Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Computer Died!

There may be a lack of blogging for the next several weeks. Our computer totally crashed. We will need to wait till our next trip to the US border, to see if we can fix it, or if it has to be replaced.

I don't think I'll be bored though. We're getting company! #1. Our daughter, Maria, is coming home from God's Bible School for Christmas. We can NOT wait to see her!! #2. Dad and Mom Sankey are coming for Christmas. #3. My sister, Vonnie (Sankey) Bryan and her husband and 6 kids are coming from Alaska. Since my brother Marc's family lives in our same neighborhood, that means we will all be together for Christmas for the 1st time in about 5 years. We are so excited!

Merry Christmas to all of you! May we always treasure the miracle of His birth.

"There's an end to all the waiting
There's an answer to the "who" and "where" and "why" ... tonight
All the years anticipating
Are surrendered to a tiny baby's cry
There's a dawn to follow darkness
There's a face to fill the title, "Prince of Peace."
What He promised He delivered
I am saved by the hand of sweet release."
-- Suzanne Jennings

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Scenes from Saltillo

The cathedral at night.

Kent and Kenny up on the mountain.

Kent on the road up the mountain.

Sunset in Saltillo.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Saltillo

We watched a weaver make a Saltillo tradition, the serape, which is a brightly colored blanket.

The weaver's courtyard.

We ate at Tacos al Pastor.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking Darrell, Regina and Kenny from San Antonio to Saltillo

Waiting for paperwork to allow us to cross the border.

Filling out the forms for visas.

Crossing the Rio Grande.

Border crossing.

These are a few of the many shrines that are along the highway.

Some of the mountainous, desert views along the way.

Part of a military patrol.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Day

Kenny, Darrell, Regina, Kent, Steve and I at The Alamo on the first day of their visit with us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some of our Favorite People are Here

It has been a real treat for us to have Steve's brother, Darrell and his wife, Regina and their youngest son, Kenny come to visit us. We have had so much fun, and they have been such a blessing to us. I will blog more later about what we've done this week.

Thank you Darrell, Gina and Kenny for taking time to visit us; and thanks to the Burlington Bible Methodist Church for sharing your pastoral family with us!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

God's Protection

Yesterday Steve left our home in Saltillo and went to Texas to take care of some Mission business. It was his intention to get things done quickly and return home. He needed to get his visa renewed and a permit for our vehicle to be in Mexico. It's a long story, but suffice it to say, it took a LOT longer than it should have and he ended up having to stay overnight in Texas. But, this is what was on the front page of today's newspaper, and we are thanking God that He orchestrated events so Steve was not traveling through Reynosa as he had planned!

— Mexican authorities came under attack Friday as they arrested the purported head of Gulf Cartel operations in Reynosa and tried to fly him out of the city, U.S. law enforcement officials said.
Federal police found Jaime "El Hummer" González Durán just after 1:30 p.m. during raids on three buildings in and around the city.
But as they drove him to the airport outside Reynosa, their convoy encountered several gunmen who opened fire on the federal officers.
A brief shootout erupted between the two groups, but Mexican officials managed to put González on a plane to Mexico City, according to U.S. authorities who work for both federal and local agencies engaged in combating border crime.
High-profile drug suspects are typically sent to the Mexican capital for security reasons after their arrest.
During the conflict, people hit the floor and hid behind furniture, an airport employee said. She was driving out of the small parking lot during her lunch break before the shootout began.
The woman said cartel members blocked roadways with tractor-trailer rigs and crashed into vehicles near the airport to obstruct passageways for authorities.
"I told my friend to reverse into the parking lot and leave the truck," she said. "We just ran inside and then they started getting each other in the parking lot."
It remains unclear whether anyone was injured in Friday's melee.
González, an original member of the cartel's enforcement wing Los Zetas, recently came to the attention of U.S. law enforcement for reportedly commanding smugglers within his organization to protect their turf at all costs.
According to an FBI intelligence memo dated Oct. 17, he recently ordered dozens of reinforcements to Reynosa and authorized them to attack U.S. authorities if necessary.
"These replacements are believed to be armed with assault rifles, bulletproof vests and grenades and are occupying safe houses throughout the McAllen area," says the document, which was distributed to local law enforcement officials.
González has also been linked to several kidnappings and shootouts across the Hidalgo County area over the past several months, including the abduction of two Mission men who reportedly owed a debt to the cartel.
During the raids that led to González's arrest Friday, Mexican soldiers uncovered 288 assault rifles, 500,000 rounds of ammunition, numerous grenades and several .50-caliber rifles at a Reynosa stash house - in what is now described as the largest seizure of illegal weapons in the country's history.
Mexican federal authorities could not be reached for comment Friday. It remains unclear whether González will be extradited to face charges in the United States or be processed in the Mexican legal system.
González's arrest Friday is only the latest high-profile capture in Mexican President Felipe Calderón's two-year war against his nation's entrenched drug smuggling organizations.
The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas have come under particular pressure from federal authorities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexican federal authorities arrested Antonio "El Amarillo" Coronado Galarza - another top cartel leader in Reynosa - on Oct. 31 on a highway between Reynosa and Monterrey. He faces weapons violations charges and allegations of money laundering.
In September, U.S. federal agents captured Juan Carlos Hinojosa - a man accused of running a massive smuggling ring between Ciudad Miguel Alemán and Roma.
Starr County Sheriff Reymundo "Rey" Guerra has also been caught up in the federal case against Hinojosa for allegedly leaking information about ongoing investigations. Both men are set to face multiple federal counts of conspiracy and aiding and abetting drug smuggling at a trial set for later this year.
These recent arrests - including González's on Friday - have left U.S. law enforcement officials concerned that a power vacuum could develop in the Reynosa plaza, federal and local officials said.
U.S. agencies have warned local law enforcement that Miguel Treviño Morales - Hinojosa's purported boss and a notoriously violent member of Los Zetas who is known as "Zeta Cuarenta" - could seek to take over the cartel's Reynosa operations.

Most of our mission business on the US side is done in the McAllen area (Hidalgo County), where, according to the above story, many of the drug dealers and ammunition are holed up. We drive the road from Monterrey to Reynosa very frequently and often encounter military checkpoints, as it is apparently a main artery for drug traffic. Please continue to pray for safety for missionaries all over the world. Americans are frequently targeted in robberies and kidnappings.

Friday, October 31, 2008

La Boca (means The Mouth)

The supply pastor in the village of La Boca leading the Sunday services.

Mountains and homes in La Boca.

Visiting after lunch.

This was our delicious Mexican lunch (or as they call it - "comida," which means "food). We had rice (it is reddish, with a few peas and carrots), mole (chicken in a spicy gravy), and tortillas.

I visited this little building a few times. :-)

The church in La Boca was built by Mennonites many years ago.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Traveling Through Mexico

An adobe house in the village of La Boca.

Our vehicle is surrounded by cacti on a very narrow road in the village of La Boca.

Donkeys on the bumpy, dirt road between San Rafael and La Boca.

These shrines are very common along the roads in Mexico.

A sunset near Monterrey, Saddleback Mountain is at right.

We saw an IV line on this cactus, do you think it needed fluids? :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Our dog, Jefe, went across the street to "whisper sweet nothings" in his girlfriend's ear! :-)

Our lovely view.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Youth Challenge

Our kids are at Youth Challenge, near Cincinnati, this weekend. Since Maria is at God's Bible School in Cincinnati, she does not have far to go. But, it is too far from Saltillo, Mexico, for Kent to plan on attending. However, Bible Methodist Missions Director, John Parker, was able to raise the funds for Kent to make the trip. Thank you Bro. Parker and all who gave to make this trip a reality for Kent. We really appreciate it and it is an encouragement to all of us. God bless you!

We also thank Mom and Dad Sankey, who had to pick Kent up at the Indianapolis airport at the unearthly hour of 3 a.m.! UGH! Kent's flight was delayed in Laredo, because of bad weather in Houston. After a few hours of sleep, they took him to GBS to be with Maria.

Here's a picture of our kids. They are so, so happy to be together again!
Kent also has been able to see many on the Stetler side of the family. Almost the entire family has gathered this weekend, in the Cincinnati area. Most of them are staying at Steve's parents home, so I'm sure that is a "happening place." :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bible Institute Update

I apologize for not posting more frequently during the Institute session this week, but the internet service here is not very reliable, and although I have tried to post several times, it hasn't been very successful. Finally, as you can see, I was able to get online long enough to post this update.

Here is Rusty Rundell, from Union Bible College, interpreting for William Snider, from Hobe Sound Bible College. The Lord has helped these men to give us valuable information that has been a blessing both academically and spiritually. After Bro. Snider's session this morning, Bro. Rundell was able to pray with one of our young pastors who is earnestly seeking Holiness.

Time for class.

Studying and taking notes.

Relaxing between sessions.

Steve took a picture of Kent, Beth, Rusty Rundell, John Parker, William Snider and Marc Sankey eating beans, pork rinds and tortillas in the dining hall.

Here's the same crew eating at a street side taco stand, right before bedtime. What were we thinking? :-)

This is what the tacos look like. It's not Taco Bell, folks! :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 1st Day of Bible Institute Classes

What an exciting time it was, as we began our first classes in the Mexico Bible Methodist Bible Institute. Several of our Pastors and other young people and adults attended the sessions which were held today. Other students will join in as the week progresses.

Today's cooks were from our church in La Florida.

Kent videos the classes.

Enjoying our meal.

Our classes were held in the Rio Bravo Bible Methodist Church.

Institute President Eli Balderas speaks to the students.

Conference Leader Homero Luna teaches a "Leadership" class.