Friday, May 29, 2009

Curtains for Erin's Room

Yesterday I accomplished a big job. I sewed curtains for Erin's room. It took five panels for her room and I finished just in time to get things cleaned up before Jim came home from the youth home. Erin chose a Baby Pooh Bear pattern. Not what I would have expected but I am glad she is not totally grown up like she tries to act sometimes. We also found some little foam wall hangings to put in her room. I will be trying to get the rest of the curtains for the house done in the next week.

Last night we had a worship and praise time with a group that is here from Oaxaca. We had a great time in prayer and praise and then some social time after. This is the first group that has come since we arrived. We will be going into the home today and checking out what they do with the kids. With leading four teams down here and coming up with all our ideas, it will be fun to see what activities other teams do with the kids. I believe they had some skits planned. Of course, since they are from Mexico, it will all be in Spanish so the kids and I can practice our understanding.

Jim finished his first week at the home. It was a good week and he is catching on to what the different aspects of the home and groups that come in. On Monday, Jerry will be adding more to his list of jobs. I will be helping him from home in organizing some of the files he uses for the groups. The groups that come are a major part of the ministry. The kids love when they come and they enjoy that people would give up their time and money to come and be with them.

The kids and I went to the home on Thursday and Erin and I helped with some of the little ones. They were drawing pictures for their sponsors and we were able to help with the stickers. It is a great way to practice our Spanish. Jonathan was able to play some basketball with some of the kids. We hope to go to the home more often once we are totally settled in.

We hope you all have a wonderful day. Feel free to e-mail us at or Our American phone number is now set up also so you can call our home phone number that we had in Portland. If you don't know that number, please e-mail me and we will send it to you. I hesitate putting it here since this is so public. We are two hours ahead of everyone in Oregon. Our phone number is an Internet phone so if you live in the Portland area, it does not cost you to call. It is as if we are right next door. We hope to hear from you soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jim's Job and More

The first thing that Jim is taking over is the Short Term Mission groups. Juana, who was in charge of it before is now the new HR person who is helping with long term missionaries here and those that go out from here. She is doing a great job and has helped us a lot. She will still be helping the short term teams once they arrive here. Jim's main job will be in the corresondence and preparation with the teams prior to their arrival. This is a job that I will be able to help Jim with. Some of the forms are in need of updating and that is something I can help with from home and it is something I enjoy doing.

Our first group is a group from Mexico that is arriving on Friday. The next group will be arriving in mid June. We have a team from our church in Oregon arriving in September. After leading and co-leading that team for four years now, we look forward to working with them again in a different way. There are many groups inbetween also.

Yesterday, the kids and I went with one of the other missionaries on the bus to Chadraui, a grocery store nearby. It was fun but I bought too many groceries forgetting we had to carry them all back. We walked half the way in both directions. It was good exercise though. It is nice to go to the store with someone who has gone through finding all the things you need. One thing that is hard to find is baking soda and baking powder. The packages don't look anything like they do in the states. The baking soda box is very tiny. It looks bigger in the picture but don't let that fool you.Sometimes you find the baking soda in with medicines for heart burn. It just takes getting used to and learning where things are which is something I am working on.

Last night we had a staff meeting and I was again amazed at how much I understood. I told Jim what I understood and he said that I was right on most of it. I just wish I could speak as much as I can understand. I hear that comes with more practice. I will be calling the tutor soon and setting up Spanish lessons with him. I am looking forward to it. For now, if I know how to say something in Spanish I use Spanish.

Today, I will be driving for the first time here. It is a little scary to think about but it is just up to the small mall where Chedraui is. I will be picking out fabric for the curtains. Curtains here are very expensive so I am going to make our curtains. We bought a sewing machine at Costco which ended up being only about $30.00USD more than it would have cost to get my machine at home tuned up. Not to mention that we didn't have room for my machine at home in the car when we left. Now I need to go measure all the windows. I will post pictures when I have the fabric and sew some curtains. The hardest part now is firguring out how much fabric to buy. I need to buy it in meters not yards and I haven't made curtains in about 23 years.

I'll update more later. Blessings to all of you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Megacable Came Today! We Have Internet at Home!

After a long wait and three times being told "tomorrow," Megacable finally came today and installed our Internet. Yea! We are so happy! I can finally update my blog from our own home.

Since my last blog, we have received our furniture. Yea! Our house is finally feeling like a home. It was supposed to arrive on Friday, but as with many things here, we are learning patience. It came on Saturday instead. It has been hard to get used to the smell that will eventual fade. The furniture we bought is made with green wood and apparently they coat it with diesel to seal it. So, our house has smelled like a gas station for the last few days. It is fading with all the windows open and the fans on. Thank the Lord for nice days with no rain. We are very grateful.

This is our living room set. It came with the couch, love seat, chair, coffee table and two end tables. We added an entertainment center to the set.

We got a hutch that fits great in the kitchen. It holds our dishes as well as holding food items on the bottom.

This is our dining room set, bookcase and computer desk.

This is the wrought iron that is inserted in the dining room table, coffee table and two end tables.

In our bedroom set we got a base for our bed, a headboard, two night stands, a dresser and mirror. Our bed has plastic between the mattress and the base because the stain was not totally dry yet. Boy do they do things different here.

The kids each picked out their own headboard style. Erin chose a matramonia or a full size bed. Jonathan chose an individual or a twin size.
Erin chose a headboard with the wrought iron in it. Her wrought iron is a different style than what we have in the furniture down stairs. There were three styles to choose from.

I love this picture of the kids with the dog. It shows Jonathan's style headboard.

We furnished the whole house for 21,500 pesos or $1,650 USD. We are very pleased with everything. I think I will wait to light my one candle I brought though until the smell of diesel is totally gone. :o)

Jim started working at the home today. He is working on ministry promotions which is a very wide spread job. It is hard to really tell all the things he is doing. It will include everything from correspondance, website, newletters, sponsorship and more. Right now he getting to know everyone and the departments they work in and finding out who is in charge of what. He was able to spend some time with the kids also by eating lunch with them. We found out some of what is needed with the kids. There is a great need to mentor the supervisors who are young and are in a parental role but they have never been parents before. We know that God will continue to open doors for us to minister in ways He knows are best.

The kids and I have not been able to get in to the home much. Today we were waiting around most of the day for Megacable and then by the time they came, there was no time left to go to the home. Hopefully we will be able to get in to see the kids soon. I also need to see about setting up tutoring for Spanish for me and maybe the kids. The kids started today using our Rosetta Stone again and that will help. We are hearing them using Spanish more and more. We have encouraged them to use whatever Spanish they know and then more can be added as time goes by. I am sure they will pick it up quickly.

Well, that's all for this update. We will try to update more since we have Internet in our own home now. Thank you for your prayers. We really do feel them and they mean more than you know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We are just getting to the mall to update today since we forgot the computer yesterday when we went out. So here is an update I was going to put on yesterday plus some more added for today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
We had a good day yesterday. Jim went with Ryan in the morning to Megacable to set up the installation of our Internet. Jim called today to see what day it will be installed but they didn’t know yet. They said it would be within five business days so at the latest it will be next Monday, we hope. We will let everyone know as soon as possible when we have it set up in our home. Until then we will update when we can. We need to go to the mall or the youth home to use their Internet. With all we are doing, there is not always time to do that. *Jim called this afternoon to see when our appointment is and they said to call back on Thursday and they will have an appointment time for us then. We're in Mexico!

Last night, Pat and Sandy Dixon, another missionary family here showed us a grocery store called Superama. I actually did a whole grocery shopping and didn’t feel like crying once. It was a great store and even the produce and meat looked good. I think we plan on shopping there on a regular basis.

The other big thing we did yesterday was to get the kids their mattresses. Now the kids get to sleep on an actual mattress instead of a camping air mattress. At one point Jonathan said he didn’t want a mattress, he wanted his air mattress for a bed. We told him that wasn’t going to happen so he now has a mattress.
Today Jim plans on getting our dryer going. We have been waiting for the gas hookup to switch it out the one it came with. It came with a natural gas hook up and it needs an LP gas hook up. The owner of the store was going to get us one but it is just taking too long. They are obviously working on Mexican time. We really need to do laundry. Well, we have actually washed some clothes but I am not fond of hang drying. Hang drying requires a whole lot more ironing after. He just found where an appliance store is that he can purchase the part so he is going to go there this morning.

We have three more days before our furniture is supposed to get here. We are getting more and more excited about it being delivered. We have found out that the hutch should fit in our kitchen which will give us a lot more storage space. That means we shouldn’t have any problem fitting all the furniture we purchased into the house.

Today we went to get our bedding for our beds. We went to Walmart and found that bedding is a lot more expensive here than in the states. Some things are more, other things are cheaper.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Last night was a great night of prayer and worship with the staff at EV. Those who have been on a mission trip with us know just what I am talking about. What a wonderful experience being in the presence of the Lord with other believers you are in ministry with.

Today we are going to get more raw hide bones for Nacho. He has devoured the other one we bought and then he goes to trying to chew on us. That's not going to work. So, I think we will buy two this time. He is really a good puppy. He is very obedient and loves to be pet around the ears. He tells us when we has to go out so even though he is a puppy, we have not had to do all the things you normally have to do with a puppy, like house training. Yea!

We are also looking in the fabric store for curtain fabric today. We found that curtains cost a lot here and fabric is much chearper. So we are considering buying a sewing machine and fabric and having me make the curtains. There was a sewing machine at Costco for $140.00 USD. I would just need a basic machine, nothing fancy. I am not a seamstress but I do know how to sew.

Tonight is church but we will see how things go with the kids. They go through fases of worship nights and teaching nights. Right now they are in teaching nights which is hard for the kids to sit through when they can't understand what is being said. Jerry will be doing part two of his sermon from Sunday so I would like to be there.

Jim met the landlord today. He is very nice and very accomodating. We asked him if we could get a fence put into the yard for Nacho so we can leave him outside and he said that he would do that. He had put one in for the neighbor already. He likes animals and doesn't like the idea of Nacho locked up in the bonus room when we are gone. He would rather see him being free to roam the back yard. He is coming back on Friday for us to sign our contract with him.

Well, that's all for now. Hopefully we will get Internet soon and will be able to update from home. Again, thanks for all your prayers. They are felt daily.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Sunday, May 17, 2009
We came to the mall near our house today after we found out that they have free Wi-Fi so I am finally able to update the blog. Today we went to church and it was so good to worship with our friends here again. After church, we took Juana to our house so she could see it and we also had lunch. She was our first house guest to have share a meal with us at our house. After that, we walked Juana home and we were able to see where she lives and we also went over to the Dixon's. The kids got along very well. They started here at EV last September. They have one son, Luke, who is nine years old. After We visited at their house, they came over to our house so now we know where more people live. Well, since the rest of this blog is so long, I will leave it at that for today.

Here is news from the Friday and Saturday.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We are now on our third full day here. This morning we got all the bedrooms arranged and set up. Of course we don’t have beds for the kids yet but they are sleeping on blow up camping mattresses that we were advised to get before coming. It was very good advice. It feels good to have some rooms looking like they are put together and more like they are part of a home. It is wonderful to hear the kids’ talk about our house. Erin says she likes it better than any of our other houses. Jonathan, this morning, said, “I love this house.” Erin told Jim that she and Jonathan were all settled in to their rooms and asked if we could get a dog now. He told her that we would talk. We actually saw one at an adoption place yesterday that fit the perfect description of what we wanted. We want a dog that is good with the kids but can be a watch dog. We also don’t want one less than one year old. We saw a one year old Mexican dog. That’s what they call them and you can tell because they just have a certain look. It is more like a mutt dog but the shop keeper said they are very noble dogs and good with kids. Erin was looking at a cute puppy but we will hold our own on that one. We are not getting a puppy.

Jim picked up our new dryer so now we have our refrigerator, washer and dryer. Because we can only take so much money out of our bank account each day with our ATM card, we had to get each piece separate. We are very pleased with our purchases because after pricing the same units in places like Walmart, we basically got the dryer for free, not a bad deal. Jim also said that he has not seen a refrigerator as big as ours in any of the stores we have compared with. I have washed one load but we can’t use the dryer until we get a converter for a different kind of gas. So, this afternoon we need to get some clothes line, clothes pins and hangers.

Last night we went grocery shopping. I will say it was not a fun experience or as easy as I may have made it out to be before we left the states. I forgot my translator so when buying things like flour, I kind of guessed that I was buying regular white flour. You can also only get flour in 1 kilo bags. The laundry soap aisle was incredibly difficult. I think I ended up buying what is the equivalent to Tide. The only reason I think that is because it had the same coloring and design. Think about going into your local grocery store and not seeing anything familiar and not being able to read the packages. We are also finding that the stores are not organized the same way as in the US. You may find cookware on one side of the store and expect to find the bake ware in the same place. But no, the bake ware is over by the small kitchen appliances which are also on the other side of the store from everything else you would use for the kitchen. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

Some of the groceries are very expensive. Things that are cheap in the states are very expensive here. I looked at very small bag of chicken nuggets and they were 149.50 pesos. That’s equivalent to about $11.50 USD. My guess is that it is because it is all processed but I hope their sign was just wrong. I didn’t buy any. I also looked at hot dogs and they were almost $3.00 USD for a small package. I guess we won’t be having hot dogs unless they are cheaper at Costco. So, I bought some dried black bean and some rice and I got my Mexican cookbooks out. I will be looking for some recipes. Other items are pretty close to the same prices as in the states. The kids are doing so well with everything that it is boggling our minds. Jonathan was complaining last night that we have not had any real Mexican food since we left Matamoros.

Last night we had our first dinner here in our new house and it was on Erin’s birthday. I found it takes a lot longer to cook spaghetti noodles because of the altitude, but they do cook. I also made a cake which was cool. I had to cook it for about 10 extra minutes but it turned out really good. Erin was happy.

We are waiting for a power bill from the landlord to be able to set up Internet at our house. You cannot sign up for it without a power bill for this address. It doesn’t have to have our names on it so they are trying to just get one from the landlord and not have to wait until it comes to the house. For those that have e-mailed me, I am sorry for not responding. I have not had a chance yet to check my e-mail. When I get to EV I have had just enough time to post the blog and then we are on our way again.

Good news, the landlord just stopped by and gave us a copy of the power bill so hopefully Jim will be able to set up a time with Ryan to go set up the Internet installation. So, on Mexican time, hopefully we will have it set up within one week. I guess we will see. That’s all for now.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Today we went to look for furniture. One of the couples here, Rene and Kate, took us to where they got their furniture. It is rustic looking, very durable and not too expensive. We really liked there furniture so we decided to buy our furniture at the same place. We picked out a couch, love seat, chair, coffee table and two end tables for the living room. For the dining room we bought a table with six chairs and a hutch. For the kids’ rooms we bought bed with drawers under them and they each got a night stand. Erin got a full size bed so that when we have company (hint, hint) they can sleep in her room. Jonathan got a twin bed. We got a king size bed with draws under it, a dresser with mirrors, and two nightstand. We also got a computer desk, an entertainment center and a book case. All of that came to 21,500 pesos or $1,653.00 USD. We thank the Lord for the good exchange rate. Rene talked to them about the price and they threw in free delivery. We will receive the furniture next Friday afternoon. We are all very excited about it. Once we got home and looked at our space, we tried to figure out just where everything was going to fit. I am sure we will figure it all out once it gets here.

We also made another purchase today. Remember we had told the kids all along that we would get a dog when we moved to Mexico? The Mexican dog we have been looking at is a bit malnourished and he was abandoned but he has always seemed very friendly. Well, we bought the dog today and brought him home. The first thing we did was give him food and water and he devoured both while wagging his tail. I told the kids that he would need to go out soon after he ate but we didn’t do it quite soon enough. He went upstairs with the kids and then proceeded to pee while walking down the stairs. We immediately brought him outside and he did the other business also. At least we have all tile floors which are much easier to clean. Tonight we took him for a walk and passed a veterinarian’s office and brought him in. We asked how old they though he was and the vet figured he was about five to six months old. Well, so much for not getting a puppy. The adoption place told us he was a year old. Jim asked how big the vet thought he would get. The vet said he was a very common dog and he will be about 20 kilos. After converting that to pounds, Jim said that would be about 45 pounds. He seems very well behaved for a puppy. He already understands that he is not allowed in the kitchen. The kids named him and his name is Nacho. Jim and I kind of liked Lucky or Happy but Nacho is what his name is. I think he will fit in very nicely with our family.

On the way home from our walk, there was a turkey in a yard that we past. It was pretty funny because it was almost like a guard turkey. It was gobbling at us quite a bit. I took a picture of it and I am not sure if it was Nacho standing there or the flash from the camera, but the beard on it turned bright red. Then he was puffing up his feathers to show how big he was. It was pretty funny.

Tomorrow is church and we are very excited to go. We have not been to church in several weeks and we always enjoy worshipping with the people here.

I hope to get this blog update on the blog tomorrow so it is not back dated too far. I know it is hard for our family and friends when they don’t hear from us and we will be very happy when the Internet is installed at our house. Jim and Ryan will be going on Monday at 8:30 AM so we are hoping that it will be installed by the end of the week. We are missing the contact with everyone also.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Setting Up the House

The church bells are chiming, birds are chirping and the sun is shining. ¡Es un día muy bonito! It’s a beautiful day! The rain clouds are gone and the rain has stopped. Last night we had an awesome thunder and lightning storm and the rain was coming down very, very hard. We love those kinds of storms here although in a house without a lot of furniture, it sure sounded loud as it echoed through the house. ¡Fue muy chido! It was very cool!

Last night, Jim went to church but I stayed home with the kids. After an already long day, we went to Walmart at 4:00PM and the kids were very, very tired. Since I was home, I was able to put everything away that we had bought. We got our dishes, glasses, pots and pans, cooking utensils, and other various items for the kitchen. We also got a few groceries. Today we will need to go back to get more stuff to set up our home here. We found out yesterday that the missionaries are given two weeks to get settled in. That took a lot of pressure off us to try to do everything in a couple of days. We are still anxious to get our house all set up so we will be doing everything as quickly as possible. We will get our washer today, yea! I can wash some clothes. The only problem is, I can’t dry them yet and I don’t have a clothes line. Oh well, we are learning to make do.

Last night while Jim was gone, I was putting stuff away and I was going to try to put our bed together. For those of you that don’t know, we have a sleep number bed and we always said that when we go to Mexico it was coming with us. Well, I got out the bottom piece and I was looking for the holes where the pump hoses go. There were no holes. We had brought the wrong bottom piece. My heart sank for a moment. In past situations where I might cry, Erin would always looks at me and points her finger and say, “Don’t!” meaning don’t cry. Well last night, I walked to down the stairs and she looked at me and said, “It’s okay mom, you can cry now.” The thing is, I didn’t and I really didn’t want to. With everything that we have gone through in the past few days, I just said, “Okay Lord, somehow we’ll make it work.”

When Jim returned from church, we made the bed work together. The piece we were missing is the main bottom piece the zips onto the top and holds it all together. The piece we had was the cover that goes over the platform making it look like a box spring. So, we used that piece and put it together and our sheet is holding it all together. It was so good to sleep in our own bed last night. Now, if we can just get the people around here to realize that they don’t need to set off M-80 fireworks at 5:30 in the morning, we’d be doing a lot better.

For the many times we were asked what we would be doing here, Jim talked to Jerry last night and Jerry said he would set up a time for orientation in the next week. He told Jim that it’s not a matter of what his responsibilities are; it’s a matter of if the load will be too much. It sounds like they will be using his many talents.

Oh, by the way, it’s Erin’s birthday today! ¡Ella tiene once años! She is eleven years old! She’s growing up so fast. She wanted to cook breakfast for us today. I told her it was her birthday and I should be making breakfast for her, but she insisted. She’s getting pretty good at making eggs. Happy Birthday Erin!
We have limited access to the Internet right now and not a lot of time, so I hope to post pictures in the near future. Keep posted for updates.

This morning we went to Home Depot and were able to get some fans for the house. I am one who sweats terribly, just ask Kristen. It will be nice to have some circulation in the house. We also got a shelf for the kitchen and some curtain rods. Now we need curtains. Oh yeah, we also got a plastic table and four plastic chairs. We have something to sit on and eat at! Once we get a dining room set, we will use the plastic ones out side or in our front bonus room. I guess that's all for now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We're Here and Here's the Story

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”

We arrived in Cholula at Esperanza Viva at about 8:00 on the 12th. It was quite an eventful day to say the least. The beginning of the day started out very well but as the day progressed, we ran into some detours. Well, detours in the United States are well marked and lead you back to the route you had begun on, right? Well, we found out that detours in Mexico can lead you off track without signs leading you back to where you wanted to be and it can take two hours to get back to any decent roads that won’t destroy your car. Most of these roads we found on this detour had “topes” (speed bumps) which our car did not do so well with. The rack we had on the back dragged terribly and after we stopped and checked it once, we realized that two of our Rubbermaid totes were wedging themselves off the rack. By the time we made it to Esperanza Viva, the rack was just a few inches off the ground.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Once we kind of found where we were and thought we knew where we were going, Ryan and Marty (two of the other missionaries) called us and tried to direct us the correct way to get the highway we needed. Well, we got off on the wrong exit and we knew why it was the wrong exit almost as soon as we got off. On the right side of the road was a group of police officers. Guess who they flagged down. Did you guess us? If you did then you were right. Well, we figured, “Okay, we show them our paperwork and that we had paid our taxes and they will flag us on.” Is that what happened? Nope! After showing them our paper work, they looked at the stuff in and on the back of our car and said we were carrying cargo and we were not allowed to carry cargo. Jim told them that it was only for our family and for our house. The police officer looked over our paper work, got out a book in which he was looking for the “rule” he wanted to use and told us we couldn’t carry that much stuff. They proceeded to tell us we needed to pay $5,100 pesos. We had been on the phone with Ryan and Marty and they talked to the officers and tried to make them understand that we were fully within the law and that we could bring all of the stuff we had, but, that did go over well. We told them we didn’t have $5,100 pesos and they asked how much we did have. Jim had already given me the large pesos he had to put somewhere safe. (Wink! Wink!) The officers did not want to let this go. Jerry (the founder of EV) got on the phone with them and told him that he deals with the government all the time and he knew government officials and judges and that they work with the government all the time with the orphanage. Jim told them we did not have that much money and the officer asked him how much he did have. He opened his wallet and thought he had left only $200 pesos in it but there ended up being $400+ pesos. He gave it to the officer and the officer agreed to show us the way to the correct freeway by flagging down a taxi. We think they knew each other since this taxi all of the sudden appeared out of nowhere. Three of the officers got into the taxi and started leading the way. When we told Jerry this, he was really getting concerned that they could lead us just about anywhere into places we didn’t want to go. In the end, they did lead us right to the freeway and flagged us on to go. It ended up costing about $30.00 USD.

During the time we were pulled over, it was very scary to the kids. We prayed and read Scriptures and told Satan that he could not win in the situation. After we were able to go, we talked about the fact that Satan was trying to discourage us all day. He couldn’t discourage us by getting us off the right path so Jim said he was trying to strip us of our money and possessions. Well, he didn’t win! We overcame and it was awesome! At one point, Jonathan said, “I’m going to get out my Bible.” No one prompted him to do this.

During all of the adventures, I thought of a picture that one of the staff received while praying for us last year on our mission trip. She said she saw our van going over mountains on the way here. She said that some of the time she saw God’s hand pushing us along with ease. At other times she saw Jim and me behind the van pushing it. What a picture of our trip. The beginning was smooth sailing, God was pushing us along. The last day, when all this happened, did we physically get out and push the van? No, but we certainly prayed and pushed it along. Marty even told Jim that God may have blinded his eyes from the other $200 pesos knowing that $400 pesos is what would be enough to have the police let us go but $200 wouldn’t do. We praise God for the day, for the experience he brought us through and that He is so good. Would we want to do it again? No! But we can now say that we were robbed by the Mexican police. :o). Marty said “welcome to my world”.

Psalm 73:5-6 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is my strength of my head and my portion forever.”

We are now starting our first day in Cholula. I got up about 6:30 this morning and had a quiet time with the Lord. It is fast becoming clear to me, that my mornings will need to start with quiet time and not waiting until later in the day. It was a wonderful time of soaking in the Word. I then went to take my shower and once I got in, I realized that the water heater must not have been lit last night. Burrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!! So, I took a cold shower which really woke me up.

Everyone else got up about 8:00 and we had a good breakfast of eggs and ham, thanks to Marty who took Jim to the store last night to buy some food so we had something to make breakfast and lunch with today. We are now ready to really start the day.
Today, we will be going over to see our new house. We drove by last night but didn’t get to go in. The smaller house inside the gates was not supposed to be rented for at least a year but we found out that the landlord rented it to a single lady who teaches at the university here. So, I guess we will have a neighbor. We will be bringing all of our things to the house and unloading our poor van. We are wondering if the back end will rise up again or not, we sure hope so. It will be nice to have space in the car for us to sit without being crushed by things. We are also hoping to get to some stores to start buying the things we need to begin our life here.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us on this journey. I will continue to update our blog but it may be fewer and father between since we will need to use the Internet at the home for now. It may be a while before we have internet at our house. Be assured that if I we do not have internet access and there is something of importance, I will find a way to update everyone. Blessings to you all.

Well, we went with Hector, one of the staff here at EV, and he helped us purchase a refrigerator, washer and dryer. There is a place where you can get new appliances with dents in them for cheaper. We brought the refrigerator home but since we can only take out a daily alotted amount of money from an ATM, we will need to go get the washer tomorrow and the dryer on Friday. We will be leaving soon to go get household items and groceries at Walmart since they take credit cards. We'll update when we can and we will let you know when we have a phone. When we do, we will have the same phone number as we had in Oregon. Thanks again for your prayers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We're here!!!

Hola everybody! This is Gail's friend Lissa again. The Carlsons have just arrived in Cholula after a long day full of adventure which Gail will post on soon. They wanted you to know that they have arrived safely and are very glad to be at Esperanza Viva!

Beginning Our Last Day of Travel

Well, today is our last day of travel. We are getting ready to leave the hotel and we have about six hours of driving today. We will let everyone know as soon as we can when we are there. Please pray that everything would go smoothly today and that we would get through the last check point with no problems.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We're in San Luis Potosi

We arrived in San Luis Potosi this evening about 7:00PM. This is where we are staying the night and tomorrow we will be on our way to Cholula, Puebla. It has been a wonderful day today. I can't express the feelings of finally being in Mexico and almost to Puebla. It is so exciting!

Here is Jonathan going down the zip-line.
I received a rose from the kids at the home and they sang me a Mother's Day song. It was so cool!
Here we are with all the kids from Matamoros.
Jim talked to the kids on Sunday morning during their church service.
Elias went to the mall where they receive food that can't be sold. Sunday was a low day for donations but some weeks they get a lot of food. One week they got so much food that they were able to give away 60 bags of food to families in the community. They help 80 families in the community around them. They always bless others with what God blesses them with. All of the food they get there at Matamoros is food that others would not eat. God is so good. They sure made awesome meals with the food.

Last night we had a great final night at Esperanza Viva Matamoros. We decided to get pizza for everyone for a special meal. Since it was Mother's Day, getting pizza gave Flora the night off from cooking. She was very happy about that. Dominos had a sale going on - buy one pizza, get a second for free. So Jim bought enough for each person to have four pieces. Some had more, some had less but everyone was full when we were done and there was some left over. Some of the kids had never had pizza before in their entire life.

Carlos liked the pizza.
The difference between pizza in the states and pizza in Matamoros is that pizza in Matamoros comes with two kinds of hot sauce as well as crushed red pepper. Carlos put a whole container (about the size of a nugget sauce at McDonald's) on his one piece of pizza and then ate the whole thing. One of the boys was putting all three kinds of toppings on. Yikes!
Flora is enjoying sitting back and not having to cook dinner on this Mother's Day.
Elias also enjoyed the pizza.
This was a great picture! That's a lot of pizza and soda.

We're not sure what exactly was growing here. We think it is a type of corn. There were thousands of acres growing.

These are not the worst houses we saw. It was amazing to see how people live. The kids were amazed.

These catus were everywhere and some had these flowers hanging from them. They were really neat.
Wanna race?
These were at one of the gas stations we stopped at.
A forrest of catus.
This is a really nice road. It's a toll road so it was 110 km/h. Sounds fast, huh? That's about 70 mph.

We won't have Internet right away when we get to Esperanza Viva in Cholula but we will try to at least put a post on the we arrived. So, until then, adios.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

How can just crossing a bridge bring you into such a different world? On one side is the United States of America and on the other side is the Estados Unidos de Mexicanos (United States of Mexicans). When you come to the first intersection after crossing the border there are people waiting for money. Two men came up and started washing our windows without asking and then they expect pesos for it. Then there was a woman pushing a man in a wheel chair and they were pointing into the car. I shook my head no and looked away. Once we were down the street a short ways, the kids said they were hungry. As I reached toward my feet at a pile of food my heart broke. It was then that I realized that the man and woman were pointing to the food. If I had realized, I would have given them food. I pray that God would open my heart to see things differently. I want to see the people here like He sees them. I want to grieve what He grieves and love the way He loves. I want to see things through His eyes and care for children the way He cares for us.

While talking to Elias and Flora last night, we found out that of the seventeen children here, ten of them have no knowledge of who their mother, father or grandparents are. These kids were out on the streets with no hope. Our hearts grieved again. Lord, how can this be? How can a mother and father just walk away and grandparents never be known? Today is Mother’s Day and I pray that I can be a mother figure to many of the children that I work with in Mexico. I pray that God would give me a heart for each one of them.

To my mother, thank you for all the years you helped me grow and learn. Thank you for showing me God’s love through your life and through your service to Him. As the years have gone by, you have gone from my mother to one of my best friends. Thank you for the special friend you are now. Thank you for all the special phone calls and all the hours we have talked. To Jim’s mother, thank you for your son. Thank you for all you have done to help us over the past years when we lived so close. You helped us get here by watching the kids so many times when we had mission meetings to go to. Thank you for your friendship. To my precious daughter, Kristen, thank you for being such a wonderful mother to my grandchildren. I miss you all so much but I know that God has called me to where I am today. Thank you for your friendship and all the times we have had together, for all the phone calls. We will have them again soon. I love watching how God has formed you into a beautiful woman of God who desires to serve Him and raise her children for the Lord. To all the mothers in my life and to all the mothers who may be reading this today, “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.”

Free Clipart

Saturday, May 09, 2009

We're in Matamoros

After trying to find our way around town a little and follow directions with no street signs, we arrived at Esperanza Viva Matamoros. What a blessing it is. We have had a wonderful evening here. We were going to stay in a hotel tonight but Elias said they were expecting us to stay at the youth home so we agreed. They turned the girls dorm into a hotel for us and the girls are have a slumber party in another building. They blessed us with dinner of chicken tacos, watermelon, and jicama. Erin enjoyed the zip-line they have here and Jonathan got out his light sabers and had matches with the boys.

Erin on the zip-line.

Jonathan playing with light sabers with the boys.

Jim visiting with Elias and the boys.

We had a wonderful evening visiting with Elias and Flora in their home. They run the youth home here but we know them from our first two visits in Puebla. They used to be there, in fact we found out that they lived in the smaller house on the property where we are renting our house. I got some good practice with my Spanish as they do not speak English. I understood a lot more than I thought I would. Now I just need to get more words down so I can respond quicker. I am sure it will come especially when I start tutoring and can practice what I learn right away.

We will keep you updated as we can. Thank you for all or your prayers. We have definitely felt them throughout this whole trip.

The Carlsons are in Mexico!

Hi everybody - this is Gail's friend Lissa. I just talked to Gail and they have crossed the border into Mexico! They did get a red light when crossing the border, but they had already paid their taxes ahead of time so the woman just looked at the paperwork and flagged them through! Praise God for His blessings!

The Carlsons are now heading towards the Esperanza Viva youth home in Matamoros and will be there through Sunday and then will be heading down to Cholula to their new home on Monday.

Heading to Mexico

The waiting seems to be over. Our financial papers we needed to sign are being signed now. We will then mail them back and we will be one our way to cross the border into Mexico. At this time, we do not know how long it will take us to make it across the border or if we will have Internet in the hotel where we will be. We will try to get information to you as quickly as possible. Please keep us in your prayers as we finish the last leg of this trip. We hope to be in Puebla by Tuesday, May 12. We are arriving almost a week later than we anticipated but from what they tell us in Mexico, that's just standard Mexico time. So, I guess we are getting a taste of culture before we even get there. Thank you for all your prayers, we have felt them.

Friday, May 08, 2009

South Padre Island

Today we visited South Padre Island and Erin was able to go swimming again in the Gulf of Mexico. When driving there, it is funny because there are signs that say, "Watch for Sand on the Road," and another one says, "Watch for Pelicans." I missed taking a picture of the sand being blown across the street on the way there. It was worse then the pictures here. You literally couldn't see the cars.

Erin had a great time in the water. It was really warm. I even stuck my feet in and almost wished I had brought my bathing suit. I just don't like all the sand.

Jim enjoyed feeding the seagulls some crackers. I couldn't get a picture of it but he even got one of the seagulls to take it from his hand.

We also saw a huge barge being brought in by a tugboat. Later when we were driving home, we saw the same barge and tugboat up the canal.