Thursday, July 26, 2007

Youth retreat on the mountains

Hello everyone.

I sent out an email couple of days ago asking for you all to be praying for the youth retreat we are going to be having this weekend up on the property in the mountains. As I told you in the email Larry and I and a whole bunch of youth have been going up there for the past 5 weekends preparing the property for this retreat. Larry and Juanita have been working on this vision for some time now and they have actually had a one day gathering with a few youth but we have been working hard to get everything prepared for this special weekend. Sarita has been preparing chicken and pasta and othe things as far as food goes so we should be eating just fine.

Below you will find the pics of several days work. I need to download more and post them later and hopefully I can do this before tomorrow but probably not. Actually the retreat started on thrusday and we have had many bible lessons and small breakout sessions with the kids. We don´t have the volleyball court ready yet but maybe next time.

Please keep praying for us and the people of Mexico....Teopisca in particular. Enjoy the photos.

This first photo shows what we started with. This property is on top of one of the mountains near Teopisca so it gets lots of rain. As you can see, it is plenty green so there was lots of work to do.

These photos show several of us working to clear some of the ground for the volleyball court and the many trails that work their way around the property. We mainly had to clear the pathways and the court of all the tree stumps and the large rocks that are all over the place.

These pics show many of the girls and children working to clear the land for the main path that leads up to the main area of the camp. We have a large tent that will go up for the gatherings and sermons and the games when it rains. Since it is raining so much right now we will probably we spending much time under the tent.

How about a nine year old with a machete as big as he is. Don´t be too alarmed because this is just the way of life down here. I didn´t get a good photo of this but just imagine about 7 or 8 guys swinging machetes all over the place to clear the land. The first day I was a little concerned but then I just got a little more used to it.....although I am still careful myself and very observant of all the little ones activities.

All of us trying to clear out these huge rocks and boulders that are in the pathways and must be removed.

Here we are taking a breakfast break around 11 a.m. Our normal schedule was to get up to the mountain around 8 a.m. Saturday mornings and work for abou 3 hours and then eat breakfast and have a time of bible teaching. A few weeks ago (this is the day this photo was taken) Larry asked me to bring the message for about 15 to 20 minutes. This was the same day that we were trying to dig up those big rocks (see photo directly above) and so I decided to talk about the foolish man that does not build his house (his life spiritually speaking) on the rock but instead builds his house on the sand (meaning the fleeting things of this life and the things that are in reality of no real spiritual importance). And of course I constrasted this man with the man that Jesus spoke of that builds his house on a strong rock so that when the storms come his house does not blow away or fall over. So of course spiritually speaking again, if we build our lives (houses) on the rock of Jesus Christ, then when the storms of life come we will have a life that is built on a solid foundation and therefore we will be able to live triumphant lives as a Christian......if you look closely at the right of the photo you will see Amos checking things out. I always take him up to the mountain when I get a chance.

These photos show us getting closer and closer to having the pathways done. It was a lot of work but there is no doubt in my mind that all the work will be worth it. These youth, and little ones, take great pride in their work and they want to do a good job so that they have a place to gather for the future. There is no place like this around Teopisca so this is very special to these guys and gals. After we cleared the pathways and placed stones on each side of the walkways, we made a whole bunch of trips to the lumber yard to get sawdust to spread all over them. I don´t know how many trips Larry and I have made but it is a bunch (in reality, Larry has made way more than me but I made a few myself).

All I have to say for this photo is...........cute!

Just some photos of us moving some of the big rocks around in the back of my pickup.

Amos thinks that he owns the mountain now and he always takes his usual place at the head of the ship. This was a lot of stuff we took up to the mountain to make the bathrooms. As a matter of fact, we are always taking a bunch of stuff to the top of the mountain to get this retreat center partially done before our first over night stay.

Gettin ready to lay the foundation for the bathrooms....Daniel is the hombre with the black tank top on and he is a local guy that has taken on the responsibility of working with much of the youth on top of the mountain. There are many small indeginous communities up there and since he speaks EspaƱol and a dialect he is perfect for the job.....he has a heart for God and for the youth and he wants to see God do great and glorious things. Daniel is such a skilled laborer. He 24 years old and has been doing this for many years now. When I hear that Daniel is going to be involved in a project, I don´t worry about the job getting done and/or it getting done right.

I have a few more photos of the bathroom in different stages but I forgot to save them on my flashdrive before I came to the internet the way this cafe is no doesn´t even have coffee...I will post more pics later.

New church dedication ceremony

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Our home away from home

Don’t get jealous but this is our new house. We looked all over Teopisca until we found the color scheme that we thought would be the very best for us. And look what we came up with!!!

These next 4 photos show just how out of control the back yard is. As you can see, Amos is almost swallowed up in the height of the grass. But one day I will go at it and clear all this up. First I need work on the inside for my little Sarita. But as you can see from the last photo, we do hav a nice view of the mountains so all is not as bad as it seems.

The next 3 photos show our two neighbors. We really preferred the color scheme of the house to our left cause blue is our favorite color and orange is such the perfect complement color, but alas, the house was not up for rent. We will just have to do with neon green and yellow. The photo of the wooden shack on the house is the backyard view of our neighbor in blue and orange.

The next 3 photos were taken before we painted any rooms and before we did any cleaning or decorating or anything. Our house has two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, an office, a bathroom and a little room with our bathroom sink. It is just perfect for us. It is about the same size as our house in Garland, but without a garage and, of course, our little front porch swing. Our house here is probably about 850 square feet and is plenty big enough for us to grow into….if you know what I mean. One of the rooms was already painted pink but my little wiffey wanted a different shade of pink so we gave it another hay problema!!!

These 2 photos show Sarita hard at work cleaning scrubbing the walls and floor of the bathroom and the kitchen. Actually, it seems that Sarita has been scrubbing since we moved in but I know that she spent a lot of time cleaning at the beginning to make our little home livable. My little Sarita is such a great homemaker… go girl.

The next 3 photos show Sarita and I painting the various rooms of the house. To date, we have painted the kitchen, the living room, one complete bedroom and about ½ of the other bedroom. Painting these concrete houses is not the same as painting drywall in the states. It takes forever to paint these walls. It took me almost 5 hours to paint the first little bedroom and that is a long time….at least I think so. Day by day and little by little we are getting things done.

This photo shows Sarita trying to figure out what we where going to do with all our stuff. I just unpacked it all and put it right in the living room for the first week or so. We now have all of our stuff at least put into the different rooms that the stuff goes in. We still really don’t have any shelves (2 little ones is all) so right now we are still living out of our boxes….but no big deal cause we got a good roof over our heads and we aren’t getting rained on so it is all good.

Next 3 photos show Sarita at work doing a little decorating. She has plans to hang all of the photos that we brought with her but it is just a little more difficult than in the states because you better be sure you want something exactly where it needs to go because putting in those concrete nails into these concrete walls is more challenging than just driving a nail into drywall. I can’t tell you how many nail heads have gone flying across the room since my Sarita has been working on hanging pictures.

Our first meal in our new rent house. Home sweet home!

Sarita hard at work hanging the laundry in our backyard. She makes it look fun doesn’t she.

Sarita and one of our new friends. You never know what you might find playing in our front yard. One day we woke up to find all these horses eating our grass and then another day there were some sheep just hanging out by our house. Gotta luv it here south of the border.

Well we will take more photos and post them as we get the chance. I need to post some photos of our progress on the backyard and maybe some other decorating we have done....or should i say that sarita has done.