Thursday, January 27, 2011

Updates, Pic's and a "Camping Out"!

Just wanted to start out by giving a couple of updates. There are several series of gospel meetings going on across Mexico right now, and it's wonderful to know that men and women and children are responding to God's message and being saved! I won't be updating on all that I've heard, but thought I would include part of John D's update he sent from San Luis Rio Colorado, where we were for the seedsowers distribution the end of December:
We are now almost to the end of four weeks of meetings and the time has flown by. We are thankful to report that attendance continues between 8-12 adults and older teens each night plus children. We continue to get new folks coming by which is encouraging as well.

We were especially thrilled this past week when we went by to visit a barber who has come every night since the second night of the meetings. Sammy Cain walked into his barbershop and gave him a text and invite during the distribution. Jesús began to seek God when family problems developed in his life four years ago. A little over a year ago, he was working in Yuma (he is a US Resident) and he had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with a breathing problem. He said he really thought he was going to die but he had no confidence he was going to go to heaven. From a child he had questioned Catholic teaching and practices finding them inconsistent with the Bible. The first few weeks of the meetings he commented repeatedly that the gospel we were preaching was Biblical. One night during a meeting, he read 1 John 5:13 and suddenly he realized that he knew that the Lord Jesus had paid for his sins and that he was going to heaven because “These things were written.” We asked him if he had peace. He replied, “Paz en abundancia – peace in abundance.” We thank God for his clarity. His brother and sister have also come to the meetings and his brother Angel is listening particularly well and we hope to try and visit him today.

Jorge the man who got saved the other week continues to do well. The night before last, he came over to the apartment and told us his life’s story of the depths of vice and sin from which the Lord saved him. It brought tears to our eyes as he magnified the grace of God that had brought him out of such an awful existence and that had spared his life from the violent death that is so common in this country. His wife, Nora, has come to two meetings and is quite interested. She works evenings so it makes it hard for her to come to the meetings. Those who were at Seed Sowers might recognize her as she works as a waitress at the taco stand El Chipilón where we ate a couple of times. They have four little children and Jorge would deeply appreciate your prayers for the salvation of his wife.

The enemy has been clearly at work as last week several women who had been coming regularly suddenly stopped. They were avoiding us when we went by for visits and we eventually heard what happened. Several pastors have prohibited people who go to their churches from coming to the meetings. One pastor offered to have for them, but one lady declined as she told him that people just sleep when he preaches (ouch). Nevertheless, these men hold real power over folks threatening them with public humiliation if they disobey. Yesterday, one of the ladies opened up to tell us more details and has asked for a week to let things calm down before she starts again. Kati is a very sincere lady but feeling great pressure from friends in her church. We can only pray for her and for others in this very critical crossroads.

Dan and I greatly appreciate the prayers of each one for the meetings here in SLRC that God will preserve those who have professed to be saved and work in many more hearts and lives. We pray that there will be many more Lydia like cases in SLRC, “Whose heart the Lord opened.”

Also, Tim is down in Veracruz, where he has been speaking with John N. Here's a little update from there:
There have been 2 saved so far in the series, I believe. Marta, a student is quite joyful in her new-found salvation. She was mentioning to Rebekah that there have been changes in her life already that she wasn't really thinking about, just happening on their own. When her friends want to go out somewhere and she suggests something else, they look at her like she's going nuts.

Lucio, from Cotaxtla says he's gotten God's salvation as well. He is quite influential in his community and could have a real impact as far as the spread of the gospel is concerned. We continue to pray for Aida, his wife, that she too, would soon come to know the Saviour as her own.

Your prayers for these efforts would be greatly appreciated!

Here is one of our silly kitties. I had forgotten how funny kittens can be, and he has been great comic relief. The female has actually been at the vet's for the last few days, hopefully finding out what is the matter with her poor tummy.
Here are a couple pic's from the children's meeting in Tirocapes two weeks ago. This is Alejandro and Jairo leading the singing:
Daniel and Tiberio teaching the verse:
I totally missed getting pictures of the lesson, and some others helping out - it went quite well, and there were a good number of children out for the lesson. Mark and Brenda Bachert will be with us for the weekend, and Mark will be teaching the lesson on Saturday.

The other morning I came into Vivian's room and found this:

I think there were about 6 tissues left in the box!!

Here are two of my sweet girls doing the dishes:

A picture of three ballerina's that Mika drew:
I couldn't get this picture to go correctly - it was either sideways one way or the other. An attempt at creativity on my part for lunch - peanut butter and honey sandwiches - personalized!
Last Saturday we went to Miranda's 4th birthday party - here's the birthday girl:
Kyla and Vivian playing "meeting" =)
The girls have been wanting a chance to sleep with me in my bed. It's not something we've ever done, except one other time when Tim was away. Yesterday morning we were reading a book, and the mom and daughters had a "camp out" in the living room while the dad and brothers were away one night. The girls on the floor, and the mom on the lazyboy. I thought I could likely handle sleeping on the couch for a night, and suggested it to our girls, who thought it was a great idea! We were invited to the Cain's for lunch, and then we asked if Evelyn could camp out with us, so she came and joined the fun too! We brought down pillows, comforters and all the extra blankets we could find, and the girls had a blast playing in it all before we had anything set up for sleeping. Here's Eva underneath a pile:Mika:Shaelyn:Kyla:
Vivian, watching the chaos from her highchair:
Next they took turns jumping into the pile:
Finally, time to settle on down. We read several books, and the lights went off around 840pm or so. I put Vivian up in her bed, then talked to Tim for a bit on the phone. When I came downstairs just before 9pm, at least 2 were already asleep. I settled in on the couch, and it wasn't too many minutes later until we were All asleep!! It was a pretty good night, and the girls woke up around 7am!
The other night, before Tim left for Veracruz, I kept Kyla and Vivian home from meeting because of Vivi's cold. While I was trying to catch up on a few emails, Kyla decided it was time for supper. She went to the cupboards and pulled out: apple sauce, potato chips, cookies, 2 bowls and 2 spoons! =) She's quite a helper, that girl!

I wanted to mention too, a few more books we had received for Christmas that are really neat. These ones were from my brother and his wife, Jeff and Marianne:
Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt by Barbara Smucker
Because I Love You by Max Lucado
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo

Tim's brother and his wife, Mark and Rebekah, also got us a very special book - it's a photo book of our week-long holiday together this past summer at the cottage. They had done one other one in 2008, and it's pages are coming out it's been "read" so often. This one may get the same amount of use - it's so nice!

Okay, that's it, I think, with just this video left. Kyla "sings" in a language I don't quite understand - sometimes I can hear Spanish words, and sometimes English words, but most of them are made up. Vivian also "sings". Whenever she has a book in her hand, she thinks it is a hymnbook, and sings with gusto! I got some of it on video yesterday! =)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lunch

Any guesses at what Tim ate today?

*Hint* It has both light and dark meat.

He left yesterday for Veracruz for the week - preaching the gospel with John Nesbitt. Sure do miss him already, and look forward to his return! We would appreciate your prayers for the meetings there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Copiers...

It's great being a Mommy - most of the time! I know I've said (wrote) this before, but it's also the hardest job I've ever had. There have never been more times in my life I've wanted to "quit" something because it was so difficult. This has been a good week in general, mommy-wise - I've felt like I was "in control" for a good part of it. No, the reality is I've felt like I was in His control.

While I feel emotionally good right now, it's definitely not like that all the time. I have questioned many times why in the world the Lord gave me a husband and children, when all I seem to do is make a mess of things.

Tonight our girls were "copying" me at supper, and repeating whatever I said. They think it's a funny joke, and we do it to them sometimes too. Afterwards, we were talking about it, and I told them that sometimes when they copied me, it scared me. Mika looked at me very oddly, and asked, "Why?" I told her it was because even though I am saved, I still sin, and sometimes I see the girls copying me in my sin. The same tone of voice, the same words, or bad attitude, etc.

I don't know that the Lord condemns us for questioning Him, necessarily, but disbelieving Him and His Word is a problem. I've just been reading through Exodus - take a look at this conversation between God and Moses before Moses returned to Egypt to lead the people of Israel out of slavery:
"Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak."
But he
(Moses) said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else."
Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses..."
(Exodus 4:11-14)
I also have been reading the Light for Young Paths Sunday School papers to the girls in the mornings, as someone has graciously sent them to us. Recently we were reading about Zechariah and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. Because of his unbelief in God's Word (even though this same type of miracle had taken place with Abraham and Sarah), Zechariah was made so that he could not speak until after John was born. Then take Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. She had every reason to doubt, yet, "And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

What does God promise us? What promises can we "stand" on? Ephesians chapter 4 talks about putting off the old self, and putting on the new self - putting sin away from us, and choosing to obey God's way. We are told in Philippians that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13). Then we read, "...greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." in 1 John 4:4. In Romans 8:26, we learn that "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."

As Christians, as Mommys, we need to learn and remember God's promises, and then repeat them as the difficulties come. "...take every thought captive to obey Christ," (2 Corinthians 10:5). This week I've heard little 'whispers' (not audibly) of, "Why don't you take a moment to calm down before responding.", "Think of how you can answer that kindly." "She's just a little girl, take time to explain yourself a little.", etc. I've tried to listen, and although I haven't succeeded 100%, it's been more than usual, anyway, and I've been thankful.

I hurt when I know other Mommys are struggling with this same problem, and there are right now. I can empathize and sympathize and I can pray. Sometimes we can feel very alone. You who are reading - older sisters in the Lord, Moms who have been here before - will you please pray for us younger Moms?! Will you please make it an effort to encourage us in our walk with Christ?! To follow Him, and be a copier of Him?! Please remind us of God's promises, and tell us how He's been faithful to you?! It's easy to get caught with the mundane things, but we need Christ to be our Center, our Vision, our Everything. Your prayers and encouragement are so appreciated!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More on the kitties...

Well, finally as of today we have named kitties. The male (black and white) is Patches - because he has patches, of course, and the female (brown striped) is Holly - because we got her for Christmas! Both were named by Mika! =)
Shaelynnie is in love - can you tell?! I might be becoming attached too! =)
They show no great fear of Vivian, who simultaneously calls them and tells them "No!" if they get too close! =) They are both very gentle, and have shown no aggressiveness at all.
Holly seems to have some gastro problems that haven't seemed to calm down yet, but they both seem to be becoming more accustomed to us. Patches is still a little skittish, but today was playing like kittens are supposed to, and let me snuggle him for about 10 min before he jumped down. He even purred for the first time since being here!
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Here is Vivian standing at the "preacher box" as Kyla called it. She's got her Bible in hand and is leading the singing here! =)
Last night was the first gospel meeting of the year in Tirocapes, and there were about 30 people there altogether - several adults, a few teenagers, and lots of children. Don Moises from Puerta Vallarta is here right now, so he and Marcus shared the meeting. We had our first children's meeting of the year last Saturday too, and there were 17 children out, so we were pretty encouraged about that!
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Tomorrow I'll be 31 weeks pregnant. I was reminded today that that means it'll be a single-digit week countdown from now on - it has gone by so quickly!

That's it for now - Here is a video of Vivian and the kitties:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Surprises!

I love my girls. My girls love animals. I like animals, but I would not (nor would anyone else) consider myself an animal-lover - which is likely why we've never had a pet in the almost 10 years that we've been married. Well, except 2 fish - but they were Mika's. Anyway, Tim and I have now been considering for months now about getting a pet for the girls. I think that while both of us tend to like dogs more, we also know they're very time-consuming. So, we thought kittens. Two actually, to help keep each other company (hopefully!). That thinking led to us getting these cute little animals:

The girls were totally surprised, and I even had them on video opening the boxes with the kitties inside, but the battery died, so I lost the whole video! =P So disappointing! Anyway, here is the journey of how the girls found them.

First, there were three of these:
Before the "hunt", and very excited!
Reading the first clue:

Found the next one, and...a shovel for the beach, Kyla thinks!! =)
Last clue, with a food and water dish - hmmm....
At last! Are they really ours?!?!?! =)
Tim found them at the "pound", and they're about 4 months old. The black and white one is male, and the other is female - so far we have just a list of names (better than what we have so far for this baby coming!!), but hopefully these two will be named in the next day or so. The male is pretty skinny, and so far hasn't made a peep - running scared and hiding from everyone. The female is a little more relaxed and vocal - purring and meowing, and thought the only place she should sleep in on my lap. She's finally snuggled into their box with the other one and a hot water bottle, and they are sleeping. Currently they smell like they've been sleeping in horse manure, so hopefully we can make some positive changes in their little lives!! =)
Here is a song that Mika wrote. Thought I'd share it:

"1. He made the morning sunshine, he made the moon beam.
He made you and me, we love to see His works.

Chorus.
Oh we love him so, Oh mighty God above.
Oh how we praise him so, oh mighty Jesus Christ.

2. Who made the deep blue sea, who made the deep green valleys.
Only the Lord above could perform such a miracle.

3. Oh God is always with me, oh always with me.
Oh how I love him so. I will serve him forever."
I thought that was pretty sweet. "Out of the the mouth of babes...you have prepared praise!" (Matthew 21:16)
I had forgotten to write down some funny things Vivian says, so thought I'd put them on here again too.
"oosh" = shoe
" dum-dum" = jump-jump. This often comes after hollering, MOMMY! Dum-dum! =) She likes to jump on the trampoline with the girls.
"Dadalina" = Madeleine. She gets called Madelena here, so I'm not sure if that's where that comes from.
"gulp" (the closest I could get to the sound of someone swallowing) = drink
(It took me a while to figure out what she was trying to say!!) =)

The girls received some beautiful books for Christmas. There were four that came from Tim's Aunt Heather and Uncle John that we just got the other day. I don't remember who the author is, but The Very First Christmas, and The Very First Christians are really neat, with beautiful illustrations. Then there was a quote from another that said, "There are no irritable sheep, just irritated ones." in the book Sammy and His Shepherd written about Psalm 23. Really excellent books!
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I got the whole house cleaned and tidied yesterday - and it felt SO good! Finally clearing off several flat surfaces that had collected a LOT in the last couple weeks and putting all the papers, games, books, toys, etc into their proper places.
School's going pretty well so far this week, and we got our visas renewed yesterday, so that was a major hurtle for another year! Think that's it - I'll be back in a few days!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Today is Tim's Dad's birthday! I had lots of funny photos I would have loved to have shared, but felt that, for the sake of the other person in the photos, I would refrain!! =) Here is a lovely picture of Dad and Mom and Christmas time at Mark and Bekah's.
Dad with his granddaughter Moriah, doing one of the things he loves best!!
Dad, his dad Wilf (or Grandpa Wolf, as our girls call him), and Dad's brother Dave
I have to admit, this time a song came through my head for you before a verse did, Dad. It speaks of the Lord Jesus, saying, "He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again." So, the verse I chose for you is:
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9).

You and mom have been wonderful examples of "givers" ever since I have known you. You give of what material things you have, you give of your time and your energy; and I know part of that giving is time you spend soaking up the Word of God, and then sharing it, as well as praying for others. Thank you for this! I just read today in a Truth and Tidings article, "Many of us just 'say our prayers' while a scarce few, who we may not know about until we get to heaven, are conducting the real business of prayer." I'm thankful that I won't need to wait to get to Heaven to know about you! =) Thank you once again for your godly example, and I pray that the Lord will encourage you as you walk in His footsteps.

Happy Birthday, Dad, with lots of love from all of us here!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that 2010 is past and gone, and 2011 is here. While the past year had happy and sad times, we can see that there is so much to be thankful for, and that the Lord continues to provide for all we need - and far more! With the year flying by so quickly, it also reminds us that "Life at best is very brief, like the falling of a leaf". As Christians, we need to use each moment He gives us for Him, knowing we are accountable for all we've been given (including our time), and make sure that we are reaching out to those who don't yet know the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour. If there is someone reading this who isn't a Christian, the Bible says, "...now is the accepted (right) time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Recently I read of some Christian ladies who have, for the last several years, chosen a word that they work on becoming more like throughout the year. Some of the words used are: discipline, kind, love, encourage, thankful, compassion, joyful, content, patient, fruitful... I thought it was a neat idea, but couldn't decide on just one. So, I've chosen three: discipline (I need this in many areas, but spending time reading and memorizing the Bible, and praying are at the top of the list), content (in every area of my life - as a child of God, a wife, mother, missionary...), and kind. I was convicted again today that, "...people will give account for every careless word they speak," (Matthew 12:36), and I think that includes how we say things too - kindness is something I fail in often. Anyone else want to choose a word to work at?

Finally, here are some pictures from over our Christmas holidays:

Our sweet girlers in their pretty Christmas dresses
Swedish tea ring for Christmas morning breakfast, and pumpkin, apple and pecan pie for dinner
Ada filling cream puffs
Christmas Eve supper
Stockings ready for the morning
Gifts ready for the morning
Shaelyn and Mika Christmas morning
Rob and Kyla
Tim with Viviana
Ada and Brayden
Shaelyn with "stockings" on
Cousins
Mika giving Brayden the gift she made for him
Mika, Shaelyn and Kyla with their gifts from Grandpa and Grandma W
Rob and Ada
Christmas dinner
Playing games at the Cain's
Vivian "helping" Marcus play the piano
Singing (in ENGLISH!!)
Sunday night we finally took Rob and Ada up the little mountain to see the sights. We then went and enjoyed yummy Sonoran hotdogs.
On our way up to Tucson early Monday morning.
After we dropped Rob and Ada off at the airport, Alison and I continued on to San Luis Rio Colorado, a border town close to Yuma, AZ, and Mexicali, MX. Our hotel was quite nice, and we were thankful to have heat in our rooms, which was needed for the extreme cold.

This is the picture that was up in our room. It totally reminded us of a cottage we have been blessed to be able to use many times over the years on Georgian Bay. It just seemed kind of funny.
On Wednesday night we had delicious Sonoran tacos - Carne Asada. Here was our table:




Back in our hotel room - Eva reading a story to Shaelyn and Kyla.
During the week we were there, there were four teams made up - Spanish guys and gals, and English guys and gals. Each group, with a leader, did a character study from the Bible. The last 2 nights they presented what they had learned throughout the week. I missed the girls' teams, but got in on the guys' presentations. The first was Gideon, by the Spanish guys:
The English guys did Caleb. Here is Othniel on the right (Caleb's brother in Joshua 15:17) "winning" his wife. *Note: story presented was not exactly as is told in the Bible!
Othniel and Achsah (aka Scott and Kim Hayes!!) =)
They did a great job, and learned some good lessons. We stayed up for the count-down on New Year's Eve, and then watched the guys light some fireworks for a bit before heading to bed.
We left Saturday morning around 1130am. Here is some of the landscape between Hermosillo and San Luis - mountains:
Desert and mountains
Sand dunes!
Volcanic area
We traveled quite a ways along the border - you can see the US/MX border fence up in the hills.
Here was a funny picture of Vivian Sunday afternoon. She had her sunglasses on upside down! =)
Good friends brought over a beautiful painting for us. It is a copy of a very old painting, and I'm not sure if it is made out of plaster, or what, but it's totally textured. Now where to hang it...?
We had out the crokinole board to play on Christmas Day, and it hasn't made it back to its' home yet. Vivian decided she would give it a try:
A little closer...
Whew, and that difficult morning just wore her out!
Vivian has been quite the little ham recently. She loves to make us laugh! Some of the things she is saying right now:
-...ewww!
-gracias (thank you - Spanish)
-mira (look - Spanish)
-cayó (se cayó - it fell - Spanish)
-EIEIO
-peez (please)
-dow (down)
-wa, doo, dee, foe, fa (1,2,3,4,5)
She love to put on anyone's shoes she can find, and tromp around - up and down the stairs even - in them!

Kyla is being a bit of a ripper right now - getting into trouble faster than I can get her out of it! We've been cutting down severely on the amount of candy and chocolate the girls are getting, and that has already helped some. Something funny she said the other day - I was talking about how I thought the baby had had a growth spurt, as I was feeling "fuller" than before. She was quite upset at what I said, and told me, "Mommy, our baby isn't gross!" I guess when you have a lisp it's a little difficult to understand that statement!! =)

We are back into school as of Monday, and although it hasn't been the greatest week, it has mostly been productive, and both Mika and Shaelyn are back into the swing of things, and doing pretty well.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow I will be 30 weeks pregnant! The time really seems to have flown by, and I'm hoping that it will slow down a little over the next two months (someone might need to remind me of that the last few weeks, though!!)

Tomorrow is also 11 years since Tim and I went out on our first date! Our 10 year anniversary is coming up in just a few months too, and I am having a hard time believing that I am old enough to have been married that long!! =) My beloved husband has also arranged for a babysitter tomorrow evening, and we are going out on a DATE!!

I need to get to bed, but I thought I would also include here an update on the work in San Luis - John sent this out this evening:

It is hard to believe that the first week of meetings is now history in San Luis Rio Colorado. We look back with gratitude that in spite of the horrible cold spell (lows of 40 F at night) for the locals, we have had folks in every night. Overall, we have had over 25 adults, some teenagers, and a group of children in to the meetings. Seventeen have come back more than once. Marcus Cain and Tim Woodford gave great help the first three nights and then Dan Harvey came on Monday to be with me for the series. It has been excellent having Dan and Joan and four of their children with us. They are living (urban camping) in the apartment and have been a great help in getting things set up.
Some of those coming repeatedly to the meetings include:
1. Lupín and his wife Carolina: He has been out four nights and she has been out three nights. He is Pati Lopez’s brother. Lupín starts work at 7:30pm. He has decided to go in late to work so he can come to the meetings. Pati is very burdened for this couple who have four children.
2. Augustín: He is a young man who has come out of drug use and is seeking salvation. He has been badly indoctrinated with Charismatic teaching, but has only missed two nights.
3. Valentín and his wife Ariana: He has been out three nights and her two. They have a little girl and have listened very closely. Ariana looks up references we make to verses in the Bible during the preaching.
4. Ramón: He is a single father of four who lives in a house made out of pallets and cardboard. He and two of his children have only missed one night. He says the message he is hearing is something he has never heard before.
These are just a few of the contacts for whom we would value your prayers. We are thankful for the calmness and security in the city and for God’s preserving hand.