Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preston's First Time on the Trampoline

Taylor, Kristen and the kids came over today. Dylan and Brooklyn love playing on the trampoline. Preston was able to go on it today for the first time. He had a great time but wasn't too sure when the older kids jumped at all. Dylan and Brooklyn were only allowed to walk while he was on it but they got a jump in here and there.

Dinner with Friends

Marie, Gail and Katherine

What a wonderful time we had the other night when I was able to get together with some old friends. Of course I mean that in the nicest way. Although we are all getting older, we are not old yet. We went to Spaghetti Factory and by the time we were ready to leave, there was no one left in the section we were sitting in. We thought that maybe the restaurant was empty but there were still plenty of people in the other areas of the restaurant.

Marie, Katherine and I met at Skyline Foursquare where Katherine's husband, Kevin, was the pastor. What a blessing to have friends that after many years, can pick up where they left off. Although we have all changed and life is different now, I cherish these friendships very much. Thanks Marie and Katherine for being such great friends.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Unreached People Group

Do these children look like there is no hope for them?

While we were in Mexico, Jerry (the founder of Esperanza Viva) shared how the home began. It started with one eight year old boy who was living on the streets with no where to go. The streets were his home. He earned money in ways we would not even want to think about. In the process of trying to find him a home, Jerry took the boy to many different places who all said no, they couldn't take him. The last place he took the boy was a Christian organization. They asked where the boy was found and the answer was on the streets. In front of the child, the person from that organization said that there was no hope for children like him. No hope? Well, this is what began Esperanza Viva which means Living Hope because we know that with Jesus, there is hope for everyone. No one was reaching these children. No one was taking them in and helping them to know the love of Jesus. They were an unreached people group.

The home has been in existence for 14 years now and has given homes to more than 300 children. The state now brings children to them, children who before were thought to be hopeless. God is in the business of restoring lives. What better place to start than in a child's life.
For more information on Esperanza Viva, visit

Friday, October 24, 2008

Organizing and Downsizing

Well, the time has come for us to start organizing and downsizing what we have. For some time now we have had the idea of putting all of our DVDs into a CD storage binder. So today I have taken on the task of finally doing it. Before doing it, our shelves were full of DVDs in cases.
I began by alphabetizing all of the DVDs. Excel is very helpful for this. I just typed in the titles and then I clicked the button to alphabetize them. In the process, they were all over the floor in piles of movies beginning with each letter of the alphabet. I think the only letter that we didn't have was Q.
Next I used my address book program to print labels for each movie. I also put the length of the movie, the rating and if it had a Spanish language track or Spanish sub-titles. Then, I put them into the into the CD binder and labeled each one.
Now all the DVDs fit into this binder which will take up much less room in the car when we move.

Now on to other things that I need to organize and get rid of. This is really going to be a big job, but, little by little it will get done. I think now I will go on to the books. I can't bring them all and there are some that I haven't used in a very long time. You know, if I can get this going and get rid of the things we won't need in the next six months or that we are not taking with us, my house will be a lot easier to keep clean. Of course I can't get rid of everything because some of the things I will need to use while we are here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adjusting to Home

I really didn't think that I would have that much jet lag, but it seems that I am much more tired than I was expecting. Jonathan is also, as he is laying on the floor, sound asleep at 1:30 in the afternoon. We got school work out today to start and we have gotten a bit done but I think we will be fully back into it all next week. It is an adjustment after the schedule we had in Mexico to come home and try to get back into our home schedule.

I put on a smile box photo slide show but I know that some of my family cannot access these well, so I will put some more pictures on here.

La Despedida (The Farewell)
On the last day, Sunday, the home puts on la despedida (the farewell) party for us. The kids made special cards for us to say thank you and many of them got up to say thank you for the things we did with them. It is a wonderful time and a sad time at the same time.
Jonathan is being tickled by one of the girls. It was pretty funny to watch them. This is a girl we sponsor and so it was like watching a little sister tickle her big brother.
Our family with our three sponsored children. It was so good to see them and to spend time with them this week. We will miss being their sponsors when we move there but we will be able to see them more often.
Here is a picture of all the kids with their memory books. They were so excited to get them and be able to take them back to their dorms.
Some of the older girls were already getting out their pages and writing more in them. It was awesome to watch them.

Now that we are back home, it is time to start sorting through our own things and getting rid of the things we don't need and won't use. It is a big job but we are looking forward to decluttering more in the process. Please keep us in your prayers as we finalize a lot of stuff for the move which should happen in six months.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We're Home!

Well, the eight people on our team (Jim, Gail, Erin, Jonathan, Nici, Adrina, Rose and Mike) that came home yesterday touched down last night at about 11:30 PM. Five of the team members made it to the bus station and from their they were on their way to Taxco for a vacation tacked onto the end of the mission trip. We hope they are having lots of fun.

It sure wasn't hard to condition ourselves to being able to drink the tap water and also to put our toilet paper in the toilet. I think it was mentioned before but Mexico's plumbing is so bad that you cannot flush the toilet paper. It is nice to be back to normal for now. Next April/May it will be normal to not be able to do these things.

I will be adding pictures later but for now, I have a lot of clothes to put away and suitcases to empty. So, check back soon for more.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Blog

Well, here we are on the last day of our trip. I can't believe it has gone by so fast. The thought of this week going by so fast makes me think that I'd better get going on getting rid of things as soon as I get home. The plan at this point is that Jim and me and the kids will begin our trip to move to Mexico six months from tomorrow, Lord willing. We are getting very excited about the thought. We have decided to do a tourist move and get missionary visas while here in Mexico. That means, when we leave Portland, it will be with what we can fit in our car. Sounds like fun, huh? The kids are even looking forward to it. They said they were going to have a contest to see who could learn to speak Spanish first. :o)

Well, on to the blog of our team. Yesterday afternoon we planned carnival type activities with five stations and five groups of kids (boys first then the girls). They went around to do all five activites and had score cards. At the end of it all, we had a medal for everyone and gold, silver and bronze medals for the most points. We were told that it was the first time that they had seen something like this work. Other teams had tried but they couldn't get all the kids to participate. We were very pleased with how it turned out.

Yesterday I mentioned that we went to downtown Puebla but I didn't have any pictures. Today I have the pictures from that trip.

Inside one of the huge cathedrals.

In the central square of dowtown Puebla.

Erin, Jim, Gail and Jonathan

Here a couple of pictures from our trip to Cholula also.

Getting coffee and something to eat at the Italian Coffee shop.

These are a couple of street venders. One is selling fruit the other is selling flowers.

Well, that's all for now. At 4:00 this afternoon EV is having the despedida fiesta or the farewell party. I will put pictures of that up when I return home. I also have some pictures from church this morning that I will put on at that time also. Thank you all for your prayers. We arrive home tomorrow night at about 11:00 PM. Five of our team members are continuing their trip by three days so they will return on Wednesday. Please keep them in your prayers for safe travel. They are Lissa, Dan & Susan and Steve & Sue. Also keep the other eight in prayer for safe travel tomorrow. They are Jim, Gail, Erin & Jonathan, Nici, Rose, Adrina, and Mike.

Adios for now.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday's Blog

The last two days have been very busy and we haven't been here at the home as much. Yesterday, Friday, we had our outing to Puebla where we were able to see downtown Puebla and do some shopping. We were able to go into a huge church and see the intricate work and the arcitecture. It was absolutely beautiful! We were also able to have an authentic Mexican meal at restaurant. Yummy!

We got back later in the afternoon and we were able to make Bible bookmarks with the kids. They enjoyed makng them. In the evening we had a teen boys and a teen girls activity where we had pizza, chips and soda and then watched a movie. The kids had lots of fun with that.

Today, Saturday, the realization that we would be leaving in two days really hit. Many of us had to hold back tears and regain our composure during devotions.

Today we went to downtown Cholula, which is the city that the youth home is actually in. Part of the group went into the pyramids which is really a neat place. There is a huge pyramid that was found underground when an insane asylum was being built years ago. They hit something solid and started digging and found the pyramid. The pyramid had been buried years before to keep the conquistadors from finding it. It is pretty amazing. We were also able to shop which of course all the ladies like.

Now we are back at the youth home getting ready to do a game day with the kids which I need to help with. So, I must end this writing for now and go help. I don't have pictures to put on the blog right now but I will get them on later.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Blog

Blog written by: Jim
October 16
The morning started with Rose being sick and having to stay behind with Adrina in the morning along with Erin and Gail stayed with her in the afternoon. The good thing that came out of it is that the guest house got a good cleaning (by Adrina and Erin not Rose). We were all pleased that Rose was feeling much better by the end of the day.

This was the third and last day helping Ryan clear out and reorganize the work shop area, while this was our last work day Ryan still has work to do. We did get an amazing amount of work done in our three days. It was amazing how much stuff was in there and it reminded me of our own home when we moved last year, it was amazing how much “stuff” we had accumulated over the years. Jim and Mike built a new shelf to store wood planks, it was not until it was almost completely finished that Ryan came in and looked at it and while it was exactly what he wanted he realized that we had built it in one room while it needed to put in another and it was simply way too big for any of the doorways. We had painted ourselves into the proverbial corner. Faced with dismantling the entire thing Ryan decided we could cut it in half move it to the other room and use some boards to splice it back together. Success!

The kids are getting closer to us every day and it will be very difficult to leave next week. The despedidas (farewells) are always full of tears. In the afternoon we had a sponsorship presentation of the kids that need sponsors. Steve and Sue decided to sponsor an entire family of four children. When they told the kids, they were so excited and gave their new sponsors big hugs and huge smiles. They will be getting closer over the next few days. Once they know that you are their new sponsor they form a bond with you and it only grows with time.

In the evening the staff of Espernaza Viva came over to the guest house for a time of praise and prayer. What a time it was, it is impossible to describe with words the way God is working here. The best I can say is His Spirit washed over us all in a powerful way. The staff prayed for our group and we all prayed for Pastor Jose from Oaxaca and his family.

One of the best things that happened is that Bridget gave birth to a baby boy. She had a thirty hour labor from the time her water broke until she gave birth. She was determined to have a natural birth at home since here in Mexico the doctors like to do cesareans. Pastor Jose’s wife, Ella was the midwife but eventually after more that 24 hours they went to a nearby clinic and signed the paper work to do the cesarean. However the doctors were running bit behind and in the meantime Bridgett felt a big urge to push and three minutes later little Asher came into the world at about 7 lbs. Praise God! Both Mom and baby are doing fine.

From Gail:
Thank you for all your prayers for Rose. She is back to normal today (Friday) and had a great time shopping. We'll share more about that in tomorrow's blog. She was dong a lot better last night and even walked to the ice cream shop with the team. Then she participated in the worship time with the staff. Thank the Lord for answered prayers.

Lissas Blog from Wednesday

I mentioned that I would get Lissa's blog on here so here it is. This is from what we did on Wednesday.

Written by: Lissa
Today was a special day because we were able to go to church this evening! Our neighbor, Jose, the pastor staying at the house next to us, preached a thought provoking sermon talking about the universality of the concept of sacrifice across cultures and about sacrifice in the Old and New testaments and reminded us to keep our eyes on Jesus on the cross and how we need to stay up there with him, to be crucified with Christ. Everyone was really moved by the worship as well, which focused on being a aromatic sacrifice to the Lord (which was interesting because we had talked about that very concept in our devotionals this week).

After church, we had a great surprise. Cinthia and Martin, who used to work at EV, but moved back to Veracruz to get married and work in a church there, were in town for a conference. It was wonderful to see them and get caught up on their lives.

It was a good end to a productive day. This morning we continued to work on the organization project and moved a planer that weighs more than our whole team (maybe)! We also built some shelves and organized and sorted a whole bunch of electrical and plumbing and misc. hardware. The workshops are looking good!

This afternoon we finished handing out the memory books to the boys and to the girls that didn’t work on them yesterday. The kids were really excited to find out the meaning of their names and work in their books. We sang two songs with the kids again and I must say that our choral abilities are sounding good!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday's Blog

Well, Lissa had a blog all written out but Juana, our team coordinator is not here this morning and she usually logs me into her account. She has Microsoft Word on her log-in but it doesn't seem to be on the general computer. So, I can't copy and paste the blog like I have been. I will post it later when I can.

For now, I will just tell you that everything is going great. We went to church last night and it was absolutely wonderful. The worship was so sweet. It is wonderful to worship with other believers who speak a different language but know that they serve the same awesome God. Whether we prayed in English or in Spanish we knew we were heard by our Savior. For me personally it was beyond wonderful. Quite a few of the songs I could understand and knew what they meant. What a breakthrough for me from past years. I guess my Spanish is paying off.

I am posting a few pictures at the end of this blog from our day yesterday. We are still working on organizing the cleaning the workshop with Ryan. Today will be our last day working with him. Tomorrow is Friday and we will be going to downtown Puebla.

We do have a prayer request. Rose is at the guest house sick today. She was running a low grade fever. Don't worring Terry, we have lots of mama's looking out for her. Adrina is staying with her this morning and I will be going to stay with her this afternoon. We will not leave Rose at the house alone with her being a minor. Actually, Erin stayed behind also because she was pretty tired and feeling a little under the weather too. Our prayer is that she will be totally healed by the time we go back for the changing of the guard and she can come back to EV with us. :o)

Sue and Susan helping to sort clothes.
Adrina showing off our great sorting skills.
Nici and Susan taking down shelves.
Erin and Rose hanging out. Maybe this is where Rose's stuffy nose started. Ha! Ha!
Lissa is sharing about the Memory books to the kids.

This is Naciones (Nations) Church. We take the bus there with the kids.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday's Blog

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

By Sue Metcalfe

We got up at the crack of dawn…no…it was before the crack of dawn. With 13 people and one bathroom and needing to be at Esperanza Viva by 9:30 a.m. we had no choice.

Our morning devotions were led by Mike was rich in scriptures from Psalms 145 and 146 reminding us that we need to love one another in order to show others the love of Christ. Mike also shared that we should respond opposite as the world responds to situations; so my notes to me said…if you are prone to anger, respond with humor. Those of you who know me will understand that this is a BIG challenge!

We arrived at the Home at Mexican time (late) and Ryan was ready for us to go right to work. He was moving the shop to a storage room and moving everything out of the storage room and sorting it to save, sell, recycle or throw-away. We had everything out of the storage room in probably 30 minutes and an hour after that it was sorted in the tent for save and sell, and everything in the courtyard into piles of metal, plastic, cardboard and wood. My recycling environmentally conscious daughter, Lisa, will appreciate that EVEN in Mexico, some people are recycling.

While the guys disassembled and re-assembled shelves from the shop to the storage room and made a doorway between the two rooms, Lissa, Susan, and I began the interesting task of putting together a trampoline. By the end Adrina and Gail also joined in on the fun. The Home had parts from three different trampolines; some parts were broken and some were in disrepair. After assembling the trampoline with all the best pieces, we saved some replacement parts that were in good condition and recycled the rest. While we made good progress today, we are only about ½ finished. Tomorrow we move things into the new shop, clear out another storage area and clean up the old shop area.

We were ready for our quesadilla lunch and had enough time to recoup a little before we started the Memory Books with the first dormitory of girls. It went well and the kids LOVED the books! Susan took all their pictures and we kept the books until we could get the pictures developed and mount the pictures in each book. Many of them were reluctant to give their books back to us; but it will be a joy to see the looks on their faces when we give them back at the end of the week with their pictures in them. Everyday the kids are feeling more and more comfortable with us and us with them. They are so happy, loving, appreciative and caring of one another. While it’s obvious how much we physically have in the USA, it’s also obvious how much we don’t love and care for one another the way they do here. So we’ve come full circle from this morning’s devotions—instead of us showing them how to love one another, they showed us!

It’s 6 p.m. Mexico time and Hallelujah there is no cooking tonight! We are going to a local restaurant that we call the “Molotes”, and those who have preceded us say they have great food. Lunch is at 2 p.m. for everyone in Puebla, so dinner doesn’t happen until late…8 p.m. We are trying to improve our looks and smell right now before we leave in a couple hours.

Tuesday Evening:

By Gail

Tonight we went to dinner at Molotes. What a wonderful time we had! There is a pastor here from Oaxaca who came to the restaurant when we did so he and Josh (Jerry and Susi McNally’s son) ate with us also. Many of the group ordered Cimitas which are sandwiches that I hear are very good. I haven’t eaten one personally but Jim really likes them. Others had Molotes which are quesadillas that are fried. We also ordered Chalupas which are small round tortillas with meat on them. You can then put lettuce and salsa on them. Erin and I had the Pozole which is a soup that originated in Puebla. It has pork, chicken and hominy in it and then you put lettuce, radishes, lime juice, chili powder (which I discovered is way hotter here than in the US), and ground basil. Everything was so good! The best thing was that we had 18 people there and it cost $470 in pesos including the tip. Okay, in US dollars that is about $40.00. Wow, we couldn’t even feed half of us at McDonald’s for that.

Now we are all getting ready for bed. We all worked hard today and everyone is very tired. So, that is all for now.