I have to admit right now that the title is probably the most interesting thing about this post, so maybe I’ll just quit right here.
Sunday afternoon I rode over to Celaya (about 90 minutes north and then west) with Brock Hower to help the Brown family move. The Browns are on another ministry team within CAM here in Mexico but Brock had the truck and trailer and we were available, or I should say, made ourselves available to give them a hand. Moving permanently to Ohio is a big job, especially on about 3 weeks notice. Especially for a family with 6 kids and one huge dog and two cats and over a decade of accumulated stuff. They gave away a LOT but still completely filled a 5×8 trailer, one Suburban to the brim, including on top, one 7′ bed Chevy pickup truck bed, a 16′ trailer and there was even stuff on top of that!
The Suburban appeared to survived the haul, but the 5×8 trailer ended up with a bent axle, but likewise somehow made it to Laredo, TX (about 600 miles). It still pulls so we hope they’ll make it to Ohio in a few days without needing to repair it.
We left Queretaro Monday morning a little after 8 am and arrived at the Colombia bridge at about 8:30 pm. Praise God we weren’t involved in any mishaps, accidents or robberies or anything like that along the way which is always possible. There was a rather scary 10 to 15 stretch near the border that is two lane but has wide shoulders to allow passing down the middle. In the dark it was a bit daunting because it was difficult to see what was on the shoulder when it became necessary to move over there. It was crazy with semi trucks racing 70 mph down the middle as they passed other trucks. Sometimes they used up nearly our entire lane so we were really hugging the outside of the shoulder at 55-60 mph and we just hoped it all worked out well. Praise God that it did.
The crossing went very smoothly and the only cost was two cans of Coke which were in my cooler. The Mexican soldier who inspected Brock’s double cab pickup, including inspecting the cooler contents, let us go, but then asked if we happened to have a couple of Cokes they could have (there were 2 soldiers working the post). Hmmm…sure! Small price to pay!
Tuesday morning the Browns picked up a 26′ Penske moving truck and we unloaded both trailers and the pickup bed and some stuff from the Suburban into this truck. It took us about 5 hours and it was rather chilly without heavier coats. It lightly rained on us for a couple hours with the first hour a mix of snow flurries and rain with the temps in the mid to upper thirties.
By 2:30 pm the Browns were back on their way toward Dallas, and Brock, Bryan Smith and I went in search of stores to fulfill our shopping lists. I had the longest list for some reason! It was a great opportunity since we had a huge, empty trailer to carry our stuff home.
I found a great bike for Cameron and one for me. We’d never have been able to bring down bikes with our little truck so this was a great boon. The bikes here are expensive and really cheap and of poor quality. Cameron has grown so much he needs a 26″ bike. He wears size 10 men’s shoes, and he’s only 11 years old! Beth discovered that she can simply adjust the seat and ride my bike so we really came away with two for one. I haven’t had a bike to ride since we moved here in 2004 and I’ve found this one to be very comfortable. I wouldn’t ride it across town since it’s rather dangerous to be a bicyclist in town. I didn’t think to buy a couple of chains and locks should I need to stop somewhere, but I should be able to ride it to the park about 1/4 mile from here. Cameron wants to join me in doing that very thing later today. This should really help in giving us something we can enjoy doing together. I’m very happy about this.
Anyway, we shopped till about 11 pm including a nice dinner at Logan’s Steakhouse. We hit the road by 9 am on Wednesday. Tired but anxious to get home. The downtown Laredo crossing went well. We had such a small amount of stuff for such a big truck and trailer that after the customs agent and soldiers had their hopes deflated for something worth imposing duty on, we departed with another “gratuity” given. Brock gave up his LSU camouflage cap. Again, the soldier in charge wasn’t “demanding” anything but he asked if we might not have a spare “hunting hat.” Ha-ha…he could see the nearly new cap through the open window as he peered inside. Brock insisted the soldier take it and afterward lamented losing it. But he has a lot of hats, and his wife, Heather, would not be disappointed to see one leave the house for good. lol
We arrived home around 8 to 9 pm and the only casualty was a large bottle of oil that had fallen over and apparently the inner seal at the top burst open from the air pressure changes (due to altitude changes in the mountains). So we had about 1/2 cup of oil mess on the trailer’s plywood floor. A few things got a bit messy, but nothing seemed ruined.
I finally got my watch battery replaced. Hard to find a place down here that will do it for some reason. It is a fancy watch I guess. Up until then the time was always 6:30 or 10:15 or 3:20 for hours at a time as I would move the hands every few hours just so that setting it would be easy when the new battery would be installed. It was sort of a running joke Sunday and Monday…I’d look at my watch after some exasperating or challenging moment and say “why it’s only 4:30!” and of course it was dark and rather late at the moment.
I felt very loved and probably earned “Dad of the Day Award” upon arriving home with delightful presents and US foods in tow. That will no doubt wear off shortly but I’m still basking in the glow.
I discovered after I got home that Beth had suffered most of the time with what apparently was a kidney stone which passed. I guess she didn’t want me to worry or it happened in between phone calls. She’s all better now and that’s a praise, as well as our safe round-trip.
Pray for the Browns. They still have a long ways to go and winter weather is still hovering along their route. Last I heard, their housing plan fell through so when they arrive in Berea, Ohio, they’re going to need an affordable place to rent ASAP. Pray for the Lord to provide the perfect place. In my opinion, it’s just as much a leap of faith to leave home in the USA for “the mission field” as it is to leave the field and return to the USA. Neither direction is particularly easy and I think returning is often harder.
(taken in late November 2008)
(front row, l to r) Joseph, Rosa
(middle row l to r) Caty, Carmen, Alan
(top row l to r) Josiah, Ceci, Phyllis