Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our next destination

Hey all!! We are slowly but surely moving our way up the coast!!!
God is so good to us! Thanks to His grace and provision we are right now in Woodland, CA. Time is passing so quickly; I couldn't believe it when I realized that we had already been State-side a week, WOW!

Our visit with Great Grandma was wonderful. She is such a neat lady. She is one of the very few 83 year olds I know of whom I can say that she is living her life as servant to others. Way to go, Grandma!!! I love you!
We did some projects around her house while we were there. I realized that I actaully enjoy yardwork. I mean, I suppose that I knew deep down but in the heat of Mexico nothing looks like fun! Working in the cold of CA, however, is a different story. I love the feeling of accomplishment you get when you have just finished raking the lawn and trimming the bushes... sigh. [Now that I have written this I had better watch out. My Mom will see this as a definite plea for more work. Yikes! lol]
Today early we left Grandma's to search out our next location in Woodland. 9 hours and numerous stops later we arrived.

So, here I am!! But now I have to get off because there is a line for the computer!
Goodnight everyone, pleasant dreams!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our Schedule

I so lied!! I couldn't resist just finishing up tonight!!

Here is our "penciled-in" schedule for our time in the US (note -- this is where we'll be physically, not a list of speaking engagements! If you're in the area, consider this your official invitation to come and see us!) :

*Sunday, January 18 -- Saguaro Canyon EFC, Tucson AZ
*Sunday, January 25 -- Woodland Bible Church, Woodland CA
*Wednesday, January 28 -- somewhere in Chico CA
*Sunday, February 1 -- Restoration Life Church, Sacramento CA
*Sunday, February 8 -- New Hope EFC, Winston OR -- New Hope is planning a "Mexican Food Potluck" for that Sunday after church. If you're one of our friends in the Roseburg area, please stop by the church about 12:30pm. Bring a covered dish to share and plan to spend some time fellowshipping. Our time in Oregon is limited and this may be the only "social event" we get to attend!
*Monday, February 9 -- Portland OR
*(tentatively) Saturday, February 14 -- Centralia WA.
*After that, it gets a little sketchy, so if you're farther north, sorry we can't be more specific! Get in touch with us via email so we can make more definite plans!

Finally here!!!

To whom it may concern:
We are finally in the States!!! It seems like so long ago that we were here last; then again I feel like the time has passed so fast. Have you ever felt like that? Somewhere in the middle... that's me!!

Anyhow, We got here (that would be Tucson, AZ) a few hours ago and since the house we are staying at has WIFI (wooooow) I just couldn't stay away (the computer is like metal and I am a magnet =D ).

Our trip was, thanks to the mercy and grace of God, long but uneventful. We left the house at about 3am (I think that the most sleep any of us got was 4 hours) and began our drive!
I tried to sleep in the back of the van (we took out two of the seats and made a kind of bed) but I am the kind of person who once I am up, I am up, no turning back! So I let my Mom lay in the back and I sat up in the front to keep my Dad awake (very important job).
After that, everything was pretty much boring. We (the kids) played a game of Killer Bunnies (check out what it is: and then took turns sleeping.

As a closing note to this post (I am wiped and I am going to bed in 15 seconds, as soon as I publish) I just wanted to say that I cannot wait to see all of you!! I know that some of you I have never met and I might not even meet you on this trip. Still, if you are on our route and have a desire to meet us, just send a note. I love meeting new people!!!!
I will update my blog with a list of the place we are going to be staying (not right this second, obviously, but soon).
Until such a time, blessings!

Praises and Prayers:

Praise that we made it here safely
Praise for the family that was willing to open their home to us
Prayer: we found out at the border that we have to get passports for all of us kids before our next trip out of Mexico
Praise that the trip was not overly stressful
Praise that no one in our family is sick
Prayer for my Dad who is going to share at church tomorrow
Prayer that God would use me to bless others in any way I can


Monday, January 12, 2009

Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child comes to Boca del Rio!!
I am not sure how many of you have read my Mom’s blog, but if you have then you have probably also seen the post about this. We weren’t sure at first if we were going to be able to get all the boxes (there was a 60 cent fee for every box to cover shipping fees to get the boxes out here) but through prayer and the support of many of our brothers and sisters in the States we reached our goal and were able to give gifts not only in our own village but in several of the neighboring villages. Isn’t God good!! So, the day after our friends left we hosted a party (well, sort of a party) for all of the children of the community. This was a great way to get everyone from our church and the American team involved. We played several games and sang a number of songs. When all the kids were settled down Christina (the pastor’s wife) shared the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was very touching to see all the kids listening attentively to everything that she was saying and seeming to understand. After that we did one more song and then began to hand out the gifts. I know if I can do justice to the scene with words so, rather than trying and failing, I’ll just show you pictures.

Since the boxes don't actually come to the village, we had to go and collect them in a nearby city by the name of Guamuchil. This is a picture of Karen unloading boxes from the van.

Meet the team of people who went to pick up all of the boxes. Smile for the camera!

This was a very interesting game. If you'll notice in the picture, they are holding a stick down for the person with the blindfold on to go under. So, why's the stick in the guy's hand and not above the person on the floor?? You watch the person drag himself along with painstaking slowness. Hmmm, what's going on?
That's when you realize that this game is one big practical joke! After realizing what was going on I laughed so hard that I cried! They would let the person drag himself for a minute or two and then they (the person with the stick) would reach down and tap the person lightly.
"Oh, shoot! You touched the stick. Should we give him another chance?" Of course the kids watching would yell their assent.


This song really got all of the kids involved and got quite a few of the more reserved girls on the American team to get involved.

Time to hand out the gifts!

It was precious to watch the little kids so enthralled by the gifts that they received. I can’t really even explain the way I felt. After having been on the other end for so many years in the States, I was finally the one to help hand the gifts out. It struck me as interesting that, in all the years that I had done the boxes, I had never really considered the fact that the children who would receive the boxes would not speak English. I mean, if you would have asked me I would have realized, but on my own I did not.
Well, that’s just my unique look on that, but then again, from what I saw in the looks on the faces of the Americans, I think that they might have been equally struck!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas -- New Year's

Happy belated New Year!! Oh dear, it has been a incredibly wonderful, tiring and eventful week. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful time, but I am soooooooo tired it’s not even funny!! I have been trying to get everything caught up of mine that I have been putting off for a week and a half. Right now I think that the only thing left is laundry (Ugh). I guess that you probably want me to tell you all about it right (don’t answer that ;D). I hope that I don’t end up running too terribly long. Here goes nothing! [note for those of you with dial-up: I am very sorry that I put so many pictures on this post. I really shouldn't have, but there were so many things that couldn't be explained without images!]

Christmas Eve -- we had a pretty relaxed day. We didn’t do much running around though my parents did go to town for a few hours to get some last-minute stuff taken care of. During this we (the kids) stayed home and played Monopoly. Oh what fun!!!
When evening arrived we were all tired, me because I was sick sick sick L and everyone else because they wore themselves out in the duration of the day. So, we all went to bed and Mother dear and Father sir stuffed the stockings!!
I will not attempt to tell you how horribly I slept that night. I think the total number of hours was something around 4. I am not sure why, but it might have been related to the fact that I wasn’t able to breath because of my cold (I am pleased to be able to say that I am now nearly 100% healthy again). Needless to say the night did pass and Christmas came!!

Christmas Day -- when all of us kids had gotten up and “accidentally” woken up Mom and Dad (I was actually not involved this time :P ) we all gather around the tree to open up the stockings and gifts. We had a great time giving, receiving, enjoying one another’s surprise, sharing in the excitement and just being a family.

Caleb received the one thing that he had been begging Mom and Dad for all year, a dog!

This is the scrapbook that I made for my Mom. I think it was quite a feat since no one knew but me and my sis!

Seth gave me the perfect gift, page protectors for all of my music!

Merry Christmas everyone!

When the gifts were opened and all the wrapping paper mess was cleaned up, we kids went upstairs to play our new card game -- Killer Bunnies by name -- while Mom made breakfast. An hour or so later some of our friends came over to enjoy Christmas breakfast with us. We had a great time fellowshipping with them and when they had left my family (everyone but me, I was still really sick) left to go pick up some of our friends from Oregon who were going to be arriving by bus. I had a nice, quiet morning alone in our house. I enjoyed it, but it made it not really feel like Christmas; I guess that’s because I have never experienced a “quiet” Christmas in our house. At 6 p.m. they (our friends and my family) got back. We had a great reunion since I had not seen any of them for over a year!
After supper we all sat around the tree again and exchanged gifts. Since they had had such a long trip, they headed for bed nearly immediately afterwards.

From left to right: Jessee, Me, Bethany, Andrew, Christian (Lee, not the older one, that would be Logerstedt. Confusing, I know)

The little girls opening their gifts as Shari watches.

Couples’ Dinner at our Church -- a few days after our friends arrived another team of 24 Americans arrived over at our Church. This ended up being an extra bonus since it meant that our friends got to meet them and kind of help out with some of the outreaches that they did. The neatest one (in my opinion) was the annual dinner that we hold at our church for the couples of the community. A few hours before the dinner we went around the village and passed out invitations. I thought that this was kind of interesting since you usually hand out that kind of thing at least a few days before a party, but it all worked out! At 5 p.m. it started and Bethany (my friend who was visiting) and I were whisked away to the house to take care of the kids at my house while the parents attended the dinner. My brother (Caleb) and Christian (his friend) stayed to help serve the food and help out much to their relief-- I don’t think that they particularly like babysitting!

Excursion to Guasave -- a few Days before our friends left we all went out for a day of shopping in the “Mercado” (market). We had a great time and I got to be the official tour guide. We split off in two groups; one was Bethany, Christian, Caleb and I and the other was the moms and the rest of the kids. This is where paying attention while my Mom drives me through town pays off, it made it much easier to find my way around!
Bethany and Christian bought some souvenirs and gifts for friends and my brother bought… a shovel and a machete… hmmmm… I guess that’s his choice, huh?!?!
To top everything off, we all stopped in at the bread store and bought (I say we, I meant Bethany, Christian and Caleb, I am broke :^y ) some freshly baked bread and milk. Mmmm Mmmm Good!

In the Casa de Cambio (that's the place where you exchange Dollars for Pesos)

Christian is making sure that he has the correct amount of money. I assured him that, opposite to what he may think, most people will not rip you off.

Us girls were having way too much fun in the fabric store. Wish I could say the same for the boys. I think that they will thank us in the long run; we were training them to be good husbands someday!!

Assorted other things and activities--

Bethany and Christian hanging out with some of the Americans from the other team that came. That adorable little boy in the picture is Hasiel. Awww!

Our mothers doing what they do best (besides cook), talking!!

The boys scored on several quite large fish. Though I am not sure what they enjoyed more, catching or gutting! Yuck!

The cup game!! This is sooo much fun and we are really *coughs* good at it!

Awww, aren't they sweet!

The beautiful kingdom of CALCHRISARANY (Caleb, Christian, Sarah, Bethany my idea!)

Goodbye-- our friends’ visit was great and filled with fun!! We went swimming at the beach, collected shells and a vast number of other odd things. Funny thing, even though I live right on the beach it had been more than two months since I had actually walked down there, oh what I miss! But no more!! I must visit at least once a week now (let’s see how long that lasts!). On Thursday we took our friends to Guasave and went out to eat. When we had finished we headed over to the bus station and sat down to wait for the bus. We didn’t have too long to wait; about 45 minutes later the bus came in and we saw our friends off. I managed not to cry or anything, but I think that it was only because I knew that we were going to see them again in a month (we are going on furlough January 17 or so).

Before leaving for the bus station we went over to the church to say goodbye to our friends (they were to leave the following day) and our pastor sent us off with prayer!

Goofs, I know. I don't wear glasses, btw, those are borrowed.

This is what Andrew did while we were in the bus station.

What handsome families, wouldn't you agree?(I am biased, I think! lol)

Adios! Que le vaya bien!

In Conclusion -- I honestly cannot believe that this year is gone. Wow!! Where did the time go? I feel that as I get older the time goes faster. Yet, God is always faithful and has been true to His promises. He has formed and transformed me and I know that He has a plan for me even though I might not understand what it is now. What a blessed assurance!!!

Since it is the new year, I must finish this post with my list of goals and resolutions -- or perhaps better said prayers -- for the coming months.

I will learn to speak French.
I will improve my Spanish.
I will pray and seek God’s will about going to the local Bible school at the end of this year.
I will pray and seek God’s will about going and working in a deaf children’s orphanage next year.
I will be more faithful in prayer and reading my Bible.
I will live each day to the best of my ability.
I will write more often.
I will practice more faithfully the piano and guitar.
I will make new friends.
I will continue to pray for the friends that I have (I love you guys!!)
Through God’s grace I will learn to be patient and wait in silence.
I will be an encouragement to others and not tear them down.
I will love my siblings and not be easily angered.
I will finish my Geometry.
I will brush up on my English.
I will prepare for my SAT test
I will share the gospel with others.
I will be light and salt in the

To all who have been reading my blog in this past year:
Thank you so much! I have been blessed by the many comments and emails that I have received from each of you. I appreciate you willingness to correspond with me and to read what I write.
To those of you who I have met in blog-world:
I thank God every day that He has allowed me to meet such fine people as yourselves. You are a great encouragement and it means a lot to me that you are willing to set aside the time to read my ponderings. Most of you I have never met, some of you I hope to be able to meet soon and some of you I may never meet, but God has it all in His hands!

Blessings to you all! I pray that the Lord would continue to work in your life in this new season!

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…” ~Anne of Green Gables