,
or nailing it to a wall,
a shelf is hung from a post
using wire or rope.









Many houses are made of cinder block. Others are made from boards. Tin roofs are most common. The government has assisted in making sure that houses have concrete floors.















Baby chicks and drying coffee beans!
This lady was out looking for water.