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...

         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.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Great Joy!

For the last year or so Levi has been telling us that he wants to be baptized, but when we would sit down to talk to him about what it means, we never felt he really understood enough. But we kept talking about it. A lot. (It tends to be a topic that we talk about at our house often.)

Even last week, while studying our Bible lesson during homeschool, Levi brought up the topic again. Clay happened to be home, so I sent Levi to talk to him. Again, we didn’t feel he quite grasped the significance of how our sin separates us from God.

Sunday night, Levi got in trouble for his misbehavior. Specifically, we told him that his actions were a direct result of his anger towards his brother, and that was sin.

We didn’t think much more of the incident. It was kind of a typical evening…until Levi approached me, sobbing, and he told me, “I don’t deserve to go to heaven!” It took me a minute to understand what he was talking about. Levi said, “Because of what I did…I don’t deserve to go to heaven!”

“I agree with you,” I told him. “You don’t deserve to go to heaven because you are a sinner. But you know what? I don’t deserve to go to heaven either, because I’m a sinner.”

Levi looked at me a little surprised, but kept sobbing uncontrollably.

I reminded him of the lesson from our Bible study group from the week before. “No one is righteous. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He gave His one and only son, who died on the cross, and he promises that if you believe in Him, you can have eternal life. If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness!”

“I want to be saved,” Levi muttered through his tears.

“Do you want to ask Jesus to forgive you?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

And so, I was given the blessing of listening to my son pray and ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins. He repeated the ABCs of Salvation that is taught in the VBS curriculum…admit that you’re a sinner, believe that Christ died for you, and confess that Jesus is Lord.

All of this was repeated through tears, and occasionally he was overcome with sobs. But after praying, he felt a peace that passes all understanding.

For me, it was heartbreaking to listen to him sob as he realized the gravity of his sins. But, it was joy to listen to him confess Jesus as Lord. And it was a reminder to me…when was the last time that I sobbed over my own sin? When was I heartbroken over the thought that my sin separates me from Jesus?

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads
to salvation without regret,
whereas worldly grief produces death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Random thoughts and pictures

This is the view that we often see when we travel
out of our village. We have to cross the mountains!

You think your housework is tiring?
These women cook over a wood fire...so of course, they have to have wood.
Your commute to work gets icy?
Imagine this in the rain!
And remember, it rains an
average of 12 ft per year.
A few kids...
keeping their distance!
This was our first trip into this remote
village. We hope to return soon!

A mom and her kids, hiking back up
to their house. This is a path that we
take to visit our friend, Felicity.
Since my knee surgery last year, I
have to be careful when I visit.

See how the clouds settle down over the village?

This is a local construction site.
This ramp is how they get the
materials to the roof.

Open Their Eyes

Through the eyes of Levi...

We used to visit this house on occasion, and there were always eyes peeking at us through the slats. And you know what, my kids enjoy peeping through those slats too!
Smiling eyes of Ryan


       Now we are meeting in this home weekly, sharing the Good News, building relationships...

                ...and making memories that my kids will never forget.

Beautiful eyes of Ellie

My prayer for my children...
         and for the ZK people
...that God will open their eyes.

Bashful Matthew

"...to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light
 and from the dominion of Satan to God,
 that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance 
among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."
Acts 26:18