Thursday, June 13, 2013

Trip to Oaxaca - Part 2

Here are some email updates from the trip Steve is on right now:

Sunday, June 9 - Just got back from Mangales. We had a great service. Alejandro preached and did really well. It was my first time to hear him preach. After church we had coffee and pan dulce and hot tostadas. The tostadas were the great big corn tortillas cooked until they were crispy. I told everyone that you would be so jealous when you heard about it. You would have loved them. I took tons more pics but had a lot of fun. Everyone wants you to come with me next time. Santiago and I will leave at 10 tomorrow for Bugambilias. Alejandro is going to stay here and visit the other missions. Then we will return Wednesday evening to pick him up and head to Oaxaca for service Thursday evening. I'll bring my computer to breakfast and try to email you before I leave tomorrow. It's been a huge day but it's been fun and a good day spiritually too. We're all worn out so I'm sure we'll sleep well tonight. I hope you had a good day and that you sleep well tonight. I love you and can't wait to get back home to be with you. I love you, Maria and Kent, too. I hope everything is going well and am looking forward to seeing you soon. Good night and I love you all loads.

Monday, June 10 - Hey, I just have a minute before I leave for Bugambilias. We just got back from praying for this lady that is literally starving to death. She has some kind of medical problem and can't eat anything hardly. She probably doesn't weigh more than 80 pounds and is just lying on a bed dying. She was covered in flies and gnats and so pathetic. We explained the plan of Salvation to her and prayed for her and she just cried and cried and said that God had saved her. This was not a planned visit so it used most of our time this morning so now I have to cut and run. I love you so much and am sorry I can't contact you for the next couple days. I should be back here on Wed. night but I have no idea what time so it might be too late to email. We'll see. I hope all goes well with you. Love you lots and will write again when I can.

Wednesday, June 12 - Hey, I'm back in the land of the living. Coming down the mountain after dark in the rain and mud was one wild ride. All I can say is, "thank God for 4-wheel drive!" There were bogs of mud 3-4 inches deep and 20-30 yards long and I would slip and slide through them in low range. Definitely one of the most memorable rides. I'll tell you all about it some time. We had a great time and it is so beautiful up there, but the rainy season has begun and every afternoon it would pour the rain for 4-5 hours. Almost every day it would thunder and it was so loud that it was deafening. It rained so hard that there were rivers of water running everywhere including under the doors and walls. Everything felt damp and very humid then at night it would get pretty cold.
Santiago and I alternated. He would teach one class in the marriage seminar and I would preach in the service that followed and then we would switch with me teaching and him preaching. Every thing went great and we had 16 different couples attend the seminar sessions. That all took place in the evening starting at 4:00 and going to whenever. During the day, we visited with many different people in their homes and counseled and prayed with them. I really had fun with a man named Ignacio and his brother who do woodworking. We talked about it often and they asked tons of questions about how to do this or that. It was great.
The Lord really helped both Santiago and me to teach and preach. We had altar services after almost every service. The people are so open and willing to seek the Lord. The night services were really well attended. Normally we had about 55 people. Last night was the largest and we had 62. I'm really tired but very happy too. After service we had a meal each night and I would show people pictures of my family, the Philippines, Alaska (those were the three most requested) and many more too. They also really liked it because I kept uploading my current pictures of them and they would all gather around looking and laughing at everyone else's pictures. Great times!! I really thank the Lord for His help and really feel like good things are happening in Bugambilias.
We leave in the morning to return to Oaxaca City for a service tomorrow night. Then very early Friday we head for Saltillo. At this point I don't know if we will try to make it all the way to border or not. A lot will depend on what time it is when we get to Saltillo. If it's too late we will probably stay there and come on home Sat. morning. I'll let you know for sure later on. I'll try to touch base tomorrow morning before I leave here and then I'll be able to call you tomorrow night. I love you so much and can't wait till I get home. I love you Maria and Kent too! I'll talk to you soon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Trip to Oaxaca - Part 1

Here are some updates from the trip Steve is on right now:

Thursday, June 6 - Today Steve started on a 9-day trip in Mexico. He should be in Saltillo tonight. Then he and a couple pastors will travel on south tomorrow. He is delivering some VBS supplies and Bibles and will be participating in a Marriage Conference. We'd appreciate your prayers, and I'll try to keep you updated on their whereabouts and activities. I'm at home in Texas and have a lot to do to keep me busy and out of trouble! :)

Friday, June 7 - Steve spent last night in Saltillo at the home of Pastor Pablo. Today he and Pastor Santiago and Pastor Alejandro are headed to Oaxaca City. This part of the trip is about 800 miles. Tomorrow they plan to go about 6 more hours to San Gabriel.

Saturday, June 8 - Steve and the pastors are on their way to San Gabriel. It is a 120-mile, 6-hour trip over rough, rutted, rugged roads. He was able to call me this a.m. before they left from Oaxaca City, but will not have phone service again until Thursday night. I sure will be glad to hear his voice again! They have services in San Gabriel tonight and tomorrow and at a mission church tomorrow evening. Then Monday they plan to make the 15-mile, 2-hour trip to Bugambilias for a 3-day Marriage Conference.

Steve was able to get to an internet café and send me these updates:

I made it here to San Gabriel. We had a good trip but it was bad roads because they have had so much rain. There were many mudslides that are now cleaned up but leave the road a mess. I thought I would email you now because I don't know when I'll have another opportunity to do so. The service tomorrow is actually their big anniversary service so they have repainted everything, put up a tent along the side of the church for the overflow crowds and have brought in a couple hundred chairs as well. It'll be a "big doins," I'm sure.
It looks like we will be staying at Carlos' house. That's good. I drove the whole way again while the guys slept but that was all right I enjoyed it. I'm a little tired and stiff from the beating the road provided but everything is good. As you might guess, my first meal was molé. We also had black beans and Oaxaca cheese and tortillas. Everyone is glad we're here and send their greetings. Pastor Bernardo drove down today too to be here for the special service tomorrow, then he'll go back home on Monday. They are waiting on me so they can unload their things and start getting ready for the service so I'd better go.

Sunday, June 9 - I'm here outside of the church in San Gabriel. Elias has internet and so I’m using my computer to write this. This is much more convenient! We had some kind of grand celebration this morning for the anniversary service. They had a local community band come and play as well as the group from Oaxaca City that played in the service last night. My guess is that they had between 500-600 people present. I know that early on Elias said that he had counted 482. They continued to come through the dinner time. Right now the band is 20 feet from me just blasting away. They have 2 drums, 2 trumpets, 3 sax and a trombone. They actually are very good.
They don't change the time here so it is an hour behind us. It's funny but as a community they decided it was crazy to change so they voted not to. For all official functions they use Mexico national time but for everything local they use their own time. Pretty smart people if you ask me.
It has rained here for three days so everything is messy. It rained and stormed all night but by 7 this morning it cleared up and the day is perfect so far thank goodness! They had so much going on in the service that it didn't get out until one o'clock. It actually was a great service and Santiago did a fantastic job of preaching. We had a good service last night with probably 30-35 people at the altar. It was a great time but a very long service too. Especially since it didn't end until about 10:30 our time.
For lunch we had molé, rice, delicious beef (very tender and good), tortillas and horchata. All in all it was very good. We have another service in Mangales in about an hour and a half. I passed out all my candy this morning and actually ran out. I've had tons of fun taking pictures of people... especially kids and families. They love to see the picture afterwards and laugh and make fun of each other. So many have said to tell you hi. (Several girls said to tell you "Hi" too, Kent. They had me get out my computer and show them pictures of you and Maria too. I was proud to do so!)
I love you and miss you. They have come to get me to go somewhere to have a mini service at the house of an old lady in the church who is sick so I've gotta go. Now that they have internet here, I'll write more tonight. Love you lots.

Inside of the San Gabriel church on the occasion of their anniversary service. From left: Pastor Desi's widow Eufemia (in the white blouse and black lace head covering), Oaxaca Pastor Bernardo (in white shirt), San Rafael Pastor Alejando (in plaid shirt), Rio Bravo Pastor and Conference President Santiago and San Gabriel Pastor Elias.

Some of the overflow crowd outside the church.