Vistas

I wrote the following post* on Facebook today. I’ll share it here because I know a few of you who visit here don’t do Facebook (or we just haven’t crossed paths on FB yet). Life here in Puebla, Mexico is interesting. We’re really enjoying our new house. The location is interesting too. We see interesting things from time-to-time. Here is a taste of what I mean….

So, a bit ago Bethie and I were driving back from dropping off a couple of Mexican brothers at an apartment that is less than a mile from here but across a major road.

The neighborhood looks quite a bit different over there. More gang symbols spray painted on houses, walls, buildings, signs, etc. Young kids riding their bikes on the streets and sidewalks. Youth looking at their phones (like where in the world does that not happen?!). Saw a young guy trying to plant a kiss on a girl who wouldn’t let him (that was amusing). Most buildings don’t seem painted, most doors are metal and painted black. All concrete block construction of everything.

We turned a corner about 2 blocks directly across from our house, and there presenting themselves were two, brand-spanking new vehicles parked on an equally nondescript street.

One was an exotic Mercedes sports car, silver in color. In front of it was a decked out, silver, all chrome trim Ford pick-up truck.

As we drove by (and I instinctively and unconsciously angled our van over the center toward the opposite side of the street), we couldn’t help but notice there were no people on this street. Not a single kid on a bike, no one walk walking on the sidewalks, not even a pair of kissing teenagers like we’d seen for multiple blocks before this. Not a soul.

Not a soul, except for 3 or 4 men. Big men. Dressed in suits. One standing at the rear of the Mercedes. One standing at the front of the pickup. One standing directly in front of the door of the nondescript building where the vehicles were parked. There may have been another man on the sidewalk as well. All of the men were facing the street, eyes gazing back and forth. They noticed us and took a good look at us as we passed. We passed and tried not to look interested despite being fascinated by the unexpected scene.

My guess is we just encountered a meeting of the area drug lords.

Now I really wonder what those special forces guys were doing in front of our house earlier today.

Who knows…maybe I shouldn’t even be posting this. Oh well, I don’t think my FB friends will nark on me…and now you can be fascinated too.

#PoblanoLife

(*I was going to copy and paste two posts from Facebook, however, I discovered that the first post in which I mentioned that there were some special forces dressed in black with black masks and impressive hardware has disappeared from my Facebook feed. It appears that either I somehow didn’t post it (but I remember seeing it post and show up) or the FB folks decided I wasn’t allowed to post that and conveniently deleted it for me (that apparently happens at times). I don’t know but at least now I’ve made that observation known. I just thought it was interesting. I think they were temporarily parked out front visiting a neighboring business for some reason or another.)

 

Oh, and after arriving home for a brief drive across the road, Dayton and I climbed up the stairs to the roof for a final vista of the day. How could anyone get tired of seeing this? Amazing…

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Housing Project Update

Having received more funds than were needed to help Lupe and Rocío with their impossible housing debt situation, we not only were able to pay that off a few months ago, but there were enough funds leftover to expand their house to add two bedrooms, enclose their lean-to bathroom, which will allow Lupe to partition off the existing kitchen/living/dining room into just a small kitchen and a workroom.

Lupe’s father was an upholsterer and Lupe was taught that trade long ago. He now has his father’s old industrial sewing machine and will move it into the house once the project is completed. One thing that must be done is he needs to take out a window on the end of the house, move that to another window opening and bring in a large metal door. The machine is too large to fit through their current front door.

Bethie and I went up on Saturday with an elder, Sergio, from the Abundant Life Bible Church so that he would know where they live and how to get there. With our upcoming move and desire for our three families to move to the other church, Sergio wanted to get up there for a visit. We took him by Jason and Kristin’s home as afterward as well.

Here are a few pics I took from our brief visit with Lupe, Rocío and the boys. They have their “widowmaker” shower head still in place, but they haven’t had a toilet or sink for about a month now. They’re anxious for the workers (who disappeared over the last week for their Catholic festival days in honor of the Virgin) to return and get back to work! Everything has been ready for a week for the workers to put the wooden forms in place so that the electrical work can be installed and the concrete roof can be poured followed by the floors. The forms will have to remain in place for about 3 weeks before they can be removed.

Low temperatures have been in the upper 20s F with highs in the 50s or low 60s the past few days and will be for a few days more. It makes open-air showers quite challenging. Brrrrrr….

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Time Travel

Every day we’re going through our embarrassing trove of treasures in this house. After over 12 years, I’m still looking for the rats that have been packing this stuff in nooks and crannies throughout this ridiculously shaped house (with tons of nooks and crannies…and don’t ask me what nooks and crannies are…I just know this house has lots of them)!

Last night I came across an old camera bag with an old digital camera in it.

Today, I thought maybe I should see if it still works. It had some rechargeable batteries in it, so I removed those (assuming they don’t work after years of non-use) and inserted 4 double-A batteries that were in the bag. Surprisingly, the camera started up and I tried to take a picture.

“The memory card is full.”

Really? So, I checked it. A 1GB memory card. I fired up my laptop and downloaded the pics. There weren’t many, but that was mostly due to the card having two video clips that apparently Cameron took by accident. The video record button on the camera looks just like a power button on other devices. I think he had no idea that he was recording. So, those took up the majority of the memory.

Even so, there were some pictures from the 2013 MKonnections retreat (I think that was the first one Cameron attended). There were a few pics of helping the O’Briens in their move back to the USA.

No one has ever seen these pics before, so it felt like opening up a time capsule.

Here they are (sans video and a few blurry ones):

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Bible Church Leaders’ Christmas Appreciation Dinner

This past Saturday we helped out once again with the annual Bible Church Leaders’ (and families) Christmas Appreciation Dinner. There were at least 150 family members in attendance. Bethie and her mother made 105 cupcakes (101 of which actually made it to the dinner! BTW, I didn’t eat any, so someone had two!). We helped serve the food and I took pictures to share (the lighting was difficult for me, so the pics aren’t the greatest; need to keep working on my noobish camera skills).

We sat at a table with a church leader who is an engineer but has been out of work and looking for over a year. Apparently, he has discovered that his somewhat dormant English skills are mostly what is keeping him from getting hired. We helped him practice his English a little throughout the night. He has a wife and three teenagers who were there. Their faith has been stretched as you can imagine. We were so impressed with them all and their joy, sweetness, as well as humility. We couldn’t help but slip them an “ofrenda” (offering) before we left. May God continue to provide for them and lead Daniel to the job He has for him.

Next year, we will likely be attending another of these types of dinners but in Puebla instead of Querétaro. We’re still trying to wrap our minds around all the changes ahead of us. Until then, Merry Christmas & Feliz Naviad to all!

Here are some pics from the evening:

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Farewell

This post has turned out to be harder to write than I expected. Sometimes in our journey with Jesus, we have to say goodbye to people, things, and even pets for the sake of the call.

As we follow our Lord’s leading to Puebla, the realization hit us that the house we’re renting won’t support an outside dog (that never accepted a leash) and the owner doesn’t want a dog in the house. Thus, Peanut, our faithful, furry companion of over 12 years cannot go with us.

Yesterday, our teammates from Amealco came over to spend some time with us before they head to the USA for a month. We’ll be changing teams, so it was a farewell of sorts. They have always been so kind to take Peanut on for a summer when we’ve traveled, but they really can’t take her for us. However, they know a lot of people there in the country near them. One of them might have an interest in an old herding dog (with no experience).  They kindly agreed to take her up with them and see if they can find someone nearby who might take her over the next few days before they leave on their trip. If no one will take her, they have a friend who can put her down for us. She is old and suffers some from arthritis but is in pretty good health. It’s a little early to put her down as she probably has a couple years of health left in her, but if no one is able to take her and care for her, it’s really the only other viable option.

So, we’re missing Peanut a little today. She greets us at the front door every day and makes sure we remember to feed her and pet her and rub her belly and maybe even throw a ball to her a couple of times before she loses interest or energy.

The same summer we moved here in 2005, she was found abandoned in a trash can by our co-workers’ neighborhood watchman. She was about 1 month old and afflicted by a very bad case of parasites. A local vet was able to treat her with medications and she survived that.

She’s been a great pet, and while we’ve never been ones to treat our pet like a person, she certainly did earn our affection. She was loved on by many, many guests who’ve visited us over the years. Some of them still ask us how Peanut is doing. She drove me crazy at times with some of her tendencies, and I always wondered if she would protect us if we ever needed her too…I still think she’d have gladly sold out for a treat or piece of meat. Ha!

Giving up a dog is a small thing in comparison to following Jesus. We have given up far more over the years. I don’t know that tears have come for any of the other things though. We will miss her. We will move on.

 

Matthew 10:37-39

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

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Poblanos

Usually we use this term for a type of pepper that originated from (or is thought to have originate from) the state of Puebla in central southeastern Mexico. However, it can also refer to the people of that state of Mexico.

I mention this because if you haven’t heard yet, our family will soon become poblanos. We are moving to the state and capital city of the same name, Puebla. We hadn’t expected this move, although we’ve always been open to moving wherever and whenever the Lord should move us next.

After our return from the summer home assignment, we assumed we’d pick up our ministries where we left off and continue with the house church discipleship and the MK Education ministry. The latter ministry has been shrinking for years and the downward trend from ministering to as many as 75 MKs to 30 to 25 to 20 to 15 to around 10 to really just a few with only a small interaction focused on only 1 final student (and teaching that student is by Skype rather than in-person). The attrition of missionaries from this region has been dramatic over the past 12 years that we’ve lived and ministered here.

It finally became clear that the house church not being the best fit for our skills and training, and my Spanish really has never developed to the depth that is needed for this type of ministry. We both felt the Lord telling us in recent weeks that San Juan del Río is not the right place for us any longer. He has other plans for us.

We’re still seeking to understand his will in all of this, but the next step that we do understand is that we’ll be moving to the city of Puebla (with an official population over 6,000,000), helping with the outreach and education of Puebla Christian School as well as the Biblical Seminary of Puebla (both are institutions founded and still led by our mission) will be our primary focus to start. We’ll go from there and see how the Lord develops our ministry.

This week we’re traveling to Puebla to house/apartment search. There are many variables and considerations involved and what we’re considering ideal for us is not a housing situation easily found in the area around the seminary and school. So, we’d appreciate our prayers as we look and may the Lord use this trip to answer many of our questions and may he be pleased to open up just the right housing option at just the right place and time. We know he is pleased to do that, but let’s still ask him to do it! He is pleased by our asking.

I trust we’ll have more information and developments to share in the coming weeks.

Thanks for praying for us as we continue this journey of following Jesus.

(Google Maps Street View of SBP/Puebla Biblical Seminary)

 

(Google Maps Street View of PCS/Puebla Christian School)

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Top 10 All-Time Stupid Quotes

This school year, Dayton is reading and interacting with a book titled, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.  On pages 7 and 8 of the accompanying workbook is found the following list. I suspect there are many other deserving quotes for this list, but these are all notable. The context for this list in the book is a section on “Paradigms and Principles.” The list is part of an introductory segue into the kinds of things teens may say to themselves as part of their personal paradigm of how they see themselves  (self-esteem/self-awareness issues) and the “stupid quotes” that teens may falsely believe about themselves.

Even though this is a book aimed at teens, the material is not far removed from practical value for adults too. After all the book does not aim to help teens be teens but rather help teens mature into adulthood. As adults we can easily fall into habits that we should avoid just as much as teens should avoid them. We often limit our potential and out outlook on life through the ever-lurking “I cannot’s” and “that’ll never happen’s” and “if only’s” that are sometimes just ways of thinking that have been ingrained in our thinking since our childhood. We know this is true that we can and sometimes this. The quotes on this list were all statements made by adults, many of them successful, wealthy, in positions of authority, and even in quite powerful and influential positions.

I think that sometimes we could all use an introspective “personal paradigm check.”

Here is the list:

Top 10 All-Time Stupid Quotes:

10 “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”

KENNETH OLSEN, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, IN 1977

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9 “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”

MARSHAL FERDINAND FOCH, FRENCH MILITARY STRATEGIST AND FUTURE WORLD WAR I COMMANDER, IN 1911

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8 “[Man will never reach the moon] regardless of all future scientific advances.”

DR. LEE DE FOREST, INVENTOR OF THE AUDION TUBE AND FATHER OF RADIO, ON FEBRUARY 25, 1967

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7 “[Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”

DARRYL F. ZANUCK, HEAD OF 20TH CENTURY—FOX, IN 1946

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6 “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.”

DECCA RECORDS REJECTING THE BEATLES, IN 1962

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5 “For the majority of people, the use of tobacco has a beneficial effect.”

DR. IAN G. MACDONALD, LOS ANGELES SURGEON, AS QUOTED IN NEWSWEEK, NOVEMBER 18, 1969

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4 “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

WESTERN UNION INTERNAL MEMO, IN 1876

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3 “The earth is the center of the universe.”

PTOLEMY, THE GREAT EGYPTIAN ASTRONOMER, IN THE SECOND CENTURY

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2 “Nothing of importance happened today.”

WRITTEN BY KING GEORGE III OF ENGLAND ON JULY 4, 1776

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1 “Two years from now, spam will be solved.”

BILL GATES, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, 2004

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