Hello my friends and partners,
The past 3 weeks have flown by full of many experiences and blessings. This will probably be a long blog–but with lots of pictures! Feel free to read it in segments, but hope you enjoy it and get a good idea about how God is answering your prayers and what you can pray for in the weeks ahead.
I did start Spanish tutoring and it is going very well. I am learning and reviewing and my teacher, Adriana is an experienced teacher and has been able to focus on my needs as well as review what I need to remember. I go to her house (15 minute drive) 3 times a week, Mon. Wed and Fri. in the evening for 1-2 hours. I am so blessed to have her and to be friends with her. I believe God has arranged this and know that He will bless the time. He has even prompted a Mexican missionary to help me with the language, Juanita del Angel, who is also with the sister church, Jubileo. She has offered to have breakfast or lunch with me a couple times a month to help immerse me in Spanish. We had breakfast at a restaurant April 16 and only spoke in Spanish. She is so much fun and a wonderful friend. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue your prayers in this focus.
I also started teaching English. At first to 2 young men in our church, Champy and Pelusa. These are nicknames. Champy’s real name is Carlos and Pelusa (which means lint,???) is Emanuel. Nicknames are very common here, especially with young people. I started on Monday, April 16. They were supposed to come to my house at 8 p.m. They arrived at 9:15. I told them they were too late and they said Wednesday would be better. I told them that I would lock the door at 8:30 and would not answer the door bell. They came at 8:15 on Wednesday and have been fairly on time (for Mexicans) since then. We really have a good time. They know more English than I thought. They have level 1 in school (over and over again–never have more than level 1) The material that my friend gave me is really good and includes games, which they really enjoy. They have had 4 classes since we started.
Last Saturday, I prepared for an English class with some of the women in the church, who had asked me to teach them. About 8 people told me they would be there, so I worked hard to prepare for 8 people. :0 Only 1 came–Lety. Par for the course here, but I was very impressed with Lety’s determination. She REALLY wants to learn English–but knows NO English. We started with the alphabet and numbers. The written alphabet in Spanish is the same as English, but it is pronounced very differently, such as J–in Spanish it is pronounced Hota. Y–in Spanish is E gre a ga. She was determined to learn how to say the alphabet in English so wrote out each letter phonetically in her notebook. I am sure she will be able to say it this coming Saturday. I hope more women come then. I have also been thinking and praying about putting a sign on my gate offering English lessons to my neighbors. I don’t get a chance to meet many of them because they are rarely out of their houses. I am praying that God will use me in this capacity to show His love and to tell them the Gospel. Please pray that God will direct me in how He wants to use me in this capacity and if He wants me to do this, He will prepare the hearts of the people He wants me to influence to His glory.
April 18, Fabis (my translator) and I met with another CHE Trainer, Vicenta. We talked about TIC (CHE) and what she was saying made me realize that they are not working as a team and do not all have the same vision. So the next Sunday, Pam deLeon and I had a meeting with 3 of them. Norma decided to go to a movie instead (She is only 18 and hasn’t learned to focus on priorities yet). At that meeting Lola and Vicenta made it fairly plain that they didn’t consider TIC their top priority. Lola wants to be the Children’s director, which would not give her enough time to be committed to the huge ministry of TIC. Vicenta voiced fears about working in LaRaza. (She and Lola do not actually live in LaRaza, but in Cubitos which is adjacent to LaRaza) Adriana is very committed and wants to see changes in her neighborhood. Of course, Norma made her choice by going to the movie. Soooo. . . we have to find others in LaRaza (maybe at other churches) who want to be a part of the changes God is going to make there. Adriana is the best person to know who in her neighborhood would be excited about changing their community for Christ. Adriana can also help us train other people, since she has had the first phase of CHE training. Also, Judy Fish is coming May 15 to help us get restarted. Judy is a CHE consultant for CMF and other organizations. She is always a source of great advice and encouragement. I praise God that He has made us look this situation in the face and trust Him to put the right persons in place to accomplish His will. I also praise God for Judy–His resource for CHE and encouragement. Please pray for God to use us to accomplish His will and give use encouragement. It has been a little discouraging as we have invested a lot of time and money in these women, but God keeps telling me that He is in charge and His perfect will is ongoing. Please pray for Lola to be used to teach the children of our church the love of Jesus and how to live for Him. Please pray for Vicenta to find out how to use her gifts for the glory of God.
On April 19, our cell group had a baby shower for Zenaida. She and her husband have a son, who is 8. She had been pregnant before but lost the baby, a girl, right after she was born. We have been rejoicing with Zenaida since we found out she was pregnant, but also praying for God’s touch in her health and having a healthy baby. She has found out that this baby is also a girl. Please pray for her and her baby as the time is very near for the delivery. The baby shower, my first here, was definitely a cultural experience! One game they play is that anyone who crossed their legs or arms have to wear a diaper. Nearly everyone had to wear the diaper at one time or another. The one who is wearing the diaper is on the watch for anyone who can take over the diaper by crossing legs or arms.
Alma got caught crossing her legs
Even Zenaida got caught. Her son, Josue is helping her.
Vicki (in the background) is really enjoying my admission to the club (she posted it on Facebook)
They place some really fun other games. One woman had to hold a baby doll, feed it and hang clothes while talking on the cell phone. The person who could finish all in the least time got a prize.
Lola competing in the game
Claudia managing the challenge
Zenaida practicing for motherhood
We had other games, but I won’t describe all of them, but here are the pictures:
feeding someone blindfolded (messy)
guessing how much toilet paper will go around the soon to be Mom
measuring the TP
She guessed wrong, so gets a red dot on her face. She looked like she had measles when it was finished
as always, eating! Yum
On Saturday, April 21, some of us went to Peñas Cargadas (which loosely means rocks carrying rocks) for Benjamin’s (Vicki and Greg’s son) birthday. It is a beautiful park with lots of rocks to climb. We had grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, a lot of fun talking with other missionaries, and the kids ran themselves ragged (along with Luna, my dog). I had to leave early for my English class at the church. No one came except Champy. He is really faithful!
Luna playing with the kids
Greg grilling, with help from Matthew
Pam deLeon came the next day for the meeting with the trainers. I always enjoy Pam’s visits as it is a break from only my own company! She is a good friend and teammate. We went to visit Lola the next day in my quest to get to know the trainers better personally. I had never been to Lola’s house and was so happy to see her in her own environment. We were there more than 2 hours talking. Fabis went too, so she could translate for me when necessary.
The next day was my oldest granddaughter’s 12th birthday. It was hard to not be there. She is an amazing young lady. Please pray for her to stay in Christ through the tough times of adolescence.
On Wednesday I met with Luke Greer, a missionary from Jubileo Christian church, who is very interested in the CHE ministry for the people in an area in Pachuca ministered to by Jubileo. We are praying for God’s guidance in this possible endeavor. Please pray with us
The next day Greg, Vicki and sons left for the US for a work vacation. They will return on the 12th of May.
That Saturday I was ready for English class and a lot of women and young people who had asked to come. 1 woman came–Lety. We had a great class and I am coming to know Lety more and realize her strength and determiniation.
Sunday was a special day. On the 5th Sunday we have testimonies. 3 people gave their incredible testimonies. Lazaro told how his marriage was almost over and God rescued them and have made their marriage incredibly strong and their lives totally blessed. Santiago (James) testified how God changed his life from the life of an addict to drugs to an abundant life in Chirst. He admonished everyone to never hesitate to share their testimony and tell people about the love of Jesus. Then Ana (who had just had baby Valeria) shared how her life was very bad before she found the love a Jesus. Now He is changing her life day by day and her marriage is stronger every day. It was an incredible Sunday to the glory of God!
After the service, the special day continued with a church picnic at a beautiful park about 1/2 hour from the church. Most people went in a hired bus, but Enrique and I drove. A young couple from YWAM (the organization, Youth With A Mission) came along with me because the wife is American and speaks very good Spanish. She went as a translator for me (Fabis couldn’t go). It was great to get to know them. They (Amanda and Juan) have been married for about a year and are totally committed to serving our Lord! I am blessed to know them.
My good friend Adriana (sitting) our faithful trainer
hiking and finding Obidian (local prized black rocks)
me with Simone, one of God's recent miracles
as always, eating! Yummy food
My good friend Efra and his girlfriend, Jaque (used to be my tutor)
Whew! This week has been Spanish tutoring, English class, cell group and enjoying God’s blessings. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I never stop praying for you too.