I happened to be catching up on my sister-in-law’s blog this morning and noticed in the sidebar where she has a list of her friends’ blogs (including ours), that I haven’t posted anything in 5 days! Sometimes there really isn’t much happening that is terribly exciting and I almost hate to bore people with posts and information that they don’t care about, but 5 days is a long time, and so I’ll just have to take that risk (once again…as always!).
Our calendar is coming to a very important point. I see that we’re scheduled to drive to Texas and beyond beginning on June 13. That’s 6 days from today if you’re counting. That also means that we’re getting closer and closer to “frantic mode.” There is a lot of preparation that must be done for both the leaving and the traveling when you’re going to be gone for about 7 weeks.
It takes many months of preparation as we typically accumulate small Mexican trinkets as gifts for hosts/hostesses/supporters.
We’ll be sharing/preaching in 3 churches. All three would like to SEE what images of what we’ve been doing. I’ve been working on a Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint) and have a nice nearly 5 minute program. However, most churches use PowerPoint on PCs rather than Keynote on a Mac. So, I attempted to export it to PowerPoint. In doing so, I discovered that it doesn’t export well. It also doesn’t even export as a standalone video very well. I’ve had to basically rework the entire program in PowerPoint anyway (first time using Keynote). I’m still working on the PowerPoint which has added an extra 5 hours of work already to the 10 hours I put into the original Keynote program. That’s a tremendous amount of time for a less than 5 minute presentation of which they may tell me later that it’s too long, and couldn’t I keep it to 2 minutes? (no one has mentioned anything about a time frame so I just worked with a background song that seemed usable…and no…cutting it to 2 minutes wouldn’t work without making an entirely new program)
Given that we’re only going to be visiting 3 churches (that we know of so far), this effort to meet that requirement is certainly a time-consuming one. I haven’t put together any other images for simply talking about the ministry. (I’ll have to stop making blog posts here very soon to get to that!)
Before taking a trip like this, we have to save ahead and budget out our rent and utilities (as does Beth’s mother who typically provides this portion of our arrangement as we share this large house). Yesterday, I paid our June, July and August rents. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change. We don’t just wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll go down to the bank and see if I have enough cash to pay the next three months’ rent.”
So, these are things we typically consider many months in advance of such a trip. Paying utilities falls under the same category. I hope the telephone company will allow me to pay 2 months in advance. Losing your phone service to non-payment would be a costly experience as they charge a fortune to turn it back on (so I’ve heard).
We have a dog. We had to come up with a workable plan for her care including having a huge bag of food for her survival, and we think we have a working plan.
We pay a nice lady who comes and cleans our house (open air houses continually have dust and small critters that need continual attention of one form or another). We pay her well (for here) at about $3.50 an hour. So for 6 hours of work each week, that’s only about $20 a week. However, she lives hand-to-mouth, so we pay her for our time away and she comes and dusts and does special one-time cleaning chores. Also, her presence in the house while we’re away is important for checking for problem that could arise (broken water pipe, leaky toilets, critters, etc). The landlord wants to know that someone is watching after his house. So, we paid her yesterday for 10 weeks to carry her through the week we expect to return. That too is a chunk of change.
All that to say, while the travel ahead of us will be costly, it’s also quite costly and time-consuming just to prepare for the trip. We spend many hours and probably a couple thousand dollars before we even get into the car! Not to mention the many items we order off Amazon or eBay or wherever to meet us in Dallas either going up or coming back.
So, with the community center classes now finished, with our last Bible study this afternoon, with this coming Saturday’s last sermon translation project, with this Sunday being our last house church service (before we leave), with homeschool ministry wrapped up, with both boys working on their last bits of homeschool (including stuff they haven’t wanted to do all year, like writing book reports and research papers), we are busily trying to get things in order and trying to remember if we’ve forgotten something important!
No doubt we’ll forget to put something on our current to-do lists, but hopefully nothing too important. Hopefully, we’ll get everything on the to-do lists marked off!
Speaking of stuff we’ve ordered ahead of time, I’m hoping to receive a replacement camera for our 6 year old Canon S2. It’s a great camera but it is slowing down a little and after 6 years, it’s not likely to have a lot of solid life left. Since we hope that this will be our last trip to the USA before 2014, we can’t afford to have the camera die on us in the next 2 years, I’ve ordered a nice replacement that should help us continue to visually document what God is doing in the ministries here. The old one still works pretty well so it may have some re-sell value down here. I may be able to sell it to offset maybe 1/3 of the cost of the new one. I don’t know. We’ll see after we get back with a new one in-hand whether we can get something for it.
I didn’t have anything in particular to photograph this past week, but I did spend a little time trying to figure out how to take better photos so that I’ll be better prepared with the replacement camera (with similar functions). Here are a couple of fun shots I figured out last Sunday night (after our final premarital counseling session with Jorge and Eva):
Well, there you have it. Nothing too exciting. I warned you! I’d better get back to my to-do list…I just thought of a couple more things to put on it! Better hop to it!