Sunday, October 25, 2015

There is Power in the Blood

It’s not uncommon for folks to knock on our door at all hours of the day. Sometimes it’s people we know. Sometimes not. Sometimes it’s a friend who came to visit. Sometimes it’s a stranger asking for money to help build a shrine to a saint.

Recently, we opened the door to our friend Felicity. She had come to visit with 3 of her 4 sons. (They like to come play with our children.)  I put on some hot water for coffee and set out a dish of freshly baked cookies. (Yep, just call me Betty Crocker!) Then, I sat down to visit with Felicity.

Her husband is out of town, working in Cancun. The normal pleasantries contained questions about his work, the family’s health, etc. All was well. At least until I asked about her mother.
That’s when the conversation got difficult to follow. You see, part of the ZK culture (possibly Chiapas indigenous culture) is lots of circling, or saying the same thing multiple times, but the subject isn’t always mentioned by name. And since the 3rd person subject pronoun is optional, it’s often excluded. And somewhere along the way Felicity switched from talking about her mom, to talking about her second son.

I was confused. But I knew that there was something that needed further investigation. I understood something about throwing a knife, fainting, leaving the house without a shirt. (I still thought we were talking about her mom!)

I was thankful when Clay came home and I suggested that she tell him the story, from the beginning. This time I understood. At least as much as could be expected.

Felicity’s son, Tony, had been suffering from fainting spells where he would “lose his mind.” He wouldn’t have any recollection of what had happened, but during that time he did things, like leaving the house without a shirt or shoes, or throwing a knife at his older brother. (He later said the voices told him to do it.) These incidences occurred primarily when he was at his grandma’s.

Felicity’s mom was convinced that Tony needed to be taken to a curandero, or healer. (Witchcraft is often a part of their healing techniques.) It was going to cost about $3,000 pesos or about $240 American dollars, which is at least a month’s salary.  Felicity didn’t agree with her mom, so she came to us.

Our response was to pray for Tony. We really believe there was a spiritual battle occurring and we prayed boldly for Satan to flee. Then we talked to Felicity and her boys about the promise, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them (the spirits); because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) We told Felicity that if she sees this happen again, to pray!

A week later Felicity and the boys came back to visit us. Felicity was quick to share with us that Tony hasn’t had another incident. Her mom wants to know, “What did they give to Tony?” because she sees the difference too. Felicity’s response to her mom, giving all glory to God, was simply, “They prayed to God. And, they taught me to pray too.” 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

God's Beauty

I live in a beautiful place. No doubt.
And I love it!

A touch of fall

beautiful caterpillar

Red-eyed Tree Frog

"Ocho" or "Eight" Butterfly

And then there's the tarantula!

Ugly Rooster

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Going "Home"

The thought of returning back to my passport country is both exciting and a little terrifying.

Exciting of course, because we'll see our loved ones! Most of them we haven't seen outside of Skype for four years! And the thought of all the foods--donuts that are actually hot and fresh for breakfast, not at 2pm! Ham and turkey for Thanksgiving! American milk! Olive Garden and Red Lobster!

There will be time for walks on the dike, and camping trips, and bike rides.

And we'll blend in to the crowd! No one will stare at us!

But then there's the scary part...

It's been four years! What kind of cultural faux pas will we commit?  We've heard all kinds of funny stories of things that missionary kids do...or missionaries. At least least they make for funny stories once the embarrassment wears off.

I think about what it'll be like for my kids. When you've spent half of your life outside your passport country, or more, there will be things that you just don't understand! Making new friends. Flushing the toilet paper. You can drink tap water?!?  Speaking only English with new friends.  Wearing the right clothes. Drinking from a drinking fountain.Using the right words! (I realize Clay and I have been at least 80% responsible for the English that my children speak. I am thankful that I began my adult life with a broad vocabulary. I fear that I sound more like a 2nd grader these days...three languages can do that.) And then there's slang!

And then there's me.

What if I can't make friends easily? What if I don't wear the right clothes? Or say the right things?
Will I fit in?  What about that "cereal aisle" moment? (That moment when I go into the grocery store for a box of cereal...or tea...and an hour later I come out, my face covered in tears because there were too many options and I just couldn't choose! It's real folks. For me it literally was the box of tea.)  Who will be there for me? Or when I can't remember the word for elevator and my mind has a glitch and I call it a helicopter? (Yep, that was me too. Remember, mom?)

 I know that anyone reading this will tell me that I'm just being ridiculous. (Because if you're actually taking the time to read this you probably already like me! ha ha) But just understand that in the midst of rejoicing for our quickly approaching Stateside time, there is mixed deep inside an insecurity.

And then there's the issue of the people that we know and love in Pine Hill. The ones that we have been spending birthdays and holidays with for the last 2.5 years. The ones that still haven't accepted the gift of Eternal Life. We will be away from them for almost a year. So much can happen in a year.

So please be praying for us as we finish up this term. As I write this, there are only 43 days til our travel day. Pray that we will say our goodbyes, or our "see you laters." Pray that we transition well to our passport country. (It's hard to say "home" because for the last 3 years and 9 months, our home has been Chiapas, Mexico.) Pray that if/when we do melt down in the cereal aisle, that God will send the right person to laugh it off with us. Pray that we will learn to laugh again! (Living in a village has been stressful and our sense of humor is often at risk of being lost.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time to Reminisce

It's been awhile since I've written a blog. Sometimes I just don't know what to share. Sometimes I just don't have time...or internet. But this week I have both time and internet!

So what's on my mind?

Four years ago we were saying our last goodbyes in Idaho. We had sold all of our worldly goods and we were beginning the biggest adventure of our lives...a move to the mission field in southern Mexico.
Look at those babies!
Ryan was 5, Ellie 3, Levi 1, and Matthew only a few months!
Saying goodbye to Grammy, Grandpa and Jimmy was hard! 

Our next adventure was the trip across the country from Idaho to Virginia, with stops along the way to visit friends and family. When we arrived in Virginia, it was time to learn all about being a missionary! Or, at least all they could teach us before our feet hit the ground.

We learned about Lottie Moon,
and the kids enjoyed this life-sized photo.

Matthew was ready to move to Mexico!

After our training, we got to spend a month in Ohio with my family. Precious memories!
Quality time with Uncle Charles!
Ellie had fun with Uncle Charles too!

Cousin Charis read to Ellie

Then it was time to get used to a whole new world! A new way to shop for sights...a different language...but all an adventure.

Meat market

Fresh meat

Fresh produce

Monday, September 7, 2015


Norma...I still remember those first few months that we lived in Pine Hill. Norma and her friend, Dulce would knock on the door and ask if they could play. After a few months, it was just Norma. During those first few months it was just for a few hours, a couple days a week.

Then one evening, Norma told me that she didn't always have money to buy her snack during recess at school. And sometimes her brother isn't very nice to her when her mom is working.

I told her she could come over and "work" for us. Basically, she could do chores like my kids...washing dishes, sweeping and mopping, etc. And I'd pay her. I was thinking an hour or two a day. She showed up the next day and announced that she had talked it over with her mom. She could come over from 11am to 7pm. (It was still summer.) And so it began.

She didn't work 8 hours a day for us. Unless you consider playing with 4 kids to be work. She would wash the dishes and do any other chore that was asked of her. And then she would play Legos or a game on the Wii. It was great for the kids to have someone to play with everyday. And they had to speak Spanish a lot more too. What we didn't plan was how much English this girl would learn just through play.

Before long, Norma was part of the family. Like a big sister for Ellie.

She finished the sixth grade this year and that means she moves from the elementary school to the secondary school. In our village, the nuns run a private elementary school with the best education, if you don't mind the doctrinal differences. After sixth grade, most kids go to the public secondary school. Sadly, it's where many start using drugs and alcohol. Dating isn't an issue really, because the culture is to "get married" at age 14 or 15.

Norma's parents didn't want her to go to public school so they sought the best option for her. Through the Catholic school, they arranged for her to move to Tuxtla, three hours away. She now lives in an orphanage run by the nuns and attends a private Catholic school.

Our heart aches for Norma. At 12 years old, she's one of the youngest girls in the orphanage. And although her parents desire to protect her from the ways of the world, she is quickly losing her innocence as the girls around her talk about worldly things. Aside from that, we pray for her eternal salvation.

Will you pray for Norma?

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

St. Paul

Some of the faces from the church at St. Paul...

Baby Karen


Baby Yosmar

I love the dog sleeping at the back of the church!


Soraida, carrying her baby sister.

Sunday School!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mexico City

We had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City! We are waiting on our visas to be renewed, so in the meantime, we are resting and sightseeing!

Some of our highlights include...

Teotihuacan--The Pyramids of the Sun and Moon


The ancient back to the Aztec times.

We visited old friends...priceless moments!

Enrique and Clay...

Silliness with Enrique and Deby

Enrique and Ryan
Tammy and Deby
We've only known Deby for four years, when she married Enrique.
What a blessing!

My host family from 17 years ago!
(Is that even possible?!?)

Some of the sweetest host them!

My host dad from 16 years ago...another great family!

Serena got to experience the love of my Mexican mama, Juanita.

A walk around Chapultepec park!