Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Everything give thanks

Well now, it seems as though I missed a few weeks there.... oh, bother! I did intend on writing such a lovely post on Thanksgiving. When that didn't happen I figured that I would still write the post only I would do it the Thursday after Thanksgiving (makes sense, right?)... obviously, that didn't happen either. Now I can't really undo what I didn't do to begin with, but I am thankful, and even though I missed the holiday, I can still express it!

It would take more of your time than you have to give me to tell you all I am thankful for. My God is SO BIG that to write down everything that He has done in my life and in the life of my family would be next to impossible! That said, know that the following is merely the overflow of a grateful heart:

God built our house this year! I will never forget the amazing way God caused everything to fall into place. I praise the Lord for the lives of everyone who was involved in completing the project. It has been such a blessing to us!

Praise God for changes. It's been a year full of them. Lots of shifting of focus ministry-wise and in our weekly schedule has caused some interesting results. Though at times changes can cause pain, like building muscles, in the end we come out stronger and more complete. For this reason, I am confident that, "He who has begun the good work will perfect it." (Phil 1:6)

Praise God for languages! I have loved and continue to love the intricacy and beauty of written and spoken language. The French lessons I was able to continue during part of this year were an unhoped-for blessing. It's so amazing how God knows all of our deepest wishes and desires!

Praise God for friends. There is no greater joy than to worship the Lord in unity with your brothers and sisters! Aren't you so glad that God didn't create us to walk life's road alone?
For all you, my friends: You guys are awesome and amazing sons and daughters of God! You have all been such an encouragement to me over the years. May the Lord return to you tenfold the blessing you have given to me!

Praise God for family! I love my family to pieces, and I am so glad that God saw fit to lend them to me for awhile ;) !

God has been so very faithful in everything over the past year that I couldn't express it adequately with words. I am truly so joyful in the knowledge of my God. Day by day my Heavenly Father has been teaching me to find my everything in Him, to take joy in the simple things and "be content with such things as I have". I have fallen more and more in love with my Creator each and every day. The joy I have inside just makes me want to jump and yell and cry and then go hug someone! It's at these moments that I realize that this world really is rapidly fading, and I ask myself, "Why are you so caught up?" I am reminded of the words of Paul the apostle writing to Timothy and admonishing him to run with endurance the course/challenge/life that had been set before him. "Don't get entangled in the affairs of this world," said Paul, "Run like an athlete. Discipline yourself and run so as to win!" (2 Tim. 2)

So, as we go into the Christmas season and the new year remember this.
Life is a journey and no matter which road you take you'll end up in front of God in the end. Every one of us will give an account of his travels. The Bible says that many are called and few are chosen. Rest assured in the forgiveness of God, but RUN SO AS TO WIN! (1 Cor. 9)
May all the glory be to God forevermore!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another week in life

Busy busy busy! That's been the theme of our lives during the past week. So much to do and so little time! I was just thinking how nice it would be if we could change our week so that there were 8 days every week instead of 7. I think that it might help solve some of my problems, don't you? But seriously, it's been a great couple of weeks, even if they have been a little busy.
We are continuing to go to Los Mochis every Friday for the baseball and cooking classes. I have now officially been put in charge of the little boys while my Dad works with the older ones. The first couple of classes were a little disorganized, but now that I have gotten a little more settled in I feel like the kids might actually be learning something! ;) It's especially nicer now that it's cooled down a little. The first couple of weeks were a little trying in that respect!

As far as anything new goes... *takes a moment to think* ... let's see, I've started reading to my little sis every night. We are halfway through "Anne of Green Gables" and are both enjoying it immensely. Of course, I have read the book several times, but since she hadn't and wanted to I was more than happy to read it over again. There is something special about reading a book aloud. It makes me appreciate the book more somehow.

In the Spanish class that I am giving the boys we are finally into the Preterite Tense (that being one of the simple past tenses). It's one thing to understand how it works, and it's something entirely different when you have to explain it to a class. Still, they must understand what I say, because they seem to be making progress! I can't wait until we get into the Subjunctive! I know, I know, my Mom always tells me that she can't understand why grammar excites me so, but call me strange, I can't help it! ;)

Well anyway, I should be going. Before I do, though, I want to let you see some pictures of the kids in Los Mochis!

This is Alex. He's the littlest one of the bunch that I work with. Don't mistake his size though, he hit with the best of them ;). I don't know exactly what he was thinking when I took the picture, but the look on his face is priceless!

The group of younger boys go to the other side of the baseball field to work on catching and batting.

My Dad explain the correct way to position yourself when catching a ball.

Caleb and my Dad show the boys' group the correct way to throw and catch.

Here's Caleb after 4 hours of baseball... I kind of felt like joining him ;).

These are the two cooking classes that my Mom leads. This particular week they learned about all the different types of grains and then the kids made pop-corn (the old fashion way). It was a delight to see the deaf kids' faces when they felt the kernels popping up into the lid of the pan.

God is good, all the time! May you have a wonderful week!

He has made me glad, He has made me glad!
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Birthday Week

Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Andrew, happy birthday to you!!!!

Andrew is now officially 13 years old. My, how the time does fly! He has had a whole week of excitement; it's been the birthday that just keeps giving!

On Saturday we had some friends over after supper. The boys had spent all day setting up the yard for an airsoft war -- for those of you who don't know what airsoft is, just think shooting at each other with bee-bee guns only with plastic bullets and you'll get pretty close ;). I wish that I would have gotten some pictures of the forts they set up and the trenches they dug (yes, they went all-out), but I guess I was too busy playing to think about it.
Anyway, after supper we set up some flood lights and played for an hour or so. Once we were tired of playing airsoft we laid a rope across the yard and played capture the flag. I haven't had so much fun "playing" for a long time. It was a blast, and I think that Andrew enjoyed himself as well. The highlight of the night must have been the time when I dove through a gap between the trees trying to get away from my brother and land on top of one of those awful Choya Cacti (you know, the ones that people sometimes call the "jumping cactus")... let's not do that again ;). And adding insult to injury, can you believe that they still took me to jail? How rude is that?! ;P
I love having a big family!!! It's great that we only need another four people to make enough to play just about any game we want!

After we had tired ourselves out thoroughly and were quite covered with sand, we all headed inside to eat popcorn and watch a movie. The movie of choice was "How To Train Your Dragon". None of us had seen it yet, so we had a great time laughing together. My official opinion: "How to Train Your Dragon" is a great family movie. Perhaps one of the scenes might be a little scary for kids under 8, but it is very funny and not at all inappropriate. Two thumbs up!

On Sunday we went to church in Tamazula where a friend of ours taught on the Great Commission and what it means to "preach the Word". It was a great reminder of what our true purpose is here on this earth. It's so easy to get caught up in what the world thinks is important or even in thinking that just living a righteous life is enough. We need to be bold and willing to step up and speak when God calls us to speak. Go when God calls us to go. Stay when God calls us to stay. Do what God calls us to do. Let it not be that we should stand before God in the end and have nothing to say for ourselves. Quite a reminder, if you ask me!

After church we went with the Petits and the Graffs (friends visiting from Southern Mexico) to the mall in Guasave where we ate lunch and hung out for a few hours. Caleb and I were able to spend some time with some friends of ours from Guasave who happened to be stopping in for lunch as well. I think that both of us were pretty happy about that ;).
Andrew got the second part of his birthday that evening since my parents had bought ice cream to celebrate. Andrew even got to pick a movie to watch. Guess which one he picked? Give up? "How to Train Your Dragon". Hey! I did say it was a good movie!

Monday -- that being yesterday -- Andrew got his day off from chores (it's this tradition that we have in our family. On your birthday you don't have to do any of your housework. Pretty cool if you ask me) and then in the evening we had our home fellowship group -- plus a few others -- over for a Bible study, Posole (Po-so-lay the traditional Mexican birthday dish made with puffed corn, beef, red chili, and onion and served with shredded cabbage, cilantro, and tortilla chips) and cake. I am so proud of my little brother. He has such a way with people. There is something about him that makes people love him, and it's such a great gift from God! I can't wait to see what God does with Andrew's life!
But wait, his birthday isn't done yet! I still have my present to finish and give him and Grandma's birthday card hasn't arrived quite yet.

Well, I should wrap things up. I'll end my post with a thought from our Bible class assignment for this week.
We were assigned to find five different places in the Bible that talk about friendship and apply them to our lives. I was reading the passage in Daniel 1 where Daniel and his friends stand up for what they believe is right. I was struck by the thought that friends should be willing to stand beside each other and fight for what is right. Friends should spur one another on to righteousness. How often do the actions that I take cause someone else to stumble when I am not willing to stand up with them or speak out for them? Even in the small things, or maybe especially in the small things, I should be willing to make the sacrifice (sacrifice meaning to give up something good for something better) and encourage my friends in righteousness. That is, after all, what God has called us to do.
Proverbs 27:17(NKJV)
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Perhaps on our own we aren't brave enough to be different, but with a friend beside us how much more willing are we to take a stand?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Back in Mexico... since Oct. 1... ;)

Life is like a mathematical equation. You spend all that time figuring out the answer to the problem only to discover that you plugged in the wrong values and miscopied the original problem to begin with!

This is something that I wrote on my facebook wall a couple of weeks ago. It seemed very appropriate at the moment with all of the decisions that I was making (and unmaking). Needless to say it's been a rather tense couple of months what with trying to sort out ideas, keep up on school-related stuff, helping in various ministries we are involved in, and preparing my class for the kids in Tamazula each week. Quite honestly, the only thing that has allowed me to remain at peace in it all has been knowing that God has the ultimate word and that He loves me, so I can trust Him with my future. It's been a struggle to keep my focus where it should be, but with all of the amazing people God has placed in my life to guide me I have been victorious until now. God is good, all the time!

Along the same lines of being "shaken up"; I am sure that most of you would have heard someway or another about our earthquakes. I guess it happened about two weeks ago now. The final and largest earthquake that hit us was a 6.7. I had never felt anything like it... the whole house shook and then when we went outside the ground felt like it was "rolling" underneath us. Quite a unique experience. Even the car was moving back and forth in the driveway. I would say that pretty much all of us have suffered since from paranoia. I have woken up at least twice during the night feeling like the ground was shaking... of course, it wasn't, but that's beside the point ;^). Thanks to all of you who prayed for us. It was very much appreciated!

On a more normal note, life has been good here in Mexico. The heat finally broke somewhere around the 20th of October would you believe that the temperature gets down to almost 68 degrees at night with only 62% humidity? Just makes you want to shiver don't it? ;P Since it's begun cooling off we have been working like madmen... almost like we're trying to make up for lost time. In some ways I feel like it is lost time, but at least we don't have to do it again until next year!

School has gone well. It's been a little difficult to keep a normal schedule for classes, but, one way or another, everyone is learning! I have picked up my Spanish class with the boys and I feel like it's going a lot smoother. It's been a good learning experience for me... and I am hoping for them as well!
For the present I have stopped my French classes. I'll be taking a different approach to learning. I've already bought one book and a have a few more on my list to buy soon. I think that with all that I have learned up till now I should be more than able to be self-directed... practice, practice, practice! Now all I need to do is move to France... we'll just take it one step at a time ;).

Alright, I'm leaving now to make lunch. See you next time! I think that I am going to get back on top of this whole "posting regular" thing. God bless you all! Take care!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Camping anyone?

Greetings fellow soldiers! I am so excited to be alive one more day! The blessings of my Lord and Savior are so absolutely mind-boggling and amazing that I cannot find the words to express the change and hope and love that He has brought into my life. Every day I am so amazed that He loves me enough to care about me personally... personally enough to answer my prayers and give me strength in the times when the circumstances make me want to give up. It really isn't that God has always given me times of "springtime and harvest" but that no matter what I have gone through He has been faithful. And I am so blessed!

The past week and a half have been great. As I mentioned in my last post, our plan was to leave from the Fitzgeralds' house to a place near Phoenix where we were going to be camping for a week with some good friends of ours. So, after fixing the problems with the trailer axle we left Tucson on Tuesday afternoon heading toward Tonto National Park -- any of you who know what that word means in Spanish can have a laugh at the name ;) -- and the Apache Lake campground. We pulled into the campground around 6:30pm, just as the sun was going down. We had just enough time to pick our spot and set up the tents before the sun was gone. None of us were up much after that anyway, we all pretty much hit the sack as soon as we had eaten a supper (leftovers ;^) ).

First day of our vacation dawned bright and clear. The sky was beautiful and the lake was brilliant blue (btw, that's just a trick of the light... when your really get close the water is actually quite green). We spent most of the day swimming and playing down by the lake as well as playing card games and Boggle (aka, the best game -- almost -- ever). It was so relaxing to be able to do basically nothing for an entire day. We received an extra special treat in that an elderly couple staying in the campsite across from ours took a liking to our family and offered to take us on a tour of the lake in their boat. That was extremely enjoyable. Apparently Ann and Mike had been coming to the lake since the '60s and they knew a ton about the history of all the different lakes, dams and rock formations... very interesting!

Next day our friends arrived and it seemed like the fun was only beginning. Our friends also brought their boat and a bunch of "water toys". You could just see all of the boys' eyes light up... or course I wasn't excited... at all *winks*. Naturally things don't always go exactly as planned. There was a problem with the boat that day and so all of the next day the guys (my dad and Mr. Schneider) spent fixing it. A bit of a frustration, but it was fixed without too much of an ordeal.

I'll just hit the highlights of the rest of the week...
Caleb turned 16. YEAH!! I am so proud of my lil' bro. Or maybe not so lil' anymore ;) . The camping was kind of half-way sorta part of his birthday present since he had really wanted to do something like this during our trip.

Everyone who wanted to (that means everyone but the moms and Evie) got to have a go at wakeboarding. Neither Andrew nor I were able to get up, but all the rest of our crew did... grrrr... the older sister mentality just totally rebels against the idea of my brothers being able to show me up... "My give up, my give up".

There they go...

Three of the young people (Seth, Jessee, and Madison) got baptized on Sunday afternoon. So exciting to watch them grow in the Lord. It was also a great time of fellowshipping and singing together. We even had a chance to share with some of our neighbors through it. Awesome opportunity!

And here are some random camping photos...

This is a really cool cave that is located on the lake about 4 miles from our campsite. The plan was the achor the boat and jumping out to go exploring, but it wasn't to be. The last day, after a week of perfect weather, we had a pretty amazed rainstorm. We all got very wet and the water got too choppy for us the achor so close to the shore... and the sharp rocks!

The boys had the chance to play airsoft several times... they really looked the part with their camouflage outfits and guns ducking in and out behind the trees. It was fun to watch... but not enough to make me want to join in. Too much pain involved.

The final night before our friends left we played together (drums, guitar, and voice) and had a great time. As we were playing several of our neighbors stopped by to listen. We invited them to sit down by the fire with us. Eventually we had about thirty people in our campsite just listening and enjoying the Christian worship music we were playing. Isn't that amazing?! So neat how God works!

Now we are in Woodland, CA. We won't be here too long, just for a couple of days. I did miss a few days in between, but I'll have to catch you all up later because we are running late for a church event and I gotta go!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yet another trip

Hello fellow peoples! Glad to see that you stopped by! As some of you might have guessed, we are now in the USA (Tucson, AZ to be precise). We got in last night about 9pm... it was a very very very long trip. Oh, and did I mention that it was long? We left our house in Mexico at 4am with every intention of arriving in Arizona by 6pm at the latest. Funny how plans go awry!

On Friday the two little boys went back to Los Mochis, leaving us busily getting ready for our trip. All day Saturday was spent packing, cleaning, and cooking (food for the trip). Originally the plan was to leave on Monday morning, but after having spent all day Saturday working we were so close to being done that we voted on it and decided that it would just be a lot nicer to leave the next morning. And so the plan was laid!

On our way out of Las Glorias yesterday morning, we picked up a lady who was going to ride with us up to Nogales. The first few hours were fairly normal. Pretty much everyone slept (except for my dad, of course) while the road stretched on and the villages and towns flashed by. Then coming up upon Navojoa we stopped at a toll booth to check our load. My dad got out of the car and walked back to check the straps on the trailer only to walk back a minute later saying that we had a serious problem. I was kind of dozing during all of this so I only caught snatches of the conversation mixed with weird dreams of car problems and past trips. When I did finally wake up enough to become somewhat coherent, it was an hour later and my dad and brothers were across the road at the train tracks trying to bend back the trailer axle that had apparently been bending under the weight of the load. Right. Just another minor detail ;).

So after another hour or so of that -- my dad bent back the axle, flipped it over and put it back on -- and after shifting the load more to the van we were on our way. Unfortunately (or providentially, however you want to look at it) we only made it about 45 minutes down the road before we realized that the problem with the axle had not been fixed and that we would have to do something soon or the axle would bend again. So we stopped, undid all of the straps, and unloaded everything from the trailer into the van just leaving a few of the lighter things in the back. And with that we were back in the car, though packed in a little tighter than before.

That delay cost us about 3 hours. Normally, after all that, you would think that we would be able call it a rather eventful trip and drive the rest of the way without incident... but it was not to be. I don't know exactly how much time passed between the two things, but I think it was like an hour later when we stopped for gas and realized that one of the tires on the trailer had picked up a nail... and needed to be patched. Okay, now all we had to do was find a tire shop. We did find one a short way down the road. I do have to admit that, as bothersome as patching a tire is wherever you are, fixing it in Mexico is a million times easier than fixing it in the US. It took less than 30 minutes for the whole thing and only cost us $4. Meanwhile, Luz (the lady riding with us), my mom and I were laughing over what an insane trip it had been so far. She was amazed at how calm we were able to be, and we had a chance to let our lives speak Jesus' love to her.

Now of course we should have been able to finish the trip smoothly, right? Wrong! In all in the years that we have traveled to and from Mexico we have never been unpacked and searched. God obviously had some plan for us this time, because at the inspection station in Santa Ana (4 hours before the border) we were stopped and asked to unload everything. Everything? Like "everything" everything? Yes, everything. Oh dear. This was at about 4pm. Keep in mind that we had only slept about 5 hours the night before and had been up since 3am. We were all really ready to be done traveling... but things don't always go the way we plan. So we did unload everything, run all of it through inspection, and then load it all back up. We were able to share Jesus with the soldier on duty. He seemed like he was carrying a lot of hurt and hatred; pray for him, that God would be doing His marvelous work in his life.

The last 6 hours did go smoothly. We left Luz in Nogales with her sister and were on to the border. We prayed for no problems at the border and God answered our prayer by giving us a really nice lady to do the inspection. We didn't have to wait at the border more than an hour. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, we arrived in Tucson at 9pm. We were tired, sore and extremely thankful for God's faithfulness throughout our trip. Often we can't see God's plans at the time, but it is enough to know that He's there and that nothing happens in vain. It was a long trip, yes, but all in all I feel blessed, and I regret nothing that happened. God is good, all the time! And His grace is sufficient!

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The normality of abnormality

Hello! Glad to see that you took a moment to stop by and read my blog! This past week has been moderately normal. Preparations continue for our upcoming trip to the US and, as always, life moves on!

Lack of water is something that we have been struggling with during the past month or so. I mean, we never have water in excess, but these past weeks have been, as we would say, "exagerada" in the lack thereof. Even the local "planta" where we buy our drinking water has often been without any water and we have had to drive much father than normal even for that basic necessity. The real difficulty, however, has been how to wash our laundry. I am not sure if you come from a big family, or if you have brothers, but if you do you can probably relate when I say that we dirty a lot of laundry... a LOT of laundry. I don't know when my brothers had the time to wear as much clothing as ends up in the dirty clothes hamper and I especially don't know how they are able to get so much mud on their clothing... it would be quite impressive if we didn't have to wash it!
Anyway, this battle against the forces of dirt has been a little interesting. Laundry is like any other housework; you do it once and the next day you have to do it all over again. My mom became my hero -- well, actually she already was my hero -- as I watched her outside washing all of the clothing by hand... I help a little bit, but she's like a hand-washing maniac! Go Mom!

As of July we entered into the official rain season. Compared to other years we have received relatively little rain (hence the lack of water), but we have gotten some seriously awesome thunder and rainstorms. Just a few days ago, we were hit by a huge storm; thunder, lightning, rain, wind, dark menacing clouds, the whole shebang. The wind woke everyone up early. It was blowing so hard that palm leaves were flying off our awning. The shade over our pool had to be taken down too... that was rather fun, especially in the rain. We all got totally soaked in a matter of minutes and getting the tarp under control in the wind was hard, but we did get it done.
An exceptionally positive note: our roof didn't leak! Not even one drop. We were all so thankful. It was nice to be able to just sit back and watch the rain fall without having to run around with buckets. Not to mention the fact that this trip to the States we can leave our house unattended without worrying about it. God is good!
The picture below is of our family going out for a bike ride shortly after a heavy rain. My mom went too, but she has this habit of always being behind the camera!

Yesterday was the last Saturday for my mom and I teaching in the kids' class at the church in Boca del Rio. We had a great time during the months that we were able teach the kids and I know that I'll miss them. Since it was the last lesson in the curriculum we also had a small graduation for the kids who had attended the class. We took pictures of each child with his/her certificate (the plan is the print them out and give them to the children the week after next) and then afterward we served cake, cookies and cool-aid. All in all, I think that the day was a success.

Well, to end on the most important thing of all, our family has been studying recently in the book of Hebrews (just to let you know, if you haven't read through Hebrews, you should. It's an amazing book!). Last week we were reading through chapter 4 and this passage really struck me. It's such a wonderful assurance to know that God knows just what I am going through and I can come before Him with a confidence, knowing that He understands. What an amazing God we serve! How can we keep from singing His praise?!
Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Once Upon a Time in a Land far far away...

... there was a missionary family who had a daughter who was very good at keeping her blog updated. But, as in all fairy tales, the truth has to come out sometime!
Well, after a much longer than expected leave of absence I think that I am finally back. I really wish that I hadn't fallen so far behind in my updates, but I suppose that sometimes things just get pushed to the back of my mind and then forgotten. Not that I actually forgot about my blog, but I sure did let it slip to the bottom of the priority list, and I that should not have been the case. After all, I really do want all of you, faithful readers, to have some sort of an idea of what I am doing in the far-off land of Mexico! My deepest apologies and sincerest wishes that it doesn't happen again.

So, what have I been up to? Such a question! If I remember correctly that last time I wrote I had just gotten back from Los Mochis where I had spent a week working at the deaf school... let's think. Since then two of the little boys from my class, Juanito and Andrés, have come to stay with us for the summer. It's been a blessing to have them with us. We haven't had "little kids" in our family for years! I love their spontaneity (you know, the hugs out of nowhere, the jumping up and down with excitement over the rabbit that ran across the yard, their fascination with killing flies with their rubber-band guns) and I know that Andrew and Evie are loving having kids younger than them to hang out with. I don't know what we are going to do when they go back to Los Mochis in two weeks!

The heat has been rather trying. I would say that it is unbearable, but that wouldn't necessarily be the truth. Though the heat is tough, it doesn't last forever and God is faithful to give us the strength the push through. I must take this chance to note that this year has been much nicer since we are living upstairs. Thanks again to everyone who made that possible! Praise God!

As far as my French class goes, I just got out on vacation the week before last. I have learned so much in the short amount of time that I have been with Miss Rodriguez taking private lessons and I am excited to be continuing come October. Until then, come rain, come shine, come snow, come dead of night the studying must go on ;D!

Also since I last wrote, my parents have started a parenting class in a nearby town. They have 20 people in the study and it's going strong. I have been put in charge of the kids during these classes and I have been embracing the challenge wholeheartedly. Some of the kids are what you would call rambunctious, but with the help of my darling siblings *winks* and plenty of prayer I have been able to bring about some semblance of order. For me the class is extra special because the kids are almost like blank pages. They know so little about the life of Jesus or about any of the other famous Bible characters. Last week I took so much pleasure in watching their faces light up as I told the story of the Good Samaritan. I love it! And of course, no class is complete without play-dough!

Along the same line, my mom and I are nearing the end of the kids' program that we started 3 months ago at the church in Boca del Rio. This coming week is to be our last as teachers and then we will both be stepping down. It's been a great time of learning and I will miss my class (I was teaching three to six year-olds) but I am confident that I am leaving it in capable hands. As His Word says, "to everything there is a season"(Ecclesiastes 3), and even if parting is rather bittersweet, I know that God has a purpose.

Oh yes, and I most definitely could not leave without at least mentioning the fact that not only did the motor on our van blow, but we were able to fix it in less than a week for a ridiculously low sum! I know, I know, that's quite a bit of information to put in one sentence, but it is short, sweet and to the point! The way that everything worked out was totally and absolutely God. Hard things and difficult circumstances that we go through are such a blessing. I have learned so much from everything that has happened over the years and I wouldn't trade a moment of it! You can go to our family blog to read a little bit more about the night my parents broke down.

My parents and I have still been praying about what I am going to be doing this next year. I am still very interested in the TOEFL Certification, but further investigation has brought to my attention that I will need to get some sort of college degree should I desire to pursue teaching English. That much being said, I have taken steps toward enrolling in College Plus!. Today I received a call back from them and I was able to get a more informed view on the program. As of yet I have made no final decision, but I am praying and my parents both see the program as a good opportunity. Of course, leaving my family would be more than a little difficult... just one step at a time, eh?!

As some of you might know, our biannual trip to the US is coming up. It's going to be a quick trip this time and, though we are going to be traveling as far up as Sacramento, we won't be staying more than a day or two at each stop. Still, if you want to meet up with us just send me a note and I'll see what I can do. I always love being able to see people so don't feel like it'd be an imposition to ask!

Well, I do hope that you find a chance to swing by again soon! Lord willing, I will have posted something new by then!
Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A prayer request

Hello everyone!
God is good, all the time and I am so blessed to be His child! Right now I am at home once again and enjoying my family. I really do appreciate them, and I think that when I leave for a time it makes me realize it even more!
My week at the school was really great. I was so blessed to be able to spend time with my students again and to see the progress that they have made. It is so amazing to see how much they have advanced! Praise God!
I did have a something that I wanted to ask all of your prayers for. This past year has been full of many opportunities and decisions to be made. As yet, I have not confirmed what I will be doing during the coming year, but I know that the time for deciding is drawing near and I am praying toward making a real "plan" (that's to say as firm a plan as I can make while still being open to anything else God might show me). My inclination is toward getting some kind of degree that will enable me to travel into foreign countries with more liberty than I might otherwise be able. That in mind, I am seriously considering taking the TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certification Course. Nothing is certain as of yet, but I ask that if you have a chance you pray that God would give wisdom both to me and to my parents in this. I trust that in Him everything will work out as it should.

Blessings to you all! Next time I get on I will post some pictures from my time in Los Mochis, but for now I should go help my mother with lunch. May the Lord guide you and shine His glory upon you that you may shine it on others!
Romans 5:1-2
"Therefore having been justified by grace we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we have obtained our introduction into this grace in which we stand and we exult in hope of the glory of God. "

Friday, June 4, 2010

A post about life in general

Good evening one and all! I have almost come to the end of a pleasantly eventful day and I praise God for it! I am presently at the deaf school in Mochis again. This visit is only for a week and a half because of various other commitments I have to fulfill at home. I came with my family yesterday and we spent the day with some friends of ours here in Los Mochis before they dropped me off at the school.
Things are a little bit different this time than they were last. One major change is that we are now at the new location. After almost a year of working and praying, the entire school, house and family has moved and is moving forward quite wonderfully. Granted, there are more than a few unpacked boxes stuffed in various corners, but that's nothing that time won't cure!

I have started French lessons again. I enjoy it even more this time than I did last time. This time I am taking private lessons instead of a class in a group. It works much better for me since it allows me to move at my own pace. I think that the one thing I do miss, however, are my classmates. We had a lot of funning learning, practicing, and making mistakes together. I know that I got over a lot of my shyness by being forced to talk in front of a group. But as I said, this time it's just me and I am thankful that God has allowed me to return to something I like so much!

As far as me, myself and I, we are doing very well ;) ! I am amazed daily by my God and by His Word which always seems to be showing me something new. Reading in Psalm 27 it comforts and encourages me to know that God is always with me and that I can find complete joy and peace in him!
Alright, I must fly! Let me just end this with the passage of scripture that was so precious to me this week...
Psalm 27:1-6
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our New House!!

Welcome to our house!! Here is the "official" tour ;) !!

If you take a step through the front door, this is the first thing that you see. Welcome to my dad's shop! He is loving having all this new space and has already put it to good use!

This is where most of the men of the village spend their lunch hour now!

Standing in the doorway -- at the left side of the above picture -- you can see our table, part of the kitchen and just past the reach of the photo, beside the fridge, is located the door to our bathroom.
This is our new kitchen. I absolutely love the new setup and I actually enjoy cleaning the kitchen now that there are places for everything!
If you turned around and looked behind where I was standing when I took the picture of the kitchen, this is what you would see. Hi, Dad!

Here is the completed stair, though it is still missing part of the railing. My dad is working on that and it should be finished by the end of this week... or perhaps next :D !
Through the railing at the top of the stairs and looking into our living room...
The door pictured here is located directly to the right from the picture above. It leads to the upstairs balcony. This is our new "music corner" (the piano is under the black dust cover). It's much less dusty than where it was located before, for which I am heartily thankful!
Here's the back door. As of right now, it doesn't lead anywhere, although the brothers like to jump out as a short-cut to the pool.
This is my room... or couldn't you tell?! ;)

This picture was taken standing in the doorway of Seth and Jessee's room. The bed you see is Jessee's...
...and this one belongs to Seth. The cloth below is covering his iguana's cage (yes, he does have another iguana and a good sized one at that!). It was early in morning when I took the picture and Seth hadn't "awakened the iguana" yet.
If you could see all of the camoflauge decor that these boys have in their room you wouldn't believe it. Andrew and Caleb's room might not be the neatest all the time, but they do definitely have the most consistant theme! Caleb's bed is located above where I am taking the picture. The red bars are the bottom of the frame.
This is a picture of our yard off of the upstairs balcony. We are finally starting to get some green in the yard, thanks to Mom's hard work and dilligence! It's so nice to look and the flowers and stand in the shade of our "trees" that used to be 2 foot tall sticks! Awesome!
And there you have it! I hope that this post might give all of you a better idea of what our house looks like at present. Blessings! I hope to see you all around again soon!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A few odds jobs around the house

And now for the update that I had hoped to post about a month ago.... I promise that I really had every intention of doing it, but what with internet issues at our house and the impossibility of uploading pictures on our slow connection it just got put off. So, let's see what I can get you all caught up on!

In the middle of March of this year when we arrived home from our furlough our house was not in the most beautiful shape it has ever been! We took the first three of four days to get settled in and then it was time to get to work. The first order of business after moving all of the stuff upstairs (sorry, all of us were so involved in moving stuff that we didn't get any pictures. Just try to imagine taking the fullest shelf in your house and dumping it's contents on the floor. That's pretty much what our house looked like) was the construct our new stairs. It was tricky business getting the design all set, but once my mom and dad had figured that part out it was "full steam ahead" for my dad. I think that all of us (the kids) were involved in some way in the process of making the stairs. I had the "opportunity" ;) to paint the stairs --both wood and metal -- and to help my dad install the steps. Needless to say, I now have a much better understanding of how to build a stairway!

This is the stair we had before building the permanent one. I grew to despise that stair after having gone up it more times that than I could count and tripping down it more than twice (that was definitely no fun). I was heartily glad to see it go!

Installing the stair!

I was a little bit overwhelmed at first and thought that we would never be able to get everything we needed to do done. That's one of my faults, I suppose. I have a hard time looking at a huge project at the start and not getting frustrated. Once I am into the work I don't notice... it's just the getting started that gets me! That's probably why I make a good team with my dad; he doesn't even seem to notice the present state of things, just the goal in mind!

Another large project that has been on hold for about a year is my mom's outdoor kitchen. Both my mother and I have been wanting to have a kitchen outside since the very first Summer we spent here. It just gets so hot here during the summertime that the last thing you want to do is heat up the house by cooking. The first step we took in that direction was to build our outdoor oven and now, a year later, my dad was finally able to add the counter, barbecue grill and "hornillo" (pronounced "orniyo" and meaning literally "little oven". Here we use it to cook things like Tamales or large pots of stew that wouldn't fit on the stove-top)!
Already we have used the kitchen to fry hotdogs, cook clams and oysters, make granola and bread and tomorrow we have planned to barbecue some meat we have in the freezer! God is so good in blessing us even in these small things!

Alright, next post I will post a bunch of pictures of our house in it's present state and then I am going to call myself "caught-up" and we are going to forget all the stuff I missed!
Blessings to you, friends! I hope that you are blessed this day to overflowing! Here's something that I have found to be challenging in my life recently. I suppose that I struggle quite often with worrying in different ways. Maybe I'm not worried about what I am going to eat, but perhaps I am worried or frustrated by all the things I have to do. Whatever it is, this verse covers it all...
Matthew 6:31-34
"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."