“The Great Flood of ’17”

Most of you who read this blog probably keep up with us from our update letters or via Facebook, and if so, this post may not contain new information.

On Tuesday, September 26, we left the house we rent (and have rented for 12 years now) for our mission’s annual missionary family conference which was being held at a relatively close location this year in Tequisquiapan (about 30 minute drive from here).

That night, a tremendous thunderstorm rolled through the region dumping a lot of rain in a short period of time (I never read a statistic on just how much that was). The dam upriver from San Juan del Río apparently was already nearly full and the sudden influx of runoff caused the government agency overseeing the dam to decide they needed to open the floodgates in order to preserve the integrity of the dam. This was apparently not done in a careful manner or in a limited way, so the volume of water that was released over a few hours overwhelmed the small riverbed and the river (a “creek” in most spots) was completely breached and dozens of neighborhoods in and near San Juan del Río were flooded with about a meter of water. Our neighborhood, being just about 600 feet from the riverbed, likewise was flooded to about 3 feet depth.

We heard about this on the Wednesday morning that followed and came home from the conference to discover the water had receded earlier but our house had water in it (some areas of the house only had a layer of mud/dirt, other areas had an inch or so of standing water). The basement though became the bottom recipient of about 14 to 16 inches of water and muck. The library is mostly down there and all the books on the bottom shelves and any books stacked on the floor were lost as well as some science and other resources. All told, we lost over 1,000 books (about 200 of them were important to the education ministry and another 400 of them were very difficult to lose; the rest were not of particular importance). Of course, Beth is the book lady here, and this was a tough knock for her. There’s nothing we could do about it, and we’ve experienced more difficult circumstances in our lives before, so we’ll move on despite the painful loss.

Here are some pics from that Wednesday all the way up to just a couple days ago when our co-workers and an intern who had just arrived the day before who helped us get the bulk of the books and bookcases out of the basement so that repairs can be made. For the next month or so, we’ll probably have all the books from the basement stacked in our front living room and the plastic bookcases stacked outside in the patio.

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Still Amazing

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Before heading out on this summer’s home assignment, I decided to order a dashcam online and pick it up and install it in Dallas in order to record our travels. The main purpose is really to provide video evidence for front-end accidents as these days, we see some crazy things out on the highway and people sometimes struggle to tell the truth about what happened (or don’t/can’t remember). Seems like cheap insurance and given our Mexican auto insurance isn’t very good, I figured this would help with some of the innate liability risks of driving in the USA.

Apart from that, we found the dashcam to come in handy for recording unique situations. In the following video, you’ll come across a C-130 cargo plane, a fox, some beautiful scenery in Mexico, some interesting cars, a manned machine gun, and a number of near accidents.

I didn’t have the GPS turned on for most of these clips (but some have it), and I also didn’t get the date and time correct on most of it either. The menu is a little hard to read during daylight. I took a closer look at it last week in a shady spot and got those things figured out. There are several “freeze frames” that I put into place just so you can focus on something in particular. There isn’t much sound. There is a little text included throughout. I’ve got my dashcam set to save 3 minute intervals (it records them seamlessly and indefinitely until the memory is full and then replaces the oldest unsaved 3 minute clips with new ones; the memory card I’m using can handle just over 100 HD clips.)

It was fun to put this together. I used a registered version of Wondershare Filmora to do the simple video editing. It runs around $60 (a little less if you can find a working coupon code/discount).  Hope you’ll watch it and enjoy this little creation. Also, the dash cam is a Spytec A119. It runs around $90 on Amazon. I added a high quality 64 GB memory card (Lexar SDXC I, 633x; $40). I installed the camera myself. It simply sticks onto the windshield with a powerful adhesive. I didn’t bother with anything fancy for the power cord and it hangs shamelessly straight down to the 12V power source on the console. I may have it rigged up better since I know of a guy down here who can do it nicely for a few bucks. I’m a little surprised I managed to get it all working and useful. I hope to post more dashcam clips in the future as long as the unit keeps working and as long as we continue to come across things of interest.

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I see I’ve let another 3 weeks pass by without posting on the blog. These final few weeks of our home assignment have gone by quickly and with so many miles and so many things to do that I totally forgot to post anything.

At this point, we’re in McAllen, TX and have one day here (Thursday) before joining up with our teammates (Bryan and Lori) early Friday morning for a caravan trip back home. It will be a long day on Friday and the weather has promised to be rainy and windy with Harvey out in the Gulf apparently making a Texas landfall Friday not too far from here. We should be ok, but we may get a bit wet that morning. We’ll see.

Tuesday of this week started with a 5 hour drive from Dallas to San Antonio. Today (Wednesday) held a 4 hour drive from San Antonio to McAllen. Since our hosts in McAllen were busy working into the early evening, we have some extra hours to burn so we decided to take a quick visit to downtown San Antonio and re-visit the Alamo which we last visited when we first moved to Mexico in September 2004. Wow. 13 years ago. The boys were very young then and Dayton didn’t remember visiting. I suppose that’s something of a sin in Texas. To not remember the Alamo. Oh well. He remembers it now.


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Lancaster County, PA

Thankfully, we are in the “stretch run” of our summer home assignment. Since June 11, we’ve shared our ministry update in 8 of our supporting churches on Sundays. We’ve shared with pastors or with pastors and interested members of 4 others of our supporting churches as well. We have one more ministry update to share on a Sunday in one other of our supporting churches in NE Texas before arriving in Dallas later that day (August 13). I had not originally planned on visiting that church, but it worked out at the last minute to add them to our itinerary. We’ve only missed out on two of our churches that just didn’t fit into the logistics of our extensive route. We’re at about 7,500 miles driven since leaving home on May 13. Praise God for good health thus far and the stamina to make it through this far. I’m amazed at how well I’ve felt overall. (Unfortunately, Beth’s latex allergy has gotten worse as she has now become allergic to polyester!)

Currently, we’re staying a few days with ministry partners in Lancaster County, PA. We’re also visiting with Beth’s family about an hour to the east of here. We’ll be attending a nephew’s wedding on Friday of this week and then following that up with a few days of family reunion with Beth’s family in east-central PA. Cameron is flying in tomorrow for the wedding and time with family. We’ll be driving him back to Indiana on the 9th and then loading his stuff up and taking him into Moody for the fall semester of his 2nd year on the 10th. We’ll head to Texas on the 11th.

We’re enjoying the beauty of the area here, and this evening we took a leisurely stroll up the road and visited the home and garden of our host’s parents. Here are a few pics I snapped along our walk and visit.


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Key Testimonials (regarding the ongoing call for an adminstration change at our alma mater, Bryan College, due to mismanagement, character issues, and a failure to lead in a godly and effective manner)


Click the link above for several significant comments by respected and revered members of the Bryan College community.

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A Summer Pastime

I have no idea how to play cricket. I’ve never even seen it played. We (Dayton, cousins, D’s uncle, and me) played something that resembles cricket…as far as I know. It was fun. I wish we had known about this in my childhood. I’m sure I would have been good at it, except for hitting the ball, of course.

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