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.