We’re Heroes!!!

Yep, you got it…!  We’re finally getting home for good!!!

Suffice it to say we had minor trouble this trip, but we’re soon to be safe and sound back in the gang neighborhoods of Mexico…!

Anyway, the good news is that we were able to send prayer cards to many of you that we have snail mail addresses for, but if anyone else would like one, let us know!

…Either way, below is some interesting reading, if you will, and a documentary of the things missionaries endure while on leave in the States!  …So enjoy !

Long-lost Missionaries …
(“This is not my life!”)

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As many of you might have surmised, the last part of this trip was pretty… eventful!

Jonathan all dressed up for Christmas…The fun all started when we got sick with a virus a couple months ago after trying to celebrate the family “Christmas” with Kim’s parents (yes, Christmas…!!  …Because this was when we were in town and could do it…!  The Amazon guy and the exterminator were both quite surprised to see the fully lit tree when they poked their heads inside the door!  ;))

Shortly afterwards Kim’s Dad fell off of the treadmill and wound up getting a staph infection in one of his cuts.  He had to be on a pretty strong antibiotic for quite some time and suffered considerable indigestion, but we were just thankful we caught it in time, since he only went to the doctor after much arguing!

After that the baby got sick… apparently some kind of food poisoning, since he was unable to keep anything down.  We had to spoonfeed him pedialyte for a while, and he wasn’t able to eat normally for about a week, but God was good.

A day or two later we had a problem with our water district and the upstairs had a minor flood…!  The good thing is that it was minor, but bad enough that unfortunately Kim’s mom had to wash every towel in the house by the time it was over with.

KarinaBy this time it was Mother’s Day.  So since we were already here we decided to go ahead and take Kim’s mom out.  The only problem was that on the way out to dinner, Karina started throwing up — all over her carseat… and Kim.  Needless to say we never actually made it to dinner, but the fun continued for Mother’s Day that night because then it was Kim’s Dad’s turn to start throwing up… all night long, leaving Kim’s poor mom changing sheets and doing much laundry again the next day!

…By this time, Kim’s mom was run down and so she had to be in and out of bed for a few days with a UTI, which the doctor said was trying to move into her kidneys.  After two rounds of antibiotic and a lot of cranberry juice she got better, but still feels a little funny.

In the middle of all this (at what we thought was the end…!) we were about to start packing and trying to leave town we got the message which many of you have heard about from one of our supporters, who was unable to continue helping us.  We praise God for this situation, however, because within a matter of days He led us to exactly the right people… And again, we are so honored by the new supporters who have come on board and also those of you who have expressed you would like to help in the near future.

KarinaBy the time we had finished following up with folks and straightening out all our bookkeeping, it was Memorial Day…!  So we decided to visit Kim’s grandmother (the family had also agreed to support us…) and stay for a couple days at Larry’s house in Hallettsville in order to give Kim’s family a break…  While there, Kim managed to lose one of her contacts (yes, the extra pair…), and so with a coke-bottle glasses prescription from the 1990’s which did more harm than good, she was stuck trying to get us back from the mini-trip and take care of the kids for a couple days with something like 20/800 vision in one eye.

After resolving Kim’s vision problems back in Houston, it was time to load the van, except that when we went to open the trunk we discovered the handle was broken!  So we had the part expedited from a junkyard, and Larry quickly began watching You Tube videos in order to fix it… Meanwhile Kim was beginning to have real trouble with her allergies because of the Houston humidity, and even worse, with a pretty severe allergic reaction to fabric softener. (Yes, and a missionary, can you imagine…?  We can’t even wear hand-me-downs!!! )

Anyway, what happened with the allergy attack was that with all the flooding and sickness we wound up washing towels from the 1980’s in hot water with the rest of our clothes, forgetting that they had gotten Bounce singed into them once a week for upwards of twenty years… So Kim suddenly started having problems breathing and couldn’t wear her clothes anymore, or be around anyone else in the family.  In the end she spent a good several days trying to chemically remove all fabric softener from everything we owned.

Jonathan smiling in his high chairSo after giving all of our clothes away (boiling them on the stove was a fail!), and resolving a minor sewage problem we had back at our house in Torreon (we preferred to it do it over the phone!) we were now ready to buy all new clothes (Wal-Mart..:  Baby blankets, underwear, men’s shirts, jeans, undershirts, socks…) and then pack…, And then really hit the road…!  Only now Father’s day was upon us, so of course we knew we should stop and celebrate Kim’s Dad… though we were afraid of what might happen next.

Anyway there were quite a few other things going on at this point, but we will spare you the details here and just skip to the part where we got yet another call from Larry’s family (No doubt they were envious of all our adventures in Houston…!).  Unfortunately, though, the final time we got to visit them was in the context of a death in the family…  But we were grateful to get to attend the funeral.

On the way home, though, (and can you believe…?) we had a slight problem when the van alternator went out!  (It was actually very interesting because we were driving at full speed on the freeway in the middle of some eighteen-wheelers…).  We were so thankful, though, because we were able to pull over.  Unfortunately, however, we wound up spending the whole night on the side of the road after various attempts to communicate with (“beg!”) different roadside services (“…six hundred dollars?!?”)!  So we woke up with our windows still open and found ourselves covered in dew.  This could have been vaguely romantic, except for the kids behind us, who woke up squirming in their carseats as the sun began to beat down on our van.  Anyway, at dawn we made a quick phone call to Larry’s family and were on the road again in no time… (sort of!)

Anyway, suffice it to say that after having the van fixed (back in Houston!) we were finally able to re-pack in the middle of an almost 24-hour power outage (we were trying to do laundry…), and in spite of the fact that Kim’s Dad came home with news that his bloodwork is off and very suspect of prostate cancer.

Kim's dad giving Karina a hug
Kim’s dad on Father’s Day…

Even amidst all of these circumstances, though, we are still glad to be finally getting home…  We are also thankful because throughout this trip we have been able to stay in touch with the church and continue supporting the ministries to youth and children.  In fact we hear that the youth were apparently still coming to church, and breaking the ice with the brothers all by themselves. (!)

Also we are thankful since were able to have had some sweet (and very interesting! ) time with both families.  We were even able ourselves to go to church with Kim’s family some which we don’t otherwise get to do.  (Father’s Day, incidentally, went off without a hitch… ;)) .

So while getting back from a  few week’s vacation turned into a three-and-a-half(?) month furlough, we can honestly say this… that God’s timing is not ours.

But it is perfect.

And even more important than a happy ending is the fact that we know we were refined on the trip, learning just a little bit more about patience… and prayer.  Anyway, to tell you the truth, you wouldn’t believe some of our stories, but it always seems just sort of uncannily hard to get back and continue reaching out to our youth.

… So of course it would be easy to let ourselves to get discouraged.  We know we have an adversary who has an agenda much different than ours.   And we know he would love to put thoughts in our heads… like, “Man, these trips are getting hard… !“ or “Gee… maybe God is trying to tell us something…!”

OscarAnd to be honest, there have been moments when he has almost succeeded…

…Almost.

… But not quite.

“For Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

Prayer Requests – July 2017

The other thing that we managed to do on such a lovely vacation was to evaluate the situation at the border with the school bus which was donated to our youth and has unfortunately still been stuck on the U.S. side!  We do want to praise God because we’re fairly sure that after the generous one-time donations that we received in response to our email that we do have the funding to do it… especially since we were able to combine them with funds that we had already designated for a vehicle. The only problem is that we have been holding out on principle, since the Mexican government really does want to charge us all of $5500 dollars in order to take the bus across.

…Needless to say, that importation fee seemed a bit steep to us.  So as we’d mentioned in our last email we decided to see whether or not we could receive it as a donation across the border through some non-profit organization.  If we can convince an organization to receive the bus for us, we will be able to use all extra funding to do youth outreach activities, and that really seems like it is worth waiting for… The only problem there was that none of the Mexican organizations we have approached have even given us the time of day!  Anyway, please pray for the Rotary Club in Torreon, and that God would touch the hearts of the directors, since we are still waiting on a response from them!  If their response is negative we will have to sell the bus at the border and re-use the funds to buy a Mexican bus or go ahead and spend the money to import the one we have.

Anyway what is clear is that we will have to do something, since Larry did get some strange looks initially and was immediately stopped when we just sort of tried to “drive” it across the border!  (.. Well, we were just trying…!  )

…So please pray for wisdom and favor for us as we try to go back to Mexico and contact the Rotary club one final time.

…Pray for our children, because by this time, they are a little disoriented from so much stimulus in the U.S.!

…Pray for Kim’s mom’s friend, Linley, who at 23 has shown remarkable comeback from a very difficult cancer.  Her strength is failing however, and doctors seem uncertain about what to do next, so please pray that God would cover the situation with his total grace and pour out His power.

WOOOhooo! We’re rich! (Follow up on our financial need)

Well, maybe not quite!  But seriously…

We just wanted everyone to know that your response to our last post was very good. Several of you responded by coming on board and supporting us monthly, and we know that many others of you were praying.Our familyWe are excited about our new team of supporters – both about those of you who have just come on and about the faithful people who have supported us through the fifteen years we have been on the mission field.

We managed to meet our monthly goal and just a little more, which as you might imagine was great for us, since we were a bit under-funded for everything that we were trying to do!

To be sure, we are glad to have a little more breathing room in terms of our personal finances.  And as we’ve said before we are going to try to save proportionately to the income we receive, since we do not want to be irresponsible about the future for both their sake and yours.

Beyond those needs the funding we have received will go to the ministry to our ever-hungry youth group.  This group includes junior high through college-aged youth, many of whom are hungrier than usual as they try to break their addictions and stay off drugs for any length of time.

Below are specifics on some of the things that we are doing with the youth, but even more importantly we would just like to say thank you because you have enabled us to keep serving the people of the Laguna.

Truly, we are blessed at how God has provided for us, and have renewed inspiration to share Him…

…Thank you.

Prayer requests:

  • Please praise God for the way He is sustaining us, and pray that we would continue to trust Him to provide for all of our needs. We know that the youth group has the potential to grow a lot right now.  And though we keep trying to tell our own children to stop growing, they don’t listen much either…!
    Youth playing in pool
  • These youth love to play…! Pictured here are some of our youth during a pool-party event which we did for them last summer.   We have actually just purchased an above-ground swimming pool for them, which we will set up on a property outside the neighborhood, deliberately out of reach of all of the immediate temptations which surround them. Please pray that God would guide the use of the swimming pool and that this new part of our ministry would be everything that God wants it to be.
  • Also as many of you might know we have a school bus stuck at the border which was donated to the ministry, but which we may have to pay stiff border taxes on to actually bring across.  We are currently waiting to see if we can process the importation of the bus through some non-profit agency in Mexico, which would allow us to avoid these taxes, but would like to ask you to pray for this situation, as we are not having much luck!
  • Also please pray for the supporter who had to stop supporting us, because he’s a dear friend. God is taking care of us, but our friend is going through a very tough time.  Please pray that God would sustain him and bless him!
  • Most importantly, please pray for our one-on-one interactions with youth, and that we would be an absolute reflection of God’s love to them, and that God would continue to confirm that it is His will for us to be in Mexico and reaching out to them.