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.