Sunday, June 2, 2013


What would your life look like if you had no hope? Every day you go to the campo to cut firewood, or harvest the beans and corn. You come home just in time for the rain to begin, and then you sit and watch it rain.

Or maybe you own your own business! And you hope to sell 50 pesos (or FOUR dollars) worth of goods so that you can afford to feed your family of four that day.

Would you lose hope? Would you feel overwhelmed? Would you look for something better? Something easier? Something to take away the pain? Something to make you forget?

We live in a community where the people have little hope. There is very little to make the people smile. Our neighbor boy is about 8 years old. He doesn’t go to school and he doesn’t go to the campo to work alongside his dad. He just hangs out on the streets during the day. When we talked to his Mom, she said, “He doesn’t want to work.” 

We wonder what will become of this boy. Will he grow up like so many others in this town? Will he learn to sniff paint thinner? Will he start drinking and smoking? Will he rob from his neighbors to pay for his vices? Will he eventually make the dangerous trip north and cross the border illegally, hoping to find a job that pays more than 70 pesos a day? (The average DAILY salary equates to less than SIX dollars for men in our community.  Girls who work as maids typically make just over THREE dollars a day, for a full 12 hour day.)
Please pray that the Word of God will transform the lives of the ZK people and that they'll find HOPE.

Afternoon Visits

This afternoon we had two young visitors at our home. Norma is 9 years old and lives next door. We see her often, sitting on the step in front of her house. Today, she was hanging out with her friend Dulce who is 10 years old. They asked if they could come in to play, so we invited them to sit on our front porch and Ellie got out a few dolls.

It was a fun visit. We practiced speaking ZK with them and they taught us a few new words. They were adorable as they went back and forth in ZK discussing how something should be said.

As we chatted, I shared the story of Creation. Dulce said that was her favorite Bible story because she liked hearing how God created Adam and Eve. Norma said her favorite Bible story was the Prodigal Son, so Clay shared that story with them.

 It’s encouraging to see young people who have heard the Word of God. We pray that through the Word these young girls will grow up with HOPE, that they’ll have relationship with their Lord, and not merely a religion.

Lessons Learned--Part Two

As we finish up our first month in our village, we’ve learned A LOT!

  1. If you only pay the equivalent of $1 for a haircut, you must be willing to accept how it turns out…or walk around with your head tilted to one side until it grows out. (We chalk it up as a worthy ministry expense…Clay has a captive audience for the duration of the haircut…which might explain why it was so crooked.)
  2. I had my house helper hang my laundry on the line. She turned everything inside out, which we attribute to the fact that they don’t want clothes to get bleached in the sun. This is good. I asked her to fold the laundry and she didn’t turn it right side out…okay. The next day I asked her to fold clothes that came out of the dryer, and therefore was not inside out. She turned it ALL (including the socks) inside out as she folded. I realize that sometimes I need to take a deep breath…and then re-fold all of the laundry. The day after that we explained that we like our clothes folded right side out. Lesson—don’t expect things to be done the way we’ve always done them, and be willing to patiently teach.
  3. While living in the land of internet, I realize that I dream of making all of the amazing recipes on Pinterest.  Living here, I have been baking a lot more than normal. Lesson—Pinterest recipes are fat free until you actually bake them. If I plan to bake, I need to plan to exercise.
  4. During rainy season, which they say is 10 months out of the year, plan to do things when the rain stops. And carry an umbrella.

Pieces of the Puzzle

I’ve always enjoyed putting together puzzles. When I was a teenager, my Mom and I often had a puzzle on the dining room table. First, we’d work on the frame. That was the easiest part because one edge was flat.  Once that was finished, we’d spend hours hunting for the missing puzzle piece to fit the specific spot.

As I learn ZK, I feel like I’m working on a giant puzzle! The frame is kind of a difficult one to put together but the edges aren’t always straight. In other words, we learn a word and practice how to say it with our language helper. Then we take what we’ve learned and try to use it with someone else only to find out that we weren’t pronouncing it “right.” Within our village, people pronounce words differently. Or use different words. Like “soda” and “pop” might mean the same thing to you, or “pop” might not be something that you drink.  Or, does the word “roof” rhyme with “goof” or “woof?”

Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed with the task at hand. This week I read Psalm 57:2, which states, “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.” Another translation reads, “He will perform the cause I hold in my hand.”

Beyond learning the language, my greater task at hand is to see the people around me understand the HOPE that only comes through a relationship with the God Most High. The people of Pine Hill are without hope. Many young people are drinking, smoking, or sniffing thinner by age 12, or younger. Instead of learning to work beside their fathers, the young boys are hanging out in the streets, getting into trouble. When we ask their parents about what their children are doing (when they should be in school or working in the field) they say, “They don’t want to work/study. So they’re in the streets.” These are 6-10 year-old kids.

 The task seems insurmountable. So I cry out to God Most High. He will fulfill HIS purpose for me.


Since the day we’ve moved in I’ve been curious about our neighbor lady. Last week I told her that I want to come and sit with her and learn ZK. She smiled and jabbered away about how I need to learn ZK because she doesn’t speak Spanish. I understood very little, but her daughter translated for me.

Today Clay and I sat out on the street, waiting for an opportunity to come to us. It didn’t take long and our neighbor lady came out and Clay quickly offered her a chair. She came and sat with us. We learned that her name is Pablina and she is “about 78” years old. (And on the verge of death, as she put it.)  She speaks just enough Spanish that we can hold a superficial conversation.

A little while later our neighbor Alicia came out too, carrying her daughter. They sat with us too and before long a small crowd gathered. Everyone is curious, but often too timid to actually talk to us. They taught us a few new words and then we tried to explain some of the differences between life in Idaho and life in an indigenous village of Mexico.


I decided to bring out a picture book of Idaho. It was so much fun to show them pictures of deer and bear, of mountain lakes and streams, of the prairies full of flowers. How do you explain why a man would raft the rapids? Or how people can take a week to camp in the mountains?  How do you explain that not everyone has a corn field or a bean field? “Work” for us is very different.

I look forward to more afternoons, sitting in the street, chatting with my neighbors, sharing laughter.  I look forward to being able to share the Gospel in ZK so that they can understand it more completely.